Day 1, Friday, June 12th, 2009: After having a less-than-successful first trip to Vegas, but no less completely enamored with the city, I was determined to get redemption on my second trip. I studied up and improved my game. It started well enough with a pleasant direct flight on Allegiant. If cost were no object, I'd take this flight every time- only 3.5 hours after leaving Des Moines you're on the ground at McCarran. But, Allegiant is a no-frills airline- no meal, no wi-fi, no in-flight entertainment, and the seats are vinyl. This year, I did not get a car, having barely used it last year, so I decided to save the cost. Caught a cab, told him "no tunnel", and got to my usual haunt, the IP. Because I was somehow fully comped this time, I skipped the $20 trick and just requested a quiet room. Got the 16th floor, but I didn't care, remember I'm not here to stay in a fancy hotel room.
Went back downstairs and sat in a $1/2 game at the IP and found two other AVPers already in- Karapet was in seat 4 and one whose name escaped me in seat 1, I was in 10. My very first hand I flop top 2 with JT, but get no takers. Two orbits later, I find black AA in the hijack. After a preflop raise and two callers, it's checked to me on a flop of J-3-2. I lead out $15, Karapet calls, and the luckbox two to my right check-raises to $125. Not much thought here, I lay down the aces, Karapet folds, and the SVB shows 3-2. Aces in an early 0-1 hole on the trip. I go card dead for several orbits, then find AKo. After a button straddle and a min-raise from the SB, I raise to $25, all fold expect the SB. Flop comes out x-Q-x. SB donk-bets $15, I call. Turn Q. SB leads out $30, I fold. He shows KQ. Not a good start. I cash out after 2 and a half hours down -$165.
Time for an AVP dinner- this year, it's at Toby Keith's at Harrah's. There were about 10 of us, the food was ok but the company was excellent. After dinner, we went to Casino Royale and had two beers on Minton comps- thanks, dude!- and made our way to the Karaoke bar at the IP. Mrs. Lederer rocked out some Tracy Chapman- "Gimme One Reason" and I did my special backwards edition of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game"- each line of words is sung in reverse order, in tune and on cadence. Got a lot of strange looks with that one but it was a hit. I left the rest of the AVPers at the IP to find a game. Went to Bill's and sat down with $120. Early on, I get AA in LP and get one caller. Flop comes a harmless 5-K-3. I bet, V calls. Turn is a 4, I bet $30, V calls. River is a beautiful Ace. I bet $75, V folds. Aces up to 1-1. I go on a heater from there, winning two decent pots with TPGK. Then, all the AVPers from the karaoke bar walk in and open up an new table. I get a table change and join them on the AVP Table of Death. First hand there, RedRight and Minton get it all-in on a x-Q-x-x 3-club board, RR with QQ and Minton has TsTc. River is a fourth club and Minton doubles. Sadly, he would get coolered constantly after that. About an hour later, I find KK UTG+2, raise, and RedRight is the only caller. Flop comes 3-2-T. I c-bet $16, he raises to $42, I 3-bet to $92, RR shoves and I call. Board blanks out and KK is good! A few hands later, RR's friend goes all-in blind and I call with AcKc. He rolls over 86o. Flop is 3 clubs for a quick end. Table breaks after that and I finish up over $200. Time for bed, happy with my comeback on the first day.
Day 1: IP, 2hrs 30min, -$165(c). Bill's, 3hrs, +$219(c). Pocket AA: 1-1 Total: 5hrs 30min, +$54
Day 2, Saturday, June 13th, 2009: I inexplicably woke up at 8:30am, but took advantage by going to the Hard Rock to play cash and qualify for their daily 11am freeroll. Taxi long-routed me by going LVB up to Sands then over to Paradise. I refused to be tilted. Got into a cash game at 9:30am in the beautiful Hard Rock Poker Lounge. I wrote down it was a "loose, douche-y game, with some drunks still there from the previous night." No hands of note, had an up and down session, cashing out at 11am -$25. The freeroll started with about 3 or 4 tables, with plenty of players pushing all-in blind while yelling "Freeroll!" And they were hitting- the big stack who had done so twice shoves AI blind, I find AcKc and call. He rolls over J6o. Flop comes T-7-6 with two clubs, turn J giving me a gutshot, but the river blanks and I'm out. Being that I haven't eaten yet, I wander over to Mr. Lucky's cafe and eat a very tasty omelet before cabbing it back to the IP. Got a better cabbie this time and tipped him appropriately. Took a power nap in my room before heading over to Bally's for the festivities of AVP VIII.
