Saturday, 6/4/05

Posted by in Poker

I’m trying not to think about the fact that a week ago, I was happily in Vegas. As a friend of mine said to another last night, “The thing is, she’d pack up and move tomorrow.” Well…let’s just say it’s a good thing that UNLV has a boring-looking political science department. Not that I’ve checked or anything… 😉

I woke up Saturday morning feeling awful. Given the option, I would have preferred to curl up in bed all day, but as I told John, “there are some things you just can’t miss”, and the Aladdin tournament was certainly one of them. We headed over, found that we were one of the early birds (a rare moment for me), paid our entry fees, and got our table assignments.

I’m glad Halverson remembers the entire table, because I sure don’t. All I remember is Pauly, BadBlood, Halverson, Chris (PokerGeek), Shelly, and Heather. I was not liking my table, particularly because of Chris. One of the drawbacks of railbirding him so much is that I’ve learned when he raises it can be anything – which is what makes him great in tournaments, but not when you’re on the other side of the table. So when the first hand came out, and he oh so casually raised, I was thinking “Great. This is how it’s gonna be. I know how he plays. He’s gonna do this the whole time, and I’m not in the mood to even try to out play him.” When he turned over his cards and yelled “Hammer!” though – the look on his face was priceless and the whole room cheered – a perfect way to start off the tourney.

My AQ hand against Poker Pro Chris Halverson cost me a lot of chips. Honestly, I had a feeling all along that he had AK. It made sense – he raised and was betting the ace, showing absolutely no hesitation in doing so. He was fearless! So why did you keep calling April? Well…I have no good answer to that. Similar to my boat over boat from the night before, and a hand that would occur later that evening, my weakness was out in full force – my stubbornness, my inability to listen to myself and just lay a damn hand down. Thankfully that river came a King, so I knew then I was most likely really beat, and that snapped me to.

I played a few hands, calling blinds but not hitting flops, bleeding chips. I felt like crap, honestly, and while I didn’t want to be the first one out of the tourney, I wasn’t in the mood to play. I wasn’t even trying to steal blinds or make any fancy plays – not that it would have likely worked at this table. Then, finally, short stacked and in the blinds, I look down to see what is still, for the moment, my “signature” hand – AA. My move here was simple, and got even simpler when BadBlood raised enough to put me all in. I quickly called, thinking this would be an easy double-up and I could survive a little longer. We both flipped over our cards; he had Kings. We both flopped a set, and the noise from our table quickly drew a crowd. It was dramatic. There was just one little problem…every card on the board was black, matching up nicely with BB’s cards. My aces? Red. Turn was another black card, and the river? Club or spade, I don’t remember, but it was the one that gave BadBlood the flush that he needed to crack my set of Aces, and I was out second. I’d put the hand in the Bad Beat O’Meter, but I don’t remember the exact details of each card…suffice to say though, I’m pretty sure it would be off the charts. 😉

I can’t say I was terribly upset. I got my chips in with the best hand, and at the very least I had the best bad beat story to tell. I admit I was a little relieved that I no longer had to try and muddle my way though the tournament – much easier to sit at the bar (a/k/a Losers Lounge) and chat with PokerNerd. There the only pressure was that in my head, and hey – vodka and cranberry juice is great for curing a cold, right? If not, I’m sure Al can think of something…

And sure enough, a few hours later he did, when as things were winding down (meaning, the Losers Lounge was getting a bit busier) I mentioned I still had not yet had a SoCo experience. That was quickly remedied, and we put in a dial-a-shot to Joanne in the process.

After watching the exciting conclusion of the tournament, I had a nice lunch that I’ve already gotten shit for, because it was with a large portion of the LA blogger contingent. Hey – what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? Except there are pictures

Then it was off to La Salsa, where the margaritas are sold by the yard apparently. I’m pretty sure there was a warning on the cold medicine about not mixing with alcohol, but ah…who pays attention to those things? I know I felt absolutely awful, so I was no fun, but I did get some time in with Pauly and The Fat Guy, and with Travis and Gracie. I’m still thinking about why we Americans find it so funny to tease Canadians Travis…I have a theory or two. I remember us (John, Gracie, Pablo, Nancy, Travis, Benjy) deciding to head back downtown for dinner and poker. I do not remember how we got there.

