Sunday, 6/5/05

Posted by in Poker

Ah, Sunday. The first day with absolutely nothing planned, so sleeping in was definitely called for.

After an attempted breakfast turned lunch at the Plaza buffet with Hank and Matt, I found myself in the Plaza poker room once again, seeing many familiar faces gathered around the tables. It was quite the blogger turn out in the Plaza’s daily tournament, and we had high hopes for a blogger-only final table.

While we were waiting, Hank and I decided to play in a $3/$6 game and were soon joined by Shelly and John. Shelly and I are freezing and the waitress can’t bring the hot chocolate around fast enough. [Hey look – a good thing about the Plaza! They have good hot chocolate.] The game however, sucked, filled with old regulars – no easy money to be made here. Hank left after a few orbits and went to play blackjack. Immediately, I win hands, hitting a flush, straight, and even dropping the hammer. I share news of my successful hammer drop with Heather, who’s playing at the nearby NL table, and inform Hank that he is bad luck.

John was due to fly out in a few hours, so we decided to cash out and get him off to the airport. But on our way out of the casino, we ran into BG and Jason, on their way to the sportsbook. Surely we have time for a little horse betting? Of course!

BG points to the row of screens above the bar and identifies the upcoming race we’re betting on. “Pick the one you want and then come over here and place your bet.” Not being the sophisticated gambler, I replied “Those are just numbers! I need the names before I can decide.” This particular race offered an outstanding choice with the name CallMeTony – and when it’s your first time betting on the horses, under the guidance of BG – could there be a better selection? In addition, his odds were 7/2 – all the signs were there. Possibly the only other contender was the #2 horse, Sure Thing Eva. So I decide to play it safe and bet them both to win, place, or show.

I watched BG place his bet, listening carefully to his words, so I would know exactly what to say when my turn came. Jason was up next, and placed his bet. Then it was my turn, slowly and carefully parroting the phrases that Pauly and BG were feeding me. “Perfect” BG said. I took my little white slip of paper from Boris, the man behind the sportsbook counter, and went to watch the action on one of the TVs at the bar.

Since Eva wasn’t there to cheer on her namesake horse like BG was, I decided that a shot of SoCo was needed to bring Sure Thing Eva some luck. No one joined me in this though. We watched the race, cheering CallMeTony on to a first place victory, and Eva on to a fourth place finish. I’m convinced that if more people had done SoCo shots, Eva would have shown. Back we went to visit Boris, cashing in our tickets – thanks to Tonys equine and human, I was starting the day off nicely.

John and I grabbed a cab to take him to the airport, said our goodbyes, and then I uttered those three little words that set me all aflutter – “MGM Grand please”. I called my twin and Shelly on the way to see if they wanted to join me. Shelly was doing well at the Plaza, but said she’d head over shortly.

My plan for the night was to play a little NL. I hadn’t done that in a casino, since Colorado doesn’t allow it, and the NL games in Tahoe were $200 minimum buy-in, $500 max. The MGM had $1/$2 NL, and I figured I’d give it a try. I arrived to find the typical long list, so I signed up for both $2/$4 and the NL game. While doing so, I chatted with the woman handling the sign-ups and she mentioned that she had just sat someone at the NL game…

“I’m not sure how long it will be for the NL. I just sat a major fish down at a table full of sharks.”

I laughed. “Oh really?”

“Yea. He asked for these directions on how to play Hold’Em, and then he asked if we had them in French. I’m hoping he lasts a while, but I think they’re going to eat him alive.”

I’d like to think it was the cold medicine that dulled my senses to all the little warning bells that should have been going off. I ignored them.

I got called for the $2/$4 table and played an orbit or two there, then moved over to the NL table once the spot opened up. I took my seat and patiently waited for my blind, and took note of my table. But not enough note, or else I would have gotten my ass up. The max buyin for this table was $200. Quite a few of the guys at the table had stacks of well over $500 in front of them. Then there was the guy who sat down on my left, and mentioned he was a teacher. I asked what he taught. “Poker” he replied. Oh.

