Wednesday, June 29, 2005

NBA Draft - University of Kentucky perspective

Being a hardcore UK Wildcats fan, I knew watching the NBA Draft last night was a waste of my time. Sure, I hoped the kids that once played for the program would have their names called, but I knew there was little chance of that happening.

I was pulling for Chuck Hayes more than Kelenna Azubuike and Randolph Morris. Chuck gave his heart and soul to the program for four years and was a winner in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, he just didn't have a wealth of NBA talent. I predict he will sign a free agent contract and will make a team.

The other two players, KAZ and Randolph, won't be as fortunate. They have given up college careers for a life without basketball, NBA basketball at least.

Reading the Wildcat Faithfulmessage boards is downright depressing as fans spew their venom on these two players and their decisions. Don't hate the players for doing what they did. You can dislike their decisions because of the impact it will have on the team, but they are kids that made bad decisions. No more, no less.

I don't have any ill will towards KAZ. His situation is different than most underclassmen. Not his fault his father is a criminal and cost his family hundreds of thousands of dollars. KAZ was trying to step up and take care of his family. I admire that. Just unfortunate that one more year probably would have put his name on a draft board somewhere.

Randolph, on the other hand, handled his situation with poor class. Faxing your declaration for the NBA draft to your college head coach and avoiding any contact was a piss poor decision. He had terrible advisers along the way that fed him incredibly bad information regarding his draft status. One or two more years at UK could have done two things for him: possibly be a national champion and potential lottery pick. Instead, he will be working out for teams in the NBADL and making a couple hundred bucks a game.

I hope each player can realize their dreams. I just wish they would have made better choices and stayed at UK. They are forever linked to UK and I appreciate the time they gave to a great program.

Finally, I have grown up reading Pat Forde, now with ESPN, in the Louisville Courier-Journal. I honestly think he is one of the best sports columnists out there. Great piece about the players I have mentioned here on ESPN today.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Back to our regularly scheduled program …

Rest of Day 2 from the Vegas Trip

Decided to show the Wife the Strip. Start walking down the Strip and go in almost every casino along our walk, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Bally’s, Paris, Aladdin, MGM Grand, and the Mirage to name a few. Oh yeah, not necessarily in that order either.

Walking into each casino I had the urge to check out each poker room. I had seen several on previous trips, but with the poker explosion, I didn’t know if the others would have renovations to rooms or not. Walking into the Mirage, we weren’t going to walk past the poker room. The Wife actually said, “Yes lets go look at it.” Boy am I glad she did.

The World Poker Tour Mirage event was going on right before my eyes. Now, I have met professional athletes and actors before. I have the autographs to prove it. So, being star struck wasn’t something I saw happening to me. The attempt to play that off wasn’t very good.

Began to look around at which players were still in the tournament and those already eliminated, possibly hanging by the rail. The overall atmosphere wasn’t all that impressive at the Mirage … seemed quite cramped to me and being right next to the sports book seemed a little distracting. Guess that is why I’m not a professional … distracts easily.

Here is a short list of those I saw playing: Mike “the Mouth”, Jesus Ferguson, Huck Seed, Phil Ivey, Erik Siedel, Tobey Maguire, Jennifer Tilly (hot or not?? You decide), Johnny Chan, Dan Harrington and the green hat, Scotty Ngyuen, David Phan, David Williams and my personal favorite Paul Phillips wearing the now famous shirt “Jopke! Jopke! Donkeys Always Draw!”

Stood around for several minutes and absorbed it all in. While others were watching the people in the middle of the action, I stood and watched how the players play while not in the hand. Ivey was incredible. It looked like he would absorb everything through osmosis.

After leaving the Mirage, we thought we would end the trip with an excursion through Caesar’s Palace and the shopping mall there. Probably not Shawn and mine’s brightest idea. The women of course loved it. We saw Pete Rose signing autographs at Field of Dreams. Shawn (a big Pete fan) couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get an autograph … so he ponied up $100 for a ball and photo. Me, I’m not too enamored with the a-hole. Plus, I knew that Pete is in Vegas like 15 days a month.

