Sunday, December 25, 2011

Vegas 2011 - Dec 16th-20th Days 9-12

Sessions: 13
Net Result: +$1549

Claire's here. That means several things happen. The first thing that happens is that blog updates go out the window. I simply stop writing. Claire doesn't like to spend much time in the room during the day, and that's when I write, so there you go.

The second thing that happens is that I can't find shit anymore. Where's the toothpaste? Who knows? The phone charger? No idea. Where's my goddamn hair tie that I've put in the same place in my bag every damn day since I've been here? No. Frickin'. Clue. Ugh! Shit just starts disappearing!

The third thing that happens is that I lose track of how much I'm spending. Taxi cab rides. Dinners. Table games. Souvenirs. She pays for some things. I pay for others, and I simply lose track.

But, ironically, the most important thing that happens is that I'm a lot happier. She drives me crazy, costs me money, aggravates me and completes me. Without her, I live in a sterile, soulless world with little meaning. She brings passion to my life. And it's like with anything else, the more you put in, the more you get out. So despite everything, I'm very glad she's here.

So, anyway, that was a long way of saying that my updates stop when Claire arrives, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

However, since I still need blog closure on this trip, I'm going to wrap up my remaining sessions in one big post.

Sessions 17-29: Imperial Palace, MGM, Excalibur, Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NLHE (21h 15m); Treasure Island $1/$3 NLHE (1hr 0m); Excalibur $2-$6 Spread Limit (0h 45m); Bill's Gambling Hall 50c/$1 NLHE (0h 15m)

Buyin: $2924
Cashout: $4473
Result: +$1549

First, let me get those weird games out of the way.

The $2-$6 spread limit game at Excalibur is exactly what it sounds like. You can bet anywhere from $2 to $6 on every street. There is only a single $2 blind too. As you would expect, this game is suck out city. I fully realized this before I sat down, and I only sat down to kill time while waiting for a $1/$2 seat.

It went about as good as you'd expect. I'd lose with AK with an A on the flop, and win with junk like 74o when I rivered a straight. Pretty stupid. And at that limit, it's almost impossible to beat the rake. I ended up down $14. No big deal.

The 50c/$1 game at Bill's is what they were calling "mini hold 'em." The only reason I played this game is because Claire saw a dealer friend of hers from Imperial Palace playing there. Plus, she'd been running bad and the thought of really low stakes poker was appealing.

To give you an example of how tame this game was... I had QQ and raised to $5 (normally I'd make it $12-$17 at $1/$2,) and I've never seen player cards hit the muck so fast. It was stupid. My 25c/50c home game played bigger than this game.

Anyway, Claire doubled up from $40 to $85 with QQ versus the big stack ($170 or so,) and the game broke shortly thereafter. We were there about 15 minutes tops.

The lone $1/$3 game I played was at Treasure Island. They had two games running so Claire and I were able to sit a different tables.

I made a very poor decision to play at this game. I bought in for $200 and the next smallest stack was $500. It was short handed and very aggressive. I should have gotten up immediately. This was not a good table.

There was one table bully with about $1200 in front of him. He talked a lot. Everyone hated him. When he left, one of the guys started really bad mouthing him. Apparently the bully had sucked out with a set of 2's against this guy for about $900 and that's what got him going.

What the guy talking shit didn't know is that the bully was still in the poker room... cashing out. And he overhears this dude talking shit about him "behind his back."

So the bully returns to the table and the sore loser makes a very transparent apology. "Sorry, I thought you'd left." was the extent of it. ;)

They exchange loose/vague threats and each claims to not be afraid of the other. The bully says he'll play the talker for any amount any time. The talker invites the bully to sit back down at the table. Blah. Blah. Blah.

In the end, I end up busting to the talker. Who, quite honestly, by this time was just as annoying as the bully.

Then I busted again.

Yes, I know... I should have left! But you guessed it, I rebought for $200. I'm in for $600 now.

By this time, our table was down to about 4 players. We ended up combining with Claire's table. They normally play 9 handed, but they allowed us to go 10 handed.

Not long after we combined, one of the guys left and we played 9 handed again.

I pick up QQ. I raise to $17.

One of the many big stacks calls me.

The flop is J high with two baby cards. I'm out of position so I lead out for $45.

The big stack raises me All-In. I have about $170 left. My stomach churns. Again? Really?

Fuck it. I can't always be beat. I call.

The guy doesn't like the call. I can tell. I flip over Queens. He nods and says he's on a draw.

I notice two spades on the board. No spade on the turn. King of Spades on the River.

Fuck. A King *and* a spade? Vomitous.

I look at him, and he says, "You're good." and throws his hand away. WTF? What kind of draw was he on?? Fuck it. Who cares? Ship me that pot before someone notices I have an underpair to the board. ;)

Now I'm just under $400. I play for a bit longer. Claire's down now too. Not too much. She's down like $40.

I look at the table and finally come to my senses. Let's get out of here! I leave down $236.

On our walk back to the Mirage, I explain to Claire how I've not been properly assessing my tables. Or at least how I've not been willing to leave tables that I know are bad just because I'm down. I made a decision right there to never, ever let me "being down" keep me from leaving a table. Never again.


We get back to Mirage and the table is so soft. The Mirage has consistently had soft games this trip. Very soft. I crush the table and in 45 minutes I make all the money I'd lost at TI back plus $3 profit. I'm quite happy! :-)

The remaining sessions were good ones. I never had another losing session, and by the end of it all I was up just over $2400 for my trip. This was about how much I was up last year. It averages out to about $200/day in poker profits.

Of course, it costs money to go and stay in Vegas. I have to pay for taxis and food and hotel rooms, but all in all, I had more money in my wallet when I got on the plane home than I had when I got there. I can't complain about that.

Untill next year!

Vegas 2011 - Dec 15th - Day 8

Sessions: 3
Net Result: +$321

Claire flew in today, and I moved from PH to Mirage.

Checking into the Mirage, I couldn't help but think of The Griswolds. If you recall, Clark and his family stayed at The Mirage in "Vegas Vacation," a movie that I've seen literally dozens of times. I guess Claire was thinking the same thing because before she arrived, she joked that we would get complicated directions to the room elevators just like in the movie. ;)

(You know what would go great here, an embedded YouTube video of that scene from Vegas Vacation. But, alas, I could not find one. )

Here's a video of the room.

My first session today was really a session I played before going to bed, but as always, if the session starts after midnight, I count it towards the next day's sessions.

Session 14: Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NL HE (1h 45m)
Buyin: $380
Cashout: $428
Result: +$48

Fuck this game. It was volatile, aggressive, and big stacked.

The tone was set early when I saw a guy go all-in for like $750 on a board of 5d 6h Kd 3s, and get snapped called by a $600 stack. The guy that went all-in flipped over AA. The snap caller (who had raised $220 on the turn prior to calling the all-in) flipped over 74o. The guy with Aces almost threw up.

The Aces guy had made it $35 to go pre-flop and $100 on the flop. So he wasn't expecting a straight. I mean, I could have put the other guy on a set, but with that $35 pre-flop bet, two-pair or a straight seemed unlikely. The pocket aces guy still played that way too strongly, but yeah, pretty sick.

I also saw pocket Aces lose 4 times at this table, including one of mine. All of them were raised pre-flop. No slow playing.

My AA came immediately after another guy's AA had lost. The guy that just lost with them was on tilt and had the button.

I made it $15 to go under the gun. He was the only one that called. It totally seemed like a tilt call.

The flop was JJ5. I lead out for $25. He called. Turn was a 7. I checked. He bet $25. I called. River was an 8. I checked. He bet $25. I made a crying call. The guy flips over JTo.


