"Do you know the difference between a boner and a cheeseburger? ....You're not giving me a cheeseburger right now."

Tuesday June 3rd, 2014

The day started off like most others when a Vegas vacation is at hand. I'm awake about 5 minutes before my alarm is scheduled to go off anyway, so I make my way out of bed early.

It's now 3:55 AM and I'm getting ready for our 6:05 flight.  Cory makes his way over in short order, and we make our quiet venture to the airport in the still cold darkness of early morning.

I had planned to check my one and only bag since it had sunscreen and a small bottle of Grey Goose inside of it.  After wandering into the airport and scanning over the insanely massive line at the Southwest check in desk, I believe the words "fuck that bullshit" ran through both of our minds.  It was the longest line I've EVER seen at Eppley airfield, and we both wondered if we'd have time to go through security and board if I decided to check my bag. I made the decision to carry on, and take my chances with security upstairs.

As luck would have it, the inept TSA in Omaha did indeed "flag" my bag for something suspicious.  A female agent took my bag off to the side, and with me, she opened it to go through my intimates.  She of course failed to notice either the sunscreen bottle, or the Grey Goose. After her thorough 20 second search of my items, she decided to "run the bag through one more time to see if it's flagged again."  I stopped her and told her what my contents included. After finding them and giving me the news I already knew was coming, she confiscated them and I was then allowed to move on. I'm not even on the plane to Vegas yet, and I'm already down a $13 bottle of Grey Goose, and a $10 bottle of sun screen. Fuck you TSA.  How many terrorists have they caught since 9-11? Still 0?  Ok.

In short order, we're boarded. I purposefully selected the middle seat in hopes that no one would want to sit next to my smelly ass other than Cory.  He snagged the aisle, and despite having a "full flight" one of the seats in front of us was vacant, yet our window seat was of course, now occupied.

We entertained ourselves the best we could on the short flight with our three screw driver cocktails and various travel entertainment.  But Southwest, don't tell me you have "free wifi" on your flight if the only thing I can do for free is watch the progress of our flight.  Yeah, that's groovy and all, but if you're going to try to gouge me for $12 for inflight wifi, just say it.

We land on time, and attempt to scurry down to our awaiting limo driver.  This time around, I couldn't think of anything creative to have on the sign, so I just went with "Heisenberg" since Cory's bald and cooks meth in his spare time, I figured it fit.

Edward was our driver today, and made haste in taking our bags to the awaiting limo.  It's approximately 7:00 AM Vegas time, and the bottle of champagne is unscrewed (yeah, not uncorked) in short order.  Since Cory's photo op is now over in his "Heisenberg" attire, he promptly changes clothes all while Edward is telling us of the best local bar scene, and giving us tips on what to check out here and there.

We make a quick stop at Bellagio to drop off our bags, and hop back into the limo to continue on our journey.  Our loose plan this trip was to get another $1 casino chip from as many properties as we could similar to what we did on our first trip together in 2007.  Edward made some comfortable chit-chat, and Cory volunteered that we're "internet celebrities" when asked what we do for a living. I think this partially sparked Edward's interest, and he started giving us information pertaining to the local bar scene, and offering his educated suggestions.  He gave us a line on a bar where the local "fat girls" go to, so if you're into that.........

We had Edward conclude our time together as he dropped us off at Main Street Station.  As we're pulling into the parking lot, I motion to Cory to give me some cash for a tip. I had $20 ready, and I wanted to hand Edward our tips together.  Somehow something with our communication skills was lost in transit, and I thought Cory would just give me his $20 after we were on our way.  We're parked, and I had Edward $40, Cory of course hands him another $20. Damn it man.  Oh well, thanks again Edward. Top notch service as always from Presidential Limo.

Our first chips are grabbed from Main Street Station, and we continue on towards Golden Gate in order to start our trip with breakfast at Dupars.

We're promptly seated, and I inquire if they have biscuits and gravy, which indeed they do. (it's not listed on the menu, however)  Cory goes with his standard steak and egg breakfast selection.  We also add on a few Bloody Marys’ to help maintain the current buzz we've adopted.  The food was fine and inhaled in record speed. However, it seems Dupars is comfortable raising their prices.  The final tally surprised us a little, but not a lot we can do at this point.  We pay in short order, and make out way out to Fremont street.

We go in and out of each property along the way and collect our $1 chips respectively.  Binions gave us a hard time saying they couldn't sell us a chip at the casino cage.  So I bought in for $10 at the craps table, bet $5 (lost) and then cashed out.  Yeah, I cashed in $4 at the cage. Dicks.  We noted their bar in the back is now closed for most of the day, so no early morning beers with our favorite Binions bartender Joe today.  Four Queens also gave us a hard time about buying a $1 chip at their cage. I'd like to call out, in a special "go-fuck-yourself" that these were the only two properties in our entire visit that had this issue.  Thanks guys! Keep up the good work.

We wander into The D to check out the renovations.  As we're going up the escalator to the 2nd floor, we share a laugh as we recount the wonderful bad beat of a poker hand I laid down on Cory a few visits before.  Oh yes, it was a doozie. We were saddened a little bit on the inside to see that the poker room is no more.  Many fun memories were had in that remote corner.

