Monday, September 26, 2011

A quickie update. Laughlin, Reno, Imperial Palace and More.

We're still doing the comp-hopping.  So far I've lived at Bally's, Harrah's, Circus Circus, The Orleans, Harrah's Laughlin and now Imperial Palace this month. I've enjoyed seeing Vegas in this capacity.  It's certainly done a wonder on my love affair with the city.. it's diminishing, rapidly. Just the two days we spent in Laughlin were a breath of fresh air.. being back near water, and interesting terrain made me miss the south and being outside.  Being around the critters.  This has been a learning experience on a lot of different levels.  First and foremost being that I am definitely a southern girl!

I have a few lists, a few pictures and some brief thoughts before I scramble off to bed.

Where I am right now.  I know this picture is a bit confusing, but I like it.  What you see reflected in the window is the McDonald's behind me (Free WiFi for the win), and outside the McDonald's is The Mirage (In front) and Casino Royale (to the right). Even at 5 am, with the sun starting to creep up, this place is a flurry of activity. A McDonald's Flurry.
See what I did there? I slay myself.

Cops Las Vegas, Or Las Vegas Cops.. whichever it is.  They're always around, looking for degenerates to film.  I have a story about this actually, but it involves a drunk friend and I need to feel out how much I should change to protect the not-so-innocent before I publish it.  Standby.
We had a food credit at The Orleans so dinner at Big Al's Oyster Bar was in order.  Large bowls of mediocre food served with chunks of what can only be the world's largest Saltine Cracker pictured here. 
And an "unaware he's being photographed John Hardin".
I give this place, one thumbs up.  The company gets two thumbs up.
Thanks Josh, Jen and John. :)

For protecting your valuables. CatCat is adjusting to a life of travelin' just fine.  He likes to explore EVERYTHING. It was all I could do to convince Josh that we shouldn't leave the Cat in the safe.

...And Now..
A few points of interest.

  • We leave to deal the Reno Pot O' Gold event on Tuesday.  Come see us both!   I'd like as many of you as possible to show up.. make me look like I have some street cred on the west coast. ;)
  • My Mom has been going through a rough time at the farm in Cordova.  So I'm going to put a quick plug in for her.. she teaches horseback riding lessons, boards horses and has Siamese kittens for sale.  If you need any of this, or have a kid's birthday party coming up and need to rent a pony, call her at 9017547687.
  • After Reno there is a possibility of a Southern California road trip.  If I don't get hired on for Oregon in November, there is the distinct possibility of a visit back home.
  • Special Thanks to the Indianapolis Colts for covering the generous 11 points you were given. Cooper and his sport's betting enterprise is grateful. (As are CatCat and myself, cause we get to hear about it).
I'm really looking forward to Reno.  It will put me in a better position to figure out what the next  move is for me.  I'm honestly not sure right now.  I would love to say that things have gone exactly as planned, but hey.. they rarely do.  The Riv doesn't have the volume of business to sustain another dealer (or even some of the existing ones), so I've got to figure out what is next on the agenda.  I'm up for flipping a coin on this.  I'm fairly resourceful.  I'm sure something will present itself.  And if it doesn't, I've gotten really good at bumming around aimlessly.  Here's to goals!

Dexter starts back up next week.  Can't wait. Pretty sure this is the last season for Dexter, House, Desperate Housewives, Grey's AND Private Practice.  Which means, I may not watch TV at all next year.  Except for Glee.  Shut up. I like Glee. DON'T JUDGE ME.

Cockroaches must be on vacation..

We are staying at the Imperial Palace right now, and I'd like to publicly say that all the negative hype is overrated.  Sure, it's no Bellagio.  Or even Bally's.  And our room KINDA feels like a hospital room. And there is an odd could-be-rust-stain-could-be-blood-splatter stain on the top right of the curtains in our room.  And the window overlooks an industrial alley. But I expected rats the size of cats and cockroaches sharing my bed the way some of you talk.  And really, it's clean. And it's comped, and it's orderly. I get better TV reception on my iPhone, but to be honest, the IP Vegas is no worse than any motel 6.  Any FREE room is a great room to me. :)

A delayed birthday celebration..

