The conference ended yesterday, with a full day XML session that was pretty good. I spent the evening at the new poker room at the Venetian, which is really nice. It was another frustrating session, but I ended up leaving only down a little bit. Also, while I was there I managed to see a who's who of poker - Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivy, Minh Ly, Eric Seidel and early I also saw Shawn Sheikhan at Caesar's. Pretty cool. Today was a true tourist day. I slept in late, and then spent a few hours lounging by the pool, reading and swimming. Not so bad. Then I went for a walk, to check out the north end of the Strip. I stopped by the Venetian, to see the Rubens collection from the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg. Very nice, but small, and not worth the $20 admission. Then I went up to the Wynn, to check that place out. Very nice - as nice as everything that I've heard. On the way back I wandered through Treasure Island, the Mirage (checked out the white tigers) and Caesar's. Tonight, I have tickets to see Seinfeld at the Coliseum at Caesar's. So I'm off to do that. More updates and pictures to follow - most likely when I get home.
Updated 2006-05-10 (pictures will have to wait for a while...)
The conference is going quite well. I've been to a number of sessions, and I am learning a fair bit. Some of the sessions have been a bit of a bust - poor descriptions that mislead as to what the session was actually about. Oh well, can't win them all. It's also been great to have a couple of hours between sessions over lunch, as it's given me a good opportunity for some time spent lounging by the pool. I think I like this desert weather. Strangely, I also ran into a former co-worker from Absolute, who is a vendor at this show. Small world. We ended up hanging out at the sports book at Caesar’s Palace watching the basketball game, then headed out for dinner. It was fun getting caught up again after a couple years.
Sadly, the poker side of things hasn't been going nearly as well. After having that big first night, I've managed to go on a losing streak for the past few days, and have managed to give back all my winnings. Between a run of really bad cards (the best starting hand I've seen in three days is AK, or pocket Js), some really bad luck (people have been catching 2 and 3 outers all over the place on me) and a couple of really bad decisions (I have to put some of the blame on myself!) this has been one of my worst streaks ever. Oh well, that's poker. So I decided to take a day off yesterday, and hopefully the cards will get better. Actually I haven't seen pocket As the whole time I've been in Vegas. And I got busted by them three times by one guy yesterday.
All in all, these last few days have been pretty quiet. I've been calling it a night early, so I can get up early to head to sessions. I even went for a run yesterday morning. Amazing, I was done by 7:30, but even at that point it was almost too hot to run. More updates to come.
What can I say but damn I love this town! I got into Vegas about 3:00 yesterday afternoon. It was 80 degrees, sunny and not a cloud in the sky. I am seriously looking forward to this week. I'm here for a conference, but I should manage to sneak in a little fun while I'm here. ;-) I got checked into Bally's (very slow - there were only two people doing check-in, and about 20 of us in line. After getting through that nonsense, I headed up to my room. Pretty nice - 18th floor, partial view of the Strip. I can see Caesar's Palace, the Flamingo, Imperial Palace and the Wynn from where I'm sitting right now. It's about 11:00 a.m. right now, and let me tell you, Vegas is not the same during the day. Everything is so much more impressive at night, with all the lights, and the place is crazy! It's just so much fun.
Anyway, after checking in, I went for a walk to get a lay for the land. I found the poker room, the various restaurants and the pool and gym (I have good intentions...). At the sports book, I thought I'd start the week of right by putting a small ($20) bet on the Lakers/Suns game - Phoenix to win. After doing that, I headed down to the poker room. When doing some research, I had heard rumors that the Bally's 1-2 No Limit (NL) game was a bit soft. I'm happy to report that my initial findings confirm that rumor. :-) After doubling up in the first 10 minutes at the table, I left up $460. I went and had some dinner at Paris, in one of their restaurants - shrimp and lobster risotto, absolutely amazing. Then I headed out to check out the strip. Vegas has changed so much in the 8 or 9 years since I was here last. It's just gotten bigger and more glamorous. It's awesome to behold. The money that's in play here is staggering. I headed over to Caesar’s Palace - still in my mind the most overall impressive place. The scale of the resort is unreal. I had heard that the had recently opened a new poker room, and wanted to check it out. Let me tell you - it's very impressive. They are running a World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit event over the next week or so. I'm tempted...
I sat down at their 1-2 NL table, and again had a really good run of cards. Within about an hour and a half, I was up almost $500. There was a small tournament starting at 11:00 as part of the WSOP event, so i sat down to play in that. I played well, but got very poor cards towards the end of the event, as the blinds were going up. I ended up at the final table, going out 6th. Sadly, they only paid the top four. The cool thing was that they were also playing a bigger event from earlier in the day, and that group was down to the final table. Sitting there, at the tabe next to me was Barry Greenstein, one of the top pros. That was pretty cool. So as to not give the impression that I always win, I did stop in at the Bally's poker room on my way home (2:30 a.m.), and lost a little more than $100, before deciding I was too tired to play effectively. All in all, an awesome start to the trip! I'm off to find some breakfast, and get registered for the conference.