Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mission: Impossible plus Vegas Moments

Me winning the May leaderboard? That is now Mission: Impossible.

But heck, I thought I had the overall leaderboard sewn up. TJ back-to-back in BBT3 and BBT4! But then QueensUp does the true back-to-back by winning both the Skillz Stud and Mookie events this week. I told QueensUp he is the TuscaloosaJohn of 2009. I won March and May last year and the overall leaderboard. QueensUp is likely to do the same this year -- well if he somehow won the overall leaderboard by 500 points it would be about the same (end of brag).

Oh, I decided since we had a little extra play on Sunday with two more events that I would include those in Week 13 for Player of the Week consideration, hence no POW yet, but you can be sure it will take a lot to knock a certain player off that perch after Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

I won't even be able to play the Brit Blogger Sunday as I have a mission team meeting at church. That trip to Nicaragua is now about a week away (have I even mentioned it on this blog? I thought I had, at least in passing). My only chance to regain my overall leaderboard status is the Big Game. Can I go back-to-back in winning that sucker? My ego and bankroll hopes so.


Here's a bonus morsel. I started to put this together for somebody... Al, Rounder, etc., but it didn't seem to fit anywhere so I'll just stick it on here. Vegas virgins take note. Here are some cool things you should do while in town that are either off the beaten path or tucked into the corner of a behemoth casino. It's really an unfinished article with only a few "moments" listed, but I hope what's here will be useful. Readers please leave any additional ideas in the comments. Maybe you can share a "moment" with me of which I was not aware.

Shrimp cocktails at the Golden Gate

Sure the place is dingy and you can smell the mustiness when you walk through the front door, but if you’ve never been in here you are missing out on a treat. Walk to the back of the tiny Golden Gate – the oldest casino in Vegas – and order a shrimp cocktail. If you have a player’s club card you can still get what has for years been called the city’s best value – the 99-cent shrimp cocktail. There is nothing spectacular about it. It’s just a big sundae glass full of pretty good tasting shrimp with cocktail sauce poured on top. Grab your glass and a drink, find a seat and listen to the piano player entertain the crowd. Relax and enjoy this reminder of what Vegas used to be like, and occasionally still is.

Sigma Derby at the MGM Grand

Reportedly the last working member of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip, this quarter muncher is tucked between some slots near the lion habitat and maybe 50 yards behind the sportsbook. Sigma Derby is a mechanical horse racing game. Between every “race” the odds will be posted for various exactas of two horses finishing one-two (it doesn’t matter which is first and which is second, actually, as you are just betting on the horses that will be top two). Some odds will be as low as 2-to-1, while some will approach 100-to-1. You put in your quarters and bet however many credits you want on two horses. After 30 seconds the horses will race out of the gates, with two eventually pulling away from the pack to the finish line. Sigma Derby is a fun place to waste a roll of quarters and is generally packed with its limited seating.

Red Rock Canyon

A cheap lounge act

These are harder to find these days, but look through the Vegas guides while in the city for advertisements. I’m not talking about something like Legends in Concert or American Superstars. My aim is much lower. I can remember while traveling with my friend Brian for the WSOP in 2004 when we stopped into the Plaza to look around and were offered free show tickets with a drink purchase. We walked in and were “entertained” by a guy doing bad impersonations of famous celebrities. The show was pure cheese, but we loved every minute of it – perhaps because it was cheese, Vegas cheese that is.

Auto collection at Imperial Palace

If you are a car buff you will probably get a kick out of spending an hour in here. Free tickets are commonly found in some of the Vegas publications around town so the cost is certainly not an impediment. The cars in here are actually for sale, but you can’t afford them unless you have a wheelbarrow full of money (put that WSOP win to good use here). Antique Rolls Royces, famous cars from television and movie productions, rare prototypes, this collection has them all here on a floor in the Imperial Palace’s parking garage.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TJ'S BBT Player of the Week

HighOnPoker continues to just win baby, with a victory in the Riverchasers last week. For monthly and overall leaderboard purposes it is very good. For my Player of the Week awards I look more at consistency in any given week, so even though HighOnPoker is thrashing us on the May points standings he is not my Week 12 POW.

