Zombies in Vegas 2021 - The Pandemic is Over!

Poker Zombie

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We were one of the few that masked up and ventured forth into Vegas briefly, during the pandemic. A year later we return, without bottles of hand sanitizer, to see how Vegas has recovered.

This trip started off later than most Vegas jaunts, taking a late flight into town. The reason: We are hosting a Zombie Poker Club event the night we fly back, so we wanted to prep the house, set-up monitors, tables, chairs, barware... all the stuff we do each time we host. The only thing we didn't set out were the chip stacks - because we brought the case of chips to Vegas for the Meet in the Suite (2021).

As this is our... 11th trip in 12 years, we continued to widen the circle around Vegas. This time hitting Pahrump, and Death Valley California.

Yes, it's summertime, and we are going to Death Valley, the hottest place on the planet.

1623760358543.png


What to do when it's too hot to breathe? Play Pickleball.
2021-06-14 06.51.08.jpg


Mostly though, we went for the night sky. Out here, with no lights for miles, you can see so many more stars. The term "Billions and Billions" from Carl Sagan comes to mind. We grabbed a blanket, a bottle of wine and trekked out into the desert. Our "camp" looked like this in daylight:
2021-06-13 14.00.06.jpg

You don't come here for lush green vegetation.

I'd show you the stars, but they don't really photograph well. I mean, they're stars... they are tired of the paparazzi. Besides, unless you have a 1.6 million inch monitor, you aren't getting the full effect.

Dinner in the old saloon was unexpectedly gourmet.
2021-06-13 19.28.04.jpg

Fried Chicken with a Red Pepper Jelly, Fried potato wedges, and grilled asparagus. The Red Pepper Jelly was more like Red Pepper Honey. If @detroitdad or @toothpic were scrambling for dinner ideas tonight... you're welcome.

Death Valley is in California, where they still take COVID precautions. Masks required, no waiters at dinner, and everyone is social distanced. They even made me sit this far from @Mrs Poker Zombie .
2021-06-13 19.40.49.jpg


Enough of the desert though, you came here for chips.

We hit up the Pahrump Nugget, so named because it was created from a lump of Pahrump in the old mining days, before they discovered gold... and before they discovered that Pahrump was just the Shoshone word for turd.

The Shoshone sold a lot of Pahrump to the white settlers.

Then again, I may just be making this all up. All while offending the Shoshone, settlers, and even the townsfolk of Pahrump. The person I'm not offending is the guy that bought these chips for the casino...
2021-06-14 12.51.49.jpg


...as he was trying to make chips that looked like a lump of Pahrump.

They don't have a poker room at the Pahrump Nugget, but they do have a table game called Heads-Up Hold'em. I liked it. A lot...
2021-06-14 14.07.07.jpg

Still don't like Chipco chips though.

From Pahrump, we drove into Las Vegas. Let me assure you, the Pandemic is over, and every single person on planet earth is currently in Vegas.

After about 3 hours we get to our room at the Venetian, and eventually into the the tournament area, which is not in the Venetian Poker Room. They have it shuffled off to the Plazzao, in a open floor space.
2021-06-14 18.03.08.jpg

@Anthony Martino always takes pics of his tournament buy-ins, in his sweat thread, so now I'm playing poker like a pro!
 

Anthony Martino

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We were one of the few that masked up and ventured forth into Vegas briefly, during the pandemic. A year later we return, without bottles of hand sanitizer, to see how Vegas has recovered.

This trip started off later than most Vegas jaunts, taking a late flight into town. The reason: We are hosting a Zombie Poker Club event the night we fly back, so we wanted to prep the house, set-up monitors, tables, chairs, barware... all the stuff we do each time we host. The only thing we didn't set out were the chip stacks - because we brought the case of chips to Vegas for the Meet in the Suite (2021).

As this is our... 11th trip in 12 years, we continued to widen the circle around Vegas. This time hitting Pahrump, and Death Valley California.

Yes, it's summertime, and we are going to Death Valley, the hottest place on the planet.

