Vegas -- What I Love
Shots of Gina Lee
Hanging with my friends
And the twins
I love burritos at four a.m.
Parties that never end
Dogs that love cats
And...and the twins
And I ... love ... you, too
-"Here's to Football," Coors Light Ad
LAS VEGAS -- I love coming out of the jetway from the long flight and knowing there are slot machines in the airport. Usually I don't immediately see them. But you can hear them ringing, offering chirps of support to their gamblo buddies.
I love being in the rental car shuttle bus and pretending not to look out along with all the other tourists on the Battleship Row of the world's greatest casinos -- the MGM Grand, in its Wizard of Oz green, the laser shaft of bright white light that shoots out of the Luxor's pyramid and the Strip's flagship, the Bellagio.
I glance down the street and see the high needle of the Stratosphere. I am completely oriented.
I'm back again, for my millionth trip this year. It's a comfort to be here and know my folks also are in town. On my way to the Sahara's poker room, they call and want to know if I want to eat.
I suggest the Coffee Shop at Binion's. There's no place I'd rather be late at night.
So I zoom down the Strip to meet them. The horseshoes are still on the carpet of Binion's, even though Mark and I were told maybe even a year ago that they would have to remove the carpet becuase the trademark logo now belong's to Harrah's.
My mom gets this $2.95 breakfast special, which comes with a slice of ham that pretty much covers the entire plate. We snack on buffalo wings, the sauce so potent I don't even have to lean in too much before it hits me. And I split the famous club sandwich with my dad.
Las Vegas for years has been a second city to me, a place where I've shown more people around than any place I've ever lived.
Could it be my home? My outs have increased in recent weeks with the possibility of covering poker and casinos for my wire service. It would be challenging, but I couldn't think of doing anything else.
I love Atlanta and I really wouldn't want to move again, even to Vegas. I'm also a front-runner for the goddess' old job as supervisor.
It's about 1 a.m. when we leave Binion's. I check out the poker room but, even on a Friday, it's about half-full. There are two NL tables going but they don't seem to be very good.
So I high-tail it to the Strat and jump in the NL game there. There's this young Howard Lederer guy who is making it $50 (reraise) pre-flop with A4s. He seems pretty good. He pushes and value bets, getting this Irish guy to follow him to the river - flush is possible on board, so is straight. Irish guy looks at the board for a long time and I think he has it. He checks. Young Howard had raised him to $100 after he bet the turn.
Young Howard mulls it over and then pushes out $200. The Irish guy calls, for most of his chips, and flips over AQ, 2 pair that he flopped. Young Howard flopped a set of 7s.
This pudgy guy starts to make crazy raises with Q7s in early and I think I pick up a tell on him, he's pot-bombing when his overcards fly over the flop as a bluff.
But I'm way tired. It's 3 a.m. here, making it 6 a.m. back at home. I leave before the blinds hit me in the ass, up $5.
I love stumbling back to the room.
Sleeping until noon.