Friday, June 10, 2005

Through Hazy Eyes: Day One, Part IV

Day One, Part I
Day One, Part II
Day One, Part III

The lion would not only be my savior from strange night-bound creatures, it would also lead me to more of the blogging elite. As we finally arrived at the poker room, I was shocked at how nice it was. Not that I’ve seen a ton of poker rooms or anything, but damn this was nice. Bazkar described it very well, and it was his write-up from earlier that I thought of as I surveyed the scene.

“I was immediately impressed with its size and the space between the tables. There is more than enough room and you definitely do not feel cramped. They could actually add several tables and still leave plenty of room for comfort. It's basically shaped like an arc with the cashier in the middle and they try and hold all limit games on one side with the no limit games on the other side. They have a table up top overlooking the sports book for high limit games that may come together.”

Of particular note is the last sentence, because it was here that the blogger mixed game would begin. High volume? Check. High revelry? Check. High Intoxication? Check check. High Limit? Nope, $2/4. Felicia must have some badass hookups, because getting that table was awesome.

I ended up in the 10 Seat, and going backwards sat PokerNerd, Felicia, Bill, -EV, Gracie, Stb, PokerProf, Maigrey, and Pablo (of Gracie’s posse). Again, I was a bit speechless as I began meeting a whole slew of new folks, and to top it off, even with the drinks I had thus far consumed I was still a bit nervous about playing with a table full of folks that actually knew what the hell they were doing.

We began with Hold’em so everyone could get into the swing of things a bit before starting into the less familiar games. -EV sat down with a gigantor stack and immediately began straddling and trying to introduce “the rock” to the game. He also handed me a nice lesson which would serve me quite well the rest of the weekend, although I don’t think he knows it (he will now).

Sometime during the first orbit (it was early) I found AKo. -EV raised in front of me and I simply called. Board 10 7 5 rainbow and he bets out. Since I whiffed the flop I decided to muck it, opting to go the big pussy route while he flips over A3 and rakes the pot. The lesson? Better stop playing like a weak-tight tard, or I’m going to get my ass handed to me. It’s fucking 2/4 for God’s sake, stop being such a ninny. I’m glad it happened early on; God only knows how long this diaper-wearing style of play would have gone on had it not been for that.

I spent a lot of time just treading water and trying to hold on to my chips as we inevitably moved on to O8 and Razz, just chatting with PokerNerd. I kept trying to remind myself that he didn’t especially like being called “Nerd”, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. It was “Hey Nerd” this or “Check it out, Nerd” that, and each and every time I would utter an inner “D’oh! Stop calling him Nerd!” I hope he wasn’t too annoyed with me, I really was trying hard, but it rolled off the tongue so natural-like, I just couldn’t help myself.

Once the chips and cocktails started flying at a higher rate of speed, Dr. Pauly entered and I finally got to meet the estimable writer and degenerate hero. My hazy factor is up to about a 6 out of 10 and everything is a becoming quite a whirlwind, so I try to refocus on playing some halfway decent poker and call for Stud. Punctuated by a giant groan I immediately found out that –EV does not really like Stud, so he quickly grabbed Mrs. Head and told her to play the game with his chips until another was called, which was very cool of him to do.

More drinks flying.

More chips flying.

Being in the eye of the storm, it took me a minute to notice some dude standing there chatting with Felicia. The obvious height deficiency should have clued me in, but haziness over the eyes was inching ever closer to a 7.

More chips, more drinks. That short dude keeps lookin’ at me. Hmmm.

The next thing I know, the little person was beside me with a tiny outstretched hand…

“I know who this is, how are you Head?”

As I took the tiny hand and uttered a greeting, he must have notice the hazy confusion in my eyes…

“I’m Iggy

Holeeeee Shit. The game immediately became a secondary concern by the distance of approximately 100 miles. I knew it was going to happen sometime, but it’s still pretty surreal when you finally meet the king, knowhutimean? A big moment for a 3rd generation blogger, that’s for sure. I think I ended up getting dealt out since I ignored so many hands while I chatted for a bit with dwarfish greatness, and I knew that no matter what happened in the next few days it had been worth it to make the journey.

And the hits just kept on comin’….

As Iggy departed for more meeting and greeting, I tried to shake off a bit ‘o haze and get back to the game, but then another tap on the shoulder came….

“Hey Head, nice taste in music, bud.”

Helixx! Yet another person in my long list of must meets, and one of the few people I knew I could talk to about trance music without inquiries as to whether or not I’m Hari Krishna.