View attachment 719862

What to do when it's too hot to breathe? Play Pickleball.
View attachment 719871

Mostly though, we went for the night sky. Out here, with no lights for miles, you can see so many more stars. The term "Billions and Billions" from Carl Sagan comes to mind. We grabbed a blanket, a bottle of wine and trekked out into the desert. Our "camp" looked like this in daylight:
View attachment 719874
You don't come here for lush green vegetation.

I'd show you the stars, but they don't really photograph well. I mean, they're stars... they are tired of the paparazzi. Besides, unless you have a 1.6 million inch monitor, you aren't getting the full effect.

Dinner in the old saloon was unexpectedly gourmet.
View attachment 719879
Fried Chicken with a Red Pepper Jelly, Fried potato wedges, and grilled asparagus. The Red Pepper Jelly was more like Red Pepper Honey. If @detroitdad or @toothpic were scrambling for dinner ideas tonight... you're welcome.

Death Valley is in California, where they still take COVID precautions. Masks required, no waiters at dinner, and everyone is social distanced. They even made me sit this far from @Mrs Poker Zombie .
View attachment 719882

Enough of the desert though, you came here for chips.

We hit up the Pahrump Nugget, so named because it was created from a lump of Pahrump in the old mining days, before they discovered gold... and before they discovered that Pahrump was just the Shoshone word for turd.

The Shoshone sold a lot of Pahrump to the white settlers.

Then again, I may just be making this all up. All while offending the Shoshone, settlers, and even the townsfolk of Pahrump. The person I'm not offending is the guy that bought these chips for the casino...
View attachment 719876

...as he was trying to make chips that looked like a lump of Pahrump.

They don't have a poker room at the Pahrump Nugget, but they do have a table game called Heads-Up Hold'em. I liked it. A lot...
View attachment 719878
Still don't like Chipco chips though.

From Pahrump, we drove into Las Vegas. Let me assure you, the Pandemic is over, and every single person on planet earth is currently in Vegas.

After about 3 hours we get to our room at the Venetian, and eventually into the the tournament area, which is not in the Venetian Poker Room. They have it shuffled off to the Plazzao, in a open floor space.
View attachment 719886
@Anthony Martino always takes pics of his tournament buy-ins, in his sweat thread, so now I'm playing poker like a pro!

I take pics of my receipts so you guys know I actually played and didn't just run off with the money lol
 

detroitdad

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Fried Chicken with a Red Pepper Jelly, Fried potato wedges, and grilled asparagus. The Red Pepper Jelly was more like Red Pepper Honey. If @detroitdad or @toothpic were scrambling for dinner ideas tonight... you're welcome

How was the balance of heat and sweet in the red pepper "honey" jelly. Sweet sauces turn me off on the dinner plate.
 

Ben8257

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Serious question @Poker Zombie as you guys are hosting "the meet in the suite" does this event count in the running talley of events that you guys have hosted? I think you are up to 102ish now?

Brie and I still plan to make it to Tennessee for a game but was just curious if this one counts?
 

detroitdad

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Serious question @Poker Zombie as you guys are hosting "the meet in the suite" does this event count in the running talley of events that you guys have hosted? I think you are up to 102ish now?

Brie and I still plan to make it to Tennessee for a game but was just curious if this one counts?

I think Jake and I will be traveling by their place in MAR. I'm going to try and squeeze enough time out of the trip for a quick game, dinner, and martinis!
 

Ben8257

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I think Jake and I will be traveling by their place in MAR. I'm going to try and squeeze enough time out of the trip for a quick game, dinner, and martinis!
I think MAR has already come to pass my friend... do you mean 2022? Interesting...
 

Poker Zombie

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How was the balance of heat and sweet in the red pepper "honey" jelly. Sweet sauces turn me off on the dinner plate.
There was just a bit of heat, I had thought habaneros would be better - sweet heat is great, but just sweet is less so. I'm not a big desserts guy though.

Serious question @Poker Zombie as you guys are hosting "the meet in the suite" does this event count in the running talley of events that you guys have hosted? I think you are up to 102ish now?

Brie and I still plan to make it to Tennessee for a game but was just curious if this one counts?
It does not count toward our records, nor did the Quad-S that was hosted in-house. Saturday night's game will be #105 for the Zombie Poker Dinner Club. If our flight gets delayed, we text @Jonesey07 directions to get the key and open the house.

