I came out to Vegas for a Thursday to Monday trip with a buddy about to be deployed to Afghanistan, his wife, her dad and another couple. The plan was to have one guy's night of serious drinking, play a ton of poker and eat way way too at the various Harrah's buffets on the all day pass. As an ex-president might say "Mission Accomplished!" .... well except that whole part about actually accomplishing our mission and going back home. But that's another rant.
Anyhow, I got in on Thursday and planned to meet everyone at Bally's poker room. I went there, played for way to long waiting as planes were delayed and other things intervened. While i was there I was totally snake bit at the table and left down a goodly amount after making a number of lovely 2nd best hands in the 3-6 limit game.
About 9PM, I decided I was really, really hungry and went walking to grab a hot dog at Pinks. For those who don't know it is technically in the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood, but the entrance is actually on the strip -- you can't get in from either PH or the Miracle Mile shops, which caused me to walk around a lot more than necessary when i was hungry and grouchy after losing money. Still, the effort was worth it. I got the Three Dog Night a lovely concoction of 3 foot longs, cheese, chili, onions and bacon wrapped in a giant tortilla. If you don't have a heart attack while eating it, then it could be the perfect hot dog experience. Even with a heart attack it could be close.
Since I was running so well at the tables I stupidly decided to go to Mirage where I've never logged a winning session. I kept that streak beautifully alive. I truly believe for me the Mirage poker room is like that beautiful woman that men desire but who treats them for cr*p. I like the room, I enjoy playing there, but I can't ever do well there.
Total for Thursday -- 7 hours of poker, 8 hands won (one of them chopped) for a net loss of more than $200 all at 3-6 limit.
Friday morning, I got up and hit the Aces cracked promotion at IP. I figure "what the hell, if I can't win, I might as well lose when a bonus is in play." This brilliant logic lead to the beginning of my turnaround. I didn't win many hands, but I did get my aces cracked twice and wound up netting almost $150.
My friends and I then played in the Noon IP tourney. There were about 30-35 runners. I got a couple hands early but then went pretty card dead. Once the first hour was up and I did the rebuy and add-on I was among the shorter stacks with probably 18 left. I stayed pretty card-dead till the final table and went in as one of the short stacks. I immediately asked everyone "do you want to chop? I'm a good short stack player." I then went on to prove that I wasn't B.S.ing everyone by outlasting a couple of short stacks -- each time repeating my offer. Finally, I was uber-shortstacked (the blinds had just gone up and I was at about 3 big blinds. From early position, having looked at cra*p all final table, I saw 10-9 suited and decided to run with it. One of the 2 big stacks decided to tangle with me fro the big blind figuring he had 2 live cards with his 10-3 off. Of course a 3 hit the flop but the turn paired the 8 on board and a river 10 counterfeited the big stack to keep me alive. The next hand I pushed with 10-10 and the same guy said "I think you're just desperate now" and called me with a weak ace. My hand held and I was suddenly not quite on life support, just close to it. Unfortunately, my buddy bubbled in 6th. Then, with the blinds up to 5,000-10,000 and then 10,000-20,000 which meant nearly everyone was somewhat short stacked, I started getting cards and attacking the blinds. This got me a decent sized stack and cut down the 2 chipleaders who never tangled with me. Finally, the guy that doubled me up twice got aggressive but ran into a good hand from another mid-sized stack and busted in 5th. I again offer a chop but the then chipleader said "oh no, I'm going to bust a couple of you guys first." I kept getting good enough cards to attack blinds with decent aces, big kings, suited connectors etc. and I kept shoving all my chips in. I even did a stop and go when I flopped a set, which almost got paid off. Needless to say my growing stack and the chipleaders' dwindling one got on his nerves. He made a loose call against another player and got hurt, then shoved into a big pair from the small blind and was done. The 3 remaining players went a few hands before deciding to chop for a nice $343 payout on a total of $65 invested. This was my first Las Vegas poker tourney win -- in 2 attempts, so it was really sweet for me.
After grabbing my cash and tipping the dealers (I hope about 10% on a small buyin is enough), I met one couple down at Bill's saw most of the Big Elvis show -- good free entertainment, I'd recommend it. We went out for a quick bite and then met up with my Army buddy for a Boy's night out of serious drinking. We started at Rock House at IP, drank several rum and cokes on a 2 for 1 coupon to Caramel at Bellagio -- Natalie there pours a good, strong drink. Then we wandered down the strip to NY NY for some pizza and to Dick's in the Excal for some more rum and cokes on a 2 for 1 deal. One of my buddies is a Steelers fan and was wearing his colors. That apparently was a really good choice because a guy with an LA Dodger's Jersey and a bunch of what I assume were gang tatoos came up and showed him the Steeler tat on his calf. Our new friend was joking with my buddy and drinking with us and and said "if we were ever in LA that we were fine in his hood" -- a sort of barrio-pass for the Steelers fan and his drinking buddies.
