Monday, May 31, 2010

2010 WSOP: Beer Pong Warmup or New Home? 

Las Vegas, NV
May, 2010

I have one major problem with spending so much time in Las Vegas. It's very tough for me to find a bar that fits me, somewhere which feels like a damn bar should. Everything thing here is either in the middle of the casino, a god forsaken dance club, or a sportsbook. Even going to catch a Steel Panther shows feels more "clubby" then a proper rock show. There are still a few hidden gems, including the one bar in Vegas that a lot of us have claimed as our own and is still mostly secreted away from the creetins.

Wednesday I found a place that felt like home.

A few weeks before heading out west I was approached about participating in the Doyle Brunson Beer Pong Invitational to be held a few days before the WSOP kicked off. I'm always up for a little craziness so I immediately threw my name in the pool and looked forward to a little boozy release before the grind. Nevermind I hadn't thrown a ping pong ball at a plastic cup in a decade, booze and friends were a worthy draw.

The tournament was schedule to kickoff sometime after 2pm at Hogs and Heifers downtown. Never one to delay the inevitable, I grabbed a cab and was the first person to enter the bar. Cute bartenders barely dressed in tiny leather bikini tops, beat up bar, HUGE surly bartenders, classic rock. Workable first impressions. My first drink was a Bass instead of jumping straight into the hard stuff since there was no way to know how decent my head would need to be.

Lesson learned from being fucking ripped out of my mind at the blogger tournament in December.

I enlisted Matt "All In At 420" Stout as my partner thinking he likely had more recent experience at the game and had the tolerance beyond most. We drew Hoyt Corkins and Steve "gboro780" Gross in our first match right in the middle of the room. We quickly fell behind 6-1 in cups with them hitting the final cup but Stout saved us with the rebuttal. From there we battled back to get heads up cup-for-cup. We were the team of destiny! That's what we kept telling ourselves. We kept repeating it after we lost and were chugging shots at the bar while the Corkins team moved on.

But now the real fun kicked in. The bar owner, Michelle Dell, was standing on the bar yelling out the action over a bullhorn while we were shooting our match. She seemed to take great join in my CantHang nickname and called it out often. Remember the "Lil" character who owned the bar in Coyote Ugly? That was her, except louder. And cooler. I was already doing shots with the bartender before my match (Jameson, go figure that one) but it was time to get friendly with a bar owner.

I haven't a clue what hell-mouth kind of booze she was knocking back but it looked a combination between whiskey and moonshine. Shot, shot, carbomb, beer, shot, etc. All this was going on during the tournament and the CantHang yell would be heard from atop the bar. My call to pony up for more liquid torture.

Have a great conversation with some poker friends, time for shots. Meet some new people, time for shots. Random hot girls walk into the bar, time for shots. The theme was repeated constantly until I realized two things.

One, I was completely broke.

Two, the bar was empty of every "poker" person.

It was just me, the bartenders, big burly bouncers and the regular Wednesday crew in downtown Las Vegas. Neither situation was terrible, it was just a matter of hitting up the Bank of CantHang then continuing the destruction. The second crew of bartenders took their spots while the first shift pulled up a barstool on the drinking side. Stories were passed around as much as the glasses, there might have been some dancing, there was certainly a lot of fun.

When the fuzzy alarm went off in my head I decided it was time to hoof my wasted ass back to the hotel. Problem was finding a cab on this little street and actually having enough money to get back to the strip. I was pointed towards Binion's with a laugh where I found someone willing to take my last few dollars bills to get me home. I amazingly ended up back at my hotel without getting rolled or buried in the desert because I passed out the second he pulled away from the cab.

The next morning I found a note in my pocket. "Come back anytime CantHang, Michelle".

I found my new drinking home. Watch out.


Some horrible iPhone pictures from the night

Shots were all over the place

A little dancing on the bar

Cute bartender through the five-hole of the bar owner

TUBE SOCKS! Wish the picture was better