Instead that honor goes to heffmike, who final tabled the Riverchasers (6th), Skillz (6th) and Mookie (9th) in Week 12. Three final tables in four events is tough to accomplish, but heffmike has shown an ability to keep himself in the running. He also jumped to second on the overall leaderboard (since eclipsed by QueensUp's Skillz win last night). Plus, he just found out he's having a baby girl! Check his blog for more details. Great week for heffmike, who is TJ'S Player of the Week for Week 12.

Meanwhile, I am on a major cold snap in the BBT. Last night was the worst as I went from chipleader with about 25 left to out in 19th. How do you even do that? Answer = combination of bad play and bad luck. I believe I have gone seven events without making the points, which is probably my longest streak in the BBT. Good timing for that after climbing to the top of the May leaderboard. After HighOnPoker's runner-up finish in the stud event it's a very long way to the top indeed, and now I am looking at up at five or six people. Oh, and did I mention I also will miss the Brit Blogger this Sunday? I don't think ol' TJ will win two monthly awards this time. Now if I can just hold off the challengers for the overall leaderboard...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Looking at the summer tournaments in Vegas

More (I hope) useful info for you regarding the other tournament options in town during the WSOP.

Comparing the summer Vegas tournaments

By Tuscaloosa Johnny Kampis

What is great for us poker players is there has been a sort of arms race in Vegas the last few summers as competing casinos have begun starting their own events, and then as that competition grows they each try to outdo each other with better structures and higher starting stacks. Each summer you get more play for your money. The triple starting stacks at the World Series of Poker this year is a direct result of all of this competition. Just a few years ago you only got 1,500 chips in $1,500 events – now it’s 4,500.

If you are planning your first Vegas trip, or even if you are not, you should keep in mind that there are plenty of other tournament options in Vegas this summer. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each of these events as you consider making the trek away from the Rio through the desert to other poker nirvanas. (I am omitting the annual Orleans Open because it was held early this year and will be completed by the time the WSOP rolls around.)

Bellagio Cup

Pros – Great structures are the norms at all Bellagio events and this one is no different. The Cup is held in the Fontana Lounge with a great view of the famous fountains. Most events are held as the WSOP winds down (this year from July 1-July 16) so players who bust out of the main event can used this as a de facto second chance tournament.

Cons – This isn’t for the weak of bankroll as events start at $1,500 and go up to the $15,000 buy-in main event. The fields here are usually among the toughest in town as the Bellagio is a normal World Poker Tour stop.

Binion’s Poker Open

Pros – This event pretty much runs concurrently with the WSOP and for the most part mirrors the WSOP with 10 percent of the buy-in. For example, what is a $1,500 NLHE event at the WSOP might be $150 buy-in here. The premise when this event was started in 2007 was that players could win money in events here and then take it the next day and play the same type WSOP event. So, in essence, the events are affordable, and could be considered as a sort of satellite. Playing here conjures up ghosts of past World Series of Poker events as you will be playing in the same room in which the WSOP was held for more than two decades. The BPO has a nice mix of events like the WSOP and is even holding a Crazy Pineapple tournament this year.

Cons – It’s downtown, making it out of the way for most poker players in town, especially those staying at the Rio. The structures here aren’t as good as in most of the other events in town.

Caesars Mega Stack Series

Pros – This event is making its return in 2009 after an inaugural foray into the tournament mix last summer. It has some of the best structures in town and is held in the Caesars poker room’s separate tournament area, which is quite spacious. Buy-ins are in the affordable $330, $540 and $1,060 range. The casino is conveniently located at the corner of The Strip and Flamingo Boulevard, making it an easy place in which to access.

