Monday, June 24, 2013

Horseshoe Cincinnati Casino - 100X craps odds, 100% fun

There's a Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati now and it's within walking distance to Great American Ballpark.  Finally, I was able to go to the ballpark and also check out the casino in Cincinnati.  Hopefully this means no more road trips to Indiana for my family...

So the Horsehoe...  Here are my take aways:
  • Large casino and it was basically smoke free (i.e. if there's smoking, I didn't see it)
  • 6 craps tables (at least) with $10 minimums. 
  • 100X odds at the craps table (i.e. which is the highest I've seen outside of Las Vegas)
    • For the record, I like to max out my odds, but 100X$10 is $1,000 and I'm not about to put $1000 in odds behind my bets.

  • Jack Binion's Steak is fantastic.  The entire meal was amazing...
    • Dad and I had dinner there and we started with the premium shellfish platter. 
    • Next I had the JBPR Black Angus Filet and added a lobster tail.
    • For dessert, I had a chocolate souffle.
If you're into casinos and eating well, make a quick trip out the Horseshoe in Cincinnati.  It's a great place to stop after a Cincinnati Reds and/or a Cincinnati Bengals game!

I didn't get a chance to check out the blackjack tables so obviously this post is incomplete.  I'll just have to take a look at it "next time".


Great American Ballpark with my dad for Father's Day

Cross another MLB ballpark off the list.  Over Father's Day weekend, I made a deal with my dad.  I'd go with him to the "new" Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati, OH if he promised to go with me to Great American Ballpark to watch the Milwaukee Brewers play the Cincinnati Reds.  He agreed and immediately I went to StubHub to seek out a pair of tickets.

I settled on Scout seats.  If you've never sat in Scout seats before, I highly recommend them.  They're behind home plate, but higher up than the section right behind home plate.  The seats are cushioned and you have access to Scouts' Alley (i.e. a private concession area -- where you pay -- but you don't have to wait in lines behind people in "regular" seats).  I didn't actually go and check out Scouts' Alley because the lines weren't too bad at all at Frisch's Big Boy.  My dad had a burger and I had the chicken fingers.  I ordered a souvenir drink and it came with a coupon for a free refill.  Seriously?  When have you ever seen free refills at a ballpark?  What a good value!

We settled into our seats and I started to look around the park.  To be honest, I didn't see anything special.  It'd been AGES since I'd seen the Reds play at home.  The last time I'd been to a Reds' game they were playing at Riverfront Coliseum. 

Gone is the old circular structure and a park that resembles the Twins/Orioles/Indians/etc. stands. 

I'm so happy I finally checked off another venue, and even happier that I got to go to the game with my dad.  For someone like him that complains that he doesn't watch any baseball, he sure did know a lot about Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto!

The rain started to come down a bit and it was refreshing, since it was so hot and muggy.  When the drops got bigger and fell down faster, we walked back to the casino (i.e. where we parked) and decided to start gambling.

The Reds won, and we won.

Happy Father's Day!


Cirque du Soleil's Quidam is still touring and if you haven't seen it, GO!

If you're a Cirque du Soleil fan and you like the touring shows, I recommend you check out Quidam.  Quidam was actually the very first Cirque show I'd ever seen (i.e. in 2002 in Cleveland).  I loved it then, and I loved it now. 

I went to Ohio for my mom's birthday, and she wanted to check out Quidam at the Nutter Center.  The Nutter Center is the home court for the Wright State University Raiders and they've been known to host some great talent through the years.  My husband couldn't believe that Whitney Houston played there many years ago, but she did!  I've seen comedians (i.e. Steven Wright), TLC, and the Cirque du Soleil there and having a venue like that "close to home" is a huge asset for people like to get out watch different shows.

If you've ever been to a Cirque show, you know that photography is forbidden so I obviously don't have any images to post.  However, if you're a Cirque fan you really need to go and see this show if/when it comes to your city.  I had no idea that this show was even touring anymore.  Like I said, I'd seen it more than 10 years ago...

In terms of shows and which ones are good, the only Cirque show that I didn't like was Mystere.  If you ask me, that one was lame and simple.  Quidam has everything and I can see why it's still touring.

Actually, the more I think about it I have two pieces of wall art (i.e. shadow boxes) of two acrobats doing incredible poses.  Honestly...  The strength and practice it must take to perform in one of those shows is unreal!  I can't show you a pic from Cirque du Soleil, but I can show you a couple of pictures from when I used to go to trapeze school (i.e. Wirk du Soleil).


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Wirk and NIKEiD

I am The Wirk.   

Years ago I customized a pair of baby pink, Converse All-Stars.  A month ago for a present, my husband decided to take it up a notch with regard to my footwear.

No, I didn't receive a pair of Jimmy Choos.  I didn't get Manolos.  I didn't unwrap Louboutins.  What I discovered was even better!  I received  custom NIKEiD shoes).

Have you heard about NIKEiD?  I hadn't either, until my "trainers" (i.e. my husband is British) arrived in the mail.  ****Thanks to my mum (i.e. mother-in-law) for mailing them to the US.  According to my husband, if you're in Asia you either can't order or can't have the items delivered to you, and that's why he needed his mum's assistance.

