First things first: All Las Vegas Trip Reports should start with Mingus
"Honey, there's something... I... I just want a little..." I could hear my husband swallow the tangy bar-b-q sauce of fear on the other end of the phone. He was at work and I was at home packing for our trip and getting the house ready for grandma babysitter.
"I just would really love it if I could have a surprise for my birthday."
My husband fhwrdh and I go to Las Vegas every year for our wedding anniversary (7/7) and my birthday (7/9). These trips have been a great time for us to relax, recharge and have fun adventures together without the kids. I was excited about this year.
"A surprise? What kind of surprise?"
In 2003 we stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton, saw Penn & Teller and dined at Bradley Ogden (more on this excellent restaurant later). 2004 found us at the Venetian, dining at AquaKnox (wonderful seafood) and Bouchon (chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry) and dipping my toe into the world of live poker at Excaliber.
This year I had a list of stuff I wanted to do:
1.Stay at the Bellagio and compare it to the Venetian ( I love snooty lodging!)
2.Eat at Bradley Ogden again (I love expensive food!)
3.Get a birthday surprise from fhwrdh
4.Go check out the World Series of Poker
5.Find Dr Pauly and thank him for his great writing
6.Play more poker
"I don't know - something romantic. It doesn't have to be huge - just a surprise."
The morning of our trip I woke up with a head cold. I felt groggy and sneezy and sleepy all at once - half the seven dwarfs instead of my princess self. My luck took a turn for the better when I used web check-in for our flight and was offered an upgrade to first class. Woo hoo!
First class is pretty great. You get a big seat, a pillow, all the free drinks you can pound, and your own video screen. I slept through the entire flight - which is good anyway because any girl who writes this dramatically can't be a good flyer. (yes, white knuckles, but I suck it up)
Part Dos: The Bellagio
You can skip this whole part if you don't care what I think of the Bellagio .
The Bellagio's very best feature (not counting the poker room) is located at the front desk. The ceiling is beautiful and covered in glass sculpture echoing a mille fiore. The front desk personnel were helpful but I think the little gal was giving my man the eye. She was all "Hey, you're from Los Angeles? I'M from Los Angeles!" I said "Wow, what a small world!" but I was really thinking was "Get your own geek little girl, this one's mine!"
The room was well decorated but much smaller than the Venetian. Fhwrdh liked the decor better but he will choke on his Dr Pepper once he sees this scientific chart:
So you see, though both hotels are snooty and ideally located, the Venetian is the winner of the better room contest. Bellagio had one thing better about it - they have a poker room and there were many famous poker players milling around.
I decided to take a nap so fh went down to check out the poker downstairs. Bellagio's sheets were 180 thread count (I personally don't put under 300 thread count on my beds) and I slept fitfully - almost as if someone had placed a pea under the mattress...
I was starving hungry so I got up after two hours and headed down to the poker room to find fh - who looked so sad.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I've been watching all this time and they just called my name for a seat."
Part Three: Poker at Excaliber - Bleh
The Excalibur has the lowest limit game on the strip, friendly dealers, a carbtastic buffet, and the worst players ever. But even the worst players draw to a hand now and then so fh was getting mad.
Fh was tilting like the Tower of Pisa - even with his tight aggressive game he was left with a small stack when hand after hand went to rivered miracles for the dead-eyed hicks at the table. He finally went all in and busted out. As he left the table I heard him mutter "I'm going to a table where people fold."
I hung in there with the Fedex pilot to my left and the Arizona pretty girl to my right. Finally I was down 20 bucks - holding steady but getting bored. I found fh and we called it a night.
Sorry, no hand histories - I'm not trying to make you throw up - just lull you to sleep.
*note: I am a very good wife and totally offered to rail-bird him while he took the available seat but he is a very good husband who wouldn't hear of me going hungry while he played. just so ya know I'm not a torturer
Up Next: Parts 4-6 in which we go to the WSOP, play poker and I get my birthday surprise (stay tuned, it's a doozy!)