Continue through and run into two boxers from The Contender. Ishe and Sergio were relatively small fellers. I didn’t expect them to be huge or anything, but even I thought I could go a round or two with these guys … ok not really. I had only seen the show twice and it happened to be the weekend before we left for Vegas. Great show. Hope it comes back for another season. The final match was being decided the next night on live teevee, but we were unable to see it. Three bills for a ducat.

A little happy hour at Margaritaville before dinner was a brilliant idea. Great service and a very nice dancer/show to boot. Jumping down into the volcano and emerging soaking wet while wearing little always gets an A+ in my book.

We went to Roy’s Restaurant, just a minute or two off the strip on Flamingo. Abso-fucking-lutely one of the best meals I have ever had. Six of us at dinner for a little more than $350 with food and wine/beer. It was Hawaiian food and boy was it spectacular. I recommend it to anyone the next time you are out to Vegas. It truly was too good to put into words.

From dinner we go to the Aladdin for some more gambling. Let’s just say that I officially HATE the ALADDIN. Piss-poor service and dealers who wouldn’t talk to you. Absolute dicks. I was sitting a blackjack table and tried to get the attention of a waitress to take our order. Waited and waited for about 35 minutes. She never came by the table. The Wife was at a slot machine and the same treatment.

I’m sure my mood wasn’t helped by playing with some stupid ass clowns that didn’t know how to play fundamental blackjack. Can’t count the number of times I saw people hit 14 with the dealer showing a 5 and them going bust and the dealing squeezing out another 5 for a 20 beating my 18s and 19s. I finally remarked to the table, “Did you notice that you took a face card there that would have been the dealers? Instead of us all winning on that hand, we all lost … thanks to YOU!”

After an hour of no service from the shitty staff, we left. Absolutely the last time I step foot in the Aladdin.


Woke up to sign up for the same tournament the next morning. Got there around 9 a.m. and only eight people signed up. Umm, no thank you. Thought I would employ the wait-and-see approach. Hung out with the Wife by the pool and checked out some amazing beautiful babies and saw a few not so.

Get to tourney time and see that 26 players have signed up. Shawn and I decide to play and the field almost maxes out at 28. Play begins. That is probably where I should leave it for this tournament. I didn’t see any cards worth while. I did have the opportunity to play 92 offsoot 10 times. There was a lot of preflop raising on my first table. I was able to steal a blind here and there to get moved to another table after ours busted up. At that table I played two hands, both in LP. I had KJs and lost to KQo with both of us making top pair. Then went out with AJo to AKs with both having ace-high. Those were the best cards I saw the entire time. Not one pocket pair. Even had I played some marginal hands, I wouldn’t have won any of those pots either. Finished in 11th position. I wasn’t too happy, but I beat the two fellers from the previous day. It wasn’t much fun. Too many people treating it like an WSOP event. I wanted to win, but I wasn’t about to be a dick to the entire table.

Side Note: Here is what was especially frustrating. Shawn and I have played many a game of poker. I respected his play since he would win his fair share of our home games while I continued to sit in poker purgatory. We went into the trip with the idea of splitting our winnings on tournaments. I felt pretty confident on this theory. Well, I was the only one that pulled any weight in the tournaments. Not that my 11th place finish is anything to write blogs about, but it was better than the quick exits Shawn displayed. I saw him fold pocket 6s in LP with no raises on the board. Just fold! I would have killed for pocket 6s at my point in the game. Oh well … our next trip will focus on individual performance.

More touring needed to be done. Bought a 24-hour pass on the monorail. Really enjoyed that to get around quickly. In my opinion, it was awfully nice, but hardly the most convenient mode of transportation. You still had to walk for a day and a half to get to a lot of locations. The Wife and I got to check out the Wynn Las Vegas. WOW! Absolutely amazing. Definitely one of the most beautiful hotel/casinos I have ever seen. I couldn’t believe the number of tables, none cheaper than $25 minimum, and the shear number of people that filled each and every table. Several $500 minimum blackjack tables out in the middle. I guess that isn’t high stakes for the Wynn.

