SATURDAY OCT 27th
I wake up at 8:30 AM in my room at Mandalay, after getting all of 3 hours of sleep. I look at the clock, and decide I should head downstairs and get some college football bets in instead of more sleep. I get my bets in, and wonder what I am going to do now. Lo and behold, 2 of my buddies show up at the sports book to make some bets as well, so we all hang out at the sportsbook, drink Gatorade and coffee (to rehydrate and wake up), and watch some college football. At some point later in the day, I head upstairs to grab a much-needed quick nap. After my nap, I take a shower, and feel refreshed and ready to go play some poker before dinner (I know, about time!). One of my buddies is game for playing some Hold ‘Em, so we head down to the Mandalay Poker Room. I really have no bad comments about this room. It is a nice room, decent sized, albeit a bit narrow, overall comfortable enough. The dealers were all very solid (Props to Desi, Dustin, Marky, Natasha, etc). The drink service is decent as well. Anyway, my buddy and I sit at the same $1/$2 NL table and buy in for the $200 max. I finally feel like I am about to begin my Vegas poker playing in earnest. I quickly identify 1 fish at the table, and am hoping there are more. I swear the fish felted his $200 within the first 20 minutes I was at the table. Unfortunately none of his money came my way. The good news is he buys in for another $200. I play a couple hands and get up a bit, when the following hand occurred: I am in the BB, with 2,5 offsuit. About 4 other players call, including the fish, so I check it. The flop comes A,4,J rainbow. I am sitting on a gutshot, so if somebody makes a decent bet, I most likely will fold like a lawnchair. As luck would have it, everybody checks. Turn card is a harmless 9, and once again, everyone checks. River card comes with a 3, hitting my straight. It checks around to the fish, who bets out $25. I contemplate, call out “raise”, and hit him for another $75. It folds back to fish, who looks at the cards, never even really looks at me, then calls, throwing another $75 into the pot. I flip over my 5 high straight, and he turns over his cards….a pair of 3’s. I marvel at the guys ineptitude, and am grateful that everyone else in the hand allowed me to hit my gutshot for free. Life is good. Well, the fish busts out yet again, buys back in, and then felts the 3rd and final time. I think I can speak for the entire table when I say that we were all sad to see him go. After a few more hours of playing, it’s time to head up to the room to get ready for dinner. I cash out, and the chips ring up to $425, up $225 during the session. Not bad. My buddy felted once, bought back in, and lost most of that $200 as well. It was fun listening to him complain about all the bad cards and bad beats.
Dinner at Strip Steak in Mandalay was phenomenal. Jewel (the singer) was sitting right by our table, having dinner with 3 guys in cowboy hats. After dinner we all head to Pure at Ceasar’s for some more of the famous Vegas nightlife. Pure was a pretty hopping place, and a lot of the ladies were dressed up in Halloween costumes (as if regular Vegas club attire isn’t interesting enough!). Kid Rock walked right past me at some point during the evening, which was kinda cool. At some point in the evening, some of the guys decide they want to go to a club of the gentleman’s variety, so the group of 8 splits in half. I was in the half that went back to Mandalay (poker room, here I come!). My one poker playing buddy joins me, and this time we get put at different tables. I think it’s about 4:00 in the morning when I sit down, but I’m not sure due to the amounts of alcohol consumed while at Pure. I buy in for $200, and what do you know, the waitress is here! I ask her if I can get a Kettle One and vodka, to which she says “you want a what?”. I repeat, Kettle One and vodka. She replies “you want a vodka and vodka?”. I realize my mistake, and order a Kettle One and Red Bull. While this was an honest mistake on my part, I think it immediately sealed my persona at the table I had just joined as the “drunk fish who is about to give the rest of us all his money”. Every single person at the table would soon learn to regret that error in judgment. While I was pretty buzzed, and having a great time, playing cards to me is like walking, riding a bike, etc. To me it doesn’t require a lot of thought, it’s kind of second nature. Now I will concede that my ability to read others was definitely impaired, but I just played the cards I got, and over time, everyone at the table got played by me. Around 3 hands into the session, I get dealt KK, raise it up to $12, and get 3 callers. Flop comes AKx rainbow. Australian guy (AG) to my right leads out for $25. AG has about $500 behind. I raise it up to $50. Everyone folds, AG calls. Turn comes with nothing, AG checks, I lead out for $50, and AG calls. River comes no help, AG checks, and I look at him and say, “I’m going to let you off easy on this one”, and flip over my set. He smiles, says good hand, and turns over AK. Now before everyone thinks I was crazy for not maximizing my return on the hand, I had the beginnings of a plan formulating in my drunken head. After winning 2 more quick pots after the show with AG, I suddenly have about $500 behind me, and people are not quite looking at me like the fish they thought I was. Sensing this, I say to the table, “I should let you all know that I am a local player here in town”, to which a couple reply “are you really?”. I laugh and say, “No, I’m not. I’m kidding. But I have been on ESPN2, have you seen me on there?”. Now these people are really wondering where the truth ends and the BS starts, but they all seemingly enjoyed my happy drunk behavior. I really didn’t care, because I was entering into “THE POKER ZONE”, where magical things can happen. The table was absolutely great, and I hit many good hands as well as playing many hands well (most of which I cannot recall). I do remember laying down a straight on the turn because I just had a feeling it was not the best hand out there. 2 players stayed in the hand, with one getting felted by the other…with a higher straight than I had. It was one of my better laydowns. The other players at the table were genuinely confused as to how to “handle” my style of play. During one hand, I made a $50 bet on the river into a $50 pot. All fold except one guy, who gives me “the stare” that we all know and love. After chuckling for a minute, I say to him, “I’m going to help you out, and let you know that I have 2 pair. I’m not going to say which 2, but I’ve got 2 pair”. He tanks for another minute, then calls, and flips over a pair of Aces with a King kicker. I flip over my middle 2 pair, and give him the “I wouldn’t lie to you” bit, to which he says that he just couldn’t believe me. I later bluffed the same guy into folding what was most likely a better hand than I had. I played at this table until about 7:30 AM, at which point some of my buddies came in to reclaim me for breakfast again. I thanked everyone for playing with me and putting up with my silliness, and racked up 2 sets of chips. Everyone at the table wished me the best, even though I had won some of their money. I think they all had fun joking around with me; it truly was a fun group of people at the table. My total cash out - $880. It was my most profitable trip to a NL table yet, of course it was only my 4th time. Needless to say, breakfast was on me. After breakfast I staggered to the sportsbook to place my NFL bets for the day, and crawled into bed at about 9:30 AM.
