Reno wasn't great in terms of results, but I had a fun time. Here are some random thoughts from the trip.
The ACBL nationals weren't the only nation championships being held in Reno during my stay. The guy sitting next to me on the plane in was there for the US Open, the largest amateur bowling tournament in the country. He said he had a 210 average and was just doing it for fun.
On the plane ride in from Dallas to Reno, they showed a movie. People groaned initially when they announced that the movie was "The Blind Side", but about 25 minutes in when the audio went out, half the plane complained. The Blind Side gets my vote as a great airplane movie. It's a very balanced movie, which makes it great in my view for showing on a plane ride. It's a good length, not too short, not too long. It's wholesome for the whole family. It has the right amount of drama, comic relief, and sports action. It's a sappy feel good story without necessarily pulling you too deep into the movie. It's just got something for everyone.
On the shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel, I actually heard someone use the Geico "ringity ding dingity dong" as their ringtone. I still think Geico should do the opening bell at the stock exchange one morning and just play that instead of the regular bell.
Didn't play well and didn't play much. Also ran pretty badly in general. Here are two stories.
Five players limp (1/2NLH) into a pot with a TT3 rainbow flop. Everyone checks and the turn comes a K. Everyone checks again and the river is an 8. Three checks to a woman who bets 10 into the pot. One guy calls. The woman turns over KT and the man turns over KK. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa??????
Naturally, they're married.
Down to $60 in the big blind and with game time (bridge) approaching, 6 people limp to me in the big blind. I look at K3 suited and decide to make a play. After all, if everyone folds I add 20% to my stack. I raise to $20. I didn't want to go all in preflop (too suspicious) and wanted to leave a sizeable bet for the flop. One guy goes all-in for $29, a guy behind him (his bridge partner) calls, and I'm forced to call as the reraise wasn't large enough. I go all-in blind, and the flop comes J25. The other guy thinks for a while and calls with J6 suited. The all-in guy had QT. The turn comes an A and the river comes another J to finish the hand. Oh well.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn't play well. We still ended up in the overalls with a respectable 33rd in the Open Pairs (out of 300+ pairs) because seeded pairs kept miscounting their points against us. It was also my first experience with the bridgemate scoring system (entering results wirelessly from the table) and I liked it. It allowed me to forget previous hands for some reason. I entered the result, and then the hand went away. Didn't dwell on a single previous hand while I was controlling the scoring machine.
Only one interesting hand of note that I remember.
Red all matchpoints, you hold in fourth chair:
The auction goes (1C)-1S-(1NT)- to you and I'm going to make you pass.
The auction then continues (p)-2H-(p)- to you.
It seemed like a normal, in-tempo, pass at the table. Unfortunately, LHO reopens with a cooperative X and partner goes for a number. In subsequent discussion, it's been suggested that preferencing to 2S is the correct bid in this situation. Partner could be 5-4 and the 5-1 plays better. Partner could be 6-4 even. A chunk of partner's 5-5 hands are taken out of the equation because he could have bid Michaels. An immediate preference is harder for the opponents to double. Any thoughts?
Turns out I was here 6 years earlier (last bridge nationals in Reno) when it used to be a Hilton (now Grand Sierra Resort). I didn't realize it until I tried to get a players' card and they had me in the system.
The place was just slow. As in lines were long at all the restaurants. It wasn't so much the actual service being slow as it was the seating situation. It just seemed like they were woefully ill-prepared for the large capacity that was the bridge nationals and people going for the first weekend of March madness combined.
They had three fancy restaurants: a Charlie Palmer steak, a Charlie Palmer seafood place, and an Italian restaurant. I only tried the Italian restaurant, and it was decent. Although I thought it was bad when the server was describing the carpaccio appetizer to one of my dining companions and failed to mention that the meat was raw. All my other meals consisted of the breakfast buffet (best value, and only time the buffet wasn't mobbed), Johnny Rockets (good value, all you can eat fries with the burgers), and a pan pizza place with a small unlimited salad bar.
The rooms were ok. There was a nice touch with a TV inside the bathroom. However, there was also this atrocious design:
Basically it was a faucet that was designed to splash water everywhere. If you held your hands high, the sink wouldn't cover all the water. If you held your hands low, the long descent of the water caused it to splash up and about. Idiotic.
Overall it was a fun time, despite my horrible results. Bridge nationals are always fun, and midnights and catching up with old friends certainly adds to that.