Friday, December 12, 2008

Vegas Days 1 & 2

"Vegas Days 1 & 2"

Yes, my first day was so full that it spilled over into two days. I woke up at 6am on Wednesday to work for 4 hrs before heading out to the airport. I didn't end up going to bed until 6pm on Thursday. Even then, I meant to only take a quick nap... and 11 hours later, I woke up. ;-) It's probably for the best. I needed the rest. I do kind of regret missing poker's 'primetime'... late evening.

Speaking of Poker... how was it for the first 36 hrs? Up and down, as expected. But mostly up. I had 4 sessions.

Session 1: Excalibur - 50c/$1 NL Hold 'Em
Yes, that's right. 50 CENTS - 1 dollar. Lowest limits in Vegas as far as I know. Why did I come all the way out to Vegas when I play in a 50c/$1 pot limit game on Wednesdays in Austin? Well, the answer is: I didn't. The Excalibur has some of the softest games in Vegas, and they used to have a $1/3 NL game. Then they switched to $1/2 about a year ago, and finally this passed August, the abandoned their traditional poker for all-electronic Poker Pro tables. While I wasn't too thrilled about the limit changing to 50c/$1, I was sorta interested to try these new electronic tables.

What I found was that the table was eerily quiet. Not much talking and very little action. The min/max is $20/$100. I expected people to be going all-in every hand with so little on the line. But nope, everyone was tighter than an Asian Catholic school girl. One of the nice things about playing on the electronic table was that you can see your stats for the game. I was seeing only 12% of the flops myself. I played for a little while, got up about $25 and then decided that rather than adjust to the tight play, I would go grab something to eat as I was starving by this point. Plus, I could revisit the game later. I'm here for 11 days after all.

Dinner: Hooters Casino
I ordered a Buffalo Chicken sandwich. I was so hungry that I asked for some fries as an appetizer just to get something on the table quickly. The food was OK. The sandwich was a little tough, but whatever. My hunger satiated, I walked across the street to the MGM to try some live $1/2.

Session 2: MGM Grand - $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em
Nothing special about this session. I'd played quite a few times at the MGM. While Claire used to prefer Excal (she hasn't played on the new Electronic tables yet), I tended to prefer MGM in our first Vegas visits. My last trip out here though, I did much better at Excal, but MGM was still my 2nd favorite place. The poker room at MGM is usually quite lively. I played for about 4 hrs and made a paltry 40 bucks, but at least I didn't lose. The most exciting thing that I saw here was while I was waiting for a seat.

I strolled by the $2/$5 table and saw a couple of people were All-In (at the MGM, when you're all-in, the dealer puts an All-In marker in front of you for the cameras to see.) One guy was in for about $400 and another guy was in for about $500+. The only reason there hadn't been a flop yet was because there was an old man standing in their way. I came in late, but from the looks of it, the swanky douchebag looking TypeA player to the old man's right had raised, the old man made a big re-raise for about $150, and next guy went all-in for $400ish. When it got back to swanky Douchbag, he went all-in as well. The old man was left thinking about the $1000+ in the pot... $150 of it being his own money. This is were I came in. Douchebag was showing everyone else but the old man his cards. I mean everyone. He was calling over people from off the table to show them his cards. He was being an annoying dick. He had Aces of course. The old man was a curmudgeonly old fuck. Somber and grizzled... about 110 years old. He was not pleased. With about $1500 in front if him, he called. Before anyone had flipped, I knew the 1st all-in guy had KK. I could tell by how annoyed he was seeing Douchebag flaunting AA around the table. But what could the old man have? AKs? QQ? Another pair of pocket Kings? Nope. 9To. Yes, Nine Ten offsuit. The old man flopped two pair, and the turn and river were blanks. Wow. The old man promptly raked in the giant pot and told the other two players to get off his damn lawn. The KK guy was pretty upset, but Douchebag took it rather well. I guess he was rich. Or maybe he wasn't such a Douchebag after all... Naw, I'm sure he was just rich. ;)

After the MGM session, I headed out down the strip. After walking for a short while, I came to Planet Hollywood. I strolled in started Session 3.

Session 3: Planet Hollywood - $1/$2.

I sat down to a full table. The only other tables running were for a 2am tournament that had just started. I got a couple of big hands early and took them down with aggressive betting. I started with $150 and got up to about $200. There were about 4 friends at the table. Young guys in the early to mid-20's. All Canadian. One guy looked almost exactly like Nick Papagiorgio (Ethan Embry's alter ego in Vegas Vacation). He was dressed up in a loud yellow loose fabric blazer with a dark T-shirt underneath. he even had the gold chain going. He must have dressed this way as a gag because all his friends were calling him "Papagiorgio" all night. They were a fun bunch. Papagiorgio and the older man on my left started playing prop bet games based on which cards hit the board. This was more entertaining than the hands I was getting dealt. I ended up staying until it got down to 6 handed. I was playing EXTREMELY tight, and they all definitely noticed. I used this to my advantage. I took down almost every single pot I entered with agressive betting. Even when I whiffed completely, they all had me on large pocket pairs. A couple of times I got them to fold made big pairs to my bets. In the end, I made a little over $100 in that session. Nothing too special.