It was time for the game to become permanently secondary. I could play poker anytime, and I knew that I would play more later on in the weekend. Right now it was of paramount importance to hang out and have some drinks with all of these people that I read on a daily basis and get to actually know at least a few of them, so I racked up and made my way out onto the balcony.

If I tried to go into an account of the great conversations I had just in this first evening alone, I swear it would be enough content to truly fill up a novel, but I won’t. Some conversations are simply best when you’re there and then left at that. Hanging out on that balcony at MGM with Pauly, Derek, Helixx, and Iggy (replete with booster chair) makes it really fast and easy for the entire world to become secondary.

Drunk on booze, adrenaline, and sheer joy, I was meeting folks left and right. I finally got to properly meet Professional Poker Player Chris Halverson, who at the time was flooshing Al in the dark. It was nothing but pleasure as I got to shake hands with the S.C. Crew--Otis, CJ, and G-Rob. Somewhere in the midst of all these hours that were speeding away, I met the CantHang’s and was into my fourth or fifth double SoCo with Al. Good Lord, the Haze-o-Meter was climbing past an 8.

As I made my way to the quieter and much less frenzied bar behind the poker room, I spied Joe Speaker at a $4/8 table with a giant pile of chips and a peculiar look that was at once very drunk and very satisfied. I didn’t know it yet, but this is the look one takes on when shintorn drunk and rock solid in the knowledge that you can still play poker much better than the other monkeys at your table, and your chip towers reflect it. Heh, all I could reflect on at that moment, though, was how surprised I was that he wasn’t asleep since there was some sort of important tourney he had to play in within a few short hours time. Apparently, the world had become secondary to him, as well.

The last few hours of my evening were spent at that little quiet bar behind the poker room, where I got to commiserate with Pauly, Derek, Iggy, Maudie, and Scott some more. It was here I would meet my last few folks of the evening, Texas April, Bob, and BG, who had arrived late because of various instances of travel bugfuckerry perpetrated by the smooth operations that are the airlines.

I bought what I knew would be a final round of drinks for the evening as the haziness inched its way past 9 and Heavy Head Syndrome began to manifest itself. As the Mrs. and I made our exit for the evening, I surveyed the festivities and wonderful people surrounding me and thought that if I could design my own personal heaven, this would certainly have to be included as a part of its landscape.

We weren’t in Kansas anymore, I realized with a sigh. Thank God for that.

[Day 2 on the way..]

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Through Hazy Eyes: Day One, Part III

Day One, Part 1
Day One, Part II

As I stood there surveying the barren landscape of the parking lot at Yama Sushi, the inner monologue of everyone else was nearly audible (or, being in the condition I was, it may have actually been audible) and it matched my own.

“I don’t think we’re going to get a taxi here.”

Someone (I can’t really recall who, exactly) was inside trying to get one of the staff to call us a cab. Not remembering who was on that particular errand in no way hinders the memory of the conversation as it was relayed to all of us while standing around waiting for a cosmic miracle involving transportation.

“Hi, can someone call us a cab?”

“Yes yes, you cab”

[slightly louder] “No no, we’re not a cab. You need to CAAAALL us a cab”

“Yes yes, you are taxi”

[even louder + hand gestures+ slower] “NO NO, we are NOT taxi, we need PHONE taxicab”

“Oooooooooh, I call for you”

A few minutes later the little waitress pops outside to let us know that a taxi will be there in 30-45 minutes. She returned to the restaurant, and as the door closed, and I mean the exact moment that the closing motion of the door reached its finality, a sketchy looking lady in some sort of Pontiac screeches up in front of us.

True to “It’s Vegas and strange shit is gonna happen” form, it began.

“You guys waiting for a taxi?”

[silence and lots of blinking]

“You guys waiting for a cab?”

“Ummm, yeah.”

“Well hop on in!”

Even by strange-ass Vegas standards this was not right. I frantically racked my brain for something smartass or snappy to say to the Super Hooker Serial Killer (SHSK), but I only stood there dumbfounded and blinking. This is usually the kind of strange thing that only happens after dropping acid, and since I hadn’t, I can only surmise in hindsight that, unbeknownst to us, someone on the same block was tripping balls. Thankfully, BigPirate (Wes) stepped in and responded…

“Aaaaargh, dearie! I think we’re too many for ye! No Thanks, grrrrrrr!”

[I admit, I took some editorial liberties with this quote, but the point of it is consistent with how it was actually stated]

With a quick shrug, the SHSK squalled tires and was on to the next potential mark. Everyone just kind of looked at each other and Wes spoke up again since no one else did.

