Monday, April 20, 2009

Shamus in Vegas: Episode 1 -- Prelude

Back homeBack home. Landed late Sunday afternoon. Safe, sound. Didn’t want to give those three hours back, but so it goes.

Vera and I had fun Saturday hanging out at the Bellagio in the morning and afternoon. The World Poker Tour World Championship got underway there at noon. That’s the big $25,000 buy-in event that usually brings out all the big names and familiar faces.

And there were several recognizable folks there in the Fontana Room for Day 1a, including Andy Bloch, Erik Seidel, Hoyt Corkins, Mike Sexton, Shane Schleger, Jon “PearlJammer” Turner, Vivek Rajkumar, Joe Sebok, Amnon Filippi, David Chiu, David Williams, Mike Matusow, David “Chino” Rheem, Michael DiMichele, Daniel Alaei, David Grey, Nenad Medic, Isaac Haxton, Doug Lee, John Phan, and Scott Montgomery. Those are just the ones I spotted immediately among what looked like around 150 players or so seated during the first level. Looks like after the second Day 1 they ended up with 337 entrants overall.

We took off in the middle of the afternoon, although I’d come back to the Bellagio later for some interviewing. Meanwhile, Vera had her own stargazing to do over at the Thomas & Mack Center, where she met and got photographed with one of the night’s featured competitors, Steffen Peters. I made it back over to the T&M before the World Cup Dressage Final got underway at seven.

Steffen Peters wins the FEI World Cup Dressage FinalWe had seats up in the second level, but were able to move down to a more choice location in the first level just before the initial ride of the night. Was a good time, with the crowd (and Vera) being especially pleased when the American Peters and his horse Ravel won the World Cup with a huge score of 84.95.

Flight home was a little bumpy during one short stretch, but easy enough overall. I finished The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy, a book that came highly recommended to me. I appreciated what McCarthy was up to, though to be honest I never did connect very well with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Also finished Jim Thompson’s short pulp novel The Criminal (1953), which I liked much better.

Gonna revisit the trip in a few posts this week, I think. In the following manner:

Episode 2 -- What’s Your Plan?

Want to say a few things about my brief session at Binion’s and the Wednesday Poker Discussion Group that followed. The Poker Grump, there with me at the WPDG, has already written some about that meeting here.

Episode 3 -- Food for Thought

On two meals I ate with writers: dinner with some poker bloggers (F-Train, BWoP, Cardgrrl, Poker Grump) on Wednesday night & lunch with a couple of poker authors (Al Schoonmaker and Jim Brier) on Thursday.

Episode 4 -- I Just Want to See What You Have

Here I’ll focus on the only other session I played at the Gold Coast on Thursday. A few interesting hands in there, I think.

Episode 5 -- Finding Yr Calling

Will wrap up with a word or three about my visit to the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV, shooting the breeze Friday afternoon with Pokerati Dan, and Saturday at the Bellagio and the World Cup.

Was a lot of fun, but glad to be back. Stay tuned.

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Anonymous BJ Nemeth said...

How did I not see you at all in the Fontana Lounge on Saturday? Damn ... I was rooted to my computer most of the time, in the back of the room by the doors to the balcony overlooking the fountains.

Sorry we didn't get a chance to say hello on this trip. :( Hope to see you at the WSOP!

4/21/2009 9:32 AM  
Blogger bastinptc said...

Just a few words about McCarthy. "The Road" is a tough book, and may make a lot more sense to a longtime fan of the author than it does to someone new to his work. I would recommend picking up "Suttree" and "Blood Meridian." The former is a damn good read and the latter, IMHO, his masterpiece.

4/21/2009 2:12 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Yea, BJ -- not sure how I missed you. I was in and out of the Fontana several times.

Will def. check out Blood Meridian, bastinptc. I do actually have a pretty high tolerance for experimental-type narratives and in fact tend to like apocalyptic storytelling, but for some reason just couldn't connect with The Road. Will be discussing it with my friend who recommended it, who may shed some further light for me.

4/21/2009 9:50 PM  

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