My two favorite guy friends both had a birthday this week.  The same birthday, September 23rd. Josh Cooper is 27, and Scott Williams is 29.  For the 14th straight year.  I feel awful because I wasn't able to do anything for either of them due to financial constraints (And by financial constraints I mean.. being out of work for WAY too f'n long). I've got top secret plans to make it up to both of them though, and I'll be writing a blog post about it when I pull these plans off. For now though, let me just sum up by saying that you two are invaluable to me.  You both make me want to choke you 50% of the time, and the other 50% of the time, I can't imagine getting through a day without you. I heart you both, and I'm a better person for knowing you both.

This about sums it all up.. for now..

Sorry there isn't more content here.. I'm cramped on time and to do these right takes hours.  You're not missing much.  My day consists of waiting for work right now.. sleeping, eating, hanging out with Josh and CatCat, hanging out on my own, wandering around taking pictures of things that delight me and thinking a lot.  A lot of self evaluation.  A lot of playing chess on my computer. Nothing terribly earth shattering.  I'll update again once I get to Reno.  In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves. <3 <3

P.S. It was recently brought to my attention that one "Rocco" has finally discovered my blog.  Knowing this, my life is more complete. I will rest easier at night. Now if only we could get him to write a blog..

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bella's Guide to Vegas Part 1, Peppermill, The Strip, Encore, Bingo, Ortiz and Mr. Olympia.

I have discovered that I no longer need AP News, CNN or even Google.  My facebook news feed has grown to such proportions that I generally know world news as it happens, AND what everyone thinks about it as well.  Tonight was no exception, with hundreds of friends giving me a play by play update of the Mayweather-Ortiz fight.  I don't care a whole lot about boxing.. I've seen some of the great fights in Memphis (Lewis-Tyson) and I'm vaguely aware of who is good and who is great. Josh actually went to this fight with a friend, Tom, from Harrah's. An evening of men punching each other in the face is a little to testosterone-y for me, but I was happy they were so enthused about having tickets.

I like to pull for the underdog, and I genuinely hate Mayweather's attitude.  A poker player (Noah Schwartz) who I've interviewed a few times, lives in the same building as Mayweather, which you would think would somehow obligate him to being a fan. Home-pride and all that.  Even HE was pulling for Ortiz tonight, agreeing with the general consensus that Mayweather lacks class in any capacity. One thing that struck me, in the photos I've seen posted, of both Mayweather and Ortiz.. is how absolutely adorable Ortiz looks.  He just LOOKS like a friendly guy. Sucks that he got his ass kicked.

Your smile is a win. Even if the punch you took in the head is not. <3

Anyway, I've been comp-hopping the last couple of weeks with Josh and CatCat. Which means, essentially, living free in hotel rooms by combining our player's club offers. This combined with the absolutely desolate state of available work, significant amounts of down time for walking and an utterly embarrassing shortage of funds for typical Vegas entertainment has made me VERY familiar with a great number of casino properties here. Today, I present for your voyeuristic entertainment, the Bella Donkey Guide to Vegas: Part 1.  This will be a work in progress.

A Walking Tour of the Vegas Strip

This place should be listed as one of the man-made wonders of the world. The ebb and flow of humanity here is something to marvel at.  Every week, it's a slow moving vortex of sparkly colors and thick traffic... building up to the weekend where literally hundreds of thousands of people converge on the streets in designer footwear and cameras and stand still. Seriously. They're everywhere, and no one is moving.  At least, this is how it feels when you're trying to walk through a crowd.  In every imaginable crevice, tourist cluster together like walls in Pac Man, delighting in the human mazes they create for people who actually have somewhere to be. 

And they're all going NOWHERE. Vegas. Number 1 tourist destination for standing around.

