December 11 & 12, 2005

Posted by in Vegas

I apologize for the delay in finishing up the trip report, but I’ve been sidelined for the past few days thanks to the Great Vegas Avian Flu Outbreak of 2005. I suppose I should be thankful that it held off long enough for me to complete finals and attend my family Christmas, but it’s seriously interfered with my planned slackage. Sleeping all day just because you want to is far better than sleeping all day because you lack the energy to do much more. You will ignore any typos or misspellings in this post, because the Nyquil has renendered me unable to distingush various letters, and everyone knows you go to hell if you pick on someone who is sick. And you know what? All the poker games in hell feature Norman Chad and Mike Sexton.

Honestly, I am trip-reported out. Personally, mine are way too long and I doubt you find these events half as interesting as I did. At any rate, I need to finish this up, if for no other reason than to make Falstaff happy and tell the story of Red Shirt. I’m leaving a lot out in the interest of time and well, interest. So much of what I have left to say has already been written by others. The Storming of the Castle, with Donkeypuncher’s runner-runner quads, and JoeSpeaker and I collecting dollars from G-Rob with the ease of a knowing stripper.

I think I only finished a few dollars ahead in prop-bets with G-Rob that night, as earlier in the evening I had bet him $5 that he couldn’t double up at the 1/2 NL game. I knew it was a losing bet, but it was Vegas and I think the oxygen-infused air makes you turn an eye to that sort of thing. That’s the only way I can explain my sitting down at a blackjack table upon my return to the IP that night.

Shortly after we lost DP and Speaker from the game, the table broke and Falstaff and I moved over to another NL table, this one featuring F-Train and Katkin. Certainly no easy money to be made here. I had doubled-up my buyin at the previous table and somewhere along the way (maybe that 30 minute trip CJ and I took to the McDonald’s upstairs) I decided that I could freeroll for the rest of the night and relax, have a beer or two, and bray like a donkey.

No better place to do that than the 2/6 Vegas Hold’Em game that was still going strong at the other end of the room. I sat down near the wheel and found Geek on my right and Chilly on my left. I think I won one hand in the hour+ that I played, but as usual I had a great time losing. I re-raised a pre-flop raise from the Geek with the hammer, and got caught once he picked my 2 to turn over. Can’t really hide what the other card is there. I was actually the winner until that damn river card…

Early Sunday morning I was vaguely aware of Heather getting up early and heading out. I woke up around 11 and told myself that I really did need more sleep. I knew I was missing the gang at the Sportsbook, but I figured it was best for everyone that I miss another Texans loss. (I’m not very pretty when pissed). I forced myself back to sleep for a few more hours.

I got to Mandalay Bay shortly before half-time in the Chiefs/Cowboys game (and others too, but that was the only one I cared about). Jason filled me in on how the Texans had blown it again. I got felt up more times than I can count. I joined the betting on Mr. Otis and dragged Jaxia to do the same. We led the way in rubbing our tickets on Otis for good luck, but Mr. Otis didn’t have the winning spirit of his human counterpart.

I placed a half-time bet on the Cowboys for my dad, and as a result found myself cheering for them, something I do only in times of neccessity, like in that post-Oilers pre-Texans darkness. I took more pictures here than I had all trip, and enjoyed just hanging out everyone. My only regret was not joining the lovely Eva at the bar for some drunken video poker.

Games over, dinner was suggested. I joined BG, the Heads, Prof, and thg for a nice meal at 3950. Not much I can add to the reviews already done – just another great meal in Vegas with even better company. It was a pleasure getting to know everyone better, even if our conversation did lead the Prof to ask BG for the over/under on Bill dying a scuba-related death.

Dinner over, we say goodbye to BG and thg, and then decide to catch up with everyone and head over to the MGM Grand. I happily oblige, and Bill is a gentleman and lags behind with me while I limp along. We arrive in the poker room to find JoeSpeaker and CJ at the final table of the tourney. A bit winey and tired, I take a seat and watch the tourney play out. CJ wins it all, and I conduct his exit interview and graciously accept his gift of MGM-logo’d card protector he won along with his payout.

Falstaff tells me that he and Shelly have signed up for the 1/2 NL game and he convinces me to do the same. I get seated at a table apart from them, and Falstaff is nice enough to bring me my chips. (This is more than just me singing his praises, this little detail factors in later).

I’m in the 7 seat, in between a overly-coifed blond in a velour track suit, and what I am soon informed is a mail-order Asian bride; her husband standing behind her watching approvingly as she runs over the table. The rest over the table is standard MGM fare – tourists out to have a good time, knowing just enough about the game to get themselves into trouble, and the typical know-it-all, “I’ve seen every episode of the WPT” guys.

I was a little worried about hitting the tables on a Sunday night, figuring that the tourists would have long taken off for the airport. That wasn’t the case here, as the table was relatively light-hearted and friendly, at least at my end of the table. I played only a few hands with this bunch, each time coming in with a raise. My raise with Kings was met with four callers. Yay!! Kings do so well in multi-way pots!! Thankfully there was no ace on the flop, instead low cards that posed a possible flush draw. Therefore I bet out big. Fold, fold, fold, until it came around to one of the TV boys. He thought. And thought. And finally decided to muck, announcing that “I saw that guy who brought you your chips, the one in the Full Tilt hat. You hang with him, you must know what you’re doing.” He continues to explain his reasoning to the others around him – “I saw that hat. I pay attention to these things, pick up on that kind of stuff.” Wait. You just folded to me because I hang out with a guy who plays at Full Tilt?? That makes me a good player??? Have you ever played on that site????? I stiffle the urge to laugh and go on about the game.

