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mickeyb105

Vegas State of Mind Thread

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On 4/29/2016 at 0:28 AM, Deleterious said:

Been to Louisville a few times.  Casino right across the river on a boat (in Indiana; stayed there once). You will be 10 minutes from the bat factory.  There is a downtown live deal which isn't bad.  Don't go past 9th street to the west.  Have fun.  Buy your hat first (an old saying we used to have when going to a few tracks in Ohio).

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1 hour ago, mickeyb105 said:

On the time spent vs profit, do you think that you could cut it back to 2-3 next season and do just as well or better now that you have seen a great deal of the league's personnel and systems?  I know you were no stranger before, but you depth of knowledge is bound to be different when you put in as much time as you did.

 

I think there are definitely things you can do to streamline the process some.

  • Only watch playoff contenders.  I doubt I laid a single bet on Philly this year.  And I bet my bet totals on the lower third of the league were extremely low.  I don't like how unpredictable they are.  I don't like the huge spreads on their games.  I just stay away.  So I don't need to watch them.
  • Spend a few weeks in the summer optimizing your schedule.  Identify the top 20 teams and anytime they play each other, put it on your schedule to watch it.  
  • Teams play 3-4 times a week.  I think you could survive watching 2 of those games a week.  
  • I think you can stop watching teams as the season progresses.  What did we learn about Golden State, San Antonio, and Cleveland after Christmas?  Not much if anything at all.  So I would stop watching teams like that.  Watch their results/stats and put Cleveland back on the schedule for a bit when Lue took over.

I think you also have to line shop.  But I wasn't willing to put any money online (Hi, Full Tilt) so I use a local book. Well it was local to me when I lived there, I have bet with them for over 20 years now.  But yeah, getting a 1/2 point now and then will definitely help your results when you are making so many bets.  

I would also teach myself some sort of programming language.  So much time is spent looking over stats and NBA.com does have most of what I want, it isn't always displayed the way I want it.  So being able to scrape that info from their site and organize it the way I want it would be a big time saver for me.  

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14 minutes ago, screwball said:

Been to Louisville a few times.  Casino right across the river on a boat (in Indiana; stayed there once). You will be 10 minutes from the bat factory.  There is a downtown live deal which isn't bad.  Don't go past 9th street to the west.  Have fun.  Buy your hat first (an old saying we used to have when going to a few tracks in Ohio).

The casino and bat factory were pretty much the top two things I wanted to do.  Unfortunately we wont have time for either.  

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We knew a guy who trained a horse at a track in Cleveland.  He would get us great seats and gave us a lineup with his picks.  We figured he knew them much better than us - never won squat - he sucked! Last time we went I won enough in a card game on the way home (we took a motor home) to cover my losses from the horses. :-)  But it was fun.  I would like to do that again.

Good luck at CD.

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1 hour ago, Deleterious said:

The casino and bat factory were pretty much the top two things I wanted to do.  Unfortunately we wont have time for either.  

There's always time for a casino trip ;)

I've always wanted to go to the bat factory as well, too bad you won't have time.

 

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5 hours ago, mickeyb105 said:

There's always time for a casino trip ;)

I've always wanted to go to the bat factory as well, too bad you won't have time.

 

I have her blessing to go.  And it's legit, she doesn't say something is OK then get mad when I do it.

I would go if the guys all went, or if she went with me.  But I cant see myself going alone and leaving her with two other couples.  

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13 hours ago, Deleterious said:

I have her blessing to go.  And it's legit, she doesn't say something is OK then get mad when I do it.

I would go if the guys all went, or if she went with me.  But I cant see myself going alone and leaving her with two other couples.  

I was thinking about the night shift, but I was thinking at 30,000 ft. 

But after a full day of festivities I understand how a trip, solo or not, would be very tough to pull off.

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73 degrees Friday and Sunday, 85 Saturday, Damn it.  We will be there for a bit Friday so I guess that will be pleasant. No rain forecasted so that is good.

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4 hours ago, Deleterious said:

73 degrees Friday and Sunday, 85 Saturday, Damn it.  We will be there for a bit Friday so I guess that will be pleasant. No rain forecasted so that is good.

I'm pretty excited for you, Del.

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On May 5, 2016 at 11:24 AM, Deleterious said:

73 degrees Friday and Sunday, 85 Saturday, Damn it.  We will be there for a bit Friday so I guess that will be pleasant. No rain forecasted so that is good.

C'mon, Del--let us know already!  

How was THE DERBY?

Please tell us you bet on Nyquist and made a pile!

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8 hours ago, mickeyb105 said:

C'mon, Del--let us know already!  

How was THE DERBY?

Please tell us you bet on Nyquist and made a pile!

It was a great time.  I will try to post something tonight or tomorrow after I catch up on some stuff.

No on Nyquist, I had Gun Runner.  The amount of bets I lost over the weekend is amazing.  

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I’m not a good writer or communicator, so I’m just going to bullet point our trip.

