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.

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