As we're continuing on our journey, I noted we were right by Nacho Daddy restaurant.  The only reason I knew this place existed was because of a review by the Vital Vegas blog.  We mosey on inside, and they're still setting up for the day. I asked "Are you the guys that put scorpions in your tequila shots?"  Sure enough, they were.  Cory and I had a half serious challenge going back and forth stating we were (or weren't) going to partake in an alcoholic beverage with the added optional arthropod or not. I ordered two shots of Patron and egged Cory on about adding the scorpion to his.  In the end, he backed down. (PUSSY!)  The bartender was a pretty young guy, and still finding his way in the setup. In the end, I "got" to pay an extra $5 to have the pickled addition placed into my glass.  I was a bit apprehensive, but went for it. I had to take a sip of my tequila first, so I would actually be able to handle the scorpion.  Cory snapped a few pics of me in action. It was an interesting experience. It wasn't crunchy or nasty by any means, but the texture was a little off settling.  The best way to describe it is comparing it to a cooked piece of bacon that's been soaked in water for a long time (minus the bacon flavor).  Almost chewy, and not really pleasant in any way shape, or form. Am I glad I did it?  Sure.  Would I do it again? Only if I was halfway drunk at 8:30 AM on the first day of a new Las Vegas trip....

We wander into Downtown Grand to retrieve our chip, and don't stick around any longer than necessary.  The place was "okay" but nothing too worthy to retain my attention.

Soon after, we're at the "Gold Spike."  I put it in quotations because when I entered, I believe the words "what the hell is this shit?" escaped my flabbergasted self.  I was unaware the Spike had redone their entire interior (again) and now it's gambling free. The wonderfully cheap roulette tables are gone, no more black jack, and certainly no more female dealers in skimpy clothing.  What a letdown. I'm not sure what the owner has imagined for this place, but it's more of a wanna-be club house type of feel.  There are pool tables, an out of place queen sized bed in the middle of the floor, and a bean bag toss station.  The bar and restaurant are still in place, and a security guard watches over the atrocity of a room from a perch near the front door.  I'm at a loss of words for what this place is supposed to be. It's identity is lost on me.  We wander out without any new gaming chip.  I can't say I'll ever have a reason to go back....for anything....

Eventually we're at one of our favorite properties, the El Cortez.  I like to call it "dive-ish" since it's a little dirty and run down, but still has enough old school feeling to it to make up.  We renew our playing cards and then settle in at a cheap roulette table in their center pit.

We were knocking back the rum and diets as fast as they would come around, and the gambling losses that frequently attach themselves to our roulette sessions made their appearances.  Out of the blue, I decided to mix things up and after covering my usual numbers, I decided to bet on the number 5 straight up, as well as covering all sides and corners of the 5 spot. I don't know why...  As the ball is spun, I tell the dealer "If a 5 hits, I'll dance a jig!" (as if that's an impressive sight or something)  The ball continues on its dizzying journey around the wheel, and out of sheer drunkenness I shout out "A 5 HIT!"  I thought it was rather funny for some stupid reason, only to turn back to see that the ball actually did come to rest in the 5 slot on the wheel.  I happily stood up and did my best dancing jig impression.  It was horrible....not gonna lie.  But we all shared a good laugh.  Cory would ask the various dealers what their favorite number is, and concluded he would split the profits with them if the bet won.  It did a few times, and we were all happy.

It wasn't a marathon session, but my $100 had dwindled down to a meager $25 before we colored up.  Cory went to find the closest restroom and I waited at another nearby empty roulette wheel.  My drunken boredom gets the better of me, and I throw the single chip down on the first section of the felt.  Luckily for me it was a winner, and I was paid out 3 to 1.  I'll take a $25 loss from the El Cortez and consider it a good day.

From here we decided to make the short walk to the famed Gold and Silver pawn shop.  We inadvertently walked down more than one incorrect street before we found the place.  Inside we noted the place was fairly crowded, and begin to look for ourselves.

The shop isn't as "cool" looking as they make it out to be on TV.  The merchandise for sale mainly consisted of expensive watches and other miscellaneous jewelry, a few rifles, art work that no one can really afford, and a motorcycle in the back.  Not...that....impressive... There was a lot of Pawn Stars merchandise to choose from if that's what you're into.  There was also a sort of FaceBook photo booth on the main floor that would take your picture.  I assume it would then post it to your wall, with some predefined caption, and thus giving the store some social media exposure (which YOU get to pay for).  There was one couple trying to get their picture taken and a store associate was walking them through the process. As they posed, I completely and utterly photo bombed them from about six feet back.  The associate saw me do it from the camera's picture, and had a good laugh.  The couple taking the picture shared an insincere laugh with us, but mainly I think their sentiments towards me were "fucking douche."  They opted to take another picture, but I don't know why.  The first one was just fine in my opinion.

Cory asked one of the clerks if they had any Vegas memorabilia. IE old casino chips, etc.  They tracked down a bag full of old silver strikes from back in the day when actual valuable metals were dispensed as a type of promotional payment from slot machines.  We sifted through the selection, and eventually Cory landed on one he wanted to attain.  As he's completing the transaction, the clerk asks us "Hey, you guys want to be involved in a scene of the show?"  Sure, why not?

We're given a two page release to sign and are told that filming would probably begin in about half an hour.  Since I had time to kill, I needed to find a bathroom as the drinks from the early morning finally caught up to me.  I asked our new clerk friend where the closest bathroom was, and he told me there were some portable bathrooms across the street at the construction site.  WRONG!  Dickhead was apparently misinformed.  There was nothing of the sort outside, so I wandered up the street to the closest restaurant I could find.  It was a Mexican restaurant, and I think that might have been the name.  "Mexican Restaurant." (or, after I use Google Maps realize it's called "Dona Maria Tamales Restaurant")

I didn't want to be a bathroom only customer, so I bought an overpriced shot of tequila at the bar, and then rightfully used their restroom.  Thirty seconds later I was heading back towards the Pawn Shop.

