Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vegas Trip Report

Short version: I finished up a few bucks. Long version: Read on and enjoy.

We got in to Vegas a little after noon on Friday and Chad picked Mike H and me up from the airport and we stopped for lunch at Hard Rock. The weather was awesome and the scenery wasn’t too shabby. The buckets of beers were a good start to the trip. After lunch, Chad dropped us off at Bally’s and we checked in for the weekend. After getting settled and meeting up with the rest of the boys that flew in Thursday night, we headed out to get our drink and gamble on.

First stop, Paris for some Pai Gow. This was supposed to be a cheap way to start drinking and have a little fun. I had the misfortune of sitting in a terrible seat and quickly dropped $320 in less than 2 hours. My main goal for the trip was poker, so I stopped my Pai Gow massacre and headed back to Bally's to take a seat in their poker room. I bought in for $100 and cashed out for $330 a little later so I got a good chunk of it back. I would have liked to play longer because the table was pretty soft. Unfortunately for me, the combination of too much to drink, being dead tired, and having a screaming headache forced me back to my room. I consumed more alcohol in the first 12 hours of this trip than I did the entire last trip. You just have to hate to see a veteran player making a rookie mistake.

Saturday morning we started with some lower stakes Pai Gow at Bill’s while we were waiting to be seated for breakfast. I had a little better luck and almost was able to cover the cost of my meal. After breakfast, we headed over to Harrah’s for an awesome 1PM deepstack tournament that “Main Event” Mike found. It has a $150 buy-in with a great structure. This particular tournament was brand new so it had a small field of 20 and paid top 2 (1500 / 900). I had a mini rush right before the middle levels but cooled off after that. After consolidating to 1 table, I raised from the button with A,Q after the others folded. The big blind pushed. She had me slightly covered but I made the call anyway since we were both getting short stacked and I had to double up or go home. She tables A,K and I tell the dealer I really need a suck out. He graciously gives me a Q on the flop and I was able to ride the stack for a while. When we got to 4 we chopped. Mike H took 800, 2nd took 700, 3rd 600 and I took 300. Mike H had a huge stack and I still was not in push mode, but we had been playing for 6.5 hours and were ready to be done. I would have hated to put in over 7 hours just to bubble. The other 2 guys were buddies from England so they were happy to take a chop as well. Mike took the biggest hit payout wise, but he said he was fine. I was thrilled to be able to share with Surflexus after he partially backed me.

We wanted to meet up with the rest of our crew so we left Harrah’s and headed down to MGM. Feeling flush with cash from the poker tournament, we made a quick stop in to Bill’s for some more cheap Pai Gow. In 6 hands, I lost another $55 but wisely stopped the bleeding. We got up and went down to MGM to get my money back at poker. We got there just a bit too late to take advantage of an absolutely trashed guy. He only played 2 hands while I was there, but the others in our crew had already taken a few shots at him. Scott had the best chance when he got pocket aces and raised. Drunk guy comes along and I think they get it all in on the flop. Drunk guy shows pocket jacks and “Main Event” Mike tells Scott that he folded A,J so he’s looking good. Hellooooo Doom Switch as the case jack hits on the river. That was a crushing blow and a fabulous opportunity that didn’t pay off for him. For my session, I only remember 1 hand where I had to make a tough call and fortunately made the right one. This helped me maintain a profit for the session. I bought in for 200 and cashed for 303 after about 2 hours.

