On Friday, January 8th 2010, Alex Tchekmeian of AKT Enterprises, Joshua Woodard of A Day To Remember, his good friends Jordan Scheib, Robert Lane, and myself (Chris Martin) left on a Southwest Airlines flight at 7am to Las Vegas Nevada. We were in for a weekend of wild happenings, most of which I did not ever expect to experience in my lifetime.
I had a very late night, the night before. I spend most of the night doing laundry and packing up all of my lighting gear to be able to fly the next day, and I am surprised that I did not keep Alex up with the taping of boxes all through the night. I needed to be able to check my light stands, but was very concerned with how fragile all of my gear is. I don’t have flight cases yet so I had to rig proper sized boxes together and fill them with bubble wrap. Josh and I took a quick trip at 2 in the morning to Stake & Shake, to enjoy some of their delectable shakes, and then came back to get some much needed sleep.
Getting on the flight proved to be a longer experience than usual. Apparently the power pack that I use for my lights can be very easily misconstrued as being a bomb, and I spend around 45 minutes waiting to have all of my bags checked, wiped, and tested for explosives. On the flight there I tried to get some more sleep while Josh sat next to me, carefully studying the “Big Book Of Black Jack”. He has a keen understanding of the game, and has an even better understanding of when to stop playing after he has hit the “perfect run”
When we arrived into Vegas, we waited to get all of my luggage and then piled into a limo to head to our first destination which was the Hotel we would be staying at. Josh had worked out rooms for us at the brand new “Aria Hotel and Casino” and he had also somehow managed to get us into some of the best rooms there in the “Sky Suites”
This is by far the nicest hotel I have ever been able to stay at and the catch was that everything was completely free (comped by the hotel to Josh because he has gambled there in the past) So thank you to Josh for having us in this gorgeous hotel! The room we were in was a 2 bedroom suite with a beautiful view of some of the city and mountains. The sunset from the room was just spectacular, and it looked like the whole valley lit up in gold.
The first night was spent hitting numerous casinos, gambling with a ton of money (winning and loosing some as we went) and basically just having a ton of fun with friends. Robert made $8,000 in his first sitting of the day when we first got to Aria, and the momentum definitely did not stop there. There of course were a few bumps in the road, as with any gambling experience but over all the first night went well.
On Saturday, Josh had been invite to play in a Black Jack tournament at Mandalay Bay. This tournament was invite only, and there were over 200 people competing. The basic idea was that you played with $100,000.00 of the casinos money each round for 3 rounds, and the final hand of the final round was a no-limit bet. The people who placed in the top 10 for the entire competition would win Cash Prizes up to $3,000,000.00.
Josh played in two rounds of this tournament on Saturday, and the third would take place on Sunday so we decided to go out and have some fun. We went to Ceasers Palace, Wynn, Encore, Flamingo, Planet Hollywood and Rio and Josh and Robert were up and down and up and down and up again all night long. We finally decided that we needed to take a break so while we were at Rio we got comped tickets to go see Penn and Teller live. Penn and Teller are amazing comedians and magicians, and if you ever get the chance to see them, you definitely should. They pull off a trick where they shoot marked bullets into each others mouths and some how manage to not kill themselves. We had a great time and I was really excited that we were able to see the show. Also, Jordan and Josh got to meet Teller after the show (and he actually does talk!)
That night we went back to our suites and ordered the most amazing room service ever. Everything was RFB which for those of you who don’t know, it means room,food & beverage are completely on the hotel. We gorged ourselves with Chicken Fingers, Filet Mignon, Maine Lobster, Asparagus, Baked Potatoes, Creme Brule, and much much more. Safe to say, it was the best sleep I have had in months. I definitely took a coma!
The next day, Josh went out to go finish up his tournament at Mandalay Bay. We were sad to send Alex off the night before, but he had to return early to Orlando for his girlfriend Kelly’s Birthday. Josh played the final round and at the last hand went all in and won the hand with $290,000.00. We were feeling really good about everything, but had no idea how other people had placed. Since everyone could go all in at the last hand, we figured everyone was doing it and we were praying that most people would be busting out. We had a few hours to kill before we found out the results so we went back to the hotel for room service lunch.
When we returned to Mandalay bay, there was a wild sense of excitement in the air, and we were hearing buzz that Josh may have placed in the top 10 for all 3 rounds. We did not know what to expect, so we just waited it out while they called out the results. 10th place was announced, then 9th, then 8th, then 7th, the anticipation was building so fast at this point! 6th place was announced and we were holding our breath. Finally Josh was announced as the 5th place winner of the entire tournament to the tune of $10,000.00 cash! We were so excited about it so what did we decide to do??? Go out and gamble some more!!!
The rest of the weekend was a total blast, filled with continued gambling and a ton more fun. I want to send a big thank you out to Josh and Robert for bringing me out to document everything, and hopefully I will be able to make it out there with them for another trip soon!
More than 100 photos of the weekend are below, so be sure to check them out and see what you can do with a little persistence, good playing, and great friends!