Six of us went.  My girlfriend’s best friend and her husband invited us, they have been multiple times. His sister and her husband rounded out the group.  We left about 3PM on Thursday afternoon.  Our five hour drive took about six hours with a couple of stops and a little construction.  We had nothing to do with any of the planning. Because things need to be booked so far in advanced, everything was already set by the time we were invited.

We arrived at our hotel just after 9PM.  We stayed at The Brown Hotel.  It was an extremely nice hotel and much nicer than I would have picked.  But I’m glad we stayed there and I would say it’s the best hotel experience I have ever had, not that I have stayed at a lot of nice ones. They have a picture gallery on their site if you want to get an idea of what it looks like.

We checked in and met down in the lobby a bit after 10PM.  We were all hungry so we set out to find a bar for some food and drinks.  Now, I haven’t had a drink in 12? 15 years?  But I decided I would drink a bit on this trip.  I would have at least one Mint Julep and a nice bourbon.  When in Rome and all that jazz. 

We ended up at a place called Sidebar which is right across the street from the arena where Louisville basketball plays.  This is how out of touch I am, I thought they still played at Freedom Hall.  The menu was OK.  I had a bowl of chili, the girl had a salad and we split some Parmesan-Truffle French fries.  After we ate I ordered a Woodruff Reserve Bourbon.  It wasn’t terrible, but nothing great either.  We ended up back at the hotel close to 1AM and went to bed.

We were going to the Kentucky Oaks race on Friday.  We didn’t plan on being there all day so there wasn’t a rush in the morning.  We woke up around 8AM and went downstairs to a café in the hotel for breakfast.  The girl had a yogurt and bagel while I had a Belgium Waffle.  Back upstairs to get ready to head over to the track.  The girl wore a light pink dress (Women wear pink to the Oaks, some sort of breast cancer tie in) with a small hat with some pinkish feathers in it.  I didn’t dress up, just shorts and a polo.  We head downstairs around noon and lucky for us there is a shuttle bus pickup spot about 20 feet from the front door of our hotel.

We hop on the shuttle and head over to the track.  Churchill Downs is an impressive place.  Obviously they will have things in order for the huge weekend, but it still impressed me how perfect all the flowers were and how well the grounds were kept.  Seeing the twin spires in person is a sight to see, but I’m a bit of a tradition geek and this place just oozes tradition.  First thing I did when we got there was head to the paddock area and see the horses being saddled.  I have been around horses before, but never a thoroughbred.  They are beautiful creatures up close.  Sleek, elegant, and powerful. 

After seeing that we head towards our seats.  Unlike every other event I have ever attended, being up high is desired at a horse race.  We sat in section 312, but there were still 2 or 3 levels above us.  Millionaire’s row was the name of one area, so you can guess who sat above us.  Our seats were pretty good I thought.  They were past the finish line and sort of starting to go around the first corner a bit, so we kind of hung over the track.  You could look directly down the backstretch which was pretty cool during a race.  4 sections to our left was the finish line and I heard seats in those sections were double in price compared to ours.  Not worth it at all in my opinion.  Not much else to tell about this day, we mostly went because our tickets allowed us too.  We have the exact same seats for the Derby tomorrow.  One cool thing they did have was a parade for cancer survivors before the Kentucky Oaks race.  142 cancer survivors walked down the track a few minutes before the race.

We watched The Oaks and immediately left on the shuttle back to the hotel.  We had dinner at a place called Vincenzo’s.  I had Spaghetti Con Argagosta, Pomodoro E Asparagi.  I don’t speak Italian so if I butchered that, I’m sorry.  It’s just spaghetti with lobster, shrimp, tomatoes, and asparagus.  The girl had Linguini and shrimp.  The food was really good, it’s a place they eat at each time they come to the Derby.  Back to the hotel at around 11PM and we want to go to bed early, but not that early.  So downstairs for a drink at the bar.  I had a Makers Mark this time and it was OK.  Back to the room for bed, big day tomorrow.

The goal was to hit the track when the gates opened at 8AM, races started at 10AM I think.  The girl is up at 5:30AM to get ready, I sleep a bit longer.  Now, I wasn’t going to dress up but it was important to my girlfriend that I do.  So I agreed as long as I had to do no shopping I would wear what she picked out for me.  I’m glad I agreed because with our seats, I would have been about the only person not dressed up had I worn my usual clothes.  I ended up with a blueish color pants, a white dress shirt, and a bow tie that matched my pants.  I had a sports coat as well, but I knew it was going to be hot that day and left it at the room.  Overall, not bad and it was tolerable even for someone like me who basically wears jeans all the time.  The girl had a very nice white dress with a bunch of blue squiggly lines going all over it and a huge floppy hat with a brim so big I swear they ran the 5th race around it.  She looked gorgeous, as did the other two ladies. 

