Vegas 2010 Day 1 - Saturday Dec 11th
This trip started out on the right foot for once. I showed up about 1 hour before my flight (i.e. "late") and decided to use curbside checkin to save time. I had read someplace that the proper tip for skycaps was $5 per bag. So I readied up a $10 bill for my two bags as the friendly skycap checked in my baggage. I gave him the $10, and he said, "Let me get you some change." I paused for a second. I didn't want him to think I was a cheapskate, so I replied "That's OK, just take it." He reiterated, "No, I'll get you some change," and smiled. At this point, I was like… well, shit, OK. I don't want to offend this guy. I gave him $5. He bid me a good day, and I was on my way.
I walked into the dreaded security area and the line was long, but honestly, I'd seen longer. I snaked my way through the empty parts of the waiting area and when I got to the end of the line, one of the Homeland Security agents made an announcement: "Just FYI, folks, the security checkin on the other side of this concourse has no line if anyone wants to head over there." Sounded good to me. I walked a short distance to the other security checkin, and sure enough, there was absolute no line. I even got through security without a cavity search, a overly aggressive patdown or a naked X-ray picture. I got to my gate with time to spare.
I sat down for about 10 minutes when I heard a Southwest agent make an announcement. They oversold the flight and were taking volunteers to get bumped to the next flight out, which was 30 mins later and went through LA. Volunteers would get there about 3 hours later, but they'd also get $300 in flight credit for the inconvenience. Before the announcement was even completed, I was on my way to the counter. I'd never had the opportunity to volunteer for a bump+credit before, but since I had all the time in the world, I figured, why not?
When I got to the counter, I was informed that I was first one on the volunteer list. They sent me back to my seat to await the final decision on whether to bump me or not, but before too long they called me back up and promptly issued me a $424.70 Southwest voucher that was good for a year. $424.70? Not $300? Apparently, I'd misheard the announcement. They were giving $300 in credit ON TOP of however much I'd paid for my original ticket. Sweet! My flight to LA was smooth, and I didn't have to sit next to a smelly fat dude. My flight from LA to Vegas was also smooth. I even got a window seat. Things were definitely off to a good start.
I arrived in Vegas at 8pm… .just about 3 hours later than originally planned. Nice way to make $400+ in flight credit, eh?
I took a taxi to the Hooters Casino. I decided to stay there because it was cheap, and I was gonna have Hooters for dinner anyway. Of course, I wasn't checking in until Sunday as I never get a hotel on the first night… I figure it's a waste. So I checked in my bags at the bell desk to have the hold my shit for the night, had dinner, then headed out to my first session across the street...
Session 1: MGM $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em
In: $200 Out:$401 Time: 3 hours
This wasn't particularly interesting. The table was pretty meek. Not a whole lot of preflop raising, and re-raises and check-raises tended to induce folds more than I'd come to expect. I played nice, tight, solid poker. Continuation bet a few times, check-raised big hands, etc. Nothing too fancy. I ended up +$201 and left mostly because I couldn't concentrate on the game anymore as a terrible cover band had begun playing really, really, really, fucking loudly on a stage right outside the poker area. I mean, we couldn't even hear the dealer most times. It was bad. Did I mention that they sucked? The played the worst renditions of Sweet Home Alabama and Sweet Child O' Mine that you can possible imagine. Anyway, I cashed out and headed over to my old standby poker room… Excalibur.
Session 2: Excalibur $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em
In: $200 Out: $235 Time: 2.5 hours
This place used to make me tons of money. It was my most profitable poker room for a long time. Think about it. This is a family casino. Lots of players here are Moms/Dads just getting away from the spouse/kids for a few hours to play some poker. They're fucking horrible. But over the last few visits, it's been getting harder and harder to get good games going here. The table I played at during this session was nearly dead silent. I even tried to joke with the dealer about what he had done to the table to kill the energy, but either he didn't hear me, or he just totally blew me off. In any case, I started to get really, really sleepy. This table was just dead. No action. No money. No fun. I took my $35 profit, and headed out to one of the newer, larger poker rooms at Aria.
Sesstion 3: Aria $1/$3 NL Hold 'Em
In: $500 Out: $592 Time: 4 hours
I've had bad luck at Aria. This place and The Venetian always seem to be death for me. It's not that I don't get my money in good, it's that I just get sucked out on a lot at these places for some reason. I know it's a coincidence, but it still really sucks. Anyway, when I got there, they had a seat for me at a short handed table. Before long, a few people busted out/cashed out, and they sent us to another table. (BTW, Aria plays 9 handed MAX while most other places play 10 MAX.)