...because Zombies know how to host, even if we miss our own event.
 

toothpic

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Love the trip reports!

I've had fried chicken and waffles once before with a jalapeno honey glaze with something else in there. It was good but nothing really replaces good maple syrup for a dish like that in my book. I've never had much sauces on my fried chicken unless it's Korean fried chicken in a spicy sauce, but it's not usually sweet. Exploring new foods and food styles is great because even if you didn't love it you'll know to order something different next time.
 

Poker Zombie

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Love the trip reports!

I've had fried chicken and waffles once before with a jalapeno honey glaze with something else in there. It was good but nothing really replaces good maple syrup for a dish like that in my book. I've never had much sauces on my fried chicken unless it's Korean fried chicken in a spicy sauce, but it's not usually sweet. Exploring new foods and food styles is great because even if you didn't love it you'll know to order something different next time.
That's what I like though. One had chicken and waffles with maple syrup, but never crossed my mind about adding spice (and ditching the waffle)
 

Poker Zombie

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Meet-up: T-3 Days

We choose to sleep in this morning. The Venetian has very comfortable bedding, and damnit, I don't have to work today, so "sleep till I'm hungry" is in play.

When hunger does rouse me, we head to a Latin restaurant with roots in Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentinian cuisine. You can get eggs and toast anywhere. This is a little harder to find...
2021-06-15 09.47.52.jpg

Arepas, Eggs, Potatoes with Bacon, Onions, and Peppers, and Chorizo. A little serrano chili pico adds a splash of tasty color to the plate.

After Breakfast we head down-strip to the Pinball Hall of Fame to check out their new digs. I haven't been to the new location, I hope it's not too hard to find.
2021-06-15 11.10.55.jpg


The Pinball Hall of Fame was in the process of moving when COVID hit, and nearly bankrupt the non-profit. Luckily, supporters came through, and the place place is running again, with more foot traffic then ever before.

As with all things Zombie, Mrs Zombie and I were competitive, tracking wins as we played each game heads up. It took us 2 hours to burn through $20, so I think we both won.

...but really, I did, 10-7, with a couple of draws

Heading back north, we head to Bally's. We park in the Miracle Mile shops. We don't park here because we're cheap, but because we hate paying for parking in Vegas. There's a fine difference. Not that it matters though, as we pulled in we could see a crew wiring up a pay-ticket station in the garage. The last free parking on the south strip goes away July 1. In 2 weeks you will be the old-timer that remembers when you could park for free in Vegas.

Bally's is spot-on with their tournament chips. Not just because I like the 8v, but when a casino matched their T5000 to a @toad94 chip, you know someone id doing it right.
2021-06-15 14.00.05.jpg


I run deep in the tournament, but no cash is no cash. I did get a fair number of drinks though, so I'm not complaining. I'm also handing over the driving to Mrs Zombie. I'm stupid drunk, I'm not stupid.
2021-06-15 17.16.31.jpg

...ok maybe I'm stupid. Has anyone seen a gold lady with my car keys?

For dinner we head off-strip to The Black Sheep. Fans of the TV show Top Chef may know current season favorite Jamie Tran. This is her restaurant. Unlike a lot of celebrity chefs, Chef Tran actually busts her butt working here.
2021-06-15 19.12.01.jpg

I warned you, I'm drunk.

...and getting drunker.
2021-06-15 19.36.42.jpg


I'd finish this report, but my keyboard is starting to sway...
 

Poker Zombie

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Is the Venetian/Palazzo charging for parking now??
No Venetian was free - like Vegas should be. And the former CEO Sheldon Adelson (who spearheaded the ban against internet poker - and basically the whole concept of "freedom" in the USA) is dead, so I was happy to return for the first time in 12 years.
 

Venturalvn

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No Venetian was free - like Vegas should be. And the former CEO Sheldon Adelson (who spearheaded the ban against internet poker - and basically the whole concept of "freedom" in the USA) is dead, so I was happy to return for the first time in 12 years.
This weekend will be my second time since his passing. Happy to support them now.
 

moose

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When you visit a Ceasars owed casino, watch the slot machines for abandoned cards. Easy to spot, the slot card light turns green. Get a platinum level card or higher and now you have free parking until at least 2022. If you are lucky the card owner will keep their status year after year.