We hit the track at around 9AM, go to the gate and show our tickets to get our wristbands.  Same as the day before, I hit the paddock early before it got busy to catch a glimpse of some horses.  Before going to our seats we head off to place our bets for the day.  I was told it almost becomes impossible to bet later in the day.  This year they have something new for betting, you can do it with an app on your smart phone.  Great idea and I would have used it, but I have never bet at a track before and I want the experience of betting at the window.  We buy our program/form and start to pretend we have a clue what we are doing and make our bets.  I go to the window and make one bet for the experience then we go to the self-serve kiosks for the rest.  I’m going to get this out of the way now.  We both took a certain amount of money for best on Friday, and double that for Saturday.  I lost every penny.  In fact, I lost every single bet I laid.  Something like 31 bets in all, lost every single one.  I think if you intentionally tried to lose 31 bets, you would struggle to do it.  Anyway, the girl actually ended up about $200 for the weekend and she did pick Nyquist after she heard he was named after a Red Wing player.

The fact they sell this as a horse race is an absolute joke.  It’s an all day party where horses occasionally run past you.   To be honest, it was pretty boring at times.  They only race about once every hour or so and the rest of the time there isn’t much going on.  I had my Mint Julep for $13, the girl was drinking a house red for $7, which is a pretty good price, but she said it wasn’t very good.  I bought pop at $7 per cup.  I think beer was $8/$9 depending on the beer. 

You really need a lot of money at the track.  We had pretty expensive tickets and we couldn’t get in anywhere for the most part.  None of the fancy restaurants or clubs or anything like that.  We did have a special area for our club level with some concessions, a place to bet, and some bathrooms.  The people with infield tickets can’t even leave the infield.  But someone said our wristbands would allow us to go over there if we wanted.  They had other concessions and what not over there, but we never made the walk.

By the time the Derby is about to start it’s somewhere around 6:45PM.  By then you are almost like, get it over with so I can get going.  But once they start loading the horses into the gate the anticipation gets crazy.  When they break from that gate the place is going nuts and stays that way the entire two minutes.  And then just like that, it’s all over.  People immediately start heading out to get a jump on the traffic.  Letting 165,000 people out all at once is pretty cramped.  One thing I never knew, there are two races after The Derby.  So we stuck around to watch one and let the crowd thin out.

We leave the track and hop on the shuttle back to the hotel.  We have reservations at the restaurant in our hotel.  This is one thing I didn’t like, I wanted to go out somewhere else.  But as it turns out, this was by far the right move.  If we had gone out we would have had to fight all of the traffic to get where we are going.  Instead we went to the hotel, freshened up a bit, the girls fixed their hair from having hats on all day and we got to relax in our room as we waited for our table.

I wanted to thank our friends for planning all of this and buying them dinner was how I planned on doing that.  The problem is, I couldn’t figure out how to say I was buying dinner for one couple, but not the other.  So I ended up buying dinner for both.  Such a wimp.

Since I first found out we were having dinner at this restaurant, I had been looking forward to trying their Wagyu.  Of course we get there and they have a set menu consisting of six different courses, so we had that instead.  The food was good and the server was even better, he really knew his stuff.  The other couple offered to cover the gratuity which I thought was very nice of them.  The server was so good that I left it on the table for him. 

We went to the hotel bar for a few drinks before bed. It had been such a long day I just wanted to sleep, so after one drink we turned in. 

We wake up the next morning and check out of the hotel.  We head over to Rivue to have brunch at 10AM.  The food is good, although I felt they had too many desserts.  Makes sense since desserts are so cheap.  Even though the brunch was good the star of this place is the view.  The restaurant sits on the 25th floor and it rotates.  I didn’t time it but my guess is it rotates once every half hour or so, maybe 45 minutes.  Anyway, it’s right on the Ohio River and you can see multiple bridges across the river, pretty spectacular view.  We stuff our faces one last time and drive home.

Overall a great trip, borderline amazing.  Lots of fun with good friends, old and new.  Great food all weekend long.  The Kentucky Derby is definitely something to cross off the bucket list.  I now have game 5 of the 1984 World Series, WrestleMania III, and The Kentucky Derby on my list of big events I have been too.  I need a Super Bowl, an NBA Finals, The Masters, and maybe the Indianapolis 500 or Daytona.  I would also like to take my old man to the final round of the US Open when it’s at Pebble Beach.

Will we go back?  Definitely, we have already said we want to.  But I don’t think it will end up being an annual thing we do.  Maybe every 4-5 years or something like that.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Deleterious said:

I’m not a good writer or communicator, so I’m just going to bullet point our trip.

We arrived at our hotel just after 9PM.  We stayed at The Brown Hotel.  It was an extremely nice hotel and much nicer than I would have picked.  But I’m glad we stayed there and I would say it’s the best hotel experience I have ever had, not that I have stayed at a lot of nice ones. They have a picture gallery on their site if you want to get an idea of what it looks like.