SUNDAY OCT 28th
I slept until about 2:00, after getting 4 ½ hours of blissful sleep. I ooze out of bed, and head for the shower. I make it down the hall to the other guys room (they have a suite) and watch the rest of the football games. For as bad as I did betting on college ball Saturday, I make it back and then some on NFL, including hitting a 5 pick parlay (too bad it was only a $10 bet). After the games are over, I head down to the sportsbook to collect my dough, and see my father-in-law, who is in Vegas coincidentally the same weekend. After hanging with the father-in-law for a while, I head back up to the room to see what the game plan is. We all decide to scrap dinner at Delmonico’s and order pizza instead. That’s the good news. The bad news, consensus is that we are going out tonight later on. Apparently a trip to Tangerine, then Tryst is on the menu. My liver kicks me in the solarplexis just for THINKING about drinking some more. I massage my side, and silently tell my liver to buck up, it’s the last night. So, after pizza and another quick nap, it’s back to the nightlife. Tangerine was pretty tame, but it was early (about 11:00). We head over to Tryst, and it is pretty crazy. Just about every girl in the place is dressed up in a Halloween outfit. Man, what a town Vegas can be! After boozing it up for the 4th night in a row, we head out at about 3:30 and head back to Mandalay. I cruise right over to the poker room to see what’s going on. I buy in for $200, ease into a seat, and look around the table. Hmmm, what a difference a night makes. The table seems very friendly, but pretty rock solid as well. I order a Latte, and shit-can any idea of snowing these people pretty quick. Within a couple hands, I have discerned that at least 2 of the players at the table are local dealers, and 2 others live here locally. There were only 8 at the table, so I quickly deduce that if I am going to win at this table, I best be on my A game. I order another Latte, and get ready to rock. It was interesting when the dealers realized that I was “the crazy drunk guy from last night”. I was much more subdued tonight, and I am sure it was like I was a different person. Anyway, my first big hand has me laying down top pair to a draw heavy board when one of the local rocks overbets the pot, and quickly I am down about $60. I battle back and forth with these folks for the next couple hours, truly testing my abilities as a player, and at 6:00 AM I realize that if I am going to get any sleep before I leave for the airport, I better rack ‘em up and get out. I cash out for $375, up $175 for the session. Quite honestly I am more impressed with this win compared to the previous night. The Saturday night session was filled a lot of people just as drunk as I was, and winning money from them just didn’t seem to take a lot of work. The Sunday night session had solid players, and it took all of my mental acuity (what I had left of it anyway) to make this session a winning one. I rolled back into the Mandalay restaurant for breakfast the 3rd night in a row (all my buddies were in bed – so my first solo meal in Vegas happened to be my last), and was in bed by 7:00 AM.
The bad news about going to bed at 7:00 AM was that I had to get up 2 hours after my head hit the pillow to get packed, showered, and head out the door for the airport. I was in an alcohol based, sleep deprived stupor while sitting at the airport. My liver was screaming for mercy, and I was ready to give it as much time as it needed to recover. Overall I wish I had played more poker and hit the clubs less, but this was more about hanging out with the friends than anything else, so I was happy to get the poker in that I did. Other thoughts on the trip:
Monte Carlo – Good craps tables, liked having a McDonalds in the middle of casino, poker room was not very memorable, but I honestly think I just got put at a boring table.
Mandalay Bay – Good sports book, good poker room (albeit a little narrow), solid dealers, great food, nice rooms. Overall nothing bad to say about it. Would definitely stay there again.
Vegas Nightlife – It was Halloween weekend, and it was pretty crazy. I don’t know how these younger people do this all the time. Nightclub life just isn’t for me, but it sure makes for interesting people watching!
Thursday: Craps +125, Poker -25
Friday: Craps +175
Saturday: Sports -150, Poker +905
Sunday: Sports +250, Poker +175
Overall net profit: $1,455
TOTAL HOURS SLEPT OVER 4 NIGHTS IN VEGAS = 15.5