Making The Move

Making The Move

As a hinted to last week, I am making a move in the poker world.

Thursday was my final day at the Mandalay Bay poker room. After almost 3 1/2 years I needed a change.

Frankly, I grew tired of wearing a suit and tie four days per week and managing people. I have been a manager of people every year of my life since I was 24 years old. Most of that time I have worn suits to jobs in college athletics, professional hockey, television and the casino industry. My plan when I moved to Las Vegas seven years ago was to never wear a suit to work again. Yet, due to circumstances — typically better pay or better insurance for my young son — I took the suit and tie job and sucked it up. No more.

I am going to be a worker bee for a little while as I follow a plan to build and empire for Jace and myself. 

Jace wearing a Krispy Kreme hat as we drop off donuts to the Mandalay Bay poker staff Thursday.

I went out with some style. Jace and I stopped by a Krispy Kreme and picked up three dozen donuts for the staff. Since I was the only person on the staff to work all three shifts (day, swing and into graveyard) every week I thought it was important to thank the entire staff there. We dropped off the donuts around 10:30AM and then had the day to ourselves before I had to work at 6PM as a dealer.

The 3+years at Mandalay Bay were great. The room is rarely super busy so you have time to monitors the players and the dealers. It is a lot of standing (usually 7 1/2 hours out of each 8 hour shift), but I also cherished the interaction with the regular guests. There was a lot of time to talk about poker, sports gambling, horse racing or just what was going on around Las Vegas.

I won’t miss the paperwork. Nevada gaming and each individual casino requires a certain amount of paperwork and signatures each day. Mandalay Bay poker takes it to the extreme nth level. You have to be meticulous every single day, and there was no such thing as a day where you did it all correctly. That is what I grew tired of dealing with. I take quite a bit of pride in how hard I work and how much pride I have in doing my job correctly. Unfortunately, I loved Mandalay Bay a whole lot more than Mandalay Bay loved me. Nevertheless, it was a great experience and I am glad I spent time there.

Now its on to Caesar’s Palace, where I got a job as a temporary dealer during the busy summer months. Caesar’s has a new room they built three years ago. A good number of the locals I used to deal to have migrated there over the past three years. I am looking forward to the new challenge of dealing center Strip and seeing if I can prove myself worthy of a permanent position. The new job starts Sunday and I am ready to go.

Chad: The Year In Review

Chad: The Year In Review

Two thousand fourteen. Easily, the most eventful year in my life. As the final days of the calendar year burn away it’s a great time to reflect on the past 12 months.

That this was going to be a wild ride in 2014 was pretty much locked in when I found out in December 2013 that my ex-girlfriend was pregnant with my first child. At 44 years of age, I had thrown in the towel on having children and was enjoying my single life in Las Vegas. God had a different plan.

Having a child together wasn’t enough to bring my child’s mother and I back together in a relationship, no matter now much we tried. There was too much mistrust, animosity, anger and anxiety. In retrospect, we both should have tried a little hard and forgiven a little faster, but it didn’t happen.

By Spring we were trying to find ways to agree on a name, co-parenting and everything else through weekly doctor visits.

Meanwhile my plan to work part-time while pursuing some independent ventures got moved to the back burner (cause for some of the aforementioned feelings). Suddenly, I needed insurance and a full-time income to support this new little guy.

Las Vegas Strip Exteriors
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

My best option was a full-time job as a poker supervisor at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Unfortunately the only available full-time job was on the graveyard shift. With some trepidation, I accepted the position. Suddenly, I was working 1AM-9AM five nights a week learning the poker trade in the center of the poker universe — The Las Vegas Strip.

I agreed to these graveyard hours because I wanted to provide for my son. I told myself I would only work on graveyard for 24 months before I had to find a new shift or a new job.

On July 16 — five days early — Jace Allen Harberts arrived on the scene. Born with a correctable health problem, Jace spent 49 days in the NICU recovering. The strain of a fractured relationship and a birth of a new child was only intensified by the twice-daily 35-mile round trip to the hospital while also working a full-time schedule.

daddy_jaceJace made it through everything like a champ. I was grateful to all the amazing NICU nurses at Spring Valley Hospital who taught me how to properly care for this fragile little life. And that full-time graveyard job I reluctantly took? MGM’s great insurance paid off in spades when my son was racking up $2,500 a day hospital bills.

