Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter gathering trip report Part 1

So I see that some people have already started the trip reports. Hell, some even did trip reports during the trip itself. That's sick dude (no pun intended). Well, I guess I'll start at the very beginning.

This year, I haven't been as active in the blogging community as I have been last year. In hindsight, I do wonder if my shaky marriage had something to do with how involved I became with the bloggers last year. My exwife traveled for work a lot and was out of town during the week but since I was married, it wasn't like I was gonna go out and get drunk and try to pick up chicks on the weekdays. So, I turned to online poker and to blogging, and there, I met a bunch of people that I now refer to as friends (LJ, notice the lack of quotes please, tyvm). Fast forward a year and now, as my divorce gets finalized, I am going out a lot more, hanging out with my friends, unsuccessfully trying to pick up chicks, and all in all, having a great time. This meant less time for poker, less time for blogging, and definitely less blogger tourneys. And I am not gonna lie. I was ok with that. Sure, I miss gchatting with my usual unproductive counterparts but besides that, I was totally ok with it.

What all that meant was that to be honest with you, I wasn't really looking forward to this trip. Sure, it's Vegas. Sure, I will still get to see some of my friends and sure, I would be able to put more faces to names. But even then, I just wasn't so excited. I thought, hell, if I just wanna play poker, I could play online. And if I just wanted to get drunk, I can do that with my buddies here. So why was it that I was going there again? Most of the ones that I became really close with over the past year weren't gonna be able to make it. I mean it was just looking like a bad beat all around!

Having said all that, I wasn't gonna back out of a trip to Vegas. Afterall, it is Vegas. Funny thing is, now, I no longer feel the excitement when the plane lands or when I get off the plane and into the airport. I see the slot machines and it's kind of a "no big deal, been there, done that" mentality... which was kinda sad, only because I miss the excitement that I used to feel for Vegas before. So, with the nostalgia gone and the whole trip was something I wasn't eagerly looking forward to, I just hoped that I could still enjoy the break from the daily grind.

But you know what? I knew why I would make every effort to make it to the winter gathering every year the moment I stepped foot in the Imperial Palace and walked to the Geisha Bar. Initially, I checked in, got all my stuff to the room and then came back down. The moment I got there, all the familiar faces are there. Al, Pauly, Buddy were the first ones that I immediately recognized. Then I saw Gnome and Kuro. Finally got to meet OhCaptain whose blog I currently do not read (sorry! that will now change!) but is a friend on facebook. Joanada giving me countless hugs from the moment she met me and all that served as a reminder as to how cool and open this group is... and that even if you don't always email each other or chat online or play in the same tournaments, when we all get together, it's almost like a high school reunion (I just assume since I've never been to my high school reunion). So, we start hanging out, catching up, just chatting. I meet PirateLawyer for the first time and he doesn't disappoint... within 2 minutes of meeting him, he's already telling me a bad beat story. Dude, good thing you passed your bar exam... you must owe a lot of money to a lot of people for all the bad beat stories you tell!

Eventually, Gnome, Kuro, PL and I decide to walk over to the Venetian to play some poker. One other thing I noticed this year about Vegas was how dead it was. Sure, there are still people but man, the tables were tighter and all in all, the action was a lot less than what I remembered from last year. The economy must be affecting it because I can't think of any other reason why it would be so different from the same time last year. On the way to the Venetian, we ran into Astin who did the whole canyon dive thing that he described on his blog. Sounds like a freakin blast and maybe next year, I'll have enough balls to do it. Once we get to the Venetian, we all sit at different tables and I'm not gonna go into details because quite frankly, poker is a pretty minor part of this whole trip in relation to the fun factor of other things. I might eventually post some interesting hands but really, I don't want to make that a part of my trip report since I have a lot more to talk about. It's weird how a gathering of poker bloggers would lend itself to me posting about a bunch of nonpoker related stuff. But that's why it's fun.

Part 2 to come later.


Gnome said...

Great to see you in Vegas! Wish I could have hung out more.

Instant Tragedy said...

I think that no matter what happened that the friends we meet and the experience that we have will change us forever.

I'm glad to hear that you are back Iceman!


Shrike said...

Nice to meet you sir. Yes, I have to break that filthy habit.


kurokitty said...

Great seeing you as well!

Tyke said...

"....unsuccessfully trying to pick up chicks, and all in all, having a great time."

Eh ?

lj said...

i'm so honored to get mentions in your recap posts of a trip i wasn't even on! i def feel like i missed out, and will do my best to make it over the summer!