FYI this report is long and involves my entire trip not just poker.
My wife is invited to a slot tournament at the Mirage and gets comped for three nights. June 14, 15, 16 are the nights, but I can’t make it until Friday (June 15) evening due to work. She flies out on the 14th and gets registered. I am excited to get to Las Vegas as I plan on playing a couple $180 satellites at the WSOP and play in the Deep Stack at the Venetian on Saturday if I don’t satellite into the WSOP. I have about a $2000 bankroll for both of us and give my wife $600 to get started. Her plane lands in Las Vegas on Thursday the 14th around 12:30PM, gets checked into the Mirage and decides to play some slots. I get a call at 4:30PM and my wife is all out of money. “What!” I say, “You’ve only been there like four hours and your broke?” I can’t believe it and wire her $200 more to hold her over until I get there on Friday.
This is where it all starts to go wrong. We live in Colorado and have state regulated limited stakes gambling with $5 limits. While I am excited to get to Las Vegas and play some real stakes I think to myself, I’ll never get to play in the WSOP or Deep Stack tournaments unless I build my bankroll. My wife is already in $800 and I plan on giving her about $500 more to make it through the week. It’s now 6:30 PM and I decide to go up to one of these gambling towns (Blackhawk) and play a little 2-5 limit. Knowing that the next day I will be in Las Vegas, I tell myself if I lose $100 that I will just take the loss and still have $1100 and be all right. Well, I lose $100 within the first hour then proceed to lose $200 more. Now I am thinking, I will never get this money back in this low limit game, I’ll go to the Lodge and play the crazy 5-5 game. It’s now midnight and I have to be at work the next day at 8:00AM. I win my first hand in the 5-5 game and take down a pot of $250. I’m now feeling confident and feel I can get my money back. The feeling must have been gas because I end up dropping $400 more and close out the casino (Casino’s close at 2:00 AM here). Get home at 3:00AM and set my alarm clock for 6:00AM.
I make it to work and head to DIA at 4:00 PM for a 6:40 flight. Good thing I left early as a traffic accident held me up for two hours. I had checked in on line and a friend of mine is on the same flight (just coincidence but found out he was on the same flight night I lost in Blackhawk) and he informs me security lines are quick. He waits and we head into security and get to our terminal, speak with United personnel to get our seats next to each other and we’re ready to go. Ten minutes until departure they inform us that the flight is delayed until 7:30, then we get moved to another gate on the other side of the terminal. Upon arrival there, we are informed that the flight has “technical” problems and that we will be informed if the flight will be going or cancelled at 7:00. Everyone panics, but we get into the air around 7:30. My friend has a friend in Vegas already and gives us a ride from the airport. They drop me off at The Mirage and they head on to The Hilton. My wife meets me and between the two of us, we have $500, ouch! We walk around, I get my wife dinner and she tells me about the slot tournament and people that she has met. I’m just thinking poker and waiting to get to the tables. I walk her to the room at 1:00AM and get to the Mirage poker room.
POKER AT THE MIRAGE
I have $180 on me leaving $300 in the room. I’m finally in Vegas, at the Mirage and I can only play 3-6 limit (lol). I’m kicking myself in the ass for blowing through so much money in a low limit game the night before. My plan is to play low stakes and win a little then get into the 1-2 NL game. I get seated right away and get a feel for the table and narrow it to two locals, two fish and four decent tourists. Start out aggressive to give off a loose table image and drop $20 right away. Finally start to get hands, pocket Q’s lose to AK flop. Then I get AK in the big blind and one of the locals raises then the other local (next to him) re-raises. Four others call and I call as well, local 1 re-raises and all call. Flop comes Kxx rainbow, but I am wondering if this local has rockets as he has played very tight, I check the flop he bets and everyone calls. Turn comes another K and now I figure we are chopping or he has aces. I check in first position he bets and two others call, I raise and the local hesitantly calls all other fold and we are heads up. Now I now I’m ahead and bet out, he calls and shows aces. I go on a heater and win the next four pots. The locals leave and I’m up about $150. I say to myself if I can get to $200, I’ll move to the 1-2 NL game.
