Back From Vegas (to reality)

Well, like a lot of investments these days, the ol’ Waiter’s 401k took a hit recently. All told, we were probably down about $500 for the 2.5 day visit. The gambling itself didn’t go too badly. I spent some time slightly up, a lot of time at about even, and finished about $200 in the red.

We stayed at the Golden Nugget, downtown. Upon arriving at 2:30 a.m. we visited the coffee shop for some food, and to redeem a buy-one-get-one-free coupon. Across the dining room I saw Jamie-Lynn Sigler, aka Meadow Soprano from the old HBO show, The Sopranos. She was stunning and young, having a late meal with what appeared to be some family and friends – about nine people. I always like seeing celebrities.

We had dinner at Hugo’s Cellar in the basement of the Four Queens hotel. People in the know are aware of Hugo’s. It’s an excellent restaurant of the steak and seafood variety. Their best features in my opinion: a red rose for each lady, non-a la carte menu, bundled build it yourself salad prepared tableside by your server, lemon sorbet intermezzo, and generous martinis that come with an additional side car buried in crushed ice to keep cold. The sommelier, John, is very gracious and helpful with wine selection. He also told us that business had been slower recently, as with all restaurants. I find it refreshing when someone tells the truth about such things. He also pointed out that several venerable restaurants had closed recently, with more coming every month.

The gambling highlight had to be when we decided to head for the Strip to party and get something to eat. We were on a tight budget, but we didn’t want to drive, as we would be drinking. Frankly, we hesitated a bit about the cost of the cab. As a solution we decided to make the money for the cab before we set out. We put down a $25 chip on an empty blackjack table. Shuffle. We got 11 to the dealer’s 6. Well, you have to double. We got a ten, then the dealer busted. Sweet! Once we got to Caesar’s we decided to do some more traipsing around, and thus repeated the cab fare endeavor a few times. We won every hand and made another $100.

The room at the Nugget was superb. They’ve really fixed up the place a lot. In fact, all of downtown has been fixed up. Although the casinos and hotels are definitely on the low end, every single one we visited was very clean, with new carpet, and often a recent general remodel job. In the old days, downtown was pretty damn funky, excluding the Nugget. I used to like that about the Horseshoe (which isn’t even called the Horseshoe anymore – Binion’s). It was old timey, dark and cozy, kind of dirty, and very genial. Now they’re all much more ‘corporate’ feeling.

First night we were up until 8:30 in the morning. The next night we were responsible, hitting the bed at 6:30 a.m. We got a fair amount of sleep, but the adrenaline and the drinking really burned us out. On returning home, it wasn’t until last night/this morning that I’ve felt normal and rested again.

Fairly slow at both jobs since returning. However, Wednesday at Michael’s I had my best call party, Kool. He’s been MIA mostly the last 3-4 months, and even when I have seen him, he hasn’t been drinking. Wednesday, though, he was back in every way. He ordered two bottles of 100 Acre Cab: $450 a bottle. His six-top had appetizers and ordered from the dinner menu, plus desserts all round. That was a $285 tip for me. So, though it was slow, I did very well and ended the week (today) with a $135 daily average for lunch.

Dinner shift last night, the BCS Championship Game (and economic doldrums) killed us. We made only $45 and were out the door at 8 p.m. Tonight will be better. Looking forward to $150+ and an icy martini at the end of the night to enjoy whilst watching the Lakers on Tivo.

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