A little while later I look up and see Falstaff and Shelly seated together, along with Ryan and Alan. I ask the floor for a seat change when a spot opens, and explain to my table that it’s not personal, but I’d rather play with friends. I get moved and find myself in the 10 seat, across from Ryan and an Isabelle clone (not in looks Gene!).

I hate the 10 seat, so I move over to the 2 seat once it opens. This puts me next to Alan, Shelly, and Falstaff, and opens up my seat for a Geek. When Isabelle leaves, her seat is taken by a cocky young gun in a red sweatshirt.

It wasn’t long before he got on our list. From Falstaff:

If ever I doubted that bloggers could throw cards with the best of them, all doubts were set aside when I watched April turn it up a notch after painting a bulls eye on this poor stoopid kid at our table Sunday night. This dumb bastard sat down and sucked out harsh on the Geek, then gloated a little about how he “had the cards.”

Hey Doogie, bad move. And news flash: Q-10 off suit isn’t strong enough to call a raise preflop in early position.

The lovely April went from jolly April to Chick On a Mission like the flip of a switch. And it was thing of beauty. I’m waiting for her to post all the gory details, since I had to leave and pack before she was done having her way with him, but I contributed to his tilt in my own, small way.

I already wasn’t a fan of red shirt the moment he sat down, picking up on his cocky attitude. I can deal with those types though, just ignoring them and then letting them do the betting for me when I have a monster. But when it affects a friend…and then you gloat about it? I instantly dubbed him Red Shirt (see Brown Shirt for background) and vowed that some way, he’d go down. All the joy from flopping a boat was outweighed by my disappointment that Red Shirt wasn’t in the hand. I knew I could have lured a nice bit of chips away from him then. No worries though, as my chance would soon come.

I raise pre-flop with Aces. Red Shirt thinks and then re-raises, stating “I have Kings”. “Then I put you all-in”, is my reply. And because people at the MGM Grand are largely of an intelligence level only slightly higher than that of my cat (meaning they aren’t distracted by shiney objects. Much), Red Shirt called.

Oh yes, I suppose I could have been pulling some advanced psychology move, thinking I could get someone in a 1/2 NL game to lay down Kings when they had already committed themselves to the pot, all while I held a far inferior hand. But I find, in general, when you tell someone you have a hand that can be beaten by only one other hand, and their reponse is to quickly and confidently bet all-in – they probably have that hand.

I flip over my Aces while Red Shirt keeps his cards to himself. Flop is all low cards. Turn is a King. A collective “oooo” comes up from the table, Red Shirt smirks, and I smile sweetly. Nothing I can do. While the thought of losing my $200+ profits hurts, it’s poker – I got my money in with the best of it. River is a blank and Red Shirt finally turns over his cards – Queens. Everyone laughs and I collect the pot that now puts me up over $400 for the night. I get up and happily inform Geek that I busted Red Shirt for him. Mission complete, I can go back to playing for fun now.

I headed back to the IP with Alan and Ryan, very pleased with my night at the MGM. Check-out was sadly only a few hours away…

Heather and I woke up Monday morning and spent quality time together before heading downstairs to check out. We ran into Alan and Travis in the baggage check line and made plans to have lunch. Wanting something quick, we decided on the IP buffet. After eating, Alan and Travis decided to take a seat in the poker room, while I joined Heather back in the casino. At a blackjack table. I lost another $100, this time though making it last longer, but only due to the overly chatty nature of our dealer. She was full of stories to tell, only she couldn’t quite deal cards while telling them. I remained with Heather after my blackjack bust out until it was time for she and Chad to head to the airport.

On my own, I had a bit of a dilemma. I wanted to go back to the MGM. I figured I could squeeze in an hour or so at the tables, plus I never got a chance to hit the gift shop and get an MGM sweatshirt to replace the MGM t-shirt I would be unable to wear for the next few months. But going to the MGM meant walking. Plus, bloggers were upstairs playing poker – it made the most sense to join them for my last hours in Vegas.

I took an open seat at the $4/8 limit table that Alan and Bobby Bracelet were at. The rest of the table was older locals, and the guys had them laughing and joking about how they’d be able to read all about themselves on the internet the next day. My table nemisis came in the form of the old guy in the white button-down shirt who sat at the end of the table oposite me. My two-pair was crushed when he rivered his flush, calling me all the way down despite my raises and re-raises. I got it back when I flopped a boat and “played it perfectly”, getting “as much money as you were going to from him”. I don’t know about that, he probably would have called a raise on the turn, since his willingness to do so was well documented, but still it was nice to hear. Plus there’s something funny about having a table full of grandpas playing a “man’s game” and scared of a girl in a Texas sweatshirt.

I left that game having made back my blackjack losses and a bit more. Joanne and her husband graciously saw me off to the airport and I limped my way to the gate and awaited my flight’s departure. While waiting I checked my 151 e-mails and whined about having to leave.

Another great time in Vegas in the books. I had planned to play less poker this time, and I did, but still put in quite a bit of time at the tables. This time though I was always with friends when doing so. There’s always someone new to hang out with at these gatherings. While I regret not getting to spend a lot of time with the G-Vegas crew and the CantHangs, I got to know Alan, Ryan, Falstaff, and see more of Mr. Speaker than the brief hello we had in June. There’s no point to having an agenda to these gatherings – the memories you leave with rarely involve the people you would have planned them to when you arrived. I think, at this rate, assuming no more growth in the community, that by the 15th WPBT trip, I’ll have spent quality time with everyone.