“Aaaaargh, she must’ve thought this be our first trip to Vegas, Yohoho!”

[Again, editorial liberties]

Joe suggested that we could possibly flag down a cab from the street, and even though I found sitting down entirely more appealing than the idea of actually walking, I didn’t feel like doing it on concrete with nothing to drink for the next 30-45 minutes, so off we went. As our little crew walked along the street, the mood sank a little bit since there was not a single taxi in sight, but not too far off was a minor version of the transportation miracle we had been seeking.

The Bus Stand. Oh Joy.

Either Bill or Felicia had mentioned it earlier (perhaps both of them), and now we were pretty much out of options. My streak of nearly 29 years without ever taking the city bus was going to come to an end in Las Vegas, the best place for it, I suppose.

Being on the city bus was like being in a subway restroom on wheels. Stark and dingy, it lent to my assumption that someone had likely pissed on or underneath the seats on more than one occasion, and I found myself seated, sans protection. For the first time, our group was completely silent. I think all of us instinctively knew the unspoken rule:

Don’t show them your teeth. They might take it as a sign of aggression.

I was busy keeping the sketchy guy behind the Mrs. and I in my peripheral vision, while at the same time theorizing on the plotline of the romance novel that the giant lady in front of us was reading. That’s when it happened, we all noticed happy drunk dirty t-shirt lady with 1.3 teeth. Teefes. Toofs. Whatever, there were only 1.3 of them. For a split second I actually felt bad for her, she was obviously addicted to eating rocks. Then suddenly, as though it was the most natural thing in the world, she reached down the neck of her shirt and whipped out the Red Dog tall can. Man, I thought that stuff went away to Yucca Mountain sometime in ’98. I vividly remember trying it once and thinking that it made Old English 800 taste like Dom. After a healthy pull, Boop!, back between the saggy tits it went. I remember looking over at Joe just as he grinned and said “Words are failing me”.

Dammit, they weren’t failing me. I grabbed Joe’s pad and quickly scratched out a note about the pervasive strangeness of it all so neither of us would forget it. Not likely that we would have, but hey, you just never know.

We must have stopped about five different times for pickups or drop-offs, and each time something strange and/or worn and/or dirty would board. As interesting as the Red Dog Lady was, I found Siegfried and Ron to be more interesting. OK, I give, it was just a random lesbian couple, or sisters, or both. In my mind, though, I immediately dubbed them S & R minus the makeup, showers, and tigers. Having reached the height of dinginess, it was time to disembark, and we all did so with great gusto and relief.

Funny thing, on the way to MGM we spied the Super Hooker Serial Killer from earlier at another bus stand. For a brief moment I thought maybe she had taken offense from earlier and had now decided to stalk us, but no, she was just busy selling VIP passes to some of the finer establishments in Vegas.

My feet hurt. Need Beer. Need poker.

We were very near to that wonderful MGM lion, where we would finally be shielded from the strange things wandering in the night.

[Christ Almighty, this is gonna hit a part IV…For those of you who may be averse to long stories, my apologies, I can’t help myself]

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Through Hazy Eyes: Day One, Part II

Click here for Day One, Part 1

As I hung up the phone, I started to fish around for the spreadsheet so I could begin calling others, but true to my absentminded idiot ways, I realized it was still lying in the hotel room. Dammit. We decided at that point to just wander around the various properties and soak it all in just a bit and we would likely run into someone during the trek.

After cruising through Binions and The Plaza and not finding anyone, I began cursing myself for not asking Joe where he was playing at, but at that moment he called back and told me of their group heading outside. This was it, I was to meet my first group of bloggers. As we strolled up, Felicia was the first to speak.

“I don’t need to ask who that is. Look at that huge head!”

Yup, I had officially met Felicia, and that is completely her in a nutshell. If it’s in her head it will likely be spoken. Those with a fragile emotional constitution should steel themselves or just stay away. I tried to think of something snappy to say in return, but I had nothing. I was still kind of stunned by the fact that I was actually getting to meet the people that I had been reading for so long, and I was quite happy to see Felicia doing so well, so I just stood there and grinned like an idiot.

I got to shake hands with Bad Blood and his lovely wife. No joke, kids, that dude is packin’ some Howitzers and I immediately ruled out any arm wrestling challenges. Bill Rini was there and looking quite chipper even though he was passed out in Pauly’s room only hours earlier.

(Hereabouts, I’m still grinning like an idiot and haven’t said very much other than introducing the Mrs.)

