Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Alpha and The Omega

Over a year and a half ago, The Procedure was born.

One of the goals of this past Vegas trip was to replicate it. Pauly wrote about his participation and now I must do the same. Part of me feels that it may be time to retire The Procedure; what better way to do so than to do it one last time in Vegas?


The plan was simple. We'd use the blogger tournament on Saturday as the final piece of the puzzle. The tourney began at 3pm, and in theory, that would provide ample time to complete the Procedure if we started around noon. As of late Friday night, the question remained, who would participate?

In G-Vegas, there have been many to say, "Hey, I'm in for The Procedure, let me know the next time you plan on doing it." Inevitably, when I do let them know, there's some excuse given as to why they can't make it or my calls are simply not returned.

Of course, there's always one exception.

Many of you know this exception simply as "The Mark." He's the only G-Vegas veteran to complete a Procedure with me. It would be a given that he'd join me in Vegas.


It was 11:15 AM as I exited Tower One at Excalibur. I grabbed a danish and some horrible coffee from the stand by the elevators and sat down in front of a slot machine to eat in private. I was tired, having stayed up until 4am playing shove-on-any-draw poker with people happy to put in their stacks with top-pair, 9 kicker. If I couldn't catch any luck at the card tables that day, I told myself I'd make up for it the next.

After "breakfast," I felt that the most appropriate place to begin the Vegas Procedure was the Sherwood Forest Bar. I moseyed on up, slapped a $100 bill into the video poker machine and began phase one: Drinking.

I can't say that the vodka was Grey Goose, but I can say that the martini's were dirty. All four of them. I called TheMark to let him know I got started a bit early. He didn't answer and I had to leave a message, fearing that I'd be Proceduring Solo. Really, I should have known better.


I texted Pauly that I was knee deep in 2's wild video poker and martini's. He had only a 3-word reply, "On my way."

Apparently, Grubby was going to meet us after he completed his Craps Tournament at Bally's. The man does have priorities.

One of my personal quirks with respect to The Procedure is the fact that I simply cannot progress to Step 2 without being sufficiently inebriated. When Pauly arrived, I kept drinking as we shot the shit for a while, getting more and more lubricated. Finally, after noticing he wasn't having any alcohol delivered to his blood stream, I asked him, "Hey, do you need a drink?"

"Dude...." he began, "I'm already high."


Grubby had rented a car and because he is a former full-time resident of Las Vegas, knew the quickest route to Step 2. There was some debate as to where we should go, because one of the rules of The Procedure is that Step 2 requires attendance during "The Afternoon Shift."

Grubby had heard conflicting reports of what was best during the noon time frame. Pauly recommended the Rhino, Grubby a place called Seamless. We agreed that we'd try Seamless first and leave the Rhino as backup.

We drove up, had valet take the car, walked in, took a piss, and then walked right out. It was that bad. All IT geeks know that having proper backup is of critical importance. So is it true with Step 2 of The Procedure.

Off to the Rhino.


Having driven to the Rhino, we were able to bypass the $30 cover charge. The free pass may have also had something to do with the fact that nobody was in there, except for us three total degenerates. We made our way to a table and a waitress took our drink order. Almost immediately, three employees went in for the kill.

There are poker bad beats, and there are strip club bad beats. Of the three that had made their way over, the worst looking of the three chose me. Pauly had some classic busty blonde on his lap, while Grubby partnered with a short, curvy Latin dancer. Me? A girl with a lisp named Ruby. Awesome.

Strip club small talk is always entertaining to me. I take on the role of hot air balloon pilot. I'm relatively confident that my story is well enough fabricated to make even the smartest stripper believe my tall tales. When I'm with a friend, I tell them that we're in town for a conference and he's a materials expert. Yeah, that's right. I got game.


Because there were simply no other choices, I had to partake in a 3-song experience with Ruby, the Cindy Brady speak-alike. It really wasn't half bad. I did however get interrupted by the vibration of my cell phone during song number 2. I politely excused myself to take the call. On the surface, this sounds like a really silly thing to do while receiving a dance. But I knew who the caller would be.

"Yo! Where are you guys???? I'm walking into the VIP area right now!!!!"

The unmistakable voice of TheMark echoed throughout the Rhino VIP area. Normally, one needs a companion to get through the door separating the bar area from the dance area. Not Mark. He climbed the stairs to the higher level and gazed around, finally seeing me, Pauly and Grubby.

"I'll meet you back out at the bar," I replied. Dancus interruptus.


After the four of us had our wallets lightened ever so slightly, we drove to the Venetian for the blogger tournament and Step 3 of The Procedure, the Poker. My blogger tournament experience was all too memorable and all too short. I had aces once on the button, I raised and won the blinds.

The second hand that I played, was a blind defense to a cut-off raise from John "Shecky" Caldwell. I had J8h and when I called the raise, Shecky stared at me to measure my reaction to the flop cards. I knew what he was doing, so rather than give him any information, I stared directly back and checked without looking.

He looked and then made a continuation bet of standard size. When I finally looked at the flop, I saw J82 rainbow. At this point, I was quite confident I was way ahead, so I raised his bet by 3x. He stared back at me, probing my soul with Hellmuthian accuracy. Something in the way I looked back at him made him feel that I was simply making a play on a flop that could have easily missed him. He re-raised. I pushed. He called.

He flipped over JTc. There was one club on the board, until the turn and river made three.

That beat hurt. It hurt bad. Prior to the tournament, I was half-way in the zone between wanting to do really well and simply playing for the chance to hang out with some bloggers I'd not seen prior to that day. The runner-runner bad beat put an end to both of those chances and I had to walk off some of my bitterness outside by the canals surrounding the casino.


I had completed The Procedure but was left somewhat unsatisfied.

There is no doubt that the best part was hanging with Pauly, Grubby, and eventually TheMark. Deep down I realized that I didn't need Steps 2 and 3 to have a good time with good people. Time will tell if that Vegas Procedure was the last one or just the last one until the next one.


BamBam said...

Without a shadow of a doubt...
There will be at least one more.

I sir... will never leave my wingman. (given the flights on time!)

Can't wait.

BamBam said...

Oh crap... I forgot !

Have you done the HammerFall thing?

You have to pick and choose but damn...

Some of that stuff is the bomb.