With the air conditioning going full blast to ameliorate the 115-degree desert heat, I pulled the gray Caddy into valet parking at the Plaza, entered the dingy casino, and fought through the registration line to get my seat assignment. Once again I was in the auxiliary area, table 27, seat one. There was no one I recognized at the table but before 10 minutes were up I limped into a family pot in late position with Ten-Nine suited. The flop came King-Ten-Nine, giving me bottom two pair, a strong but vulnerable hand. It checked to me and I bet 200 into the 150-chip pot. Somebody check-raised me all in. I looked into his soul and decided I had the best hand. I called and he turned over King-Queen for top pair. That made me a 64% favorite but the turn was a Four and the river another Four, counterfeiting my two pair and knocking me out of the contest in last place.
That left plenty of time for dinner, which was at Mix at Mandalay Bay with Eric “Howard Treesong” Liebeler and his beautiful wife Carmencita. I had been looking forward to my first experience of celebrity chef Alain Ducasse. The food and company were terrific, but the atmosphere was a bit crowded and noisy, interfering with enjoyment of the spectacular view, and the service was inexplicably unpolished. A tuna tartare appetizer was fresh but not as tasty as Michael Mina’s. The lamb was wonderful, but a 2001 Nickel & Nickel Tench Vineyards Cabernet was served with cheap wine glasses. I was told they didn’t have anything better but later found out they were lying and had Riedel stemware, which presumably they allowed you to use at some magic price point.
I introduced Eric and Carmen to the game of Moscow Hoosegow. Amazingly, this will be the first reference to it on the Web. You give a clue consisting of two words. The answer is a synonym for the first word followed by a synonym for the second word, which must rhyme. For example, “Capital Prison” would be “Moscow Hoosegow.” Note that you could not say “Russian Prison” because “Russian” is not a synonym for “Moscow.”
Eric got my favorite example, invented by Shortstack, instantly: Terrorist’s Sleepwear.
Tomorrow: $1060 at the Plaza.