On the very next hand, I picked up AQ. Great! I mean, people were playing total shit. It was very likely that if I raised and got called that I'd be going in winning. I led out for $12. I knew people would think I was on tilt so I expected some callers.

I immediately got raised to $35.

This guy was a non-believer. Fuck it. I re-raised All-In for just over $120. I'll be honest... I expected a fold. Instead, I got snap called. Ooops.

He says to me, "I just have Ace King." Ugh. C'mon!

No queen or 1 card flush or miracle straight for me. I busted.

I rebought for $200. I shouldn't have, but I did. I should have found an easier, softer table. I *should* have, but I didn't.

Instead, I played for a while and bled down to about $45. I called a raise from the giant stacked button guy with 97s and pushed whatever I had left when it came a 9 high flop and a gut shot. I sucked out with two pair on the turn. The guy had AA. I'm telling you, AA was unlucky at that table.

I played erratically, but eventually I got to about $50 in profit and called it a game. I was very grateful for any kind of win by this point. I wasn't exactly playing my best, and I knew it.

Time for bed.

Session 15: Mirage $1/$2 NL HE (2h 45m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $280
Result: +$80

Later that afternoon...

Just chillin' waiting for Claire to show up. Nothing too interesting.

I did notice the face-masked dude from last year's Mirage sessions (pic here.) This time he wore a red surgical mask. Really weird. I never got up the nerve to ask him why he wore a surgical mask to a poker game. He didn't wear gloves. And the chips are the dirtiest, most nastiest things at the table, so I can't imagine it was for a medical/cleanliness reason. I can only assume it's for "anti-reading" purposes. Maybe he has a horrible lip quiver that gives away his hand. I might never know.

I will say that if you're at The Mirage, ask the cocktail waitress for an Orange Julius. They're fabulous!

Session 16: Mirage $1/$2 NL HE (4h 30m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $393
Result: +$193

The Mirage, at least during this trip, has had the calmest, most timid games I've played. If you raised $6, everyone, including the blinds would fold. I would raise or re-raise and steal so many pots. Easy. Peasy.

Honestly, no pots were even that memorable. I was just patient and played aggressively when I was in a hand. Pretty text book poker here.

By the end of this session, I'd erased more than half of my $600 loss from the previous day. Things were looking up again.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vegas 2011 - Dec 14th - Day 7

Sessions: 2
Net Result: -$603

Far and away, the worst day.

Also, if you've been reading these, you've probably figured out that I write in a very stream of consciousness manner. And I do minimal editing, So expect to see grammatical and typographical errors in most of these posts. They take a long time to write, and frankly, I just want to go play poker right now.

I just don't want some of you to read these things and think I'm a sloppy writer. I'm not. I'm just a lazy/rushed one.

Someone should contract me to write a book...

Session 12: MGM $1/$2 NL HE (4h 15m)
Buyin: $600
Cashout: $0
Result: -$600

I cut and paste these blog posts. And I'm telling you, there's nothing I hate more than having to backspace over the "+" symbol in my "Result:" Putting that "-" there… just… ugh.

Anyway, two more friends from Austin showed up today: Brian and Leigh. I spent most of the day with them just walking around. They're staying at MGM. Duy and James had mentioned that they moved the MGM poker room and put it in a temporary spot near the Lion Habitat. They also mentioned that they had found a super juicy game there, and that they made tons. So, I figured I'd go check it out.

The room is shitty. The dealers hated it. I hated it. It was pretty ghetto. Apparently they're renovating the original poker room, and they're saying it'll return to it's normal place on January 9th. That does me no good since I'll be gone by then, but I played anyway.

I sat down with $200 and was never up. I plugged away at the table, but it was pretty tight and passive. I couldn't make any ground. I was down $20 pretty quick. Then down $75. Then I was under $100. I almost re-loaded, but I won a few hands and got within $3 of being even. If I'd have gotten there, I had planned to leave, but I didn't.

I busted with AK vs Aces. I wasn't happy, but I didn't feel like I was playing poorly, so I re-bought for $200.

There was this one Israeli guy to my right that was sorta big stacked and aggressive. He also laid out the worst smelling farts in the history of man. Seriously. He first tried to pass it off as his Canadian neighbor's doing, but after the Canadian left, the farts remained. They were literally tear inducing. They were really, really bad. And since I just kept spinning my wheels at that table, I took that as just another reason to leave.

But instead of leaving the room, I decided to request a table change, and I got one.

I moved to my new table with about $125 left from my 2nd buyin. I figured, new scene, new table, new start. I reloaded for $200 more.

My first hand, I look down and see Kd Qd. I call $2.

This beatnik looking type dude raises to $12 from the small blind. He's really short stacked. He's got like $60 or so.

He's got this bushy tuft of hair growing from underneath his lower lip. You know what I'm talking about? It's not a goatee. It's not a beard. It's that thing right in the middle and right below a guy's lower lip. If you picture a 50's/60's beatnik artist with sunglasses and a beret and that little tuft of hair growing out long and bushy, you'll visualize this guy. Oh, and yeah, he was wearing a beret. I shit you not. It was a leather beret, and it was being worn backwards, but he wore one nonetheless. Also, he was French-Canadian.

Anyway, I call $12.

The flop is Ad Qh 9h. Not super great, but it's OK for me. The French-Canadian beatnik makes it $15. Now, I can't call. Either I fold here, or I put him in for the rest of his chips.

I raise to $75. I know he doesn't even have $50 total, but I didn't want to risk an all-in in case some other dude flopped a set or something on me.

They all fold except the beatnik. He calls. Someone did flop a set. Him. A set of Aces.

God! C'mon! First hand, and I run into Aces with a short stack? Ugh.

After some grinding, I build it back up to about $325. I'm in for $600, so I'm still not feeling that great.

I pick up QTo and limp in.

The flop comes AKT rainbow. It's checked to me. I bet $20 which is slightly more than a pot-sized bet. It gets folded around to this middle aged, bald fat guy to my right… who just sat down 2 hands ago and won his first hand.

I've learned from experience that people that just sit down at a table are more apt to fold when bet into because they don't know the table, they're not frustrated, and they're still optimistic about the session. It's easier to bluff a guy when he just sat down than that same guy after he's been playing with you for an hour.

But not this guy. He didn't come to Vegas to fold hands. He calls.

Not that big a deal. I still have a nut draw.

Turn is a rainbow 9. Damn. I really needed that Jack.

The guy checks weakly, so I bet again. This time I bet $40. The guy thinks for a while, but still calls. Again, he's meek and not very confident. He could be on the same draw that I'm on, and I have a pair at least.

I decide I'm betting this river no matter what.

The river is a 6. Not really a game changing card.

He checks again. I bet $75. He thinks for a bit, and calls. Fuck. What does this guy have? Two Pair?

A6o. Let me state that more clearly: Ace Six Offsuit. He called me down with a fucking weak-as-shit Ace. Maybe he had a good read, right? Wrong.

He turns to me and says, "I thought you had two pair."


So I say, "You thought I had two pair, but you called me anyway with an Ace with a weak kicker on every single street? Really?"

Realizing how stupid that sounded, he said, "Yeah, well, I figured you might have missed your draw."

Which is more retarded.

"So, wait a minute. You said you thought I had two pair. AND. You also thought I had nothing? Well, which is it? Those are about the two most opposite reads possible… So what you really mean to say is that you had no clue where you were and just called because you could."

After that he clammed up, which was about the smartest thing I'd seen him do in the 15 minutes he'd been there.

The next hand I pick up AKo.

The same guy raises to $5. $5. That's a fucking stupid raise.

