Family, Friends, Football, and Folding

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LV Trip report

This is an annual trip for my wife and me. We have spent most of the last 12 Thanksgivings in LV. We don’t have kids, my family is pretty spread out, and we are able to convince some friends and family to meet us in LV for the weekend and then, she and I finish the trip with some Xmas shopping at the Primm outlets before heading back home to the OC. I look forward to this trip every year as a chance to watch a lot of football, eat well, and get my gamble on. Please to enjoy.

Wednesday:
Drove into town about 2:00 and checked into our room at the Aria. We had a regular room booked for three nights. I tried the $20 trick and the clerk upgraded me to a ‘view room’ which I was thrilled with. Really nice view of the Center, MGM, NYNY, etc… This was my first time at Aria and I was impressed. I have stayed pretty much every top resort in LV (Wynn, V, Caesars, MB, Mandarin, Bellagio, et al) and I thought Aria ranked right up there. The rooms are smaller than V or Wynn, but the place is nice to be sure.

For dinner we went to Julian Serrano (the tapas place) to spend some of our $100 resort credit. The food was really good and the service was outstanding. Not a place to fill up, but a nice experience nonetheless.

Didn’t really do much that night gambling wise. I met up with a buddy of mine who was also in town and we played some video poker. Each of us won about $30 and called it an early night. Thursday is going to be a BIG day. gotta rest up.

Thursday:
Woke up early, played a little VP with my buddy while we discussed NFL betting possibilities. I love Thanksgiving in Vegas and I love Thanksgiving football. Decided to bet the Lions (plus 3), the Redskins/Cowboys over, and the Patriots (minus 7). I ended up cashing two of those tickets and pushing the other. One interesting thing I saw at the Aria Sportsbook was a guy who bet 55K on the Texans and 60K on the Jets. The guys in the sportsbook seemed to know him and nobody batted an eye (except me). Yikes. I imagine he is a runner for some type of betting syndicate. He didn’t look like the type of guy who has hundreds of thousands laying around; he was older, gangly, scruffy, kind of a mess. But what do I know?

After a workout in the Aria gym (very nice gym), the wife and I took a walk down the strip. We ended up at Caesars to watch the first half of the morning game at a little lounge. She got tired and decided to head back to Aria for a nap and pedicure and I went to Bill’s to meet my buddy. When I got there, they were still playing Aces Cracked so I decided to sit down for the last hour of the promotion. I have never played this particular promotion and now realize I made a mistake trying to play actual poker. I lost some pots, but had a pretty good time. During the Redskins/Cowboys game, the manager would splash the pot $50 after each touchdown and that made it fun to play. I actually won one of the hands with King high when no one wanted to bet. Overall, I broke about even, and made my way back to the hotel around 5:00. On a coolside note, I checked in at the player’s card desk to get a new card and was informed that I had won $100 hotel credit when I was there back in June. Great start to my trip! I will be staying at Bill’s in March so it’ll pretty much pay for that room when I go back. Niiice.

For dinner, we all (Buddy, his wife, my mom, her husband, two of their friends, wife, and I) went to Benihana’s at the LVH for a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Good times, everyone enjoyed. The wife and I went back to CityCenter for a nightcap at the Mandarin’s bar overlooking the strip (the best view in town for my money).

Friday:
My buddy and I decided to play the 11:00 tournament at TI. I didn’t know the poker room had moved. It’s now located in what was Canter’s Deli eating area. Not a fan of the move and I don’t know what the reason was. I liked the old location and coziness of the old room. Oh well. The tournament started with two tables and was well run. Actually, I probably can’t prove that since I was the first one knocked out. Here’s what happened:
BIG DUMB LOSING HAND #1: I’m in late position when blinds are still 25/50. I look at J/10 off and raise the unopened pot to $150 and get 3 callers. The flop comes A/K/Q with two spades. Good news. There’s a small bet from EP and I make a decent sized raise (~$500) and SB comes along, everyone else folds. Turn is a blank, SB checks and I fire again ($700 if I remember correctly), he calls (did I bet enough?). River is a low spade and my heart sinks. He checked and I decided I would put out a feeler bet of $500. In my head I thought if he had the flush, he would certainly raise me and I could probably fold (too tight?). If he didn’t have the flush, he would think I was making a value bet and maybe pay me with his big ace or just fold. Well, he raised me to $1700. I bemoaned my bad luck, thought for a minute and just folded. He flipped over Jack/Ten off and I wanted to throw up. It never even occurred to me. I’d be glad to hear any criticism of my play (I’m sure you have plenty right now). Anyways, I managed to win a couple of small pots and made it to the next level when BIG DUMB LOSING HAND #2 came up:

I’m on the button this time and look down at Ace/4 spades. I raised to $200 (min raise @ $50/100 levels) and got two callers. I only had about $3000 in chips at this time. The flop came 5/9/10 with two spades so I like my hand to some extent. It checked to me and I made a continuation bet of $400 (should I just see a free card here?) SB folded, BB folded, and EP guy raised me to $1200. I start running thru possibilities in my head and figure he likes his over pair, but does he like it enough to match my all-in re-raise? (bad idea?). He sits for a real long time but eventually calls and shows...wait for it…Jack/queen os (neither was even a spade). I am THRILLED with this turn of events and figure I’m decently ahead. Turn = blank, river = a non-spade jack and I am outta there! I don’t know. Felt like my line was ok, but I can’t believe he called my all-in with an OESD against a flushy board he couldn’t totally connect with. Am I totally wrong here? At any rate, I wished my buddy good luck (he was at the other table and ended up going out in 6th).

So while he was grinding out the tourney I made a return to Bill’s for some more Aces Cracked. This time I learned my lesson, bought in for $25 and just played it the same way as everyone else (read: play anything for a buck, fold to any PF raise and pray for aces. A good way to kill some time and watch college my football bets come in). I make it thru the remaining two hours of Aces Cracked time with about the same stack I started with. Once 2:00 hits, I buy in for $25 more and play—uneventfully—until about 4 pm., slowly bled it all out to my friendly playing partners, but had a great time.

Friday night, the wife and I headed downtown to meet my mom and her husband at the upscale Italian restaurant inside Golden Nugget (can’t remember the name). Nice dinner, decent prices, good view of the pool and shark slide. After dinner we all headed to the California for some Pai Gow Poker. We found a $10 table and proceeded to drink and play for the next 3 hours. Good times; I even hit a four of a kind bonus and ended up cashing out for about $125 profit.

Saturday was all about getting out of town and hitting the Primm Outlets. Overall, another fantastic Thanksgiving trip to my home away from home. Didn’t really keep too close a track of my win/loss statement. I know that poker cost me money, but Paigow and football got at least some of it back.

Good luck to all of you. Hope you enjoyed reading the report as much as I did living it. Happy Holidays to all AVPers.

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