This was my group’s 20th year of hitting up LV to watch the first rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament. In years past we’ve had as many as 20 guys, but now we’re down to 7 (kids, work, etc…). Mostly our trip consisted of watching games from morning to night, but we did squeeze in some poker time.
Three of us arrived late Wednesday night—driving in from Orange County, Ca—and only had time to gather the group, grab a bite, and play a little Pai Gow Poker. Most of us were in bed by midnight so we could get up early to watch games. I stayed at Bill’s . I like Bill’s for the following reasons: easy check-in, room ok, just super-convenient, access to all the great places.
We get up VERY early to grab seats in the Bill’s “showroom” (the area where Big Elvis does his act). The day got off to a great start when my old friend who works the nite shift at The Grand Luxe brought us all breakfast sandwiches from his restaurant. If you’ve never had one, I highly recommend it.
We watched games all day long, pretty boring day actually…the most exciting moment happened when Jimmer Fredette decided to launch one from 37 feet with about nine seconds on the clock, giving some Wofford scrub a long rebound and an easy look at a 3-pointer that moved the final deficit from 11 points to 8. Lucky for me, I had Wofford at Plus 8. I love March Madness. There’s nothing better than making money on a meaningless basket from a bench player.
I wandered over to the poker room in the early afternoon for a little .50-1.00 (yeah, I roll like that). I didn’t have any interesting hands and ended up exactly even, but there was one funny moment. There was a teenytiny little old lady (probably near 80 yrs old, ) in seat 7 with only about $50-60. In seat 7 was a really loose dude who seemed to know how to play (calling out hands, overly comfortable & friendly, etc…). Anyways, there’s a little action on the flop (two clubs and an ace), and three players see the turn, which is a non-club jack. Check, check and the loose dude makes a feeler bet, other guy folds and lady calls. As she throws her chips in, dude says, “I hope I don’t see a club.” On cue, the dealer flips the 3 of clubs and our sweet old lady lets out a demonstrative “whoooooeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” The whole table cracks up—I almost spit my Blue Moon on the felt. She hadn’t said a word the whole time I was there and now she is whooping and laughing and betting about $25. The loose dude stares her down comically, pretends like he is going to shove all his chips, and then folds. She shows her KJc and sweeps the chips and then immediately leaves the game. After she walked away, someone at the table made the comment that she had to leave so quickly because her shift at Spearmint Rhino was about to start. Funny stuff.
That night we walked to Aria to cash some old NFL bets from January. A few guys stopped to play 3-card poker. I hate the game so I went over to one of the lounges, ordered a $12 vodka/tonic and watched girls. For anyone who is wondering: there is a marked difference in female talent between Aria and Bill’s Gambling Hall.
St. Patrick’s Day was quite a site on the strip. Green everywhere…green beer everywhere…puke almost everywhere. Bed by 1:00.
More hoops. More drinking and a little more poker. A few of us got into a game @ Bill’s in the afternoon and it was loose and fun: button straddles, lots of table talk. Here’s a few interesting hands from the session (my memory is hops-infused at this point, so I cannot claim 100% accuracy):
I’m playing about $90 and look down at 10d/7d in the BB. There’s a middle position raise to $6, a few callers and I make the call to complete and the flop comes with about 3-4 players. FLOP = 7/7/6 with two hearts. I lead out for $11 and it folds to the button who makes the calls. TURN = 2h. I made another bet of $15 and he minraises me. Seemed like I could get paid off if the board pairs, so I made the call (I think it was the right decision, but welcome any criticism). The river brings a beautiful 6. I bet rest of my chips about $45 and the button tanks. He says, “I know you hit the full house, but I have to see it. Call.” Music to my ears.
The game goes on for awhile, we’re all watching hoops and making jokes, Alaska Gal moved into the dealer’s chair so it was nice to talk to her again. But then the Asian guy to my left decided to bitchslap me for the next hour. I’m not sure he ever fully got the best of me with cards, but mentally he owned me. Case in point:
-I am in the BB with J/10os and call a small raise to see the FLOP = A/J/10 (two hearts). I bet out and he calls (amounts not that important to the story). The TURN = Kc. I made a pretty sizable bet this time and he calls. The river brings the 9 of hearts. I am pretty sick to my stomach at this board and check. He makes a big bet and I meekly fold. I think there is an even chance I had him the whole way, but that board freaked me out. He flashed me one card (Ace of hearts) so I don’t know.
-a few orbits later, I am in the MP and I look down at A/Q. I made a raise to $15 and it folds to Asian guy who bets $50. I figure I can either push or fold. I just can’t get this guy…he’s been winning, he hasn’t shown down much, but he knows what he’s doing. I figure A/Q is not the hand I want to play here. He could have an underpair,but it feels more like a big pair. I figure the worst he has is JJ and I don’t want a race. I fold and he shows, AK spades. I feel good about laying it down, but mad that I have given back a good chunk of my profit to this guy. I played a few more hands and pretty much left to watch more hoops.
Had a great time at the Bill’s room. I know it’s not the classiest, but it suits my bankroll and sensibilities fine, especially during March Madness. Many thanks to manager Cindy, AlaskaGal and dealer Bryan. They were all very good at their jobs.
Sadly, my weekend turned sour after that as my friends thought we should all try to dominate a PaiGow table later that night at Flamingo. After dropping $300 I hit the rack for a solid 6 hours of sleep.
Woke up and played golf at WildHorse in Henderson. I do not recommend the course: spotty, wet/dry in the wrong places…uninteresting layout for the most part. Just meh. We stopped off at Sunset Station for some Hooters wings and some final hoops bets and then made our way back.
Already can’t wait for next year. Thanks for reading.