I reunite with my bald brother from another mother and we continue to scan over the "pawn shop" that doesn't really sell stuff a regular store of this type would.  We wondered if they were going to start preventing people from entering the store as people left, so they could bring in the cameras and crew to start filming.  But, the store was constantly full.  There was a perpetual flow of people all over.  Ultimately, someone told us to go around back, wait behind the store by a portrait caricature painting on the wall and someone will get us for filming.  Okay................

There were loosely a dozen people in our group, and we find the painting in question easily enough.  A door opens up, and someone that I assume is some sort of Producer ushers us inside.  We're lead through another door that I can only describe as what you'd see "back stage" at a play, and we're now in a room that sort of mirrors the main shop.  There's the little desk area that we're all familiar with from the show (where the family is often talking with each other), and some various nick-nack "merchandise" on the shelves.  The room is in an L shape, and we're given the run down by a different "Producer."

We're told today's scene just involves Rick.  The rules were:  Do not take out your cell phone or you'll be removed from the scene.  Don't talk loudly during filming.  Don't walk over to the side of the "store" they're filming in.  Don't look at the cameras while filming is taking place.  Oh, but by all means, act natural in the store.....you know...  As if you give a shit what's in a pawn shop.

Rick gets up from his chair and wanders over to his spot with camera men in tow a few feet behind him.  As he's walking, he's flipping through an article on his iPhone.  By the looks of it, it seemed to be a Wikipedia article of some sort. (if I had to guess)

He snaps at a female crew member, griping something about his coffee.  Okay....  In any case, filming begins shortly, and Cory and I are standing directly down from Rick pretending to care what's in the display cases in front of us.

And as a side note, let's talk about those display cases.  Oh, man, they're cheesy.  In this make-shift pawn shop / TV set, the display cases are really sad.  I don't think they even seriously cared what was put in them, as they don't film them anyway.  In the case we were looking at were some matchbox cars (not even in original packaging), and a few Las Vegas $5 casino chips that I could have gotten anywhere.  I seem to recall there being a dented and partially rusted Dukes of Hazard lunch box in there too. It's like a mish-mosh of crap that really has no value, and likely was found at a garage sale and then stuffed into a display case on a TV set.  Props.  They were all props.  And poor ones at that.

It was really difficult to pretend to be interested in what was in front of us.  But in any case, there wasn't much more to see in the room, so we basically stood in place while filming continued.

A "customer" brought in a shield that was apparently used in the movie Cleopatra in 1963.  The "customer" was directed when, where and how to walk so they could get the best shot possible.  Then the typical banter begins from Rick.  "Well, what do we have here?"  The customer explains what it is, and then Rick gives his typical history lesson and proceeds to enlighten the world to his vast knowledge of everything.  "Oh, well that movie was made in the year blah blah blah, and the budget was originally going to be blah blah blah, but it ran over.  And the actors loved it since they were paid weekly, blah blah blah. In the end, instead of a two million dollar budget, it ended up costing the studio 44 million, blah blah blah."

All of which, I'm sure, he quickly read on his iPhone thirty seconds before shooting began. (My bet would be this article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_(1963_film) )

The producers were shouting directions for both Rick and the "customer" nearly the entire time.

"Okay Rick, now run your fingers along the shield."  "Okay great, now point at it a few times."

They also fed lines to the "customer" as well, and had him repeat things a few times.  Then they do the typical Pawn Stars negotiation.

"So, how much did you want for it?"
 "I'd like to get $500."
 "Well, you know...it's cool, and it's a nice prop and all, but it's nothing iconic from the film, so I'll give you $200 bucks."
 "Well, can you come up to $250?"
"Uh.....um..... Well..... Yeah, I can do that."
 "Alright, let's go do some paperwork over there."

During one point the crew was getting another camera ready (or something) and Cory's phone rings from his pocket.  He takes out it, and mutes the ringer as quickly as he can.  It's slid back into his pocket, and as he looks up, Rick is just glaring our way, and mutters "Foul..." in an agitated tone.

When it's all said and done, Rick shouts out to a Producer "Am I DONE for today?"  Indeed he was.  He couldn't get out of there fast enough, but on the way out he turns to us "peons" and says "Now you guys know that reality TV is a lot like a hot dog."

I interrupt him and say "You mean completely fake?"  He doesn't even acknowledge my existence and continues on by saying "You think it's made up of one thing, but then find out it's completely different."  And then he's gone. No thank you, or anything of the sort.  I kind of felt like a used prom date.  Unsatisfied.  Oh well, fuck this place, time to move on.

But if you see someone selling a shield from the movie Cleopatra, look for the tall guy in blue, and the bald guy wearing a hat next to the customer.  Rumor has it, that might be us.  There were a few moments during the 30 minute filming session where I thought about bursting into a Dr. Evil laugh, complete with the raised pinkie finger to the mouth, but I thought they wouldn't appreciate my humor, and it'd probably be edited from the final print anyway.  Missed opportunity....

We cab it back to Bellagio where I'm able to check in.  With a successful $20 tip to the clerk, I'm upgraded to a full fountain view room on the 8th floor.  We chill for a few minutes and have the luggage brought up.

