Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hapiness!!


Originally, the July 4th trip was for me and the sig other (known to some of you from prior trip reports as “Just Jack”), taking advantage of a 2-for-1 sale by Allegiant Air, where we got a great deal at Caesars Palace. But, Jack’s best gal pal, “Carrie”, and her sister, “Gill” (Jill with a G—her actual nickname from her favorite “Gillette Razor” shirt she wears to the pool) decided they wanted to go with us, and who am I to disagree? I get credit for being sensitive to Jack’s friends, they can entertain themselves all day drinking at the pool and shopping , and I get a ton of bonus poker time. Gill used to be in the Air Force, and one of her best buds from the Air Force, “Josie”, decided to fly in from Houston to join the fun. The gals ended up at the Rio through another great Allegiant special.

Friday rolled around and I was up early enough to get a long run in before heading to the airport. We took an early travel bad beat when our flight was 30 minutes late arriving and another 20 minutes late in departing. While taxiing to the runway the captain came on to apologize for the delay, telling us there had been a “mechanical issue” in Vegas, and that it recurred in Des Moines, but was fixed now. Not the most reassuring message! Seriously, why give us all that detail? It’s not like I can verify that the problem is fixed, and there isn’t much I (or the crew for that matter) can do once we’re in the air, so why not just tell us some white lie about “paperwork” delays or some such nonsense?

We make it Vegas in good time without any issues mechanical or otherwise, and find there is literally no line for a cab. Really, Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend, and we find over a dozen cabs lined up and nobody at all in line! So much for the economic recovery. Anyway, we drop the gals off at Rio and head to Caesars to check in. There, the $20 trick plus $50/night gets us an upgrade to a full suite. From Jack’s reaction, it was money well-spent. The room was huge, with a living room, dining room, bar area, and master bed/bath with a Jacuzzi in between the bedroom and bathroom. We had a nice view of the Strip in front of Caesars; definitely felt like high rollers!

Jack and I walked to Bellagio to pick up tickets to “O” for that night, and of course pit-stopped at a mojito stand out front of Caesars (they hand make mojitos, vodka lemonade, caipirhinas, and similar fruity drinks). I went with the caipirhina, and it was probably the best drink I had all weekend. The gals were too anxious to drink to wait for the shuttle from the Rio, so they cabbed it down to Caesars. We ended up doing dinner at Serendipity, a casual café next to the mojito stand in front of Caesars. The food was good, but not outstanding; we all did variations on upscale sandwiches and burgers. Thankfully, the mojitos were outstanding; mine had fresh crushed cranberries in it. Also during dinner, the gals assigned everyone nicknames for the remainder of the trip; Jack thus became “Chazz”.

After dinner, we headed to Bellagio for the early “O” show. We were able to get five tickets together in the prime area two days prior to our trip, and the show had a good crowd but was not sold out. Another sign of the economy I suppose. The show itself was awesome; they do some amazing acrobatics, and adding the water element only makes the things they do that much more breathtaking. I also found my new dream job—getting lit on fire twice a night, five nights a week, 40-45 weeks a year. What a great gig that guy has! I can only imagine the chatter around a poker table with him; everyone casually dropping occupations or other information to try to impress the table, and this guy casually says, “Doctor, eh? Impressive. I’m just a human torch.”

After the show, we all headed to Harrah’s where the gals were planning to hit the piano bar, while I played poker. Harrah’s poker room was packed, so I wandered down to TI, which was also packed, but after a couple minute wait, I got into a 1/3 NL cash game. Manager Troy recognized me and walked over to say hello as I was being dealt my first hand. I look down at ATs in LP, and call an EP raise. The SB raises big, to ~$60, the original raiser calls, and I make the easy fold. As Troy and I chat, the flop comes out T-T-9! Ouch! The two players get it all-in right there, and show … AA and 99! Whew, crisis averted. If I had made the loose call, I would’ve been all-in drawing to the case T … which promptly falls on the river, obviously. Hmmm, why did I fold again?

I took down a couple of small pots, and got some amusement from watching two young internet punks get into a slow-rolling war. Apparently one of them was offended by something the other one had said or done, and got his petty revenge by slow-rolling a monster. This devolved into a tit for tat situation, along with the usual verbal sniping. I started to wonder if I should amble over to the gift shop for some mace or a taser, when AVPer Dmuzio came over and introduced himself after busting from the tourney. There was a list for cash games, so I cashed out and we meandered down to Imperial Palace.

Imperial Palace was also hopping with all tables running and near full. We got seated at separate fish ponds, and I proceeded to do some angling at a 1/2 NL game. I had a veritable drunken United Nations meeting at the table, with a couple of Brits, an Irish guy, and a German … and a couple of AARPers. I was up $165 after the first orbit without ever showing down a hand, and I also was later called down on the river twice by AK unimproved, if that tells you anything about the nature of the game (hint—Fish. Barrel.). If you need further evidence of the insane nature of this fish fry, at one point there was a preflop raise UTG to $8 (very small for this game), and everyone called. The dealer (one of my faves), dryly says, “Ten players see the flop, just as Nature intended.”

