I did not lose everything over the weekend (+ Monday) – I still have: a complimentary copy of the weekend USA Today, an international-sized bag of Funyuns, and a firm belief that a worldwide cabal of casino cashiers is involved in a conspiracy targeting only me. I was also able to keep my streak alive of acting my age and doing things in moderation – the dealers even lit up with laughter when they saw me the next day! It’s nice to be able to brighten people’s days just by acting maturely and being a great guy.
Very fun trip, overall. Did roughly 320 laps on the lazy river. The Cove’s DJ is phenomenal – “Blame It” is a mega hit at the pool. People tend to personalize the lyrics to fit their needs (“Blame it on the ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hard four”). Ironically, the only member of our group who won money (unless Xmas had a big comeback that I don’t know about) was RB, who wasn’t gambling. She got a little dough in the game during the only (two minute) hot streak of the trip, won $500 and cashed out. Smart.
One solid thing about the trip is that I finally finished my tidal charts for the lazy river, which is nice. No more getting stuck in eddies for me. We also brilliantly changed our entry point to the wave machine area (a little further walk, but worth it); this gives some flexibility if you want to hop off at the next exit and go back to the wave machine. The highlight of the trip for me was destroying a full-bodied male coming out of one of the bigger waves. You’ll see a lot of 40 pound little kids get flipped in the right situation, but it takes some special physics to spill a 250 pound dude.
As you may recall from my first ever real post, I have a bit of a history with the Atlantis. Due to my idiotic performance last June, I have been asked back to the ATL quite frequently, as apparently their casino appreciates the presence of morons. This time they stepped up their game and offered to pay for our flights as well – the mark of a truly atrocious previous gambling performance. Given the shitty weather in NYC, was a no-brainer to head for the ATL on their dime. A quick Sun-Wed trip (we layabouts have pretty flexible schedules).
I know the question that everyone’s dying to know the answer to up front: did I maintain my streak of seven consecutive vacations started with both a) casino personnel at least casually mentioning contacting Security, and b) getting close to fisticuffs with someone thirty or more years older than me (all this mixed martial arts business prevents me from also going after much smaller people, you never know who can break your elbow these days)? Rest easy – the answer is, predictably, “yes” on both counts.
It’s always a tough choice on the flights: do you go for the 6:40 AM out of JFK and get there by 10:00 AM, but tired as shit? Or go for a little later flight? We always opt for the 6:40 under the assumption that you’re just going to be laying by the pool anyway. And that you can sleep on the flight. But that sleep is actually only worth about 15 cents on the dollar, so it’s a risk. To make sure that we would be super sleepy, we decided to stay up drinking wine until 2:00 AM. Smart start.
4:10 AM Alarm goes off. Fuck showering. Fuck.
4:25 AM In cab. Fuck.
4:55 AM Arrive at JFK. Ugh.
5:07 AM Through security. An hour before boarding. Played it way too safe. Starving.
5:15 AM First gamble of the day – go with a philly cheesesteak for breakfast.
5:20 AM Stomach on shaky ground.
5:30 AM Stomach cloud passes. Philly cheesesteak was the right call.
5:45 AM Proof that SO does not read this website: she asks if I want anything. “Get me a Whatchamacallit.” She comes back with a fucking Clark bar. Where was a Clark bar on this list?
Okay, no more minute-by-minute, there were zero problems getting there. I specified that we must be picked up by a dark green limousine, preferably a shade of “well-ripened avocado.”
We were checked in to our room at The Cove by 10:45. It’s so friggin easy to get to the Bahamas. Room on sixth floor might lead to floor inferiority complex, but less time wasted on the elevator. Let’s hit the friggin pool.
Afternoon included one beer, two loops on the lazy rivs, and a nap. The Cove is the more expensive, adults-only part of the Atlantis (but sadly no one rocks the toplessness). The pool there is pretty awesome, with decent music looping (except for one dreadful Enya-esque series). You see lots of vaguely familiar looking people. I’m pretty sure I saw a fairly famous music producer, just not famous enough that I know his name (Timbaface Dash, or somebody). We decided to take a legitimate nap before eating so that we wouldn’t crash too early, then hit up some Nobu.