After Jace left the hospital we had to try to figure out how to care for this little guy. It didn’t matter how much I had prepared, all the stuff I had read or all the advice I received, a single 45-year old man cannot possibly prepare for the task of taking care of an infant child by himself 70-90 hours per week. It is a daunting task. The crying, the screaming, the not being able to fix the situation no matter what you do. The only solution I ever found was a Jeep ride. A few minutes rumbling around the neighborhood had a calming and sometimes sleepy effect on my young son.

The year has ended on a flourish. My son is showing no signs of the being long-term affected by his NICU stay. He’s growing up to be a healthy, happy, good-looking boy.

Thanksgiving week I was offered the opportunity to leave the graveyard shift for a split shift during regular hours. Now I work two days and three swing shifts. I never work later than 1AM. Being back on a normal schedule has led to me being less tired, and by extension a better parent.

Twenty fourteen was a great year, but there are still dreams unfulfilled and goals undone. I am planning on working hard in 2015 to see some of these dreams and goal come to fruition. Still, it will be difficult to top the events of 2014.

What I’ve Learned So Far

What I’ve Learned So Far

Being a single dad is challenging. Diaper changes and feedings are relatively easy. In between diaper changes and feedings are not so easy. There is a lot of crying, a little screaming, a little pulling out of my quickly-graying hair. Babies cannot tell you what they want, but they can tell you they are upset. They are like little Congressmen.

What (I think) I have learned so far in no particular order:

How awesome is this little UNI Panthers shirt? He might get three wearings out of it before he is too big.
How awesome is this little UNI Panthers shirt? He might get three wearings out of it before he is too big.

Jace has really cool clothes. Logo t-shirts, jammies, little socks and hats and onesies. Unfortunately, these clothes last approximately 90 days before he is too big to wear them again. Baby clothes go from 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months and 9 months-1 year. This kid will have four all new wardrobes by the time he is old enough to smash his hands into a cake to celebrate his first birthday.I still wear a windbreaker the youth basketball team I coached gave me in 1995.

Also, I think adults should get to wear onesies.

Diaper Genies make one long intestine of dirty diapers. My Diaper Genie was full…or at least it seemed full…or maybe I just had a few diapers jammed in the chute. Regardless, it felt full. I needed to change the bag for the first time. Diaper Genies are about two feet tall. As I pulled out the bag for the first time I discovered it holds about six feet worth of diapers.

Ace checks out the refuse of the Diaper Genie.
Ace checks out the refuse of the Diaper Genie.

The diapers wrap around in one long blue sack like a large intestine. Which is appropriate because they hold a lot of stuff that passes through the large intestine. I was so impressed by the length of the magical poopy bag I laid it out on the dining room floor. This also impressed the dog. Ace was infatuated by what the human race would refer to as waste, but the canine race would probably call food.

I picked up this giant sack of disposable diapers and tossed them in the garbage container in the garage. Ace used this exact moment to drop a deuce on the dining room floor where the sack had been moments earlier. I guess he was contributing to the cause.

Babies have terrible timing. Just as the Vikings are marching toward a game-clinching touchdown, Jace will wake up and cry. Right when you are considering whether to call off your whole stack with a nut flush draw in a game of online poker, Jace will be hungry. As you take your first bite of lunch, Jace will scream. He doesn’t mean to do it, but he doesn’t really care what you have going on. Nor should he.

When he doesn’t spend the night, I still fall asleep to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Jace spends seven days per week at my house, and usually 1-2 nights. I work nights so he spends seven nights per week with his mother and 1-2 days. When he spends the night I put him in his crib with his lullaby relaxation machine. He had this in the NICU as a way to help him relax and fall asleep. I bought him one of these machines for his crib. It projects cartoon jungle animals on the ceiling while playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Mozart, white noise, a heartbeat, etc. When he is not spending the night, I still listen to it so I can fall asleep.

Babies are crazy expensive. I have great insurance, and so does his mom. Which is a good thing. Because having a baby is not cheap. I haven’t seen all the bills yet, but just the ones in dispute are more than $85,000. His NICU bill was routinely more than $2,500 per day. He could have stayed a week in a penthouse suite at Mandalay Bay for less than that.

Right after his release from the NICU he had to see the pediatrician for the first time. It was just a routine check-up and a few immunizations.

Here is the invoice:

jace_bill

Thankfully, the co-pay was considerably less than the $2917 for a 90-minute doctor visit and a little anti-cooties juice.

 

After all the things I’ve learned, I’ve also learned I still don’t know a damn thing. Babies are hard. Having one all by yourself 70 hours per week is really hard. The three of us — Jace, Ace and myself — are slowly figuring things out.

Just in time to wrap this up…Jace is stirring.

