Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I’ve mentioned numerous times that my good friends LM & Woody nudged me into starting the blog.  Maybe it was more of a push than a nudge.  They both love Vegas but they don’t play poker—or gamble at all, for the most part.  But I would come back from each trip with stories about my trip and they really enjoyed them.  They felt others would enjoy them as well, and the blog was born.

But in all honesty, this goes back much further.  I’ve known LM for a much longer time than I’ve known Woody.  We actually used to work together (it seems like a different lifetime).  Initially, she was the one who would hear my stories up my return from Vegas, over lunch breaks at work.  And I was always surprised that whenever I told a new story that somehow tied into one of my older stories, she almost always remembered the original story.

I kept going to Vegas (this is still long before I took up poker) and eventually LM met Woody.  Soon I met Woody and we all became pals.  It wasn’t long before Woody started quoting back to me—or asking me about—things he’d heard from LM (from me) about Vegas.  I must admit I was surprised to realize that a good part of their relationship seemed to revolve around my Vegas stories.  For awhile there, every time I’d see the two of them, Woody would bring up some new bit of Rob/Vegas trivia he’d picked up from LM.  And if he hadn’t picked up anything new, he’d ask me about something we’d already discussed.  He liked to relive my old stories.

Soon I was just telling my Vegas stories to the both of them together.  Or emailing my stories to them (and maybe another friend or two).  In which case, the next time I’d see them, Woody would invariably bring them up to discuss.

As I’ve mentioned, a lot of my earliest blog posts were just edited emails I sent my friends.  Even today, I might email them a quick version of a story that I will eventually flesh out and turn into a blog post. 

Woody has an incredible memory for Rob/Vegas trivia, and even now, he will recall something out of the blue from my blog, or even from the early days when he was getting this info second hand from LM.  He sometimes remembers details from my Vegas visits that I’ve forgotten.

Anyway, as you know, I decided, rather at the last minute, to make a quick visit to Vegas last month to coincide with their own trip there.  When I gave them the news, Woody emailed me back with an incredible list of stuff he remembered from the old, old days.  This is all stuff he heard from LM when they started dating!  I was rather floored that he had all this trivia at his fingertips, and I responded with amplifications and a few minor corrections.

Woody loved my response—so much so that he suggested I run the whole exchange as a blog post, believing that my readers would find all this stuff as interesting as he does. 

Well, we’re about to find out.  Here is that exchange (with a few minor edits for names and a detail or two I don’t want to make public).  Recall that in my pre-poker days, I used to visit Vegas usually three times a year with my pal Norm (whose comments you see on a post from time to time).  To save space, I’ll just put my response immediately under each of Woody’s remembrances, rather than entering them twice.

You should be able to follow by the font changes, the next brief paragraph is Woody’s opening, and that is the font for his “remembrances.”    In some cases, I’ve added extra information directly for my readers in a third font.  And please let me know if you would like me to amplify on anything here that pricks your interest, perhaps I can do some posts specifically on some of these old, old details.  Here’s Woody…..

I recall 19 years ago when I met LM that I would bring up the topic of Vegas from time to time.  Mostly what LM knew about Vegas was what Rob had told her about Vegas:

1.  Rob's favorite casino was The Orleans.

True, for a long time.  It had cheap blackjack and craps, and was one of the first places to start dealing Pai Gow.

2.  The hottest cocktail waitress outfits were at The Orleans and at the Mandalay Bay.

Orleans, definitely true.  Remained true until they changed them just a couple of years ago.  But for Mandalay Bay, probably exaggerated.  I had only been there maybe once or twice before I went there and noticed the really sexy outfits worn by some really hot girls.  I don't remember the design, I am thinking they were slit to show a lot of leg.  But the next time I went in there, a few years later, they were completely changed, and no longer sexy.  So it was really only the one time.  The other outfits I remember was the first time I went to Red Rock, the outfits were good (again I think a lot of leg, but also cleavage).  Again, next time I went in, they had changed them and they weren't at all exciting.