Maudie reached out her hand in introduction, and in that split second I decided a handshake just wouldn’t do, so I hugged “The Pit bull of Poker Bloggers”. Honestly, how could you not hug Maudie? She rules.

Last, and certainly not least, there was JoeSpeaker. There’s not really much that needs to be said if you’ve read his blog for any length of time, and if you haven’t, get to clickin’, buddy. I will say that the first thing running through my head when we shook hands was, “This guy doesn’t look like a homo at all, am I missing something?”

Before I had time to think much else, another easily recognizable figure sauntered up. That’s right, sauntered. It’s really the only word that I think can be used here, since the word itself pretty well captures TheFatGuy, Scott. I’m not joking or being facetious when I say this; TheFatGuy exudes all that is easygoing and I immediately relaxed. I hadn’t really realized how keyed up I was until he arrived. All was well and getting progressively better.

(Face Update: Still grinning like an idiot)

Sushi was happening in a few hours, so most of the folks wanted to rest or wander around beforehand. The Mrs. and I needed alcohol, so after some deft persuasion on our part (ok, forget deft and for that matter, the persuasion part), Joe headed over to the Plaza with us for some cocktails. After a few stories about AJ (the cards and the kid), Joe had us half convinced that maybe breeding wasn’t such an awful idea after all. We also got to sit around and talk with Felicia a while longer while everyone was preparing to leave, something I was glad for since I had a feeling I wouldn’t get much of a chance to later on. I was right.

Pulling up to Yama Sushi, things just kept building. Waiting for us was PokerProf and Flipchipro, and I was again in awe of the fact that I was about to meet some more staples of the blogging community. BigPirate Wes was also in attendance with his friend Tim, and Wes promptly usurped my claim to the title of “Largest Head in the Blogsphere”. I think he was cheating, though, since he had lots of hair, which I plan on convincing him to shave at WPBT III so we can really see.

Sometime during the consumption of almost nine giant sushi rolls between the Mrs. and I, Gracie and Heather walked in with their posse. More introductions, more drinks, more sushi. There were also some 2+2 folks there along with Tanya (Miss T74) but I didn’t get to really speak to any of them since they were about three tables down.

Cigarette Break.

More drinks and sushi.


I shouldn’t have eaten so goddamn much and made myself completely miserable. You must understand, however, just how difficult it is to find sushi in Kansas that doesn’t have some sort of ham in it or isn’t deep-fried. Good sushi is a rare opportunity for us and we took serious advantage. We found out while paying that Al was held up and wouldn’t be making it, so everyone decided we would head out to the MGM. Once the decision was made, there was only one small problem; after scoping the taxi less landscape, we all just kind of stood there, everyone with the same thought….

“How the hell are we going to get there?”

[stay tuned….]

Ooooh, ith a Laday!

(The following guest post brought to you by Mrs. Head)

This will not be a true trip report, as I will leave those to the Mr. (wordy bastard), but I just wanted to say what an absolutely wonderful time I had meeting all of the bloggers (and of course, blogger wives!) from this, our first, but definitely not our last, WPBT Vegas trip. I can’t adequately express my gratitude that, during the whole weekend, despite the copious amounts of alcohol, I did not hear one person utter any of the following sentences:

“I seen him a minute ago, I think he went into one of them cay-sinos”

“We was gonna go to the buffet, but the line was too durn long”

“I would have boughten one of them purty fanny packs I saw people wearin’, but I done lost all my money already”

We live in Kansas, remember? Even while slurring, this was by far the most articulate bunch I have been around for a long time. That aside, this group was more fun, welcoming, unique and just all-around fantastic than I could have even imagined. What an amazing experience!

The only thing I would change is that next time I will make sure I am well “rested” for the girls-night out! See you all at #3!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Small Aside.. the others who attended the trip. Feel free to post any pics that may have the Mrs. or I in them. You may now continue with your trip report reading and composing.

Through Hazy Eyes: Day One, Part 1

My eyes popped open, it was just after 5 AM. Holy hell, I’m going to Vegas today. Mrs. Head woke up about 15 minutes later to me radiating anticipation somewhat like how I imagine Ted Kennedy radiates the smell of assorted spirits. She had to trundle off to work for a few hours, while I stayed back to do the “What am I forgetting” freak out packing ritual. I wanted to sleep some more. I knew that I should sleep some more, but my feverish brain was not having any of it; Vegas was only a few hours away.