Cons – $10,000 is taken out of each prize pool to give the winner a WSOP main event seat, which is going to make final table chops tricky. This could also make it difficult for players who weren’t planning on being in town for the main event who win an event here. The events are nothing but NLHE (granted, this could be a pro in the eyes of some).

Deep Stack Extravaganza

Pros – Like Binion’s event, this one runs concurrent with the WSOP (May 28-July 16 to be exact). The structures here are probably the best in town as it’s not called the Deep Stack for nothing. The Venetian poker room is among the most spacious and comfortable of its kind in Vegas. Events are mostly budget conscious with buy-ins of $330 and $550, but also consider the more affluent players with $1,070 and $2,100 buy-ins and a $5,000 main event to cap the series. Lots of satellites are available to win the ever cool octagonal lammers. The Venetian is located mid-Strip, also making it easy to access.

Cons – Like the Caesars series there is little variety here. The DSE will hold one event each of HORSE, O8 and PLO. Otherwise, it’s all NLHE all the time.

The Grand Poker Series

Pros – The variety here is the strongest of all the summer series with a HORSE here and an O8 there. The Golden Nugget is definitely the place to go for variety. Buy-ins are all in the $225 to $330 range except for the $1,080 main event. The Grand convention room is among the most spacious tournament venues and is quite comfortable. The Nugget will also run several daily NLHE tournaments called “bankroll builders.” Howard and Suzie Lederer are hosting an open charity event on July 1 that will feature a number of pros and celebrities.

Cons – The GN is also downtown, making it a more difficult trip than the Strip properties (although a cab is never far away).

World Series of Poker

Pros – Obviously, this is the big one. This is the horse that drives the poker machine in Vegas in the summer. With a great variety of events and buy-ins and no shortage of satellites, the WSOP provides numerous options for players. Cash games are abundant and full of little fishies. If you are a novice or pro wannabe this is the place you are going to be star struck watching your poker heroes in action.

Cons – The Rio is a labyrinth. If you get lost we will send out a search party. Most of the food is overpriced and WSOP comps in cash games are non-existent. The fields here are huge, so winning an event is very, very difficult, but if you do…

(end of article)

Personally, I'll be playing lots of these non-WSOP events this year. My bankroll has been a bit on the weak side this spring as I have not fared particularly well at the tables the first four months of 2009 (although things have been looking up some this month). I've put together a tentative schedule for my Vegas stay with multiple options on some days.

Date Event
June 23 Venetian $330 NLHE or Binion's $150 NLHE
June 24 Binion's $200 HORSE
June 25 Bloggerpalooza
June 26 Golden Nugget $230 HORSE or WSOP $1,500 LHE Shootout
June 27 Golden Nugget $230 Omaha Hi-Lo or WSOP $1,500 NLHE
June 28 Binion's $150 NLHE
June 29 Showing my parents around town
June 30 Binion's $150 Omaha Hi-Lo
July 1 Venetian $300 NLHE
July 2 Golden Nugget $225 NLHE or time with folks

I'm skipping Caesars entirely because of the $10,000 main event seat provision. This year I plan to leave around the time it starts so it does me no good. Several years ago I took a cross country road trip with my parents, brother and uncle and we spent about half a day in Vegas. My mom always wanted to go back so I convinced them this was the summer to do it with rates as cheap as they are. They will be here June 29-July 3 so I'll have to spend some time showing them around. I've been doing a lot of research to find out where they can get free slot play and the like for player's club sign-ups so they can get the most bang for their buck.

Anyway, that is my tentative schedule, crafted so I can get the most bang for my (few) bucks. I always like variety and you can see that in the events I plan to enter. Considering what I'm playing this summer I'm not likely to strike it rich, but if I can bring home a good month's wage I will be happy enough with the results.

Catching up...Vegas songs for your iPod

Got a backload of posts to make (including POW for last week) so let's get started...