There were a few noteworthy hands that went down at IP. I had a couple of coolers, including AKs vs. AA and QQ, as well as AQ flopping trip AAJ … running into Yaks. My first time with the Yaks went poorly, with a final board with two overs and four to a flush I didn’t have. However, the Yaks made it up to me later, as I later stacked a guy for $315 when he flopped bajos dos pairs and I turned my set. After awhile, I began to wonder about getting a taser again, as we had a young guy at our pond (iPod, hoodie, sunglasses) who was taking forever to make even routine decisions; I thought that one of the Brits was on the edge of head butting him when he ended up bluffing off his stack to an old rock and left; he doesn’t realize how close to death he was! Another young guy twice slowplayed sets against multiple opponents, then got belligerent when they were both run down (shocking!!). But the main event was at the pond next to mine, shortly after Dmuzio abandoned it. Two big tough looking drunks had something happen that led to their complaining quite loudly. A few hands later, something else happened (later found out the dealer called one of them for a string raise), and these guys erupt, spewing angry profanity at the dealer. The floor comes over, and one guy decides to get up in his face. Security eventually escorted the gents from the premises. Would’ve been more entertaining to see the floor taser them … “Sir, we do not” ZZZZ “permit string raises” ZZZZZ “or profanity.” ZZZZ.

Around 2:30 am, the gals text to tell me they were looking for me. I tell them I’m in the IP Poker Room. Half an hour later, they texted to ask me where I was. I texted them again that I was at the IP Poker Room; they texted back that they were there. I looked around, the casino was busy, but the crew was nowhere to be seen. I call them, and eventually figure out they think they are at the IP Poker Room, but actually were at the O’Shea’s Poker Room! I cash out and meet up with the rather tipsy crew, eventually getting the gals into a cab back to the Rio and then walking Chazz back to Caesars.

Woke up around 9:00 am on Saturday, and went off to find a poker game while Chazz headed to the Caesars pool for some sun and margaritas. I went past the Caesars Palace poker room, but it was pretty dead. Chazz and I were planning to meet for late lunch at BLT at Mirage, so I headed over there to check out the poker action. On the walk through the Forum Shops, I stopped for a bottle of water at a kiosk bar, which had an engraved sign: "It is customary to tIp your bartender for good service." Engraved! Dear gawd, how tacky …

When I arrived at Mirage, there were a few tables going, so I got into a 1/2 NL game after a short wait. Early omens were not good; while I waited for chips, I watched a guy call a $40 river bet with only $30; the dealer pushed the pot without noticing until the winner spoke up. A little later, the same dealer tried to give $5 extra when changing a $100 bill for a regular; I’m certain the player knew he got the extra $5. I ended up speaking up, so the dealer’s bank wouldn’t be short; the player glared at me, but had the sense not to protest. The same dealer then pulled off the miscount hat trick by messing up the counting of two stacks in a three-way all-in, messing up one stack twice. Where’s The Count from Sesame Street when you need him?!?!

The game itself, however, was quite fun and profitable. There were a couple of local regulars at my table, a couple of young internet punks, and a nice young Austrian guy who made me wonder if Armani was sponsoring WSOP players, considering his shirt, copper bracelet, and leather necklace all were emblazoned with “Armani”. There was also a nice couple from North Carolina at my table, and the wife stacked her husband once. Another player took a big pot off the hubby, but gave it all back to the wife later, at which point he left, saying to the hubby: “"Your wife is competent. You're incompetent.” Not sure if he was joking or not, but everyone chuckled uncomfortably.

My session started off slowly, making some money on 99 twice, and giving it back twice with AK. Then I finally started raking some nice pots, hitting a crubz flush to double up to $500, and shortly after that playing Ace-Yak of crubz (AcYc), and hitting altos dos pairs to stack the Austrian Armani boy who slowplayed QQ preflop. But my big hit and my first major SVB (statistical variance box for the uninitiated) moment came against a rather nitty regular (the guy who tried to take the extra $5 in change) when I called his preflop raise with J9s, flopped altos dos pairs, and turned the small catamaran. He seemed rather disgruntled after paying that one off. I, however, was quite gruntled and eventually cashed out for a nice score.

Around 3:30 pm, I met an organic sun-ripened Chazz for a very late lunch at BLT. This is now one of our favorite lunch spots in Vegas. Bascially it’s upscale burgers, but man are they tasty! I had the BLT, which is bacon, lettuce, tomato, and I added bleu cheese. I also had sweet potato fries, and we shared perhaps the best jalapeno poppers ever made—large sized, filled with a smoky chipotle white cheese, and served with a sweet-spicy side sauce.

After lunch, I went with Chazz to the Fashion Mall to observe him, “Shop my ace off!” My role was mostly to stand around while Chazz tried on half the clothes in his favorite store, then pay for those that made the cut. The worst part is being expected to give an opinion re which clothes looked better, knowing that an honest, “I don’t care, they all look fine,” would get me a glare and an eye roll, while any preference I may have expressed for any particular item had approximately a 3% of being given any weight in the final decision process. The final tab was actually quite reasonable, but I would’ve paid an extra hundie or so to avoid the process altogether.

Shopping completed, Chazz headed back to Caesars to meet the gals who were cabbing it over to the Strip after a day at the Rio pool, presumably to drink and window shop at Caesars Forum Shops. I trammed it over to TI where I saw the lovely Danette, who promptly broke into sobs about how I was cheating on her with the Mirage poker room. I confessed my dalliance, but assured her that TI was still the love of my life. It’s becoming tough to be a poker playboy in the age of Twitter!

Anyway, the room was packed, but I get into a 1/3 NL game pretty quickly. I had been quietly scouting a couple of the 1/3 games (there were four or five going, plus two or three 2/4 LHE and the last table of the 2:00 pm tourney). The table I got on was one I had been watching, near the manager podium. There were three young internet punks playing, and it was pretty obvious they were WSOP washouts because, well, they talked nonstop about the WSOP and how awesome they were at poker! I’ve met my share of guys who like to talk poker at the table, but these three were uber-obnoxious, analyzing every hand, criticizing other players, debating the merits of every call/raise/fold, and basically being arrogant yahoos. They were also drinking and trying to “outplay” each other, basically meaning raising and reraising nearly every hand preflop, and three-barreling and raising each other postflop. They had a lot of chips behind, but they were exchanging a lot of $200+ pots on really thin holdings. I love those type of players, at least for profit purposes!

