Maui, Buckeye, TBC and the Duke – 8 days in Vegas on business - Part Two: Days 4-6 Maui and Buckeye

Reports & Blogs by vookenmeister about Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Posted

Day 4 Tuesday

Bad news poker-wise is I have to spend the entire day at my work conference. Good news is that I have made plans to meet up with Mauihaole at Excalibur after the conference ends. I am excited about this as I have a good amount of respect for Maui’s game for two reasons: (1) His strat posts all seem to be well thought out and (2) he play a hell of a lot more than I do. I’m curious to see his style of play and am hoping it is LAGgy/opportunistic like many of the solid local Vegas AVpers I know (yappy, OD, LVM, etc. I could go on). I’m trying to play more LAGgy against unknown opponents myself. Funny thing is my instinct is to play TAG, but I seem to do my best when I play LAG (but I must have confidence and be comfy with the table for it to work).

So the work conference ends around 5pm and I make my way over to the Excalibur. A tournament is underway so I am hoping this will bring some cash game fish to the table. There is one NL game underway and I get seated at a full table in Seat #2. I buy in for the max $300. I lose about $55 of it when I call down a made flush on the flop in position with flopped top two pair. I should have known the player would limp in with J5 of diamonds under the gun (pretty standard). At least I didn’t raise to figure out where I was and at least he made very weak turn and river bets that minimized the damage. So the table appears to be the usually loose/passive junk with the exception of seat 8 (who I recognize from Hard Rock Saturday night) and of course God’s gift to poker in Seat 2 (that’s me if you have already forgotten).

Maui arrives, gets seated in Seat 7 and immediately starts pushing the table around a little bit. Good. He is LAGgy/opportunistic. This should be fun. Unfort. Maui bluffs into the same guy I lost to earlier and takes a dent to his stack and if I recall ends up rebuying (he gets most of it back eventually and then completely crushes the opposition at Mandalay… but I digress). Anyways, I am card dead as usual and the table is weak so I look for opportunities to mix it up in position (I normally do this anyways but I am ready to go out of my way). Following fun hand occurs. Early position loose player limps in (he has about $180 I think), Seat 8 who I believe is solid, raises to $10 (I think he has about $300), I call on the button with two 33s (I have about $220). My plan is to either hit a set or look to float and steal if possible. Early position calls and we are three to the flop with a $33 pot. Flop comes 7-6-6 with two hearts. Early position checks and preflop raiser continuation bets $20 into the pot. I figure there is enough of a chance that I am ahead or can steal the pot so I float. Much to my dismay, early position also calls. I am leaning towards early position having a draw (though he could have a small overpair). Pot is now $93 and the turn comes out a non-heart ace. Early position checks (good) and original raiser checks. Sweet! Time to steal though maybe I am ahead. I bet $50 into the pot leaving myself with about $140. Early position calls (boo!) and preflop raiser folds (yeah!). Pot is now $193 and my single opponent only has about $100 left. I have convinced myself he has a draw. The river is a 7. Yikes! The board now reads 7-6-6-A-7. Lovely! My opponent frowns and checks. I’m confident he bets a 7 here and I never put him on a 6 so I wait about ten seconds. Then I quietly push out my remaining chips saying in a calm voice with a shrug, “I’ll put you all in”. Villain pauses for about fifteen seconds (which seems like three hours) and then folds. I flip my cards face up and claim triumphantly, “I play the board”. I showed mainly in hopes to get paid off on a big hand later, but admittedly I also wanted Maui to see my great bluff (gotta feed the ego). (I ran into the original raiser again later at MGM and he told me “Nice play” and said he had QQs on that hand. Makes sense so I believe him. I was lucky the Ace came on the turn or my steal never works).

Action dries up at Excalibur so we decide to head over to Mandalay Bay. I noticed a lot of tables were going after my conference was over. I figured a lot of them were probably conference tourists so it would be good action. Maui and I eventually get seated at the same table. I am in seat 4 and Maui is in seat 7. Maui is straddling UTG every chance he gets and comfortably playing his solid LAG game (as the table is the typical loose/passive). Maui starts getting into a lot of hands with the loose gambler in Seat 2. He hits two big hands in the straddle (hopefully I have the details right). The first he has Q6 of hearts and calls a $20 raise in the straddle. He checks the flop blind. Can’t remember exact cards on the flop but they were non-paint and two were hearts. Seat 2 bets $20 and Maui calls then checks the turn blind. The turn comes out a brick. Seat 2 checks behind. The river comes a pretty heart and Maui leads out for $50 or so (I can’t remember exactly). Seat 2 reraises all in. Maui calls. Seat 2 shows a small straight made on the river (terrible re-raise) and Maui scoops the pot. Next round Maui straddles again. I can’t remember the details but he has 66s and flops a set (in the straddle). He manages to get it all in against seat 2 and busts him… AGAIN. Seat #2 heads off for more cash.

