Saturday, July 12, 2008

Vegas Trip Report Part 2

I slept in quite a bit on Sunday and after another great breakfast at Bill’s, "Main Event" Mike and I headed over to the Rio to see some WSOP Main Event action. He had obviously seen it before, but it was new for me. When we were about to walk up the red carpet, we ran in to Isabelle Mercier and Mike wanted a picture with her. She was very sweet and posed with him. She is a beautiful lady and Mike’s shorts were pretty much done after that. We walked around the exhibition hall and talked for a few moments with Scotty Nguyen and Mike got another picture. Thankfully, he didn’t have quite the same response that he did to Isabelle. Kenna James was hanging around another booth. We then headed down the hall to the Amazon Room.

Phil Ivey was at the first table we came to and while I was standing there I saw Sir Al so I walked around the table to say hello. I thanked him for the work he did for the BBT3, even though I didn’t participate. Due to my schedule, he was the only blogger I saw during my trip. We walked up to the Beast Lounge and watched Helmuth for a little while at the TV table until Mark Seif busted. Moneymaker was below us and it looks like he has lost a fair amount of weight. We left the observation area and wandered around some more until we were corralled out at the break. Before we left, we stopped and watched a few players. Jennifer Tilly was looking nice in her cowboy hat. Johnny Chan was heading back to his table. In the hallway we saw Jamie Gold and Annie Duke at the PPA booth. Andy Bloch and Dario passed us heading to the restrooms. Andy is much taller than I thought he was. Dario is pretty much what I was expecting. As the players were waiting to go back in to the ballroom, I was standing next to Chris Ferguson. I wanted to congratulate him on his NBC Heads Up win, but he was already signing autographs and I didn't want to disturb him. We had had enough of watching poker pros, so we went back to the strip.

"Main Event" Mike entered the 7 PM Caesar's again and Birthday Mike and Chris did some more 3/6 limit. I was taking it easy for the night and did 1/2 NL back at Bally's. I could never get much going and after playing for about 4 hours I had finally exhausted my buy-in. I got crushed in my last hand. The guy to my right was down to about $45 and was playing fairly tight and open pushed. I had pocket queens so I pushed in my last $65 hoping to just go heads up with him. The new girl to my immediate left quickly said "call" so I knew I was pretty much dead. As we table our cards, the initial raiser had pocket 10s, me with queens, and the second caller had a pair of kings. A 10 hit on the flop and I didn't suck out so the main pot shipped to the initial raiser and the side pot went to the young English lady.

My bustout happened around 12:30 AM so it seemed like a good time to get to bed and get ready for our getawy last day. We didn't do much except get a bite to eat and return the car to Chad. He then took us to the airport and I finally crashed in my own bed around midnight local time on Monday night. It was a great trip and I look forward to the next one, maybe in December.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Vegas Trip Report, Part 1

3 and a half days in Vegas really flies by. We arrived Friday evening and headed to the food court at O’Sheas for a quick bit of pizza. After a few slices, we went across the street to the poker room at Caesar’s Palace. We were too late for the 7PM tournament so we sat down to the cash tables. “Birthday boy” Mike joined Chris at the 3/6 limit and I jumped in the 1/3 no limit. This was new to me and I just sat back and watched for a little while. I didn’t get involved in too many pots but picked up a little with some big hands. I did make a big mistake when I decided to try and take away a pot even after my outs didn’t hit. With A,10 diamonds, I had the nut flush draw along with a straight draw on the flop. I’m sure it was obvious that I was chasing since I only called the flop and the turn. He then checks the river to me and I decide to do my patented all-in bluff on the river. He considers a fold, but then calls with his pocket Aces. Fortunately he bought in for less than me and I still had $35 left. After a few fortunate hands and one good call, I was able to run this up to about $360 over the next hour and a half. I bled it back down to below my original $200 buy-in for a loss of about 20 bucks on the night before heading to bed around 2 local time.

Around the ass crack of noon on Saturday, we headed across the street to Bill’s Gambling Hall for a great breakfast. After I ate, Chad came over and picked me up so we could spend the afternoon lounging around his pool. I floated around for a couple of hours and then borrowed a car to head back to the strip.

"Main Event" Mike and I entered the 7PM $160 tournament at Caesars. I did nothing but fold and give away my button and blinds for the first 2 levels. I got to rake my first pot or at least half a pot when I chopped with AK from the small blind early in level 3. I folded for one more orbit and picked up KK on the button. Of course it folds around to me so I can’t repop anyone. With blinds at 100/200, I raise it to 600. The small blind folds and the big blind thinks for a minute and raises it 800 more. He had only been at our table for less than an orbit and was on a great rush with probably over 15K in chips. We started the tournament with 5K and I had about 4200 at the beginning of the hand. With 2100 in the pot and 800 to call, that would leave me with just a pot sized stack after the flop so I went ahead and pushed in the rest hoping to double up through the big stack. He takes a little time and then decides to call. I said “at least you don’t have aces” as he turns over pocket 10s. He hits a 10 on the flop, another on the river and I go home after playing 2 effin’ hands. He said my push looked weak and I told him I wished he had been at my table the entire time and he would have seen I had only played 1 other hand. Of course I would have gone broke on the 10 high flop anyway if I had just called but I didn’t see a smaller reraise pushing him off his hand at that point with his stack so eh, that sucked.