I was impressed. I bought the most expensive golf ball ever to add to my collect. $500 for a round at the course. No thanks. $5 for a golf ball … ummmm sure.

Seriously, even if I were a scratch golfer and could afford to play that course, I wouldn’t do it. It is a) too fucking hot and b) $500 for a round of golf. I don’t know. Maybe if I were a scratch golfer I might play. No way would I try to take part in this with my game right now.

A few hours go by … not real sure what happened between those times besides drinking and dinner at the Bellagio buffet. While standing in line, talking about the day’s events, I hear a voice that I recognize pretty well right next to me … Scotty Ngyuen. I ask for a quick picture and he agrees. Extremely nice guy. He is seated before us (OBVIOUSLY) and I’m just giddy for getting the photo. The hostess begins to seat us and I make a joke to Shawn about sitting next to Scotty and sure enough, that is where they put us. I didn’t bother him while he ate dinner. I hate when I see people do that. Plus he was there to meet his girl and they put down more crab legs than I thought humanly possible. After watching them act like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for a little while, I continued to go to the buffet and shovel food into my mouth. Excellent buffet by the way. Scotty took approximately seven phone calls in the 45 minutes of eating before he left. He left his girl and took care of the tip. His girl remained for a little while longer. She got up to grab some desert and left the table unoccupied. The thought crossed my mind and Shawn’s to quickly grab her phone and get Scotty’s number, but smarter and sober minds (read the Wives) prevailed.

After the buffet, we hunted down the one table that had a World Poker Tour table game. Interesting. I really don’t remember how it was played, but it was fun and enjoyable. It was heavily favored to the house, but if you hit just one hand you were going to be up. Luckily for Shawn and I, we both did well at that table game.

That was essentially the end of the night. Nothing else really to report. More drinking at one of the casino bars.

DAY 4 – I’m on the Floor

Honestly, didn’t do much in the way of gambling on Day 4. The wife and I had to make a trek to the Stardust to see some family friends who basically live there.

Met our friends for happy hour and proceeded to kill some drinks. Last night in Vegas. But, before we can do that, I have more gambling left in me. I don’t feel like anymore blackjack. Not just for the trip. NO. MORE. BLACKJACK. EVER.

I hit up the Three Card Poker game. If you remember, that is my favorite game to play. I continued to do real well there going up $150 in a matter of a few hands. As much as I was enjoying my play … I wanted to be sitting in the guy to my left seat. I was doing very well there. Won on a couple straights, a flush and a three-of-a-kind. Only thing was that I never put more than the $5 minimum bet in the Bonus. The guy to my left had the following four hands in a row, with each bet carrying $25 in the bonus and a $75 bet:

Three 10s, straight, straight, and three Jacks. Trips pay 30-1 and a straight is 6-1. He made his trip up in a matter of four hands. I did well myself and got to even for the previous two days. After he cashed out and left, I felt the karma from the table leave, so I quickly colored up and headed off to a wonderful Italian dinner behind the Flamingo.

After dinner, Shawn and I head back to the Flamingo poker room for the last night of action. Everything came to screeching halt at the tables. Women head upstairs to pack up.

DISCLAIMER: Below consists of several bad beats and incessant whining from the author.

Bought in for $200 and sat down at the 9-handed table. I’m Seat 8.