ALLVEGAS POKER AND JOE
It’s now about 5:00AM and I’m on my fifth vodka Redbull (with a lime). Feeling pretty good. Our table gets short handed and another table breaks giving us a few more players. We start talking and the two guys to my right are from Atlanta, loose aggressive guy across from me, Jose, is from LA and guy to my left is from Chicago. About a half hour into the game two young punks come to our table, obviously drinking and talking it up. A few hands into the game someone asks where one of them is from and he says we’re from Atlanta. The guy next to me asks where from in Atlanta, since this is where he if from as well. There’s a quick pause and punk 1 responds with, “Where are you from?” It’s pretty obvious to everyone now he’s lying and I believe these guys to be locals and trying to play the “I’m a tourist” act. Pretty funny and Atlanta guy to my right is getting really pissed off that Punk 1 and 2 keep raising and drawing out to win pots. I laugh and try to stick to my game. It’s a very entertaining and fun atmosphere. Jose starts telling jokes about Mexicans and Jews because he claims to be Mexican Jewish and Punk 1 and 2 graduated from Hebrew school (lol). This gets floor man involved because he’s afraid the racial jokes and wisecracks are going to offend someone. Jose squeezes a few more jokes out before being warned again and we all laugh our asses off. I call a smoke break and Punk 1 and 2 follow and ask for a smoke. I have two cigarettes left after mine and go ahead and give it to them. We make small talk and punk 1 asks if I research any poker sites online. I proceed to tell them that I just joined AVP and they both crack up laughing and tell me that I’m speaking with the AVP moderator. What’s up Doug and Joe!! You guys still owe me a cigarette!! By the way, I lost the AVP chip you gave me. We proceed to play a little longer and the vodka Redbulls keep rolling. I finally get aces in the hole when Dough announces a no look raise. I re-raise and he re-raises and we cap it. I bet out on the flop and he raises in the dark, I re-raise and he finally calls. Calls my turn and river bets and I show my aces. Doug looks at his hole cards and announces two pair flipping over the 10-3 and killing my aces. Nice skill play Doug!! Doug goes on a rush and Joe runs out of money. I’m only up about $50 now and Doug and Joe talk about going to the Sahara tournament, I say isn’t that the tournament that Photoc won once, but dislikes? We all get a good laugh and they say yep, that’s the one. Anyway, I await my beautiful wife to see if I can go with them to the Sahara tourney, but Doug and Joe take off never to be seen again (lol). We get moved to another table and I proceed to lose all my money plus the $80 more in my pocket. My wife comes down and Atlanta guys says “That’s your wife” I say “yep” and again Atlanta guys look her up and down and say “That’s your wife”. “Yes”, I have a hot wife (told ya Doug) it is possible for an Asian guy to get a hot wife. After losing my $180 head off to watch my wife play in slot tournament.
After the slot tournament session I promise my wife to hang out with her at the pool. I do for about an hour, but it’s way to hot and I am dehydrated from the vodka Redbulls and lack of sleep. I get back to the room and sleep it off until about 4:00PM. My wife has a banquet for the slot tournament and we get ready and head down to the convention room. The banquet is surprisingly nice. There is a live band, which were great by the way, live dancers and a Ricky Ricardo and Lucy impersonators. The whole dinner was catered with fillet minion and a pineapple shrimp appetizer that I cannot pronounce. Sat with a nice couple there from LA and drank some more, watched the band and dancers. They announced the prizes and my wife came in 32 out of 400. Not bad, but prizes were awarded from 1-30 place. All prizes from 31 and up were the same, $200 worth of slot play. This is all right for us because we are down to $300. My wife wants to go to the Wynn so we walk through TI where we drop about $50 in slots. Get to the Wynn and the line to get a plays card is ridiculous. About 20 people waiting and 2 hosts. Find out they are giving $10 freeplay for signing up and giving your email address. We play the $10 freeplay and are up $25. We proceed to lose this and $100 more of our own money. Now we have $200 and head back to the Mirage to use my wife’s $200 freeplay there. We end up cashing out $100 and are back to the $300 we started the day off with. Then go to bed at about 2:00AM, as I am too tired to play any more poker that night.