Meanwhile, I am card dead as usual. I’m content to be patient but worried I might not get paid off on a big hand when I do hit. Three people limp to me so I decide to bump it up to $15 with the powerful, grange-like 8-4 soooooted. All three limpers call. Oops.. At least I have position. Flop comes J-10-6 rainbow. It checks all the way around to me so I check knowing the flop had to hit somebody. Turn comes a 9. The really tight guy in Seat 1 bets out $20. I have been sitting chatting and listening to him. Very nice guy, but I know he is extremely tight. I decide he is just making a weak bet with a pair of Js, a straight draw or something only semi-good. I decide to represent big strength and raise to $50 with my lovely idiot draw to the straight. He thinks for a long time and decides to fold his 10-9 showing me the cards. Wow. Had I known he had that there is no way I even think about stealing it. My original plan was to show my bluff to get some action. However, I take the high road and decide “not to be a D*ck and show him the bluff”. Maui has the table so agitated I don’t need an image. I lie and tell him “Nice fold. I had K-Q”. I’d lie to my grandmother at poker but for some reason I feel sorry for the guy. He truly was a nice guy so I didn’t see the point in showing him up.

Anyways, the following cool hand occurs soon thereafter. Maui raises to $11 in early position. It folds around to me in the small blind. I look down at AA. I decide to play it tricky and… well you need to go the strategy forum to read the rest on this hand. (

After this hand, the following fun hand occurred for me. Two players I think limp in and I look down at two JJs on the button. I raise it up to $15 and one early position limper calls. Flop comes Q-Q-Q. Obviously I like it as I am only dead to an unlikely Q or a crazily played AA/KK. Villains bets out $20 so I donkey min-raise to $40 (I don’t normally min-raise but wanted to build the pot some. Hindsight I prob should have bumped it more). He takes a little bit of time and calls. Turn comes another Q. He immediately grimaces in pain, which concerns me. “You know the old act weak when strong display”. I am now slightly concerned he has an Ace. He checks to me. Regardless, I figure my only chance to win this pot is to bluff at it since all I have is a J kicker now. I quietly bet out for $50 without saying a word. He visibly moans, says, “I think you’re bluffing and calls”. Now I am 95% sure he has an Ace and I am screwed. I am ready to bail on the hand. The river flips a brick lower than a J. Villain angrily checks. I still don’t know what to make of it. I would expect him to lead out with an ace so now I have no clue what to do. Maybe it’s not an act and he really isn’t happy after all? I decide my hand might be good after all somehow. I figure he calls with a K anyways so I check behind. Villain flips over 99 and I flip over my JJ. Wow. What the hell was he thinking calling me with just a 9 kicker? Nice hero call fella!!! I realize later as he busts out that thinking was not part of his poker strategy. I love it when I bluff with the best hand and win. I dodge another bullet later on when I fold 9-9 on an 8-7-6-4 board when Villain goes all in with a pot sized bet and a shrug. I ask if he wants me to call and he shrugs again. I put him on a big pair and fold face up. Can’t recall exact details but I recall being happy I only lost $20 on the hand when he shows his AA...

Some time passes and the following crazy monster pot hand occurs (hopefully I have all the details right). Maui raises to $15 preflop in early position with KJ of spades (Maui has around $375 in chips). He gets called by Seat 2 (who has rebought again and has about $280 in chips), one other player and Seat 6 who is tight as hell. Flop comes A-7-5 with the Ace and 5 being spades . Tight guy checks so Maui continuation bets for $30 into the $60 pot. Seat 2 calls, other player folds and Seat 6 calls. Pot is now about $150. Turn is a non-spade brick (can’t recall exactly what). Seat 6 checks. Maui bets $80, Seat 2 calls, and Seat 6 pushes his entire stack in (he has everybody covered). Maui thinks for a while and decides to gamble and pushes his stack in with the nut flush draw. Seat 2 thinks for a long time and then decides to call. Seat 6 rolls over two 7s for a flopped set. Maui and Seat 2 do not show their hands yet. Here comes the river. Bingo a beautiful non-board-pairing spade. Maui flips over his K-J and shreaks “The nuts baby”. Seat 2 flips over his 4-2 of spades (what???). Seat 6 falls to the floor and throws up (ok. I lied but Seat 6 looked like he was going to throw up). Maui scoops the over $1000 pot and decides to call it a night shortly thereafter. Despite the juicy table shortly after I decide to call it a night as well since I have to attend the conference in the morning.