We hop on the shuttle and head over to the track.  Churchill Downs is an impressive place.  Obviously they will have things in order for the huge weekend, but it still impressed me how perfect all the flowers were and how well the grounds were kept.  Seeing the twin spires in person is a sight to see, but I’m a bit of a tradition geek and this place just oozes tradition.  First thing I did when we got there was head to the paddock area and see the horses being saddled.  I have been around horses before, but never a thoroughbred.  They are beautiful creatures up close.  Sleek, elegant, and powerful. 

The goal was to hit the track when the gates opened at 8AM, races started at 10AM I think.  The girl is up at 5:30AM to get ready, I sleep a bit longer.  Now, I wasn’t going to dress up but it was important to my girlfriend that I do.  So I agreed as long as I had to do no shopping I would wear what she picked out for me.  I’m glad I agreed because with our seats, I would have been about the only person not dressed up had I worn my usual clothes.  I ended up with a blueish color pants, a white dress shirt, and a bow tie that matched my pants.  I had a sports coat as well, but I knew it was going to be hot that day and left it at the room.  Overall, not bad and it was tolerable even for someone like me who basically wears jeans all the time.  The girl had a very nice white dress with a bunch of blue squiggly lines going all over it and a huge floppy hat with a brim so big I swear they ran the 5th race around it.  She looked gorgeous, as did the other two ladies. 

I want the experience of betting at the window.  We buy our program/form and start to pretend we have a clue what we are doing and make our bets.  I go to the window and make one bet for the experience then we go to the self-serve kiosks for the rest.  I’m going to get this out of the way now.  We both took a certain amount of money for best on Friday, and double that for Saturday.  I lost every penny.  In fact, I lost every single bet I laid.  Something like 31 bets in all, lost every single one.  I think if you intentionally tried to lose 31 bets, you would struggle to do it.  Anyway, the girl actually ended up about $200 for the weekend and she did pick Nyquist after she heard he was named after a Red Wing player.

The fact they sell this as a horse race is an absolute joke.  It’s an all day party where horses occasionally run past you.   To be honest, it was pretty boring at times.  They only race about once every hour or so and the rest of the time there isn’t much going on.  I had my Mint Julep for $13, the girl was drinking a house red for $7, which is a pretty good price, but she said it wasn’t very good.  I bought pop at $7 per cup.  I think beer was $8/$9 depending on the beer. 

You really need a lot of money at the track.  We had pretty expensive tickets and we couldn’t get in anywhere for the most part.  None of the fancy restaurants or clubs or anything like that.  We did have a special area for our club level with some concessions, a place to bet, and some bathrooms.  The people with infield tickets can’t even leave the infield.  But someone said our wristbands would allow us to go over there if we wanted.  They had other concessions and what not over there, but we never made the walk.

Letting 165,000 people out all at once is pretty cramped.  One thing I never knew, there are two races after The Derby.  So we stuck around to watch one and let the crowd thin out.

We leave the track and hop on the shuttle back to the hotel.  We have reservations at the restaurant in our hotel.  This is one thing I didn’t like, I wanted to go out somewhere else.  But as it turns out, this was by far the right move.  If we had gone out we would have had to fight all of the traffic to get where we are going.  Instead we went to the hotel, freshened up a bit, the girls fixed their hair from having hats on all day and we got to relax in our room as we waited for our table.

I wanted to thank our friends for planning all of this and buying them dinner was how I planned on doing that.  The problem is, I couldn’t figure out how to say I was buying dinner for one couple, but not the other.  So I ended up buying dinner for both.  Such a wimp.

Since I first found out we were having dinner at this restaurant, I had been looking forward to trying their Wagyu.  Of course we get there and they have a set menu consisting of six different courses, so we had that instead.  The food was good and the server was even better, he really knew his stuff.  The other couple offered to cover the gratuity which I thought was very nice of them.  The server was so good that I left it on the table for him. 

We wake up the next morning and check out of the hotel.  We head over to Rivue to have brunch at 10AM.  The food is good, although I felt they had too many desserts.  Makes sense since desserts are so cheap.  Even though the brunch was good the star of this place is the view.  The restaurant sits on the 25th floor and it rotates.  I didn’t time it but my guess is it rotates once every half hour or so, maybe 45 minutes.  Anyway, it’s right on the Ohio River and you can see multiple bridges across the river, pretty spectacular view.  We stuff our faces one last time and drive home.

Overall a great trip, borderline amazing.  Lots of fun with good friends, old and new.  Great food all weekend long.  The Kentucky Derby is definitely something to cross off the bucket list.  I now have game 5 of the 1984 World Series, WrestleMania III, and The Kentucky Derby on my list of big events I have been too.  I need a Super Bowl, an NBA Finals, The Masters, and maybe the Indianapolis 500 or Daytona.  I would also like to take my old man to the final round of the US Open when it’s at Pebble Beach.

Will we go back?  Definitely, we have already said we want to.  But I don’t think it will end up being an annual thing we do.  Maybe every 4-5 years or something like that.

 

I know you aren't a fan of reading or writing "walls of text", but thank you for detailing your Kentucky Derby trip like you did.  Trust me, it reads great.