Made a top 10 list of songs to get you in the mood for Vegas to put on your iPod. Gave this one to Al for FTP, but not sure he wants this one. Here it is at Poker Nation if it is of any use to you:

Vegas playlist for your iPod

By "Tuscaloosa" Johnny Kampis

The World Series of Poker is only days away. You’re beginning to pack your bags (don’t forget the sunscreen) and have printed your boarding passes at home. Before you hop on that plane remember to load up your iPod with all of your favorite tunes. In fact, to get you in the mood for your stay in the glitz and glamour of Sin City I’ve compiled my top ten list of Vegas themed tunes you may want to add to your playlist. Some of these have become unofficial Vegas anthems more due to the singer (Elvis, Sinatra, et al.) or the big band aspect than the subject matter, but all should get you pumped for the trip at 40,000 feet.

10. Big Spender – Peggy Lee

Lee recorded this song in 1966, after it had already become a hit on the musical “Sweet Charity.” Imagine yourself walking through the Rio with your fat bankroll and women dripping off your arm as you listen to this one. Another interesting tidbit about this tune is that it was the song the character Ellen Griswold dances to naked in the bathroom in “European Vacation” that later causes her grief when the videotape recorded by her husband, Clark Griswold, is accidentally lost and later shown to audiences in Europe.

9. Burning Love – Elvis Presley

Released in 1972, in the thick of the fat Elvis Vegas years, this was one of the few rock songs in the later part of his career and his last Top 40 hit. Receiving much play in the Las Vegas Hilton showroom during his performances there, “Burning Love” is another Sin City regular.

8. I Get a Kick Out of You – Frank Sinatra

An example of a song on the list that is more about the man than the message. The song itself does not have any Vegas or gambling references, but Ol’ Blue Eyes was a staple on the Strip for years as part of the Rat Pack. You could fill this slot with many Sinatra songs, and I listed a couple of them in the honorable mention selections below.

7. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley

Appealing to the romantic side, this one is a staple of many a romantic movie set in Vegas. I think of all the little wedding chapels between the Strip and Downtown when I hear this one, not to mention that I fell in love with my own future wife long distance while here in the summer of 2006.

6. A Little Less Conversation – Elvis Presley

It seems since the television show “Las Vegas” used this as its intro music that this song often pops up in Vegas themed productions. In a town that’s all about action this song fits. Elvis could be saying just shut up and roll the dice.

5. A Game of Poker – Nelson Riddle

Riddle worked extensively with the Rat Pack over the years, including conducting the scores of their motion pictures “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Robin and the 7 Hoods”. He wrote arrangements for numerous Sinatra songs, as well. Listen to this full orchestral arrangement tune and imagine sitting at the poker table in the 60s with Sammy Davis Jr. on your right and Joey Bishop on your left.

4. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley

Finally, we have a song that actually mentions Vegas – in the title! Written and performed for the 1964 film of the same name, this catchy song says “the bright lights are going to set my soul on fire. Gotta whole lotta money that’s ready to burn so get those stakes up higher.”

3. Danke Schoen – Wayne Newton

No Vegas list would be complete without Wayne Newton, and this is his most famous work. Meaning “thank you” in German, “Danke Schoen” is a staple of Mr. Vegas. Listen to it and imagine how many times he has sung this one in the various Vegas showrooms over the last several decades since he first recorded it in 1963.

2. Ain’t That a Kick in the Head – Dean Martin

You almost never watch a movie set in Vegas without hearing this one, from another Rat Pack member. Again, it doesn’t reference Vegas yet it has become another unofficial Vegas anthem. Martin sang it in the original “Ocean’s Eleven” and Nelson Riddle (see number five) conducted the background orchestra.

1. Luck Be a Lady – Frank Sinatra

A great gambler’s lament. Sinatra sings about how both luck at the tables and luck with the ladies is a fickle thing. How true it is. Backed up by a full orchestra, this song is the quintessential Vegas song. Sammy Davis Jr. also recorded a faster version, but this one is best.

