2 days as a 1/2 grinder


My wife was in Vegas on business for a few days and asked if I wanted to join her and then stick around to play poker for a few days. Silly question.

I arrived in town on Saturday and her business was already done. Mostly what we did was eat. Lunch Saturday at Olives - very tasty - Dinner at Zefferinos - very tasty/very pricey. Lots of walking the strip. Sunday was breakfast at Bellagio Cafe - who knew you could spend $25/person on breakfast? - walk the strip some w/ a visit to Secret Garden - Pho in TI - some shopping at Forum Shops (Yes, dear I love that $500 orange purse) - dinner at Emeril's Fish House in MGM and then taking in Crazy Horse Paris at MGM. Show was pretty cool - how can mostly naked hot chicks be bad. The only gambling I've done to this point is winning $3 on the penny slots while the wife spends $100 on two ugly tee-shirts at Paris.

Monday the wife wakes up early to head to the airport and after seeing her off it's time to get to pokering. We were at Bally's and I'd be moving over to TI later. It was early on a Monday morning and of course the room at Bally's (and Paris) was completely dead so I wander the strip and end up at PH which has a perfect game going - drunk guys who've been playing all night in a short handed game.

I sit in at PH in the fortunate seat immediately to the left of Drunk Dave. He's apparently a fixture in the PH room. Drunk Dave drinks Coronas at approximately the same rate that you and I breathe air. He's playing mostly ok though but very exploitable - he's hyper aggressive which wins him a lot of pots uncontested but if you make a hand against him you're golden. I'm down a bit from my $200 buy-in when I pick up QQ. Drunk Dave check raise shoves the J high flop and I insta-call and hold against his KJ.

A bit more up and down and I get KK and 3-bet Drunk Dave pre-flop from the SB. I lead the raggedy flop and he calls. I check the raggedy turn to him and he says "I'll put you all in" and I instantly say "I call". Then I say "oh shit". His statement isn't a valid bet. He had put $100 into the pot which isn't enough to cover me. The dealer makes the correct ruling - his bet is $100 and I have to call. I have maybe $60 behind and there's $300+ in the middle. River is an A but I'm committed and shove. Drunk Dave whines over how I caught that A and unintentionally(?) exposes his cards to me while considering(?) his decision. He eventually folds the monster 73o. Tough laydown but good fold sir. Unfortunately I have to leave to check-out and move to TI. I liked the PH room though and would be happy to play there again.

After moving to TI I decide to walk over to the V to play some more. First or second hand at the table I've got KQ and call to see a 3 way flop of KT9. EP guy open shoves. Really? Still I'm not stacking off for 6 or 7 times the size of the pot with top pair. The KQ hits the muck and the guy shows QJ. Apparently he doesn't like to get value. And he's on a monster rush taking down pots left and right. And apparently I'm stupid. I stack off with Q2 on a QQx flop. Rebuy and lose some more med pots. After another loss I drop 2 $100 bills under my stack (cash plays at the V) just in time to wake up to AA. Raise and get called by the luckbox. Flop is J65. Villain (again in EP) open shoves. I'm thinking that villain doesn't realize I have $200+ behind so I point it out and he says he's still all-in. I stupidly call and his J6 holds putting me down around $500 at this point.

Being stubborn though I drop another $200 on the table and a bit later take AsQs into a 3-way raised pot. Flop is KsTsx. PFR checks, luckbox bets $20, I call, PFR c/r's to $50, call, call. Turn is Kc. PFR leads for $50, luckbox calls. This is what I call a dammit moment. I don't want to draw to a straight or flush on a paired board but I'm getting over 5-1 and have the royal draw so I call. River is the 3s. PFR leads for $50, luckbox folds. I have like $75 behind so I stick it in and of course PFR has the TT for a boat. I hate how the hand went down but I'm not entirely sure how I should have played it. Time to retreat and lick my wounds. I was at the V for 2 1/2 hours. Dragged literally 1 pot and dropped 3 buy-ins.

Rest, regroup, re-commit and I'm going to play some more poker. I'm afraid of the V though so I head over to the Mirage. First time I'm playing in this room and I really like it. It's a big room with a lot of tables in play. The seem to have corrected some of the past complaints - there's one podium to sign-up at and an electronic list and I got no surliness from the management. Dealers are all good (though old) and cocktail servers are quick (though old) - there is one young-ish server who looks a bit like Janel Moloney with dark brown hair and when you're sitting at the table at least appears to be 6'5" in her heals. Very striking. At any rate on to the poker.

Lots of up and down small pots here for a long time with nothing really interesting. It's getting late now - maybe 3 or so and the tables are breaking and we get some young guys from another table with fairly deep stacks. The table composition has gone from older local rocks to more young guns. One of the newcomers is sitting on $500+ and has been very active. We're currently 6-handed. A couple limpers and I limp along with 6c4c, newcomer bumps it to $12 from LP and gets only 5 callers. Flop is 5c3c9s. I lead for $30, folds to villain who bumps it up to $80, folds back to me and I make it $180, villain insta-shoves, I insta-call. Dealer is putting out the turn card as villain says "Well if you have 99 you're good" turn is 2c "or if you have the flush you're even better" and I flip up the straight flush and his set of 5's is drawing dead. My bet sizing was off here - should have lead for more and shoved over his raise - but once I see that flop all the money is going in. Villain complains about the "bad beat" but seems to take it well enough.