Day 4 results: Excalibur +$15, Mandalay Bay lost $47
Running Summary
Cash lost$35
Tourneys won $444

Wednesday, not a lot of excitement, as I attend the work conference all day. I then head to ESPN to watch Game 7 of the Caps game (95 Canadians cheering for Montreal and 3 people including myself cheering for the Caps). Caps muster 134 shots on goal and still lose. Bitter, I head back to the hotel room to wait for my wife’s flight to land. Plan is for us to meet Maui at MGM after she lands and gets settled. I discover her flight has been redirected to Phoenix so she won’t be arriving till around 10:30pm. I text Maui and tell him I am heading to MGM but am only going to stay for about 90 minutes. He decides to head over anyways. I get seated at a $1/$2 table. No real interesting hands but I do manage to win $224 during my 90 minute session. Maui shows up halfway thru. We chat for a little bit and he decides to head back downtown to Binions since I’m not playing that long. I rack up, do the good husband thing, and wait in the lobby of Excalibur for my wife’s cab to pull up. It’s been a long day for her so we decide to rest up in the room.

Day Results: MGM +$224
Running Summary
Cash won $189
Tourneys won $444

Thursday rolls around. I get up early again and head to the work conference. The conference starts early but ends close to noon. Near the end of the conference BuckeyeFan texts me to tell me he is in town and playing. I ask him where. He texts, “NB”. I reply, “Huh? What is NB”. He replies, “Oops. Typo. Mandalay Bay”. Nice. I am at Mandalay Bay already for the work conference. As soon as the last session ends, I head directly to the poker room. Buckeye is a tall (6’5”), extremely friendly guy who is close to my age (early 40s). I sit to his left and we end up playing together for about 4 hours (my wife was tired and was napping the whole time). I manage to lose $137 during this session but feel like I played extremely well. Four times I was dealt AA or KK. Three times I lost and the fourth time I won the blinds. One hand I got it all in preflop against a shorter stack ($150) only to lose to KKs when a K hits the river (no biggie as the hand played itself). I then get my AA cracked by a set of 88s. Once again the player was semi-short stacked so I only lost about $130. Last time I have KK and make it $10 preflop UTG. I get called by the small blind who is extremely tight (in fact he has been sharing some of his hands with Buckeye and I). The flop comes A-brick-brick. He checks and I check behind. No point in betting as he will only call with an Ace or better and I am not really scared of any turn cards. Turn comes another brick. He leads out for $15 and I quickly fold my KK face up. He shows me one Ace and mucks. I would have cleaned house if there was an Ace cracked promotion.

Another hand I felt like I dodged went as follows: a couple people limp and I raise to $15 on the button with KQ. One limper calls. Flop comes Q-10-5 two diamonds. Checks to me so I bet out $25 and get called. Turn comes a non-diamond J. It checks to me. I’m not thrilled and don’t want to get bet off the pot since I now have a straight draw so I check. River comes another K. Player checks again. I check it down figuring a 9 is just going to call me. Player shows 9-8 and scoops the pot. He called a $25 bet on the flop with a gut shot. I like that. What I don’t like is that he hit it. At least he didn’t get any more of chips after he hit his miracle.

Anyways, I have a bad run during this session (as does Buckeye). However, I had a good time hanging out and chatting with another fellow AVPer. My wife calls me and we make plans to grab dinner and hit the dueling pianos at New York New York. I could care less about food so I won’t elaborate, but dinner at the Italian place next to the piano bar was pretty good. We have a blast at the Piano bar as we go thru two pitchers and enjoy some hilarity. The duelers are bidding up songs and get one young guy, Mr High Roller, to throw out $100 to hear Def Leppard. There was a time when I might pay $100 NOT to hear Def Leppard. Fortunately it no longer bothers me so I can enjoy the moment. The piano guy orders a bachelorette party to grind and dance with him. Funny stuff. I snapped a fuzzy blackberry picture of the moment.

Anyways, we have a blast and decide to play some drunk poker at MGM. My wife is card dead the whole time but manages to lose only $20. Yes, my wife plays poker. Many would say I am the second best poker player in my family and that is just because the twins haven’t learned to play yet. I didn’t take any specific notes but I know we played for about four hours, I downed quite a few drinks, and managed to win $176.

