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Davina Darr - Card Room Crawls und andere Abenteuer...

This is part 5 of the summary.

Click here for:

  • Part 1 about Binion’s and
  • Part 2 about Stratosphere
  • Part 3 about Wynn
  • Part 4 about The Mirage and a short trip to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam

Harrah’s Las Vegas

I had never actually played much at the Harrah’s poker room before. Although I had stayed at the adjunct Imperial Palace in the past. My memory of the room was that is was relatively difficult to get to (through a forest of slot machines) and that no game was going twice I tried it here.

There is an easier way without slot machines in the way but that means coming in through the so-called “party pit” in between Imperial Palace and Harrah’s. An area filled with stands that sell all kinds of stuff and loud (often live) music. This is a smart bottleneck on the East side of the Strip that slows you down on your way and basically funnels you into the Harrah’s casino as it’s cooler and less crowded in there. If you take the main entrance that waits with an open air-conditioned mouth you will need to get through the slot maze to the poker room, if you walk further to the right outside you will find a small side door that gets you directly to the poker action.

This obviously has advantages and disadvantages: on the one hand, it’s quite noisy at most hours of the day, on the other hand you get drunk party people that want to try “that poker thing” and you can take money off (although they make the “working conditions” not necessarily easier or more pleasurable).

Personally I avoid the party pit altogether and usually take a route in the back from Imperial Palace over to Harrah’s (just follow the Monorail signs).

In total I had 5 sessions here during my month. The most memorable was the one that started at 2am.

At some point during the trip I had finally got into the “right” poker rhythm: sleeping at day, playing at night. So I woke up at midnight and got ready for the action. I decided to screw all make-up and styling efforts and go in my hoody, pony tail, no make-up. Who cares how I look like, right?! (I would regret all this later…)

My breakfast consisted of Asian food at the Ginseng restaurant that is known to be open very late. I know, gross…but this messed up daily routine does weird things with your head…and your stomach.

The idea was then to basically play as long as possible at Harrah’s and maybe check out The Mirage later (yes, this story happened before what I described in part 4 of this summary blog when I went from the Mirage to the desert in my hoody).

I wasn’t sure if I could handle drunk poker around me that shortly after waking up. But it was ok.

And I had the benefit of the doubt. Arriving at this time of night MUST mean I’m drunk as well…so I usually play along and pretend I’m drunk. In this case though I only ordered Red Bull from the waitress (without the vodka).

An “almost” romance at the poker table

As soon as I sat down at the table I noticed a cute guy two seats on my left and was distracted straight away. Just from the way he looked, was dressed an behaved it all matched the image of my perfect man. I actually posted on Facebook “Playing at Harrah’s with what could be the man of my dreams two seats on my left!”.

It didn’t take long to get into a conversation. Unfortunately a man of big proportions was sitting right between us and it was difficult to talk and keep eye-contact. Luckily he left at some point and cute guy moved over to sit next to me (away from his friend he was here with). He told me he was actually a high stakes player and coach and was only here playing $1/$2 because of his friend. He showed me photos of his table stacks at the big games and pictures of his hot model ex-girlfriend. These things irritated me a bit and I felt I should probably stay away from him.

But then he asked me how long I would still be in town for and asked me to go for dinner some time.

The weird thing in all this was that I was sitting there…no make-up, weird red-coloured pony-tail and a damn hoody… and he still asked me out.

I agreed to go for dinner with him and we added each other on Facebook. At that moment when he added me I remembered that I had posted the “man of my dreams” thing and frantically tried to delete the post while he added me. I am still not 100% sure if he had seen it. :wink:

The dinner never happened as he is a typical professional poker player (I had been warned, but I just cannot listen). It is just impossible to plan something or get him away from the table

What we did have though was a spontaneous breakfast date some morning when I woke up at 7am and he had finished his session at the Bellagio. We met at Hash-House-A-Gogo at Imperial Palace and talked over breakfast. He told me about crazy gambling sessions and losing several $10ks to the casino at blackjack and baccarat.

He actually beats the high stakes poker games just to lose it in casino games. It’s like described in all those gambling books I read. It’s the stereo-type of a Las Vegas poker pro. It made me sad as I actually started liking him even more. A good guy with some bad choices.

I always do that… I pick the generally perfect guy for me, but always with this one thing I feel like I might be able to fix. I only had 4 boy-friends in my life and 3 of them were alcoholics. I always think I can help them and then have the perfect relationship. It obviously didn’t work out in either of those cases.

Now this man is not an alcoholic but a gambler. It’s an addiction I can understand more than the alcohol, as I have gambled away a lot of money myself and I still enjoy doing it, even though I could use the money for better purposes. But it’s fun….and life is short.

I am reading Vicky Coren’s “For Richer For Poorer – Confessions of a player” at the moment and she explained this gambling habit of poker players like this:

“Later tonight, or tomorrow, or next month or next year, he will lose all his money in a baccarat game or a poker game at whatever stakes he can muster, and then he will find a way to make more money, and lose it back.

All of us who gamble know what masochism is. We know that smart poker is about controlling the risk of pain, mad gambling is about abandoning yourself to it. For Mr Big, that is the strongest attraction. This is how he releases the darkness from his soul and trepans the whispering spirits from his brain.”

After our breakfast we took a walk down the Strip along the party pit, the Venetian and Palazzo down to the Wynn. We played some cash game until he went home to bed. He came back later for 5 minutes that evening to check on my tournament progress and then I never saw him again.

We stayed in touch though and I offered him a time-out from that Vegas poker life and to come over and visit me in Europe for a proper beak from it all. Being a gambler myself though, I would BET on it that he will not be getting his passport and taking some of the money that he would usually shove down the casinos’ throats and buy a plane ticket out of there.

And there I am again…ooooh so picky when it comes to men… Finally finding someone to find interest in and once again it probably will be a struggle or not lead anywhere…

We all know masochism…

OK, back to the Harrah’s poker room. I had played a couple of cash game sessions and also tried the $60 donkament (which I chopped 4 ways in the end). It was a profitable poker room for me. And had I found out about the $5k freeroll earlier I might have played here more often.

Here is the result of my hours at Harrah‘s:

  • Poker room quality (0-10): 6 – the room is dark with huge pop art photos of random poker legends on the wall. It all feels a little soul-less in here. Staff is friendly and mostly good though.
  • Comps: $1/hour
  • Promos: Mini Bad Beat, High Hand Boni und Freeroll
  • Player’s Card: Total Rewards
  • Cash Game Hours: 9.11 (4 winning sessions, 1 losing session)
  • Cash Game Profit: $393
  • Tournament Hours: 3.31
  • Tournament Profit: $270
  • Total Profit: $663 + 1 almost romance

The next card room is the Imperial Palace. As this has been changed dramatically though and I don’t have much to say about it, the next blog will probably be about 2 card rooms.


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