Honorable Mention – Wear My Ring Around Your Neck and Good Luck Charm by Elvis, The Lady is a Tramp and I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Sinatra, Who’s Got the Action by Dean Martin and I’m Shooting High by Nat King Cole.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Let's talk Vegas meetups Part 3

So on the 25th...CK can use her insider IP connections to get a mixed game rolling there followed later by bowling at the Gold Coast. Anyone up for a little dinner before the mixed game?

Maybe dinner at 5 p.m., mixed game around 6-6:30, bowling 10-11? Thoughts? Who is in? Is this too much packed into one night? My thoughts are that it is harder to get several folks together on multiple occasions than on one night, but maybe it would be better to spread it out?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dream Team Poker, meet the World Series of Poker

Media release from the Harrah's brass today:


Team-Based Event to be played during final days of 40TH Annual WSOP

BEVERLY HILLS & LAS VEGAS, MAY 19, 2009: Dream Team PokerTM has taken the industry by storm in the few short months since their inaugural event. Giving team-based poker validation with their successful structure, Dream Team Poker will host a tournament at the 2009 World Series of Poker®. The event will be held at the Rio® All-Suite Hotel & Casino from July 12-13, 2009 with the buy-in of $500 + $60 per player ($1,680 per team). The first 300 teams that pre-register on will receive personalized jerseys for the tournament.

“After seeing the terrific response to the recent Dream Team Poker tournaments in Las Vegas, we thought a team-based event would be a fun addition to the end of the WSOP,” said Jeffrey Pollack, WSOP Commissioner. “The Dream Team Poker event is one of the many new elements added in 2009 that will help make this summer a memorable one for all WSOP players and fans.”

Dream Team Poker has quickly gained traction and saw significant growth in the past six months alone. The speed of progression that Dream Team Poker experienced can be attributed to the two successful events held in November 2008 and March 2009. The invitation-only opening event was sold-out within weeks and was attended by top pros and celebrities. The most recent event at Caesars Palace garnered record attention from the media, professionals and average players, who turned out by the dozens to play. The tournament sold out the Caesars poker room with 148 teams and 444 players.

“The WSOP and the Rio have really shown their commitment to the players in continuing to innovate and try new concepts,” said Daniel Delshad, CEO of Dream Team Gaming. “Bringing our brand to the Rio during the WSOP and onto the most hollowed ground in the sport is a powerful way to introduce Dream Team Poker to the world.”

Dream Team Poker has added a new dimension to the poker industry with their patent-pending team-based tournament structure. It brings a new layer of competition and strategy to the game of poker while providing team-based and individual prize pools for the players.

Dream Team Poker will have a booth outside of the Amazon Room throughout the World Series of Poker. Staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the tournament and to explain the rules and structure.

Let's talk Vegas meetups Part 2

I think we have a motion the floor from QueensUp for bowling at the Gold Coast the night of the 25th. I tentatively have penciled in that day to play the $150 LHE event at Binion's as there is little going on the 25th I can afford to play in, and am not concerned if I play it or not. I'd probably be at the final table or out by late night anyway I figure...

So who is up for bowling the night of the 25th? Mixed games at the Venetian either earlier in the evening or on the 26th? Maybe BWoP, whose SSN is 123-45-6789, can get us a table with her connections.

Congrats, by the way, to HighOnPoker for yet another win last night. Three wins in seven events played in May? Inconceivable! I was at the Coldplay concert in Birmingham last night. It was awesome! They played for a couple of hours, about 25 to 30 songs, most all the big hits and practically all songs off Viva La Vida. They also covered "I'm a Believer" and we all got a free live CD on the way out that included a couple of previously unrecorded Coldplay songs.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Let's talk Vegas meetups

It's too bad that all of us who might like to meet each other aren't going to be in Vegas at the same time, but with a seven-week WSOP and people having J-O-B-S that's just the way it is going to be. So this being my blog all I can worry about are those people who are going to be in Vegas the same time as myself, which is June 22-July 3.