My custom shoes are neon pink and one tongue says "THE", while the other tongue says "WIRK".  How fantastic is that?

Prior to receiving this present, I'd been using the same old Nike shoes for years.  Those old shoes traveled throughout Asia, exercised, and were kicked around in but they're now retired.  

I love my new pair of punchy pink Nike Air Max 2013 iD shoes!

Check them out and personalize a pair for yourself or someone else!  As Nike would say, "Just do it".


Maryland Live! Casino ~ A review from my first visit

Maryland Live! Casino has had table games for a while now, and a few of my friends  went there the weekend the table games first opened.  I wasn't that enthusiastic about going right away.  I figured that the casino would take advantage of the excitement with high table minimums.  Needless to say, I decided to check it out for myself a few weeks ago. 

If you're a poker player, this post may not have anything for you.  I don't play poker and have no interest to check out whether there is a poker room.

Here are my observations:
  • People say that they've seen $15 table minimums.  As far as I'm concerned this is urban legend.  The $15 table minimum is just as real as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot.
  • The ATMs will let you withdraw a maximum of $250 for each transaction and charge you $4 for the chance to do so.
  • There are lot of blackjack tables and not all of them use an automatic shuffler.
  • There are 6 craps tables
  • The craps tables offer 10X odds.  You can do the math.  A $25 point with maximum odds means that the gambler would have $275 on the table at any given time.  Personally, I would never regularly bet that large.  Odds are where a craps player can really make his/her money so if you have the bankroll and can afford to survive through one/two/three "coolers" by all means, go for it.
  • There are actually people who played $100 minimum craps.  Who are these people and what do they do for a living?!!?
  • I saw an old man get told to leave for card counting while playing blackjack.  I've seen the movie 21, but I'd never seen that before.  When I got home I started Googling card counting and there was a blog/article written about how casinos identify these people.  Sure enough, in retrospect, this guy was obviously counting.
    • He was in the high-limit room drinking coffee and not tipping the server nor the dealer.
    • He was playing the last 2 spots.
    • He was betting the minimum (i.e. $100/hand) in the high limit room and playing a couple of hands.
      • He started out never doubling down on 11 (i.e. which I noticed while I was sitting watching) but would hit and get 21 anyway.  You don't need to watch the movie Swingers to know that you "always" double down on 11.
      • He wasn't consistent with how he played his 16s. 
    • Next thing you knew:
      • He was increasing his bets and always doubling down on 11.
      • He split 9s.
        • At this point at least 2 casino supervisors/bosses etc. were watching him.  One of the older supervisors had a cell phone in his hand and he eventually moved towards the table, covered the shoe, told the dealer to shuffle immediately, and informed the guy playing that he was no longer going to be able to play at that casino any longer.  It was all pretty interesting.  I was chatting with my friend and watching baseball, but when the guy was told/asked to leave, I looked and he must've had close to $2,000 wagered on each hand for the next round.  If he'd won his next 2 hands he could've made close to $4,000 on that round alone.  Crazy stuff!
    • When the old man was asked to leave, he started fussing and asking why he had to go.  The supervisor made a remark that he should know why (i.e. or something to that effect).  The gambler wanted an explanation and made a small stink about not being able to win.  I've seen movies, so I was waiting for him to continue complaining and then get taken away, but that didn't happen. 
  • I'd heard that Maryland Live! Casino was really smoky.  I didn't experience this.  The place seems to have good ventilation.
  • It's a large casino, but not overly crowded.  I didn't want to deal with crowds of people, so I decided not to go on Friday or Saturday night. 
  • There are TVs playing music videos from the 80s/90s.  There are also TVs that show sporting events, so you don't have to worry about missing your favorite team play while you wager.
  • The Cheesecake Factory is near the casino entrance as soon as you come down the elevator after parking.
  • The casino is right next to the mall area.  I've never been shopping at Arundel Mills before, but I suggest shopping before you gamble.
  • If you live in the DC/VA/MD area, the only reason to skip Maryland Live! and go to Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, WV would be the lower table minimums...

Good luck!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Wirk auditioned for a TV commercial

Have you ever auditioned for a TV commercial?  I recently had my first audition for a TV commercial and let me tell you about that experience. 

First I was asked by the casting agency if I'd like to audition.  ****  "Sure, why not?" is what I told myself. 

Next I filled out a profile with my measurements and other vital stats.  ****  This was a hilarious experience.  If I've been measured since high school, I don't recall the experience.  Needless to say my numbers have changed (i.e. not drastically, but yes - they changed).  I located the tape measure and sought some privacy away from my husband to measure my waist line.  When I came back and gave him the number, he laughed and said that there was no way that my number was actually my waist measurement.  For a physical challenge, he asked me to try on his jeans to see if I'd fit.  Hellooooooooo.  I've played this game before and YES, men's pants are big on me.  Ultimately my husband and I figured out the problem.  I measured my waist line sitting down.  Whatever.  I'm not a seamstress.  How was I supposed to know?

