Monday, July 31, 2006


Well, that about sums up last Wednesday night. In what ultimately turned out to be a rather eye-opening evening, your trusted blonde team decided to temporarily hang up their updating boots, throw back their hair and treat themselves to a long awaited night of fun.

Whilst Jen was livin’ it large at one of Antonio Esfandiari’s fancy parties (a magic act, among other things – ahem, the mind boggles – was on offer), this lonely beagle decided to prop up the bar in the Orleans, whilst, and probably rather foolishly, playing Paigow.

Now, for those who don’t know, Paigow is a House game in which you must form two hands from a selection of 7 cards (the 5-card hand must be stronger than the 2-card hand), whilst also beating whatever the dealer has to offer. If one of your hands wins and the other loses, it’s called a ‘push’ and you keep your money, otherwise you either double up or lose it.

Paigow is a highly entertaining game, mainly because you don’t have to risk much to have fun, and there’s always the anticipation of wondering if your seemingly crappy hand will survive. Even if you have a Ten high Paigow (the name given to a ‘no pair’ hand), you can still win if the dealer turns over 2-3-4-5-7-8-9. Highly unlikely, but it happened that night – and so did the Ten high!

However, as with all games, the introduction of alcohol can have a somewhat adverse effect on those initially minimal bets, and, after one or two tipples, you soon find yourself betting 10 times as much as you’d planned.

My poison that night was the cocktail ‘Mais Tais’, foreign to me, and considered to be rather girlie by the locals – a Vegas Bacardi Breezer I guess. Well, if it’s got alcohol in it, that’s good enough for me, and by my seventh order I was well and truly on board the Booze Bus to Hammersville. Bizarrely, the one I ordered from the barman (as opposed to the valet), was twice as strong - something to take on board for future booze missions.

After doing my particulars on the Paigow, it was time to take Dave and co up on their invitation and head down to the ‘House of Cards’ – a spendid structure located on the outskirts of Vegas.

After a short 15 minute journey, the taxi pulled up in front of a tall set of gates. I knew I was in the right place as Bullit Pete and Beppe (sometimes referred to as Michael Greco) were hanging around outside and wondering how to get in.

A quick phone call later and the gates opened. I couldn’t help but notice the sculptures either side of the drive, one of which was highly reminissent of my good self. I don’t like to brag, but I really do have the body of a God.

The big doors opened (all my ammo had to go into that job) and we were welcomed in, oddly, by a topless lass – was she not cold? I’m not even sure she realised she’d forgotten her top.

Anyhows, also present were Nottingham Nick (and wife Anna), Iwan ‘Buzz Lightyear’ Jones, Jeff ‘Nenobear’ Burke, David ‘dpommo’ Pomroy, Ben ‘milkybarkid’ Grundy, Des ‘Bling Bling’ Jonas, Paul ‘Actionjack’ Jackson Benwoo, Mickey ‘The Worm’ Wernick, Ariston, Womble, and Vicky Coren, not to mention household members Marc ‘Mr Cool’ Goodwin, Brian ‘The Rookie’ Wilson, Tony ‘Ribena Berry’ Chessa, and, of course, Dave ‘elblondie’ Coclough – all, shall we say, slightly sozzled.

So, off to the bar but, to my dismay, no Mais Tais on offer, so it was a risky switch to Vodka (ooh, mixing drinks, mother would be unhappy). Not to worry though, the bargirl had forgotten her top too, quite remarkable! I felt like covering her up with my over garment, didn’t want her getting cold now.

A quick glance around, later supplemented by a Mr Cool guided tour, and it has to be said that the ‘House of Cards’, although not quite as huge as first imagined, was highly impressive.

A beautiful outside swimming pool, a grand piano, poker tables, jacuzzis in the bedroom, their own chef – the list is endless really. Add to this the random selection of leggy blondes (my hands are clean!) prancing around, and you have quite the abode!

Jen, who’d asked me to keep texting her to ensure she was safe and not at a ‘funny’ party (I seem to recall her fear of mud-wrestling), arrived fashionably late. Not too long after, the bar closed and the guests were ushered out. I thought these guys were hardcore, It was only around 2! That’s oldies for you…

Not to worry, Jan Heitman and George ‘The Panzer’ Danzer (who we later found out had been named the Pokestar’s ‘fashion violator’) suggested a trip to Treasure Island’s ‘Tangerine’ club. With one foot already on the booze bus, Jen and I duly obliged.

I’m not really into poncey clubs with snotty guests, overpriced drinks and arsey bouncers, so I didn’t have the best of times here. Add to that the fact that I had to dash back to the Orleans to change my pink shirt (what’s wrong with pink?!), and it wasn’t a glorious couple of hours, plus it finished early! What’s wrong with Vegas?! I thought this was the city that sleeps, but everything seems to be closing well before beddie byes.

Armed with two highly intoxicated Swedes (where they came from, I still don’t know), we demanded that the taxi driver take us somewhere that was open. Where did we end up? Seamless. And for those with weak educated guesswork skills, this is a strip-club. Not really my cup of tea, and I couldn’t imagine it was Jen’s – although that claim would later prove more than false (I’d better keep stum on that one). Still, seeing as we were here, and they serve drinks, we thought we’d give it a shot.

Within seconds, we were being smothered by some young blonde stripper who took the more intriguing route of making friends, talking to us on a level and slowly working her way into our pockets.

To be fair, this girl was good. Before we knew it, she’d found out who was single, who was keen, and who was willing to go ‘backstage’ (I fell into none of those categories and just played dumb – at last, something I’m good at!).

Meanwhile, whilst Miss Blonde was being as nice as punch (probably for the chance to touch the guns – she should be paying ME for that honour though), two girls were dancing, rather poorly it has to be said, on podiums behind the bar. I had to laugh, now and then they got bored and just started chatting with each other. Still, I guess it was 6am in a virtually empty strip-joint – crikey, I thought I’d be at least 50 before my life reached that sad state of affairs!

After losing one Swede and one German (for entiley different reasons), we headed back to the Orleans. A drunk Jen somehow managed to cross the freeway, but couldn’t manage to hold her glass of water as we dined at the breakfast table. I remember the waiter giggling at our drunken states and Jen’s inability to drink liquid in a fluid manner.

Next thing I remember, I was waking up in my nice comfy Orleans’ bed, 3pm on the clock. Booze, strippers and the ‘House of Cards’ – was it all a surreal dream? The sore head and icky tummy suggested otherwise, but I wasn’t sure…


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