Las Vegas Picture Diary, Day 1
Monday, 15 June 2009
I arrived safely! That is no thanks to Caroline the Virgin stewardess, with whom I had the oddest conversation before take-off. I think she must have been having a bad day. She was being a little snappy and officious about getting all the bags stowed, so I pleaded with her, “Be gentle, I’m really terrified of flying. It would be great if you could say something reassuring.” Her reassuring reply was, “I can’t promise this aeroplane won’t vanish out of the sky.”
“Well… you could.” I tentatively suggested. “I mean, if it crashes and we all die, I’m not going to come looking for you to complain that you promised it wouldn’t happen.”
“The fact is”, snapped Caroline, “I don’t know any better than you do.”
So that was helpful. I reacted with elegance and bravery: burst into tears immediately. To be fair, I couldn’t fault her logic, even as I mentally crafted my furious letter to Virgin. They’ve really got the magic triple this month. My broadband failed and it took them a week to send a technician. My TV cable box failed, it took another week to get a “12-4pm” technical slot, and the man came at 6. Then I bought one of their flights and they assigned me the stewardess from hell. I’m really going off monopolies.
But, a mere 15 hours later, we were in Las Vegas - hurray! - where, as is only appropriate in the 110-degree heat of June, the town is looking as Christmassy as ever.
I went down to the Rio to see what was happening, and bumped into Jeff and Alan from the Vic. I don’t know why, but I always love flying half way round the world just to see my regular weekly opponents sitting in a poker game. I went to the cash desk and bought tickets for the two $2000 NLH tournaments this week and bumped into Gus Hansen, who was in a very flirtatious mood - but that’s ok. If he hadn’t been, I’d think he was ill. Also spotted Michael Greco on the final table of a $1500 NLH event, on his way to third place: a great result and I’m very happy for Michael, who really has made the full-on transition from soap star to poker player.
I travelled out here with my friend the Chimney Sweep who has a new theory to combat jet-lag: eat nothing on the plane, then have a meal when you arrive. I hadn’t eaten on the plane anyway, since I was too scared to order anything off Caroline, but I wasn’t too hungry when sat down to eat at 1am UK time so I just ordered a soup. But I forgot, this is Vegas. You don’t just get soup. You get soup with a generous and unexpected garnish.
After that I could barely keep my eyes open, so it was straight to bed after only the briefest 3-hour session of blackjack. All good so far. And if anything goes wrong, I know I will be cheered up by looking into the dancing eyes of The Sweep, who missed last year’s World Series and is just so happy to be here.