I have a diamond card at least 10 years old. I thank "Patricia" for being a degenerate gambler every time she gets me into the Diamond parking. As long as they maintain their status the cards never expire.
 

Poker Zombie

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When you visit a Ceasars owed casino, watch the slot machines for abandoned cards. Easy to spot, the slot card light turns green. Get a platinum level card or higher and now you have free parking until at least 2022. If you are lucky the card owner will keep their status year after year.

I have a diamond card at least 10 years old. I thank "Patricia" for being a degenerate gambler every time she gets me into the Diamond parking. As long as they maintain their status the cards never expire.
Best Vegas tip ever.
 

Poker Zombie

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Meet Up: T-2 Days

Started the morning by heading to Sunset Park. They opened a new pickleball facility in May, and it is just stunning. Only flaw, it is very close to the airport, but that's not too bad. We have only played on tennis courts converted to pickleball prior to this, so a purpose-built court was great, as you didn't have to walk as far to retrieve errant balls. That was nice, because extra running was not desired today. New record high temp today in Vegas, at 114°.

1623931955651.png

Mrs Zombie on court, photobombed by @Redbelly .

Yes I know that's not actually Redbelly. It's not a Southwest airplane. All the Southwest planes were running late.

We check out of the Venetian, and head a 3 miles west to FukuBurger. We went to their other location on our previous trip, and it was mind-blowing. These Burgers are gourmet genius in a bun. So we had to head back to make a final determination... Are these the best hamburgers on the planet?
1623933013008.png


Well, that's a pretty lofty goal. There has to be a lot to go on to be called the best. I've traveled the country and other continents to try everyone's best burger. Hell, I had to read a menu written in Icelandic to get their best burger. So to even strive for the best, puts these burgers high on the list of burger greatness.
1623933217945.png


It's not just the burgers either. Their fries are perfect. You find yourself at the end of lunch trying to decide, which bite will be the last? That one little fry there, or the tiny bit of burger you have left. Life is hard.

But is it the best burger on earth?
1623933419793.png


Yes.

It is messy though. Do not wear anything you don't want food drippings on.

After lunch we head over to our final hotel this trip, Nobu. It's still early (12:30) so we don't expect to get in yet, but It's worth a shot.

The room isn't ready, so we take a long hot walk down the strip to the Park MGM. When the pandemic hit and everything shut down, the Park MGM made a bold move. They cleaned everything, and made the entire property Smoke Free. That effort alone is worth my effort to walk 1.3 miles in 114 degree heat. The nice thing about the heat though - now when someone tells me to "Go to Hell", I can tell them I vacationed there.

Vegas is largely packed right now. Talking to workers, Vegas has never been this crazy for this long. It's been "New Years" since March.

The Park MGM is sadly quiet. Apparently, gamblers like to smoke. That's too bad. Because without smoke chips look different.
1623934483740.png

Notice the complete lack of "Hooker Juice", which I now believe to be cigarette tar, because the Park did not get rid of their hookers.

We were doing pretty well until the last roll (Isn't that a rule in Craps?), and lost most of what we gained back. Still, a couple free drinks, a couple hours killed, and $37 richer. We give a sizable chunk of our winnings to the dealers, and at 3 pm we trek back to Nobu.

Room still isn't ready.

So into the Caesars Poker Room. Lucky for me I didn't put my card capper in my luggage, which is now hanging out with other luggage in some sort of Bell Hop luggage prison. I hope my luggage does not come back with a tear-drop tattoo.
1623935729798.png


Turned $300 into $160. Drank $150 in their booze, so we'll call it a draw.

I won't complain any more about the room. Others are dealing with a much darker fate with their flights, but at least we were settled in a little after 8 pm. The room is totally worth it though. The sink doubles as a bathtub.
1623937429353.png


But the real show-stopper is the main toilet. It opens on it's own while you are loosing up your trousers.
1623937550170.png

I suspect it has a little camera that lets it know if it is setting up for a guy or gal. I wanted to look into this, so I Googled "Toilet Camera".