Soon after we head on over to Cosmopolitan to get Cory checked into the free room I was able to snag for a few comped nights.  I opted to stay at Bellagio since it's my favorite property on the strip.  We're checked in and hang in Cory's room for a few minutes before heading out to snag some pizza in the "hidden secret pizza place."

Once we finish eating, we decide to part ways for a little bit and opt to meet up after a while.  I hang in my room for a little while, and I think I probably snoozed for 45 minutes or so before my phone rang.  Time to get moving!

We didn't really know where to begin, but decided to head towards Mandalay Bay and continue with our chip collection efforts.  We venture through Aria and note how many poker tables they have opened up.  They're having a large tournament in addition to their full capacity cash tables in session.

Before too long we're walking into Monte Carlo and collect a chip quickly enough.  The mood to gamble strikes us both, so we sit down at a Texas Shoot-out table.  Our dealer was Rick, and he certainly had an eye for the ladies.  He was more than willing to point out any head turners that were walking up behind us out of view.  That was nice of him.  Whenever a female customer would sit down, his tone would mellow out a little bit. But, when it was only us guys at the table, he'd launch into one of his many stories about how one of the regular Monte Carlo working hookers would sometimes flash him as she passes by him and his empty table.  His stories were tolerable for a while, but soon grew a bit tiring.  Eventually it got to the point of "yeah, another female walked by, we got it."  But he was friendly and had personality.  Profits were collected from the table, and the few drinks that we managed to order seemed to help jump start my system for the rest of the evening.

Our adventure continues as we pass through NY NY and Excalibur.  This was just another confirmation for me that there's nothing really at either of those properties to keep me there.  No reason to stay.  We shuffle through Luxor and Mandalay Bay collecting chips as we go.  We're lucky enough to find a cheap Pai Gow Poker table in Luxor, so I settle in, and Cory opts to watch.  Often when he's played in the past, he walks away with nothing but a fresh punch to the dick from the dealer, so he was a bit cautious about jumping in feet first.  But as time wore on, I think boredom overcame him, so he sat down at my table.

Frankly, this is where we were parked for the next several hours.  Playing hand after hand, and doing okay.  We'd run into the occasional abysmal Pai Gow hand (we're talking 10, and J high hands) to the rare 4 of a kind, or 3 pair hands.  Things were going well, and Luxor's drink service was on full duty.  I must say that those drink glasses are damn small.  After the waitress would come around, and after two "sips" of my drink, it'd be nearly gone.  And they weren't the strongest.  So, it took a while to work up any sort of buzz.  Which, in hindsight, was probably a good thing.

At approximately 2:00 AM, a girl in a very short black skirt lays down on the empty roulette table directly behind me.  She lays down, holds her legs in the air, while her guy buddies snap a picture (okay two pictures) of her.  I see the commotion start to unfold and totally photo bomb their efforts.  I'm perfectly in line with the chick, so I know I made it into their pics.  The pit boss in our area was PISSED, and came scurrying over, and was soon on the phone with security.  The kids wander off, and I was a little disappointed I didn't have time to collect a copy of that pic from them.  I knew it was an epic one.  For sake of trip report clarity, I've included a snapshot of what view was from my seat.  Somewhere out there...is an awesome pic of a slutty girl, spreading her legs in the air, laying on a roulette table at Luxor, with my ugly mug cheesing it up in the background.  That sentence just becomes more awesome with each word...

We make friends with the pit boss and she makes some small talk with us.  She's pretty cool, but yeah....she was pissed.  She had a sort of MILF quality to her, so that probably didn't hinder our new found attraction to her.  We sat at the table for two hours more before finally saying our goodbyes.

It was now 4:00 AM Vegas time, and we have officially been up for 26 hours at this point.  We stagger back towards our respective properties.  It was deemed a good idea to take a taxi, as I'm not sure if our bodies would have made it otherwise.  We part ways at Cosmo, and I head to my room at Bellagio.

It doesn't take long for today's liquor to work it's sleepy voodoo sorcery, and I'm out like a light around 4:45 AM.

Wednesday June 4th, 2014

What's this? 8:15 AM, and I'm awake?  What's better is that I have absolutely zero after effect of the previous "day's" binge drinking.  I'm not feeling lethargic or agitated in anyway.  I'm actually a little amped up, so after a quick shower, I'm out the door and heading downstairs to Bellagio's casino floor.

I easily found a $10 Pai Gow table in the pit near Noodles restaurant and sat down.  Like nearly all of Pai Gow sessions, the swings were nil, and I was mainly running in place with some small gains/losses here and there.  Now Cory and I had agreed not to text or call each other until after 10:00 AM.  You know, to give each other close to 5 hours of sleep (I assumed we'd need a lot more).  Well, I kinda cheated, and sent him a text around 8:45 AM just telling him I'm alive, and actually feeling pretty good and also to advise of my current location.  To my surprise, he swiftly responded saying he'd be on his way over from Cosmo within a few minutes.  Excellent.  That makes two of us that survived the night.

It doesn't take long before Cory is also at the table, and we're starting the day off early rotating between Bloody Mary's, and Screwdrivers for our "breakfast."  The table has some friendly players at it, one being a guy in to play in some of the World Series of Poker events, and he's just killing time until his first event.  There are also two ladies to my left near the 3rd base position, who mainly keep to themselves.  Everyone at the table is enjoying their time.  And then...  we get a new player.