For added variety, people who presumably have nothing better to do, dress up like childhood icons and panhandle for change.  So a walk down the strip goes something like this. Stupid Tourist, Stupid Tourist, Stupid Tourist, Barney, Stupid Tourist, Stupid Tourist with kids, Stupid Tourist, Spongebob Squarepants, Mickey Mouse, Stupid Tourist.

This one is crafty. He's managed to panhandle and do NOTHING simultaneously. The Europeans love this shit.

Every once in awhile, one of these "street performers" will up the ante and actually play guitar or beat on a bucket in pseudo rhythm..maybe with a dog, maybe without, while soliciting change. In any other city this would be an arrestable offense, or at the very least, scorned by passerby. Not in Vegas.  In Vegas, this is f'ing headline news, drawing impenetrable walls of tourist with cameras. Which wouldn't be so bad if these performers didn't cluster at the most critical junctions and set up shop.  Invariably whatever destination I have in mind is precisely on the other side of two Teletubbies playing banjos with a small harem of dancing poodles and an open guitar case ready to absorb $1 bills.

Bella Donkey Advice:  The strip is damn near magical at 5:30 on a Tuesday morning, especially in front of the Venetian. You'll have the whole place mostly to yourself.  Except for that one drunk guy, but he's always there, so don't mind him. It's even better after a short desert rain.

Bingo in Vegas

This is a terrible idea.  If you're thinking about playing Bingo, because you think it will be fun, just save yourself the $17 (plus $1 for the really cool blotter thingy, which is by far the best part of the entire experience) and go to the strip and give the $17 to Barney. Or Spongebob. It'll be better spent. 

If you're still not convinced, allow me to elaborate.  I thought Bingo would be fun.  It's inexpensive, the jackpots are huge, and old people dig it.  Which gives me a statistical advantage, because I'm faster and younger and presumably of sharper mind.

Bingo is available at almost all of the Coast properties (Goldcoast, Sam's Town etc..), the Riviera and probably a few other equally swanky resorts. Make your way to the bingo hall, which will be the largest, most sterile looking room you've ever been in. You will be the youngest person by 20 years minimum.  Even if you're 60.  I'm not kidding.. this place is an Octogenarian's wet dream.

She looks like she's sleeping, but don't let her fool you. She's a lock for the Jackpot.

Buy your card, or if you're like me and have no idea what you're doing, buy one of every color.  Take a seat. Try to make as little noise as possible, or the old people will jump on you with rabid ferocity and vote you off the island.  Ask Josh about this one. Now the easy part.. blot your dobber on the corresponding number/letter. Rinse, repeat.  When you're exactly three numbers away from the jackpot, some asshole five rows behind you will yell BINGO. This will happen every single time. For all 12 games in a standard session. It's mind numbing.  Like poker, except, in Bingo.. everyone FULLY intends to suck out on you and relishes doing so.  For that, at least, I appreciate the honesty.

Bella Donkey Advice: Bingo is designed to reward people who have survived a minimum of 8 decades on this planet. If you don't fall into that category, it's a horrible idea. Stay away.

Peppermill Resturant - Las Vegas Blvd

If ever a place was sensory overload, this place is the definition. Inside the building are large synthetic cherry trees, dripping with synthetic pink blossoms surrounded by blue neon lights and disco-ball-esque mirror effects.  Waitresses wear short skirts and glossy stockings in bubblegum pink and periwinkle blue. The food is gigantic, giving this entire place the feeling of being in a lollipop forest straight out of Super Mario World. Large LED TVs play a stream of nature scenes to the beat of cloying new-age music. Even the sugar, displayed on each table, is multicolored and over sized appearing instead to be crystals in a dispenser.

Actual view from my table. I see this in my sleep now.

Like everything in Vegas, here you can get ribs or eggs, nachos or french onion soup.. at any hour of the day. Young hipsters, bikers, senior citizens and families with children dine side by side in 1950 style booths surrounded by plastic decor reminiscent of a Disney prop warehouse.