I would like to propose a gathering around June 25 or June 26. Obviously, any blogger who is working the Series will be around then, and QueensUp and SmBoatDrinks are a couple of bloggers who plan to be there around this time (perhaps lightning too?). We could meet one of those nights (or both!) for bowling at the Gold Coast, mixed silly game at Venetian/Caesars/MGM/etc., electronic action at the Excalibur, drinks at the hooker bar at the Rio, whatever...

Share your thoughts, please, or alternative dates if you wish...

Friday, May 15, 2009

TJ'S BBT Player of the Week

Really, I did not create the Player of the Week award so I could vigorously pat myself on the back, but, well, here we go again.

For the week I made the points three times, with two final tables -- a third in Brit Blogger and fifth in Skillz. The 17th place finish in the Mookie was just enough to squeak into the points and take a slight lead over qrs1 for the May leaderboard at the halfway point of the month. I was actually as proud of that finish as just about any final table I've had. It seemed nothing was going right for me in that thing early (including getting one outted on the river), but then I pushed in with A2 after several limpers and was called by AQ and sucked out. The sucking out I'm not proud of, but I was able to maintain my stack with no good hands and somehow make the top 25 percent. By all accounts I had no business being there.

TJ's BBT Player of the Week for Week 11? TJ!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Planning your summer Vegas trip

Thanks to the kind comments regarding the BBT. I am on quite the heater the last three weeks. May it please continue!

Here is an updated guide to Vegas planning for 2009. You can't beat the deals this year. The following can also be read at FTP's Blogger from the Rail.

Whether you are a Vegas virgin considering your first trip to Sin City or a grizzled WSOP veteran preparing for yet another six to seven-week slough at the Rio you should find some useful information in my guide to planning your trip to Vegas and the WSOP.

Below are some helpful hints that I hope will enable you to save time and/or money as you make your Vegas planning for June and July. This is the best year since I’ve been regularly traveling in the summer for the WSOP for vacation discounts in Vegas.

Keep checking back here at Full Tilt Poker’s Bloggers from the Rail in the coming weeks in the run-up to the granddaddy of poker tournaments as I bring you a series of articles highlighting the ins and outs of summer in Vegas, from WSOP orientation, to the must see sights, and the other tournaments in town you may want to consider during your stay.


Step one is deciding on how to get there. For most of us that means airlines. Reports are that average airfares are down 10 to 20 percent from last summer, thanks to the slumping economy and dropping gas prices. A quick look through the various online travel sites proves that theory out as many cross country flights can be had on many summer days for as low as $200-$250 round trip to Vegas.

There are ways to save even more on airfare. First, go to and download its Ding program. This will allow you to view Southwest’s daily specials for the departure cities of your choosing. For example, from my home airport of Birmingham, Southwest’s roundtrip fares to Vegas generally run $250-$300 with fees included, but occasionally on Ding those same fares drop to around $200 for the same flights.

The other recommendation I have is to bookmark the site You can search a city and find some really good daily or weekly deals that pop up from time to time, or view the top 50 cheap fares on any given day. Sign up with your email and get daily alerts from the site. In recent months, users got wind of a ridiculous $14 fare on Jet Blue from New York to San Francisco so this site could be well worth your time.


Never have I seen room rates in Vegas this cheap. It truly is a bonanza on lodging there this summer as rates are down 30 percent or more at many properties. I found a ridiculous deal through Orbitz in which I paid less than $300 to stay on three and four-star Harrah’s owned mid-Strip properties for 11 nights in June and July.

Here is that deal: You can use the promo code 4ODWR75 to get $75 off a four-night weekday stay (Sunday through Thursday or Monday through Friday). This is some collaboration between Orbitz and Office Depot. In addition, on Orbitz there is a separate promotion at Harrah’s properties that allows you to receive a fourth night free with a three-night stay. I booked the Flamingo June 22-June 26 for $57 and Bally’s June 29-July 3 for $88 using the combined promotions. I sandwiched the Imperial Palace in between with no weekend discount for $152 for three nights. Total: $297.