A young (I'd say mid 20-ish) kid sits down to my immediate left, and you can tell he's already bombed.  I mean, I was working on getting to the "slightly buzzed" stage, but this kid probably wasn't far from the "hold-onto-the-ground-so-the-Earth's-rotation-doesn't-fling-me-into-space" stage.  His blood shot eyes and half empty 16 ounce Heineken bottle reaffirmed my suspicions.

This is "M."  And "M" was to become our friend for life....or at least until our Pai Gow session was over.  Now "M" was decently dressed, being in just short of a full suit.  It didn't take too much time before he was going into how flashy he is.  Apparently he was trying to kill time before he had to pick up his NFL buddy from the airport. It wasn't long until his phone rang, and he got up and walked away from the table.  After what seemed like 30 minutes he reappeared, telling us that he told his professional football player buddy that he was too drunk to pick him up at the airport, and that he'd need to get a taxi.

He was pleasant enough, and certainly chatty.  Through our time together, he conveyed to us that the previous night he was kicked out of Caesars Palace .  He asked us if we were going to hit up any strip clubs, because he knew the owner of "such-and-such strip club" and can get bottle service for half the price.  He bragged about how he's gotten lap dances from "all the major porn stars" and would brag to them that he owns all of their DVDs. (who buys porn DVDs these days?)

The conversation led to food, and he told us over and over again, that we needed to get the toffee pudding at Gordon Ramsay Steak.  "If you go for just that dessert, it'll be worth it.  I'm serious."  Throughout the morning, he would tell us no less than 15 times about that damn dessert.  Yeah, I get it.  Sounds delicious....

During one particular hand, "M" lost his bet, and he grumbled something along the lines of "She took my money because I'm Asian."  I've probably finished about 6 or 7 drinks at this point and I blurt out "WAIT A MINUTE? YOU'RE ASIAN?!"  We all share a laugh, and then I ask "Are you really good at math?"  Without skipping a beat, he says "Yeah, but I'm a horrible driver."  The timing was awesome.

No seriously, he IS a horrible driver.  This part of our conversation led to him sharing about his previous DUI experience.  And while we were on the topic of police and criminal records, he tells us he has a felony for smuggling weed across state lines.

Um...............wha?  He'd convey that they'd "smuggle it in by the train car load" and that's where he's earned most of his money.  Then out of left field, the pitch comes.  He basically asked us if we'd like to be his contacts in the mid-west, or if we knew anyone that we could put him in touch with.  Sounded like he wanted to expand any sort of distribution efforts that he and friends had in the works.  "Don't you guys want your houses to be paid off?   Don't you want to send your kids to the best private schools?  Don't you want to drive a brand new fully loaded car that's completely yours?"

Yes, all that stuff sounds fine and dandy, but getting all of those potential perks at the cost of being involved in A FUCKING DRUG SMUGGLING RING?  Yeah, tough choice, but I'll have to pass.  "Oh don't worry, the first rule is to never rat on anyone."  Yeah, I'm sure we'd be at the top of the list as far as confidentiality goes.  He then starts to spring the same gibberish to a boyfriend of one of the girls sitting at the end.

At this point, we've been gambling for about 4 hours, and despite having plenty of fruit (orange juice) and vegetable servings (tomato juice), Cory was in the hunt for something more substantial than our liquid diet.  We cashed in and decided we'd work our way over to Ellis Island for some cheap eats.

On the walk over, we decide to check out Cromwell and collect our chip.  There was a vendor selling bottles of water for a buck each, and so I bought four thinking Cory would want one or two for the short walk in the hot sun.  He decided he didn't.  (dick) I decide I really didn't want to walk to Ellis Island with four water bottles in my hand, so I gave the extras to a lonely panhandler on the nearby over pass.  He gladly accepted them.

The walk is a comfortably warm one, but we make it to Ellis Island without any problems and sit down in their cafe to get some "meh" food.  We both land on the Berkshire burger, which is half ground beef, and half bacon.  Yeah...... We add on an order of chicken wings, and one of their custom beers just to round out the meal.  The wings were apparently left in the fryer for a little too long, as they were damn ass dry.  The burgers and beers were inhaled in record time, however.

After we wrap up our meal, I head over to one of their empty blackjack tables and sit down.  The dealer lets out an exasperated "Thank God" as she was apparently pretty bored.  The casino was DEAD after all. I made a quick hit and walked away with a $50 profit.  Buuuttt.......after talking with Cory for a minute, and not really having a plan of attack on how to handle the rest of our day, I sat back down and burned through my profit and then some.  Time to leave this dump!

We venture through Ballys, Paris, and Planet Hollywood and collect our chips.  We note that PH has a poker tournament later in the evening, and we book it on our mental calendars.  We decide to relax a little bit in our respective hotels and then meet at the tournament later in the evening.

When the time came for me to head across the street to PH, I sent Cory a few texts advising of my venture.  I managed to be the first to register for the tournament.  He met me shortly after, and before too long, the cards were in the air.  Cory and I were seated at the same table so that was cool.  About the second hand of the game, I'm dealt pocket 8's.  I actually hit three of a kind on the flop, and played it aggressively as my opponent wasn't going away.  I ended up taking about 75% of his stack in that one hand, and was felling gooooooooood about it.

Our only distinctive player at our table was in the two seat, which was a spot to my right.  He was a talker, and aggressive in his play.  Of course when his shitty starting hand would find some traction on the flop and end up being a winner, he'd boast and think that he's the greatest player in the world.

