“I’m down here in Sin City kicking the Devil in the junk for y’all”…
I’m goin’ in to Sin City
I’m gonna win in Sin City
Where the lights are bright
Do the town tonight
I’m gonna win in Sin City
AC-DC – Sin City
…so said Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival Friday night (the quote in the title, not the song lyric). I thought it was a pretty funny line. Ruth bought us tickets to Puscifer’s first ever live show at the Pearl in the Palms hotel in Las Vegas on Friday night, and Uncle Scratch was the opening act. Uncle Scratch is Maynard Keenan on drums and some guy I couldn’t identify on guitar, although I’m near positive it may have been Adam Jones, or at least someone who studied the crap out of Adam Jones’ tone and style. It’s not that it sounded like tool guitar, just…kinda felt like it. Thing is this guy had short hair and last pics I saw of Adam Jones he had long hair. I guess there are scissors in the world tho… Turns out Maynard’s a hell of a drummer…who knew? He played a home built kit consisting of some cardboard barrels and a metal basket and some other detritus, and he played the shit out of it. The whole premise of uncle scratch is humour to piss off hardcore Christians…they come out pretending to be street corner preachers and play it up the whole set. It was funny too, watching Maynard play drums in a wig and polyester suit while laying back on an easy chair with his left foot up on the bass drum, a megaphone mic taped to a harmonica holder around his neck. I did think the set may have been a song or two too long, but loved it just the same.
Puscifer itself was an amazing show. The stage had two drum kits on either side, bass player and guitarist outside of those, and between them to 42″ tv screens at head level. In front of that was a set up of sofa’s and a coffee table. The show was unlike any rock concert i’ve seen; it was more like a Vegas cabaret which is, I guess, fitting in the Pearl theatre. It started off with a video of Maynard dressed up as a soldier, complete with fake mustache and wig, telling people what was to come. This character was Major Douche (I don’t make these things up, people), and shows up in various promo videos for the band. After the short video the show started with a little skit that was satirizing Christian tv shows, with a nun and a sexually suspect man with ken doll hair hosting a variety show for teens. They introduce a guest who’s a famous TV preacher and of course it’s Maynard with a comb over and a paunch and a pair of purple sweats with “Jesus” embroidered on the ass. Check out this link for some pics.
When the music began it was awesome… Various random people would come and sit on the sofa’s while the band was playing, and Maynard and a lady singer stood behind the tv screens singing. The main drummer and the bass player were unbelievably solid, and it all made sense when he introduced the band and it turned out they were brothers. The two singers behind the screens had cameras on their faces, so u saw their faces while they sang, and that was very cool. Throughout the show the second drummer would come out and with both drummers going it was incredibly intense. For the second last song of the night, Milla Jovovich came out and sang awesomely. I gotta say I didn’t recognize her at all, and I actually thought it was a drag queen for a while…lol (sorry Milla, it’s not that u look like a man just that yer damn tall!). They finished the set with Queen B and the adoration in the room was evident. Maynard is an artistic genius and a business genius as well, and his fans are rabid for his product.
Ahhh Vegas…it’s sensory overload and dark and light and sound and money and sex and degenerate gambling and everything else you can think of. I love it, I could live there if I was off the strip, and yet…it’s good to be home. I stood in the shower last night and it felt like I was washing Vegas off of myself; 5 days of smoke and slot noise and the bad odor of degenerate gambling addiction and impending financial doom from alot of the players. We were lucky enough to get a good package deal at Trump Towers, and it sure was nice to be in a smoke free hotel with no casino; it was like an oasis away from all the craziness. Trump is probably feeling the pinch of the depression more than most of the strip majors as he’s got no casino and is a block off the strip, so if you’re planning a trip there check out the offers. The room was fantastic; the bathroom was as big as my living room, and we had a full kitchen with dishwasher, stove, microwave and fridge. We went and bought some groceries at Von’s on the Tuesday which saved us some money and allowed us to eat a bit healthier than we otherwise might have.