3.  Rob and his friend Norm would share rooms at 4 Queens, Barbary Coast, Imperial Palace, Maxim, the Rio.

Imperial Palace and Maxim for sure.  Also, we stayed a lot at Bourbon Street (next to Maxim).  The Rio, we stayed in only once, same thing with Barbary Coast (tho it was our favorite casino on the Strip for a long time).  We never stayed at 4 Queens--although I still remember my parents stayed there the very first time they went to Vegas (and never did again).  When we stayed downtown, we would stay at Union Plaza because Norm's dad had an "in" there and could get us a room for cheap. 

4.  Rob ate brownies at the Golden Nugget (best brownies ever).

Definitely true.  They were served at the buffet and it was our favorite buffet (not just because of the brownies).  We always joked that one time we would skip over all the entrees and everything else and just eat nothing but the brownies.  But we never did that.

5.  Rob played Pai Gow poker in Vegas.

Yeah....when the blackjack and the craps got too expensive for us, we started playing Pai Gow a whole lot.

6.  Norm and Rob talked about "the first bet" on blackjack.

Yep.  It rarely paid off for me, but Norm scored with it quite a bit. [Hmm...perhaps I should explain the “first bet fund” sometime?]

7.  Tammy knew Rob's drink preference at the Barbary Coast (Tammy had given Rob a big boobie hug at one point).

Tammy was awesome.  Served Woody a beer once.  She grabbed me from behind to greet me one trip—that was the first I'd seen her and she startled me something crazy.  But I don't think it was "boobie" hug.  I was sitting in a chair, and if her boobs hit anything, it was the back of my chair.  [Tammy was the world’s greatest cocktail waitress.]

8.  Palace Station casino was frequented.

Yes, it was in our rotation of places we'd make a point to hit at least once a trip.  Had cheap games.

9.  Search for the $2.00 tables on the strip.

Always and when that got harder to find, that's when Pai Gow came along.

10. Norm got remembered by somebody on every trip to Vegas.

Not quite every trip but a startling amount of the time.  I've also run into people I know from L.A. there, not nearly as often tho.  But here's something I don't think I ever told LM.  My very first trip to Vegas, Danny and I went to Tahoe right after that (long drive).  In a Tahoe casino I ran into one of my co-workers from my current employer--an outside salesman named Harold Hill.  That was kind of weird.

11. A hooker approached Norm and Rob in front of the old MGM and said, "don't you even want a blowjob?"

It was probably closer to Barbary Coast and/or the Flamingo.  Norm does the best imitation of her saying, "Not even a blowjob?"  She had first asked us if we wanted a date, then mentioned the BJ.  After we got away from her, one of us looked to the other and said, "Oh, a blowjob, why didn't she say that in the first place?  I thought she meant dinner and a movie."  [That story has already been told on the blog, back in the early days of it, here.]

12. Norm and Rob would eat at The Vineyard restaurant.

YES!  On Maryland Parkway.  A traditional stop, we loved the place.  Then one time we went in there and it had gone completely downhill.  Now long gone.  [The Vineyard was a great Italian restaurant in the Boulevard Mall.]

13. Rob took "a shine" to some dealer at Tropagala casino.

Yes, Anastasia.  She ended marrying a guy she’d known for a long time.

14. Rob would go to Vegas in a Toyota Supra.

Indeed.  The first time I took it there, I made it to Vegas in 3-1/2 hours.  The highlight was when a freaking Corvette actually got out of my way!.  But the next time I took it there, I got a speeding ticket .  I was probably going 90+ but the cop only said I was going like 75.  I never drove crazy like that again.

15. Rob preferred to park his car in the parking structure at the Imperial Palace.

Well, not sure "preferred" is the right word, but when we stayed there or went there to play, we definitely did.