At one point, he was all in with a abysmal J-2 off suite against another player's A-J.  A jack and ace hit on the flop, but yet, he didn't realize how truly far behind in the hand he was.  He lost a significant amount of his stack on that hand, but seemed to think his opponent made some magical play.  "You out draw me on the flop" he said to his opponent.  I had to correct him by saying he wasn't out drawn, but completely dominated.  He didn't seem to understand my logic in that statement.  Of course later he would out draw pocket kings with his own A-J which made trips on the flop, a boat on the turn, and quads on the river.  I turned to the lady he out drew and let out a sympathetic "that got worse for you with every card."

I wasn't able to last much longer than the first hour of the tournament, and never really got any traction aside from my quick start at the beginning.  Since Cory was still in the hunt, I wandered the casino floor and enjoyed the pleasure pit with its various dancers on make shift stages, and the dealers in revealing clothing.  The floor was packed, despite the horrible games and odds PH offers.  Cory fared better than I in the tournament and ended up taking down 3rd place which was good for about $140 in prize money.

We bid PH goodbye and continued our journey down the strip towards MGM.  We were going to play the Lionshare slot machine, but there was a line of people waiting to take their chances at winning the 2.1 million dollars.  Instead I had to settle for a quick win at a nearby video poker machine.

We continued through Tropicana and Hooters collecting our $1 chips.  At this point came the "What do you wanna do?" followed by the typical "I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?" banter.  We concluded that we had a good time at Luxor's Pai Gow tables last night, so we ventured that way.  At the present time, there weren't any openings for us to squeeze our fat asses into, so we looked over the "Poker Room" (I use that term loosely).  As luck would have it, they were starting up their 10:00 PM tournament, and we had a whopping two minutes to spare after signing up.  This time we were at separate tables, and I had a family that were likely from the south seated with me.  From what I could gather, they all play together around the kitchen table, so they thought they'd give a tournament in Vegas a shot.  Wonderful.  I knew I could chop them up, if only I could get a hand or two to start with.  One player to my left apparently was completely color blind.  Combine that with his old age, it made an interesting time when he was attempting to call or raise a hand.  The purple, grey and green chips were mixed up more often than not.  This kinda irked me, since the dealer sorting him out every hand significantly ate into the already short blind levels.  The deal would make it around the table MAYBE once before the blinds were raised up.  This tournament was going to go fast.

I didn't get any hands I could do much with, so in the end I was forced to go all in to put someone to a test.  It turned out to be a coin flip type of a hand, which I came out on the losing end of. Cory was bounced a few hands after I, and we ventured back to the Pai Gow pit to scan out the scene.

Our new pit boss friend was working again, and as we sat down I said to her "I hear you guys have the most comfortable roulette tables here, so we decided to stop by to check them out." She laughed and remembered both of our names from the previous night.

The rum and cokes were ordered again, and we settled in for another marathon session.  For the most part, it was just Cory and I playing, so we started to change it up a little bit in our own douchebaggery type of ways.  We'd frequently bet each other who was going to have the better (or worst) five card hand, 2 card hand, etc.  Our side bets would range anywhere from a quarter (Yes, 25 cents, I know!) to a red chip.  It was just something to change it up a little and to brag in the loser's face.  The dealer got a kick out of it, and for some reason found us funny (or she was laughing out of sympathy - more likely).

The drinks weren't "doing their job" for me, so between rounds, I'd order us some Southern Comfort and Lime shots.  I believe I ordered a round of Kamikaze shots as well (you know, the manly stuff).  During the night / early morning, there was a point in which I was sending drunk texts to friends back home while sitting at the table.  I had my phone under the rail, so I wouldn't get reprimanded from the dealer.  The pit boss happened to be walking by at that moment, and as she passed me, she reached under the table, playfully grabbed my leg with a gentle squeeze and said "you can't text me at the table" and with a wink and a smile she was on her way.  Yeah....she wanted me.

We concluded the session a short while later, and took our minor losses out the door.  We search for something quick to eat, but nothing is really opened at this late hour.  We wander through Excalibur and see that the Johnny Rockets "restaurant" is open.  We venture in and place our orders.  A greasy burger sounds as good as anything else we would have found at this hour, so we settle in.  The place must have had only two employees working.  The cashier, and the lone cook in the back.  It easily took 20 minutes for our food to finally arrive.  It was decent eats, but certainly not worth the wait, nor the price.  Since we didn't have much in the way of options at this early hour, we begrudgingly inhaled our food and got the hell out of there.

A quick cab ride back to our respective hotels and it was time to do the typical drunken stumble through the Bellagio floor.  It seemed a ghost town at this ungodly early hour and the cleaning crews were out in full force.  On my walk of shame, I saw our friendly Pai Gow dealer taking her spot as it seemed her shift was beginning.  I may have offered a drunken wave as I passed. I noted a singular roulette player blanketing the board with $100 chips covering nearly every spot.  He easily had over $5,000 out on that spin with those lovely black chips.  I would have stayed and watched for a while, but the night's booze was starting to work it's witchcraft.  One elevator ride upstairs and I was crashed at about 4:00 AM.

Thursday June 5th, 2014

I'm awoken at about 9:00 AM to Cory calling my phone telling me he's on his way over to the Bellagio to check in.  To my happy surprise, I'm feeling pretty good, and lacking any hangover.  I contact the front desk, and give them the green light to add Cory to the reservation I had booked under my name for an additional room for the single night.  With minimal issues, Cory's checked in and is given a room right away on the 11th floor.  As he's moving his luggage into his room which is a few floors above mine, I take the opportunity to take a shower and get ready for another warm day in Las Vegas.  We agree to meet downstairs at "our" Pai Gow table.

