(Most photos mine, one courtesy Icewind)
I woke up around 6, and wasn't able to get back to sleep.
Welcome to Vegas. Here's your complimentary hangover. Holy shit, I was hurting. Much too late the night before, I realized I hadn't been drinking any water. I had tried to solve this problem, but it had been too little too late. Now I was paying for it, big time.
I went looking for coffee, and ended up at Krispy Kreme with a couple donuts and a halfway decent cup of coffee. A couple people showed up, other early risers. I had a chance to talk a bit more with two folks I had met the night before (Russ and Icewind), great people who are still active in just D2. Yes, those people do exist! Anyway, both of them had been around the block a time or two more than I had, and it was great to hear some of their stories.
Various people dropped by and got coffee and chatted, and it was nice even though I was fading fast. My head was pounding and the donuts I had eaten felt like a pair of lead weights in my gut. I went down to the convenience store in the Casino and bought some advil and some fruit juice, but the acid in the juice was not helpful. I kept drinking water, but it was rough.
We ended up in the dark and quiet Minstrel's Lounge. People drifted in and out and I sat back in my chair wishing it would just turn silent, but knowing I wanted to be there anyway. We had plans that night to hit the Star Trek bar that night at the Hilton, but we found out that there was a Trek Convention in town and that the entire Trek area of the Hilton was going to be closed down and dedicated to that starting at 4:30 Friday. So someone had the bright idea of heading over right then -- around 11. I was -starting- to feel human again, so I decided to come along.
I was glad I did -- we had a great time just sitting and chatting it up at the bar, watching the joint fill up with hardcore trekkies. I think about 10 of us went, maybe? Anyway, drinking began again, and while I couldn't stomach the idea of beer I was able to slowly nurse a giant rum drink. We ate appetizer type foods and shot the shit about D2, WoW, GW, the community, and various people's stories. We kept swapping seats and getting to know each other, and those of us who wanted to get a good buzz on, did (I wasn't really looking to, but kind of did anyway). We caught up those who had missed the party on what had happened, we laughed far too loudly at things that were only funny to us, and we basically had a great time for a couple hours.
My hangover was quieting down quite a bit by this time, so I really enjoyed the company and such on the trip back. We took the monorail, wandered through MGM Grand and NYNY on our way back, and somehow I kept hydrated through it all. I knew I would be drinking again on Saturday so I paced myself Friday.
Upon return, I ended up meeting a couple new people who were getting together for a "Casino Clinic" in Zeede's room. We ended up talking craps a little but that was about it as far as casino clinic went. Someone brought out Settlers, but I headed down to the casino floor instead, since I had told Russ I might play craps with him. He was nowhere to be found but Tara/Sisqui and Jim/ReptileHouse talked me into going to play poker with them and Steve/Zofox in the Excalibur poker room. Tara and I each bought a hundred bucks in chips and got sat at the same 1-3 table, Jim and Steve at a 2-6 (both spread limit, unusual in Vegas), and we played for a couple hours. I was feeling mellow and quiet, so poker suited my mood just fine.
What followed was incredible addicting fun. The Excalibur is VERY newbie friendly, so I didn't feel that out of place. And at first it was fine; I was folding, calling, checking, not really doing anything tough. But then I took a hand to a showdown and won it, my first real pot in Vegas. I am not kidding you, my hand was shaking as I stacked my chips afterwards. The incredible fear of thinking you have the table beat but not being sure, questioning every single little thing, trying to act like you've done it a million times ... sheer terror. It was intense.
Most of the time, though, it was quiet and slow. We had a fairly quiet table, not a lot of joking around, and I was starting to feel tired instead of hung over. So a couple hours of quiet poker went by, big stretches of boredom punctuated by short episodes of terror. Insanely fun.
When we quit to have dinner, I was up 40-something bucks. I wasn't playing aggressively -- probably a little too passive-tight. Still, I had a ton of fun and won plenty, and saw a Royal Flush win a guy a small pot (he had a short stack and couldn't capitalize enough).
I think five or six of us went, afterwards, for dinner. We hit one of the semi-fancier restaurants in the casino, and enjoyed a nice meal paid for with our winnings (Jim and Steve had won hundreds already playing poker -- over the course of the trip Jim paid for his flight and hotel in various cash games and tourneys). The food was pretty tasty, and the conversation casual and enjoyable. Not a bad dinner, considering it was in a casino restaurant we had never heard of :).
A little while after dinner we were able to get two different rooms of people playing .25/.50 poker with chips and cards that people brought from home. This was more like my usual casual game, people doing stupid stuff like playing entire hands blind, etc. But every hand was hold-em. We had a weird night, probability-wise, with some amazing flushes and straights, and 3 different hands involving pocket aces. I doubled up -- buying in for twenty and taking back 40 at the end of the night. Not bad (sorry guys)! Didn't drink much since the room with all the booze in it was one floor up and we didn't want to trek back and forth with it. Laziness keeps me sober!
Once the game fell apart, I ended up back in the party room, sipping scotch and tequila and chatting a bit. I think Jim and Steve went to earn more money at the poker tables -- I was winding down. A short stay with the single-malt guys, and I was ready for bed at midnight -- sober but exhausted. TPJ had finally showed up, but he was busy with his own thing and I was falling asleep standing, so we didn't talk much. I took off, hoping I'd wake up Saturday a little better feeling than I had Friday....