June 2008
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I’ll take a packed lunch next time

I’d decided that I’d try out a few different at-table dining services at various poker rooms on this trip, to compare and contrast. However, after eating during the tournament at Caesars, I’ve changed my mind.

I know I caught them on a bad day – there were 605 runners, the most so far in this series and so many that they had to turn players away from the 3pm tournament because there were no more tables – but the service was terrible. Either the room was understaffed or the staff were overwhelmed.

I waited 50 minutes for my $16 burger, which would have been nothing special even if it was hot. It was luke warm by the time it arrived but I was so hungry by then I didn’t want to wait the best part of another hour to get it fixed.

Cocktail waitresses were also an endangered species. From the moment I ordered my food, realising that I was going to need a drink, until I’d finished eating I didn’t see a single one. Not what I’ve come to expect from Caesars at all.

Not to mention that it was only once I’d ordered my food that I began the downhill slide towards destruction. Eating at the table is clearly just bad luck.

In fact, nothing particularly interesting happened – I just couldn’t win the pots that mattered.

In the end, I pushed in early position with AQ and got an instant call from 88. He only just covered me, but this was more than likely a spite call from a gobshite who had tried desperately to get me to tell him what I had in an earlier hand that he bet me off and I couldn’t think of a convincing lie so I basically told him to fuck off. "Sorry, I can’t remember". Sounds much better what Matt Damon says it…

Before that I’d lost a chunk with AK vs AQ. Not all-in pre-flop this time, I’d raised one early limper and got an immediate call from the player to my left. Flop: 678 and we both checked. I only had a little more than the pot left, and I wasn’t feeling suicidal. When the turn brought a ten, I thought I could take a small stab (1200 into a 3000 pot) but he called it, spiked a queen on the river and then checked for value. Brilliant.

In the break I decided to find out just how long it takes to walk from Caesars to Bellagio. It’s right next door and there’s a walkway over the road, but getting there and back and finding what you want in 20 minutes is a stretch. I thought it would be.

This isn’t as random as it sounds. I wanted to put a bet on the basketball game but apparently Harrah’s chairman Gary Loveman now has an ownership interest in the Boston Celtics so none of their casinos can take bets on Celtics games. That’s pretty big news for every other sportsbook in town when the they make the NBA finals.

However, here’s the difference between the world’s largest gaming company and a smaller off-strip operator. Since this acquisition, Harrah’s properties can’t take any bets on any Celtics game. However the Palms and the the Silverton – whose owners have stakes in the San Antonio Spurs and the LA Lakers respectively – can’t take bets on any basketball game. Something’s not right there.

Anyway, I wish I hadn’t bothered. I fell asleep during the game, missed the end and the Lakers apparently lost.

Show in the sky, kinda unplugged

As I walked through the Rio, after finally working out where to park without having to walk three miles back to my hotel elevators, I stumbled on the rehearsals for the all new Show in the Sky.

The quality the video is terrible, so I’ve kept it short.

The show was pulled a couple of months ago, revamped and recently re-opened. You can see the full show here.

The version I saw was just the same, except without the floats in the sky (except for the child-scarer, which was hanging motionless in the air), the costumes, stage lighting or much of an audience.

Then at the end, the "Rio advanced warning system" alarm went off.

At first it looked like the siren was part of the show, and I might have thought it was if it wasn’t for the fact the same thing went off in my room at 5am! I’ve never been so glad to be jet-lagged.

About half an hour later it sounded again to say that the first one had been a false alarm.