I know we decided to eat at the Golden Gate, renowned for their spectacular shrimp cocktail. We entered to find a line, but decided we could manage. After all, they were serving drinks! The Plaza was so close by….I was tempted to go to bed, but made do by just leaning on John and drinking water – no way in hell was I going to call it quits. I ended up being so glad I didn’t, because what followed was one of my best nights in Vegas. Even after Matt showed up! 😉

While waiting in line for dinner, Travis decides to play a little video poker. I am not a video poker kind of gal. In fact, as he won on one of the machines, Gracie said “He hit five of a kind!” and I replied “How the fuck do you hit five of a kind?”. The “deuces wild” concept was explained to me, and I went back to sleep. Travis was on a roll. He proceeded to win on three machines back to back as we moved through the line, bucketing a massive mountain of…nickels.

So what do you do with so many nickels when you’re sitting at dinner? Use them to play limit hold’em of course. Pablo just happened to have a deck of cards on him, Travis had won us chips, and if you ran a little short, there was a supply of sugar packets that nicely served as one big bet. (Feel free to use these rules for your own restaurant nickel poker games). Our salads arrived, there was talk of quitting the game; but it was decided that REAL players wouldn’t let something as silly as lettuce get in the way of poker. Although that shrimp sundae…

It was sitting there at dinner, looking at this table of friends, some new, some old, that I thought – “This is what I came to Vegas for – silly little moments like this one”. Thanks guys.

After dinner it was real poker time! We headed over to the Golden Nugget and found ourselves seated next to a loud table playing a mixed game. Not sure where they find these people! We were joined by Scott (FatGuy) and we’re really having a blast. I was doing well, up a stack or two, and then everyone’s favorite reader, Matt from Austin, stopped by to railbird a bit. When Scott left us, Matt sat down to take his place. He was just going to play a few hands; waiting for a phone call he said. Uh huh.

Tell them about the straight!
Posted by: Matt Stephans at June 7, 2005 11:46 PM

Oh don’t worry. 🙂 Memorable little hand that was. Three players; myself, Matt, and tourist fishie. I made the broadway straight on the turn, fishie…I don’t know what fishie was thinking. Fishie had an Ace, and was happily calling bets and raises, hell, even raising himself once that river came. Fucking river. A reoccuring theme for me that day. The river was a 10, which paired the board, and gave Matt a full house. To be fair, Matt did warn me, with a “You’re screwed”, but, as was my problem earlier in the day, I just couldn’t put it down. There was enough raising and re-raising on the river that big flashing lights and screaming alarms should have been going off, but I was in the middle of a war to cap, and with each bet I called I dug myself deeper in a hole I was not going to get out of. Matt took in a nice $200ish pot, right as his phone rang, calling him away from the casino.

Fortunately, that was a good game, and I managed to leave only $3 down. We headed over to the Plaza, where rumor had it there was a bunch of degenerate gamblers hanging out. Gracie and crew headed up to the infamous Casino 2351, John sat down at a game, while I got a lesson on craps from Hank and his friend Matt, then later took a tour of the casino offerings with Travis, Grubby, and Mike. Travis had doubled his video poker winnings earlier by making another successful run on even more machines, and so we decided to hit the blackjack tables and run it up some more! Under Grubby’s watchful eye…I proceeded to lose $20 in a rather unspectacular fashion. Then Mike explained baccarat to me, which I now know is the stupidest casino game ever. But I’m better off for my lessons in -EV and I thank each of my teachers. I’ll never forget the glamorous classroom that was the Plaza Casino.

Coming up: If you can’t spot the sucker at the table…