I raise to $20. I get one caller, and it's back to him. He reaches for chips and I say, "Dude, you just took down a bunch of chips with A6. You can't lay one down? You've been here for 4 hands and played them all."

He calls anyway.

The flop is beautiful. K 5 7 rainbow.

He leads out for $30. $30? Really? Why would he lead out? It was sort of suspicious. I'd seen his hands. He'd literally played all 4 hands since he sat down. His hands were shit. I thought there was a chance he had two pair even, given how loose his play was.

I raise to $60 to see what he does. The other guy got out of the way, and old fat bald guy raises to $90.

What the fuck? A set? I have to make a decision here. I have $80 in this pot and about $110 behind. This guy could be doing this shit with anything from a set to King-Jack.

I just couldn't bear to fold. I should have. The signs all pointed to AK being beat, but it was just so unlikely. The rainbow K57 flop for my AK was just too hard to fold.

I went all-in. He calls.

A set? Yep. He flips over 55.

Jesus Christ.

I'm furious. I storm out of there to the sound of his annoying voice saying "Sorryyyyy…" Normally I stop and lecture people about saying "Sorry" after winning a pot, but I just couldn't stand the sight of that guy for another second. Plus, the rest of my cash was in my room. And I needed to cool off.

I knew that guy wasn't going to keep those chips. And as angry as I was, I was more sad that I wouldn't be there to take them.

Session 13: Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NL HE (1h 0m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $197
Result: -$3

I learned an expensive lesson at MGM. A lesson that every good poker player knows, but few can execute. Do not chase losses.

If something doesn't feel right, leave. It doesn't matter if you're down a little or a lot. The only reason NOT to leave is if you feel you're still playing well, and are confident that you can win. If you're mad and playing like shit or feel like you'll play like shit if you continue, leave. Fuck the daily stats. The only stat that matters is the one that shows you as a winning player over the long haul. How many BBs do you win per hour?

It's very, very, very hard to leave money on the table. Even a few dollars. But sometimes you have to.

I put this into practice on this session. I was down quickly at this game, but felt I was playing fine. I got to within $3 of my initial buyin, and of course, I just felt like just getting my $3 back and leaving. But I fought off the urge to play to get even... to get back those last few dollars, and I just called it a day. I left. I was done.

Tomorrow's a new day, and my long haul stats say that there are more BBs to win.

Vegas 2011 - Dec 13th - Day 6

Sessions: 2
Net Result: +$346

Just another day in Vegas...

Session 10: Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NL HE (2h 0m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $207
Result: +$7

This was a pretty short, uninteresting session. I played it at like 2am. I remember sitting down and losing $100 within like 20 minutes, but I don't remember how. I also remember climbing out of that hole and just wanting to go to bed.

Session 11: Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NL HE (5h 0m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $539
Result: +$339

I gotta start writing closer to the day that I play. I can't remember shit for this session.

Let's see. What happened? All these PH sessions are blurring together. I suppose that's a good thing as long as their winning.

Yeah, sorry, I got nothing. I'm writing this two days later. :-(

Vegas 2011 - Dec 12th - Day 5

Sessions: 3
Net Result: +$425

This is really a continuation of Day 4, and then it goes into Day 5.

Session 7: Imperial Palace $1/$2 NL HE (1h 0m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $406
Result: +$206

This IP session was a short one. I hit this game as I was heading to my room to call it a day.

First of all, as I sat down I found a $5 chip underneath the table. Sweet! I was up before I'd even started. :-)

The biggest story here was an Asian lady that new very little English.

When I first sat down at this table, I didn't even notice her. I folded a lot (as I usually do) and joked and talked with my neighbors. She was quiet, and I hadn't played any pots, so she was invisible to me.

Then the dude to my right got involved in a pot and showed me his hand. 6s 6c. He had raised in early position with that hand and checked the flop of 5s 4s 8s.

The guy to my left bet $40 (about a pot-sized bet), and the Asian lady put out a single $100 bill in front of her. This is a call. Everyone knows this. The dealer will make her change after he puts out the turn. Or, he would have, if a guy two to her right hadn't re-raised to $160.

That's when my neighbor with the 6s 6c showed me his hand. How could he call? He has 1 out to a straight flush. He's beat. So, yeah, he eventually folds. I'm not sure why he thought it was such a big deal to fold there. It was $160 to call. He obviously only had 1 out.

The initially bettor to my left folds, and the action is on the Asian lady. The dealer says it's on her and she signals like she wants to see the next card. The dealer explains that she has been raised $120 on top. The Asian lady still doesn't understand, and is wondering why the dealer hasn't put out the turn. At this point, the entire table is trying to explain that her $100 bill was a call of the original $40 bet, and that she needs to put in $120 more if she wants to see the turn. She still doesn't get it. Frustrated, the dealer takes her $100, changes it to $5 chips, puts the calls in the middle and shows her that she still needs to call $120 more if she wants to see the turn. She says, "But I put $100 in already." *Sigh*. The dealer is now aggravated. "Do you want to call?!" he asks. She nods. Fine.

She looks at her cards. At this point, she's got another $100 bill and like $75 in chips behind. The turn is a red Jack.

She checks. The raiser goes all-in for $200+. He has her covered. She has all her chips sitting on her $100 bill, and she slides that passed the betting line. She calls.

The river is an 7s.

Homeboy to my right spazzes. He would have made the nuts. A straight flush. Hahaha.

The dude putting in all the money flips over 4h 4c. A set of 4's.

Asian lady flips over As 7h. Haha.

The guy that lost is… well, not happy. She had called $160 on the flop, and nearly $200 on the turn for a flush draw and a gut shot. And hit it. Wow.

After that, the whole table at that lady's lunch. She called and called and called everything. Pre-flop raises, flop bets, turn bets, river bets. She called.

It didn't take long for her to dwindle back down to about $400. And that's when I picked up my hand.

I had Ad Ts. I was on the button. Now, most of the time I just call $2 or maybe raise it a little bit if I feel like the table is weak, but this time it was raised to $6 from early position before it got to me. There were a few callers. Now, this is a 50/50 for me. Half the time I call, half the time I fold. I do not raise here. I decide to call.

The flop comes Ks Qc 4d. Hmmm. I've got a gut shot straight draw, and that's about it. The Asian lady was in the blinds and checked. The table checks around to me. Now, at this point, I have to bet. I'm not strong here, but I do have a draw to the nuts, and I can possibly steal it with a pot-sized bet. I bet $25 into about a $30 pot. As you would expect, everyone folds except the Asian Lady. She could have anything.

The turn is a Jc. That's the nuts for me, but it puts a flush draw out there. She checks.

Now, normally, I wouldn't put her on a flush draw because it would have to be a runner-runner flush draw, and while that's possible, it's unlikely. She might have a pair of Kings or Queens. Maybe she even had a straight draw. I don't know.

What I do know is that this lady calls damn near everything. If she's got ANY draw or any piece of this board, she's not going away.

So, I push all-in for about $150. She calls.

At times like this, I always flip over my made hand ASAP. This is so that 1) I don't misread my hand and 2) my opponent has a chance to see my strong hand which could make him forget that he has other outs. For instance, if I flop a higher set over a smaller set, and I show my hand, the other guy might only think he has outs to four of a kind. When actually he might have runner-runner outs to a flush. If he doesn't get that four of a kind, maybe he folds without knowing he had made a 4 card flush. I've totally seen it happen.

Anyway, the river is a Kc. Fuck. Worst. Card. Ever. It pairs the board and completes a runner-runner flush draw.

Now I'm hoping that having seen my made straight, that she just mucks. She starts to, but other people start mumbling about a flush and pair board. SHUT THE FUCK UP ASSHOLES! Don't remind her of those things. What if she backed into a fullhouse or a flush and didn't realize it? Let her muck or turn her cards over on her own!