My seat (the 2 seat) opened up when one of the yahoos was busted by one of the other two, who apparently were friends. I ended up just to the left of one yahoo (“Pudge” in the 1 seat), and with good position on another one (“Gangsta” in the 7 or 8 seat); basically it was the seat I would have chosen myself if I could have picked. Pudge put internet player stereotypes to shame, looking so pale you wondered if he had been outside at all this summer, with a bad spiky hairstyle, and a clear affection for the Hostess and energy drink food groups. Gangsta was the muscle guy with the too tight cutoff t-shirt, tattoos, piercings, heavy chain, and buzz cut; at one point he treated the table to an enthralling tale of how he was detained at the Mexico border and interrogated for a few hours—yup, he was badazz, at least in his own mind. I bought in for $300 and waited for a spot to get involved. About four hands in, Gangsta limps in MP; of course, Pudge has to raise to $20. I’m OTB with 6s4s, and decide to call. Folds to Gangsta who immediately raises to $60. Pudge obviously is obligated to call his buddy’s raise, if only to posture. I figure I need to beta-test my new Ultimate SVB, so I call. The flop comes down a gorgeous 2-3-5 rainbow! Gangsta comes gunning out with $100, Pudge calls, and I push for $240 total. Gangsta glares at me, but folds. Pudge thinks a moment, then calls and says, “Your set is good.” I say, “Naww, I don’t have a set.” Pudge rolls over his KK proudly (see, even yahoos get hands!). I casually say, “I kinda like my straight.” Pudge shoots a puzzled glance back to the board, then back to my hand as I roll over my cards. He promptly comes unglued with a steady patter of “you called me with that?” and “do you understand what a terrible play that was?” sort of invective as the board ran out blanks. There really is nothing sweeter than (very slowly) stacking up a monster pot while being lectured on your horrible play.

For the next hour and a half, Pudge and Gangsta kept talking about that hand, pretty much non-stop. It was almost as if they were channeling their inner Phil Hellmuths (it felt a lot like his classic blowup: “You called me with queen-ten? Queen-ten? You don’t know how terrible you are.”). Everything that happened at the table was an excuse to rant some more about how bad my play was. Then they started whining how I wasn’t playing any pots with them; frankly, I was getting a steady stream of 92, 83, J4, etc. Of course, they were certain I was scared of them and was just putting my chips on lockdown; they repeatedly accused me of being a ultra-tight nit tourist who wanted to just kill time and didn’t want to actually play POKER, which might have been the funniest things I’ve ever been accused of! At one point, Pudge accused me of being “unethical” by not playing; I came out of my Zen-like repose to causally say, “I don’t think that word means what you think it means”. After I finally found another hand to play, and raked a moderate pot, Pudge immediately launched into the “heads up for real money” challenge I’ve heard about but never before experienced. When I declined by laughing at him, Pudge of course went into a diatribe about how obviously I had no bankroll and couldn’t afford to play real POKER with him. He also found an excuse to launch into a spiel about his second place finish in a WSOP $1,500 donkament this year. I looked up the event results later, and it does look something like him, though the camera subtracted 20 pounds in his case. In any event, he wanted everyone to know he had won over $400K (“life changing money, dude!”—as in moving out of your parents’ basement and getting your own apartment now?). I asked him why a player of his skill and bankroll wasn’t playing the 10/20 NL over at Wynn. This really seemed to agitate Pudge, as he stammered something about wanting to “play for fun”; hmmm, then stop lecturing the seven tourists at the table about how badly they are playing. Instead, Pudge actually looked right at me and said, in complete seriousness, “When I talk poker, people should get a pencil and take notes.” Thanks dude, but think I’ll pass on advice from a guy who just overplayed one pair in a 1/3 NL cash game. In any event, the whole scene was so over the top that it was actually incredibly entertaining. A couple of the other players and I were exchanging eye rolls and smiles every time Pudge and Gangsta started berating some player who “got lucky” on them after horribly misplaying their hand. The funniest part was when Pudge had to rebuy a second time in the hour and a half I was at the table; at that rate, he probably made it through half his WSOP winnings by the end of the weekend!

I had to leave the Pudge and Gangsta Show for the Head Hunter tourney, quite possibly my favorite poker tourney. I’m a terrible tourney player, so as I sat down at my table I immediately asked to rebuy. For some reason, management made me go through the motions of actually busting out before rebuying. It didn’t take long, as I ran my 99 into AK, then was finished off by Yaks against my AT when I flopped the dime. Rebuy! After a 20 minute wait, I get seated at a table where the whole table was high fiving the lady who knocked out an obnoxious guy with flopped quad 7s. It’s a fun table, but I get voted off the island in short order when I hit a straight with K9s, only to be drawing to a chop against AK. Eh. Typical tourney for me!

There was a list for cash games, and I was debating whether to hang around or wander elsewhere, when I got a call from the gals. They were back at our suite at Caesars and demanded that I bring them more beer and wine. Hmmm, the gift shop is less than a hundred feet from our elevator, but I have to walk from TI to make sure you get your drink on? Being a chivalrous guy, I dutifully played messenger boy. The gals were “practicing their ‘O’ moves” in the living room and generally being hilarious drunks. Gill demonstrated her military survival skillz by opening the beer bottles without an opener; the problem is, she was drunk and instead of taking off the caps, somehow took off the top of the bottle necks! Although the beer was drinkable, it was little surprise to me when I was bandaging up Carrie’s fingers after she forgot her beer bottle was a health hazard. The rest of the night, Carrie was known as “Scissorhands” due to the bandaids on three of her fingertips.

