Friday, December 11, 2009

Vegas 2009 Days 1 and 2

"Vegas 2009 Days 1 and 2"

Day 1

Well, it's that time of the year again... Vegas Time, Baby! I'm here for 14 days this year. Yeah, yeah, I know. That's a long time. I've heard it all before, but I know what I'm doing. I was here 10 days last year, and when I left, I felt like I still wasn't ready to go. So, I'll be fine. People that can only take Vegas for a few days are people that either 1) Lose or 2) Didn't come here to gamble. ;)

I took the 7:45pm direct flight out of Austin on Wednesday the 9th. Paying a little extra to take the direct flight was smart. Staying up 48 hours straight before taking my flight was NOT smart. Especially since I worked Wednesday. I mean, I was fine at work because my brain's being engaged, but afterwards... wow... yeah. Definitely not smart.

Now, usually I don't get a room the first night in Vegas. It's just a waste. I normally get there in the evening, and play all night and get a room the next day. But I knew that wasn't going to work this time. While waiting to board my plane, I started reading poker room reviews and found that the Startosphere had a pretty soft poker room. I didn't even know they HAD a poker room. I usually like to play all around town, so I figured I'd hit that for a change. I also figured that I could stay there cheaply. So I made a reservation for a room right before I got on the flight.

I was pretty dead on the plane. I was lucky in that I was able to find a window seat even though I was in the last 25% of the people to board the plane. So I leaned up against the window and tried to fall asleep. The flight was supposed to be 3 hours, but felt like 6. I kept waking up every 5 minutes thinking we were almost there. It was kind of a bumpy ride too. Good thing I had taken my motion sickness pills. I thought some apple juice would calm my stomach down, but I couldn't even finish it. The twinkling lights of Vegas below never looked so good to me when we finally got there.

After picking up my bags, I headed over to the airport shuttle area and was besieged by people trying to sell me limo and shuttle rides. I saw a sign that said "Shuttle Rides to the Strip $6." Sweet. Let's do that. I walk up to the counter and say "Stratosphere." The guy asks if I want a round trip. I reply that I didn't, and he reminds me that I can't buy return trip 'tokens' at the hotel. I understand. He repeats this and looks at me like I'm crazy. "Are you sure? I'm telling you, you can't buy return trips from the hotel," his voice becoming a little condescending now. "One way," I repeat. He looks at me again, still in disbelief. "One way!" I exclaim a bit firmer. "Nine dollars," he says. Wait a minute. $9? I'm looking at the sign again: "Downtown Vegas $9" Are you shitting me? Theycount the Statosphere as Downtown? Whatever. Fine. I pay the $9. He directs me across the street where there are like 4 shuttles waiting. "Over there by the... oh, we don't have any shuttle available right now. Just wait by the bench over there," he says. Great. I pick the one shuttle company with no fucking shuttles available. Did I mention it's 30 degrees outside? I'm pretty sure I didn't, but you know what? It's 30 degrees outside.

I finally make it to the Stratosphere, and I go straight for the check-in counter. I'm really, really fucking tired. And... there's a problem. Great. The check-in lady disappears for about 5 minutes and comes back. "Sorry, Sir. We don't have any of the rooms that you reserved, but we can upgrade you." Great, just do it, lady. They get me checked-in to a room with a jacuzzi tub. Nice. I go upstairs, and the room isn't half bad. It's pretty huge and the jacuzzi tub looks like it could be very relaxing. Let me just lay down for a bit.

A few hours later...

What? What time is it? Midnight. Shit. Well, there's Day 1. Total Losses: My consciousness. Total Wins: None.

Day 2

I splash some water on my face, brush my teeth and head out. I'm looking for something to eat. I haven't eaten since lunch. I find a McDonald's, but decide to keep going. Nothing is open on the retail shops level. I keep walking further in further down the maze like corridors and keep finding nothing but closed shops. Eventually I make it down some escalator and see two things, an all night 50's style burger joint, and the poker room. Burger. Poker. Burger. Poker.