After this, I started to get hungry. It was nearly 7am. I wanted a something cheap and quick. I found a scuzzy old McDonald's further up the strip.

Breakfast: McDonald's
I'm not a big fan of breakfast foods. But McDonald's only serves breakfast during the morning. This is extremely annoying. Whataburger rocks. Anyway, I ordered a chicken biscuit meal. I pulled out the chicken and pretended it was a giant chicken McNuggest. I ate the hash brown as a giant fry, but I had my orange juice as a just a regular sized orange juice. Cuz, you know, it was regular sized. I spread some strawberry jam on the biscuit halves as dessert. See? Who says you can't get lunch during breakfast time at McDonald's?

I strolled over further up the strip. I saw the Rio and though about walking that way, but it's hard to cross streets in Vegas. You have to plan it right to get to the overstreet walkways. I didn't, and by the time I realized it, it was just easier to just keep walking down the side of the strip I was on. I tried to find a game at the Paris hotel, but I couldn't find the poker room. They might not even have one. If they do, they don't advertise it very well. Then I walked into Harrah's. I did find their poker room, but it was very early in the morning and they just had one game: a $1/$2 NLHE short handed game with everyone having about $600-800 in front of them. No thanks.

A little further up the strip, I found the Venetian.

Session 3: The Venetian - $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em.
This was by far the worst session. I had to wait for seat, and after about a 5 person wait list, they started a new table. I started out with great hands, and went up over $200 pretty quickly (I started with $150.) Then the game filled up, and I made some bad plays. I got caught with Q9 hitting two pair against a flopped flush. And with AJs I flopped top pair Jacks Vs. QQ. Not good. I ended up dropping $250 there. It sucked. Rather than rebuy again, I decided to think about my mistakes and walk down the strip to cool off (literally and figuratively.)

I walked all the way back to Excalibur. I was pretty tired. It was already about 10am on Thursday. I'd been up over 30+ hours.

Session 4: Excalibur - 50c/$1 NL Hold 'Em.
There were a few reasons why I decided to play at Excal again. The biggest reason was that I was getting tired and my room was at the Excalibur. I didn't get a room Wednesday cuz I knew I wouldn't sleep that night. But I couldn't check into my room yet because Check-In time hadn't arrived. So I figured I'd kill time at the Excal poker tables. The other reason I decided to play at Excal next is because the limits are low and the amount I have to risk is lower. I figured I could just play for a while and try to make just some of my $250 loss from the Venetian. I ended up making much more than that!

I bought it for the Max of $100 and proceeded to crush the table. I started 5 handed because they had a tourney going on. As people busted, they'd take a seat, I'd crush them and they'd leave. Another tourney player would show up on tilt, I'd crush him and he'd leave. It was great. After a while, I built up to about $200 and people got scared of me. The game was still very very tight, but I had loosened way up and got really aggressive. It felt as if I could basically take down any pot I wanted. They were so meek. I purposely didn't play some hands and mixed stuff up with checks and folds, but everytime I got aggressive, I won. I checked my stats on the electronic table.. I was playing 45% of the hands! I never play that many hands. What was even weirder was that it shows how many rivers you saw and how many you won. I was at 8/8 wins at the showdown. People would call my raise preflop and then try to call me down with anything. As I was about to leave I got KK and raised to $10. A pretty big raise at 50c/$1. I got called by at a guy with just over $100. It flopped T high. He led out for $15. I raised to $50 with my Kings. He called! I was like... WTF. Don't you know who I am? ;-) Anyway, the turn comes garbage and he goes All-In. I have like $250 now, and he's all in for about $50. Of course I call. He's got KTo. haha. I'm up to like $460. With that win, I decide it's time to check into my room. So not only did I make up for that $250 loss, but I made another $100+ in profits. Whew.

I'm up now to about $300 in total profits.

After getting to my room and showering, I decided I was pretty hungry. I hadn't eaten since 7am, and it was almost 6pm. I laid down on the bed for just a bit, and woke up at 3am. ;-) It really felt like 15 mins. I don't remember dreaming or anything. I thought for sure the clock radio was wrong. But I checked by phone... yep, 3am.

I re-showered and talked to Claire for a bit, now I'm down by the Krispy Kreme donuts in the Excalibur. It's the only place to get free WiFi in here. ;-)

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Until next time...

-Rob in Vegas

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