Friday, June 24
This was my annual summer trip to LV. Each year, I charter a bus for my closest 32 friends and we head off to Vegas. Each year, I also announce a “theme” and we all dress up according to said theme (past themes include: Hawaiian, Superheroes, 80s). This year I went with “Jersey Shore” and I had no idea how seriously people would take it. Every guy came on board in a ‘wife beater’ tanktop, trucker hat and several temporary tattoos. The girls really went all out (big hair, makeup, hoochie mama party dresses, lots of cleavage, etc… ). Good times. The bus ride from OC took almost 7 hours thanks to traffic so we pulled into The Flamingo about 8:00. Only managed to eat dinner and play a little pai gow poker before bed (too much booze and driving to stay up later than about midnight).
Saturday, June 25
Had a quick breakfast at Grand Lux and then headed back over to the Flamingo Pool to hang with everybody before the heat came on. At about 10:30 I decided to head over to Bill’s to play some cash game with a few of my buddies. Unfortunately, there was only one table running and so when we got there we took up about half the seats. I know how the guys in my group play so playing the game was somewhat pointless and boring. It made me think about the term “soft play” though. As we were playing, there were times when some of them would obviously get out of another’s way. I know, for example, that Dan is tighter than a snare drum, so if he is with a hand past the turn you better fold if you don’t have a GREAT hand. It could certainly look like “collusion” especially as we make our little jokes too each other about our playing styles. I’m pretty sensitive to players colluding so I didn’t like it when a guy in our group seemed to be pretty obvious about it. I want to make it clear: these are not angle shooters. These are Saturday night, once a month players who rarely play in a casino and are just looking to play a little. They see nothing wrong with “soft play.” I don’t know how other players at the table felt about it, but I would be interested to hear from others about this kind of situation. What if you were at a table with a bunch of people that obviously knew each other and you could tell they weren’t necessarily playing at each other? Would your answer be the same if it was a place like Bill’s vs. The Venetian? Would the stakes matter? How do you distinguish between “soft play” and knowing your opponent’s style? I still tried to play my normal game. I even bet into the wife of one of my friends when I could have easily checked it all the way thru. She’s horrible and called my bet when she only had Ace high.
Anyways, I bought in for $100 and was down about $25 when they announced the 11:30 tournament was coming soon. My buddy Eric and I decided to bail on the cash game and try the tournament. We started with 11 players and added two alternates before the first hour was thru. It’s a low key tournament with mostly players who are there to relax and are probably aware that there will be some bad beats. Interesting hands:
I am in small blind (first level so blinds are $25-50) with AQ off. I raised to $200 and was called by LP and button. Flop = 4/10/8 rainbow. I fired a continuation bet of $400 and was called by button (squirrelly Vietnamese guy). Turn was another lowish card but gave us two diamonds on the board. His flop call bothered me, but I tried to represent strength so I fired again ($500 I think). He called again. The river was a jack I think but I was through with the hand so I checked. He checked behind and he showed a pair of deuces. I did not expect that. I showed strength up until the river, but he hung in there. He must have had a good read I guess. He busted out shortly after though.
I manage to hang around thru the break and we are down to five-six players when it was serious push/fold time. Blinds were 200/400 if I remember correctly. I had only $1700 when I look down at J5os in the BB. There were three of us in the hand to the flop (both bigger stacks than mine). The flop comes Q/10/4. I pushed hoping to look good, and both guys folded. One had a 4 and the other had a 10. I couldn’t believe the guy with the 10 didn’t call. He could have afforded it but oh well I’ll take the smallish pot and stay alive.
I ended up getting some great cards (even doubling thru my buddy twice) on the way to being in the top 3 (paying out top 2). We talked about a chop at that point, but I had just become the chip leader so I said we should pay out according to the stack size (or thereabouts). My buddy and the other guy wouldn’t agree so we played on. My buddy knocked out the 3rd place guy in the next hand to put us about even. We decided to make a deal at this point:
The prize pool was $260. So we said we would each take $120 and leave $20 for the dealer. But 2nd place would have to say “You’re the boss” to the winner anytime the winner wanted for the rest of the trip. On our first hand of heads up I got 4/4 and pushed, Eric called with KQ and he never improved. We took our cash, tipped the dealer and Eric proceeded called me “boss” about 1400 times over the weekend. Love it!