Thursday Results: I lost $137 at Mandalay, won $176 at MGM,
Wife loses around $20 at MGM.
Running Summary
Cash won $228
Tourneys won $444

Next Update: We check out the Mirage Friday, we get our asses handed to us Friday night at MGM (but we meet the Duke!!!) We finish off our last night of the trip, Saturday, playing a few hours with TBC.

Last Edited:


  1. Botched the pic... here it is.

  2. Paul it was nice meeting you and your wife while in LV. You are a very solid player and should give yourself more credit. I ended up on the plus side for my trip and will post in my own TR later. I still haven't been able to figure out who the "Duke" is though so I wait with anticipation for your final summary.

  3. I spent an evening a few years ago at the NYNY dueling piano bar and it was a great time. I couldn't believe the money people were throwing around to hear songs. At one point there was a "Battle of the College Fight Songs" and whoever paid the piano dudes the most money at the time got the song switched. A guy in front of me went to the ATM and gave $100+ for them to play whatever his song was.

    I felt like the biggest cheapo for giving $5 to hear "Come Sail Away," but they did play my entire song, unlike some of those high rollers who paid big bucks to hear their fight song only to get it stopped when someone else gave more $!

    Looking forward to reading about your encounter with TBC!

  4. @#1BuckeyeFan

    Thx Steve... really enjoyed meeting you as well. I am happy to hear and not surprised you came out on top. Look forward to your trip report. To read about the Duke, check out Sam's stories in the Tales of Old Vegas discussion forum.


  5. Great stuff so far, really interested in reading the
    Duke/ TBC stories.

  6. very entertaining TR and well written as well. The one thing I want to comment on, and I know he's a very solid player from what I have read from him in many strat comments, is Maui putting in 300+ on a draw....very surprising and I would like to hear from him the details and his thoughts of the hand....I will be in town in a couple of weeks. maybe we will head over to Binions and get his thoughts in person. until then.....

  7. @bomb8813, that was read correctly. Certainly not my finest moment but it worked out for the best. The only logical explanation is I felt like gambling especially since I felt the other V would come along.

  8. @bomb8813

    maui will need to chime in if he reads this, but I think he said he was ready to gamble, was going for a big score and got lucky. I think he also felt Seat 2 might do something stupid and come along. And yes he is solid, but obv he doesn't mind taking chances. I'm a former statistics (sadistics) major so my brain is grounded in numbers. Pretty sure I would've folded and hated myself. In fact, I prob don't bet the turn at all hoping Seat 2 will check behind. If Seat bets the turn and Seat 6 shoves, I definitely fold (I suspect Maui would have as well).

  9. @mauihaole, that was read correctly. Certainly not my finest moment but it worked out for the best. The only logical explanation is I felt like gambling especially since I felt the other V would come along.[/quote]

    ha. yes. I have to say I enjoyed you winning the pot almost as much as you did. I thought you were going to ship me some of it. I will let you hug me.

  10. @vookenmeister

    Oh Man, I missed you again, LOL. I went to lunch after the conference with a Buddy from LV and then he stayed to play in the MB room. I was in there a couple of times talking to him before I had to blast out of there to catch a plane back to MT.

  11. @Fishwhenican

    Oh Man, I missed you again, LOL. I went to lunch after the conference with a Buddy from LV and then he stayed to play in the MB room. I was in there a couple of times talking to him before I had to blast out of there to catch a plane back to MT.[/quote]

    next year we will have to plan in advance if we both go to the conference (I am already planning on going even if I have to pay my way)

  12. I then head to ESPN to watch Game 7 of the Caps game (95 Canadians cheering for Montreal and 3 people including myself cheering for the Caps). Caps muster 134 shots on goal and still lose.

    That game made me sick. How the hell did we drop 3 games in a row. At least they took out the Pens in the next round.

  13. @scitchr888
    That game made me sick. How the hell did we drop 3 games in a row. At least they took out the Pens in the next round.[/quote]

    yes indeed. I think I saw Crosby crying at the end of the game last night. Boo Hoo!!

  14. yes indeed. I think I saw Crosby crying at the end of the game last night. Boo Hoo!!

    Last night's game was sweet to watch. I hate the Pens. I am looking forward the the poker room in Charlestown opening later this summer. :smile:

  15. Agreed on all counts. Just 90 minutes away!!! Good times

  16. You said it, only about 30-35 minutes for me. Some friends and I are looking to make it at least once a month and hopefully even more often.