Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Out with family

I called Gayle and Chris and Mike and Jan. I'll probably see them over the next two days. I picked up Gayle and drove her here for some talk and food. She told me all the confusions that have been happening in her family. It is not good news.

I played two four limit and lost and then I played Megabucks and won a few dollars and then played dime Double Bonus. I ended down three dollars which with the Megabucks and the poker made me down sixty for the day.

April 28
I talked to Frank on the phone last night. He is not feeling well and will be in to the doctor's today. Elizabeth woke me up to tell me.

Bill's flight is 3075 from San Diego arriving 12:45 southwest. I'll be getting him tomorrow and heading out to Laughlin.

After Gayle I played some 2-4 poker and enjoyed the table but I lost. Then I won a few dollars on Megabucks and lost a few on dime video poker. So it cost me $60

The view from this room is incredible this morning.

Cannery East

Here is a hidden gem of a spot. What a discovery!
Lucky Pete and his wife Carol recommende I try this place. They are frugal coupon folks as I am, and usually well planned, but they were without a room in Vegas and saw the huge sign that new rooms were just $30. Carol told me to ask for a corner room, but I forgot. I merely asked for a room as quiet as possible and I did not ask for view either. I got both. I'll ask next time.
I am on the fourteenth floor and two of my walls are glass floor to ceiling like some fancy NY city penthouse. The view is spectacular with mountains in one direction and the strip, downtown and more mountains in the other. These are long views and very different from other hotels views closer into town. I am watching the lights come on and the sun set over a mountain. It reminds me of the view from the Stratosphere where I often went to see that change from day to dusk to dark and the difference in the colors and patterns and sense of things when the lights come up.
This room would be a vacation all in itself. Lucky Pete's wife Carol told me that she did not want to leave the room and I see why. I am reading the room service menu and thinking breakfast here and I never do that.
Nor do I take a bath. I don't think I have had a bubble bath in two decades. Yet as I showered after my nap, this extra wide bathtub with the circular shower curtain that is out of the way and fine build in elbow rests looked inviting. It is the most comfortable bathtub I could imagine. I got my book SALT by Mark Kurlanski and just soaked. Then I used my new footbrush ( one dollar at the Christmas Store) to brush and defoiliate. This is a great tool. Four difference kinds of surfaces to scrape and sand away old skin and build up foot gunk. Feels great!
Just as an aside, Kurlansky's two books are great for traveling because you can read just a few pages and get some interesting historical focus. This one is the history of salt. His other book is the history of Cod. Or perhaps better put both are world history as determined by the humand search, processing, and regulation of cod or salt.
In the bath I was reading about the salt mines in Russia and Poland and how terrible it was to be sent to work there. Also there was a photograph of wooden carts behind camels transporting salt. Wild.

The room also has a thirties looking reading chair. I am laughing because the chair at the Golden gate was cheaply made and one of the legs came off as soon as I moved it. I could have had it fixed but I hate waiting for maintenance or having anyone in my room but me. I rarely get the daily service. I just call in the morning and cancel for the day and grab something from the maid in the hall if I need more towels.
I learned this trick from Lucky Pete. Poker buddy Slink thinks it is unclean living not to have the maids make up the beds and clean up once a day. I don't see where they do that much and I know that the most vulnerable time for theft from the room is while the maid has the door opened to clean it.
I could not possibly need more towels here. They are plentiful and everywhere.
The decorative theme is squares and rectangles. If I look around at lamps and bed backings and even the wall art I can see that shape is everything here. The curtains are large rectangles of gray and purple. The hallway carpeting is a wonderful jumble of all sizes and colors of rectangles. Carpeting here in the room is stripes which still create long rectangles. They make the room look incredibly long. It is a huge room.
Restrooms in the casino are marked with a wall of tile in squares and rectangles.
The building itself is lit in these really unique squares of lights that change color. It is am amazing sight.
Every so often there will be some curve like the arms of the chair or the lamp on the desk.
I have just left one of the smallest rooms in vegas so this is quite a change.
Outside the lights are changing. I can see the houses and the land and the mountains but everything is decorated with little bulbs like Christmas light strings and a few small signs are lit with lights that recreate movement.
The sky is lit by the setting sun and the mountain sets up a dark outline against it. Clouds pick up the colors and swirl the shapes. It is wonderful because there is so wide a window and such a panoramic view.
All this light and yet I napped well with little sunlight making it through the curtains. I do clip them, but I only could find one clip this time.
Boulder Highway traffic passes without any noise here.
I am enjoying this.