Deals like this can be found by scouring popular travel discussion forums. I found this deal while looking at the popular 2 + 2 poker forums. (The poster had used the Office Depot promo to book the El Cortez for $12 for four nights.) Try these sites to find deals that may pop up over the next couple of months:,, and

Another thing to consider before booking your room is the hotel’s location and your transportation situation. If you plan to rent a car then location within a few miles of Rio and the Strip is fine. If you plan to taxi it, then staying any farther than mid-Strip can be cost prohibitive. If you stay at the Rio you are obviously set for travel to the WSOP. The same is true for the Gold Coast, which is next door, and the Palms, which is about a quarter mile west of the Rio on Flamingo.

Cheaper rates for rooms can be found Downtown, but other than the Golden Nugget most properties are of the two-star variety. Also, aside from the Nugget and Binion’s (both of which are running nice summer poker tournament series – more about that in a future article), there are no other good poker rooms Downtown so you will often be traveling to the Rio or the Strip for the juicy poker action. If you rent a car this isn’t much of an issue, but is a major consideration if you are not.


You have several options for getting around: taxis, rental cars, buses and hoofing it (NOT recommended, unless in moderation). Let’s look at each in turn.

If you come into town with a fat roll then you can probably afford cabs around town. From much of the Strip to the Rio will cost you around $10-$12 one way. From Downtown to the Rio is about $15-$20. If you plan a lengthy stay the fares will certainly add up.

Alternatively, you can rent a car. Rates are rather reasonable in Las Vegas, as an economy car will only set you back about $25-$30 a day, and having a car will give you a ton of freedom in exploring all parts of the city and beyond. I highly recommend this option.

A third choice is taking the city buses. Fares on the Deuce, the double decker buses that run up and down the Strip and to Downtown are $3 for one ride. A daily pass is available for $7, as is a three-day pass for $15. You can also use these buses to ride from the Strip to the Rio. There are two major negatives to bus travel: one, you have to hoof it to the bus stops, which might be a fair hike, and two, travel by bus is very slow. It can take more than an hour to get from Downtown to the Rio by riding a bus to Caesars Palace, getting off and walking around the corner to the Flamingo stop to get on a second bus to the Rio, for example.

I should also note that there is a free shuttle bus that Harrah’s runs from its namesake Harrah’s casino on the Strip to the Rio and back, which is a viable and obviously very cheap option to travel between the Strip and the Rio. At Harrah’s you board the bus at the bottom of the parking garage and at the Rio you board just outside the buffet entrance, which is to the left from the front of the casino.

Lastly, we have hoofing it. Vegas in the summer is not a pleasant time to spend walking around in the sun as the thermostat pretty well stays above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and above 90 degrees at night. Granted, the lack of humidity makes conditions more comfortable than they would be at the same temperatures in my neck of the woods in Alabama, but you still feel like your ears and nose are baking in an oven. The distance from Caesars Palace to the Rio may look deceptively shorter than it is – it’s about a mile in reality. I’ve walked it a couple of times during the day and night and I wouldn’t recommend either. At day you bake as the sun shines off the sidewalk and asphalt and at night you worry you’re likely to get robbed as the walk is pretty isolated (because people have enough sense not to try it!) If you plan to do some casino hopping on foot pace yourself by frequently stopping into the highly air conditioned properties on the Strip and hydrate yourself often.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

TJ'S BBT Player of the Week(s) and Mookie win

I realized I did not give out an award for last week as I prepared to decide who would get it this week (an easy decision it turns out). There were no clear dominant players in Week 9, the last seven-day stretch of April. Unless I am overlooking names on my results sheet I am the only player to make two final tables, finishing eighth in Skills and fourth in the Mookie. Given that I was trying to protect my monthly points lead also yields extra brownie points, like it did Queens Up the last week of March. Therefore, I once again give the award to myself for Week 9, going back to back.

