I landed in Vegas from Chicago at 10:30 AM on Friday. Met up with my brother-in-law (BIL)at the airport, and together we cab it over to the Venetian. We were able to check in, and get my 2 other buddies lined up in the room next door (they were both coming in a few hours later). Got unpacked and headed down to the poker room to register for the Friday noon $150 tournament. Introduced myself to DCarp as a fellow AVP’er, and got set to play. My brother-in-law decided to give the tourney a shot as well. I don’t consider myself to be a top notch tournament player, but I really wanted to play in this, so I figured what the heck.
I don’t recall many hands from the tournament (too many drinks between then and now), but I do recall the following:
* 180 runners, top 18 paid. Winner got $7k, 18th place got $244.
* BIL got bounced out around 3 ½ hours in, with about 85 people left. He was happy he made it half way through.
* After playing for a grueling 7 hours, we hit a break with 19 players left. We had been stuck on 19 because, as you figured, nobody wanted to miss the pay line. I, along with the only women left in the tourney, were the 2 short stacks at the 2 remaining tables. I used the break to talk up a payout for the 19th place person. I lobbied well enough so that everyone threw $10 from their own pocket into a hat, giving $180 to the 19th place person. 2 hands after the break, I am in the big blind, and get KJ suited. I go all in, get 1 caller, and hit my king on the flop. Unfortunately the other guy pairs his ace on the river, and I am out.
Thoughts on the tournament:
Props to the Venetian and DCarp. This truly is a great tournament, with the best structure I have seen. The structure afforded me the time to pick my spots, and keep chipping up on my terms, as opposed to forced action. I was happy to finish in the money, and I felt proud in the fact that I outlasted 160 other players, considering the fact that I hadn’t played in a hold ‘em tournament (live or online) in 8+ months. However, netting $30 after playing poker for 7+ hours is not my idea of a great return on my investment of time and money. I hated playing for 7 hours and winning $30, knowing that somebody else was going to play for another hour or so and walk away with $7k. I guess that is why I like playing cash games better. Would I play in this tournament again? The honest answer is I am not sure. It would totally depend on what plans my buddies and I had. I would not move plans around to play this tournament, but would most likely play it if the time and plans allotted for it.
Ok, so the tournament is over. My head is spinning a bit after 7+ hours of cardplay, no food, and a handful of drinks. I go scoop my 2 buddies and BIL up, as they have been taking in the sights at the pool, downing Corona’s. While they were at the pool, it was decided that we were going to go to Christian Audigier Nightclub over at TI later that night. My one buddy has a friend who works there, so we had a hook-up. We head up to the room, clean up and get dressed for a night on the town, and grab a quick dinner at the Grand Luxe. After dinner, we all decide to hit the craps table because the buddies and BIL are all "experts" at it. We play for about an hour, and let me tell you, I have had tooth extractions that were less painful. $300 floats out of my pocket and into the hands of the Venetian. I step out and watch my buddies and BIL lose more money rolling bones, and when they have had enough, we head over to TI.
Christian Audigier – Pretty cool place. Smaller than some of the big clubs (like Jet and Pure), and for me smaller is better. I remember being in this place last year when I think it was called Tangerine. Due to the hook-up, we skip the lines, get the VIP treatment, and get walked to a table in the private area. I am not much of a club person, but I must admit that I do enjoy hanging out, talking to random people in clubs in Vegas. Next thing I know, it’s 3:30 AM, we have gone through 3 bottles of Grey Goose, and it’s time to go. Before we go, my buddy informs me that if we want to come back tomorrow night, we can get the same booth, which is about 10 feet away from the booth that Heidi Montag will be in (celebrating her 22nd birthday). At this point more bottle service does not sound real great, so we decide to just play that one by ear. We head out of TI, and stand outside, with our first dissenting opinion of the trip. 2 guys want to go to a different kind of club, and 2 don’t. We decide to part ways, with 2 heading off into the night for who knows where, and 2 of us heading back to the V.
Which group was I in are you wondering? Well of course, I had regained my poker stamina, and was chomping at the bit to go hit the $1/$2 NL tables! I sit down at a full table, and look for the waitress. While I am waiting for her and my chips, I look around the table and see 7 bottles of water, and 1 drink glass. I think to myself – are you kidding me! It’s 3:30 AM on Friday night (ok Sat morning), and everyone is drinking WATER! Uggh, I don’t think I am going to like this table, but I figure I will ride it out for a bit and see what happens. As I am sitting there playing, I notice a youngish guy at the table next to me being somewhat boisterous. I look behind him and see 2 little tables. On one table is about 12 bottles of Fiji water. On the other table is a canister of ice, about 6 cans of pepsi, and 5 racks of chips ($2,500). About 5 minutes later, this guy comes over to our table and asks if anyone is going to be leaving soon because he wants to play at a different table because “they don’t want to play by my rules over at that table”. The guy next to me says he is quitting when the big blind comes around to him. While we are playing out these hands, I see “Pepsi Guy” has moved on to another $1/$2 table and started playing. I was somewhat disappointed, as the guy certainly had an interesting air about him. Guy next to me leaves, and we have an open spot. A few minutes later, Pepsi Guy comes back over and sees the empty seat. He states the following to the table – “I have $2,500 in chips that I want to give to you guys, but you have to play by my rules. That table over there couldn’t play by my rules, and the other table couldn’t either. If you guys can play by my rules, I plan to donate this money to the table, so to speak. His rules were:
• He was going to keep his racks off the table, and basically go “all in” with $100 on every hand pre-flop. He would not turn his cards over until the river card was played. If he won the hand, he would then go “all in” with $200 (or whatever amount his previous hand had won).
• Once he lost half of his $2,500, he was going to move to another table to share the wealth.
• Each person at the table had 15 seconds to decide if they wanted to call or not (and yes, he had a timer). If anyone went over 15 seconds in deciding, he would leave and go to another table.
• If you won, you had to tip the dealer well. If you did not, he would leave and go to another table.
That was it, those were the rules. Everyone at the table agreed that we could play by those rules. I just sat there in amazement at what was about to happen, and ordered another crown and coke. What followed was the craziest 45 minutes I have ever had at a $1/$2 table. We had about 10 people and 2 Venetian poker room pit bosses standing around us watching the action. Again, I am not going to get into great detail, but when the smoke cleared 45 minutes later, my stack that started at $250 when Pepsi Guy sat down was now well over $1,100. And I had busted 2 other players at the table when we went against each other, both trying to get Pepsi Guy’s $100. Pepsi Guy announced that he had lost all he was going to lose at this table, and wanted to continue his “science experiment” at another table.
After he left I racked up my chips, because I just couldn’t play “regular $1/$2” after that experience! Plus I wanted to try to grab a seat at whatever table Pepsi Guy was going to! Alas the table was full, so I stood on the sidelines, gawking as he “donated” another $1,250 in chips at this other table in the name of a personal science experiment. One amazing note on his science experiment was this – there were at least 4 guys at our table that never called his $100 all in during the entire experience. I don’t understand how you could not call a hand at least once! I couldn’t even tell you how many times I called, including once with 73 SOOOTED! Which I won. I got great props from the other guys at the table (and from Pepsi Guy) for that call.
Once Pepsi Guy left, I look at my watch, and it’s 6:30AM, and time to go get a little sleep. I head up to the room, and see that BIL (brother in law) is not in there. No worries, standard rule in Vegas is not to panic until about noon. I hit the bed for a much needed 3 hour nap.
I end my day +830 on poker, -$300 on craps, and my buddies bought the bottles at the club this night, so I break even on the nightlife/etc. A great start to the trip for sure!
Part II to come...