Atlantis Nobu had been pretty disappointing before compared to the NYC original. The ATL Nobu has one key advantage though – it’s in the friggin casino! And you can eat at the bar area with no wait. Done – rock shrimp (with straight creamy, spicy sauce – fuck that ponzi scheme sauce), edamame, yellowtail (sadly not the wine, the fish) jalapeno, some sushi. Total time elapsed/wasted eating: 40 minutes.
Momentary moment of horror as we proceeded to the craps tables – they were gone. What??? They had actually just moved to the front of the casino, and now had a total of seven tables. Sweet. If you have never played craps, you are missing out. In my esteemed opinion, it is the best game to play in the casino, by far. Community game – unlike blackjack, where it’s very likely there will be 1-2 winners and multiple losers at every table, most craps players play in a manner where they all benefit from positive rolls. Everyone roots for each other and there’s generally lots of screaming, yelling, fistbumping and (my signature move) biceps kissing. It’s interactive, you actually get to roll the dice. It’s fun for couples as it’s well known that ladies are better dice rollers. And the community of players sticks together; you’ll chat with all kinds of random folks the next day about good rolls, etc (you probably won’t recall ever having seen half of these people, depending on how many drinks you’d had the night before).
An important decision for me was what would be the cocktail of choice. I have banned myself from Red Bull & vodka – the deleterious effects of Red Bull actually cause me more physical damage (and calf cramps) than the vodka. This drink needed to be able to stand up to a lot of repetition since it wasn’t 10:00 PM and the casino stays open til 4:00 AM. Much to Bat Rastard’s dismay, I went with the cranberrytini – it’s tasty, helps keep you hydrated during long sessions, and wards off urinary tract infections. Win, win, win.
I started with a couple hundred dollars and got up about a grand. By 1:00 AM was feeling the effects of dozens of ‘tinis and marginal amounts of sleep. Super drunk old guy comes up to the table stands next to me and starts playing the Don’ts. If you don’t know craps, this just meant he was hoping that people would lose. It’s perfectly fine to bet the Don’ts, but you have to keep quiet about it as generally everyone else loses when you win. Yelling for a Seven (which will cause the table to lose) is strictly forbidden. This guy was fucked up and had like $45 on him. I told him he better be quiet if he’s playing the Don’ts and he said he’d just follow our lead. He also kept trying to give me money even though I had 20x his stack. Whatever. Eventually he forgot what he was doing and went back to the Don’ts and even yelled “Seven!” in my ear when I was rolling. Then I told him I was going to beat the shit out of him, which got the pit bosses involved and a lot of shit talking. I should’ve taken it a bit easier as he was drunk as shit, but we had the following exchange.
Me: Fuck you, fucker, hopefully you win that $15 so that you can double your life savings.
Him: I’ve got more than that, I’ve got $103,000 saved.
Me: Ha-ha! I’ve got that much in my checking account you broke-ass bastard!
This is funnier to me now because it was a complete (but completely hilarious) lie. But it was a sweet burn and we decided to call it a night at that point. No need for Security. I ended up $500 and SO ended up about the same.
On Monday, it rained. This was pretty good, actually, as we were hung over as shit and got to the pool late. One extremely excellent thing about The Cove is its outdoor blackjack and craps tables. As it was intermittently raining, I decided to check the dice action. There was a 25 year old kid playing for larger stakes than I’d ever seen – $2k on the Hard Eight (a bet with a huge house advantage, but pays 9x the original wager if it hits) and thousands more on basically every other possible bet on the table. He looked like he was on at least a 36 hour bender and it was only 1:00 PM. He was betting $500 for the dealers AND the cocktail waitress. He dropped $35k in thirty minutes, then took off. Apparently he just got married and both he and his wife had been winning almost every bet imaginable (she put $200 on 7 in roulette, which hit for $6k; he won $55k the night before playing the same insane style of craps). Cool, I feel a little better about my gambling problem. Win $1,000 at this session, up $1,500.
Monday might is a repeat of Sunday night, except no fighting. Nobu, craps, vodka cranberries. I had a roll of the dice that earned a standing ovation. SO rolled well all night. I made an ill-advised move to another table after a downswing. Took out a marker. Bigger downswing. Headed back to first table. Won it all back. Barely standing after like four dozen v/c’s (but my urinary tract is awesome!), closed down the casino. Hooked up the chicken nuggets from room service for the second straight night. I’m up $2k, SO is up $1,500 (pretty incredible – she started with $100).
