Sunday, June 01, 2008


Day 5...

I woke up this morning with an uncontrollable urge to ambush the Rio buffet, so, along with Dana and Rod, I indulged in a spot of face filling with three overflowing plates of nosh, not to mention two tubs of ice cream on top. Rod foolishly opted for the lobster legs, only to discover that he didn't possess the culinary skills to actually eat the god damn things, but persisted nonetheless before inevitably cracking open the shell and squirting lobster juice in his face. Dana, meanwhile, was munching away quietly, pensively thinking, "Could I sneak a free dinner if I stayed here for the rest of the day?"

On the way back to the room I noticed a couple of odd attractions. Firstly, there was a male dancer performing what looked to be some kind of epileptic fit or camp mating call on a small stage in the centre of the casino. What was more bizarre was that his only audience were big butch men, all of whom were gawking up at him and wondering what the hell he was doing. Further along I ran into what I believe was some kind of slots tournament, if it is, somehow, possible to hold such a competition. I have no idea how it works or how one would indeed triumph, but the strategy seemed to involve bashing the buttons incessantly as if playing the latest edition of Track and Field, and boy were these pensioners moving fast, spitting in the face of RSI and pushing arthritis to the very max. Surely random drug testing should be introduced?

Speaking of slots, there are a number of bizarrely themed slot machines scattered around Vegas with brands such as ebay, Indiana Jones and, naturally, Elvis all getting in on the act. I even spotted a Sopranos one today in the Rio. How that would work, I'm not sure. Do they have the head of Paulie Walnuts instead of cherries? Can I visit Doctor Melfi if I get agita? Do you get whacked (sorry, clipped, I'm so early nineties sometimes) if you win too much? The mind boggles, but I may have to give it a crack at some point, especially with my recent introduction, and subsequent addiction to the DVD boxset which has been keeping me entertained of a night.

Personally, I've been focusing my attention on the video poker and blackjack, predominantly because I can stick in five bucks (although that soon turns into a hundred) and guzzle down the free drinks. I've always found video poker rather frustrating, so nearly dropped my White Russian when I hit four deuces on deuces wild for 200-1 - shame I was only playing 25 cents a pop, but it felt good nonetheless, and it took me a good hour before I was happy enough to rid the screen of my moment of triumph and play another hand.

I wasn't the only one winning though, as Richard Brodie, who, for those of you who don't know, was the creator of Microsoft Word and now one of many celebrity poker enthusiasts, hit so many big hands on video poker that he was banned by the Rio Casino for er... winning too much. However, he later appealed, and was allowed to play again, the Rio finally conceding that it was possible for people to actually win.

Whilst playing video poker and slowly getting drunk, Dana and I watched Ultimate Fighting on the TV and bet on the results of each match like any good gambler should. Whilst this minor distraction resulted in my pressing the 'max bet' button (which, non-coincidentally I believe, acts as the same button as the 'stand' option), I managed to win a whopping one dollar! Still, the final bout was highly entertaining as a Mr T Doppleganger, complete with gold teeth, medallion and a beard that a small family of robins could nest in took on this tall lanky English chap that looked like he'd been thrown out of the Hills Have Eyes auditions for looking a little too odd. The Mr T dude was actually called Kimbo Slice (which sounds like a piece of Christmas pudding), and somehow boasted the impressive combo of bald head and ponytail. Only two other men in history have managed this feat: Paul Heyman and Catman - it's an elite club.

Of course, it hasn't been all gay dancers, White Russians and Mr T lookalikes, as I did manage a quick afternoon ramble into the cardroom. The Series is really starting to pick up pace now with three events running simultaneously. Whilst John Kabbaj was busy bubbling the final table of the $10k Hold'Em (in testicle-crunching circumstances, might I add), James Akenhead was running well in the record-breaking $1,500 No Limit Hold'Em event, finishing the day in 10th position. Sadly, fellow Hit Squadders Sunny, Chaz and Praz bit the dust early doors, but Karl hits the felt today, so best of luck to him.

Whist watching James from the rail, I overheard my first touristy comment of the year (of which there shall be many), when one guy asked, "Is this the Main Event?" More to come I'm sure when I finally start work tomorrow's $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'Em...


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