Vegas March 2014 – Part III: Downtown

part I is here, Part II is here.

Sunday morning I woke up in better shape than the rest of the crew.   Although I could still hear Hardwell’s beats ringing in my ears, I wasn’t especially hungover, perhaps due to my chicken soup gambit from 4am at the TI coffee shop.

Rico and I ambled over to the Venetian where Lou was already grinding in the low-limit hold’em game, and Tubbo and Big Show quickly joined us.    I pushed for breakfast/lunch at the Noodle Shop, explaining to the boys that a hearty Asian soup would make them feel like a million bucks.   Big Show couldn’t handle the heat of the Szechuan Beef (note to self: possibly rephrase that?), but I thought the Noodle Shop was tremendous and will make it a staple of all future visits.

After lunch we walked over to check out The Linq, and see all the renovations done to the IP, O’Sheas, and the neighboring areas.   The Imperial Palace has since become The Quad, of course, but it’s more than a rename and renovation.  Make no mistake – it was massively renovated too, and now looks not-unlike Planet Hollywood, in my opinion.     They changed the entire layout and flow of the place, and O’Sheas is basically now an Irish Pub.   It has a great feel – with dark wood that almost suggests class until you see the beer pong tables.  Regardless, I liked it: I would hang out at O’sheas.

Most importantly, they demolished the bathroom that was formerly in the back of the casino floor that had seared some memories into my mind.   Let me explain:  this is where Big Show and I had, years before, encountered a guy who was so drunk that he just stood there and peed his pants as he muttered to himself “oh no – don’t do that!”   You don’t forget something like that… but The Quad did their best to erase it from memory by erasing it from the building.

I was flummoxed by The Linq, trying to figure out what used to be standing in the spot I was currently standing.   There’s a little outdoor plaza with a cupcake shop, Brooklyn Bowl, and some other stuff, leading down to the giant Ferris wheel.   We ambled into the Flamingo and took over a double deck blackjack table dealt by an old battle-cat who I’ll call Grace.

Grace was a whackadoo, and was obsessively warning us not to spill our drinks on the table.   When Rico handled his cards and even looked like he might think about knocking over his beer, Grace went nuts.  I was sitting in the third base seat, enjoying a Ghurka Obsidian and hooting for monkeys to bust the dealer.   Grace, being a total racist, was offended by the monkey hoots!   I’ve never met a dealer in Vegas who thought that hooting for a face card (MONKEY!!!! HOO HOO HOOOOOO) had anything to do with making fun of black people, but I guess Racist Grace did.   We stuck around for about an hour until Big Show had the opportunity to double after a split and we found out that the Flamingo didn’t allow DAS.   So we picked up, winning a few units,  and continued on our way.

Tubbs had a hoops ticket to cash at the Aria sportsbook before his flight home, so we headed there and then met up with Doc who had a cabana at Liquid, Aria’s dayclub.   Big Show and I were wearing jeans, but I told the bouncer that we just wanted to go say hi for a few minutes, which we did.  We had a drink, then exited in search of more negative EV.

The weather was perfect for walking outside without bursting into flames, so we walked the strip, catching the Bellagio fountain show twice.    Big Show bought a Coke from a guy on the pedestrian bridge between Bellagio and Caesars, and we eventually made it to the friendly confines of the Mirage and dominated a Pai Gow table.

By “dominated,” I mean “got taken to the woodshed” – at least I did.    Dinner at the Mirage buffet may or may not have been a mistake, but in any case: it happened, and after dinner we cabbed it downtown to Fremont Street.   Fremont Street was one big hustle.   Contortionists, singers, meth heads, Fake Tupac, Fake Jack Nicholson, Fake Mr. T, Fake Michael Myers, etc etc etc. We lugged Miller Lite tall boys, and felt right at home.

The Golden Nugget was packed, but we found a friendly table to monopolize at the Golden Gate, and stayed for several hours playing low-limit double deck blackjack.   Big Show went on a heater where he won approximately 19 hands in a row, and stacked up a giant pile of chips.   Our dealer was unfazed when Big Show tucked a blackjack on her.   The Golden Gate has “Girls of the Golden Gate” on all of their chips – a different girl on each chip.   The chips looked brand new, but our dealer said that they were 3 years old and that most of the girls didn’t work there anymore.   We tried in vain to match the faces on the chips to the faces in the pit, but only found 1 girl who was still at the casino.   The best part about the chips is that in almost each and every picture, the girls looked like deer in the headlights.

There was some lower-tier mixed martial arts fight at the Golden Gate that night, and at one point I’m almost positive that I saw cutman Stitch walk past our table.

Eventually we headed back to the TI, taking the scenic route down the deserted late night North Strip, and I succumbed to the overpowering odor of the TI casino floor, heading up to the room “early” for bed.    Do you remember that Smell that used to be in the Venetian?  An overpowering artificial scent designed to – well – I’m not really sure.   Well the Venetian got rid of it, but I think the TI bought their supply, because that smell is at the TI.  It’s so strong that it stings your eyes – a perfumed menagerie that may be designed to cover up the smell of cigarette smoke – who knows.


next up:  Monday: poker!



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