Mercifully, the Caesars Palace fireworks show started, and we went outside to enjoy a pretty awesome show that lasted 15-20 minutes. The gals then headed down to the Carnival Court bar by Harrah’s to watch the Michael Jackson impersonator (he was apparently “A-MAZ-ING!!”). I fought my way through a monstrous crowd of drunks to get to Bally’s; the escalators on the bridges were out of order, leading to a lot of pushing, shoving, and fighting. I scrapped my way into the casino which was absolutely hopping; easily the busiest casino floor I saw all weekend.

Bally’s poker room was also hopping, with every table packed. I still got on a 1/3 NL game without a wait, and immediately feel at home. There was a drunk guy (a regular apparently) clearly on the end of a 48 hour drinking bender who constantly passed out over his chips between hands; he even passed out for an orbit and got a missed blind button while still at the table, which was a first for me to see! There was also a guy in his early 40s with his 20-something trophy girlfriend sitting behind him and giggling madly for who knows how many hours (five or so while I was there, plus more before and after my session). Finally, there was a guy in his 50s who was wearing a Hollister shirt; dude, if you’re over 30, you shouldn’t even walk into a Hollister store!

My session was rather disappointing in terms of hands. I was pretty card dead, and my table was not the typical wild drunken Bally’s game. After donking $150 with 2 terrible calls, I got it back with AA vs. KK allin preflop; the miracle board o'blanks was a welcome sight. I also hit top set with 88 on an all heart flop, and got away cheaply from the flopped nut flush that was played slower than molasses in January in the Yukon. I ground out a few decent pots, but this was destined to be my first losing session (down $160) when the gals called me around 3:00 am, looking for late night food. I located them in the crowds on the Strip, where they kept running into people and yelling, “I’ll cut a b*tch!” Yup, these are my peeps. I maneuver them back to Augustus Café at Caesars for some drunk food, where they regaled me with tales of the evening. I pay Carrie off $20 for a prop bet involving getting a picture of Chazz with midget Elvis.

Sunday morning rolled around, and we headed to Rio to get the gals set up with their cabana. Chazz and I take a tour of the WSOP setup then head out to the pool. Turns out the cabana comes with bottle service—this will not end well! I take care of my duties (paying the tab), and head to the Rio poker room for some cash games. I am called for a 2/5 game, but get seated at a 1/3 table instead. Eh, the list is too long to bother complaining. As an aside, I saw over the course of two sessions roughly half the players being from foreign countries, and at least one and up to three women at every table; clearly this poker thing is catching on. The session starts well when I make a good call with third pair against a young guy in an Ed Hardy T-shirt; yup, over-aggro tourney losers, my new bread and butter. No real memorable hands, but I was entertained by eavesdropping on all the players relating inconsequential hands played by their friends in the WSOP; dude, if you and your buds didn’t cash, who gives a flying … dog?

Eventually, AVPer Minton Tweets that he is at Rio to check out the WSOP, so we text and connect for lunch at Rub BBQ. The pulled pork was exceptional, the brisket was good, and the sides of mac & cheese and baked beans almost stole the show. After lunch, I stopped by the cabana to check on the girls. They showed me their pictures of their “O” practice in the pool, and I noticed the numerous empty beer buckets and empty vodka bottle and decided that, indeed, the day would not end well. I immediately headed back for more cash games at the Rio poker room. During my afternoon session, I made a ton of money making hero calls with third pair, A-high, K-high, and once even with deuce-four for bottom pair against the aggro-tournadonks; two best words in the English language are “Good call.” I hit a nice pot with deuce-four of crubz flopping two pair, and I had Black Yaks both win a nice pot and lose a nice pot—the Yaks giveth, and the Yaks taketh away. I took a hit against a tough lady (who was waiting for her 2/5 seat) when I held AQ on a flop of A-Q-4, and the lady hit her set of 4s. Eh. I got it all back and more when this hand o’ the trip occurred:

I had ground up a decent stack of $850 or so, when I saw Chazz and Carrie in the hallway. I sighed, knowing that the session was coming to a close. They finally spot me and come to my table, where Chazz attempts to pinch the two $100 bills from my stack. As I tried to discretely get Chazz to let go of the cash, Carrie started giving me drunken hugs and kisses. How awesome, they are totally smashed. Since I’m being dealt in to the next hand, I tell them I will rack up and join them in a minute. Instead of heading up to the gals’ room, they decide to sit behind me … and continue to be obnoxious. Awesome. So, as Chazz keeps poking me in the shoulder to get my attention and ask for cash for more shopping, and as Carrie continues to hug me from behind, I look down and find KK! I play the hand continuously telling the drunks to pipe down and give me a moment; how someone didn’t put me on a monster is astonishing. Long story short, some tattooed, Ed Hardy wearing 20 something Euro-donk with ridiculously oversized sunglasses pushes all-in against me on the raggedy smallish flop. I think a bit, in between fending off the two drunks, and finally call. I roll my hand, the board rolls out blanks, and Euro-donk mucks. Perhaps one of the highest degree of difficulty hands I’ve ever played! I’d have had the gold medal too, if it weren’t for that Romanian judge ….