That was a monumentally bad idea. :eek:

The seat is heated, and the device on the wall seals the deal...
1623937606564.png

It squirts the Bellagio fountains right up your butt.

So looking forward to filling this room full of old (and new) friends!
1623937723953.png
 
Last edited:

Venturalvn

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Lol! Zombie TR = BEST TR. Good stuff I can't wait to keep tracking along.

Good callout on Park MGM. It was never that intriguing to me before but I'll definitely check it out on my upcoming trip now!
 

Jonesey07

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Meet Up: T-2 Days

Started the morning by heading to Sunset Park. They opened a new pickleball facility in May, and it is just stunning. Only flaw, it is very close to the airport, but that's not too bad. We have only played on tennis courts converted to pickleball prior to this, so a purpose-built court was great, as you didn't have to walk as far to retrieve errant balls. That was nice, because extra running was not desired today. New record high temp today in Vegas, at 114°.

View attachment 721114
Mrs Zombie on court, photobombed by @Redbelly .

Yes I know that's not actually Redbelly. It's not a Southwest airplane. All the Southwest planes were running late.

We check out of the Venetian, and head a 3 miles west to FukuBurger. We went to their other location on our previous trip, and it was mind-blowing. These Burgers are gourmet genius in a bun. So we had to head back to make a final determination... Are these the best hamburgers on the planet?
View attachment 721119

Well, that's a pretty lofty goal. There has to be a lot to go on to be called the best. I've traveled the country and other continents to try everyone's best burger. Hell, I had to read a menu written in Icelandic to get their best burger. So to even strive for the best, puts these burgers high on the list of burger greatness.
View attachment 721121

It's not just the burgers either. Their fries are perfect. You find yourself at the end of lunch trying to decide, which bite will be the last? That one little fry there, or the tiny bit of burger you have left. Life is hard.

But is it the best burger on earth?
View attachment 721122

Yes.

It is messy though. Do not wear anything you don't want food drippings on.

After lunch we head over to our final hotel this trip, Nobu. It's still early (12:30) so we don't expect to get in yet, but It's worth a shot.

The room isn't ready, so we take a long hot walk down the strip to the Park MGM. When the pandemic hit and everything shut down, the Park MGM made a bold move. They cleaned everything, and made the entire property Smoke Free. That effort alone is worth my effort to walk 1.3 miles in 114 degree heat. The nice thing about the heat though - now when someone tells me to "Go to Hell", I can tell them I vacationed there.

Vegas is largely packed right now. Talking to workers, Vegas has never been this crazy for this long. It's been "New Years" since March.

The Park MGM is sadly quiet. Apparently, gamblers like to smoke. That's too bad. Because without smoke chips look different.
View attachment 721133
Notice the complete lack of "Hooker Juice", which I now believe to be cigarette tar, because the Park did not get rid of their hookers.

We were doing pretty well until the last roll (Isn't that a rule in Craps?), and lost most of what we gained back. Still, a couple free drinks, a couple hours killed, and $37 richer. We give a sizable chunk of our winnings to the dealers, and at 3 pm we trek back to Nobu.

Room still isn't ready.

So into the Caesars Poker Room. Lucky for me I didn't put my card capper in my luggage, which is now hanging out with other luggage in some sort of Bell Hop luggage prison. I hope my luggage does not come back with a tear-drop tattoo.
View attachment 721147

Turned $300 into $160. Drank $150 in their booze, so we'll call it a draw.

I won't complain any more about the room. Others are dealing with a much darker fate with their flights, but at least we were settled in a little after 8 pm. The room is totally worth it though. The sink doubles as a bathtub.
View attachment 721171

But the real show-stopper is the main toilet. It opens on it's own while you are loosing up your trousers.
View attachment 721172
I suspect it has a little camera that lets it know if it is setting up for a guy or gal. I wanted to look into this, so I Googled "Toilet Camera".

That was a monumentally bad idea. :eek:

The seat is heated, and the device on the wall seals the deal...
View attachment 721173
It squirts the Bellagio fountains right up your butt.

So looking forward to filling this room full of old (and new) friends!
View attachment 721175
More room pics please!
 

Dodger

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Trip report is on point! Love the humor injected throughout. Found myself nodding and laughing at the same time. Looking forward to more!
 
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