Las Vegas is the poker capital of the world. My wife and I have vacationed in Vegas more than a dozen times in the last 15 years. Normally we go visit two times a year, once at Christmas for four or five days and again in June for the World Series of Poker.
Christmas time in Vegas has always been a fun time. The crowds are smaller making getting front row seats to the best shows in town much easier. The restaurants never have lines and good tables are always available. Many of the shops are feeling the pinch of the smaller crowds and prices are much lower.
In the past we have stayed at many different casinos including, The Mirage, MGM Grand, New York New York, Harrah’s, The Sahara (when it was still there), and of course The Rio. We have enjoyed them all tremendously.
When the opportunity came up for me travel to Vegas with a group of guy friends, my wife insisted I go. It would be my first trip to Vegas without her. There were six of us who left DFW on January 18th for five days of poker tournaments and fun. The destination was the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. One of guys in the group had a casino host there and the rest of us were looking forward to tagging along.
The plane landed in Vegas a little after 8 A.M., and we waited with enthusiastic anticipation for the Planet Hollywood Limo to pick us up. After a few minutes, with no Limo in sight we realized other travel arrangements might have to be made. One phone call and everything worked out, and Planet Hollywood sent a car over for us.
Arriving at the hotel changed what could have been an inauspicious start to a good trip into the start of a fabulous five days. The hotels employees were friendly, welcoming and accommodating. The hotel itself was everything I had heard it would be.
After checking in our rooms, we hustled over on foot to the Venetian. A Deep-stack Bounty Tournament we were all playing in would be starting at Noon. There were 142 players entered in the tournament and the Venetian poker room was large and roomy. My trip got better in the third level of the tournament when I the river turned my Ace-high flush into a Royal flush. That hand earned me three knock-outs and over 100,000 in chips.
The rest of my group, one by one would be eliminated and walk back over to Planet Hollywood. By the tenth level of blinds, I was the only one left from the group, sitting on about 250,000 in chips. Vegas was feeling good to me just about then. Lady Luck hung with me until there were only six players left in the tournament, then she turned her back and my chips became someone else’s.
I was quite happy with my sixth place finish and took my time walking back to the Planet Hollywood. The Strip was buzzing with tourists. I passed by Hello Kitty, or at least someone dressed like her, I saw Elvis with a gorilla, and I saw a man holding a sign saying, “Kick Me in the Nuts for $20”. There were three ladies negotiating with the guy. I think he had lost his nerve when he saw the extremely pointed boots one of them was wearing.
I still wonder if I should have hung around to watch her kick him, and I have no idea why other than it looked like a train wreck waiting to happen.
Watch for Part 2 in this three part series to read more about the Poker Room at Planet Hollywood.