Tuesday was a very nice day and we got back down to the pool by 11:00, which was strong since we went to sleep at like 6:00 AM. I was repulsed at the thought of alcohol. I spent some time in the pool, but the water was something like 99 degrees, it felt like swimming in lukewarm olive oil. Had to go up to check the markets – grabbed some dough from safe just in case. I’m enticed by the outdoor craps game – the newlywed stops by again to drop about $10k in five minutes. I go on a heater just before closing the table at 6:00 PM. Up $3,000 total now for trip. SO is sick – I think she has alcohol poisoning or congenital lameness; she thinks the bacon cheeseburger did it.
This is where I faced a crucial decision point – go back to the casino for the third night? Or pack it in and enjoy a nice night at the hotel? Shockingly, I decided on the latter (mainly because the thought of another ounce of alcohol made me wretch mentally). I think since starting this blog a month ago I’ve really grown both as a person and as a person who enjoys gambling and drinking. I’m turning into a real moderator.
We got up early on Wednesday and enjoyed a couple of lazy river laps and some pool time before the avocado limo returned. Three days is far too short, next time we will go for five with a timeout day on day three. I left out some of the good stuff like Murray’s Deli (seriously, the best bacon I’ve ever had), the super-non-fun-sounding “shallow water dolphin interaction” (translation: photo op where they try to sell you some $32 pictures with Macai the dolphin) and our laughable decision to buy goggles so we could swim some laps every day. Anybody want to buy two pairs of googles? New in box?
Verdict? It ruled. Free mini-vacation and we came back with extra $4,500.
There’s definitely a lot of HTML/technical crap that i have no idea about, thank god for wordpress which is kind of moron proof (hopefully). I am going to try to put some content on this sweet blog, so that i can work towards my new goal in life: becoming a pundit. I almost aspired to become a VH1 pundit, but wanted to be at least somewhat realistic.
What’s that old axiom? “those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Teaching seems like a lot of work and a decent chance that you’ll end up dealing with some stupid asses. I prefer “those who can’t, criticize.” That seems more leisurely.
For historical perspective, I’ve decided to recount some of my ill-advised antics on this sweet blog. These indelible recordings will allow for an accurate estimation of my place in history when all is said and done. You may notice a simple formula in my stories that roughly breaks down as “alcohol+gambling-shirt=screaming+requests to leave”.
Apologies in advance for the long read, but the upside is if we ever meet in person you can cut me off when i start in with the stories.
ATLANTIS – TRIP #1, JUNE 2008
This was actually a work mandated outing for our entire group (this seemed like a bad idea in like august 2007 – by 2008 the idea of 50 people going to the caribbean for 3 days of drinking/eating/tanning was clearly idiotic). First off, I love the Bahamas, ever since me and my boys won like $30 playing craps at Paradise Island in the summer of 1991 (preferred strategy at the time: field bets when there had been 3 non-field rolls in a row). But given the prevailing work environment at the time – probably like a military unit that was pinned deep in enemy territory, knowing there would be severe casualties – it didn’t really feel like a good time for people to be getting hammered together. we all knew a ton of people would get canned within 2 weeks (which did happen). Also it is almost never a great idea to hang out with coworkers in bathing suits – can lead to some awkwardness later (“ladies, it seems weird not seeing you in bikinis!” actual quote from a guy who i’m pretty sure was on To Catch a Predator).
Anyway, prior to this trip i got stuck going to london. for a 2 hour meeting. at which, at most, i said 10 words. So i left NYC on the latest flight on Tuesday night, got to london, showered, went to meeting, and went right back to airport. The customs guy asked me how long i was going to be in London.
Me: 6 hours.
Him: You must be very important.
Me: Quite the contrary, i am the most junior guy on the team who can reasonably demonstrate our “commitment/interest” for this garbage project that has exactly a zero percent chance of ever happening. the sole reason i am qualifed to be our emissary is that i have some gray hair. seriously. so i’m pretty unimportant.
Boarding the flight to London i saw a familiar looking chubby black dude on his laptop; i told my SO “i think that’s Cee-lo of Gnarls Barkley.” This was confirmed when i later saw he and Danger Mouse (dressed as Superman) on the moving sidewalk. Got to tell them i really enjoy their music – i’m sure they were excited that they have made headway into the highly desirably middle-aged white guy demographic.