--The Brown Hotel makes Wynn look like a HoJo, holy ****.  It is pretty cool you had another couple to "mentor" you guys on this trip, where you stay and eat can really matter.  Wearing a shirt and bowtie to the derby can also really matter.

--Churchill Downs really doesn't get enough attention as an American treasure.  To me like the perfect combination of Biltmore, Fenway Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

--I have had some success betting on greyhounds throughout FL, but I have never won on horse racing.  The greyhounds are easy, you just look at their previous recent races and what level they are racing at . . . and then factor in which one drops a deuce when the handlers walk them to the starting area. 

--Great information that your tickets gave you infield priveldges.  Lots of great info period.

--The NASCAR races I've been to--Charlotte and Daytona's Pepsi 400--had over 200K in attendance and getting out afterwards was a terrible experience.  It is great they have some races after The Derby to sweat instead of just turning a bunch of people who have been  betting and drinking all day lose at the same time.

--No Wagu?  Sounded like no problem--glad you had some great meals there.  What did you have for brunch?  That rotating restaurant sounded fantastic.

 

You had a trip to die for, and I'm more than a little jealous!  Thank you again for posting your experience in such detail.  Your list of awesome events, both attended and bucket, are very worthy.  I'm glad to see that WSOP wasn't on your list because to me that means you have already put it in the category of something that will happen soon.

Maybe I can finally post the final day of my Vegas trip from Thanksgiving weekend now that I have inspiration.

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Las Vegas Trip Report:  The longest, and maybe the best, Monday in a long time (Part 1 of 2)

11/30/15

Las Vegas is a place where I've stayed up late more often than anywhere else I've ever been.  As someone who tended bar for nearly a decade, working weekend closing shifts much of that period, that is really saying something.  Whether it was an overnight poker session, partying with friends, or just my nocturnal nature, I've seen many a sunrise in Sin City during my decade-long love affair with her.

But seeing the sun rise after going to sleep for the night is something I had only done to catch a flight in the past.  This time, I did it to catch sunrise at Valley of Fire State Park--over an hour's drive north of The Strip.

Fresh off a premium meal at Prime--and way too much to drink at the end of the night on the High Roller Ferris Wheel--the wife and I managed to drag ourselves out of bed for the 3:30am wakeup call and hit the road by 4:15.  Considering we had gone to bed just after Midnight, it was a miracle this happened.

The walk through the casino at Caesars Palace at 4am Monday morning is equal parts surreal and depressing.  There are more employees than guests, and nobody is eye candy this morning.  Luckily, we didn't use the rental car at all on Sunday so it was still parked about 60' from the parking lot elevator.  Good thing, because it was COLD--24 degrees with a 10 MPH wind in Las Vegas feels like -15 up north.  It was supposed to get up to 50 or so later, but not until the sun was out for several hours.

The ride out to VOF was uneventful, which was perfect.  I wish the Chrysler 200 had more under the hood, because I-15 was hopping with semi traffic and commuters.  The wife caught up on work emails during the drive, as the work day was just starting back home.

The truck stop at our exit provided us a chance to coffee-up before our desert photo shoot.   It also provide us with a real spectacle--a semi hauling a trailer had somehow bottomed-out the trailer while trying to turn onto the road.  I'm thinking Triple-A+ doesn't cover that.

It is minutes before sunrise and I'm fiddling with my photography kit as I near the spot I've picked to shoot sunrise, and I finish just in time to pull up and snap off a few shots.  I really wanted these to be tripod shots, but I ran out of time.  And yes, I brought a tripod to Las Vegas--LOL.  It was a tradeoff for shoe space.

Just up the road we encounter the official park entrance, which had money drop-box and a visitors form to fill out with scorecard pencils.  Are you kidding me?  So here I am racing the sun, trying to write with the smallest pencil ever on a paper that is blowing away--and my hands are freezing.  The price of admission.

We make it to a spot with lots of awesome rock formations, and I set up my little outdoor studio.   The pics turned out OK, although the cheap shutter remote I had bought didn't work.  Of course, this means I have to set the 10-second timer and race into the picture for our couples pics.  The wife is laughing hysterically each time, which made for nice and genuine smiles.  A few of the pics we took several feet above the ground on rocks, and let's just say there are a few pretty funny pics of me almost being in picture-taking position.

During our 50 minutes taking pictures, I swear the temperature has gone from 27 up to 42.  It was a fun experience, although if I were to do it again I would suck it up and make the drive to Bryce Canyon over the border in Utah.  I guess that goes on the bucket list.

We hop into the car and I continue driving deeper into the park, taking occasional pics through the windshield and even out the drivers side window.  Amazingly enough, some of these pics are the best landscape pictures I have ever taken (maybe not saying much, it is not my strength).  I can't say enough about the Sony mirrorless cameras, but won't bore you guys with it.

We near a fork in the road and I say something about continuing on to Hoover Dam.  The wife, "Oh, we're doing that today too?" 

"Yup, we talked about it--remember?"

"Kinda, but I'm going to need some food right after."