After checking out the gals’ Rio suite, Chazz and I headed back to Caesars to clean up for dinner and a quick Forum shopping spree. As we were getting ready to leave the suite, Chazz discovers his wallet is missing. At first, I think little of it as Chazz is notorious for drunkenly “losing” items (iPhone, camera, watch, ring, etc.) which are actually in plain sight. Plus, I know he had his wallet in the cab as I asked him for a small bill for the cab tip. But, it quickly becomes clear that his wallet is not in the suite, and Chazz moves into patented hyper drama queen phase. Trying to head off disaster, I head downstairs and ask a security guard to direct us to lost and found. In a major miracle, a Caesars employee had found the wallet on the sidewalk out front, and turned it into security. All cash and cards were accounted for, and Chazz went from hysterical to puppy dog happy in 3 seconds flat. After tipping the security guards and the employee who found the wallet $20 each, we headed to the Forum shops where Chazz proceeded to “shop his face off”. It was a power-shopping spree directed at sales at stores he had scouted out the day before with the gals. A poor clerk at Clavin Klein got to hear Chazz’s story about his wallet three times during his visit; she was quite the good sport. Also, I had a soul-crushing moment while waiting for Chazz to try on some clothes. I was browsing a rack of summer shirts on sale, when a sales clerk comes up, and in a very chipper voice, says, “These are all slim fit. I have a whole rack of regular fit clothes over here you might like.” Dude! I’m 6’4” and under 200 pounds, and I run 4-6 miles a day most days in under 7:30 pace; I may have put on a few pounds the past couple of years, but I ain’t exactly chubby yet!! In any event, Chazz found numerous good bargains that “saved” me money, kind of like how folding AK/AQ/JJ on whiffed flops “saves” your poker bankroll until you’re broke . Eh, as long as the spousal unit is happy, my poker pass won’t get revoked!

We then headed back to Rio to meet the gals for a late dinner at VooDoo Lounge. We get a drink at the bar while waiting for our table, and Chazz manages to lose his iPhone at the bar when we get seated for dinner. The meal was good (I had lamb chops), but for the price, I can think of a dozen other places on the Strip I prefer. After dinner, we headed up to the VooDoo lounge to check out the rooftop bar. It has a great view, and is probably fun if you like clubs (which I don’t). The “highlight” of the evening was a three song performance by the reigning USA Pole Dancing Champion. Let’s just say that her display of flexibility, strength, and acrobatic skillz was eye opening. Call it Cirque du Soleaze … In any event, the gals crashed around 1:00 am, and I got Chazz poured into bed shortly thereafter. That left me free for one final poker session at Caesars before our early morning flight.

The Caeasars poker room was packed for a Sunday late night. There had to be over a dozen 1/3 NL games and at least eight 2/5 NL games going, along with a fairly busy tourney area wrapping up a big tourney. It was also the poker U.N.; I got seated at a 1/3 game with a couple of really nice 20-something Norwegian buddies, a couple of guys from Spain, the requisite drunk Irish dude, and a guy from Brazil. Brazil guy and Irish guy were playing blind preflop raises and reraises, making for a roller coaster session. Ironically, the Norwegian guys were the anti-Scandis, playing the role of table rocks. In my first orbit, I call the Irish guy’s blind preflop raise of $20 with KcJc. I flop the second nut flush draw (almost Nutz Crubz!), bet it out, and Irish guy calls. Turn is another club, he bets, I call. River is a blank, he puts me all-in, I snap call. Of course, he rolls over 8c5c for the straight flush! Aaaaiiiiyyyyaahhhh! Live poker is sooooo rigged …

I rebuy and grind my way back up, picking on the Norwegians with bluffs and value-betting the Irish and Brazilian maniacs. I have about $500 behind when I pick up 9c6c. Irish guy straddles for $10 and Brazil guy blind raises to $30. I’m in LP, so I rev up the Ultimate SVB and call with 9c6c. Long story short, I bajos dos pairs, Irish guy bets, Brazil raises, I call. Turn is another 9 for the catamaran; Donkey Kong!! Irish bets, Brazil raises, I go all-in and Brazil calls. Brazil has TPTK with AYs, and I rake a monster pot. Later on, Irish and Brazil are each in the pot preflop $30 blind. Irish pushes blind on the flop, and Brazil looks and calls, rolling over AA. The dealer rolls out the board, and on the river Irish rolls over … KK! I swear, neither player looked preflop! Wacky! Eventually my table breaks and I get moved to a table with four buddies from Spain playing together. The dealers refused to enforce the English only and one player to a hand rule, really annoying me as it felt like I had to play against the whole crew. I only had one hand of note, when I found AA in late position. I flop top set, bet pot, and get called by one of the Spanish crew. The turn is a blank, and we get it all in for the rest of his $500 stack. Turns out he has middle pair and a flush draw … and promptly rivers the flush! Aaaiiiyyyaaahhhh! Talk about a kick in the Nutz Heartz!

I cash out and head up to wake up Chazz and get to the airport for our 8:00 am flight. Chazz has a false alarm freak out thinking he lost his camera (which I had bought for his birthday gift); I had actually packed it for him the night before. At the airport, Chazz freaks out again, thinking he lost his sunglasses; turns out Carrie had picked them up for him at the cabana the day prior. Gill was back in full responsible mother of the year mode, with no trace of Vegas party gal. I think I was the only member of our crew with a BAC under 0.10 for the flight home … but nobody got arrested, so the trip was clearly a success. It’s good to have goals ...

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  1. LOL you must make this kind of trips more often say once every week and put the trip reports in a book. That would be the bestseller of the year!

    I hope that next time Im in Vegas I will have as much fun :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

  2. Without of the best TR's I have ever read!

    If you are not a columnist for a paper like the NY Times....or the author of a best selling book I would be surprised!

    Thanks for the great read. I wanna be in your gang!


  3. As always, Grange, a quality read.....especially the business about, "...I'm just a Human Torch."

  4. Wow Grange, it seems that you got your fair share of poker considering the "circumstances". I really sympathize with you putting up with those shopping sessions :smile: ..... and playing KK deep-stack with drunkish family and friends behind..... wow.
    I'm surprised you encountered some Spanish players there. I was born in Madrid, been 9 years in London, and last time I was in Vegas spent 18 days without meeting a single fellow Spaniard.
    Good trip report. I might be in Vegas in October, planning something like from October 2nd to the 23rd. ( super-long holiday , perks of being European ). When are you going next ??