She starts sliding her hand face down to the dealer. Slowly. She takes a look back at them, and the dealer asks if she's mucking. She nods. Whew!

After that double up, I was done. She had almost nothing left, and I was tired. Up over $200 in an hour is good enough.

Session 8: Imperial Palce Freeroll Tournament NL HE (1h 30m)
Buyin: $5
Cashout: $0
Result: -$5 (27th out of 49)

I earned enough hours to qualify for the weekly freeroll at the IP the next morning at 11am. The problem was… it was in the next morning at 11am. If I hadn't had to check out that morning, I would have probably just slept in. Freeroll tourneys are shit. You get very few chips, the blinds go up lightning fast, and it ends up a shove fest.

I set my alarm and woke up in time to shower, pack and make my way down to the check-out desk before 11am. The poker room is right across from the hotel desk, so I checked my bags, registered for the tournament and checked out of the hotel. Just in time.

Now, if this is a freeroll, why do I have the buying at $5? Well, when I registered, I was in such a rush, the guy asked me if I wanted to do something for $5. I didn't even hear what it was. I said, "I didn't hear what you said, but I'm sure it's a good thing, so here's five bucks." He thanked me and gave me my seat assignment.

I thought I was contributing to the dealer payouts since this was a freeroll, and it was. But it turns out that with the $5 extra, I doubled my chips from 1500 to 3000. I mean, it's still shit, but whatever. It was a good thing. It went to the dealers anyway.

I had put in 18.5 hours towards my freeroll entry. If I had put in 20, they would have given me 6000 in chips (which was the max.) So right off the bat, I had 1/2 the stack of 3-4 players at the table. It didn't end up mattering. The big stacks fell early, and people doubled quickly.

I actually played about as well as you can play freerolls. I stole some. Played tight. I played well.

I made it to the first break, but by that time, I only had 4.5 times the big blind.

As I paid my big blind, which was $1000. I looked down and saw 9s 9c. I knew I was shoving the remainder 3000 no matter what. I didn't have to worry about action. Someone shoved exactly 4500 in front of me. I couldn't fold of course.

I flipped over my hand. My opponent flipped over his: AKo. Fuck.

The flop held an Ace. Pfft. No 9 on the turn or river either. In fact, the river was another Ace. Ah, whatever. It was only $5.

Session 9: Mirage $1/$2 NL HE (1h 45m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $424
Result: +$224

They serve Orange Julius's here. Just ask the cocktail waitress. They're so good!

Anyway, I made money here because of one hand.

There was a crazy aggressive guy to my right and two of the loosest callers ever to my left. It was perfect.

I was under the gun. I looked down at Ad Kd. Sweet. Normally I raise, but there was so much action at this table, I decided to take a chance and just call $2.

The lady to my left wasted no time. She raised to $7. Her husband, who was directly to her left, called. As did the whole damn table. Then it got to the aggressive guy to my right. I was waiting for a raise. He flat called. I was last to act on the raise. There was about $35-42 in the pot with all those $7 bets. I decided to just end it. I raised to $107.

The initial raiser lady to my left paused for a good 1-2 minutes, and folded. Her husband insta-called. What? He was slow playing too? It folds around to the aggressive dude. He thinks for a while and says, "I just want to call because no one at this table puts in that much money. I kinda just want to get in on the action, but I have shit rags." He folds.

At this point I decided that I was shoving my remaining $224 on any flop. The flop comes Jc 6h Js. I shove.

The husband dude to the lady's left agonizes. He says, "I actually put you on pocket Jacks."

He folds and shows AKo. I show him AKs. :-)

Whew! I sure am glad he put me on Jacks! Haha. Of course, there was no way I'd shove with Quads, but to be fair, he could have put me on any pocket pair, and he can't call.

Shortly after that hand, I left to meet Duy and James for dinner. We were supposed to go for steaks, but we ended up at Maggiano's, which is always yummy. :-)

Vegas 2011 - Dec 11th - Day 4

Sessions: 2
Net Result: +$360

This is really a continuation of Day 3, and then it goes into Day 4. The first session of the day actually happened on my way back to my room after that terrible session at the Trop.

Session 5: Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NL HE (2h 15m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $499.
Result: +$299

You know what? I'm gonna be honest here. It's been too long since this session happened. I don't recall any big hands, funny characters, or interesting stories about this session. The only thing that you need to know about this session is that I made back all the money I'd lost at the Trop, PLUS $4. That's right. No going home down for me!

Oh, I do remember something. I remember that after the Trop session I was hungry and was walking passed Fat Burger. I was on the phone with Claire bitching about my session, and I told her that I didn't feel like I deserved to have any food after playing so poorly. I was pretty bummed. She said I should eat if I was hungry so I said, "Fuck it." and ordered a medium combo with fat fries. Best. Idea. Ever.

It actually invigorated me. I gained some energy, stopped at PH, made all the money back quickly, and went to the room happy.

The moral of this story is that Fat Burger makes you win. :-)

Session 6: Luxor $1/$2 NL HE (3h 30m)

Buyin: $400
Cashout: $461
Result: +$61

Fucking Cowboys. Goddamn it! This is why I don't like to become emotionally invested in sports. I have no control, and it still bums me out when shit like this happens.

In case you didn't figure it out, or you don't follow the NFL, I played this session during Sunday Night Football where it literally didn't end well for the 'Boys. :-(

As I mentioned on the first day, some poker rooms have football-related promotions when NFL game are being played. Harrah's football promotion was lame, so I went to find a better one.

I first went to Excalibur, but they weren't going to be running a football promotion that night. So I shuffled on over to the Luxor which I recalled had one last year.

Sure enough, they did. There promotion was this: At the beginning of every quarter, they would hand players at a poker table a ticket. After every score, they drew a ticket and give away $25 for a field goal, $100 for a touchdown and $200 for a safety.

Romo was safetied early. #*$&!#

Some dude two to my left got $200 for that. :-(

There was a lot of scoring, so there were a lot of draws, but I didn't win shit.

In fact, I only ended up +$61 for the day, but hey, at least it was an up session. The Cowboys lost on the river and weren't so lucky.

Right as the game was ending, I got a text from Duy. He and James had just landed. They wanted to know if I wanted to go to dinner. Sure. And that was that for the day!

Vegas 2011 - Dec 10th - Day 3

Sessions: 1
Net Result: -$295

I didn't want to get caught in a session and skip my meal today so I walked straight to Hooters for an early dinner. The walk from Imperial Palace isn't exactly a short one. My plan was to eat at Hooters then go visit my old pals at Excalibur.

After a bloated meal, I waddled my way down the path to Excal. You have to pass Tropicana to get there. The Trop used to have a poker room a couple of years ago, but they tore it down when they renovated the casino. So it didn't even occur to me to play there. But as I passed it, I saw a sign saying "New Poker Room Now Open!" Hmmm. What the hell, I'll give it a shot.

Session 4: Tropicana $1/$2 NL HE (9h 15m)
Buyin: $395
Cashout: $100
Result: -$295

I should have known it was going to be a bad session when I saw the sign that Jamie Gold was the featured poker pro that will play exclusively at the Trop poker room. I guess the Trop is trying to make people aware that they have a poker room again, and they needed a big poker name to promote the room. For those that don't know, Jamie Gold won the World Series of Poker Main Event a few years ago. He won the largest Main Event tournament ever, which paid out the the largest 1st place prize ever. I think it was something like $12 million for first place. I'm not sure. Google it if you really care. It was a lot.

