In anticipation of lots of homework, I've been looking for ways to waste time, and so I've been playing poker on-line again. I've been leery of on-line poker, because I'm an okay poker player, and tend to win more sessions than I lose, but on occasion I get upset and lose far more than I ever win, and very rarely do I actually cash out any money from on-line poker rooms (I've had better luck in brick and mortar establishments, but the poker rooms around here aren't all that great, and with the large rake and lousy comps, not worth the long drive...especially since Viejas almost never spreads 3-6 Stud/8 anymore). I'm playing at Paradise Poker, a site I've played at before. I chose to play there primarily because they will cover your Neteller fees for an instant transfer, so I could start playing right away and not wait a few days for the funds to clear (or pay the 8.5% instant transfer fee). It also looked like the site was still doing well, though maybe not quite as busy as it was a few years ago. Or it could just be that the non-Hold 'Em games have lost players, so it just feels that way. In any event, in hopes that things will be different this time, I'm pretty much sticking to tournaments. That way, if I go on tilt, the most I can lose is the tournament entry fee. So I've played quite a few tournaments this week, and to my surprise, I've won quite a few. I've mostly been playing the $10+1 single-table tournaments, so the wins haven't been huge ($50 for first place, or lesser amounts for the rest of the top three), but it's added up pretty well, so that I've made about $130 this week. And that's including the losses I suffered when I tried moving up to $20+2 tournaments (I got third place a few times, but that doesn't really help much, you lose one tournament, finish third in another, and you're still down money after the entry fee). So that's not bad at all. I'm not a great hold 'em player, but I'm not bad, and seem to do well in the single-table tournament structure.
I figure on-line poker for low stakes will satisfy my gambling urges between Vegas trips, but it looks like I will be making one stop by my local indian gaming establishment. I got an invitation to a slot tournament next month at Valley View Casino. Unlike their standard offer, a monthly $6,000 tournaments, this one has a $60,000 prize pool, with a $10,000 grand prize. Also included is a weekend stay at Pala Mesa, a posh golf resort up in Fallbrook somewhere (this is a pretty nice offer, being what is called in the business a "hard" comp...Valley View doesn't own a hotel, so putting me up in a room involves them paying cash for a room, and while I'm sure they get a good deal since they're probably renting out most of the resort, it's still a bigger coup comp-wise than a free hotel in Vegas, say), four free meals, and a gift valued at $1100. I am sceptical as to the true value of the supposed eleven hundred dollar gift (my guess is some sort of crystal vase, that seems to be a popular gift at high-end slot tourneys...or possibly jewelry...probably nothing I want), it's still a great offer. I had decided I wouldn't be going up to Valley View much anymore because the long drive offsets the value of their very generous comps. But an offer like this reminds me that they really do treat their players right. A stark contrast to Harrah's, down the road from them.
Unfortunately, it is not confirmed 100% that I will attend the tournament. I've taken a lot of time off work due to summer school, and I felt really bad asking for another weekend off. But I called work today, and while Ross has to check with the big guy, it looks like we're adequately staffed that weekend, and it should be fine. So I think I shall attend. Also, my next Vegas trip has morphed a bit. I was hoping to go Monday-Thursday, but it turns out Mom is going out of town Wednesday afternoon for Michelle's baby shower. So I need to be home to take her to the airport and be with the dog while she's gone (Tanner's sick today...I was concerned until I learned Mom gave him a hot dog...well, gee whiz, Mom, you think that has something to do with the vomiting?). So I've decided that I need to do what I hate to do, and fly to Vegas. I can get the Southwest "Fun Fare" of $49 each way, and fly out after work on Sunday, so by getting a little extra time Sunday, and being able to gamble longer on the days that would mostly be taken up by driving, I don't think I'll miss the extra days. And I'll only have to take one day off work, which should make them happy. Mom will fly out Wednesday, drive herself to the airport, leave the parking ticket in the car, and I'll drive the car home myself when I get in. A plan so perfect, it just might work. I hate flying, and hate not having a car (though between the deals on rental cars and the rising expense and hassle of taxis and shuttles, maybe I'll rent a car), but this will work. I have a good offer to stay at the Las Vegas Hilton those days, which includes $100 in promotional chips (you can't cash them in, but you play with them until you lose...I got a $25 promotional chip at NYNY this last trip, and turned it into $150). I'll probably go ahead and book that, but I'll keep a close eye on my mailbox in case the Venetian or Wynn sends me any juicy offers.