Friday, December 19, 2008

Vegas Day 9

"Vegas Day 9"

Kind of a slow poker day for me. Claire's been in town a couple of days now, and as I've already stated, she's been running pretty bad. She's down almost $1,000 already, and honestly, I've kinda lost my focus. I'm grateful that we're collectively still up, but I'm a little dismayed that the majority of my profits, which took me the better part of a week to cultivate, have been wiped away very quickly by her horrible luck. And I want to stress here that despite her results, she *has* been playing quite well from what I've seen. It's mostly been very bad luck that's put her in such a large hole. Sure, I saw a hand or two that I might have played differently, but certainly, her decisions haven't been horrible ones.

So I woke up and the first thing I thought was "It's almost time to leave Vegas. That blows." Then I start thinking, "Two-thirds of the profits are gone. That really blows." I sigh, collect myself and head down to the poker room where we all seem to convene at the start of everyday. Everyone is there. Honestly, at this point, I'm not even really feeling up to playing. Maybe I need a change of atmosphere. I kept hearing about how the game at Mandalay Bay was an easy game. Maybe I should head over there. I convince the Price Brothers to take the short trip with me, and we're off for the first session of the day.

Session 1: Mandalay Bay $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em
We get to Mandalay Bay, and the poker room is pretty hoppin'. They've got about half a dozen table spread, but they all look full. This is a good thing as we're less likely to all end up on the same table. But as luck would have it, all the players cashing/busting out are from the table I sit at, so I end up with Brent and Brian at my table anyway.

The first thing I noticed are two old dudes speaking something that *sounds* like Spanish to each other. And they're speaking it alot. Enough that the dealer reminds that that it's "English Only" at the poker table. These guys don't care. They continue chatting it up in what might be Italian or Portuguese, and the dealer is such a pussy, that he lets them.

I watch the table play a few hands, and right off the bat I can tell these two foreigners are action players. They're in every hand raising and re-raising. If that weren't enough, we also had a crazy old Asian dude that loved to mix it up too. After a while, I spotted a couple of tight/aggressive players. And now I'm thinking, "Great. Mandalay Bay is easy, huh?" I tighten up and just watch everyone. This is probably the toughest table I've played at the whole time I've been here. I don't plan on staying too long.

I end up in a hand from the small blind with 5s 9d. Certainly not a great hand by anybody's standards, but I'll call $1 to see a flop with any two cards. The flop comes a friendly 3s 4s 6d. I check. Crazy foreigner #1 checks. Crazy foreigner #2 bets $10. Crazy Asian calls. The lady on the button calls. I call. CF #1 calls. WTF? That many draws? Spades and straight draws I guess. Turn comes Tc. Nothing for me or a spade draw. I check. CF #1 checks. CF #2 checks. CA bets out $20. Huh? A different guy bets the turn than bet the flop? Anyway... Button lady folds. I call. CF #1 calls. CF #2 folds. We're three now. River comes 7h. Bingo. I made my straight, but I'd have preferred a deuce. Still, I'm thinking I'll just check and see what happens. Crazy Foreigner #1 immediately goes all-in for like $120. Crazy Asian is now agonizing over whether he should call. He takes a good 2 minutes or so, and finally gives it up. Here's the interesting part. Crazy Foreigner #1 throws his hand towards the dealer, face down, past the betting line, and starts smiling. Hello? I'm still in the hand, dude! He was so focused on Crazy Asian that he had forgotten about me. I point out to the dealer that he mucked, and that I should win! CF #1 erupts in anger and snatches his cards back out from the middle of the table. Now, his "mucked" cards were well passed the betting line, but not touching the muck pile which had been collected into a neat stack by the dealer as soon as the river had been dealt. CF #1 all of a sudden is an English speaker. "I all-in!" "No!" "I all-in!" "I all-in!". "I no muck!" I laugh and ask for the dealer to get the floor over to the table. Dealer explains the situation to floor, and both players plead their cases. Me, using standard English like, "He threw his hand away." and CF#1 with "I no muck! I no muck!" As usual, the floor pussies out and rules against me. CF #1 is still huffing and puffing, and I'm still laughing at him. I tell him to settle down and take it easy. I call. We both show a 5 for a straight, and the dealer chops the pot. You know, I think if I had just let him go a letter longer, CF #1 might have had a heart attack. It was so funny. I tell him "Well, that was exciting, huh?!" He looks to CF #2 and says something in foreign-speak that sounded like he wanted a translation of what I said to him. CF #2 translates my comment to him, and he smiles at me. I smile back. What an idiot.