I needed a photographer so I asked my friend to shoot headshots for me.  I've been asked for professional headshots at work before, so I thought that I could kill two birds with one stone.  I was correct.  The shots were/are perfect for my needs.

Finally, I reviewed and memorized the sides.  I only needed to learn one page of material, but I went ahead and memorized both pages.  For someone, like me who can remember song lyrics from more than 20 years ago, I should've recorded my lines and listened to them over and over and over and over again to facilitate this process.

When it came time to actually audition the whole experience took 10 minutes.  I was paired up with another person and we both took two, on-camera takes.  One of us would do the lines we studied, while the other person did a cold read of the other lines.

All in all, it was a fun experience!  As I left the studio, I took a look at the other people who were waiting to audition.  It was also interesting to see people that look similar to, but yet different than, me in one room.

Here are my 3 takeaways from the audition:
1 - I'm not ready to quit my REAL job (i.e. which is actually a career that I'm extremely passionate about).
2 - I have more empathy for Joey Tribbiani (i.e. the character from Friends) now.  Maybe his character is smarter than I give him credit for... 
3 - I'm still a big nerd when it comes to being on camera.  At sporting events, I'm the girl who secretly wishes that she's put on the jumbotron, but the minute I see myself I "duck and cover".
4 - I'll stick to background work (i.e. for now).

What an experience!


Kings Dominion reminds me of Kings Island, which then reminds me of the Brady Bunch

I grew up going to Kings Island in Mason, Ohio for my amusement park experiences.  Actually, I remember watching a Brady Bunch episode and noticing that they were at Kings Island too...  I just did a quick Google search and it looks as though it's been 40 years or so since that episode was filmed and 3 of the Brady Bunch cast members were at Kings Island a few days ago!  Weird how the world and my timing works...

Watch the original Brady Bunch "The Cincinnati Kids" episode with some pop-up video flair (i.e. that I found on YouTube) here:

Anyway, a few weeks ago my husband and I made our inaugural visit to Kings Dominion is Doswell, VA.

Maybe because I'm older and bigger, but it seemed as though Kings Dominion was smaller than I remembered Kings Island to be.  It's been ages since I've been to Kings Island, so I really can't remember... 

For the records, when it comes to Cedar Fair properties, my favorite has to be Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio!  ****  If you're a roller coaster aficionado and you haven't been to Cedar Point, you're only cheating yourself.

Since it's the motion of the ride and size doesn't matter, my husband and I enjoyed our trip to Kings Dominion.  We took advantage of the Fast Lane Plus wristband and rode most of the rides we wanted with minimal waiting time in line.  For those of you that have the means, and who don't want to risk spending most of the day in a line, I HIGHLY recommend the purchase.  According to the park's website, you'll need the "Plus" option in order to "Enjoy all of the Fast Lane attractions PLUS, unlimited rides on Intimidator 305 and Volcano."


Take a break between all the rides and enjoy a funnel cake and/or soft pretzel!  Eating is half the fun...

Towards the end of the afternoon, my husband had a headache so I didn't have a chance to ride the Berserker (i.e. the pirate ship).  That was fine...  I remember that ride from my youth.  Honestly, I can ride any roller coaster, but I swear...  Nothing tickles my tummy more than being on the end of that ship (i.e. high in the air) and you feel like you're going to fall out right before you swing down!

I love amusement parks... and funnel cake...


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Chris Dickerson is the hero with his walk-off 3 run homerun ~ Orioles defeated the Tigers

 My husband is from the UK, so he's impressionable when it comes to US sports.  I was able to spark his love of baseball (i.e. at Orioles Park in Baltimore last year), so it was a no-brainer that I needed to take him to watch Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers take on the Baltimore Orioles. 

Miguel Cabrera at bat

Prince Fielder is a big man...

It was a gorgeous Friday night for a baseball game and as usual we couldn't help but indulge in the food on the concourse.  I had the compulsory funnel cake and cheesesteak sandwich, and even had a bit of his soft crab sandwich from Old Bay Seafood.  I'm originally from Southwestern Ohio.  When you say "seafood", I think of Red Lobster and I get excited.  ****  If you say you don't like Red Lobster, I think you're lying.  It's good.  Have you seen this sandwich?  If you look closely, you can actually see the crab's shape.  After some coaxing, I reluctantly took a small bite of his sandwich.  It wasn't for me, but he enjoyed it very much.

We were behind home plate and to our surprise there were plenty of Detroit Tigers fans around us.  Seeing as though my husband and I really didn't have a dog in the fight, we appreciated the offense from both squads.

The flow of the game seemed to favor the Detroit Tigers, but the Baltimore Orioles' bats had been HOT in previous games (i.e. which were unfortunately against the Washington Nationals) so I knew that you should never count the O's out. 

I expected the Orioles to rally, but I NEVER expected to see Chris Dickerson hit a walk-off 3 run homerun in the bottom of the 9th! 

Moments like that are exactly why true fans don't leave the park until the final out is called.  Orioles win!!!