"Me too, but let's just knock this out.  Besides, it is just as long to turn around right now and go back as it is to continue on to Hoover and then go back to The Strip."

The drive to Hoover Dam was more eventful than the Dam itself.  Lake Mead is the most blue body of water I've ever seen, and we drove alongside it for quite awhile.  Once we get to the Dam, we are more entertained by the Ram Crossing signs than anything else.  The parking situation there looked elaborate, and we were hungry.  At least we can say we've  been to Hoover Dam now.

The drive back to and through Henderson was fast and uneventful.  I let the wife pick out a restaurant and she chose Peppermill--a Las Vegas institution.  It was 9:45, and for some reason I wanted nachos.  The waiter told me it could feed a table as an appetizer, or two hungry men as an entrée.  I finished 2/3 of it.  The optional ground beef wasn't worth it, but it was a B+ nacho.  The wife ordered crab benedict, and it might have been the best I've ever had.  Peppermill was fantastic and I'll be back at some point.

We finished up just in time to make our  11am appointment at Battlefield Vegas--a shooting club that features full-auto machine guns and a tank.

(continued in part 2)

 

 

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Not a huge fan of crab, but I would stab you in the throat for some Crab Benedict.  Although it hat might have something to do with the 30 pounds of butter they use in the hollandaise sauce.

The photo shoot sounds nice and it's pretty cool you have the talent and know how to do it yourself.

 

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3 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

I still want to see a photo of the hat.

Awesome summary, BTW.

She had two!  She put them away but if I can get her to dig them out I will get one.  

 

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3 hours ago, mickeyb105 said:

I know you aren't a fan of reading or writing "walls of text", but thank you for detailing your Kentucky Derby trip like you did.  Trust me, it reads great.

--The Brown Hotel makes Wynn look like a HoJo, holy ****.  It is pretty cool you had another couple to "mentor" you guys on this trip, where you stay and eat can really matter.  Wearing a shirt and bowtie to the derby can also really matter.

--Churchill Downs really doesn't get enough attention as an American treasure.  To me like the perfect combination of Biltmore, Fenway Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

--I have had some success betting on greyhounds throughout FL, but I have never won on horse racing.  The greyhounds are easy, you just look at their previous recent races and what level they are racing at . . . and then factor in which one drops a deuce when the handlers walk them to the starting area. 

--Great information that your tickets gave you infield priveldges.  Lots of great info period.

--The NASCAR races I've been to--Charlotte and Daytona's Pepsi 400--had over 200K in attendance and getting out afterwards was a terrible experience.  It is great they have some races after The Derby to sweat instead of just turning a bunch of people who have been  betting and drinking all day lose at the same time.

--No Wagu?  Sounded like no problem--glad you had some great meals there.  What did you have for brunch?  That rotating restaurant sounded fantastic.

 

You had a trip to die for, and I'm more than a little jealous!  Thank you again for posting your experience in such detail.  Your list of awesome events, both attended and bucket, are very worthy.  I'm glad to see that WSOP wasn't on your list because to me that means you have already put it in the category of something that will happen soon.

Maybe I can finally post the final day of my Vegas trip from Thanksgiving weekend now that I have inspiration.

It was a huge help going with people that had been before.  Dressing as the women do, wearing heels is only natural and I guarantee my girlfriend would have if her friend hadn't told her to wear flats.  You are there 10+ hours with a lot of walking, you would die in heels.  Small tips like that really help out.

The track is pretty amazing and I would love to go back sometime other than The Derby.  They have a museum in there but its not open for The Oaks or Derby.  I would like to go back and see that sometime.  A few other things I want to do.  Tues, Wed, and Thursday morning they have a breakfast buffet right in the paddock.  $37 I think it was and you can watch all of the horses working out.  They also had some racing journalist there to speak to the group.  Then on Thursday night they have a wine tasting event in Millionaires Row.  I think it was $50 a person or something like that.  I would pay it just to see what those seats look like.

My problem with betting is I never take a favorite.  I don't think I took one all weekend.  Always the 3rd or 4th favorite trying to get that payoff.

WSOP next year is up in the air.  She wants to pay her entry fee with her bankroll and I don't know if she can hit $10k by next year, but we'll see.  Definitely something on our radar though.

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18 minutes ago, Deleterious said:

It was a huge help going with people that had been before.  Dressing as the women do, wearing heels is only natural and I guarantee my girlfriend would have if her friend hadn't told her to wear flats.  You are there 10+ hours with a lot of walking, you would die in heels.  Small tips like that really help out.

The track is pretty amazing and I would love to go back sometime other than The Derby.  They have a museum in there but its not open for The Oaks or Derby.  I would like to go back and see that sometime.  A few other things I want to do.  Tues, Wed, and Thursday morning they have a breakfast buffet right in the paddock.  $37 I think it was and you can watch all of the horses working out.  They also had some racing journalist there to speak to the group.  Then on Thursday night they have a wine tasting event in Millionaires Row.  I think it was $50 a person or something like that.  I would pay it just to see what those seats look like.