We wake up and eat brunch at Craves. This place is great as I pound down a plate of sushi and Dungeness crab legs. Probably one of the best buffets in Las Vegas, we’ve eaten here about nine times. We check out and head to the MGM as my wife is comped here for three days, but we only need a day before it’s time to go home. She gets another $100 in freeplay and we turn this into $100 cash. My wife wants to see the strip, so we head to the Monte Carlo, drop $100 in slots (tried $20 in $5 blackjack and lose 4 hands in a row), then to the Bellagio, win $50, then to Caesars Palace, win $20 (see my friend Tom in the poker room where he is up $400 in 2-5 NL), then to Planet Hollywood, lose $200 over six hours. It is now 2:00 AM and we head back to the MGM where we only have $100 that my wife promised me for poker. I walk her to the room and head back to the MGM poker room.
MGM POKER ROOM
The poker room is really nice and the atmosphere very fun. The band is a little loud, but I’m able to phase it out after a while. The marble around the tables is bothersome and makes my cards potentially flash if I lift them improperly. I’ve got one positive comment for the marble, you can build some really high stacks without worrying about them falling, had mine in stacks of 75 at one time. Anyway, the plan is to win $100 in low limit, then play some 1-2 NL. My very second hand of play is pocket K’s. Flop comes AK9 rainbow. I bet and get raised, I just call to get more players, and all fold to the raiser. Turn comes A and I check, other player bets, I check raise, he calls. The river is the K and I bet knowing that he has an ace and may raise me. He calls and quickly flips over his A rag for a full house and I show my quads. The table gives out a few oohs and ahhs and I take down my $30 pot, lol. I don’t win a hand for the next two dealers and I’m down to about $50. I get A8 spades in the small blind. It’s raised in middle position and re-raised. Six people call to me and I make the call along with the original raiser. I can’t remember the exact board, but two spades on the flop. I hit the spade on the turn and check raise. Take down a nice pot and I’m back in the game. The room starts to break down around 5:00 AM and we are the only limit game left. I hover around $150 for hours hoping to get to $200 so I can play no limit. We are short handed for about two hours, but I am killing the guy to my left. He cannot win a pot against me and I can’t win one against the guy to my right. They are both dealers for the WSOP and share some stories. Finally the game breaks at 7:00 AM and I count out $201 for a $101 win and enough to get me into the NL game. The buyin is $40 - $200, I elect to keep $50 profit and buyin for $50. Everyone at the table is stacked, most have over $200 with only the guy to my left with about $80. They all happily invite me to the table where I’m sure the sharks are ready to stack me with my little $50. My first hand is pocket 8’s and I raise to 10 in the big blind. All muck and I show that I’m not to be bullied (even though I had a hand). I muck my small blind and on the button I look at two black aces with 3 limpers. I raise to 7 and the big blind says I’ll double you up and asks how many chips I have, I play a little dumbfounded and say you need me to count it or do I hand them to the dealer, which gets a little chuckle. He makes it 65 to go and I pretend to recheck my cards so that I can get the other limper in. He mucks and I call right away and show my rockets. He has KQ off and says, “I told you I’d double you up”. Flop gives him open-ended and I say, can’t it just be easy. I win and double up. Then two hands later I get pocket 6’s and the hand is checked to me, I limp and the guy to my left only has $40 raises to 7, guy to my right calls and I decide I need to isolate and raise to $45, guy on my left goes all in and guy on my right mucks (he was stacked so I could have been in trouble). We flip and it’s a race KQ vs 66, my opponent is happy it’s a race, but the window card of the flop is the 6 and I take down the pot. Within half a round I am at $150 and feeling good. Now that I got the attention of the other players I show a very tight image. I hardly play a pot, but the only cards anyone has seen have been pocket A’s and pocket 6’s. This is used for my benefit and I am able to bluff a few hands with nothing but my image and a ½ size pot bet. I end up with about $250 at around 9:30AM and cash out. I never showed any hand after the A’s and 6’s and enjoyed my little win. Now my wife and I are at $400 and can play. While cashing out a floor man asks if I want to play the $65 11 AM tournament. I ask how many usually play and they tell me Mondays usually have 80-100 players. I buyin feeling lucky and head up to the room.