So I walk up to the poker manager. "Got any seats?" I ask. "No, but you're first on the list," he says. Dammit. Well, at least the burger place is right next door. I walk over there and notice that they have waitresses. It's a sit down place. Crap. I'm not gonna go into a sit down place when I could be called any minute now. So I just wander around, staying close to the poker room. I see that they have two tables running. Upon closer inspection, one table is a tournament. The other is a pretty small stacked cash table. Eventually, they call my name.

Session 1

Statosphere - 1/2 No Limit Hold 'Em

This was a pretty soft game. A couple of crazy Canucks. An angry Texan (not me), a Freddy Deebs lookalike, and some non-descripts. Freddy and the Canuck to my right are the big talkers. I watch and stay out of they way for while. I see the Canuck take down a big pot with a pretty mediocre hand: an 8 high flush. But at least he knows how to play poker. Crazy Canuck #2 literally has NO idea what he is doing. The first hand he plays after sitting down: he calls down a few bets, including a $20 bet on the river, and prompty flips over 84o. Board was 7QK82. What the hell? When someone does something like this, it usually makes me think he's sandbagging. Acting drunk. Acting stupid. He really couldn't be THAT bad could he? Freddy is to his right and immediately turns into a free poker instructor. He's giving this guy tips and reminding him of basic poker rules like how much a legal raise is. I'm thinking... Freddy, this guy's playing you. He knows what's up. He's just acting dumb. He's hustling, man. No one is that bad. Seriously. Several hundred dollars later, CC#2 is busted and gone. Huh. Well, I guess he wasn't acting after all, eh?

I play pretty tight poker. I always figured if I don't get a big hand quickly, I won't get paid off because people will pick up on the fact that I play like 4-5 hands an hour. Didn't seem to matter. I'd make it $12-15 pre-flop with premium starting cards and take down the pot after a flop or turn bet. I never had to show my hands for the first 2 hours or so. Then I had a huge hand where I flopped top set with an 824 board. I checked, some old black dude bet. I raised. He called. The turn came a 9. I figured that it was time. I shoved all in for about $110. He calls pretty quickly. The ONLY thing I'm afraid of is 99. Did I get THAT unlucky that he called with an overpair 99 and caught it on the turn? Nope. He turns over 22. Set over set. Ouch. Oh, well, better him than me!

Soon I find myself at about $560. I bought it for $150. This is looking pretty good! I lose a few hands, and start bleeding. I'm down to about $450 or so and start thinking that I should just get up and get some sleep. The table starts to break up. I count my stack: $425. Alright. Time to go. Up $275 on my first session? Not bad. I'll take it.

I head up to bed, it's like 5am. I look at the jacuzzi. You know, I don't get a chance to use one of these things very often. Fuck it. I jump into the jacuzzi and relax. Ahhh. After about 15 minutes, I realize that if I don't get to bed, I'll get no sleep again because I'll have to check out at 11. I set my alarm for 10:30am and crash out.

Alarm. Snooze. Wake up panicked! Shit, what time is it? I don't want to pay for another day! 11:01am. Crap. I take another quick shower and gather my bags. I'm down to the lobby by 11:20am. No late check out fees. Whew! Alright. I head outside and see sunlight for the first time since I've arrived. It's could as fuck!

I jump in a cab. Excalibur!

A $20 taxi ride later, I get to Excal, my usually destination in Vegas due to their extremely soft poker room and low room rates, and check my baggage in with the bell hops. I'm off to the poker room. Now, if you recall, last year Excal had put in Electronic Poker Tables as a test. People hated them. So, they put in live dealer poker tables again. Boo. I kinda liked the electronic tables. They were fast, accurate, the rake was lower and you didn't have to tip. The players were still live. I could still tell when they were drunk, on tilt or just plain stupid. Plus, the tournaments were tons faster so it actually made the tournament a little less bingo-y since you got a lot more hands per hour. Anyway, at least the new tablse are nice. The old Excal live tables were kind of run down.