Birthday Mike and Chris had spent the evening drinking at O’Sheas, so I joined them after my bustout. We played beer pong with a bunch of college kids until the $45 midnight pushfest started. I can’t believe I flew all the way to Vegas to play beer pong, but we had a blast. Before the midnight tournament started, Mike had joined us after busting out of the 7PM. I played a total of 2 hands in this one as well, but you had to start pushing early to double up or go home. Main Event Mike made it to the money and won enough to almost cover his night’s worth of tournament buy-ins. We were all beat by this time and headed back to the room to recharge for the next day.

*Update* I forgot that "Ricky Zilem" was sitting 2 to my right in the Caesar's tournament. What a nutjob! He didn't last long enough to get the food he ordered. His real name is Chris something and he was only 20 when he played in the WSOP circuit event when Kido Pham knocked him out when his flush draw hit. When he was legal, he had a big score at the Bellagio a year or 2 later for over 130K after the final 3 made a deal.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Welcome Return To The Mookie

I haven't played the Mookie in a few months so I decided to jump in at the last minute to get in some more practice before this weekend. This is still my favorite tourney, but starting at 10 is rough on my delicate sleeping requirement.

Early on, I knocked out Kat and had a feeling that I was going to take it all the way. Even in my minimal play online, I have been having a horrible run lately but the pieces seemed to fall together perfectly last night. I had a fantastic run of cards and collected a few bounties along the way. I made most of my big pots when my small pocket pairs made trips on the flop. I think I played better than I have in a long time. I never put all of my chips at risk without the winning hand. I did make a few loose calls in the early blind levels, but you can do that in a deepstack game. It makes it easy to drop on the flop while still able to defend your blinds with an Ace and a face. Fortunately for me, I was able to get a piece most of the time. Once I developed a larger chipstack, I didn't mind pushing with A,Q suited to an early raiser with about half of my stack. I am trying to increase my aggression at the right time and in the right situations. After Carmen called, we were off to the races and I was able to outrun her pocket fives. Maybe if I run in to her this weekend at Planet Hollywood, she won't bonk me over the head.

I was able to maintain a nice stack all the way to the final table. After a few rounds of nothing hands, I had dropped down to the lower stacks. This is where I feel I played the best of the night. I didn't have too many showdowns, but was able to keep enough chips to make it to the top 3. NumbBono had the chip lead most of the time while I tried to hold off Zeroluck001. This guy absolutely owned me. Fortunately I had enough chips to take shots at him even though none were successful. Numbono was able to take him out and we went to heads up play. Heads up didn't last long against NumbBono. Since he was so aggressive, I was able to wait for him to drive the action and sealed the deal when he pushed in to my turned 2 pair. This was good for my 3rd Mookie win. I'm good for one win a year it seems and I only have to win a dozen more to be like Surf.

Sweet Mary Jane I'm tired. I still don't know how you people do this all the time. Especially you breeders out there with the long commutes and insane work hours. Well, I hope my next report will be about my profitable session in Sin City. Have a great Independence Day everyone.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Last Minute Fine Tuning

I've gotten in some live poker action over the past week with 2 neighborhood games. I dropped a little last week in a single table game at my neighbors and had a break even session at Kajagugu's neighborhood game.

During the small game in my neighborhood, I just couldn't get enough value out of my hands. Kaj has seen me do this the last 3 times we've played together. Hopefully I can improve that for this weekend. I didn't think I was playing poorly, but I wasn't playing well enough for the win. I had a bad run of getting outdrawn when we were all in and letting my oponent catch their hand when I slow played a nice flopped hand.

Friday night's game was a little larger. My brother was visiting from out of town and I took him over to Bobby's. This gave us 17 players and we finally got to meet Mrs. Surf. Nice to meet you m'am. As we expected, she outlasted us and finished 3rd, nice job. For the first game, I played like a big ol' idiot. I was crippled early on because I insisted on running a bluff when I shouldn't have. It was too early in the game and I just didn't assess the situation correctly. I was able to recoup the loss and more in the cash game. I hit a couple of good hands and this financed my fun for the night. My performance in the second game was a little better, but I still made another bad bluff when I should have known better. After this, I went card dead and eventually pushed my A,7ish from the button into the pocket rockets of my brother in the big blind. He had me slightly outchipped but was still a short stack when his hand held up and went out on the bubble a few hands later.

Friday night had quite a few fun moments. My brother got the first game started by giving his table quite a chuckle. He is fairly new to the game and mainly plays for funny money online. He plays Texas Hold'em with real cards maybe once or twice a year. As we were walking in to Bobby's house, he confirmed with me that he was supposed to burn a card on the flop. This was the only piece of poker "advice" I gave him before play started. He was fortunate enough to draw the button and after "shuffle up and deal" was announced, he did what what he remembered last. He dealt the flop exactly as he was supposed to do. The problem was, he hadn't dealt the cards to the players yet. Kaj came over to my table to inform me that he was dealing Hold'em solitaire.

I head out Friday afternoon for a holiday weekend in Vegas with my friends. I am looking forward to seeing the WSOP for the first time, doing the rides at the Stratosphere and playing like a rock at the $1/2 games at different casinos. I am really hoping to leave my stupid play in Atlanta.