First, it's a cash game in the Bally's poker room. Sit down with $200. Early on, I chase and catch a flush for a ~$200 pot. Then, I lose about ~$100 with KK to the same V when he shoves on a 7-9-9, 8 board and I lay it down. About an orbit later, an EP player opens for $7, I look at JJ in MP, make it $17, V in the hijack 4-bets to $40, EP folds and I call. Flop is x-J-x, I lead for $50, V pushes, I insta-call. I roll over my top set, V doesn't show, the board blanks out and I double to about ~$445. I get no worthy hands after that. The tables breaks at 5:30pm and I cash out +$190. I walk down to the room where AVP VIII will be held- turns out, it's the former high-roller lounge for the then-closed sports book. Ten tables set up for us in a rather intimate fashion. A $100 buy-in gets you t10,000 chips. My table draw is tough for the second year in a row- Table 1, seat 3, with AVP Doug in seat 7 and theOD in seat 9. Card dead through the first break, down to t8300. Back from break, the second hand I get is AKo in MP, and I open for t1100 (blinds 200/400). Doug is the only caller. Flop is 8-6-5. I c-bet t1700, Doug shoves, and I have to lay it down. Two hands later, I get JJ UTG and raise to t1100 again. AlaskaGal's friend Sam shoves and I call. Flop comes A-8-7 (V has 65), turn 8, river 6, I double up to t11,200. Go card dead until this- blinds are at 500/1000/100, I pick up TT OTB and push AI, WatBri in the SB calls and reveals AQo. Board runs out 2-7-8, 8, 8 and I double again, this time to a total of t19,000. Table 1 breaks and I go to table 2, seat 7, with AkGal in 3, Cardiac in 4, PiJuice in 6, Numbnutz in 9 and Kinx at 10. I make the second break with t17,100. Coming back the blinds go to 1000/2000/200. Kinx goes AI UTG for 5800, I'm OTB with 99 and overshove to isolate, al others fold. Kinz reveals Ah8h, the flop brings an ace, I don't improve, he doubles and I'm left with t12,000. Next hand I find 66 in the CO, a player goes AI for t5900, I call, and V shows A6. Flop brings 8-9-6, turn 9, river a brick and I chip up to ~t21,000. Card deadness sets in, but with two tables left, I find 77 UTG and open-shove and the BB calls with 84. Thankfully, no bad beat as the cards come 2-6-J, 2, 2 and I double to more than t34,000. Real card deadness sets in, but I manage to limp my way into the final table. Dannette busts in 10th. We start to talk about a chop, but with less than one BB, I can't get one. Should have offered the chip leader ToeHold more equity, as that might have done the trick. Anyway, with only t6000 and the blinds at 5K/10K/1K, I shove with, uh, something- I didn't write it down, but Boofer takes me out with KdJs when the board runs out A-4-2, 3, 5 with 4 spades. Ninth place is worth $140, so after 4 hours I make $40, THEN they chop 8 ways for $640. *sigh* Oh well, I'm off to play cash.
Buy a 24 hour monorail pass and head to MGM, eager for redemption. Get there just after midnight, and it's packed. Sit down with $200, and in the third hand, I get KxJh in MP. V UTG+1 min-raises to 4, I call, and the BB calls. Flop is Qh-Th-9h, so I flop a straight with the OESF redraw, V bets 4, I raise to 15, he shoves for 38 more, and I make the easy call. He shows Ah6h and I don't catch. About an hour later I get QsQc in LP, 3 limpers ahead of me, so I raise to 12, only one caller. Flop is Qh-Th-Jx, V checks, I bet 20, he calls. Turn is the ugly Kh. V bets enough to cover me, and I only have $55, so I call. V shows AJo, board doesn't pair, I'm bust. One hour, -$200. MGM officially declared Kryptonite. Ride the monorail up to the Venetian, get into a $1/2NL game for $200. I'm card dead and getting run over, so about 30 minutes later I add $100. After about an hour, I get AA in MP, raise, V in CO is the only caller. Flop is J-x-K, I bet, V calls. Turn, 3. I bet 25, V calls. River, 3. I check, V instabets 100, I stand up, reveal my hand, mutter "What am I supposed to do with this hand", and muck it. I call it a night after too many coolers.
