August 2006
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Red Rock Resort

The signs for Red Rock Casino label it as Red Rock Resort. Which I suppose it is, but it’s location in Summerlin makes it somewhat more utilised as a locals casino than a resort hotel. In fact, it looked like the hotel wasn’t quite finished yet when we went.

The feel of this place is a bit wierd and the vibe is somewhat mixed. The decor puts i somewhere between in-yer-face and over-the-top. It’s feels intensely modern and cool, to appeal to a young locals crowd. But it’s also seems to be trying to compete with the Bellagio or Wynn for elegance. There are some quite horribly excessive chandelier structures over part of the casino, and then you move through to a new section and they’re all gone. So the kids get to gamble over here, whilst the rich folk have this part to feel at home in…

Didn’t stay long, given that one of the reasons for visiting was because it had a cinema, but Superman Returns wasn’t showing and however good Snakes on a Plane might be, it’s title doesn’t do make it sound like making any effort to watch. Claire said there’s a reason Speed wasn’t called “Bomb on a Bus”, and I tend to agree.

Weekends in Vegas suck. Fact.

During the week I had become fairly impressed at just how quickly I was managing to get around town.  When the lights are with me, I can make it from our driveway in Green Valley, five blocks from the Beltway, to pretty much anywhere on the strip or downtown in under 20 minutes.  I caught a break and made it into Caesars, dumped the car in the Colosseum Valet (which is deathly quiet when there are no shows on, and not far from the Poker Room) in not much more than 15, which is pretty damn cool.  Even having to negotiate the World’s Busiest Intersection (it would be, wouldn’t it) I can fly into the Tropicana and walk over the bridge to the MGM or Excalibur (I’m starting to much prefer the latter, on account of the wheel you spin with any four-of-a-kind, or aces cracked.) in next to no time.

Obviously there’s more traffic at weekends.  I’m in the minority of visitors that stay in Vegas for more than 2 days at a time.  During the week, the casinos wish you "enjoy your evening".  As soon as Friday is here, that becomes "enjoy your weekend".  I wish I could, but getting anywhere and doing anything is just a complete nightmare.

Last Saturday I went home early because I failed to park anywhere. I started with the Tropicana, but valet was full and I was decieved by the fact its parking garage has only one level so I wasted too long here looking for a space and ended up back on the crawling strip. From there I tried the MGM but their valet was full, and the only way out after seeing the sign that tells you the bad news is back into the horribly slow queueing traffic. There’s no way to even try to self-park, even if you assume there will still be spaces, once you find out that Valet is full. This week it took a good hour to get as far as being rejected by the Valet parking at Caesars on Friday night, because I’m not a Harrah’s Diamond VIP member.  To get this honour, you have a full year to earn 10,000 Total Reward points, equivalent to total stakes of $50,000 on slot machines or $100,000 on video poker.  Even being this reckless (best case: it costs a theoretical $1000) for the sake of priority parking wouldn’t make the strip traffic move any faster, although I’m sure many Diamond VIPs expect it to.

About half an hour was spent in a queue to turn off Flamingo Road, which has the World’s Longest Intersection Signal Sequence (as determined by me, but unofficial), and only allows two cars to turn left onto the Strip every ten minutes.  This also gave me plenty of time to fume about the unnecessary punctuation on the road sign indicating "Caesar’s Palace" for a new dropoff only zone, clearly no use to me when driving on my own.  The missing apostrophe has been the World’s Most Famous Grammar Error for 40 years – why change it now?

So having to actually park my own car (god forbid) I fight my way up to the top floor of the garage and finally get in a space.  Then it’s down four floors in one elevator, and three more in another.  This makes no sense.  Plus, the second one is full of people leaving the Celine Dion show, and I wait for ten minutes without seeing a single down elevator with room for a person in it.  Parking my own car, and having to use the stairs – what on earth is this town coming to?

Some old bird

A lady sat down next to me at a $2/$4 game the Treasure Island. I could see the name on her player’s card was Jennifer Wrenn and she was clearly with a man who was playing in the same game a few seats away.

I really wanted to ask if they were married and he insisted she take his name, or if her parents had just been exceptionally cruel.

I didn’t dare ask though. Sorry.

My hump. My hump my hump. Check it out.