Hmm…I think I know what happened to French fishie…

I was a little intimidated, but I reminded myself that these were the same kind of guys that I played against online. I knew how to play NL. I waited for the very best cards, not falling to the temptation to call raises with KT in late position, even if they were s000ted. I got baby pockets, raised it up, got no respect at all despite the fact that I had played nothing, didn’t flop my set, and got out. My trouble hand though, was appropriately enough, with AJ. It was raised to me pre-flop, and I called. I flopped top-pair, bet out a decent amount (sorry, I didn’t take notes and I really don’t remember) and got called. The turn came a low card, and wasn’t particularly scary. I bet and was re-raised a sizable portion of my stack. I thought. I thought a lot. I became more aware of the fact that I was thinking more than I really should have to. I called, counting out all of my red chips and a lot of white ones. The river came another low card, bringing home all sorts of straight draws. I check, it’s bet, I think; wanting to call, feeling that I have to call, but yet…remembering that no, I don’t. I fold, having donated a nice chunk of change.

The guy on my right starts to analyze the hand, guessing at what the guy I was heads-up with had. He puts him on a set of Jacks. That thought never even occurred to me. “Or a higher set of pockets”, the guy replies. Yea. Never even thought about that one either. I’ve been playing limit with tourists way too long. In poker, your opponents actions are their way of telling you about their hand – if they’re smart enough. Playing casino limit for a month has made me numb to that. The realization that I was completely outplayed was humbling. I remembered something that DoubleAs had said to me – that when he focused on his limit game, his NL game suffered, and vice versa. I knew I shouldn’t be at that table. I wasn’t in the NL frame of mind, and hadn’t been for quite some time. And it will most likely be a while before you see me back at my usual NL tables online – need to work out the kinks before I jump back in.

Shelly, April, & her friend Maura showed up about this time and we decide to grab dinner before settling in for a night of poker. Shelly did a great write-up of dinner, so I’m gonna steal it from her. 😉

We ate at the Rainforest Cafe – good stuff, though I was a bit disappointed with the thunderstorms. And if I hear one more person scream, “Volcano!” I might scream. I enjoyed the conversation at dinner though. April H. and Maura had scored some sort of We’re the Shiznit cards, which allowed us to bypass the waiting list for priority seating, and then get a free appetizer. These girls know how to live. April ( Texas ) and I picked the tomatoes out of the bruschetta and discovered that we’ve got very similar peculiar eating habits. (Yes, we know – bruschetta IS tomatoes! But the juice is yummy!) Tasty morsels indeed at the Rainforest Cafe. April A. and I washed our meals down with cold medicine. (Thank you SO much – girl – you saved my life with those Advil Cold n’ Sinus!)

Yes, the great blogger Vegas flu was spreading!

After dinner it was poker time. We were joined by reader Jim, and put our names on the waiting list. I was seated at a table by myself, with the intent of moving over when a spot opened up, but my table was so very good, and so very fun. I quickly made $100, then switched seats so the guy on my left could have his wife sit next to him. It was at this point I noticed the penny that was wedged in one of my chip stacks. That penny never left me when I was playing from that point forward.

A few hours later Geek called and said he was on his way. I put his name on the list and fortunately when he was seated it was with me. Then a little while later I looked up and what to my wondering eyes should appear but Marty and crew squad, racks in tow, headed our way. My night was now officially complete.

Geek and I took a memorable tour of the MGM on the search for a meal for him [note – no matter what anyone might tell you, that little deli by the poker room does indeed close at 1 am on Sunday. Monday. Whatever.] and settled in for another round of fish busting.

We ran into a little bit of a problem though. I’m gonna let Geek tell it, since it seems like his story to tell really. And besides…he needs to fucking blog. 🙂

Shelly, Geek and I left the MGM in the early morning (it was still dark! Who leaves a casino before dawn??) and headed back for the Plaza. I climbed into bed and drifted off to sleep – I didn’t realize it, but I was going need all that I could get for the day I had coming up.

Coming up: Last day all-nighter