Dealt KhKd in EP. Button on Seat 4.
Seat 7 – Calls $2, Hero – Raises to $4, Seat 9 – Folds, Seat 1 – Folds, Seat 2 – Calls $4, Seat 3 – Calls $4, Button – Calls $4, SB – Calls $4, BB – Calls $4, Seat 7 – Calls $4

Seven players in - $28 pot (minus rake)

Flop: 9d 3s 5c

SB – Checks, BB – Checks, Seat 7 – Bets $2, Hero – Raises to $4, Seat 2 – Calls $4, Seat 3 – Folds, Button – Folds, SB – Calls $4, BB – Calls $4, Seat 7 – Calls $4

Five players in - $48 pot (minus rake)

Fourth Street: Kc
SB – Bets $4, BB – Folds, Seat 7 – Folds, Hero – Raises to $8, Seat 2 – Folds, SB – Raises to $12, Hero – Raises to $16, SB – Calls $16

Two players in - $80 pot (minus rake)

River: 4c

SB – Bets $4, Hero – merely calls $4

I show my trip Kings. I didn’t like the three clubs on the board, but I seriously didn’t think he had two clubs in his hand. SB flips over the 6c9c for second pair/flush. Trip Kings cracked in an $88 pot. I lost $28 on that hand.

A couple hands later:
Dealt AA in MP. Button on Seat 3

Seat 6 – Calls $2, Seat 7 – Calls $2, Hero – Raises to $4, Seat 9 – Calls $4, Seat 1 – Folds, Seat 2 – Calls $4, Button – Calls $4, SB – Calls $4, BB – Calls $4, Seat 6 – Calls $4, Seat 7 – Calls $4

Eight players in - $32 in pot (minus rake)

Flop: Q 9 3 (rainbow)

SB – Checks, BB – Checks, Seat 6 – Bets $2, Seat 7 – Folds, Hero – Raises to $4, Seat 9 – Calls $4, Seat 2 – Calls $4, Button – Folds, SB – Calls $4, BB – Folds, Seat 6 – Calls $4

Five players in - $52 pot (minus rake)

Fourth Street: 6

SB – Checks, Seat 6 – Bets $4, Hero – Raises to $8, Seat 9 – Calls $8, Seat 2 – Folds, SB – Folds, Seat 6 – Calls $8.

Three players in - $76 pot (minus rake)

River: J

Seat 6 – Bets $4, Hero – Raises to $8, Seat 9 – Calls $8, Seat 6 – Calls $8.

Seat 6 – Shows QJ for two pair
Hero – Shows AA
Seat 9 – Shows A5 (played any Ace down to the end)

$100 pot goes to Seat 6 with a rivered two pair. Why Seat 6 didn’t reraise me in that position I’m not too sure. Unless he thought I had Trips, he had the top two pair. I lost $24 in that pot.

Last Hand of the Night:
Dealt Pocket 6s in LP. Button on Seat 9.
Seat 3 calls $2, Seat 4 calls $2, Seat 5 folds, Seat 6 raises to $4, Seat 7 folds, Hero calls $4, Button calls $4, SB calls the $3, BB calls the $2, Seat 3 calls the $2 and Seat 4 calls the $2.

Seven players in - $28 pot (minus rake)
FLOP: 5 6 T (rainbow)

SB – Checks, BB – checks, Seat 3 – checks, Seat 4 bets $2, Seat 6 calls $2, Hero raises to $4, Button folds, SB folds, BB calls $4, Seat 3 calls $4, Seat 4 calls $4 and Seat 6 folds.

Four players in - $46 pot (minus rake)

Fourth Street: 4 of clubs

I begin to cuss in my head because the premonition in my head told me to get out of hand then. Remembering my luck from the previous few hands, I should have known better.

BB – checks, Seat 3 – checks, Seat 4 – Bets $4, Hero – Raises to $8, BB – folds, Seat 3 – folds, Seat 4 – Calls $4.

Two players in – $62 pot (minus rake)

River: 3 of spades

Seat 4 – Checks, Hero – Checks. I know I am beaten here, especially after the 3 hit the board. I knew he was holding a 7, but I was at least hoping he held a pair of 7s. Nope. He flips over his monster J7o. Luckily, I only lost $16 on this hand.

Preventing myself from going Hellmuth on the table, I flip over my trip 6s and walk away from the table. Cash my chips in and head upstairs to end my Vegas trip.