My problem with betting is I never take a favorite.  I don't think I took one all weekend.  Always the 3rd or 4th favorite trying to get that payoff.

WSOP next year is up in the air.  She wants to pay her entry fee with her bankroll and I don't know if she can hit $10k by next year, but we'll see.  Definitely something on our radar though.

$37 for what is probably a good buffet with a killer view, and you get narrators?  Sign me up.  $50 wine tasting at Churchill Downs' best section?  Stop talking and take my money!

The Derby really has been all about the favorite in recent years.  It has to change at some point, but when?  I'm guessing a quinella or trifecta is the way to go, but just a guess.

Winning that ME seat is the nuts, IMO.  Play your way in through a feeder tourney somewhere local or do it via STT or MTT at Rio and save that mad CREAM. 

With the $2.5K (IIRC) she won in the FK drawing, it is a good start on $10K.  To win the balance with her tournament bankroll only would be very impressive.  To make up the difference even just using her cash BR would also be impressive considering she has been playing for such a brief period of time.  She would almost certainly have to move up to $2-5 NLHE to get there, unless she increases her hours quite a bit at $1-$2.  All IMO, obviously, so grain of salt.

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Las Vegas Trip Report:  The longest, and maybe the best, Monday in a long time (Part 2 of 2)

11/30/15

Groupon in-hand, and a crazy amount of food in-stomach, I pull into Battlefield Vegas a few minutes before our 11am appointment.  It is tucked back on an industrial road behind Circus Circus, near some of the finest Gentlemens' Clubs in the world.  For real, talent from all over the world is imported to dance at these places.  That's the reason McCarron is overrun with absolute physical specimens each and every Thursday.

As for Battlefield Vegas, the place is pure Las Vegas kitsch.  With a walled/barbed wire perimeter, sandbags, army jeeps and Humvees, the place is obviously supposed to inspire vacationing Rambos to go into the range and spend some mon . . .errr, I mean shoot at targets.  The wife and I shard a solid laugh, take a few pics of the place, and head inside to check-in.

We walk in and the first thing we see is a mannequin dressed up in fatigues and a gas mask--a selfie magnet, no doubt.  Walking up to the counter, I see various firearms spanning all the way back to WWI.  And when I say various, I mean like every single small arms I can name and some I cannot.  Turns out you can shoot most everything there for a price.  They even have a .30 caliber mini-gun!

minigun.gif

I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised, given that you can drive a tank there for like $2K.

Our name is called, and we head back to the indoor range with the ex-soldier (Ranger?) who will be my wife's personal instructor.  The guy did a great job with her, as she's only shot a .22 and a .380 pistol--once each--before this.  She triple-checked to see if I wanted to shoot, but this was for her.  I was content to snap some shots of her peeling off rounds with an Uzi, M4 and Glock 17.  The machine guns were full-auto, something a few ranges in the area offer.  We sent some pics to her dad and brothers, former Marines, and they were some combination of amused and shocked.

We got out of there sometime around noon, and there was no way around it--time for a nap.  The drive back to CP was short, as we took Frank Sinatra Dr. there instead of dealing with the noon traffic on Las Vegas BLVD.  Both of us are dragging on our long walk to the parking lot elevator and through the Casino, which is surprisingly bustling for a Monday.  We pass the poker room and I consider playing, as the $2-$5 NLHE game looks pretty touristy/soft.  It may be wrong that I judge the game upon personal appearance, but picking up physical tells are a big part of the game.  I end up passing, as I am once again exhausted.

Doesn't seem right for a vacation, does it? 

Oh well, the trip may have been more active than I originally intended but it sure didn't lack for fun.

By about 1pm the wife and I are asleep, and thank goodness for blackout curtains.  My slumber only lasts about 45 minutes when the service elevator wakes me up--our room was next door to it.  The wife is wearing the last set of earplugs, and my headphones are in the rental car instead of my backpack.  Not cool.  Maybe I was still too full to sleep great anyways.  I headed out to the lobby with some magazines to attempt to read myself into being tired.

The attempt failed, but it is about 3:30 by now and I decide to hop into the shower to wash off desert, gunpowder and the alcohol I've been sweating off from the previous night.  The wife follows suit, and we're ready to hit happy hour at Cosmopolitan. 

It may sound strange to want to hit happy hour as one of the last things we do in town, as our flight out was at 11pm.  And maybe it is, but it was a good way for us to try two great restaurants at Cosmo on the cheap and without completely stuffing ourselves (again).  The plates are essentially smallish appetizers.  Restauranteur Scott Conant's Scarpetta is one target, and STK is the other. 

We start at STK, ordering beef tartar and lil BRG (a Wagu slider with truffle fries) from the $10 "Social Hour" menu, chasing it with $8 Belvedere Cape Codders.  It was excellent food for $10, and a coup to get a stiff Belvedere pour at an upscale strip restaurant.  STK is Cosmopolitan's flagship steakhouse.  It was nice, with an industrial décor and very good service.

