It's been a while since I added to this series but a lot has changed since I wrote this:
A lifetime of running cold series.
For one, I now have a hand-pay to brag about (later) but no Royal Flush yet. I also have a ton of tales and some new locations to add to the story.
But first, let's pick up where we left off.
After my last trip to Vegas (in 2014) the wife and I started 2015 planning to hit Vegas several times. We visited in March, June, August and December right after Christmas. We stayed at TI, Mandalay Bay (again), NY/NY and Excalibur.
The first trip, in March, was going to be the trip where I finally got to do some serious sports betting for March Madness. I had also decided to dip my toes back in the live poker well and play in one of their $40 buy-in daily tournaments for fun.
As is our custom, we arrived on a Thursday evening, ate dinner, hit the bar hard, lost just a little bit playing video poker and went to be somewhere around 2AM. The next morning I was up and about early (around 8AM) I went and ate breakfast and settled down at a slot machine to play a little prior to the tournament starting.
It was at this time I ordered a cup of coffee with creamer from a cocktail waitress, sipped it, thought it tasted funny, but finished it regardless. This, as it turned out, was a huge mistake that pretty much cost me the trip.
Thinking back I'm not sure if it was the coffee, but I'm pretty certain it was. Because 1/2 way through the poker tournament I started feeling ill. Very ill. My vision was blurring, I was dizzy and my stomach was doing it's best impression of an over baked pretzel. I wouldn't tell you anything about the last three hands I played in the tournament but it was pretty bad. I started walking away from the table before the last card came out because I knew that something was wrong.
What was wrong was food poisoning. A fairly hideous case of it.
For the next 38 hours I was confined to either bed or the restroom on the occasions that I needed to puke. I was also cold. So cold that my wife set the room temperature at 75 and still had to go down to the gift shop to by me a pair of sweat pants and a zip up hoodie.
All day Friday and all day Saturday I laid in the bed in the room half sleeping and half getting up to the bathroom. My poor wife, who hates college basketball, stuck by my side in the room with nothing to do but watch March Madness while I came in and out of sleep.
This was, without a doubt, the worst trip to Las Vegas that we have ever experienced.
On Sunday I was finally feeling marginally better, at least enough to get out of bed, so our last day was spent slowly walking around the Strip. At this point I was pretty much limited to drinking Pedialyte and eating some saltine crackers that we got from Walgreen's.
I didn't gamble, I didn't watch much of March Madness, we didn't see any shows. It was all around just a horrid trip.
The remaining trips in 2015 were better, no one got sick, but nothing to brag about. I was scared to drink coffee now but I did gamble and we had 3 trips with a succession of small wins and small losses that pretty much made gambling in Las Vegas just about a wash.
We didn't gamble much however because my wife was on a horrid losing streak and would just clam up and stop gambling after $20 or so. Then she'd get in a bad mood and so we'd just walk from casino to casino doing not much of anything but just ambling around. We spent all of 2015 in this funk, a funk brought on by extreme sickness and some pretty rotten action.
Because our gambling had dropped, so did our comp offers. We needed something to get us back on the beam and we needed it quickly because our Vegas passion was flailing and we really didn't know how to get it back.
About the only saving grace for this period of time were the shows that we saw. We saw Penn & Teller and loved it, Zarkana before it went away, Mystere, a show at the Venetian called "Panda" and the Dancing with the Stars road show at the Tropicana. We also dined well, when we ate, eating at all of Wolfgang Puck's places, Mesa grill, Gordon Ramsay's Steak and Pub, and we discovered the Crown and Anchor Pub for the first time.
The irony of the year was this: In 2015 we spent more time in Las Vegas than in any year prior, we also gambled a hell of a lot less.
In 2016 that would change, not always for the better.