Day 2: Hard Rock, 1hr 30min, -$25(c). Hard Rock, 30min, 0(t). Bally's, 1hr 40min, +$190(c). AVP VIII, 4hrs, +$40(t). MGM, 1hr, -$200(c). Venetian, 1hr, -$175(c). Pocket AA: 0-1. Total: 9hrs 40min, -$170
Day 3, Sunday, June 14th, 2009: Slept in til 11am to try to sleep of the life tilt. PiJuice got a hold of me and we decided to get breakfast at the Denny's at Casino Royale. Don't judge us. We then went to Planet Hollywood to try our luck. Got on a newly opened table. My fourth hand in, I get TT UTG, make it 12 PF and get 4 callers. Flop is 9-6-2. I lead out 20, V on my immediate left is the only caller. Turn is another 9, I bet 45, V pushes, I lay it down. He shows T9. Oh, so that's how it's going to go, huh? One orbit later, I get KK in the BB. It's 5 limpers to me, I raise 20 more, and 3 people call. Flop comes A-3-A. I shut down and check, V1 bets 20, V2 calls, I fold in disgust. Turn is a 9, V1 bets, V2 calls. River is a third Ace. V1 bets, V2 folds and V1 shows A7o. Not going to be my day. Later, 88 gets run over by the same V on a K-3-x, x, x board when he holds K3. Next hand, I find JJ and make it 16 to go. V1 and one more caller come along. Flop is K-8-9 with 2 clubs. I go for it and shove. V1 calls. The board bricks out, V1 shows A9, my Jacks are good! Ship a $146 pot. Then, PiJuice moves to my table. An orbit later I get AA OTB behind 4 limpers and raise to $30 total, PiJuice is the only caller. Flop comes Q-2-J. He checks, I bet 50, he shoves, I call. He flopped a set with JJ. I can't resuck and I'm done. At least I lost it to a friend! Too bad I didn't run better at P-Ho, because there were at most 1 or 2 decent players per table. Everyone else was loud, loose overactors. Plenty of money could have been made.
I decide later that night to try the Sahara 7pm tournament. It had the reputation of having a huge prize pool for a small buy-in. But, the casino was dingy, the chairs old, the players nitty and the dealers had been dealing forever. According to my notes, I was card dead and evidently played no hands. At the first break I had t5300. The sandwiches they put out for the players were barely edible. First hand back, I get KK UTG, raise to t700 and get 4(!) callers. Flop is A-T-9. Action goes I check, check behind, bet, call, call, I fold, fold. Turn is an 8. First to act jams and gets 2 callers. River is a brick. All three Vs show Ax, with A9 taking it all. WTF? Of course, the case ace falls when I have KK. Our table breaks. Third hand on the new table, I get AQo UTG and make it t1600 (blinds are 200-400 at this point). All fold to the BB who pushes AI. I call, V rolls over AJo. Thankfully, my hand holds and I double to ~T10,000. Second break I have t9500. I go really card dead after that, get moved three more times, and finally find 55 in the hijack. All-in for t5000 (blinds by now are 1000/2000), only the SB calls and has KdQd. Board runs out 9-2-7, 8, 6. My straight doubles me to t12K. I steal a couple pot to get up to t19K. By the third break the bubble had burst and my notes say I managed to chip up to t34K. Not long after, we're down to the final nine. In two orbits of the FT no one busts. We want to chop but there's one holdout. He agrees to chop if he loses the next hand. So, he shoves and gets 1 caller. V has KJo and the caller has 77. A jack in the window depresses us all, the turn bricks, but the river is a 7! Caller said he was in room 777 at the Sahara. We all chop for $435. I tip the dealers and give our hero another $10 for the favor of the chop.
By then, my monorail pass had expired so I bought another one and went back to the IP. The mixed game is in full swing, with many of the AVP tournament players sitting there. I buy in for $300 and decide to get cocktails, which is never a good thing when trying to play odd games. But, I was having fun. I wasn't playing particularly well nor catching cards, so I add another $200. ToeHold had ~$1000 in front of him and a couple other players had similar stacks, so they decided to build chip towers. It was really late by this time and we were 4 handed. Finally, we broke at 6:30am. I went upstairs to my room and fell right to sleep.