The trip definitely could have started off better. After leaving the laptop bag containing all sorts of various trip necessities at home and fully annoying my brother who had to go back and get it for us, we finally made it through security without me being arrested or detained. This was primarily due to the fact that Mrs. Head had the “if you say anything about the lighter policy and get us in trouble I will stab you in the throat” look on me like a tractor beam. Of course, she was right to give me such a look. Let them have their policies; we’re going to Vegas, dammit. Once we boarded the plane, we had the best plan ever: Get some shut-eye during the 2.5 hour flight. That also, it seems, was not in the cards. Directly behind us sat two of the most misbehaved and ADD-addled kids I have come into contact with in recent memory. They would not stop kicking the back of our fucking seats. I was going to scream at their mother to make them settle the fuck down, but it turns out she was about the same age as they were and was saddled with the same issues, only she was trapped in the body of a 40 year old, so I obviously wasn’t going to get anywhere on that front. I also had to remember that I promised Mrs. Head that I would not get myself arrested or detained, at least until we arrived and were away from the airport. Leave them to their seat kicking; I’m going to Vegas, dammit.

Mccarran Airport was not quite like I remembered it, which I should have expected considering the last time I was in Vegas was in ’01. On that trip we picked up our baggage and headed out the doors into the waiting air-conditioning/body odor of a taxicab. This time it was one door to get a taxi, another door for a shuttle. We tried the shuttle route first and were told it would be 30-40 minutes. Fuck that, let’s get a taxi. We ran out and jumped in the long snaking line that was the overloaded taxi stand and were greeted with the news that “the line is back there”. Huh? I tried to look. You couldn’t even see the end. I think at that point I would have had to take another plane to Nepal or something to get my spot in line. After uttering a larger and more profuse “fuck that” we headed back to the shuttle stand. At this point we were hot, sleepy, and becoming increasingly cranky. We landed at 2:30 and didn’t get to the hotel until 4 PM. Yeesh, I was seriously hoping this trend would end soon.

Thank God for the Golden Nugget. Despite its age and less-than-optimal location, my spirits immediately lifted as we made our way to the front desk. Its liberal use of creamy white goes well with the abundance of gold and dark woods everywhere, and the wonderfully huge windows everywhere lends the place a slightly tropical feel right in the middle of the desert. I had reached my oasis. As we walked past the café/restaurant on our way to the front desk, I thought that I spied Chris Halverson out of the corner of my eye and mentioned it to Mrs. Head. She said I should go back and see, but I declined citing reasons of not wanting to interrupt his meal along with my desire to bail trousers and air out my genitals (I cross-referenced this with his trip report and it turns out I had indeed spied my first blogger. He was apparently enjoying a Rueben at the time).

As we arrived at the front desk, I could feel a do-or-die moment approaching, the $20 front desk tipping attempt. When attempting something for the first time, there are always the usual questions…..Will I pull it off correctly? Will I be scoffed at and exposed? Should I really be doing this? As stated in a previous post, I’m well versed in the art of greasing palms (cocktail waitresses, bouncers, and bartenders galore), just never at the front desk, and for some reason it was making me very anxious. So, on my continual mission to impress the Mrs., I sidled up to the desk with my $20 folded and ready underneath my AMEX. As I handed it over I made mention that since we were on our honeymoon (wink), any upgrades that they could offer us would be most convenient.

The girl didn’t even blink. For just a split second I thought I fucked the whole thing up.

She proceeded to let us know that we would be upgraded to a deluxe room free of charge and we could even choose our view. Heeding Felicia’s advice about the noisy Freemont Street Experience we opted for the Mountain View. I made a quick note to thank Pauly profusely for the advice and we were off to our room, a king smoking that was quite nice considering how cheap it was.

After some genital airing and a quick shower, Mrs Head and I looked at each other. We had reached first peak on this roller-coaster, that moment when you are hanging in space and it really dawns on you that you are about to head downwards at a high rate of speed.

I whipped out the phone and spreadsheet and dialed JoeSpeaker.


“Joe Speaker! It’s Human Head, what’s the happs?”

“Hold on, dude, I gotta call you back, I’m in the middle of rolling the dice!”

Oh boy, here we go.

[to be continued]

Monday, June 06, 2005


Finally back home.

Was I just in Vegas?

Must have been, I can't stand up and can barely type :)

Recap begins when I recover.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Still Alive

I was going to do update posts, but have been swept up in the whirlwind as well being perpetually ill-equipped. Good Lord, I'm honestly shocked I'm awake and alive....

Free Image Hosting at

Mrs. Head ran into this at high noon....oh dear.