 

 

 

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

It’s been too long since I posted a blog. There are a few reasons excuses:

a. My website is a bit of a mess as I am redoing the theme and I am not proficient in making the changes

b. I took a new graveyard job

c. I can be lazy

d. All of the above.

 

If you answered any of the above, you are correct.

A lot has happened since my last blog:

FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY

I finished Dave Ramsey’s 9-week course “Financial Peace University.” It is eye-opening and life-changing. I wish I had discovered Dave Ramsey 20 years ago. If you are having trouble with debt, worried about your retirement or just need a new perspective on money and debt this is a must do. You can go to Dave’s website to get all the details. I have a long ways to go to switching my situation around. But it is going to be worth it in the end.

This sweet ride can be all yours. It is for sale. Contact me today.
This sweet ride can be all yours. It is for sale. Contact me today.

By the way, anyone want to buy a really sweet Audi TT Roadster?

 

MANDALAY BAY

I took a graveyard job dealing poker at Mandalay Bay*. The job has been more terrific than I could have imagined. There is a very cohesive poker team at Mandalay Bay, excellent promotions for both locals and the resortists that stay at the property and some really good poker. I am dealing four days per week, flooring one day a week and enjoying every moment of it.

Dealing full-time hasn’t derailed any of my future plans. In fact, the job has enhanced them. It’s great being on The Strip five days per week and meeting new people. I can still play poker on my days off. And the income is helping my get through the seven baby steps of Financial Peace University faster. It’s win-win.

 

JACE ALLEN

The J-man is coming July 21. Everything has been good so far. His momma Jenna is doing well and we are less than 90 days away from his arrival. I still need to do some work on his room, as it used to be my office. I need to install some new doors on his closet, a new blind on the window and do some painting. It’s getting real and it’s getting exciting.

 

PLAYING POKER

It’s been awhile since my last poker playing post. As far as I can tell from my Poker Journal software I’ve posted winning sessions in 10 of my last 14 sessions since my last post. Unfortunately three of those four losses were just straight beatings. Staggering, run-over-like-a-truck beatings. Still, my bankroll is at $2,786 after dropping $1600 on a 1994 Ford Explorer. As soon as I sell the Audi TT Roadster I will be sans a car payment for the first time in 20 years.

 

NEW BANKROLL: $2,786

 

*The postings on this site are my own and not necessarily reflect the views of the MGM Resorts.

Five Things You Don’t Know About Las Vegas

I love everything about Las Vegas. The Strip, the casinos, the weather, the scenery, the tourist traps, the dives, the traffic. This is where I wanted to live for last 10 years in Kansas City. It’s where I have lived for the past 3 1/2 years.

A popular setting for movies (The Hangover, Vegas Vacation, Oceans 11, Mars Attacks) and television shows (Vega$, Las Vegas, CSI Las Vegas), many of the tourists who come to Las Vegas think they “know” Las Vegas.

Here’s five things you don’t know about Las Vegas:

1. Las Vegas is small. When you are flying in or driving in to Vegas at night and see all the lights, Las Vegas seems huge.The metro area boasts more than 1.9 million people according to the 2010 U.S. Census. That makes Las Vegas a little smaller than Cleveland and Kansas City, a little bigger than Indianapolis and Nashville.

bellagio

 

 

 

 

 

2. The Bellagio is not in Las Vegas. Nor is Mandalay Bay, MGM, Aria or The Mirage. The Strip is not part of Las Vegas, but rather part of three unincorporated towns — Paradise, Winchester and Enterprise, Nevada. Paradise, Nevada, is actually the largest unincorporated town in the United States with a population over 200,000 people.

3. It’s a desert out here. All of Las Vegas, as well as parts of Utah, Arizona and California lie within the borders of the Mojave Desert. It may be hot in Las Vegas, but the Mojave Desert’s hottest spot is Death Valley, Calif. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the World happened in Death Valley, when it reached 134F in 1913. (thanks, Wikipedia).

4. We are kind of popular. Las Vegas boasts one of the 10 busiest airports in the United States. The city attracts more than 30 million tourists a year, and a lot of them fly to get here.

golden_gate

 

 

 

 

 

5. The oldest casino in Las Vegas is the Golden Gate. Located downtown on Fremont Street and opened in 1906, the Golden Gate (then Hotel Nevada) is the oldest casino still in operation in Las Vegas. The casino operated before gambling was prohibited (1909-1931). When legalized gambling was restarted in 1931, the Golden Gate brought the tables and slots back out of storage. (source: Golden Gate Casino).

Now come on out for a visit. What happen here, stays here.

 

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