Session 2

Excalibur - 1/2 No Limit Hold 'Em

There was really only one memorable hand in this session. I have AKo. I'm in the small blind. (I seem to get all my playable hands out of position!) Some elderly guy makes it $7. Some other elderly guy calls. Everyone else folds to me. Now, EG#1 hasn't been playing too crazy, but he has overvalued some stuff. EG#2 is a crazy one. He's been raising to $12, $17 and $22 with junk for about 30 minutes. He's lost a lot and is definitely on tilt. He had left the table for a while and everyone else had been pining for him to return. Upon his return, he reloaded for $300. If anyone was going to pay you off on a hand, it was EG#2. I make it $22 to go. EG#1 calls. EG#2 calls. This isn't surprising, but I need to hit! KT2 flops. Two spades. I bet out $40. EG#1 raises to $105. Great. EG#2 calls. Oh, wow, WTF? I've been waiting for 2 hours to get a hand, and I've folded the winner too many times. I gotta be good here right? EG#1 probably has like QQ or maybe even JJ or KQ and has put me on a continuation bet and wants to push EG#2 out because he knows EG#2 will call to draw out. Right? Right? Ah, screw it. I'm all in for $115. EG#1 calls and EG#2 calls. Man, I'm starting to doubt my move. Turn comes a 7. No spade. EG#1 bets out $100 more. EG#2 inst-calls. Yeah... maybe I'm not so good after all. I turn to the guys to my right (EG's are both to my left) and I show them my hand. They're telling me that I'm good... I'm seriously doubting it now. River comes a 4. Again, no spade. EG#1 bets out another $100. Shit. EG#2 folds. Well, I can't be be good. I flip over AK for one pair Kings witgh an Ace kicker. EG#1 flips over KJ. WTF? Hahaha. I'm good? Ship that shit over here! I drag a $400+ pot. EG#2 was clearly on a flush draw. Whew! I'm up $260 for this session.

I text Louis, Slob, Mizzy and Dre to see if they've made it into town yet. Today is Slob's birthday and he and the gang will be in Vegas for 5 days. Sure enough, they're already here and already at the Craps table, and Dre is already down and has moved on to play Casino War. Yes, he's high carding for $10 at time. LOL.

I check into my room officially, and the gang wants to play a little poker before dinner.

Session 3

Excalibur - 1/2 No Limit Hold 'Em

This was a quicky session before dinner. I actually busted during this session with KK. I made it $17 from middle position and got 3 callers. Flop is 764 rainbow. I'm not fearing this flop much. I mean, you can always be up against a set and not know it, but I don't think anyone was playing 35 or 58 for $17 against me pre-flop. I bet out $35. 2 callers. Okaay. Turn is an 8. No flush possible, but the board is straighty. Check Check to me. I push in for my last $80. Call. Fold. Crap. Guy in small blind shows A5 for a straight. God. Really? A5? Come on.

I rebuy for $100 and through a series of medium sized pots, someone manage to claw my way back into he black. We break for dinner, and I'm up $8. :)

Margaritaville for Dinner. Volcano Nachos seem extra yummy today. Maybe it's because I hadn't eaten for about 36 hours. This was my first meal in Vegas! After dinner, the gang wants to head to Caesar's for some more poker. Ok, let's do it.

Session 4

Caesar's Palace - 1/3 No Limit Hold 'Em

This was a hard table to play at. I don't normally like to play at hardcore poker rooms like the Venetian, Bellagio, Caesar's, etc., because the players are way better. I mean, the guys at Excalibur are there with family and might stop by the poker room to play for a bit for fun. The guys at Caesar's are there to play poker, and that's it. Not to mention, the buyin max is $500, so I run into guys with huge stacks playing bully. Nothing too crazy happens here. I don't bust, and I don't win any huge pots. The story here is that I was surrounded by the most diverse cast of characters ever. I had a 30 something Type A Hollywood Movie Exec to my left with a 20 something piece of eye candy in tow. Eye Candy has the entire room fixated on her. She's the exact type of girl that I hate. She's hot and knows it and expects you to know it and expects to get her way with everyone because of it. She actually looks like a younger Jennifer Aniston with large fake breasts. The only good thing about her is that she's distracting TypeA and making him show off. While TypeA is there, he's buying champagne, cigars and texting on his Blackberry. Speaking of which, this man has a Blackberry, and iPhone and and iPod classic all on the table. Why the fuck would you carry all of those things? He also has headphones which he never uses and is almost always engaged with either Eye Candy or his blackberry. In between that, he straddle bets or raises nonchalantly with nothing. Did I mention that he is to my left?