We seat ourselves at the familiar table, and I see the same friendly face that I drunkenly waved to a few short hours earlier.  We dig in for another marathon session, and see another familiar face as well.  The guy who was playing in a few World Series of Poker events also took up a seat next to us.

For "breakfast" we went with the tried and true trinity.  Screw drivers, Bloody Mary's, and for me, a few Tennessee Highballs thrown in for good measure.  As the city around us began to wake up, we were burning through hand after hand of Pai Gow.  Towards the end of another marathon session, Cory hit a Pai Gow bonus which paid out 50 to 1.  Luckily for him, he had a $5 on the bonus bet, so it was a nice way to close things out. By this point, it was coming up on the 1:00 PM hour, and we decided to head towards Caesar's Palace to continue on with our chip collection efforts.

It was bustling this morning, so we just wander in, grab a chip, and leave.  As we're leaving, I opt to buy us each a fruity rum girly drink at their kiosk leading into the casino.  I want to say it was about $15 each.  Since I was already working on a healthy buzz, I didn't put up too much of a fight.  But on the inside I was saying to myself "dickheads!"  But I digress...

We head over towards the Linq to check out the newly renovated area of the strip.  Chips are collected from O'Sheas before we head towards the High Roller.  Cory is still nursing his fru-fru rum drink when we buy our tickets for the High Roller.  Of course he's not manly enough to finish it, so he ends up tossing the better part of half of it.  But no worries....  There's a bar just before you board the wheel, so I buy us a round of "normal" rum and cokes.  I add a few cherries to mine, Cory decides to think outside the box and for some reason has two monstrous olives put into his.  It's not a martini, man!

We board our pod, and there are a total of four of us sharing the space for the duration.  There are a few TV screens in each pod, and at various times a stoner kid appears to spew some facts about the wheel.  It was just enough to break up the silence as the slow rotation continues.

Cory actually eats his "rum olives" and being that it's the first sustenance he's consumed today that required chewing, he says that it actually helps.  We were waving obnoxiously at the pods behind and in front of us, only to receive the same treatment in return.  The High Roller was cool, and glad we did it.  But until they start filming bum fights, or porn in those pods, I don't see a reason for me to go back again.  It was one of those things I can check off my Vegas bucket list.

On the way out, and into the gift shop, we stop to scan over the "pre-boarding" photograph they took of us.  It was a gem of a picture, so Cory actually coughed up the money to have them print it off.  No, we weren't actually THAT bombed in the picture, but it was too funny to pass up.  While in the gift shop, I pick up some souvenirs for the dirty little hamsters that reside at my house, in addition to a new can of overpriced sun screen.

While walking out, Cory and I reenact a scene from our first Vegas trip together.  It also involved Caesar's overpriced fru-fru drinks.  For our buddy Mike back home, we honored the Vegas memory of me knocking a freshly purchased (and expensive) pina coloda out of his hands spilling everywhere onto the ground.  By dropping Cory's drink to the ground, he showed his pseudo disappointment by falling to his knees.  The first pic didn't turn out as I wanted it, so I had him do it again.  This time, he tells me the stones lining the street are actually pretty damn hot.  Despite his pussy-ness, I have him pose for a third time so I can finally get a decent picture.  When all's said and done, his knees are showing a lovely pinkish red where the ground burned a layer of skin off.  What a pansy.  We're walking along, continuing our journey, and to my surprise Cory blindsided me with a quick (and undeserved!) shot to the nuts from the bag he was carrying from the High Roller souvenir shop.  My only reaction was a quick "UMMPH!" as I stumbled to a nearby wall.  Some passersby witnessed the assault, and to show support for me, ended up giving Cory a few undeserved high fives. You sonofabitch!

After recovering, we walk into a hat shop at the end of the Linq, and Cory ends up buying a nice looking Porkpie hat ( Heisenberg).  It was easy to justify the purchase after hitting the pai gow bonus hours earlier.

Various stops are made at the properties along the way all in the way of collecting our $1 chips.  Harrah’s, Flamingo, Venetian were all on that list.  We make our way to Treasure Island, and end up signing up for a soon to be started poker tournament.  Let the cards fly!

The poker room is now located in a room I can only describe as a "closet."  The space the room formerly occupied (close to the Mystere theater) is now more unnecessary retail space.  This room seemed to be almost an afterthought.  If you go to Treasure Island's website and look at the virtual tour of the poker room, it's not updated.  They show the old (nicer room) still.  In any case, it was large enough for a few poker tables and a podium to cash out at, so that was good enough for us.  We're seated at different tables and are given a decent sized stack to start with.

As I begin to get a feel for the table, I noticed a lady in the 10 seat was in her first tournament.  She was given instructions on what it means to call, and check...told over and over again what the denominations are, and repeatedly told when it was her turn that she has the option to check, raise, or fold.  It only slowed down the game, but did put a target on her back for me to gain some easy chips.  In one had between she and I, I had missed all sorts of draws with my J-8.  At the river I had a lovely jack high.  I had bet the flop and turn, and she hadn't given up the hand yet.  I bet big at the river, only to have her nonchalantly call.  I embarrassingly turn up my cards, only to have her turn up a queen high.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, My jack high hand lost to a queen high hand.  She didn't realize she won right away, and the table and I were floored.  Either she's the best poker player in the world, or the worst.  My bet is on the later.  The dealer turned to me and said "20 bucks says she wins the whole thing" after seeing the deplorable hand.