Monday was Ruth’s birthday, so we went to Chinois in Ceasar’s palace, which is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at. It’s a Wolfgang Puck joint, and serves Asian fusion food. We ate there last august when we went, and loved it so much we went back this trip. The food and service were both awesome as expected. It was really the only real nice meal we went out to, although on Friday we ate at a japanese place in the Palms that was ok, though not nearly as good. Other than that it was poker poker poker. I felt I played extremely well all week, and made some massively profitable reads. I’m good at reading bluffs it turns out, who knew? All these people would try and bluff, but they make it obvious enough that it’s easy to call. The best read was when this kid pushed all in on the river with a mixed board and me holding A9 suited…I had an ace, and his bluff was so obvious to me I insta-called, felting him and giving me a huge stack. People at the table were all “ooo good call” and I was like “u kidding me? it was obvious…this kid needs to learn how to bluff without putting a big billboard above his head”. I got alot of respect after that, which allowed me to make a few of my own bluffs. 🙂
On Tuesday afternoon a twitter friend of mine (@pokervixen) came by the venetian and we went for lunch. Lori is a transplanted Canadian, and it was nice to meet someone i’ve played with online and chatted with occasionally. She wouldn’t let me or Ruth buy lunch tho, so I owe her one. Afterwards she sat at a limit game while I stayed at my 1-2 NL table and Ruth continued in the deep stack tourney she was playing. Out of three tourney’s she played, Ruth was able to cash in one of them and did ok at the cash games too. She had some bad luck on her third tourney (pocket aces vs pocket kings and the kings hit a four card flush!!!), but all in all seemed to be happy with her play. Throughout the week we spent a ton of time in the Venetian poker room, and I’ve got to give big props to the room manager; it was incredibly well run and they treated the players exceptionally well. Not only that, the seats were damn comfy! The Venetian definitely ‘gets’ poker and poker players, and I look forward to my next visit to their fabulous room.
I met alot of people there, played with some of the same people for a few days, and alot of people were really good folks. Some of the tourists and some of the local Vegas grinders were dicks, but most of them were really nice people and we had some fun at the tables, with alot of mutual respect and honorable play. There were alot of nice visitors as well, and there seemed to always be a good conversation at the table. Of course there were a bunch of people who seemed to want to give me money as well, which is always nice. There were two vegas pros I ran into everyday; this young kid who was a nice guy and real solid player, just starting out and building his roll in the small limits but cocky as all get out, and this older guy who looked like Mike Rutherford. I quite enjoyed playing and chatting with both of them, and they really made playing there challenging and fun. I think the kid is gonna be a real good player but he’s probably going to take some knocks for his cockiness. It wasn’t offensive tho…just entertaining. I also seemed to end up playing with a lot of people I play with regularly at home; during the deep stack tourneys at Venetian alot of people from the River Rock like to go down, and I seemed to run into all of them. Nothing like travelling several hundred miles to play with the same people u play with at home.
Saturday was our leaving day, and also the one year anniversary of my life changing surgery. It was a good feeling to know that 1 year ago i was lying on a hospital bed with my chest ripped open, 30 pounds heavier and one foot in the grave, and to see the changes i’ve made in the meantime. The year since the surgery has been all about the poker, and it seems that my game has jumped a couple levels in that time, thanks to 2 months off to study up and thanks to learning alot from Ruth. I was a bit wistful to be leaving the city, but we did manage to get a good 6 hours of play in before heading to the airport. I left about 1 PM and went back to Trump to grab the luggage while Ruth kept playing for a bit. I accidentally thru the hotel’s hair dryer into ruth’s suitcase thinking it was hers, so I’ll have to send that back to them…whoops. We rushed to the airport and had a nice flight back home. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable trip, and I can’t wait to do it again. Next time I’m gonna try and meet up with some more of my vegas twitter friends, and maybe see if I can challenge @lizlieu to a heads up match bahahaha. Erm…maybe not, I’d be schooled and just be giving her money; I’ll just have to wait til I meet her at the final table of the Vancouver WPT event in May I guess. 😉