Those three hands cost me $68 from my stack alone. Playing other random hands here and there cost me the other significant portion of my stack. I started with $200 and walked away with $60. Should have been approximately $180 in profit coming my way.

Tell me if I am wrong here on this play or any play in particular. After calming down and analyzing everything, I don’t think I can be overly pissed anymore because I guess the pot odds were screaming for him and everyone else to play. The amount he stood to win for the little price it cost to play. On the hand with my trip 6s, I understand his play after 4th street, but I cannot believe he stayed in after the flop.

Feel free to lambaste me if I’m acting too much like Hellmuth.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I'll Make This Prediction

With how much I think we will be seeing Full Tilt gear at this year's WSOP, I fully expect the boom that happened to Party Poker to happen to Full Tilt by year's end. They won't have as many players, but they will be close.

Check out yet another media release about their success at the WSOP.

Full Tilt Poker's Professionals Dominate World Series of Poker with Five Final Table Appearances in the Past Three Events

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Too Much Shit

That's what has hit this poker blogosphere this week. I'm not in the mood to post my trip report even though it is finished. Doesn't seem like much else matters at this point.

Go check Pauly and Spaceman.

R.I.P. Charlie.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

U.S. Open & Payne Stewart

For the few of you who have read this here little blog since its early days, you know I have a love for the game of golf. I love to play golf and especially watch golf. I know for many of you that it is too boring to watch on the teevee.

Anyway, this marks the return of the PGA to Pinehurst, the site of Payne Stewart's incredible U.S. Open victory over Phil Mickelson. It was incredible to watch the tournament come down to the final three holes and have four players in contention. But, the best part was to see the excitement in Payne's face as he won. He had a love for life and the game of golf. He was my favorite player. I tried to imitate everything he did on the course, minus the knickers. It was a sad day only months after that victory when he and a few others were killed in a tragic plane crash.

I haven't seen anything yet on the U.S. Open, but I hope some type of tribute is planned on Sunday for Payne. For the golf nuts out there, such as myself, I hope you take a moment to reflect on Payne Stewart and what he meant to the game we all love.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I know I have taken longer than anyone in history typing up a Vegas trip report, huh?

I will try to finish the whole thing in the next few days and just give you all the gory details.

In the meantime, go read this Poker Bot article.

Oh yeah and why you are at it ... go check out the best World Series of Poker coverage on the planet here:

Pauly is kicking ass with at: Tao of Poker
Absolutely the best place for up to the minute World Series of Poker action.

For more stuff - photos included - go check out Poker Player Newspaper and the Poker Prof for more tournament coverage.

Finally, check out Phil Gordon's podcast from the WSOP. I've enjoyed downloading and listening to it every day.

Next year's Vegas trip is scheduled. Happens to fall around the same time to hopefully see her.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cool Stuff

Full Tilt Poker's GreatFull Red Series Promotion Pays Off at the World Series of Poker

This is pretty cool of Full Tilt to do this type of stuff. Pieces of the Pros and now the GreatFull Red Series.

I have no idea how many players each person had to beat to get the 1%, but how awesome would it be to see an extra $7,000 or $2,000 in your bankroll for someone else doing all the work?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Vegas Trip Report - Day Two - Tournament

Woke up around 8 a.m. The wife wanted to make sure she got a chair by the pool and I wanted to have plenty of time to sign up for the morning tournament. Went downstairs to grab some grub and hang with the wife by the pool (the shade for me) for a while. Turns out the pool doesn’t open until 9 a.m.

Sign up for the tournament. Table 2. Seat 1. I hate seat 1. Sitting right next to the dealer and can’t see the people in seats 8 or 9. I had to dispel these thoughts before they clouded any judgments I would make in the tournament. Starts at 10 a.m. so plenty of time to clear the head.

Go back outside and lay by the pool. Read a little bit of my favorite poker book, Championship No-Limit by T.J. Cloutier. I don’t know why I just said who it was written by … the three people reading this know that already. I’m sure I looked like a dweeb out there reading “the gambling” books. To those people who think that way … eff off!

