I depart for Las Vegas tomorrow. I’m feeling quite dispassionate about this trip; going out there for the first time in seven months arouses nothing in the way of excitement.
The purpose of this trip is to enjoy the possible fruits of the grand return of the direct-online-satellite entry tournament to the poker scene. It arrives in the form of Pokerstars’ newly minted NAPT, which debuts at The Venetian on Saturday. ‘Stars has located a handful of US-based entities who are less squeamish about them than Harrah’s Inc. and taken the bold step of forming a tournament tour in the States that will compete with the WSOP and WPT. This means attendance that will be heavily fortified by players who have won non-transferable seats online, theoretically creating a larger, softer 5k than is typical in the post-UIGEA/post-recession poker world. My attempts at winning a seat online were laughably futile, so I will either win a live satellite or peel the five dimes. I’m a baller like that.
I have less than zero interest in experiencing the Vegas-y side of Vegas right now. On this trip there will be no gluttonous steak dinner, no limo rides, no Spearmint Rhino, no Drai’s and no wandering about the Strip in goofy blue sunglasses at 6:30 am. I will probably spend nearly all of my time away from the poker table alone. I’ve purposely selected The Orleans as my home away from home for this trip. A relatively sleepy casino hotel that caters mostly to locals, The Orleans is located a couple of miles from the strip, on a stretch of road populated mostly by strip malls, gas stations and fast food joints. (It’s also a testament to my abstinence from pit gaming: it’s the last casino from which I can still wrangle a comped room).
My itinerary, roughly, is:
1. fly in
2. rent a car
3. set up shop at the Orleans
4. report for work at the Venetian poker room every day
If the NAPT event goes poorly, I may hop in my rental car and drive to LA to make my LAPC debut. I’ve never done the fabled LA/Vegas desert drive. It will give me the opportunity to see Barstow in February, which I hear is quite lovely! It will either be very Fear & Loathing or it will be something more dull and lonely. If I were a betting man I’d put a few bucks on the latter. As it turns out, I’ll be lacking the insane cohort and the trunk full of exotic drugs on this journey. Yes, definitely the latter.
I’m not sure how many more of these trips I have in me. This could be the last cross-country sojourn for awhile (until the WSOP at least), but we’ll see what kind of tune I’m singing in a couple of weeks. A score of some kind would be welcome.