  5. @zzjitterzz

    The link on the AVP home page clearly states: "WARNING: Long report." Thus, you were warned. Plus, you've been around AVP long enough to know I never use one paragraph when eight or nine will do. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

    BTW, the poker this trip was intended from the get-go to finance the trip, including spousal and gal pal variance. A big "Thanks!" to all the Eurodonks, WSOP tournadonks, assorted tourists, and "Pudge" for subsidizing an entertaining trip.


    Regrettably, my day job does involve writing, but it's mostly motions and appeal briefs that get read by, if I'm lucky, a handful of judges and lawyers. But I'm glad you and a few others find my posts worth a read! As for joining the gang, I suspect you would make a great Ironman of Poker participant. :grin:

  6. Grange,
    Great trip report. And kudos on proper use of "gruntled." That's my favorite.

  7. tl;dr.

    Oh, wait, I guess I did. There goes THAT hour. Great TR. I plan to use “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” on a regular basis next time in Vegas.

  8. Great TR, Grange.

  9. These have got to be the best reads in the trip report history

    Thanks for the entertainment

  10. @astrobel

    I have become a huge fan of the couples trip concept for Vegas as it maximizes poker time (my primary goal),even though it can add a lot of unexpected expense! As for the KK hand, being mauled by two drunk chatterboxes who have no concept of poker (or poker etiquette) was incredibly annoying, until I was raking the chips--then it became a funny story. Best part was that neither drunk realized I had won a big pot! Carrie asked me at dinner why I was ignoring them at the poker table, and when I explained, she said, "Oh, so two kings is like a good hand?" Ummm, yeah, I guess ...


    Yeah, the WSOP really brought out a ton of foreign poker players. Every place I played, the foreign player percentage had to be over 25%. I played with people from all over Europe, and a couple from Australia. Just one of the things I love about playing poker in Vegas!


    I'm now jealous of Europeans! Ironically, I'll be returning to Vegas October 1-4, on a couples trip organized by my bud and AVPer Santa Claus. Our fellow Ironman "Lucky" and his wife will also be joining us. Maybe we'll run into you at the tables!

  11. Great report.

    @Grange95 This is the crazyiest thing in your report.

    @Grange95 So I'm not confused if I ever try this. So you handed the clerk the $20 and asked for upgrades, he/she then said you could have an awesome suite for an additional $50 per? I assume you didn't hand over $170 in cash to the clerk.

    Pictures of "O" moves forthcoming?

  12. Epic report...and I made the report wheeeeeeee!!!!

    It was fun grabbing a bite with you, hopefully next trip I can join in on some of the poker and the debauchery!!!

  13. @Jugweed

    So I'm not confused if I ever try this. So you handed the clerk the $20 and asked for upgrades, he/she then said you could have an awesome suite for an additional $50 per? I assume you didn't hand over $170 in cash to the clerk.[/quote]

    Usually the $20 trick gets you the upgrade without any further outlay. But, it was a holiday weekend and the place was packed, so I think he had to charge something for the upgrade. He said it was usually an extra $150/day for that room, so if he was honest, we saved $300 (well, net $280).

    I may be able to find a midget Elvis picture. Not sure about the "O" practice pictures, but I'll see what I can do.

  14. I am so looking forward to the day when I get to meet The Grange (and 'Chazz' too)! Awesome report.

  15. That was well done and made for a good read, thanks.@Grange95 You actually arrived near the middle of the three day holiday, kind of like a Saturday arrival on some other three day weekend. Because the 4th fell on a Saturday this year the "day off" was Friday, that's the day the post office & banks & stock exchanges & Elmer's Widget Factory in Septic Flats New Jersey were all closed, so most holiday travelers got in Thursday night to start their patriotic revelry. But probably a good thing to let them have a 24 hour head start on the complimentary beverage service, right?

  16. Another great report...So much detail that it feels like your actually on the trip too.

    Got back in June and already want to go back, so thanks for this! :grin:

  17. this TR only goes to show why Grange was worthy of his own page on the site.

    As many have said, your report blazes with detail and wit. I especially like your TI stories about "Pudge" and his friends. Listening to how these WSOP flunkies live their lives and deal with people reminds me of a similar animal: I call him baseball guy. I spent a lot of time--in my younger years--playing beer league baseball, and without fail, each team had 1-2 young guys who never shut up about having "just missed their chance" at making the big leagues. If not for "this coach" or "that injury" or whatever, they would be playing in Yankee Stadium. Now, with poker's boom, we have the same guy, but instead of wearing stirrups and squirrelling Skoal, he's wearing a hoodie and downing Red Bull. Men can be funny creatures. It must be fun to bust one every once in awhile.

    Thanks again for a funny read. I'll be there in two weeks; can't wait.

  18. Great report.... I too appreciate the effort put into the writing. It is smooth and cordant, and jointed, and I find myself highly gruntled while I read it. I also agree that pilots should not go on and on about their planes being off the fritz--- they're not making people feel any more consolate. Based on your history of posts that have included your fair share of drinking, i'm sure it was a unique experience for you to be the most ebriated person in your group.

  19. That was a great read........thanks for that.....and I'm stoked, going to Vegas in the morning! w00t!

  20. @biggsy1969

    Grange - do you have a blog going? I just looked at the blog section of the discussion forums and didn't see one. If so, can someone link it? Or just cyber-slap me if I missed something obvious.

    Great thread and a very enjoyable read.