I have to get over this hump of coming close and not cashing. Tonight I’m out 18th in the Caesars 11pm tourney. There’s 84 in and 10 get paid. I lose with KK all in preflop against AJ. A few nights ago in the same tournament I finished 14th. I was 3 places off at the Strat, and 5th in a stupidly fast sit-and-go, if that counts. I’ve decided to avoid SNGs for the sake of sanity for the rest of this trip.

Seems I’m constantly coming close but not quite getting there and one pot would usually make the difference. I figure that means I’m doing OK, just not doing great. I’m surviving long enough and progressing deep enough that I have some decent equity in the tournament just before things start to go random. When the crapshoots start going my way I’ll be smiling, but it always seems to come down to me either having to make a move with a mediocre hand or falling victim to someone else who has to play non-premium cards and gamble.

I need the confidence boost of a money finish though now, plus it would help me justify buying into the tournaments I want to play at the Mirage and Wynn…

Is he English?

Michael Binger raises to $1,100,000 from the cutoff, Jamie Gold calls from the button and Allen Cunningham moves all in for $6,500,000 from the big blind. Binger folds an Gold makes the call. Cunningham shows 1010 and Gold turns over KJ. The board comes AK873 and Allen Cunningham has been eliminated in 4th place.

I heard this in the car just now driving home, and it made me think of England. Aww..

Global Uselessness?

“HSBC’s international network comprises over 9,500 offices in 76 countries and territories across the world”.

However it turns out that nobody actually knows how their online payment processing service works.

Their system uses a local client program to encode the credit card information before it is sent to their payment server. The programs are sent as precompiled binaries, however I could not get the Linux versions to run properly on any of our servers.

Here’s the response to my request for assistance.

Our system is not tested on Fedora Core version of Linux. So, I am not sure whether it would work or not.

Unfortunately, we do not have any technical contact who can help you with this.

So I guess that’s that.

Don’t be bringing small children into my casino…

… or I will make sure they can’t sleep tonight, says Harrah’s Entertainment.

How freaking scary is this thing, at the Rio’s Masquerade in the Sky show? You have to see the eyes move for the full horror, but it’s still pretty grotesque in this snapshot.


Smallest game in town?

I think I have discovered, accidentally, the smallest poker game in town. Certainly the smallest on the strip. At the Excalibur, I put myself on a list for a $2/$4 game and I was given the option of a $1-$3 spread limit game whilst I waited. This is just ridiculously cheap. There’s just one $1 blind each hand, and everyone usually seemed happy to just limp in for a dollar and see what happened. When I did play a hand and check-raised $2 up to $5 I could feel the daggers.

I’ve only played spread limit once before, and it was the first time I played Hold’em in Vegas. That was a $1-$5 game at the Sahara, at a time when only about 3 strip casinos has poker rooms. I don’t really know the strategy, but I suspected I should treat the game like $3/$6 but without the big bets on the turn and river. That means that raising the flop for a free card is pointless and there’s never any need to slowplay the flop in order to win bigger bets on later streets. Whereas the equally odd $3-$6-$9 game at Sunset Station would have been all about winning those big river bets.

It’s amazing that such a small game exists, but I can’t understand how it can be worth the casino’s effort. I saw plenty of $5 and $6 pots getting checked to a showdown, with just a 50c rake being taken out.

911 Emergency!

I called 911 today. There’s something you can’t do at home.

Well it’s not that exciting really. There was a car on fire in the Cannery parking garage just as we were leaving, and a guy running with a fire extinguisher asked if I had a cellphone. I obliged, and then we left. On the way out we saw a fire truck pulling out of North Las Vegas Fire Station #52 just around the corner. That sounds like a lot of fire stations to me.

We were only at the Cannery to exploit a couple of matchplay coupons and we lost them both. The dealer was miserable as hell too. This was part of a coupon spree around North Las Vegas, which we began at the Wildfire with two completely free burgers and $15 in free slot play. We finished at the Speedway which must be the only casino left in town that has video poker machines that actually take quarters and pay out your winnings in coin. This alone made it worth sticking around long enough to earn 300 slot points so that we can go back any time this week now and spin a wheel for free money.

The Speedway is a bit of an oddity. It’s not really a neighbourhood casino, more of a truck stop right next to a ramp off the I-15. There’s plenty of parking for big rigs and a gas station, but they still have a slot club and free live entertainment. Sadly we were just leaving as the Mexican lounge band started to play.

World’s largest…

World’s largest picture of Tony Braxton on the side of a building.