16. Rob and Norm loved the buffets at The Orleans.

Hmm....I think that was more of a Danny thing.  I'm sure Norm and I ate there but it never was competitive with Golden Nugget.  Danny and Danielle loved it.  I probably ate there with him more than Norm.  I also ate there with my blogging buddy Lightning (and his brother) more recently.

17. Rob and Norm ate hot dogs and pizza at Nathan’s.

And I still do!

18. Norm’s drink choice was ALWAYS Diet Pepsi "easy ice".

Back then, yes.  More recently, he started ordering it with NO ICE. He says ice gives him a headache.  More recently, he has given up soda altogether.  I am surprised that Pepsico is still in business.

19. Terrible Mike's was a "required stop", every trip to Vegas.

Well, not every trip, but we did eat there quite a bit.  There was one at Gold Coast too, we'd eat at either one.  [Terrible Mike’s was a hamburger joint, similar to Fuddruckers, but better.  They had to close it when they put a food court at the Orleans with a Fudds, because it would have been a direct competitor with them.]

20. Norm would dip his French fries in ranch dressing.

Nope.  I don't recall Norm ever dipping his Fries in ranch dressing.  I don't think he even likes ranch dressing.  I know he sometimes dips them in mayonnaise (AFEAM!)  The person who liked to dip his fries in ranch dressing was, I believe Danny’s boss. [This really doesn’t have anything to do with Vegas, and guess what….Woody was right and I was wrong.  I confirmed with Norm that he DID like to dip his fries in ranch dressing, and I had forgotten this.  Amazing that Woody & LM remembered this and I didn’t.  I was right about the mayo tho.  And btw, “AFEAM” stands for “Another F***ing E-mail About Mayonnaise,” and that is an inside joke. Oh, and by the way, “Danny” is another friend from LA I used to spend time in Vegas with, before he went insane.]

21. On occasion, Norm and Rob would go to the Palomino Club downtown.

In the early days of our trips, it was pretty much a required stop.  Especially after we discovered "Angela."  Norm and I both agreed that Angela had the best female body we'd ever seen, a true freak of nature.  We would actually call the club when we'd get to town to find out when she was working so we'd be sure to catch her.  Once she disappeared, and more and more of the girls had fake tits (and started to get annoying hustling for tips), we stopped going.  [The story of Angela was told in the first year of the blog, here.]

Well, there you have it.  Hope you found this entertaining.


  1. The 'here' links are not working.

    1. OOOPS....sorry about that, thanks for letting me know. Fixed.

  2. Traveling salesman named Harold Hill? Professor Harold Hill?

    1. Heh heh. Glad you caught that. The guy's name was somewhat similar. In the tradition of this blog, I had to give him a phoney name, so I came up with a name not too dissimilar to his actual name that had some ironic value.

      However, he was not a trombone salesman.

    2. But did he live in River City?

    3. Didn't live there. But he passed thru once.

  3. I have to agree on the Golden Nugget buffet being the best. With one exception though... that being on Oct 9th, 2010 the oysters rockefeller did not agree with me and I blew chow across most of the carpet in my room at the 4 Queens scrambling for the bathroom. That date is easy to remember because of the Binion's $10K for quad tens on 10/10/2010 was the next day.

    1. Thanks for that visual, Lester.

      I believe any Oysters would give me that reaction.

      Last time I had a reaction like that after a Vegas buffet was the last time I ate at the MGM buffet. Not sure if it was indeed something I ate at the buffet or something else.

      Did you at least hit the quad 10's at Binions?

    2. The depth of my card deadness matched that of my hangover. If you can imagine every table in the cash game room full and I think another 7-10 tables running in the tournament area it still took until after midnight for somebody to get 10-10-10-10. Kudos to the Binions poker room mgt for extending the hours of the promo and letting it run until somebody hit it!

    3. Wow....I can't imagine Binion's with that many cash games going!

  4. This blog was well written and enjoyable.

    1. Thanks very much, Victor. Appreciate it.