The table for my computer is about four feet by three feet. There are two chairs. The woman at the Golden Gate said the biggest complaint about the renovation is they lost the little table and chair. I told her I used the bed as a table but I did not tell her to took out the top shelf of the cabinet and made the bed into a table, setting that board with computer and mouse on the chair when I slept and back on the bed when I awoke.

Here I have all the space I need.
The Longhorn across the road is lit up.

The counters are all granite. The one outside the bathroom is about seven feet long. There is just one sink, but two distinct sections including two towel bars. The little bar like counter that sticks out is a very nice touch both in looks and function.

I am beginning to consider coming here each trip and using the Tropicana bus to get me to Excalibur for the poker I enjoyed. There is a bus also for downtown and of course Sam's next door has shuttles too for the strip and downtown.

Now the view is more lights than land. I cannot make out separate houses. The cars are more lights than vehicle and colors emerge from the places along boulder Strip. The lights in the strip hotels far way become visible also. And the sky above the mountains is tinged with the last of the days red.

I had been looking for some local bus access to Excalibur as the Deuce is just too impractical at certain times like last night when I actually got off the bus and walked the rest of the way to Imperial Palace where I played poker into the morning to wait for the traffic to clear out.
I like a good local bus route. With my new senior citizen pass the rides are dirt cheap even with the fare increase. Seven fifty for three days unlimited is cheaper than what I was paying. No extra charge for Deuce rides. It is not far also to the Pinball Hall of Fame so that could be an easy bus stopover.


Wow. The air is very clear this morning and I can see all the buildings on the strip clearly and then the cluster of buildings that is downtown.


I had to leave the curtains open here my last night. I woke up too early, 4 am, a fine time to call home where it is 7am. While I talked to Elizabeth, I watched the changing patterns of the lights. 4Am light patterns was dominated by the the street lights. Houses were visibly darker. Off in the distance I could see the lights of the strip.

Gradually the lights gave way to morning. Something in the air makes the strip much more visually accessible this morning. And I can see the nooks and crevices in the mountains behind the strip casinos. I look directly at Flamingo or Tropicana, a straight shot to the strip and what looks like a simple bus ride.

I did not use the pool; I don't think it is open yet. The buffet opens in September. I was not impressed with the deli, but other venues for food seem pretty interesting. Last night I took my relatives to Sam's Town buffet and that seemed fine. It is not as good as it once was but for the price it was good and one was free on POV.

There is 10/7 double bonus here and I can play it in nickels or in dimes or quarters. I like that very much.


I asked at checkout if this was an unusual room, but it is a standard room. The more expensive rooms with jacuzzi have other amenities as well. Of course, only the corner rooms have two walls of glass. The others only have one wall, still floor to ceiling. All rooms have the great comfortable bathroom. All have a refrigerator.


Flamingo is the road right in front of the casino heading straight into the strip. coming back the drop off is right at the edge of the casino parking lot. It would be easy enough to come this way with luggage and one transfer from the 108 or perhaps the 109. I will have to check which one passes Flamingo closest to Boulder with an easy place to stand for the transfer.


I did not swim but the pool seemed inviting if a bit cold. Laughlin will be warmer and that might make the difference.

Golden Gate


I really don't want to take the time to write much but just record the bare details of the day. I also don't want to spend much time at Krispy Kream looking for internet time. I don't know when this might be posted, but I put in ?? so when I edit I can add names, details and some photographs. If you are reading it with the ?? it is a draft version.

As you can see from the ?? pictures, the remodeled rooms are very comfy. The size remained the same, perfect for one person; crowded for two. However, the electric was redone so it no longer runs along the wall. There were not as many plugs as in the El Cortez, but I carry with me a swivel adapter plug, so I can plug three things in any socket.

The beds seem new and the television is just fine. There is a place for an ipod to play music instead of those cheap radio clocks.