It was not a three-peat, however, as a new dominant force emerged in May. Qrs1 (who apparently is CK's ringer. By the way, CK's real name is Xxxxxx Yyyyyy) finished in the top 10 three times in Week 10, winning the Riverchasers on Monday and almost repeating in the Mookie last night. For this fiery start to May, qrs1 is TJ's BBT Player of the Week for Week 10.

My week turned out almost as good. I managed a third in the Brit Blogger and somehow pulled out the win in the Mookie last night. I won at least two key races, one a sick one with A-K versus Q-Q on a board of 2s-Q-4s-9-Ts when we got it all-in preflop. Qrs1 was domainating the final table before jimdniacc doubled through him and then I gathered most of the chips (my short-term memory does not enable me to remember the hands). When jim and I got HU I had about a 2-to-1 chip lead. On the final hand, he raised and I called with A-6. After a flop of 8-A-8 I check-raised all-in. He thought and called with A-2 and I thought a chop was imminent. When the turn and river came 5-4 I was wondering why I got the whole pot and noticed that by some miracle my kicker played.

If qrs1 had won last night it wouldn't even be a race for May so thank me for keeping it competitive. ;) I figure when the standings are updated qrs1 will have a little shy of 300 points, with me about 50 points behind. I'll have to make every tourney count if I am going to go back to back as I should miss at least three events this month.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Calling all Vegas bloggers Part 2

Instead of adding to the existing post that will continue to sink further to the bottom of the blog I will just keep making a new one as we discuss summer travel plans. Here are travel schedules as I know them:

CEMfromMD 6/11-6/14
Shabazz Jenkins 6/17-6/22
lightning36 6/18-6/24 (tentative)
Me 6/22-7/3
QueensUp 6/25-7/1

And among those in Vegas for the duration of the WSOP include: LJ, Al, Otis, Pauly, Dan M., CK, F-Train, Change100...

The third week of June appears to be a sweet spot for meetups. Thoughts? Places? Dates?

Be sure to take advantage of the deal listed below here and extend your stay if you can.

If you're going to Vegas you absolutely NEED to read this

Now there are deals and then there are DEALS. I was wandering the 2 + 2 forums Sunday afternoon during the Brit Blogger tournament and ran across a post on cheap WSOP accommodations. But boy I did not realize how cheap.

The guy who wrote the post booked a room during the week at the El Cortez for four nights, paying a grand total of $12. Of course, not everyone enjoys a hotel the caliber of that downtown clunker so I did a little research. It turns out the $75 off your stay promotional code the guy listed can be applied to most Vegas properties. In addition, it seems that all Harrah's properties have a deal on Orbitz where you can book three nights during the week and get a fourth for free.

Here is what I booked:
Flamingo: Monday, June 22-Friday, June 26 -- COST $57
Imperial Palace: Friday, June 26-Monday, June 29 -- COST $152 (no discounts for the weekend, but still a heck of a price for a mid-Strip property)
Bally's: Monday, 29-Friday, July 3 -- COST $88

In total that's 11 nights on mid-Strip properties of three and four-star quality for a grand total of $297!

The promo code is 4ODWR75 and is some deal with Orbitz and Office Depot. It's good from June through part of August so is valid during the week for the duration of the WSOP. If you haven't made your WSOP travel plans or have the ability to change them I would certainly recommend you take advantage of this one as it could be the best discounts in Vegas you will ever see.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Calling all Vegas traveling bloggers!

Please use the comments under this post to post your travel dates and plans. Let's discuss our schedules so we can plan a get-together during our time in Vegas this summer...

I still haven't set my exact plan, but I'm looking in the time frame of the last week of June and first of July, probably going and coming sometime between Father's Day and Indpendence Day.