A bit later I get into a classic suck/re-suck hand with the same villain. I have AK, flop is A3cXc. I bet he calls, Turn is Ac. I check he bets, I call. River is 3. I bet he folds. Mirage puts out some food for breakfast which means it's time to head to bed. Cash out up nearly $500 and almost back to even for the trip. Guy who looks like Huggy Bear asks me if I need any "party favors". Finally I've been offered "professional services" in Vegas. I was beginning to get insulted.

The next morning it's back to the V. Really this is my favorite room in Vegas. Lots of room, comfy chairs, hot servers, good staff. Again I stack off with trips (when will I learn), grind it back and finish up $4. Two to the dealer, $1 to the cage and $1 in my pocket for a souvenir. This was a great table though. A girl from TN with one arm who was very talkative/friendly plus a local guy with one leg (Mike - regular in the room) and some other fun/friendly folks. Tables like this really make live poker so much more fun.

Lunch at Canters in TI, a bit of rest and I decide to take in the 7pm tourney at TI for a change of pace. I suck at tourneys. I go in with the plan of opening up a lot early and either doubling or busting quickly but I fail to execute. The table has too many active players with the same plan. Plus a bunch of calling stations. Did I mention I suck at tourneys. I make it to the break with like 1500. First hand back, I'm the BB, UTG limps, SB completes, I check, whiff and fold. I think given my stack and the situation I should have shoved my J5 here. Oh well. Couple hands later I have 55, someone shoves in front of me and I fold. I think this should be an insta-shove. Then someone shoves in front of me, I call all-in w/ A6o and get another caller behind. AK vs QJ (caller - yikes) vs A6 and guess who wins? Somehow my A6 makes a flush. My 6 is the only club. Lots of all-ins at this point - nearly everyone is short. I pick up KK utg and open shove. I don't have a lot but too much to get a caller. Probably should limp/shove here. Then the final hand I shove 99 get called by AQ and he hits. I really do suck at tourneys.

I know TI is a fav room around here but I'm not really crazy about the room myself. Not sure why. I think I just like the bigger, busier rooms.

Back to the V for another session. No real interesting hands but again a fun table. Local reg has taken to calling me "rock". Still I manage to get paid off on a few hands. Then it's getting late and I get sloppy and give most of it back. Finish up about $30 or so.

Next morning it's my last chance to poker before heading out and its back to the V. Same table as last night. Same local reg is still there. Up and down a bit. I'm typically sloppy on my last session - specially when it's going to be a short one. Pick up 66 and call a raise. Flop is 976. I bet and get one caller who is short stacked with maybe $60 behind and like $100 in the pot. Turn is a 4. Villain checks, I say all-in, dealer puts out a 4 on the river. Wait a second. "I said all-in" Dealer says "I thought you said go ahead". Floor! Guy next to me confirms I said all-in. Guy next to the dealer says he thought I said "go ahead". I'm not entirely sure how I want this decision to go since that's an excellent river card for me. Floor makes the correct ruling - the river is pulled back and action is on villain who calls. There are now about a dozen spectators around the table. "Put that 4 back up there" I say. The new river is a blank however and I didn't need the 4 after all.

Win a decent pot with Q2 on a QQxA2 board - local reg claims he folded an A when I lead the turn which I believe. Thankfully not everyone is perceptive enough to fold when a tight player bets. End the short session up $150 to bring the trip to a +160 or so finish. Doesn't even pay for my room but I had a great time and hopefully learned a lesson about calling with trips no kicker.

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  1. Yep gotta agree the V is one heck of a card room.
    Looks like you know your game is well suited towards cash and not tournies :wink:

  2. I'd like to say that this is one of my favorite reports that I have read on AVP. Very very well written. I laughed out loud after reading about Drunk Dave drinking Caronas faster than we breathe air. Genius! Sounds like you had a good trip and I hope you can avoid tourneys on your next trip. :grin:

  3. Great comment about Drunkin Dave. :laughing:

    Have you tried the Wynn? If you entire the Venetian, you may enjoy the Wynn as well.

    Before we give too much props to the Mirage- most rooms will be soft late.

    Good report.

  4. Nice report.

    This was a great table though. A girl from TN with one arm who was very talkative/friendly plus a local guy with one leg (Mike - regular in the room) and some other fun/friendly folks. Tables like this really make live poker so much more fun.


  5. @larfingravy

    Plus I think 2 or 3 of the servers and one of the massage girls could be my future 2nd wife. :smile:


    I haven't played at Wynn. The combination of $3 chips and uncapped buy-in doesn't really entice me.

    Mirage was better than I expected not because the competition was soft - really 99% of 1/2 tables should be soft - but because I'd heard it was an unfriendly room. There were lots of complaints about separate podiums for limit and nl and that's gone, paper lists which are now electronic, complaints about lack of chip runners which they have and generally unfriendly management which I didn't experience. Mirage seems to be the place to go for mid-stakes LHE, low/mid stakes stud and other games that you can't find elsewhere. From what I'd heard in the past I was sort of avoiding this room but while not my favorite room I'd certainly be happy to play there again.

    Having two amputees at the table was something I'd never experienced before. Even more interesting was that both talked about it openly. I'm generally a quiet guy and not really one to get a table going but I love a lively table with lots of laughter and conversation.

  6. Yes this was a well written and enjoyable account. Poker stories are fun, especially the ones where the villain gets counterfeited!