Within a few hands at my new table I ended up with Q6o in the big blind. There were just some limp ins, so I checked. Flop comes Qc 6c 2c. Well, that's sorta good… at least for a 7 handed table with just some limp ins. I lead out for $6. Got 1 caller, and then got raised to $16. I decided to test the waters here and I re-raised to $45. This guy thinks for maybe 3 seconds and then goes all-in for another $47. Oops. :-( Most of the time I fold this, but I didn't for some reason. I was pretty sure he had a flush or a set. Something better than Q6 for two pair for sure. But I just couldn't fold. I called. Blank. Blank. I flip over 2 pair, guy flips over Ac 8c for a flopped nut flush. :-(
This knocks me down to about $100 or so. Two hands later I pick up 33 on the button. I call a raise to $6 hoping desperately to hit a set, but the big blind raises to $22. Call. Call. Fuck. Oh, well. I hoped to get lucky, and I call. The flop is 4c 5h 8h. $40 bet, then a call. Fuck that. I fold. :-(
A play a few more hands and find myself down to $40. I decide that if I make it to the button, I'll add-on $100 more. Sure enough, I get to the button, and I add $100. I play a few more hands and find myself back to to about $90. Then, I picked up 7c 7s in the small blind. I call the $3 big blind and see a flop cheap. The flop comes 8h 7d 2s. I lead out for $15. Big Blind calls. Another two call as well. Shit. That's not good. I need to boat up! Turn comes 5h. Ummm. Gross. I still bet it. I make it $20 to go. Big Blind calls again, the rest fold. River comes a 9h. Grosser. One card straight is out there now. I had already decided I was gonna push, so I do. $52 and All-In. Big Blind insta-calls. Shit. Shit. Shit. He's got a 6? Nope. Motherfucker has Ah Qh. Runner runner flush. Gay. I have no idea what he was doing calling on the flop with A high, no draw. Anyway, I rebuy for $200.
A few rounds later, I'm still sitting on about $200. I picked up QQ. Where? Again in the fucking blinds. Why do all my big hands come in the blinds? Jesus. Anyway, I'm small blind. Someone bet $10 early and got two callers. I sorta like this, right? I make it $50 and hope to take down around $30 with no flop. Big Blind (same guy as before) has other ideas. He thinks for a long time and flat calls. Whoa. $50 flat call from the Big Blind? The original raiser folds. Another folds. Then the cutoff guy thinks for a while and calls too. Holy shit. OK, well I'm just hoping for a Q or a tiny flop. 9s 5h 4c. Wow. About as good as it gets without flopping a Q. I decide that I don't want any more action and push for $147. If they flopped a set, oh fucking well. Big Blind agonizes contemplating my all-in. What the hell does this guy have? JJ? TT? It has to be Jacks, right? He calls! Damn. Well, I think I'm winning. The cutoff folds. I'm a bit worried, but still pretty confident that I'm winning at this point. I show the cutoff guy my QQ and he says "Dude, you're good right now." We both think that Big Blind must have JJ. Cutoff says he folded AJ, so that's good. I'm feeling a bit better now. I flip over my QQ, Big Blind flips over KK. What the fuck?!? Seriously? No re-raise preflop? Agonizing forever on the flop all-in? It was obvious that cutoff guy was folding. I don't think he was acting trying to get cutoff guy to call. I think he was contemplating folding. I mean, did he really put my on AA? C'mon. You gotta call with KK there. And there's that bad Aria luck. This time I'm not getting sucked out on, but that's just a bad time to pick up QQ don't you think? Anyway, dejected, I see a J on the turn and then… a Q on the river! Fuck yeah! I'll take it, and I'm not apologizing either! :-) That puts me up to about $450. Just shy of my $500 worth of buy-ins.
I almost decide to cash out and cut my losses, literally. I never run good at Aria, and I just sucked out on KK. I should leave. But, I didn't. I played for a while longer, then the table broke again. Now I was down to $410. I couldn't leave $90 down when I couldn't leave $50 down, right? So what do I do? I move to another table with $410 to play with big stacks that I know nothing about. Smart.
I lose a few pots and before I know it, I'm under $400 now. Sad times. Then I pick up AQo in the small blind. (Where else do I pick up big hands? Nowhere.) I raise to $15 after a bunch of limping. I get called by 2 players. Both huge stacks. The flop is Qs 7h 2h. There's a flush draw, but that's still a good flop for AQo. I lead out for $25. One folds. One caller. Hmmm. Turn is a harmless 4c. I bet $65. Guy thinks for a while, and calls. Jesus. There are two hearts on the board. He's on a flush draw right? Maybe a pair of Queens and a flush draw? River is a blank. Do I check? Does he have a set or some shitty two pair? I consider checking for only a second, but then I quickly realize that that could put me in a position where I could be faced with a huge bet (and decision to make) if I do check. I quickly dismiss that idea and lead out for another $65. Now he's agonizing. Man, maybe he doesn't have a flush draw. A weak two pair? Shit, man. Just fold. Fold. Fold. I can't be good if he calls another $65. He calls. Fuck. I show AQ for Top Pair, Top Kicker, and he frowns and mucks. "I had kicker problems," he says. Whew! He had to have had KQ. Nothing else made sense. In any case, now I'm over $600. :-) I play a few more hands and cash out $592 shortly thereafter. That was a grueling session.
More to come later! Stay tuned!