About ten minutes before the tournament was to begin, I get up and head inside. Take my seat and see that about 24 people had signed up. Not too bad, but I wanted the full 30 players.

Info on the tournament. Buy-in = $50+5. $48 went to the pool. $2 went to the dealers. Players begin with $1,000 in chips. Blinds begin at $25/$50 and double every 20 minutes.
Payouts: 1st – 70%, 2nd – 20%, 3rd – 10%

Based on the payout structure, I felt it was appropriate to read T.J. Top three is where the money is—so focus on finishing there. I was gunning for first nonetheless.

Before the tournament kicks off, I had to listen to this woman who wouldn’t shut the fuck up at the $2/4 table. I could tell she was from Boston from her accent. She was inquisitive to what was beginning. I explained it was the daily tournament and it was capped at 30 players.

The following conversation only lasted approximately two minutes.

“Well, you don’t have a full table,” she says.

“It’s still a few minutes before it is to begin and people are still coming,” I say back politely.

“But your table isn’t full.” I try to ignore her. “How many players?”


“You only have five at your table.”

“Right, that is what the other tables are for.”

“But, you only have five at your table.”

Another player sat down at that moment.

“Know we have six. Make you any happier?” I say.

“How much does it pay?”

“Not sure. Depends on the number of players.”

“You only have six at your table.”

“Do you not see the other people sitting and standing around the other two tables?”

“They’re playing in it too?”

“Yes, that is what makes this a 30-person tournament.”

The other players at the table could tell I was getting pissed and they began to try their best too. If the poker room would have allowed headphones, I would have reached into my pocket to pull out mine.

“Should I play?”

“No. Sign-ups are over,” another player says.

“Guess I’ll stay here. I won $500 for hitting the royal flush.”

“How much you have in front of you now?” he said.


“How much you start with?”


“How long you been playing?”

“About six hours.”

“So, you’re only up $20 bucks after six hours?”

“No, I’m up $500 or more.”

“No, you didn’t beat anyone for that money. The casino gave that to you for high hand of the day.”


“Yeah … maybe you should try another game,” said the player to my left.

And with that, she got pissed and left. Longest. Two. Minutes. Ever.

After some table rearranging, the tournament kicks off with eight players to a table. I still had shitty seat one! I began to survey my table. Several people wanted to play the part of “badass” with their sunglasses and hats pulled all the way down. I really wanted to ask why, but I didn’t.

Started off pretty tight for the first two orbits. I didn’t see anything worth playing. The other tables were a little crazier. I was going to be too with the blinds doubling every 20 minutes and only starting off with $1K in chips. I think three or four people were eliminated in a few minutes.

Finally in LP, I see 77. Only two limpers ahead of me, so I pop it for a raise of $300. My goal was to take the pot right then and be happy with the $175. Everyone folded so I guess it worked. I didn’t want to get into a footrace with anyone holding overcards.

Not too much was happening. A couple players from each table were eliminated, so they consolidated tables. I was stealing some blinds and protecting mine well mostly. I looked up and saw we were down to 18 players. Well, I've beat six right?

I really wish I would have been taking more copious notes during the tourney to keep track of average chip counts and the pertinent information.

Long story short. I win a couple decent pots and we make it down to a final table of nine. I was roughly 4th or 5th in chips at that table. I decided to play conservative and treat this table just like a Party Poker SNG.

We got down to the final four and I was third in chips. Just waiting for one person to make a mistake. I knew it wasn't going to be me. Ultimately, 2nd chip stack and chip leader got into it. Chip stack two went down and we were in the money. Now I was 2nd in chips. Third place guy was down to the felt two or three times and kept catching a little life. He took a pot off of me and took a pot or two off the chip leader. He was all-in against the chip leader with 83o vs. K7 and spiked a 3 on the river.

"No offense guy, but I just want you to leave," I said. Blinds were somewhat high at this point and my stack was getting low too.