As the tournament continues, I start to gain some momentum.  After the first break my table is broken up and I WOULD have been re-seated at Cory's table, but the smartest poker player in the world didn't realize she sat down at the wrong table, thus occupying my rightful spot.  The same seat number was open at the other remaining table, and the dealers directed me just to have a seat there.  I thought about disputing the assignment, but let things go.

At the new table I soon found myself to be nearing the chip leader.  My bluffs were near magical, and occasionally I found myself with a decent hand which was good enough to take the pot.  Then we started to get to what I like to call the "awkward" stage of a poker tournament.  Where there are plenty of people left, but the blinds are so huge in comparison to the stack sizes that a lot of people are going to be dropping quickly.  Yet, everyone still has "just" enough chips to make all ins awkward and difficult to assess.  Blinds were $500/$1,000 and I'd say the average chip stack was $7,000.  I found myself with $10,000 and the chip leader at my table had about $13,000.  After collecting a pot after another daring bluff, I found the lovely A-K of spades in my possession.  I raised it up, just to have the chip leader as my caller.  The flop came out showing A-3-10.  My heart started racing, as I saw this as my opportunity to double up through the chip leader, and effectively crushing him in the process.  I bet $5,000 into the pot, only to be raised all in.  I couldn't say "I call" fast enough, and turned over my cards proudly, thinking I need to dodge a long shot draw.  He turned over the God damn ace-ten giving him two pair (HATE THAT HAND!).  My king failed to hit and I was bounced just like that.  I failed to assess the situation to potentially see the danger before it was too late.  I thought I was on a roll in that tournament.  Damn.

Little Richie's diner was directly around the corner from the poker "room" so Cory and I drowned our losing sorrows in the food offerings they had.  We each got a dog and fries, which were "meh."  However, since this was the only real food we had for the day (other than olives and cherries in our drinks) it would have to suffice.

We take the tram from Treasure Island over to the Mirage and collect a chip from there.  We pass the craps pit which at the time, had one full and boisterous table.  With each toss of the dice someone at the table would let out a loud "WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Which, of course, had to be followed up by two or three other loud "WHOOOOO's!"  The dealers had that "Fuck-my-life" look on their faces.

We walk back to Bellagio and part ways as we take a break in our respective rooms.  I take the opportunity to do make a quick phone call back home, take in a fountain show, and take care of some preliminary packing.  I wasn't able to book an impromptu shaving appointment at the Bellagio spa, so I called down to the front desk to see if they could have a razor brought up for me (the one thing I forgot from home).  It made its appearance in short order, and I was set.  They delivered two bottles of shaving gel, two razors, and some chocolates.  Nice touch, Bellagio. I shower, and kill some time in my room before deciding I was going to hit the casino floor one more time tonight.

I make my to the Pai Gow pit for my last session of the trip.  It was about 5:00 PM now, and my last night in Vegas was starting up.  I didn't have the urge to get insane drunk, and frankly didn't want to really want to spend much effort in walking anywhere.  I played a few hands before a young couple sat down to join in.  The girl ordered a glass of champagne while her husband/boyfriend contemplated if he wanted to play or not. I did order about three Tennessee Highballs, and frankly that was enough.

Cory and I exchange a few texts, and he wisely decides he's going to retire in his room and get a decent night's sleep in preparation of our early departure the next day.  I take my minimal loss and walk away from the table to cash in.  I contemplated if I wanted to get another "Roll Call" from Sensi, but I simply wasn't hungry.  I WANTED to want to head that way, but I think the trip had finally caught up to me.  I was done for the day too.  I did a few laps around the casino, and checked out the conservatory before heading up to my room and calling it an early night. Zzzzzzz........

Friday June 6th, 2014

My Bellagio wakeup call comes at what seems like an early hour. It's 6:00 AM, and time to get moving so we can catch the limo back to the airport at 7:30.  I'm a little sluggish today, despite capitalizing on a full night's sleep the day before.

After stuffing all my clothes and belongings into my suit case and somehow managing to get it to completely shut, I make my way down to Palio.  I grab a bowl of fruit and a coffee to start the day, all while texting Cory to see if he's moving.  To my surprise, he's already awake and sitting where else? But at the Pai Gow table we adopted as our own.  I make my way over there, hot coffee still in hand.   As I pass the blackjack tables on the main floor, I note a player betting two hands, each being $2,000.  He had about $40,000 in $500 chips in front of him.....at 7:00 AM......  Ah, Vegas.....

I meet Cory at the table and watch him for a few hands.  Before too long it's time to check outside for the driver.  At first he wasn't there just yet, so we sit inside, waiting in the Bellagio lobby.  Cory wanders off for a few minutes and later comes back with two huge cinnamon rolls.  Thankfully one was for me.  I thank him for his generosity, and we find Edward outside holding the door open.  We climb in the limo, and I inhale the sweet pastry before me.  Edward asked us if we found any BBW's (Big Beautiful Women or fatties) at any bars we may have visited.  Sadly, (or not so much) we did not.

In the end, I ended up with casino chips from 38 different properties.  And after double checking, I forgot to get one from Bellagio and Treasure Island. Are you kidding me?  I stayed at the property three nights, gambled there almost exclusively, was tipping cocktail waitresses and dealers with those $1 chips, and neglected to pocket one for myself.  Stupid bastard.

In any case, the ride home was a safe and short one, and another trip is in the books.

Until next time, Vegas................