IN 2009, A GROUP OF JACKASSES IN THEIR LATE 20’S AND EARLY 30’S DESCENDED ON VEGAS FOR THE FIRST EVER MGA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. THIS YEAR THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY WILL BE CELEBRATED IN STYLE, BY MOVING TO THE GREATEST HOTEL IN THE HISTORY OF THE MGAWC. BUT FIRST, SOME CONTEXT.
The MGA had already been around for three years in 2009, but it was the first season we had any chapters outside San Francisco. Naturally we would have called it a World Championship no matter where the chapters were located, because ‘Merica, but it actually ended up being kinda legit since one of the original chapters was from Quebec. They brought their Loonies out west to join the ones from San Francisco, Seattle and Conejo Valley and make mediocre history.
The Fiesta Utah… I mean… Henderson. The most important lesson we learned from this hotel, was to be aware of whether there is another hotel, with a very similar name, located about an hour away from where you are actually staying. I’m not saying cabbies take advantage of drunk tourists and drive them to the wrong hotel on purpose, but yea, they absolutely fucking do. We also learned that beer taps still work even when a bar is closed. It was a shithole, but it was our shithole.
Sadly the Fiesta Henderson only made it one year with the MGA. The 900 miles my dad put on the 15-passenger van was a sign that perhaps something a little closer to civilization was in order. To keep prices low, I shopped around until I found a classic hotel that was on the verge of shutting down. The Sahara greeted us with $1 beers, $1 shots, $1 hot dogs and $1 blackjack. With staff counts that could be measured in parts per million, it’s a miracle they were able to stay in business for a full 3 months after we left.
Two shitholes in a row meant it was time to find something nicer. Located kinda close to the strip and featuring an authentic Irish Pub and an Oyster bar, Palace Station became our home for the next three years. The rooms were clean (unless of course you picked –or were forced into- a courtyard room) and the hotel was properly staffed, something we truly appreciated after The Sahara. But after three years, our group outgrew our Palace and it was time to move on.
Jack’s Irish Pub was the scene of one of the great moments in MGAWC history when we forced a cover band to allow a drunk Irish guy on stage to perform Green Day’s Basket Case… and they killed it! You can see a clip at the end of this video.
I have always believed that if I picked an isolated hotel, medios would spend the entire time hanging out with each other at the hotel and ignore all that bullshit down on the strip. In 2013 I finally agreed to try something different and moved the group downtown to Fremont Street. To keep packages affordable, we ended up at the cheapest hotel available. That is, the cheapest hotel that hadn’t recorded a murder on their property in the last 12 months. That “hotel” would be The California. The Cal can best be summed up by the text my 61-year-old father sent me when he arrived a few hours before I did. “Uncle John and I just took the average age down about 20 years when we walked into this place.” After two years at The Cal, I got the sense that no one would show up the following year if I didn’t find a place with showerheads that hit above the navel.
The one-lane walkways on the casino floor of The Cal could spell disaster if you got stuck behind one of the regulars. Thankfully I caught this walker in a passing zone.
So with the cheapest downtown hotel out of the equation, it was time to look for another good isolated option. The salesman at our new course (Revere) connected me with his buddy over at Sam’s Town and he gave us a smoking “players” rate. This helped offset the increased cost of the nicer course we had just moved to and MGAWC package prices were able to stay pretty stable.
Sadly in year two, the hotel charged us a little more and actually tracked our gaming, at which point they realized we are the furthest thing from “players”. If only they could track our bar sales….
So when Sam’s Town predictably jacked up the rates again for 2018, it was time to give downtown another shot.
The only thing I knew about my options downtown was that The Cal was not an option. Our last stint downtown had a lot of medios asking me “why don’t we stay at the Golden Nugget?” Simple answer really. Herpes. Every room has herpes.
Just kidding, it’s the cost, but you all knew that already. However, like a good El Presidente does, I humored my subjects by calling to confirm that the Nugget was way out of our price range before moving on to cheaper options. It was. Sorry.
After calling a few more places, I was excited about the Gold Spike, which has a cool vibe and a lot of free games to play while you hang out and drink beer. The problem is that they didn’t have enough rooms, even if we got the whole place. So I started looking into getting as many rooms as possible at the Gold Spike and then getting the other rooms we needed at The Downtown Grand one block away.
This plan seemed like it was going to work until the Gold Spike salesperson suddenly stopped responding to any of my emails or calls. Here’s a tip for any of you business owners out there. If you have shitty salespeople, fire them. If you have good salespeople, reward them.
For those of you who would prefer to watch a video history of the MGAWC hotels and see the 2018 reveal with a sweet soundtrack, click play now. However if you’ve already been on the toilet too long though and need to get on with your day, scroll down to finish the story.
Speaking of good salespeople, while I was leaving message after message with the Gold Spike, my contact over at the Golden Nugget had followed up in a polite, low-pressure email. I replied letting her know that I appreciated the followup and that I wished I could take my group there, but that we were miles apart on price. She asked what price point I needed to be at and I told her. When she presumably stopped rolling on the floor laughing, she replied with a “let me talk to our VP of sales and see what I can do”.
Now all of you salespeople out there are probably laughing at poor old naïve El Presidente and my mediocre approach to negotiation, but you know what….
WE GOT THE FUCKING NUGGET!!!
So there it is. The Tenth MGAWC is going to be the best one yet, as it should be. I’m not stopping with the hotel either. My aim is to have #MGAWC18 be like…
#MGAWC18 #THETENTH is a two-round tournament held Nov. 9&10 at Revere Golf Club. Any member who has played in at least 3 regular season events is allowed to enter (and should). Packages for the Championship are available now and include the Hotel, Golf and Transport to and from the course. We’ve grown every year and I expect this year to be no different. So start saving now and reward yourself with a November party with 240 of your closest friends you’ve never met!
#MGAWC18 information, news and registration is up now at MGAWC.com