  21. @biggsy1969

    I can think of half a dozen guys I used to play pick up basketball with who fit this description as well. And yeah, I do get some perverse pleasure in puncturing an outsized ego from time to time. :sunglasses:

    Good luck in Vegas, and I'll expect a trip report!


    What I just wrote, but more so! Hopefully you're already sipping a mojito by the time you see this.



    I am speechless. I am without speech. Well-played, sir. Very nice hand.

  22. Well done Grange.

    I've lurked around here for three years and, with a useless degree in journalism and a part-time writing gig myself,really appreciate a well-written trip report. Yours always qualify.


  23. Great trip report as always. Bonus points for quoting The Princess Bride at the poker table.

  24. @Mrs. Lederer

    I can judge a person by their ability to work movie quotes into converesation. :sunglasses:

  25. Well it took me a couple of days, but I finally got enough time together to get through the whole wonderful report. Isn't it nice to be able to write something that doesn't require "whereas" or "heretofore".

    My absolute favorite part - your excellent use of the SVB, I hope yours keeps humming along!

  26. @LVGlenn

    I actually enjoy writing appeal briefs, but I can't be as snarky as I like to be. :wink: Regrettably, my SVB has been set on "cosmic pummeling" the past two weeks. Maybe I need to head back to Mirage!

  27. Grange - great TR as usual!! Always love reading your write-ups.


    ummmm, we're still waiting.... :smiling_imp:

  28. As always, fantastic TR Grange. I especially enjoyed your run in with the WSOP Crew at TI. Strangely, the guys who give lengthy diatribes about how others can't play always seem to be the ones rebuying...

    My Bachelor Party is in Vegas starting August 1st and you've inspired me to rev up my Ultimate SVB! Here's to hoping it works as my decision making capabilities are likely to be quite handicapped.

  29. There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said by everyone else thus I am compelled to say it anyways. This post is fabulous.

    I would have to say this qualifies as one of the Top 5 TRs ever written. The other 4 spots go to that guy who writes all about the Ironman competitions. He obviously is a much funnier and better poker player than you. I also that other guy is clearly much better at "Drinking for Profit". I fear that you take this game far too seriously.

    I am very sorry to hear that you did not encounter any ducks. Perhaps, we can search for ducks together the next time my wife and I are in town?

  30. @Grange95


    What a scurrilous remark to make about someone from my beautiful little leprecaun filled, Whiskey & Guinness loving country..... :laughing: I can assure that in my lifetime I have met at least 3 fellow Irishmen who do not fall into the requisite drunk Irish dude category. Grant you, they all wore white dog collars and greeted me with a blessing on my home and family :confused:.......Yes, perhaps your remark is more accurate than I first considered it to be.

    Anyway, to make amends for your slanderous comment and to ensure I don't haul your legal rear end through the international court of human rights you may do me the honour of informing me when you arrive back in LV of what poker tables you will be frequenting, as unbelievably, my annual Vegas trip over from the Emerald Isle takes place from Oct 1st - Oct 7th and it would be a privelige to share a few hours on the felt with such a accomplished Trip Report compiler. No doubt it would liven up a dull table in any poker room.

    and remember......"our lawyers are watching".....



  31. Hey grange.....I will be in Vegas from the 26th Sept until the 4th October! I am putting in a request for a drink with you and your crew.....I'd love to meet the legend that is Grange and his gang!
    I will be stopping the 1st 5 nights at Harrahs...then from the 1st October for 3 nights at a yet to be determined MGM property, I'm still waiting on best offers!
    Let me know if you can spare time for a drink over the felt!


  32. @kissmyaces

    Santa, Lucky, and I will have the spouses along, so poker and frivolity will not be the main focus of the trip. But Santa and I will Twitter our poker sessions, and you (and other AVPers) are welcome to come join in the fun when we do get our spouse passes! Twitter IDs are: Santa (IronmenofPoker) and Grange (Grange95).

    Hope to run into you at the tables!

  33. I think Grange and I will have to write up and post separate trip reports to compare and contrast the inevitable fish stories that will be told.

    Counting down to Grange's snarky reply about how his entry will be more entertaining than mine in 3, 2, 1...

  34. First off, just to clarify my prior post, here are the official Twitter IDs for those persons of questionable character who actually wish to follow our poker hijinks:

    Follow IronmenofPoker if you want to follow AVPer Santa Claus.

    Follow Grange95 if you want to follow ... well, me.

    @Santa Claus

    Dueling banjos, eh? I think this would be a potentially awesome idea. We'll have to see how it works out in execution. Now squeal like a pig!

    @Santa Claus

    I would never suggest that your trip reports are anything less than an A+ in terms of entertainment value. In fact, your write-ups inspire all AVPers as the Platonic Ideal of trip reports. The fact that you are a Zima-swilling, Cyclown-cheering, hidey-hoing, gray-haired nit larva who puts the "Little" in "Kings and Little Ones" only makes your marvelous trip report achievements all the more impressive ... in a Rainman / Flowers for Algernon-esque idiot savant sort of way.

  35. @Santa Claus

    I would never suggest that your trip reports are anything less than an A+ in terms of entertainment value. In fact, your write-ups inspire all AVPers as the Platonic Ideal of trip reports. The fact that you are a Zima-swilling, Cyclown-cheering, hidey-hoing, gray-haired nit larva who puts the "Little" in "Kings and Little Ones" only makes your marvelous trip report achievements all the more impressive ... in a Rainman / Flowers for Algernon-esque idiot savant sort of way.[/quote]

    Based solely on the fact that you included a Flowers for Algernon reference in your compliment/slam, I'll simply say...thanks?

    Now go come up with something other than references to palendromes when making strange sized check raises.

