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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.

Live updates: Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace Mega Stack Series, $225 event. Starts 8pm UK time.

Suite. Dude.

My first ever comped suite, at the Rio. 33rd floor of the Masquerade Tower.

The small brown door on the right is actually for a refridgerator, and there’s a coffee maker too.

The Strip view is somewhat obscured by the big-ass television.

The view is best at night when everything is lit up, but it was pretty spectacular at sunrise (and a bit easier to take pictures of through a dirty window too). I have a panoramic view of the mountains, and can see the Strip from half of Caesars to Stratosphere as well as Downtown in the distance.

Unsweet. Dude.

In Philadelphia airport, in a fast food joint I’d never heard of before, which had an impossibly small menu, I was given a choice that I’d never been offered before.

At Chick-Fil-A (I’m still saying it out loud even now, the name bothers me so much) I had the number two combo, which in retrospect I wish I’d ordered by name. It’s a chargrilled chicken sandwich.

The other choices were a not-so-chargrilled chicken sandwich, or chicken nuggets (which I have to assume is the meat from a sandwich chopped into small pieces). That’s it.

When I ordered iced tea for my drink, the lady asked me: "Sweet or unsweet".

I thought my American vocab was getting pretty strong, but is "unsweet" really a word? Unsweetened, sure, but can you just throw "un" in front of any adjective like that and hope it works? I guess they can’t call it "sour" or "bitter" or nobody would drink it, and a burger bar calling a soft drink "dry" would be a little too pretentious. What the hell. I unsweeted right back at her to confirm my choice.

So not only had I never heard that word before, I’ve also never even thought of this before. I don’t know whether iced tea is normally sweetened. I guess it quite possibly is as this one was pretty, err, dry. I’ve definitely never had to make that decision before though.

I watched Supersize Me recently in an attempt to scare me off the diet of fast food that’s going to be all too easy to succumb to when I’m in Vegas by myself for a week.

The film pointed out just how many spoonfuls of sugar there are in every extra large soda, it was like 50 or something stupid, nearly a full bag probably. I’m not a fan of sugary drinks anyway, usually choosing Diet Coke whether or not I care about what I consume on any given day, but I did think that iced tea was another sugar-free option. Now I really don’t know.

Anyway, I’ve made a fairly healthy start to the trip (if you discount the picture above, which was very nice) – I’ve already bought a bunch of bananas for breakfasts!

The over/under on how long it lasts is 2 days.