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Daniel - Poker Journal

My, My, My American Pie

23 May 2006

I had the date marked on my calendar. The day an old high school friend was coming to town with some other high school friends for his big wedding day. May 20th was the day that I'd see people I hadn't seen in over 10 years.

Before that day, though, we all had dinner plans. Some of the guys went to the O show while I entertained my cousin Michael and his girlfriend Lilliana at the Piano Bar at Bellagio. I introduced them to "Fusion," a vodka fruit drink that is only available there. It's unreal, and a must try.

After drinks, I planned out the evening for about 20 people total. I made reservations at Shintaro for Tepanyaki for 10:00pm. It was strange seeing some old faces. Speaking of faces, that's probably the one thing I noticed most- everyone's face had "filled out." They still looked like high school kids to me, albeit, overgrown high school kids.

We chatted away and caught up on some old times. My cousin Michael and his girlfriend had to feel slightly uncomfortable with the situation but he didn't let on. He seemed genuinely grateful for the whole "Vegas experience" I was about to show him.

After some Sake and Sapporo we all walked over to Caesar's Palace. I have some connections at Pure, and at last minute, was able to reserve a table for 20 which isn't easy to do. Especially with D.J. AM at the helm on "MySpace Night." The place was packed.

Meeting us there was one of the "Katos" who just flew in. Sean, was in a grade lower than I was and I started out friends with his brother Kevin. They also had a little brother named Tommy. Personally, I much prefer their real names, they sound cool: Kiyoumitsu, Shinitshi, and Tomahiro. How cool is that, huh?

Anyway, it was good to see Sean joining us. He flew in from Costa Rica where he was surfing and was going to head back to Whistler B.C. after the wedding festivities the next night.

Sean is exactly what I expected him to be. A "Ski Bum" that truly seems to be happy and enjoying his life. That was pretty much the motto for all of my old friends with one exception. One of the guys didn't make it out and apparently isn't doing all that well.

The others seemed great. Simon, he married Melinda, who virtually every guy in Junior High School had a crush on- me included. They've been married seven years and have two beautiful kids.

Simeon, the English dude who's accent we all couldn't help but make fun of was also doing great with his business as well.

The craziest thing about all of it? None of us, not me, nor Steve, nor Simeon, Simon, or Sean actually finished high school! Yet I looked at all of the lives each of us were living, and it seemed as though all of us were realizing our dreams and living the life we always wanted to lead.

Steve, at 31, is marrying a beautiful girl and has a job that he loves. Everyone one of them reached happiness their own way. They all "beat the system," if you will, and I was proud of all of them.

So anyway, back to the club scene. I was able to get us all in, but Simon had running shoes on and Pure has a very strict policy on shoes: no flip flops, no runners.

This is the second time this month that I’ve had to take someone to the little shoe store close by the club. I should start charging a commission. Simon finally decided on a pair of shoes and headed back to the club.

Unfortunately, he forgot his I.D.! His I.D. was all the way back at the Monte Carlo and he decided to walk back there in brand new leather dress shoes. If you are thinking that wasn't the brightest idea in the world... you'd be right!

He never made it back and might just have permanent blisters on both feet. We partied on without him, though, and I think everyone was having a good time which was personally gratifying to me since it was "my town," if you will, and I wanted to show them all a good time.

I took a limo home as I always do when going to a club. I have absolutely no interest in drinking and driving, killing somebody, and then having a new cellmate named, "Bubba." I'm way too "pretty" to go to jail!

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The next night was the 6:30pm ceremony at the Monte Carlo. There were about 40 or so people there and I know that it meant a lot to Steve to have a good turnout. You could see it in his face as he proudly walked down the aisle with his new bride. He is a lucky man.

It was a "quickie" and we all got together in the lounge before our 8:30pm dinner. We continued talking about the "old days" and how far we'd all come. I don't know how they'll take this, but it's meant in a good way... they haven't changed a bit! Well maybe a little bit, but their core personalities are all the same and that was refreshing to see.

8:30pm was dinner time and by then, I was pretty exhausted but was trying to be a trooper since I knew my cousin (who also attended the wedding with his girlfriend) were ready to continue the party.

I said my goodbyes to the guys and planned on setting Michael up for the night. He is a total "club guy" and appreciates the finer points of clubbing. He's actually the same cousin who hooks me up when I go to Toronto.

We stopped into Caramel for a quick drink and to meet with some people that were going to Light, the Bellagio's night club.

We were all then escorted to a private VIP table in the back of the club. By this point, I could barely stand up. I wasn't drunk at all, in fact I was drinking water. I was just totally drained from the night before.

I hung out for as long as I could, but eventually I left them with my friends who took great care of them. In fact, they later got a chance to meet Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake which I imagine was a thrill for a couple of kids from Toronto.

As for me, I had an early flight to catch. I'm actually not in Las Vegas right now. I'm in... Charlotte, North Carolina? What in the world am I doing here, you must be wondering?

Well, Lori and I are doing this "couples thing" here for a couple days. I'll be back in Vegas early on the 24th and am going to look forward to a long stretch of being home before the June 4th WPT Mandalay Bay event.

I'm thinking about having my new protégé, Brian Fidler, play in this event also, but before then, I want to make sure that I give him more tools to work with. If I don't feel as though he is ready, it might be best to wait a while until I've had more opportunity to work on his game. It's so much tougher since he's already pretty good!

It's a lot like a golf swing I imagine. It's much easier for a golf teacher to start from scratch than it is to undo learned behavior. I really want to do my best with him, and on that note, I have a lot of work to do...

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