A few hands later I ended up with AKs (spades) in the small blind again. A handful of people called the $2 blind, and I popped it to $10. I got 2 callers. CF #2 and CA. The flop comes tiny cards, 2s 3d 7c. Not so good. I throw out a continuation bet of $15, CF $2 calls, and Mr. Crazy Asian decides to raise me to $30. Usually I throw my hand away at this point. I mean, I don't really have much of anything here but a pair draw and a couple of back door draws to a straight or a flush. However, I felt like I had been playing really tight and re-raise all-in to $90 might take the pot down based on my table image. This was, of course, assuming CA hadn't flopped a set. He was definitely capable of calling $8 more pre-flop with 22, 33 or 77. Still, I had him on an overpair like 99 or TT. So, I pushed. I went all-in for $90 total. $60 on top of his $30, and a re-re-raise. He called pretty quickly. I guess he had me on either AK (which of course was correct,) or he was just mesmerized by his overpair. He flipped over TT. Crap. I flipped over Ace King of spades. Well, I could still hit an A or K, right? Turn was a 5c. River was a 4d. No Ace. No King. The dealer starts shifting the chips to CA. But, waitaminute! I have a straight, Mr. Dealer! I bring that to the Dealer's attention and he's like... oh, of course... trying to act like he saw it the whole time. I call him out on it and ask him flat out, "You didn't see my straight, did you?" He responded, "Of course I did." Yeah, right. I tell him that I'm going to tip him $1, but nothing more. He grunted.

Well, after that mess, I decided I'd had enough of Mandalay Bay. I ended up +$68 after everything was said and done.

The Price's didn't do so well. Brent lost $200, and Brian and Sean were down for the session so it didn't take much convincing to get them out of there.

We decided to head down to Margaritaville for dinner, and after that, I convinced people that we should go to the Sahara for their famed 7pm tourney.

Session 2: The Sahara $65 NL Hold 'Em

For $65, the Sahara offers a pretty decent tourney. It's pretty well known as probably the best bang for the buck tourney in Las Vegas. To be clear, I say $65, but it's technically $40 with a $25 rebuy/addon. You can use the rebuy up front (which in effect makes it an add-on,) or wait until you actually bust to rebuy. The odd thing is that if you bust, and you already used your rebuy, you can re-enter the tournament one more time as a 'new player' and get a new buyin with another re-buy option. You only get to do this once though, so it's not like it's an infinite rebuy tourney.

In any case, being the smart poker player I am, I oped to load up with my rebuy/addon as soon as possible. As anyone who plays poker knows, chips are power. Why wait? Anyway, first hand of the tournament, and the guy to my right and the guy to my left are all-in after the flop. No shit. It's AK vs. KK and the flop comes AKx. Ugly. The 2nd hand of the tournament. I get AA, I raise, one guy calls. The flop comes small cards... something like 9 high. He bets, I raise, he calls. Turn comes an Ace! He bets, I raise, he goes all-in. I call with a set of Aces. He's got JJ. Blank river. I win! That's two all-ins on the first two hands!

I sit on my stack for almost two rounds. I made a few raises and took down a few small-ish pots here and there. Meanwhile, the guy that had busted on the first hand had re-entered the tournament as a new player. And his luck had dramatically changed. By the end of the 1st break, he was by far the biggest stack of the tourney. It was crazy the number of chips he had. I was a pretty big stack, and he had me like 10 to 1. He just kept busting people, and they kept sending us new ones. I hang around for another round or two when I finally pick up a decent hand. AKs (spades). I raise a pretty good amount from the button with about 3 limpers and the two blinds yet to act. The ultra big stack is in the Big Blind and as agonizing over his hand. He's correctly pegged me as a tight player, but he ultimately ends up calling. The flop comes all tiny cards. He checks and I push all-in for about 2x the pot (sounds familiar, huh?) I probably could have just checked behind him, but I definitely couldn't just bet out with a continuation bet. The blinds had grown enough by then that I would have basically committed myself anyway with any decent bet. So, I bet it all. He thought for a little while, and finally nervously called. I showed AKs... nothing really. He had JJ. Turn and River were blanks, and I was done.

I looked over to see how Claire was doing. And not only was Claire still alive, but she was the big stack at the table! Apparently she had hit a set of 8's and got paid off pretty big. Well, it finally looked like Claire's luck was chaning! She stuck in there and played pretty a tight/aggressive game. She ended up taking down a couple more big pots and was basically in a position to cruise to the final table. There were 97 entrants in the tournament, and they were paying the Top 10 (final table.)

The prize breakdown was retarded. It was *heavily* weighted towards 1st place. I mean, like 60% of the payout was 1st and they were paying 10 places. I hate that. I agree that 1st should be well compensated, but it seemed way out of whack for a tournament that was run pretty quickly. Claire ended up surving and making it to the final table without a problem. Soon after they lost their tiny stacked players, the table offered an 8-way chop. Since the payouts were so heavily skewed towards #1, and everyone knew that one bad hand could make them go from 1st to last, they all opted to take it. Claire was paid out $450 for her efforts which netted her a nice $385 profit. Thing were looking up for her!

We got back to the Excalibur near midnight, and decided to play a bit more 50c/$1.

Session 3: Excalibur 50c/$1 NL Hold 'Em
I'll be honest, I don't remember a thing from this session. I made $27.50 in 2 hours. That's about all I can say about that.

By this time, Claire had been keeping close communication with her mom and the kids back home. Both kids had gotten pretty sick, and the little one, only 5 months old, was on a nebulizer treatment every four hours. Basically, she had to wear a mask that vaporized medication that she could inhale. She had some sort of bronchial infection (not bronchitis) that was making it very hard for her to breathe. Claire was seriously contemplating had back home a couple of days early...

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