We also have a know-it-all loudmouth and his roommate. They're wearing "I Donkeys" and "DonkeyMagnet.com" Tshirts. He contantly refers to his shirt if you beat him in a hand, and is never at a loss for words. Turns out he owns that website and is in the poker T-shirt business. He hands out his cards to whoever will take one and is just contantly talking and reminding everyone of how much better he is than they are. The bigshot that he is, he buys in for $100, puts on his sunglasses and busts out within a couple of hours. His roommate is much quieter and a much poorer player. He raised me preflop with K7s, I had AK. We ended up all-in on a flop with nothing for either of us. I win. MrDonkey, the 'brains', berates his roommate, and surprisingly... not me. MrDonkey claims that he will be on MTV in January on "True Life: I'm a Gambler". So, look out for that one.

We also have a grizzled veteran who loves giving MrDonkey shit. He's very aggressive and big stacked. The best part of this guy was that he calls out MrDonkey for taking forever to make a $10 call, from his roommate no less, by saying "You know we're not on TV, right?" You see, MrDonkey likes to talk out the hand, out loud, in detail, with commentary on play, every single time. he wants you to know that he knows what you're doing. This is what prompts MrDonkey to go into his "I'm going to be on TV" bit. Haha.

Finally, we had a celebrity at our table. I don't know his name, but MrDonkey recognized him first. He was the guy that played the Fiance in The Hangover. You know the regular Joe looking guy? Yep, he's a regular Joe. Nice guy. They were having a DVD release party for The Hangover at Caesar's so I guess he just came out to chill and play some poker. He was newbie. MrDonkey had to explain to him what a donkey was. Hangover guy thought it was a sexual thing. LOL. Another weird thing is that Hangover guy only bought in for $120. Jeez. I guess times are tough in Hollywood.

Oh, um, I made $10 in this game. It was worth sitting there folding for hours just for the sheer entertainment value of this table.

The last and the worst session of the night...

Session 5

MGM Grand - 1/2 No Limit Hold 'Em

Bought in for $150. Played pretty tight poker for about 2 hours and lost the last of it to a 10 high board with JTs to AT who simply wouldn't let top top go after being raised and bet at on the flop turn and river. He was pretty stubborn. Anyway, it was a good call from him for whatever reason he had to call. I rebought for $100 and built it back up to $210. Then the table broke and I moved to another table where I just sat there for, I'm not kidding you, 3 hours playing 0 hands. I had a pretty good read for the players and 4 of them were just completely crazy. One guy had $1000, the other ones had $800, $400, and $600. I was waiting.. and waiting... and waiting... until finally I picked up 78s and limped in on the button for $2. Flop was K78 two spades. Bet from a crazy guy, raise from another crazy guy. And I'm thinking... these guys CANNOT have two pair beat. They've been doing this shit all night long with garbage. The 1st crazy was already calling the 2nd crazy guy before he ever realized that that I had gone all in for $163 before him. He's in shock. He hasn't seen me in a pot in 3 hours. He very very reluctantly folds. 2nd crazy guy had only been there for about 30 minutes. Plus, he didn't give a shit and instantly calls. He has J8s two spades. This guy was a true douche bag loudmouth. He starts calling for a King, and the dealer immediately produces one on the turn. River is a blank. Douchebag counterfeited my two pair. I bust again.

Normally that's cause for me to leave, but the thing was, I wasn't playing poorly, I was unlucky. I shoved thinking I could get the looser players to fold when I had a good hand. They didn't. We raced, and I lost. I bought in for $200 (the table max) and proceeded to them flop two pair twice more. Once I got beated on the turn where someone turned a higher two pair, and another time where I flopped top and bottom with KT and lost to two players with AJ. Other than those hands I had NOTHING the entire time. No Aces, No Kings, No AK. I got a few small pocket pairs and AQo one time where nearly everyone had already folded by the time it got to me in late position and the blinds didn't call my raise. Everything else was shit like K7, 82, 73, A2, A6, J3, over and over and over.

After my last bust, I left in disgust. I was up $104 for the day, but I felt like I was down $1000. Now I have an idea of what it feels like to bust out of the WSOP in 10 place and being super bummed at winning $800,000. Most people come to Vegas and lose. I'm up. I just need to be -more- up. Day 3. Hurry up and get here!

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