There was some controversy about Jamie Gold's winnings, and how he didn't want to split the prize money with some guy that covered part of his initial $10,000 buy-in to that tournament. I'm not sure the details. Again, you can look it up. But I can say that in the poker pro world, he's considered a shady, subpar player that just got lucky. He's sort of the laughing stock of the poker pros. It's like being the Vanilla Ice of poker. Famous for a time. Popular. People still flock around him and know who he is, but he's not respected for having any talent. Personally, I have nothing against the guy, but things are what they are.

So imagine going to a hip-hop club endorsed by Vanilla Ice. Yeah. That's pretty much what I did.

The room itself was fine. Everything was new. The chips, the chairs, the shufflers. Nice. They'd been open since May though, and I think they'd been struggling to make players aware of their existence. So they contracted Jamie Gold to live at the Trop and play there nightly.

Now, the Trop isn't exactly a "big game" room. They play small tournaments, $1/$2 and stuff like that. It's no Aria or Bellagio. So I walk in, and there is Jamie Gold playing $1/$2 with a stack of about $600. Granted, he's playing with the 'commoners' as a promotional stunt for the poker room, but it still looked funny watching a guy that won millions play $1/$2 No Limit Hold 'Em.

Luckily, they put me on another table. Not his. It's not that I didn't want to play with him, it's that I didn't want the attention he was garnering. He's loud and boisterous, and people are constantly asking for pictures and stuff. I'm not one that gets star struck. They're just regular people like me and you. They just happen to have more money and power. But other than that, the same, right?

Anyway, the table I'm on is very short handed. I think I'm player number 6. Soon Jamie Gold leaves the other table (also short handed) and that table breaks. We get a few people from that table, and I just play my game.

I'm up pretty quick. Not a lot, but the table is short stacked and very soft. I steal a bunch with continuation bets or by playing my position. I build it up to about $75 in profit or so. Things are slow and pots are small.

The table starts filling up slowly. Then I noticed this huge guy sit to my right. Whatever. I keep playing. Then I notice that he has a buddy of his sitting behind him that keeps whispering stuff into his ear. Huh? I finally turn and look directly at the guy and recognize him. It's Hal Lubarsky. He's legally blind and has an assistant read his hole cards and pretty much play-by-plays the action to him because he can't see. He's not blind blind. He can see some things like where his cards are more or less and where his chips are. I could tell they had worked out a nice little system. He placed his chips in specific locations after his assistant, Arnie, separated out the colors for him. This wasn't his first rodeo.

It was amazing to watch though. Imagine closing your eyes and having someone tell you what is going on at the poker table. You can't see stacks or the board. You're told your hole cards once and have to remember the history of seat 5 or seat 8 without any visual reminders like "the guy in the hat." Hal would remember flopped cards from half an hour ago. Specifically the suit and rank. Shit that I saw with my own eyes and couldn't remember. He would remember the bets. He remembered everything.

For a while, Hal didn't win a pot. But then he started getting hot. Initially it seemed like he was very tight, but later we finally started to see his hole cards, and he'd bet or call you down with 2nd pair if he thought he was good, and most of the time, he was.

I avoided him, and after a while, I could tell he was avoiding me. I sat immediately to his left, and I could tell he was well aware that there were fish at the table and that I was not one of them. If he limped and I raised, he'd fold. If he'd raise, I'd fold. I only played one hand against him. I called his raise with AJo on the button pre-flop and re-raised a weak looking opening bet from early position after the flop, which Hal had called. They all folded. I was bluffing and just playing my button, so it felt nice to steal a pot from a famous guy. :-)

After a few hours, Jamie Gold came back, and as luck would have it, the only open seat at our table was the vacated seat between Hal and I. So I had a drunk Jamie Gold sit down immediately to my right which made Hal two to my right. If I'm going to have poker pros at my table, that's where I want them.

Jamie is a nice guy, and he told us all straight up that he had been drinking and was being stupid and apologized in advance for any jackassery that he would certainly cause. At first, he was fine. He made a lot of jokes and teased Hal about being blind. It was in good fun. When the cocktail waitress took forever to get drinks, Jamie took orders from the entire table and walked up to the bar himself and brought everyone back drinks. He seem good natured, and it seemed like he was having a good time.

After a while, the wait list grew for our game, so they opened up a second $1/$2 game at Jamie's request. Jamie would have stacks at both tables and split his time across them. He slowed the game down quite a bit doing that, and the dealers were getting annoyed, but hey, they were paying this guy to attract attention, and he was doing it.

He would go All-In all the time. Mostly with a weak pair, but sometimes with the nuts. It was tricky. I never really got involved with him. I might have played a few pots with him, but he never put in more than a few dollars.

He did bust Hal though. On a board of Td 7d 6h, Hal bets out pretty big. Jamie pushes all-in instantly. This is not uncommon. Everyone folds, and it's back to Hal. Jamie doesn't see Hal's cards and mucks his hand but quickly takes his cards back when the dealer says Hal hasn't folded. Jamie tells Hal not to call… that he has the nuts. Of course, he always says that. Hal calls anyway. They each have about $400 or so… Jamie has the slight edge on chips. Hal turns over 3d 4d. Jamie turns over 8h 9d. Jamie, thinking he has two diamonds, instead of just one says that Hal is drawing dead. When we point out that a single diamond can still make Hal a flush that would win, so Jamie offers to run it three times. Hal accepts, but in a stroke of bad luck, he loses all three.

I fully expected Hal to re-buy, but he leaves. Jamie apologizes (in a poker way), and the game continues.

Rewinding a bit…

I hit quad 7's on a guy earlier in the night against a guy with pocket Queens. That pays me out an extra $100 in bonus "high hand" money that they say I can pocket. So I do just that. I put $100 in chips in my pocket and continue playing.

I'm up $200 if you include the $100 in my pocket.

I'm about to leave. I'm just going to see my free hands. But Pancho Villa gets in my way of a successful session.

Pancho was an idiot Mexican guy two seats to my left that had been sucking on Jamie Gold's cock all night long. "Hey Jamie! Get us drinks again! That was awesome!" "Hey Jamie! That was a funny joke, man. You rock!" "Hey Jamie!" "Hey Jamie!" Dude, shut the fuck up.

Anyway, the Trop has a rule that if Jamie is at your table you can button straddle or run it multiple times or table talk shit, etc. etc. So this Mexican dude takes this opportunity to suck on Jamie's cock a little more. He straddles on the button for $10. "Hey Jamie! Check it out, man! I'm straddling on the button just for you!" he exclaims.

I look down a pocket 8s.

4 callers, including Jamie, put in the $10. It gets back to me. I figure I can take this down with a hefty raise and get the fuck out of there with a little extra profit. I'll go get some pizza, and then finally make it over to Excal for a bit. I raise it. $50 on top. Guy to my left folds, and Mexican cock sucker says "I'm all in!" with the biggest shit eating grin ever. He looks at Jamie and says… you guessed it… "Hey Jamie! Check it out man, I'm all-in on my button straddle! Woohoo!" God this guy is annoying.

The dealer says it's $142 to go. Fuck. Is this guy for real? It just looks like he's trying to show off for Jamie. Why doesn't he just get on his knees and suck him off under the table. Or just bend over and take it in the ass so he can have Jamie Gold spunk inside of him. That's what he wants. Fucker. That would have saved me money. What do I do? Does he have two overs? Do I wanna coin flip for $400? Not really. What if he saw any pair and shoved thinking I was raising with like AK or AJ. I mean, he could have 55 or 77 even. He could have any under pair. Or hell, he could have 99. Fuck it. I call.

He flips over KK.


I ask him if he wants to run it twice, but the fucking dealer took off on me… because I'm not Jamie fucking Gold. Asshole.

