Supernovas' Night Out: Vancouver
To show appreciation to their VIP players, PokerStars decided to organize several parties around the world during the month of April. Each party would be hosted by a member of Team PokerStars and I had the honour of hosting the event in Vancouver on Saturday, April 23.
I was basically given the green light to plan whatever I wanted on a moderate budget and the entire bill would be paid for! Now, due in large part to living on a student's budget for most of my life, I don't have very much experience in event planning for a night out that's going to cost more than $50. I ended up doing some research to see if any special events were taking place on the Saturday (concerts, hockey games, etc.) but there wasn't a whole lot going on.
I figured that I couldn't go wrong with organizing a nice dinner and night out afterwards and eventually settled on having dinner at Joey's on Burrard and Robson and the rest of the night at Ceili's on Granville street. I chose Joey's because while it's somewhat upscale, especially at the downtown location, it's still very social in the lounge and they'd be showing the Montreal vs. Boston hockey playoff game that people would likely be interested in watching.
I picked Ceili's because it's essentially a hybrid between a bar and a nightclub-people could chill out and relax if they wanted to or they could throw some shapes on the dance floor if the mood struck. I also arranged to have a limo pick each one of us up (8 people) at the beginning of the night and transport us around for the evening. After booking the limo, I made a reservation at the restaurant and a guest-list at the bar (because there is nothing more unballer than stepping out of a limo and getting into a line-up, lol). The plan was now in place but as always, things never quite go according to plan...
When I woke up in the morning to a beautiful sunny Saturday, I called Joey's to see if I could change my reservation to include one more person after a couple of people RSVP'd at the last minute. When I got a hold of somebody on the phone, they told me that they had no record of my reservation and that they didn't even take reservations for weekends...fantastic, I guess the girl that took my reservation yesterday must have been high. They told me that the wait probably wouldn't be too bad if we came down around 8pm and after phoning a couple of other restaurants to make a last minute reservation (and getting laughed at) I decided that we'd have to take our chances. I had the limo scheduled to pick me up at 6pm so I ran some errands, hit the gym, picked up a couple of bottles of champagne for the ride and got ready for the night.
I already knew one of the guys who was joining us for the night and he met me and my place just before 6pm and we jumped in the limo together when it arrived on time. The limo was definitely a necessary component to the night out...apart from the obvious practical reasons, for at least me personally, the limo served as a way of seeing the results of all of the hard work that I had put into poker this past year and I'm sure the other guys shared similar feelings. We rounded up the crew in a couple of hours and had a solid variety of poker skill in the car (cash game players, PLO specialist, HU specialist, SNG grinder and a few MTT players as well). We also had a balanced dress code in effect ranging from jeans and a T-shirt to full blown suits...I was somewhere in the middle sporting black pants, a white T and a black blazer (epically failed in the picture dept. as I forgot to bring a camera). We popped the champagne and I had my fingers crossed that we'd be able to get into the restaurant without a reservation.
Fortunately, we arrived at Joey's and basically had no wait to get in (it didn't hurt that I told them that we would likely be dropping four figures in their restaurant). We got a great seat in the lounge that was very open and had a direct view of the hockey game. I went to the washroom and told everyone to order whatever they wanted...when I came back the table was already cluttered with beers and appetizers. Things started to get really messy when one of the players from Montreal took it upon himself to be in charge of ordering shots for the table (probably in the drinking mood after Montreal lost, lol) and every time I looked up from that point on the waitress was bringing us another tray of drinks. At least I didn't have to worry about my credit card being declined since everyone was too full of appetizers and drinks to order an actual meal. We left Joey's just after 10pm and got back in the limo and headed to the bar.
We rolled up to Ceili's in style and I sent the limo home since I had no idea when things would end and I didn't want to pay $125/hr to let it sit there doing nothing. We stepped in the guest-list line and I encountered another minor setback to the original plan. I failed to realize that the guest list was no longer valid after 10pm (of course before 10pm there is no line-up anyways! Well played, Ceili's, well played) and since we arrived at around 10:20pm, we would have to now stand in what was now at least an hour line-up. Instead, I decided to negotiate with the bouncer to let us in for some dinero. Originally, the bouncer wanted $200 to let 8 of us in but I felt victorious once he agreed to take $120. When we got inside I headed to the bar to open up a tab (before I could even open it, our friend from Montreal had yet another round of shots on the way). I told the bartender to just cut off the tab when it reached $800 and didn't worry about it for the rest of the night.
The place was surprisingly busy already and it was hard to find a table for the 8 of us. We ended up having to share a spot next to some older, less attractive ladies to start, although the crowd was looking quite good overall. Everyone hung around the table for a bit and then people slowly became more disperse around the venue. TBH I'm not entirely sure when everyone left, though I think people kind of left at different times around 2amish because I do remember saying my goodbyes. I also remember my own path that night, well for the most part anyways. After talking to a few different tables of girls with some of the other guys I eventually landed on the dance floor along with one of the players (bigbluffzinc) from our group...and things get very hazy from here. I remember meeting a very cute girl (10+ shots in, she may have been a he for all I know) and dancing with her for a while and possibly kissing her. I eventually asked her if she wanted to leave and she said "okay, but nothing is going to happen" (like I haven't heard that before). We left Ceili's and got on the bus with one of her friends (serious complication). I had no cash for the bus so I tried to pay by credit card. That did not work. After fumbling around my wallet for change some random girl spotted me the $2.5, thanks! I had no idea where I was heading and was very confused. Bigbluffzinc was also confused and phoned me a few times wondering where I had gone. Once again the girl that I was with told me that nothing was going to happen but asked me if I wanted her phone number to see her another time. Amidst the confusion and frustration I told her no thanks got jumped off the bus at the next stop. A poor play in hindsight...but I'd like to meet the man who is capable of making a good decision after spending $800 at the bar! I called BBZ back and luckily he was already in a cab...we met up and he let me crash at his place on the floor and that was that!
Overall, I had a great time and met some very cool people. I'm still in touch with most of them via Facebook and look forward to another eventful evening out with the group!