  36. @bowlingfool

    ummmm, we're still waiting.... :smiling_imp:[/quote]

    Ask, and ye shall receive!

    Here's the Harrah's Carnival Court Michael Jackson Impersonator:

    The gals enjoying the 4th of July on the Strip:

    View of Bellagio from VooDoo Lounge (rooftop @ Rio):

    The gals at VooDoo Lounge:

    Top 10 jobs you don't want your daughter to take--"Cage dancer for VooDoo Lounge: Seeking young attractive women, good dance skills optional, willing to dance on edge of 50+ story roof while wearing next to nothing. Must be able to convince 200+ internet punks from WSOP to order bottle service while they take cell phone camera pics to prove they actually saw an attractive woman.":

    And finally, some "Cirque du Soleaze" from VooDoo Lounge:

  37. Nice report.
    Hey next time you think you could maybe put a little detail into your reports, it only took my 30 mins to read. LOL

  38. @kissmyaces

    dittiditto on all counts... amazing TR, great writing style, entertaining read and gang i'd be part of.... good one Grange!!!

  39. @teslaaaa

    My bad! There were so many parts of the trip that were classified by the CIA, I could only share the broad overview of the more boring parts ...


    I'll try to do better with my October report!

  40. OMG midget Elvis!

    That is all.

    But it is... how shall I say?... more than enough!

  41. @Cardgrrl

    Everyone needs a little midget Elvis on a Friday. :sunglasses:

  42. Awesome.

    Also, Grange, midget is not the preferred nomenclature.

  43. Dude, your reports are amazing, what a fantastic read!


    I do have to relate to this post, but being I'm over 40 and not an internet punk, I guess it's only partially related....I'd gone up to Voodoo on Thursday night after getting a free cover coupon just to check out the view. I'd gotten there early and had a table. After a few hours, they began roping off the area and kicking us all out. When I inquired why (can you tell how clued in I am :grin:) I was informed that the table are now reserved for bottle service.

    Not wanting to depart as I was very comfortable with a stash of cigars, a great view and good company, I asked for a menu. Considering I'd cashed in my first WSOP event, I quickly opted for the outrageously priced bottle of Jack Daniels and I continued to enjoy the rest of the evening in extreme much so that I had to blow off Photoc for lunch before deprating for home as I was in NO condition for public interration on Friday :grin:

  44. Great trip report -makes me wish i was there, instead of being 7 weeks away from my trip in Sept. Seemed like you were a head by 4 digits for the trip?
    Note I do not work for the IRS!
    AKA Alan

  45. @Easystreet

    Are you asking before or after spousal variance? :confused:

  46. before, but tell me how you think she cost you just by coming to the table at an in-opportune time. Every time my spouse or non-ale family members comes to get me (even if at an appointed rendezvous time) and I state the inevitable "after this 1 last hand" and it inevitably costs me money. The last trip my sister joined me in vegas came to the table and I said "1 last hand". I then look down and lo and behold I see A-K from middle position (I believe off-suited but can not recall). I call a raised pot and try to go hollywood by saying "well I usually do not play these hands but since it is my last hand". It was a mediocre competition and I was up close to $300. 2 more callers (4 way action) flop comes K-8-4 checked to me I bet about 1/2 - 3/4 of the pot - 1 caller. Turn another 8, I go All-in she calls for $58 and I knew in my heart she had the 8 for the trips. She had 8-J suited and rakes it in cost me about $150 on this "1 last time". Maybe she called because of my comment but the whole karma of playing "1 last hand" was really at work here. Similar bad things have happened numerous times playing "1 last hand" I guess I should learn my lesson and never play a last hand.
    AKA Alan

  47. @Easystreet

    LOL, sorry, I should've explained. "Spousal variance" is my way of saying, "money the spouse sucks out of your poker winnings for shopping, dinners, and drinks". Notice that spousal variance is entirely negative; when was the last time a spouse handed a poker player money to buy-in to a poker game or tourney?

  48. @Grange95

    LOL, sorry, I should've explained. "Spousal variance" is my way of saying, "money the spouse sucks out of your poker winnings for shopping, dinners, and drinks". Notice that spousal variance is entirely negative; when was the last time a spouse handed a poker player money to buy-in to a poker game or tourney?[/quote]

    My wife's a successful attorney and I am a high school teacher, so I'd say most of the time. I'm a lucky dude. And Grange, it would seem our spouses share the same type of activities when in Vegas. Even if I drop $100 at a poker table, know it's only about half of what wifey will spend at the spa, shops, restaurants, etc...

  49. @biggsy1969

    Weird coincidence, attorney and elementary school teacher for me and my sig. other. I don't mind spousal variance, I figure we each have different ways to enjoy Vegas, and if my way of having a good time can subsidize his fun, well, that's a bonus!

  50. @Grange95

    I ran up against a guy last night whose SVB was set to global domination. I'm not talking about hitting the connectors he was playing or spiking lots of sets. Here's a typical example:

    SVB limps under the gun, a couple of other limpers and I call from the button with A7 diamonds. Flop comes 257 rainbow. SVB leads for a little over half the pot and I start sizing my raise in my head. Player on my immediate right shoves for an amount probably double what I was going raise to. I tank for a while, I have the player on my right covered and am probably about even with SVB, and I decide there will be better spots to get my money in so I fold. SVB snap calls and the initial all in player rolls over 107 suited. SVB rolls over K5 offsuit that he limped UTG with.

    I was right, there were better spots to get my money in, SVB catches a K on the turn. After three levels, his stack was 5x the starting stack and I would put his VPIP at somewhere around 85%. Needless to say, I hope he enjoyed himself enough last night to play there regularly.