I lose and now I'm down $3.

Yes, I should have left, but the table was getting more and more retarded, and I figured I could get it back. I didn't. In fact, I lost $200 more. I eventually just cashed out the $100 in my pocket and called it a day in disgust.

The good news is that on the way back to my room at the IP, I stopped off at Planet Hollywood to see if I could make any of it back… and, well, read the next entry tomorrow to see how that went. ;-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Vegas 2011 - Dec 8th - Day 2

Sessions: 1
Net Result: +$267

I only had 1 night free at Planet Hollywood, so I had to get up early to check out of my room. Claire booked my next 3 nights at Imperial Palace because, quite honestly, they were the cheapest on the Strip. I'd never stayed there. It looked pretty ghetto when I went into the casino the last few trips.

The check out time was 11am, so I took a Taxi from PH to IP and was hoping that they'd let me check in early. Usually check in time is like 3pm. I couldn't tell if they were allowing check ins yet so I waited in a long line. I was hoping it wasn't just for check outs. Luckily, they had a room ready. I was surprised because being the cheapest room on the Strip, and having the National Rodeo Finals here this weekend, I figured it'd be booked solid. Anyway, I was very happy to get the room early because I was still quite tired and wanted to rest.

I made it to the elevator and an older lady got in with me. I looked at my room assignment… floor: 13th. I hit 13 and she says, "Oh, same floor as me! 13th!" Then it hit me. 13th floor? I thought buildings didn't have a 13th floor! And this being a fucking casino, I figured superstitious guests would refuse to stay on it. Maybe that's why they had a room ready! Haha. I mentioned the oddness of a casino having a 13th floor to her, and she was well aware of it. She said that usually they put the pool or exercise rooms or maintenance on the 13th floor. Or they simply omit it. But not IP. They're so cheap, they're not even wasting a floor number. They're using it.

The room was a pretty big step down from my PH room, but still doable. Definitely older. CRT TV. Eh. Whatever. The bathroom is usually my biggest concern. I hate it when showers don't drain properly. I tested the shower. It was fine. However, the sink didn't. Fuck it. I was tired. Good enough.

I got a good amount of rest before heading out. I was a bit hungry, not not *too* hungry so I decided to stop by the IP poker room. The last time I came in here, I looked in the poker room and they only ran $2/$4 limit. So I didn't even expect a $1/$2 game to be running. But there it was. A small stacked 7 handed game. Alright, let's do this.

Session 3: Imperial Palace $1/$2 NL HE (9h 45m)
Buyin: $595
Cashout: $862
Result: +$267

This was a grueling session. I played almost 10 hours without leaving the table. Not even to pee. Obviously, I skipped lunch and dinner. I wish I could say it was because I was crushing the table and was running too good to leave, but I actually got stuck after about 2 hours and spent the rest of the time grinding it out.

Initially, the table was very tame and short stacked. I bought in for $195 (a $5 chip immediately went into my pocket as a souvenir) and unknowingly sat down between a couple of Brits. There was also a Swede across from me. I'm pretty sure one or two other guys were Euros as well. I hate Euros. They say Americans are loud and obnoxious and horrible visitors when we go abroad, but my experience is just the same with many, many Euros in Vegas. They drink like fish. They're boisterous and annoying. The Swede was actually pretty quiet, but the guy to my left was uber vocal and drunk. And a close talker. Luckily he was there only for about 2 hours.

Even still, the table was pretty calm. I got stuck after a bit when I bet out an Ace high flush draw with AQo against the loudmouth's small set. He was short stacked, and it made no sense to fold. I didn't make it. I grinded back up to about even. Then grinded up to a small profit. Then bled down to under $100 again. I reloaded for another $200.

The guy to my right was actually a drunk Scot. Nobody could understand him except the loud Englishman to my left. As timid as the table was, this guy was the only guy that played sorta loose. He was small stacked (about $100) so I didn't consider him much of a threat. He got lucky a few times and built up his stack to about $220. By this time, I had about $340 and was close to being even.

The Scot opened up for $12 a lot. Like almost every hand. And sure enough, he did it again. I looked down at Kd Jh and decided to call. He had been showing total crap most of the time, and lots of times he was so drunk he lifted up his cards so that I could see them. I didn't see them this time, but he had been raising with garbage for about an hour.

The flop was pretty nice. Kh Qd Td. I had to be ahead, and I had a re-draw to the nut straight. I felt like this was surely good enough to beat this guy. He buckets pretty big considering the size of the pot. $75. I decide to go with my read and push all-in. He insta-calls. Whoa. I flip over Top Pair Kings with a decent Jack kicker and an open ended nut straight draw. He flips over… Ah Qs. Mid Pair with a gut shot. Sweet! I'm 82% to win! Turn is an 8s. I'm now 89% to win. River. Jd. Fuck! Are you kidding me?! I lose a $460 pot on the river on that bullshit? C'mon!

An hour or so passes, and the Englishman and Scot leave. Fuck. I'm afraid the game will break, but new players start showing up. I grind it up again to about $250 or so when a Korean/White guy shows up. A tennis instructor from San Diego. Loud as fuck and obnoxious. I guess Europeans don't have a monopoly on annoying players after all. He's in town for a bachelor party. He shows up to the table with $80. He's all-in on his first three hands. He wins the first two uncontested. The last one he calls off $35 pre-flop with QJo and ends up with the Broadway straight in a 3 way pot. He's up over $300 now in like 3 hands. He starts drinking and drinking and talking and raising and drinking and raising and flopping top sets, flushing on the river, and two-pairing his worse kicker up to about $800. It's amazing.

He's now super fucking drunk and more annoying than ever. His buddies have been trying to get him to leave the table to head to the strip club. We're all wanting him to stay. He even goes as far as racking up almost $700 and plays "one more hand" for about 20 minutes. He's blind raising and straddling and just being ridiculous. I'm on the button with Qh 8h. Almost everyone is in. I decide to call $2. He's in the big blind and raises to $12. Callers all around. Fuck it. I call. It flops Qs 7d 4c. I decide that I have to be good. This guy is lucky, but c'mon. My Queen's gotta be good. I've seen him win pots showing mid pair or a flush draw just because he bet so big nobody would call him. And when people did call him, he's have the fucking nuts. Didn't matter. I was gonna make my stand. I was down to about $150 by now. I wanted him to double me up. He leads out for $65. Predictably, everybody folds. I stand up to him. I push all-in. He insta-calls and says, "I have the nuts." Of course, he always says that. I'm still pretty confident. Until he flips over QQ. Fuck. Seriously? This asshole is so fucking lucky. Christ. This is my first bust. :-(

I rebuy for $200. This guy is still playing out of two racks now. Almost about to leave after every hand. The guy to my right starts egging him now. "Let's put in $20 blind." "If you raise, I'll call blind." etc. etc. The drunk tennis instructor loves it. He can't leave. The guy to my right, a bald, middle aged Kyle Gass lookalike, just wants to get some of his money. Tennis guy raises to $8 on KG's $4 straddle. KG raises to $20 blind. Tennis guy raises to $40. KG calls blind. And he checks the flop dark. Tennis guy bets $40 more. KG calls blind. Turn comes out and KG checks again. He's trying to get tennis guy to stop betting and just flip over since KG hasn't even looked at his hand yet and the board is straighty with a flush draw. Instead, Tennis guy pushes all in. KG is forced to look at his hand. He's only got about $120 left. KG calls. Tennis guy asks if KG has a straight. "Nope," he answers, "two pair." Tennis guy is mad. He starts cursing and calling KG a faggot. Saying that was gay, etc. etc. All of a sudden, Tennis guy is a homophobic 13 years old paying Halo on Xbox Live. The dealer and poker manager try to calm him down and then he plays it off like he was kidding. Of course, he's going to play one more hand again.