Finally, after a total of 8-10 rum and cokes, plus a couple shots we decided to cab it back towards our hotel. My buddy decided he wanted to play some poker and I thought "drunk + poker = O'Sheas" My buddies both left after an hour or so of no limit, I played for about 3 hours and 4 more rum and cokes at the 1-5 spread game. It was either about 1/2 hour or 1 rum and coke too long because I had been up nicely, but lost most of my winnings and left up just $30. I didn't lose any big hands, just missed a couple draws and paid someone off who got there on the river.
Still, a really good Friday after a crappy start to the trip poker-wise.
Saturday, I went back to my abusive relationship and played at the Mirage during their aces cracked. It was yet another losing session, I couldn't get a thing, never saw aces and wound up down about $50 for the session. I did run into Las Vegas Michael and introduced myself. I also met a nice couple who sometimes lurk here and just bought a place on the west side of town. I hope you both enjoy the trip report. I also asked about a comp voucher and found out I had $15, so I decided to grab a burger at BLT -- which was really good.
In the afternoon, I went up and played a little $4-8 at Venetian. I didn't get much early and was nearly down $100 when a really aggressive player came to the table. He kept betting and raising even with air. Luckily I picked up on this early and called a raise from him with J-9 suited from the big blind. The flop came 8-7-2 with 1 in my suit, I decided to check-call him, since my J high might have been good. The turn was a perfect 10, giving me the nuts. I check-raised him and he decided to get frisky and 3 bet, saying "2 pair is no good." Since I knew 2 pair was not any good thanks to my straight, I put in the 4th bet and got called. He announced that he was checking dark even though I was due to act first. Unfortunately the river paired the 10, which made me think he might have boated up on me. So, I took the conservative route and checked. He wanted to bet, but the dealer said his check was still in effect. He was pissed, but it saved him $8, because I had every intention of calling. That hand, plus another big one on my last hand put me up about $20 for the session.
After that we went to the RIO for the start of the 24 hour eating festival that is Harrah's Buffet of Buffets. After a long wait in line, I attacked the crab legs, beef, Chinese food and dessert bar for a glorious festival of gluttony. we walked about 1/20 of the calories off by heading to the WSOP where I saw Action Dan Harrington at the Feature table, Phil Laak at the secondary feature table, Barry Greenstein, Jean-Robert Bellande and Robert Varkonyi in the field. It was interesting to go to the WSOP and fun to see the players up close. But, even as a poker fan, being there as spectator really isn't that great since you can't see hole cards (obviously), which leaves you guessing as to holdings. If I'm going to do that, I'd rather try to profit from it by being at the table. Still, it was worth seeing and I'm glad I went.
Sunday - started at Flamingo for a breakfast with the birds. The breakfast buffet was good and the setting was really cool. Thanks to all those here who suggested it! Following brunch I headed down to Hoover Dam, which was awesome. I'd never been there before and really, really enjoy it. My buddy Andy & I walked it taking a ton of pictures of the Dam and the bridge downstream. Great time, even with the 105 degree heat.
On the way back we stopped at South Point (Perry was not in the building) and played a little poker. My buddy Andy sat at the $1-2 table and lost his stack when a kid turned an inside straight against his flopped 2 pair. That kid hit 2 or 3 more inside straights and got up with more than $650. My buddy managed to crawl back to post a small win. I played a few hands of no limit before a new $2-4 limit game opened and I went back to my element. I didn't get much but did see Spain's World Cup winning GOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! and managed a small win.
That night we stopped at Caesars' buffet -- Lago. It was okay but didn't have near the selection of other buffets in town, so I was underwhelmed. Still, a good meal, but I wouldn't pay that price for that selection, given the other choices in town.
The buffet did fuel me for the IP Mixed Game which ran for the first time when I was in town. I sat down with $200 in front of me at a table with 3 or 4 regulars to the game plus AVP's own Mrs Lederer, who also plays a few mixed games. One of the only other newbies to the game was a heavy-set guy named "Steve" who claimed to play the $8-16 HORSE game at Venetian regularly and said he finished 13th in the WSOP Razz event. I came home and looked him up and he was not lying, his name is Steven Diano and he's got 7 WSOP cashes, in Stud, Razz and HORSE.
Faced with this array of talent, and a complete lack of experience in most of the games in the mix, I proceeded to drop nearly $150 in the first few hours. Luckily, I got stubborn and decided not to call it a night. I played until after 3AM -- or more than 8 hours and cashed out for exactly my $200 buyin. It's not to bad being one of the the fish and holding your own. Honestly, I think I could be decent enough to play in the game with a bit more experience, but given my lack of it, I know I missed a few bets that a better/more experienced player would not have. I did make a pretty good read on one of the regulars and called drawing to a 6 in Razz. I had a K-Q up and he was drawing to either an 8-7 or possibly a 7-6. Since I had A-2 in the hole, and a 4-6 on board, I knew I had a shot and was smart enough to raise when I made the 6. It didn't compare to the sick soul read that Steve made calling with a 3 card 6 after a guy had stood pat twice in Badugi, but I'll take what I can manage.
Overall, it was an excellent adventure. Ate way too much, drank way too much (1 night anyhow), met some AVPers, saw some new sights, finally got in on the Mixed Game and a won some money.