Monday, May 28, 2007

Worst Vegas trip ever

I've read that the only thing worse than losing big on your first trip to Vegas is winning big. Last year, I left Vegas up $500 and ready to come back ASAP. I was up $550 on one trip to Foxwoods during the last school year, and up $150 in Peruvian casinos during Winter term.

Luckily, after losing $850 this weekend ($200 in craps, $50 in blackjack, and $300 on each of two nights in poker), I am still up in lifetime gambling. But I am pretty well soured on Vegas for a little while, at least a year, I think. I played well, dammit. I made good plays and decent reads and just got drawn on by inferior hands with bigger stacks. If you had hit top two pairs and a flush draw on a flop with nothing higher than a 10 on it, after a pre-flop raise, you'd have gone all in too. You wouldn't expect the guy with 3-J suited to stay in and draw out the flush. I'm sorry, that is a very specific complaint, but somewhere someone is reading this and understands exactly what I am saying.

I also feel bad for my mom, for whom I lost $50 in craps, and for my cousin's husband, whose $10 bet on the Pistons +4 for Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals didn't pan out.

Vegas is a very difficult place to be if you're sober a lot of the time. I was on driving duty for the weekend, so I got to be the responsible one (though I was probably more dangerous in driving while thinking about that hand than I would have been after a few gin and tonics). The place is just filled with...colorful individuals who can either be very amusing or very irritating, depending on your mood. And when you're sober and way down, your mood isn't very accommodating. Plus, I have my random moments of mild agoraphobia, and after a while, I was about two hip-checks away from decking a stranger.

One of the little things I adored about New York City was the collective intelligence of the pedestrian public. It's a walking city, and even when the streets are crowded around Union Square or wherever, people are moving quickly, efficiently, cleanly. The exception is the tourist-overrun Times Square, which was one of the major reasons why I loathed Times Square and never ever went there unless a friend was in town and wanted to be touristy. I didn't know anyone who actually lived in New York who ever wanted to spend any time there. Anyhow, by contrast, Vegas is filled with herds of mostly-drunk, mostly-ineffectual tourists with no sense of walking etiquette. I spent so much time shuffling back and forth, going nowhere, my back is still sore. And you can pretty much abandon this "personal space bubble" notion when dealing with the Strip.

This is a very expensive, but very helpful lesson of a weekend. I still like Vegas, I just don't need to go there very often. That's probably a wise realization.

In the meantime, I keep thinking about all the things I want, but have been denying myself as wasteful, that I could have bought with $850. A new longboard ($500), a new bodyboard ($150), a new wetsuit top ($50), a new full wetsuit ($150). Ugh.

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