I miss the old real glass lights, but the fine woodwork on the doors is still there. And there is a coffee pot.

While I was checking in to my $20 a night weekend room, a young couple came and asked if there were any rooms available. The desk clerk said that they were fully booked. I saw that the room rates were up much higher the week before I left.

Coming into the hotel from the rear door of the parking lot I was immediately struck with the feeling of yesteryear. There was all the beautiful fine wood, the piano playing, the gathering of folks eating at the little tables. I hope all that never gets remodeled. It was very refreshing. I was exhausted having played 17 hours of poker at the El Cortez and only taken a small nap before checking out and the whole feel of the Golden Gate was just wonderful. Also wonderful was that they easily and quickly gave me my room early. No hassle.
And while I don't like the parking lot much, it was not crowded at eleven thirty and I just don't intend to use my car until I leave downtown. Then when I have gambled to exhaustion and drank a bit as well, I don't have any worries. With my new bus pass a ride on the CAT regular lines like 108 or the 116 is just seventy five cents.

Awake at ten PM
I had to go back to the El Cortez for my plug adapter which I failed to unplug. Then I signed up for a player's card and had a shrimp cocktail and listened to the live piano player. It was three PM before I was ready for my nap. Next door I could here the laughter and muffled tones of some young college girls. I took a sleeping pill called Midnite. This is not a heavy pill, but advertised as all natural and not addictive. It worked to change my body clock. I slept well and woke up refreshed after dreaming I was young again and at a college party. I can hear some Freemont talk and music. It is like sleeping on the edge of an amusement park.

And I love all of it.

So there will be no strip for me tonight. I'll play a bit here and walk around downtown. I can already see that this week is going to go quickly.


I played poker at Binions all night. It was good in the beginning but eventually I had lost $147. Nice table. Good games. Tough run of cards.
I walked out and played the Megabucks and got not small hits. Then it hit for red 7-7-7 and I got all my lost money back. So I am ahead $12 for the day and $90 for the trip. I have a nice Nugget buffet coupon too and I am hungry. It opens at eight. The last I ate I had the shrimp cocktail here at the Golden Gate. That was 18 hours ago. Of course, I filled up on Myers rum and on coffee with amaretto.

No memorable hands. Most of them would be of bad hands. In the beginning I had pocket aces and ace-king often. Some of the paid and others cost me money.
I do like that they will reduce the rake. We did play with short tables and I am tired of doing that. But if we asked the rake was reduced. The problem is that soon there would be seven and then six or five again and we had to ask again. Nothing is automatic. I asked every time, but it was work.

Normal rake is 4 and 1
Six person rake is 2 and 1
Five person rake is 1 and 1

This is a great improvement over Tunica games. Some Harrah's here have 5 and 1 rake and will not reduce.

I ate at the Nugget Buffet but it cost me $8 even with the comp. It is more expensive on Saturday. It was good, but only worth the $8. Because it was a brunch it had foods other than breakfast foods. I enjoyed that. I tasted a fine piece of prime rib, some barbeque pork, and two helpings of smoked salmon with capers, tomato, but no horseraddish sauce. I had plenty of fruit including some really good grapefruit. I finished with a little ice cream cone.

On the way back I played matchplay craps at the 4 Queens, and BJ at the Vegas Club and the Plaza. I played three and won twice giving me a profit of fifty dollars. Hit and run matchplays are the most lucrative form of gambling.