I take a shower and my wife and I go to find something to eat. I cashed my comp at the poker room and received $7.85 for my poker play. We grab something at the Rainforest Café and I notice that there are a lot of players at the poker area. Oh crap, I have a tournament to play, so I head off and ask my wife to bring me my food to the poker area. I start to play the tournament and get aggressive early as I figure this to be an aggressive structure and we only have 2000 in chips. After losing a few bluffs and having my straight beat to a runner, runner full house I’m down to just 600 chips. Then after the third round they announced 100/200 blinds with a 25 ante, I said to the dealer “Are you serious? There’s no 50/100 with an ante?” To which I hear the reply of no, it’s a fast tournament. I double up once with pocket eights against A-10. But gave it all back to the same guy when I pushed with A5 vs A9, then got moved to a table with 250 chips left. There’s only five tables left, but the game turns into an all-in fest when the next level of blinds comes, 200/400 w 50 ante. Wow! What a terrible structure, I was thinking aggressive structure, but I didn’t realize I would have a better change putting it all on black. One of the worst structures of tournaments I have ever played and I would not recommend it, even at $65. I look down at one card and it’s a K and I push all in. Small blind gives me protection and flips over 9/10 spades, I tell everyone I just saw the K and flip over K/10. Wow, I’m in good position. Flop is 573, turn 8, river J and he takes it down with the nut straight (lol). I wish everyone luck and take off to the rail. My wife is waiting for me and we head to the slots. There’s a trend here if you haven’t noticed. My wife usually loses at the slots and I win at poker, which usually allows us a small win or loss for the entire trip. We have $300 now and it’s 1:00PM. Our plane leaves at 7:50 and I haven’t been to sleep since we were at the Mirage. The Redbull starts to wear off and I get into some funky zone. I feel odd, almost like I’m not here and just tagging along with myself. My wife starts to lose at all the machines we are at and we get down to $160. We go to the other side of the room and find a penny slot and I am drawn to the machine. She puts $60 into it and starts to play the minimum of 25 cents, I say “No, we’re playing 75 cents a spin, this one is hitting.” My wife thinks I’m crazy, but listens to me and starts to press the button. We hit a bonus where a bear catches a fish at the top of a waterfall and increases your betting multiplier. My wife tells me to select and I say, I will select the same side every time because the machine already knows what it is going to give me. After getting a few stares from the other slot players I continually hit the left arrow until we end up with x15 with 15 free spins. On the fourth spin we hit something that pays $360, by the time the bonus was over we had $465, which we gladly cashed. The feeling I had while we hit that was surreal, it reminded me of the episode of the Soprano’s where Tony is drugged up in Las Vegas and puts some money down on the roulette table and wins three spins in a row. He starts laughing and falls on the floor. I didn’t fall on the floor laughing, but I yelled out “I’m in the zone! I can see all the winning machines!” I get a slug from my wife and she tells me to shut up and keep it down. We play a few more hours and end up leaving the MGM with $560.
We leave the MGM and head to the airport. It’s about 5:30 and our flight isn’t until 7:40 giving us plenty of time to get through security. We have never flown Southwest and decided to try on the advice of a friend. We usually fly United or Frontier, but found by flying Southwest back we could save $35 for each of our flights. We get to the gate and I go to find our seat assignments since they are not on our boarding pass. The lady looks at me funny and says, “It’s first come first serve, you will go with group B”. What? Are you serious! I look at the gate and there are people lined up 30 people back. We decide if we want to sit next to each other we will need to get in line early. We check our departure and our flight is delayed until 8:20PM. A Tampa flight is delayed as well and they are to leave at 8:30PM. Now there are huge lines with some going to Denver and others to Tampa. The Tampa flight is rescheduled and they go first, then the rest of us wait for our turn. When those gates go up, everyone just floods the entry and scurries onto the plane. The plane seemed kind of cheap to me, I guess this is how they offer discount prices. It felt like I was riding a public bus, not saying that this is bad, just a different atmosphere then what I’m used to. We finally make it home and I finally get some sleep.
It’s a long story, but I hope you were all entertained. Next time, I fly United both ways, I don’t spend my money before I get to Vegas, and I won’t let my wife go out with money before me. Time to start saving for the WSOP next year!