I look down at my hand and see A5o after Guy goes all-in again. I call. He flips up Tc9c. Avoid clubs, but cannot avoid the T on fourth street. Again ... he would not go away.

I'm down to $2,000 in chips with the blinds at $500/$1,000. This is where I was a little on tilt from the previous couple hands from that Guy.

I moved all-in in the dark. Guy of course calls me. The guy in the safari hat stays out of the way. Guy flips up 77. Great. Guess I'll take a look at my hand ... 72o. At least I went out in style.

So I cashed anyways. Apparently those two guys made a deal after a few hands.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Rest of Trip Report is Coming

I will try to work on this tomorrow and have it posted tomorrow night. Come back later.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Las Vegas Trip Report -- Up to and Day One

Friday, May 20, 2005

The day that I couldn’t wait for finally arrived. No, that was not the departure day, but it was at least the last day of work for over a week. We were leaving Cincinnati to handle some things up at the Wife’s hometown and lake house.

Still needed to pack a few things, so I was a little rushed gathering my final things. No biggie … all the important stuff was packed. Took off and headed to Wife’s hometown.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Had to handle a few things at the lake house. You know – simple stuff such as launching the boat, making sure the boat lift is operational, launch the wave runner, and get the house in order. Now, the weather hasn’t been the hottest in recent weeks, so the water wasn’t real warm. Let’s just say that I had to check for my manhood after the getting the wave runner back.

Left for Indianapolis and now it was only a matter of hours until takeoff. Ordered some of the best pizza and chicken wings I have ever had from Mickey and Bill’s Pizza. Let me tell … this place has the best wings ever! Absolutely huge and everything was a meaty leg, not itty bitty wings.

Caught some shut eye … as much as I could. Anticipation was building!

Sunday, May 22, 2005 – DAY ONE

Arrive in Las Vegas and boy are we ready. My friend Shawn couldn’t get out of the Gate before he gambled a little. Hit a $.25 machine and promptly lost $5. A sign of things to come?

The Wife wasn’t in sensory overload as much as I had predicted. She adjusted really well. Since we arrived at 9 a.m. Vegas-time, she wasn’t as impressed because all she had ever seen were photos with all the glitz and glamour of the neon lights. I told her the sun hadn’t gone down so don’t get upset yet.

First tour of duty was to check-in and get our rooms, except we knew that wouldn’t happen for about four hours. Shawn and I swing by to see the Flamingo poker room and all of its glory! Yep, all six tables! There was one limit game going at the time and we were curious about the daily tournaments. Got the info and then we had to appease the women. They had one thing on their minds … Thunder from Down Under POOL! I wasn’t against checking out the pool and boy am I glad we did?!?! The eye candy out there was amazing. Now this was a Sunday, so all lifeguards were working and slides from pool-to-pool were going. The lifeguards were worth drowning.

After playing cabana boys and finding our lovely ladies chairs kicking older ladies out of their chairs Shawn and grab some time for poker. We knew we could check on the girls in about five hours and they would never know how much time passed. Bought them each a yard-long Flamingo drink to keep them tidied over.

Head inside to sign up for the tables. Just opened up a new table and looking for two to three more people to fill it up. How appropriate! Unfortunately we had to sit right next to each other. Shawn being the dickhead nice friend he is sat directly to my left. Now Shawn and I have played many a home game together and I respect his play a great deal. We had an agreement going to Vegas that we would split any tournament table winnings, but not side games. Simple enough.

Bought in for $100 at a $2/4 game. I usually like to have 50BB for my buy-in, but I quickly surveyed the table and saw that is what most players had in front of them. Plus, this was my actual first poker room experience in Vegas. Start slow and gain momentum, right?

I didn’t grab my pad and pen before we checked our luggage, so I wasn’t able to take any notes on the hands doing this session, except for the one hand that I memorized. Watched Shawn blow most of his stack. I don’t know why he thought Ace high was good for a lot of hands. Maybe I won’t respect his game as much from now on. He got down to $20 bucks from his $100 buy-in when he was dealt KK. I don’t remember the position he was in or the flop. I know he ended up getting his last $20 in the pot with three callers and took down the almost $60 pot (minus rake) and he was back in the game.