This time I pick up Ac Qc. I raise to $12. Tennis guy, obviously on tilt and very annoyed raises to $100. Fuck it. I'm going to go all-in. He can't have me killed again can he? I push in for a little over $175. He insta-calls. (When don't they ever NOT insta-call?) He plays it secret squirrel like and says, "I have aces." I'm like, "Do you really?" Fuck! He says, "Yep." I flip over Ac Qc. The flop is Jc 8c Jd. Turn is 4c. Sweet! Unless he's got JJ or J8 or 88, I'm good! River is an A. Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me. ?!?! The "helpful" players at the table start saying, "Well, if you've got AA, you've got a fullhouse!" Thanks assholes. Shut up! The dealer pushes up the three clubs and says, "He's got a flush." Tennis guy has slow rolled before, so I'm still wondering if I won. Tennis guy goes back into his 13 year old tirade, saying that was gay. I got lucky, etc. etc. He flips over AKo. Wow. Hahaha. Fuck you, dickhead. You can't run good forever. Now he's really pissed. He's lost about $400 dollars playing "one more hand" out of his racks.

After a few hands, his friends finally pull him away. Fucker.

Now I'm stuck about $250 or so. About 20 minutes later, I pick up Jh Ts. KG has been keeping the action going since Tennis guy left. He raises to $10. I call. About 6 players see the flop. Qc 9c 2d. Checks to me. I lead out for $25. Everyone folds by KG. The turn is an 8h. Great! I have the nut straight! KG checks. I lead out for $65. KG pushes all-in for $211. What? I have to re-check my cards. Yep. Still the nuts. I figure we're chopping. Then I start thinking… Oh, now, what if he has Jc Tc? Ah! Oh, well. Obviously, I'm not folding. I call. I say, "I guess we're chopping?" I flip over my JTo. He looks disgusted. Nope. He flips over 89o. Two pair. He says, well, you've got it unless… right as the dealer flips over another 9. Sonofa… motherfucking… whatthefuck?!?! I was 91% to win with one card to go. That's TWO huge $400-500 pots I lose with 1 card to come with a 90% chance of victory!

I'm disgusted. I'm so hot, I have to take my coat off. I'm down to about $110. FUCK. I gotta start all over AGAIN!

I start grinding out wins. Slowly. Slowly. Hours pass. With careful, calculated, tight, aggressive play, I build up my stack to $573. I'm $22 down! I should quit right? Hell, no. I'm playing great. I'm beating the table. I'm making people put in their money bad (most of the time.) I'm making people fold better hands. Stealing pots. I can do this. Plus, I'll be damned if I'm playing 8 1/2 hours just to be down $22. I can win it. Plus, I haven't eaten all day, and I'm going to get these fuckers to pay for my dinner at the very least.

I'm getting very weak. I haven't eaten anything in almost 24 hrs. I haven't had a drink for about 4 hours. I need something fast. I pick up Ks Qc. I call $2. This dark, young Filipino kid leads out for $12 from the small blind. He's been pretty quiet. I call. It flops Qd 8h Td. Seems good, but I don't like really like that all -that- much. Filipino kid leads out for $20. This old guy to my right calls. Maybe I should raise, but I just call. I hope he was just continuation betting, and that two callers will slow him down. The turn is an Jd. Filipino kid leads out for $40. Old guy grumbles something about going to sleep and calls. Fuck. This is ugly, the flush is out there, the straight is out there, but now I have the nut straight draw. I don't wanna see another diamond for sure. Fuck it. If I win here with a non-diamond Ace (yeah, kind of a loose call), I'll be up and I can leave. The river… Kd. Are you kidding me? Gross. I have top two with 4 to a straight and 4 to a flush on the board. Jesus. Filipino kid bets another $50. Old guy has $52, but just calls and repeats that he guesses it's time for him to go to bed. I can't beat them both. Filipino kid has maybe $50 behind his $50 bet. I have to fold. Filipino kid flips over As 4h. Fucking nothing until the river. He bet with absolutely nothing and made the nut straight on the river. Not even a flush. Old guy flips over QJ. Two pair. Motherfucker. I'm down almost $100 now. Goddamn you Filipino kid. Betting with nothing and getting there. Bullshit!

Filipino kids bets aggressively for a few more pots and ends up with $350 or so. He doesn't ever seem scared to bet. His equally young, but not quite as short and dark Filipino buddy sits down in the old man's seat, because true to his word, the old man went off to bed. The taller Filipino kid buys in $100 and plays a few pots. He ends up all-in with ATo on a board of 5656J against pocket 3's. He thinks he's lost and is confused when the dealer pushes him over $100. We have to explain to him that the other guy's pocket 3's were counterfeited by the 5's and 6's on the board. His Ace high was good.

The Filipino's are having a great time. Tall Filipino raises to $10 and I look down at Jh 9h. Damn near the whole table calls. The flop is 5h 6h 7h. Yay! I flopped a flush! I gotta be good, right? What are the chances a suited hearts Ace, King or Queen is in there with me? None, right? Right?? Plus, an 8h will give me the stone cold nuts. Tall Filipino kid bets $15. I raise to $65. The table folds around to his friend, the Dark Filipino kid. He looks like he wants to fold, but then Tall Filipino kids folds out of turn. The dealer returns his cards and says he has to wait his turn. At this point, I ask the dealer if he can even do anything other than fold anymore after the Dark Filipino acts. Since TF threw his cards away, and they were returned. Can he really still call or raise after having thrown them away one out of order? The dealer says yes, that he can. I'm astounded. The table rallies behind me. A discussion breaks out. If someone mucks one out of order, his hand should be dead. The dealer disagrees. They call the floor. I'm not even trying to make a big deal out of it, since I think he's going to fold anyway, plus he's got like $80, and I have a flush already. I'm not folding. However, DF sees all this and starts to think that I don't want TF to be able to call or raise. DF thinks that I want him to fold and for his hand to be dead. I believe this gives DF the idea that I'm bluffing. He gets brave and calls. TF folds as expected. I REALLY want a 8h or NO heart. The turn is Ks. Who cares. I'm still good. DF checks. I bet $100 thinking he's on a big flush draw. DF surprises me. He pushes in $100 and goes back for $200+ more to re-raise me! The whole table and the dealer jump all over him. That's a string bet. The DF looks like he just answered an easy question wrong on a game show. Doh!! I'm concerned now. Does he really have a higher flush?!? River comes Ac. He insta-all-ins. (Yep, the always insta against me.) I think, well, this is going to REALLY suck, but I can't fold. I'm hoping he has a lower flush or a set. I flip over Jh 9h immediately and he looks like I just punched him in the nuts. He mucks! Yes!!! I tip the dealer $10 and count my chips. $867. 9 hours. 45 minutes. I'm done.

Vegas 2011 - Dec 8th - Day 1

Sessions: 2
Net Result: +$71

Well, this year's trip started out on the wrong foot. We woke up late, and I had to rush to the airport. My flight took off at 8:25am. I got to the airport at 8:00am. Yeah, not good. Luckily, there were practically no lines, and I actually got to the terminal *right* as they were calling my letter/number group to line up. So I didn't miss anything.

Claire rocked it this year. She looked into all the player's cards I had been using last year and went online to find that I had accumulated 6 free days of hotel rooms at various casinos on the Strip! My first free night was at Planet Hollywood. I expected it to be a shit room, but it was nicer than the room I paid for last year! Here's a quick tour of the room:

I rested up a bit and went out for my first session.