The food is slightly better than average, and the prices are moderate by Vegas standards. If the idea of eating deep fried delights in a disco themed nursery makes you queasy, I suggest visiting by the light of day. After 8 Jack and Cokes, this place will make you wish you'd avoided LSD that summer you followed the Grateful Dead around.  It's a flashback waiting to happen.
You CAN hide those sugar crystals on the equally psychedelic looking napkin. Camouflage WIN.

Bella Donkey Advice: Worth a visit.  It's sort of a landmark, from my understanding. Don't play with the sugar dispenser.  That shit has no internal stopper and will pour out a lot faster than you imagine, and it's really hard to hide 8 pounds of huge multi colored sugar crystals. The carpet is black, so forget brushing them off there, they're really hard to chew so abandon that thought, and for women wearing pink bloomers.. those waitresses are quick to cast judgemental stares. This is all hypothetical of course. Just sayin'.

Encore Casino - Part of the Wynn Family of Resorts

If you want to know what it looks like to have a spare billion dollars laying around, visit Encore.  Reminiscent of both The Beau Rivage and Bellagio (designed by the same group), this property is pure luxury.  Add to that the fact that it's a veritable ghost town most of the time, and there is an almost eerie feel to it.  It's like visiting the top 1% of the ultra rich echelon, but everyone is out at dinner.  Light fixtures that easily cost $20K each, fall into rows by the dozen.  Expansive lobbies showcase wall art that easily span into the upwards of $100K each.  Groves of indoor trees in expensive and hard to grow varieties are coated in glittering lights under domes of impeccable skylights.

Just a random peacock sculpture.  With a 15 foot crystal covered illuminated tail. Who doesn't have one in their foyer?

And yet, no one plays here. Well, a few people do.  I'm pretty sure the guy who owns Virgin Airlines, and maybe the middle eastern family that controls most of Dubai.. but no one any of us know. The place is worth a walk through though, at least, on your way to the Wynn side where normal people hang out.  If you're feeling frisky and want to play at Encore, I suggest spending whatever gambling money you're packing on something by Giorgio Armani or Hermes first.  Otherwise, they may not deal to you.  I'm pretty sure the dealer shirts were hand tailored by the staff of Alexander McQueen.

The outdoor walk-way. Like something out of Labyrinth. But with less David Bowie.

Bella Donkey Advice: If you're a window shopper, and like gazing upon jewelry that cost more than a nice house in the 'burbs, this place is worth a walk through.  Though I didn't eat here during my visit, I'm willing to bet the buffet does not include Hamburger Helper.  Which makes it a significant improvement over most (all) Tunica properties. Edited to Add: This just in.  Encore doesn't even HAVE it's own buffet. That's how swanky this place is. Jackpot.

I hope to bring you all another installment tomorrow.  I'm up against some significant down time until I head to Reno at the end of the month.  Other notes of interest:  Scott just nabbed a third place finish in a ring event, bringing home a cool $8K plus.  Two places better and we would have been off to some random wedding chapel in Vegas. Oh well.. maybe next time.

Scott's final table information sheet. See the part that says "Favorite Poker Player: Jennifer Gay". I get made fun of even 2000 miles away.  Man I miss that guy. Even though his phone number is available on the website for his Horse and Carriage business.. feel free to nab it off here and text him telling him how freakin' awesome I am. He needs reminding. <3

CatCat and Josh are doing well as roommates.  For someone who despises cats, and for a cat who despises humans who despise cats.. they're practically BFFs. 

The boys, watchin' football.  This can't be comfortable.

The Mr. Olympia contest just wrapped up here at the hotel I'm in.. The Orleans.  I've never seen so many bulging veins and transgendered looking women in one place.  It's rather interesting what these people have managed to contort the human body into.  The hotel room, when we checked in, had a notice laying on the desk that said "Spray Tanning in the hotel rooms is strictly prohibited" and that "Upon request, sharps containers would be provided by the front desk" suggesting that you not leave your needles laying around for housekeeping to stumble upon.  Freakish, and kinda awe-inspiring.