The last day I said screw Pai Gow and went down to the Golden Nugget to check out their new poker room. It’s a very nice looking room and we had a few wild players at our table with large stacks. I sat down in the big blind and was rewarded with pocket aces on the next hand. I didn’t know the players yet so I didn’t mess around on the flop with straight and flush possibilities. I bet he folded and then I settled in and watched the action. Later in the session, I had 2 big hands that paid off for me. I raised in late position with A,10 suited and got called by one of the loose big stacks. The flop came out A high with 2 of the same suit that wasn’t mine so I bet the pot and he calls. So now I am a little worried about my kicker. The turn is another ace so I am feeling better about my hand and bet ½ -3/4 of the pot. The river completed a flush draw and I checked. He grabs a stack and sets it out. I reluctantly made the call and he immediately says “you’re good” as he tables the bluff. He said he was trying to represent the flush. A few hands later one of the loose players put the straddle on. It folded around to me and I raised it up to 20 with K,Q. The button calls and I figured she was just looking me up and being the straddle police. The flop come A,K, x and I check. She bets out and now I call to keep her honest. The turn is another K and I check again. She bets out and I reraise her all in. I should have played it a little slower but I was happy with taking the pot right there. She folds showing her ace and gives me a disgusted look when I show my hand. Hey, I can’t fold every time an A hits the board. I played here for 3-4 hours with my 200 buy-in and cashed out for 616. Weeeeeeee!

I got in one more session in the evening before we left. Mike H and I went over to Harrah's to play some more cash. I must have rubbed the player to my left the wrong way because he was gunning for me. Early on, his 2 pair was counterfeited on the turn and my kicker came in to play. From that point on, he would enter the pot every time I did. It didn’t matter if I raised or limped, he was in. I ended up losing a $300-400 pot to his rivered 4 outer gutter ball after he called a preflop raise, $25 on the flop, $25 on the turn and another player in the hand. He had like 7,4 or some shit and when the 3 of hearts hit I knew he didn’t make his flush so I called his all in. This was the first time I have ever outwardly expressed amazement at another player’s stupidity. I am no poker genius, but even I realize he was just trying to put a hurt on me and got his 10% to pay off. I have to give the guy some credit, because the jackass got the rest of my chips after I slow played my flopped trips and shoved on his turned flush. I didn’t boat up and decided to call it a night since I was making too many mistakes and I wanted to finish up for the trip.

I had a great time and was happy with my play all weekend except how I played a few hands at the Harrah's cash game. I didn’t clear a lot of cash, but it covered my airfare, parking, and lodging expenses. The only real money it costs me was for food and drink while I was there. I’ll take that success every time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting In Some Poker And Ready For Vegas

I was able to get in 2 nights of live poker this weekend. Friday night was in Kajagugu's hood without the Kaj or Surflexus. I figured this would increase my odds, but nooooo. I was the first one to bust out in the first game and then bubbled the late night second game. I should have just come home after I busted, but I wanted to stick around for another game. I liked my play, I just got unlucky against a very loose call. I had no idea it would take so long to get to the next game. I enjoy hanging out with the usual folks, so its a good night with friends.

On Sunday, "Main Event" Mike invited me to game he was going to that evening. It had a much higher buy-in than I usually do but I wanted to get a little action before my guys trip to Vegas next Friday. We had 16 people for the tournament. There was some wild action, but I kept a low profile. Mike went out on a brutal beat when he hit his set on the flop while holding pocket Aces. His opponent put him all in and showed 3,4 or some shit for middle pair and a gut-shot straight draw. This guy was running supernova hot and of course hits his 4 outer to knock out Mike. He was crushed and called it a night. I was able to hold on and pick my spots to move chips and finished 3rd for a little cash. It more than made up for my losses on Friday night. They were having a big cash game for the bustouts, but it was getting late and I didn't bring the bankroll for a 1/2 game of no limit with Omaha rotated in every 3rd orbit. When I asked about the game, the host warned me that the Omaha pots could see $1k. Yikes, that's a little much for a weekly home game. I'm only good for about 2 of those a year unless I'm in a casino.

Speaking of casinos, Mike, Mike, and I are heading to Bally's next week for a 4 day weekend. I plan on playing cash at Bally's, MGM, and maybe checking out the poker room at the Golden Nugget. Tournament wise, I may do Caeser's again or possibly the Venetian. This time, I hope to play more than 2 hands before I go busto with pocket kings.

I will play one more neighborhood game before Vegas and we are lucky enough to have Falstaff join us while he is doing his Atlanta gigs. It won't be a big game, but we should be able to get 6 handed maybe even a full table.