Anyway i got back to NYC late on Wednesday and we had a 6:30 AM flight on Thursday. Although 6:00 AM is about 7 hours too early for me, i did witness one of the funniest/saddest things ever that morning at the airport. One of our analysts (who had traveled to the caribbean before) didn’t have a passport and thought you could still travel to the bahamas rocking just a drivers license. He was arguing with the counter people and when i went to see what was up he assured me it was all good. Because his dad was going to email him a picture of his birth certificate. which he would then show to the counter people on his cell phone. Hmmm….seemed unlikely given that our flight was leaving in like 20 mins….i believe he’s still at the counter negotiating.
So we get to the hotel and folks head to the pool. I am cursed with a “due diligence” call with a very loquacious client…so i stay in my room to get ready for this call and finish up some other stuff- i’m nervous because our booze cruise starts at like 5:30 pm or something and the diligence call started at 3:00. If i miss the boat launch i’m fucked. So we have the call and it predictably lasts til 5:45 as the goober CFO wants to wax philosophical about yes/no questions – i had to haul ass but caught up with the group.
Investment bankers are an odd lot – we are on a boat in the bahamas in June, it’s like 115 degrees. I get there and i’m one of 2 guys wearing shorts! long pants and button down shirts? seriously? WTF? Anyway, the food on this booze cruise leaves a bit to be desired as it’s been sitting around for what appeared to be 3 or 4 days – given the heat and the flies, it seemed like botulism was a best case scenario. So i skipped eating and kept with the drinking. I think rum punch with extra rum was the choice bev for the first hour or two.
Then i had a brilliant idea – why not have an Everclear drinking competition? If you’ve never had Everclear, next time you are pumping some gas just have a little sip and you’ll get the idea…anyway, i’d fared pretty well in drinking competitions in my day (including making a girly canadian puke at the bar in a goldschlager war) so i was comfortable that i would dominate this one…but people were manning up like crazy, so i probably had 5-6 sips (let me not exaggerate here – they were teeny, tiny microsips – but the Clear will fuck you up really bad) and this german guy was also right with me…starts to get somewhat hazy from there, but i’ve heard enough from various sources to be able to fill you in….
it was a case of two destinies. mine. and the german guy’s. German guy spewed just after exiting the boat – some of my colleagues basically walked him back to his room, tucked him in and probably gave him some warm milk or a massage or something.
Me? They let me run around like a fucking lunatic in the Atlantis Casino for like 6 hours (especially bitter because my SO was there and stood idly by while i nearly died and/or became insolvent). I do enjoy gaming quite a bit, it goes hand in hand with my passion for drinking. That night, in my completely addled state, i was determined to be The Big Man. I crushed a credit card cash advance for $5k right away and was splashing that shit around like crazy – we were playing craps, talking shit, yelling. And then i don’t really know what happened – i vaguely recall getting another cash advance and seeing some familiar people at various points.
Some conversations that i had the next few days:
“Dude, i saw you win $6k playing blackjack in like 3 minutes! How much did you win?”
“I saw you lose $8k in 5 minutes and start crying – are you okay?”
“Did you know that everyone was only pretending to drink the Everclear but you and (german guy)?”
I woke up outside on a patch of grass (there isn’t much grass at atlantis, i think i must’ve jumped/fell over a little hedge in the path between hotel towers). I had no wallet. i didn’t feel well. and i had a sneaking suspicion that i’d lost a little dough. Most of the rest of the weekend was spent on the lazy river – which actually isn’t all that lazy at atlantis, you can definitely get toes busted and knees scraped…ability to drink further was impaired by the fact that i’m pretty sure i almost expired and my body summarily rejected all further efforts to “loosen up.”
Total damage was ~$19k (a number that i can only begrudgingly come to terms with now – but if id had that cash in equities i would have lost a large amount as well so what the fuck…). I did get some pretty stellar comps though (covered a big portion of a $1500 tab for a large nobu dinner) and constantly get invited back…in fact i did go back in september 2008….more on that later…
Takeaways from this trip: don’t enter Everclear drinking competitions on an empty stomache, always carb up beforehand.