These guys were in the Internet cafe while I was blogging.  Apparently the middle one is Shaun Joseph Tavernier, some hardcore British Body Builder. A lucky find I suppose. There are DOZENS of these guys just roaming around the property right now.  A safe night to walk outside alone, for sure! Thanks Carl Sutcliffe for the info. :)

Speaking of freakish and awe inspiring.  I have referenced these shoes a few times now in blog posts and on Facebook, but I've never seen them in the wild.  Today, on a french female bodybuilder, I present to you.. Nike high heels. Vegas. Only in Vegas.

These gems haunt my nightmares.

And here they are, in the wild.

On a serious note, a friend read me a poem recently that has stuck with me through some pretty tough moments here lately.  Words mean more to me than just about anything.. they help me put concepts into reality and pen emotions down into something tangible.  I wanted to share this with you all, though you may have heard it.  I'm hoping it strikes a chord with you too.  Thanks for reading. I'll be back soon, I promise. :)

"Dare Mighty Things"
Theodore Roosevelt

In the battle of life, it is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better.

The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds;
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends oneself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails,
at least fails while daring greatly.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Life in Vegas Part 2. Breakdown, Miscommunication, Grinder Gear, New Friends and More.

I keep promising prompt updates, and I keep slacking. The truth is, this whole "move cross country" thing hasn't been as easy as a blog post could possibly sum up. But I'll get to all that.  Let's start where I left off with the last post.

I'm in Vegas. Now what?

I hit the city HARD the first week.  Josh had a week to kill until he had to jet off to the Beau Rivage to deal to all you fine people down there (Who I miss oh so much..) and during that week he took it upon himself to be my personal tour guide.  I swear he knows absolutely every single route in and out of the dark alleys of Vegas. It was rather impressive.

Oh sweet Beau Rivage.. I miss you.

Every day went something like this.. Get up at 9 am. Work all day. Get off. Go out. Lose critical brain cells.  I swear I was like a co-ed in a fraternity house, but with less shirtless college aged men and more alcohol.

When you google "Frat Party" this is one of the first images that come up. It has nothing to do with anything I did, but I find it oddly fascinating. I would party with these guys.

He told me, rather ominously, driving down the strip one night.. "You see all this? Let me know when you're over it."  I asked what he meant, and he said simply that EVERYONE loves to drive on the strip.  Until they despise it, and then they want to avoid it at all cost.

I can safely say I still adore every single glittery light, and don't mind the traffic one bit.  I want to see it all, touch it all and just breathe in the hot, tourist laden, desert air.  Of course, we're only three weeks into this, so maybe it will fade. Still, I am having a love affair with Las Vegas.

Only this relationship is sometimes abusive.

It's hard to be homesick when you're in sensory overload.  With Josh here too, it was like I had a piece of home near me all the time. While he isn't FROM Tunica, he definitely represents a familiarity and stability that makes me feel secure. Something that in my mind ties Tunica, Scott, my Mom and all of this together.

It didn't hurt that just a few days in, Jeff and Nikki Griffith of Bustout Poker Apparel fame flew out for the swanky launch party of their new clothing line Grinder Gear.  They too feel like a small piece of home, at least.. poker home, and seeing them was fantastic.  They had the most amazing suite at Mandalay Bay overlooking the best view of the strip in Vegas.  We had dinner at RM Seafood in pre-party celebration.  I got to check out the graphics for the new clothing line and they are HOT.

James Farra and Josh at RM Seafood.

Bustout will still exist in it's current incarnation, but this new brand will offer a universal significance that we can all relate to.  Their party was a veritable who's who in poker with media representatives, named pros like Vanessa Rousso, Alex Outhred and of course the unforgettable Bustout Crew. Anything Jeff and Nikki are part of I have the utmost faith in to be successful.. but this branding, I can honestly say I would support even if I didn't know the genius behind the product. It's that good. I got to see them two nights, once with Josh and once with Christina.