Scarpetta was very slow (STK was steady) during our hour visit, and the décor was modern with a touch of art-deco.  Think nicer Blue Martini.  We took our seat at the bar and were waited on immediately.  The wife and I ordered a specialty cocktail (Il Dolce Limone--vodka, solerno blood orange, lemon and goslin's ginger beer) and a decent Cab--$7 each.  Not bad at all.  The wine was good for this price and the cocktail was easily a $12 martini anywhere else.  The wife ordered Creamy Polenta with truffled mushrooms and I ordered Short Rib and Bone Marrow Agnolotti with brown butter, horseradish and toasted breadcrumbs for $7 each and both were excellent for the price range.  I would have paid much more for the Agnolotti, as it was pretty amazing.

Social Hour was ending, and it was 7pm.  The plan was to pull some slots at the Sex in the City bank of slots and then head to the airport.  But as long as we were on the 3rd Floor restaurant district, we felt it was good idea grab a bite of food for the flight.  We stop at Secret Pizza, getting a slice of white pizza and a slice of Sicillian, taking a bite or two out of each before putting it into the backpack wrapped to-go (read: sandwiched between paper plates).  There is no sign for Secret Pizza, and no indication that it exists--just a hallway between two other restaurants that usually has a line leading out and extending into the lobby.

secret-pizza.jpg

 

Stuffed again, and time to gamble up with Mr. Big--but he's missing.  Yes, our favorite slot has been moved and its previous site is roped off to be modified by the property.  That particular slot was a four-slot bank/row that featured a huge screen.  It plays differently than the stand-alone slot, making it pretty fun to play with a partner or three.  We did find a stand-alone slot, and we lost a few $20 buy-ins on it before deciding we were uninspired.  Even though our gaming that night wasn't what we wanted it to be, Cosmo is an excellent property with an excellent casino.  Their rooms may have the best view on The Strip and they are nice--and a touch more expensive than most non-suite rooms on central strip.

The ride back to the airport was uneventful, but I did score a bit of a moral victory when I got a bit of a discount for having the Chrysler 200 back a few hours early.  The flight home was standard, I got some sleep on the way there--woke up and had some pizza--and went back to sleep.  The wife always struggles to sleep on planes, and this time was no exception.  We landed in Orlando, hit the road and she started her workday via smartphone.  The vacation was over, but it felt like we'd just finished a marathon.

Not playing poker during the trip was surreal to me, as someone who once moved to Las Vegas to play more poker.  But the reality is that the trip was more about breaking the routine of our everyday than it was about the ghost in my machine.  My poker trips will happen, this trip we doing some things we always said we would but hadn't yet.

 

 

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I would drop $2K for the chance at driving a tank.  Just one of those things you will never get a chance to do again.  

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21 minutes ago, Deleterious said:

I would drop $2K for the chance at driving a tank.  Just one of those things you will never get a chance to do again.  

As long as it doesn't get shut down by the government, I know where to find it :)

Maybe after I win a WSOP bracelet in a few decades.  If the government doesn't shut that down, too.

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Played my first poker since the Biloxi trip--a $65 NLHE rebuy tournament.

I never rebought, was eliminated 12th out of 28 players. We played four and then three tables short-handed until we got down to two tables.

--I sucked out early on to build a decent stack, knew I was behind but pushed due to pot odds.  I had KhKd vs 10c6d  on a 10d6sJc flop, limped in early position hoping for the aggro player OTB to raise, and he did not.  Four of us saw this flop.  I lead out with a 2/3 pot-sized bet, player to my immediate left goes AI for a lot more and has me covered.  Other two spots fold, I call reluctantly hoping I'm not up against a set of sixes.  I see his bottom-two pair and I'm okay with it, but mad I didn't raise PF.  I hit two running cards for an ace-high straight and don't feel the least bit bad about it.

--Down to two tables and I'm below-average stack at my new table.  The play here is bad, but the chip leader/aggro player from my old table is here--and he's decent.  I decide that I need to make a play with him in the SB and me in MP.  I have 4d2d, I raise the blind 3x but knew it wasn't enough before my chips hit the table--stupid bet in that situation.  Aggro SB is my only caller.  FLop comes down Jd9c2c, I spew 2200--half my stack and another really crappy bet.  My tournament play just sucks right now.  He pauses for a moment and calls.  I put him on some sort of straight draw with a possible flush draw.  Turn come 8c, and I make another horrible play and check.  River comes 10c and I'm still a coward--check, he puts me AI and I fold.  Just terrible and embarrassing.

--I got my last T-2100 in good, but not good enough.  Was dominated and didn't improve.

--after my elimination, I got a massage and it was probably the worst one I've ever paid for.  It was only my second ever at a card room, and the first was also by this lady, and I may have just checked the 'I'll never do that again' box for that one.

It was great to get out in play a little and put up a really small BI.  I really needed that brief period out of the house solo to regenerate, even if my game was predictably bad.

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