Several hands later, after watching some guy catch Trip 3s with his monster 83s hand and win a nice pot, I’m dealt KK. Again, I don’t particularly remember my position in consideration to the button, but as you can probably tell, that didn’t matter much for these players. I remember that preflop it was raised twice before it even got to me. I sat there, and I’m sure I gave away a tell with a dumbfounded look on my face, thinking, “I’m sitting here with KK and it has already been raised twice?” Now, in a NL tournament, I would probably fold in that situation (unless it was these players in the tournament). I decide to cap it at $8 and three players see the flop.

3 3 J (rainbow)

I begin cussing in my head (you’ll notice I do this a lot on this trip) because I’m sure some dickhead, no, not Shawn (he folded already) had a 3. I decide that I’m going to fire away regardless. A bet of $2 is out there, I raised it to $4. Both players call. I begin to think that if I had the 3 I probably would have raised? Maybe not.

Fourth Street – 8

A bet of $4 is out there. I raise to $8. One folds. Down to two players.

River – 3

“Motherfucker. Rotten son-of-a-bitch!” Just screaming that in my head, not out loud. The Flamingo has rules against berating other players or screaming obscenities. Hellmuth won’t be playing there. Well, now I have the decision to make. I like the amount in the pot but I hate seeing that third 3 remembering that one of the players still in the hand played the 83s earlier.

Player 1 checks. Hero bets $4. Player 1 raises to $8. My poker face here wasn’t so good I’m sure. Hero raises to $12. Player 1 thinks for a few minutes making me think “I’m good!” Player 1 calls.

Player 1 flips J5. Hero flips KK!

The guy looked defeated (and he was). He flopped the highest two pair on the board, but I would have at least thought he might think the other 3 was out there too. He finally said nice hand and I scooped up the $89 pot. That got me to about +60 for the time being. I wasn’t going to be the guy who scoops a large pot and walks away either.

Unfortunately, I got a little lax after that and chased some flops and wasn’t very smart. I ended up giving a good amount of it away, some to Shawn when I had the best and gave him credit for a better hand … so I mucked. He played that hand well. About the last one I saw him play really well.

Some more time lapsed and we had to get up. That was the only pot worth mentioning. I ended up about $20 for the time being. High hopes were floating in my head.

Go check on the women and find them about 2½ sheets to the wind. Just about 3 sheets. They had a couple more of the Flamingo yard drinks and were feeling quite good.

A few hours pass until we grab a little bite to eat (nothing good to report there) and went to ‘O’ at the Bellagio. In time to pick up the ducats and get a good drink or two. Two rows from the top for $100 per ticket. Another $40 bucks for two drinks, a chocolate covered strawberry and bottle water for the Wife. I figure the theatre sits about 2,000 people. Tickets range from $100-300 (I think). Just doing a safe estimate that every ticket is $200 and every couple spends another $40 in drinks/snacks – that’s $480,000 per show. Two shows per night - $960,000 per night. They are dark on Mondays and Tuesdays, so that leaves five nights a week to make some money. By my calculations that comes to $4,800,000 per week. Not too shabby huh? For the year – $249,600,000. I know it took me two months advance to book my tickets. I would tend to think this isn’t the only way the Bellagio turns a profit.

About the show. I cannot go into too much detail because I was on visual overload. There was so much to watch. The performers were amazing. They did stuff that I didn’t think was humanly possible. The contortionists had me thinking dirty thoughts. It was amazing. Let’s just leave it at that. Oh yeah … I had a thought about that girl I met one night talking about going to Vegas to try out for a Cirque Du Soleil show. Man was she hot. I love gymnasts!

Left and we were about gassed for the night. I know. I know. Like I said, this wasn’t my typical trip. Normally I can go for two days straight with about 30 minutes of rest. But I didn’t feel like coming home alone.

More to come.