I will continue to provide details about the launch of Grinder Gear, as they come out.  A lot of the more exciting tidbits have required me swear to secrecy.  But trust me, you'll want to get in on the action.
The whole gorgeous lot of them.. The brains and beauty behind Bustout.

Jeff and Nikki couldn't stay long, and Josh's departure was looming quickly.  So I did what any reasonable girl would do when faced with a short time line.. I didn't sleep. Hardly at all. For days. We had dinner overlooking the strip at Sugar Factory, and talked while tourist photographed monuments that are quickly becoming burned in my brain.  We saw street performers as we crossed between casinos. We played 1 am tournaments and saw sharks at Golden Nugget.  There was the tacky beauty of the $70 million canopy of Freemont Street.  A night when Christina made friends with a lesbian couple while playing $2/$4 at the Nugget, and proceeded to Karaoke live at the poker table. The bartender I vaguely remember that Josh and I befriended at Bally's, as he made us cocktails.. and a Burger King run where I was too intoxicated to actually order. I sat in what I thought was a haze at the Pai Gow table in Bally's as Frank Mayo sauntered my way, and I was overjoyed to see someone I (love dearly) and recognize in a city where EVERYONE can be swallowed up whole. Josh and I ate amazing salads at California Pizza Kitchen, late night junk food at the Orleans and walked more than 25 miles.. or so the blisters on my heels said.

The gorgeous Frank Mayo, one of my last nights in Tunica. There are worse people to run into in Vegas at 3 am.

And then it hit me, like a ton of bricks.  I can't remember what casino we were standing in, when I looked at Josh and burst into tears and said "I need to go to bed. Now."  He claims I fell asleep just minutes later, mid-conversation, in the bed across from his in whatever-hotel-we-were-in.

I know he made sure I slept uninterrupted, for a long time. In a cold, dark room, with every hint of casino shut out. Perhaps too long, as I woke up late for work.  Excellent.  We're off to a great start, new city.

Relationships.. They take work.

Josh left a day later, while I was still mostly asleep, to head off for the Deep South. I made my way to Valet to realize I had to navigate myself home.. having not driven a bit my first week here. It was time to get honest with my new paramour, Vegas, and realized.. he was kicking my ass. 

A friend from home, Mitch Harris, suggested that all I needed was a "routine".  So I took the Jack Daniels IV out of my arm and made a point to start (slowly) unloading my vehicle (it still isn't done entirely).  To SLEEP. To venture out during daylight hours for more than just work. To eat food that comes from vendors that don't accept comps. To start making friends.

Speaking of relationships and work, I realize I haven't mentioned Christina very much.  I've battled with this all night.. how I was going to blog, and how honest I was going to be. It's been a big part of my writing agenda to be brutally honest in the things I convey, with particular emphasis on failures as much as my successes.

Sometimes.. it goes both ways.

Christina Sharkady and I had an extremely close long distance relationship prior to my relocation. But face to face time, we had precious little of.  Sure we'd be in the same town at the same time rather frequently, but we hadn't spent much time outside of poker in the same room together.  I don't know what either of us expected, but I know what we got.. hasn't been without a few hitches. We have so many similarities, and so many vast differences.. and it all came together and hit us in the face once we were confronted with being friends, roommates and coworkers literally overnight.

We've had a few knock down drag out moments.  We've both had to WORK at building our relationship and remembering what drew us together to being friends. We've had our patience tested, our emotions put through the ringers, we've laughed and plotted mutual homicide simultaneously. It's been a challenge.  One that either of us would have considered walking out on a hundred times over if we weren't both so invested in this.

