Monday - January 26th 2009
We landed around 12:30pm at McCarran airport and headed straight for the nearest taxi. We checked in at the Imperial Palace (IP) and grabbed a cab over to the Luxor to eat at the Burger Bar. It's located in the walkway between Luxor and Mandalay Bay. My buddies commented that it must be mandatory to have tattoos to get a job there. There’s nothing more appealing than tank tops and tramp stamps. Before the trip we checked out the menu online and decided to try the Kobe beef burger. The burger was really good but for over $20 I think I would have been just as happy with the regular Angus burger. They seemed to have a problem cooking our burgers the way we asked which upset my buddy enough to put him on what I coined was 'food tilt'. From there we quickly headed out for an afternoon full of walking all over hell, A.K.A. - Ellis Island - Tuscany - Terribles - Hard Rock, until we finally made it back to the IP for some alcohol and poker debauchery.
On the first night I decided I was going to try out our casinos poker room first. As I walked up to the poker room I noticed two names on the 1/2 NL list and two guys being told, "It doesn't look like a 1/2 NL game would be starting for a while.....there just hasn't been much interest in it today." I kind of laughed at this since I was walking up to tell him I had three guys for 1/2 NL. With this he called over the brush, Mike. He told us they'd open up a table right away and to go ahead and be seated while they took care of everything. We started with seven players and they informed us that because they appreciated us starting up a new game they'd take a reduced rake until another player was seated. Thanks Mike.
First thing I noticed when play got started was that two of the players were new to casino poker. They both were horsing around, telling jokes and calling everything. I was happy not to get a table full of 'table pros'. I was disappointed when they decided to leave after probably 40 minutes when their wives showed up. I never got a chance to get in a pot with either of them.
One of the few hands I remember from that day was a good one for me. I was dealt AA in middle to late position. Two players limped and I raised it the $12. The player to my immediate right called and we headed to the flop heads-up. The flop was 3s Ah 8s. He checked and I bet $20 and he called. The turn was a 9c. He checked and I bet $25 and he called. River was a 9s. He led into me for $30. I gave him a weird look and counted out the call. I grabbed the rest of my chips and said all-in for around $40 more. He didn't look too happy but called. I got a quick look at his cards and I saw a 5 and a 4. I assume they were spades but who knows. I don't know why I remember this hand. Selective memory me thinks. I originally bought into the game with $100 and cashed out over 3 hours later with $407. Everything went great and I was very happy with such a good start to my trip.
Tuesday - January 27th 2009
With my head a little foggy I woke up at the crack of 8:30 am. We showered and shivered our way over to the Flamingo for a mediocre breakfast buffet. I liked the selection of fruit and salad but everything else was pretty average. It's a very beautiful location to eat a buffet. The Flamingos, Koi, and ducks are great scenery to watch while you eat. My buddy used his comps to treat the three of us so I couldn't complain. He had no problem complaining though.
Tagging behind two gambling degenerates I struggled to keep up as they hoofed it over to the Casino Royale. The Casino Royale's main attraction for my friends is $1 Michelobs and Switch Blackjack. After slamming a few beers and getting crushed by the dealers we walked over to Harrah’s to catch the shuttle bus to Sam’s Town. It took a while for us to find it as it was behind Harrah’s under the parking ramp.
I wasn’t impressed with Sam’s Town. It had everything you could want but I didn’t really like the theme. It had a real old Vegas style, though cleaner, with lots of red carpets and gold accents everywhere. Next stop was a casino down the road called East Side Cannery. It has a very classy look to the casino with lots of dark wood and deep red ceilings. Their poker room was small but they had two tables running on an early Tuesday afternoon which isn’t bad. We hopped back on the shuttle bus back to Harrah’s so we to meet up with friends who were flying in around 4pm.
After meeting up with our friends we took a cab to the Orleans for dinner at the Prime Rib Loft. We all had the prime rib and were very happy with the meal. We were all wowed with very nice portions and first class service. Walking through the Orleans we found the poker room. We were surprised to see they had 12 tables running on a Tuesday evening. This place has a 70 lane bowling alley, 18 screen theater, and 35 table poker room. I would love to stop back when I get time and try it out. My friends, as I've said before, love cheap beer and lots of casinos to walk through so we all took the shuttle to Bills Gambling Hall on the strip. After we wandered around for awhile through the Flamingo catching up I decided to part ways with the boys to check out the Venetian.
I hesitated even mentioning stopping in the Venetian poker room because I wasn't there very long. I was tired of walking all day and when I finally took my seat at the 1/2 NL game I wasn't thrilled with the table. The very first five hands I was dealt in a player open raised and took down the blinds. The majority of pots never went to the flop and the ones that did went check/bet/fold. I decided this wasn't anywhere near the game for me. I cashed out for $154 from my original $200. I texted my buddy I was making my way to the IP and took off hoping to get in to a better game.
I arrived to find my buddy had beaten me there. A dealer/brush at the moment named Shane called me by name and told me he had a seat for me. I really do love this room! I quickly sat down and ordered a beer. I bought in for $100 and looked around the table to find the average stack was around $250. I knew I needed to rethink the buy in and decided to do a $200 add on to bring me up to the table max. It turned out that was a great decision.
I can only describe the next 4 hours as heaven on earth. It seemed every time I had a pair I flopped a top set. And I got dealt lots of good pairs. I had aces four times, kings twice, queens twice, and on and on. I got action on all my sets and felted several players. The guy next to me told me he wanted my seat when I decided to leave. I told him to give me a minute to rack up and he was welcome to have it. I cashed out with $767 minus the $5 cashier tip for a $462 profit. It was the kind of night you dream of having.
Wednesday - January 28th 2009
Day three we again started with some $1 Michelobs at the Casino Royale and crossed the street to the Mirage. Because we had some time before the restaurant opened we wandered around the casino and I decided to sit on a machine to play a game we have back home called Village People Party. I stuck in $60 before getting to the bonus screen. I did pretty well and hit the cash out button for $187 and change. One of the few times I've made anything off a machine.
The restaurant we were waiting for is called BLT. They are supposed to have some great burgers. Again I decided to try their $20 plus Kobe beef burger and again they couldn't cook it to order. My friend and I ordered two different burgers cooked two different ways. I got my burger cooked the way he likes it and he got his the way I like it. Lucky in cards....unlucky in life I guess.
After another day of non-stop walking downtown through The Plaza, The California, Fremont, Main Street Station, and Binions we finally had enough and we decided to grab a taxi back to our now favorite poker room, the IP. We had an early Thursday morning flight out so I wanted to spend my last few hours of freedom drinking and more importantly sitting. lol. I didn’t have the run of cards I had Tuesday night but I had way more fun than the previous nights. Part of it was I was happy to have a good vacation with a couple winning sessions and the other part was probably the crazy amount of Coors Light I drank. I do know one of those things made my plane ride home interesting. I’ll let you guess which one.