Session 1: Harrah's $1/$2 NL HE (2h 30m)
Buyin: $195
Cashout: $265
Result: +$70

For my first session, I decided to go to a poker room that I'd never played in before. (Jeez, I hate ending sentences with a preposition, but honestly, they need to change that grammar rule because doing so has been common usage for at least 40-50 years, possibly more. So, fuck it. I'm not editing my first sentence.) So for my first session, I headed over to Harrah's.

It's an OK room. Not the biggest or the smallest I've seen. Looks kinda old, but it does have auto-shufflers and an electronic login system to track your playing hours. Quite a few TVs. Looked fairly busy.

Turns out that they were running a football promotion. Anytime someone scores, they pick a cash game table at random and splash the next pot with various amounts of money. A touchdown was worth $100. And a safety was worth $200. No one mentioned how much a field goal was worth, but it would have made sense that it would have been worth $50. In any case, this is a bad promotion.

Essentially, this bonus is for the short stacks as juicing the pot with $100 is just going to make the sub $100 stacks push and the large stacks not play. It's really stupid. For a long while, it didn't even matter as it was a 7-3 game by the time I showed up, and they scored only 1 more touchdown while I was there. And once they finally scored, of course our table wasn't selected. And as I predicted, the table that won the $100 juice pot had 6 All-Ins vying for it. All but one short stacked. What made no sense was that even after the pre-juiced the pot, one guy still straddled. Why? People are just going to push on you. What a retard. Then another guy raised. From like $4 (the straddle) to like $12. C'mon. Are you serious? Soon after it became a shove fest and some lucky dope took it down. After that, the football ended and the tables started breaking up.

I didn't really have any memorable hands. No cool stories or interesting players. Other than the silly football promotion, it was all very forgettable. I will likely not be returning.

Oh, if you're wondering why I bought in for $195, it's because I always keep a $5 chip from every poker room I've played in. (There's that ending preposition again.) I think of it as a interesting, cheap souvenir. More interesting than a lame t-shirt or mug that you'll never use. I have a stack of $5 chips from all around. Ask to see it sometime.

Session 1: Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NL HE (2h 15m)
Buyin: $200
Cashout: $201
Result: +$1

I made the huge mistake of getting almost no sleep the night before. I was very tired and hungry. This game was also sort of boring, and I was just not into it. I was never up more than $50 and probably never down more than $50. And once I got unstuck, I decided to call it. Winning is winning. And I've got plenty of time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Texas Pinball Festival 2011

The Texas Pinball Festival 2011 was held in Grapevine (a suburb of Dallas) this past weekend. It was a 3 day event starting Friday the 25th. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend until the latter part of the 2nd day. We pretty much missed everything cool except the Exhibition Hall which had tons of games set to Free Play. I considered skipping the whole thing, but figured what the hell, maybe I'd get to see some rare tables or something. Plus, 4-6 hours of Free Play pinball might be worth the 7 hours on the road. Overall, I'm glad I went.

Walk-through of the Exhibition Hall on Sunday (the last day.)

Here are a few things I learned this weekend at the Texas Pinball Festival:

- Tournament Pinball without monitoring play makes it irrelevant to most attendees. The tournament area was closed off to the public and there was no way to watch any of the games. That made me not give two shits about the tournaments. Maybe one shit. Naw. Nevermind. No shits.

- There is a pretty good amount of variance between the same tables. I've now played on 3 different Taxi tables, 3 different Funhouse tables, and 3 different Twilight Zone tables and each one played differently enough that even a novice like me could notice. I find this both disappointing and inevitable.

- Pinball tables seem even more complicated to maintain than I first thought, and I thought they were pretty complicated already. I saw so many broken tables and 1,000's upon 1,000's of tiny parts for sale and strewn about that it makes me very wary about ever owning one.

- Pinball games are way more fun in a dimly lit room with 70's and 80's music blaring. Black light also helps. The caveat is that the pinball playfield must be sufficiently lit. There were some games that were unplayable because I couldn't see the ball. No bueno.

- If you stand near a machine set to freeplay, and you aren't playing it. Expect to hear "Excuse me." in less than 30 seconds as you are asked to step aside.

- The two tables that impressed me the most were Black Knight 2000 and Xenon. BK2000 is a sequel to Black Knight. I wasn't a big fan of the original BK's gameplay, but the sequel was very fun and had a awesome soundtrack . Xenon only impressed me in that the one table I saw was modified with nixie tube scoring and bright blue LEDs that made it look wicked awesome... futuristic '70s style.

Black Knight 2000 Gameplay

Black Knight 2000 Pics:
Black Knight 2000 (Angle)

Black Knight 2000 (playfield)

Xenon Pics:
Xenon (backglass)

Xenon (playfield)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2+ years of Poker Tracking Stats

Happy New Year everyone! I just finished entering in my final poker session for 2010 into my account. It was a pretty good year overall, but mostly it was a good second half of the year and a mediocre first half.

The website allows you to run slews of interesting reports. It's too bad the site won't let me share the data directly, but I'll cut/paste some of the ones I found interesting (even the bad ones.)

Note: All stats are from 11/11/2008 (when I first started tracking my poker sessions) to 12/30/2010 (the last session I played.) I entered every single session no matter where I played, the type of game I played, or how much I won/lost. It's all there.

Number of Sessions Played: 448
Total Time Played: 2179 hrs 35 min
Average Time/Session: 4 hrs 51 min
Total Number of Days Played: 365 (Weird. Exactly 1 year worth of poker days.)
Winning Days: 249
Losing Days: 116
Best Session: 8/3/2010
Best Day: 12/15/2010
Best Month: Dec 2010
Worst Session: 11/10/2009
Worst Day: 12/12/2009
Worst Month: Jan 2010
Number of Losing Months: 18
Number of Winning Months: 8
Longest Win Streak (Sessions): 15 and counting (12/15/10 - 12/30/10)
Longest Win Streak (Days): 9 and counting (12/15/10 - 12/30/10)
Longest Win Streak (Months): 5 (6/2009 - 10/2009)
Longest Losing Streak (Sessions): 6 (3/10/2009 - 3/26/2009)
Longest Losing Streak (Days): 6 (5/26/09 - 6/6/09)
Longest Losing Streak (Months): 3 (11/2009 - 1/2010)
Tournaments Played: 16
Tournaments In The Money: 6
Best Day of the Week: Tuesday
Worst Day of the Week: Friday
Best Location: *69 Poker (My House)
Worst Location: The Orleans
Best Game: Hold 'Em (410 Sessions)
Worst Game: Pot Limit Omaha/Crazy Pineapple Round N Round (2 Sessions)
Best Structure: No Limit
Worst Structure: Fixed Limit
Best Limit: 25c/50c
Worst Limit: 1/1

I realize that the money data is the most interesting, and I do have it. I just don't feel like I should be sharing that information publicly on the internet. But if you ever play with me, just ask to see it, and I'll load up the website for you.

Looking at the money data, there are some interesting things that I didn't figure. For one, I've always complained that I'm down, lifetime, at my friend Roy's game, but it turns out that I'm actually up there. I was surprised to see that I was down at The Orleans and Winstar (though not by a lot in either location) too. It turns out that I'm profitable at every game type I've played. That was a bit surprising. I also thought I was more profitable at tournaments than I am. Granted, I've only played in 16 of them in over 2 years, but still... I expected a larger profit. I was NOT surprised to find out that I am a lifetime loser in Fixed Limit Poker. I just don't do well when I can't put a lot of pressure on my opponents.

It's too bad I only started logging 2 years ago. Oh, well. I figure I was a slight winner in the early years of poker. We used to play 5c/10c, and I used to rock the game with my $20-30 a night wins. ;)