Still poker obsessed on Thursday

Thursday, I managed to get up early and head to Luxor for their low stakes poker tournament. It’s a noon tourney, but I got there early because it does fill up. Four tables of nine limits it to 36 players. I believe the buy-in was $25… and I won $37, netting me $12.

As poker tournaments go, this one has players of limited skill. There were a bunch of players who needed instruction on what to do next.

Meanwhile, before playing, I had enough time to take the tram from Luxor to Mandalay Bay. There was plenty of sunshine and hot temperatures. Sunshine is good for picture taking, so I shot off some more photos before heading to play.

Some casino hotels have beautiful design. Everything seems to be properly placed. I like Mirage for that reason. On the other hand, when I was in The Aladin, there were casino areas that seemed to be afterthoughts at best. Excalibur looks good from the outside, but like a dump from the inside (as if they decided ‘no maintenance’ after it was built). Luxor is another properly designed hotel. And, the theme nature is really reinforced with the Egyptian ‘artifacts’ that frame the public areas.

This was going to be our walking day. so, as the temperature climbed to the mid-teens, we walked the Strip. You know what? As much as I enjoy the heat in Las Vegas, you can find days that are incredibly stressful. Yes, carrying a bottle of water helps, but 110+ (and in the sun it’s even hotter) is everything you’d expect it to be and should be respected.

Thursday evening, we went to see Rita Rudner. She’s now the house act at NY, NY. I had seen her in an astoundingly small, and hazardously overcrowded room at The MGM Grand a few years ago. Helaine had seen her more recently, when she and steffie went to Las Vegas. She is very funny and works clean!

She says, now that she and her husband have adopted a baby, working in Las Vegas allows her to have a ‘normal’ family life without all the traveling. A few years ago I heard Danny Gans say the same thing.

Finishing the night

Went back downstairs and played some poker. Didn’t do well.

Helaine played blackjack. She did very well.

While I was visiting Helaine’s table the talk turned to food available in the high stakes Baccarat room, which we weren’t in. I guess it’s quite the feast. And, we also talked about the hookers around the bar which is in the core of the casino. I went and looked. You know what, they’re there… or there are a lot of single female guests dressed like hookers.

Went to bed around 3:00 am

Our night with Carrot Top

A few months ago, while we were still in Connecticut, Helaine ordered our tickets to see Carrot Top. With the alignment of the MGM, Mirage, Treasure Island, etc., it’s now easier to physically get show tickets without leaving your hotel. So, we got our tickets for tonight’s show yesterday.

This is unusual but Helaine was willing to pose for pictures… twice.

Helaine had also received a pretty good invitation from MGM Grand. Come and stay, get $75 in chips and $75 in food credit. But, the trick was, you had to stay. Tonight, she convinced the person in charge of the chips that staying at Mirage was good enough. The food folks didn’t agree. Still, we were at MGM with $75 in chips… and I quickly turned that into $100 in cash.

Dinner was at their coffee shop. Very nice. Helaine had a grilled ham and cheese. I had a cheeseburger. $23 for the two of us, plus $5 for Ignacio.

The MGM is immense, and to me, a little confusing and impersonal. I’m sure it gets a little more understandable if you stay there. And, it being MGM, there are lions.

Helaine wanted to see what had happened to the theater that had housed Rick Springfield in EFX. The entrance is now hidden by one of the false walls they use to hide empty stores at the mall. The EFX slot machines are still there. I wonder if anyone has realized?

Driving around MGM, it has always seemed to me that this complex was designed by people who did architecture at studios. It has that kind of feel. A bit inappropriate and sterile. And, there are speed bumps everywhere. I hate speed bumps.

Carrot Top was great. He is very funny. Works almost entirely with props and sound cues. He has to be very precise and tight to really hit the sound properly and preserve his comedic timing. He carries it off well. Helaine said he appeared shirtless at the end of the act to show off his body, which he obviously works hard to get in shape. I know he looks like a skinny dweeb on TV, but he is really cut.

On the way back to Mirage, Helaine suggested I take a photo of the Harmon street sign, because Steffie has some sort of affection for Harmon. Fine. I’ve photographed everything else. Why not?

Finally, from the what are they thinking department… there just isn’t enough sub-$5 prime rib in the world to get me into the San Remo. Honest.

Finally, a win

While Helaine went shopping at The Venetian (not as nice as Caesers she says), I sat and played poker. It was $6-12 Hold’em. A fun, nice table. Nice people. And, I won $41.

We played a few slot machines earlier. Everything is based on a pre-existing concept. A TV show, a movie, a star. They’re all similar but different.

It should be noted, considering the slot machines now in use in casinos, it’s nerds, geeks and code smiths who are changing the way Las Vegas runs. Everything’s as much a video game or video presentation as a slot machine.

Red Rock Canyon – It’s Tuesday

Considering this is Las Vegas, we got up early… before 9:00 am. Helaine had read about Red Rock Canyon and, since it would get close to 110f today, we figured that was an early outdoor trip (being that we’d leave Las Vegas and head to where it was a little warmer, with no shade).

There’s a coffee stand downstairs at The Mirage, and while I took a shower, Helaine got me coffee and a muffin large enough to have been baked at a nuclear storage facility… and the NY Times. It’s a shame about the reporter there who scammed the paper recently. In spite of that, access to the NY Times is a very good start to my day. It is the paper of record.

We went down to valet parking to get our vehicle, a small SUV. Helaine already had directions to go but she wanted me to double check with the valet, and he said we weren’t going the best way. He was wrong, but we followed his directions (and came home the right way). It should be noted, since we’re not on a schedule, and we like looking around, going out of our way is fine.

Driving down Las Vegas Blvd to Charleston allowed me to see “the cloud” going up in front of The Fashion Show Mall. Very, very weird to say the least.

It’s difficult to explain Red Rock Canyon except it’s a bit under 20 miles from the city, desolate and beautiful. From some of my classes at MSU I should have a better understanding of how it got to be the way it is. I’m pondering that.

You pass through all sorts of civilization and then… nothing. You’re in the desert. A few signs and you’re on BLM land. Past a cattle grate (an area of the road set up to prevent animals from getting out) and you’re ready to turn off onto the scenic loop.

It’s a one way road, through the canyon. It looks like it used to be two way and since it’s narrow and winds, I can imagine the accidents they must have had.

On the way back we stopped at The Palms. In a masterstroke of marketing, this off-Strip hotel allowed itself to be used as the setting for MTV’s Real World. The rest, as they say, is history. It is considered hip and cool. The daytime crowd was not young by any means. We stopped to get a little something (which I can’t mention here) for Steffie. I played slots and lost a few bucks.

Back to Mirage and while Helaine played, I tried to do tech support for my friend Farrell, who has just installed a cable modem. No go, yet.

Tonight, we see Carrott Top. If you’ve only seen his 1-800-DialATT commercials, you don’t know what he’s about.

Las Vegas Weather

Almost forgot that this link gets you current Las Vegas weather conditions. It’s midnight and we’re at 92 degrees!