I have been wanting to spend some time playing no limit poker on the machines at the Excalibur. They offer a fifty cent/dollar game with a hundred dollar max buy in or a dollar/two dollar game with a two hundred dollar buy in. Over twelve hours I played a good bit of both kinds and fully enjoyed the machines although I ended down $650 dollars. I am thinking of going back today.
In the first hour I won some fine hands and was ahead about a hundred and fifty dollars. Then I seemed to just get drained. In the last few hours I was playing with people who could far outplay me, but I wanted the experience. I got terrible cards and played practically no hands. Then my blind Q-7 caught two pair on the flop and I bet and was called. On the river came an ace. I had not bet out in an hour. He bet into me and I decided to bluff a really good hand. Into a pot of eight seven dollars I put one black chip. It worked. He folded. His banter indicated he layed down two pair with an ace, but that may have just been a way to try to get me to tell him what I had.
On the next hand I caught trip fours on the flop but the turn produced three clubs. I did not see strength and decided to try the same tactic again. With about two hundred dollars in front of me, I put a black chip on a pot of nearly that much money. This time I got caught by a fellow slow playing A-J of clubs. He reraised me. I decided to call. Any board pairing or a four would give me the pot and I was ready to head home, win or lose. I lost.
The rest of the day was pretty much a long day of folding. I did win enough hands to stay even for long periods of time, but gradually the folded and poorly flopped hands grind down my bankroll. I stayed at the max buy in and for a small stakes game found that there were very few all in bets. I had worried that the hundred max would produce maniacs just going all in every other hand, but that did not happen. So for me it was a very comfortable game only gradually I was ground down.
One interesting twist was when they ran the new strip poker tournaments. As players are eliminated from the tournament a stripper who dances a slow strip tease all the while removes on item of clothing for each group of people eliminated. Eventually she is down to very little and all the while she does classic stripper moves while classic stripper music plays. I loved it and I had a seat playing the one hundred max that was the best in the house. It was erotic, she was very cute, and yet it was tasteful, mild, sexy dancing.
So that must have cost me some money, right? Well, it is true that I was not studying my opponents after folding and that a few times I appeared to be really distracted, complaining after betting with, “oh, I missed that” remarks when I had missed nothing at all. But what was ironic was that over the course of the first session when I watched the show intently, I also won forty dollars.
The show was repeated, but by then I was more into the poker and moved to a two hundred max game where the view was not as good anyway.
I was really out of my league in the two hundred game. If I go back today, I think I'll stay with the one hundred max game although the rake is a dollar more. The lack of a dealer tip adds a good bit to the value and I like that much of the bonus rake is spread around in high hand bonus amounts and the bad beat is aces full beat so that it happens more often. I like all of it. For learning no limit I can't imagine a better place for me to be. I would just like to get some better cards next time.
I think they said that comps are a dollar an hour and will stay on their card as long as they are there. The way that was said suggested to me that there is some question that they will be there when I come for my next trip, so perhaps I'll use some up today for Sunday dinner at the buffet. I don't need anything fancy, just something free.
So I am down $510 for my trip. This is day five.
I stopped at three in the morning when I got back downtown and had the Golden Gate prime rib. I was tired but had not eaten in a good while and knew the meal would put me to sleep. I talked to my wife for over an hour and then went to bed and slept over three hours. I feel good, but I suppose I'll get tired by evening today.

I check out of the Gate tomorrow so I might just as well get a more traditional night's sleep and be fresh for driving. I will not drive again today. Yesterday with my new senior citizen pass I rode the bus out and back for a total of $3 and saved that drive home late a night with a couple of rums in me and twelve hours of tiring poker play. I don't like to drive at night. The bus folks were as entertaining as always and the Deuce coming back early morning was quite comfortable even from as far up at Tropicana. I rode the 108 up and transferred to the 201 and found that comfortable although it is a bit odd standing by a deserted lot with Southwest planes flying overhead while waiting for the Tropicana. I don't know if that would feel comfortable after dark. A fellow came out of the fenced in area rolling a suitcase. He knew exactly where there had been a hole cut in the fence. This would be a bit disconcerting after dark. Late night returns on the Deuce are not too bad. Tonight will be fine as it is Sunday night.

I am amazed at how fast the time goes here and how much there is to do that I skip with all these long sessions of poker. Still I enjoy the game and the variety of places to play. I was going to go up to the games near Flamingo but now it is really between going back to the El Cortez where the bankroll needs are a lot less or heading back to the Excalibur.
I did see two good free bands on Friday night. One was outside and it was great to be in a a crowd of dancing people of mixed ages. The band had high energy and songs moved along quickly. ?? names.
Two girls and two guys with all sorts of music, good voices, great dancing and constant change of costumes. I loved it and stayed for a full set. The other was an Elvis impersonator at the Golden Nugget. I think I have seen him before. His voice is a really so close to Elvis it is eeirie. He was not flamboyant, just good at what he sang and his ourfit was low key.