Went back to the pool at about 2:00. Wow! What a scene: bikinis, beer and debauchery everywhere. Security was escorting people out of the pool area constantly (including a guy who was drunkenly groping and rubbing against a girl in our group). The heat was a bit much for me and I wanted to see if The Dodgers/Angels game would get to 8 runs (no such luck) so I left. I learned a valuable lesson at this point: don’t wear nice flip-flops to the Flamingo Pool. Someone—probably drunk—mistook mine for his and walked out with them. I had to buy a cheap pair at the little shop so I could walk inside the hotel. Bad beat there. I liked those flip-flops.
Later on about 15 of us went to dinner at Isla inside TI. Food was ok, service was ok. Most people seemed pleased; I wasn’t terribly impressed. After playing some PaiGow, I decided to head over to Bill’s to play some cash game. I sat in seat 3 for the next 3 hours and had a great time. Alaska Gal was our dealer for a while and a guy named Matt who was awesome. He’s got this rockabilly look to him and deals and speaks at the speed of light. He is incredibly fast and accurate. As he deals, he tells stories and talks with almost everyone at the table. It’s really impressive. I ended up making $100 (mostly due to a lucky turn card that gave me a straight). I got into it verbally with a clown in seat 6. Here’s what happened:
In one hand, I am in EP with 9/9 and I raised the limped pot to $7, V called, maybe one more caller. Flop comes all low cards, rainbow. Jack on the turn and he checks. I put out a bet of $12 I think and he calls (heads up now). Last card is a low blank and he bets his last $15. I figure I am pretty much dead here, but made the call in case he missed a draw. He showed KJ and then starts talking about how he wished he had more money because he “knows” I would call any bet with my nines. He’s wrong of course, $15 was about the number I was willing to call just in case he was bluffing the whole way. I gave him credit for making his hand and tried to ignore him, but he just kept talking: he was complaining to a couple of other guys at the table about players like me and how we don’t know how to play. First of all, I am very aware of my ability level (hence, I am at Bill’s Gambling Hall). Second of all, YOU are at Bill’s Gambling Hall (with a whopping $37 dollars). Thirdly, don’t talk about me to others when I am right there. I held my tongue for an orbit when I got a great opportunity to show him I was a total donk:
I am in hijack and look down at Q9os. I decide to raise to $6 (loose I know, but it looked like no one wanted it so…). Five guys called the raise (apparently someone did want it) and we saw a flop of JK4. Villain bets 6, two others call and I call (yes it was a bit loose but I wanted to bust him and figured the pot was big enough to call a measly $6 in case I could hit the straight. The turn brings a beautiful 10. Villain bets $20, one call, I call. River is a blank. Villain now checks, other guy bets his last $25 and I raise hoping the V would call. Sadly he folded. All in guy had two pair and I showed my straight. The villain starts berating me to the table again (I fully expected this) and I just said ”if you want to call me an idiot, I’m right here dude. I’m sorry if you don’t like my style of play, if you’d rather I will now play all my hands the exact same way so you know what I have.” He moved seats soon after and didn’t talk about me or to me the rest of the night. A-hole.
Sunday, June 26
Finally went to bed at about 4:30 and then woke up to the nightmare of my trip: a door pusher. A door pusher is someone—often a prostitute—who wanders the hotel hallways looking for open doors. Apparently, in my efforts not to wake my wife, I didn’t fully close our hotel door. I heard it click, but it didn’t fully shut. I also failed to use the security latch. At 8:30, I awoke to a slamming door and an empty room. A woman had walked into our room while we were sleeping and taken my freaking wallet. My wife saw her and chased after her, but I didn’t even know it (I sleep pretty hard). I sensed something was up so I walked around the hallways to see what was up. My wife came back out of breath after giving chase. Security says this happens quite a bit so please always make sure to use your security latch and make sure your door is fully closed. The thief dropped about $300 of my money but kept the wallet. I would have rather given her all the money and had the wallet so I wouldn’t have to make all the credit card calls, etc… The biggest bummer is that my students (I’m a high school teacher) had just given me a $200 Amex gift card to buy classroom supplies and it was also in the wallet. Overall I lost about $500 in cash and gift cards in the wallet. Just sucks big balls to be a victim of crime. It pretty much ruined the last day of the trip and tomorrow I get to go to the DMV to get a new license. Yay. I have decided that I will surprise my wife with another trip before summer ends so that I can wipe the bad taste of this event from my memory.
Thanks for reading. Good luck to everyone.