There were some obvious miscommunication between us both about my job working for her.  I grossly over estimated the volume of the room, and she grossly under estimated my desire to deal rather than to floor/manage/supervise. Out of respect for both of us, I won't go into a lot of details.  There will be a day when we look back at this and laugh.. I have faith. Right now, we're not there yet. It's a work in progress.  I have a new found respect for her and her life, where she's come from and where she's going. And I hope she's learned a few things about me as well.  And not just all the manners in which she'd like to strangle me.

In this case, *I* am the device.

I care about Christina.  I care about her feelings, and portraying both her and the Riviera in the most positive light possible. So for that reason, I won't go into a lot of detail about the negative but instead, will shed some light on the positive.

I love dealing. I love being in the box, putting the cards out.. meeting the guests.  I'm not great at it, yet.  I'm not awful either. At the risk of sounding egotistical, everything in life has come so easy for me in terms of learning new skills, that this has been a challenge.  Technique and mechanics take time to develop, but I'm getting there. Years of poker experience otherwise have made me better than your typical break in dealer.. but my pitch needs work. A couple more weeks of pitching cards at my cat though and I should be on par with your typical circuit dealer. If I deal to you in the coming months, be kind! <3

I'm a sucker for sparkly stars...

The Riviera doesn't get enough credit.  I'll admit, I expected more than I arrived to.  I expected a room slower than Horseshoe. I didn't expect a funeral parlor.  A lot of nights, that what we have.  Deadspread, deadspread, deadspread, break, deadspread. There is no justifiable reason for it either. The room is cozy, the people who do show up are friendly and the staff is competent. (Except for that one dealer I don't love).  Christina's floor people are some of the nicest guys I've ever met. The promotions are great, the tournaments are fun... for whatever reason though, she's literally building a room from scratch.  So here is what I need from you all.  Come visit the Riv.  Play for a few hours, check it out, and spread the word. You WILL be well taken care of.  You will enjoy yourself. I wouldn't say this if I didn't mean it.  This is quite possibly the most underrated poker room in Vegas. So it would mean a lot if you all would come see us.  Thank you to those who already have.

As things are right now, there is not enough dealing work for me at the Riv exclusively.  I have lined up a few traveling gigs.. circuit stops of one nature or another, which I will go into more detail about in future blog posts.  I'm going to travel this fall with Josh on the stops that will take both of us.  I'm terribly excited and hope to work some of these events into my Ante Up Column.

I have the pleasure of living with a few notorious poker characters.. Kevin Ferguson, Rachel Gordon and Jason "Boz" Bouslaugh.  I've met a few interesting critters since being out here.. the bizarre Christian, the knowledgeable Collins and equally talented Tom, Karsten the part-time resident from Berlin.  The Harrah's crew.. Eric, Tom and Mika. I'm making new friends and doing things I wouldn't have thought possible even three months ago.  Christina told me tonight, despite my disheveled hair and tear streaked face (stress.. it'll kill ya), that I looked fantastic.

I don't know if I believe her, but I want to.  I want to think that all of this has been helping me grow in some capacity or another. 

Vegas Jen. Doin' it up at Carnival Court.

I work tomorrow, at the Riv. Sunday night we're throwing a swanky engagement party for Kevin and Rachel.. for which I've nominated myself to prepare all the food.  There may be a mass funeral approx. 3 days later if things go awry in the kitchen. Just sayin'.

Josh comes home Tuesday, and won't be jetting off anywhere too soon again (at least without me in tow!), and I'll be genuinely happy to see him. Driving in Vegas is NOT my speciality.

I had one of those lengthy, couple hour chats with Scott today.  I miss him. If you see him, remind him of my awesomeness.  Not like he could forget, but I'd like him to have it rubbed in his face as often as possible.  Thanks. Mom has discovered text messaging, so we're finally in this century and thanks to her new iPhone, able to communicate as needed.

I do believe we're damn near caught up.  Which means, as of the next post, I can get back to bitching about poker more and my girly home-sick-ness less.  I still want your recomendations on things to go see and do in Vegas, so keep 'em coming.