Day 3: Planet Hollywood, 2hrs, -$200(c). Sahara, 4hrs 30min, +$340(t). IP, 6hrs 15min, -$185(m). Total: 12hrs 45min, -$45
Day 4, Monday, June 15th, 2009, "The Bender": Since my flight is very early in the morning on Tuesday, I check out of my room at the IP Monday afternoon, check my bags with the bell desk, and proceed to play 14-16 hours of poker to end my trip. First stop, Harrah's, who at the time was still doing their "Breakfast Club" promo- basically a rakeback for hours played. Most players are nits, so I play in kind. About an hour in, I get KJo in the SB, an EP makes it 6, 3 callers including this hand's V OTB, I call. I lead out 10 on a J-8-6 flop, folds to V who calls. I check dark before another J falls on the turn, V bets 20, I push, he calls and shows J7. River bricks and I collect a ~$300 pot. I don't get any more action so I move to LasVegasMichael's table, me in seat 7, he in 9. I proceed to lose 50% of my stack with a set of 5s to a V with the nut flush and Jacks up to a turned 3-flush board. I got hungry, so LVM suggested I use my comps to get a sandwich. The club sammich I receive was very tasty and satisfying- thanks for the tip Mike! However, my cards are significantly less tasty. I cash out after 6 hours -$100.
Since I did so well the night before, I decided to play the Sahara 7pm $65 tourney again. In level 3 (75/150) I get AK twice in a row, folding it the first time and busting a short stack on the second. Next hand, I get 99 in MP, but fold to significant action. Two players get it all-in and show AA and KK. First break comes and I have t5300 (yes, exact same amount as the previous night). By level 6 (300-600), I have less (t3300) thanks to card death, find ATo UTG+2 and jam. Hijack calls with KK and busts me. I monorail it back down the Strip.
Get to Bill's about 9:30pm. In the first two orbits, I get 72o three times. Hmm, not a good sign. A while later, tho, I do pick up AA and manage to double against a V with unknown holdings after the board runs 7-6-5, K, 6. Next hand, a V shoves over the top of my PF raise. I have 99 and he says "suited Ace". Flop is T-A-6, natch. But the turn is a 7 and the river is an 8, so my straight takes it down. I decide it's not going to get much better, plus I have to go back to Harrah's to redeem my coupon, so I rack up +$140.
This time at Harrah's, it's a much looser vibe. Some drinking tourists, a couple of regs and some randoms. After an hour of nothing, I pick up KK in the CO. Five limpers in, so I raise to $17, only 3 callers. Flop comes 9-J-J, it's checked to me, I bet $40 and take it down. Lady next to me says "good raise, I had a Jack." That's why I raised! Twnety minutes later, I find ATo UTG and limp. Player in MP makes it 17, 3 people call and I come along. Flop is T-8-6. Checked to me, I bet $40, it folds to a French guy in the BB who calls. Turn in an 8, Frenchie goes AI for $58, I call, and TPTK is good for a ~$240 pot. A half hour later, QQ holds against straight and flush draws for a ~$250 pot. Towards the end of the 3 hours, a new player sits down ot my left. I get AA in the SB and raise to $20, he in the BB calls, as do 3 others. Flop comes K-J-K. I lead out for $50, V goes AI for just $10 more, fold to me and I call. V shows KTo. Nice PF call buddy! Turn and River are bricks and I lose $80. It's time to go now, so I rack up +$70, plus I receive my $30 rakeback.
One final session at IP to burn some time before my final meal. I buy in for $120, which is about the table average. There are some pure idiots at the table, including one who was drunk and claimed he knew poker from the 3-card game in the pit, one gorgeous young Asian lady, and a player from the mixed game the night before. Of course, the idiots are hitting and I'm not. I add another $100 but never recover, cashing out at 3:30am -$65. I eat a final meal at the Victorian Room at Bill's before cabbing it to McCarran for my flight home at dawn.
Day 4: Harrah's, 6hrs, 10min, -$100(c). Sahara, 2hrs, -$65(t). Bill's, 1hr 15min, +$140(c). Harrah's, 3hrs, +$100(c). IP, 1hr, -$65(c). Pocket AA: 0-1. Total: 13hrs 25min, +$10
Sum: Tourney: 11hrs, +$315. Cash: 24hrs 5min, -$281. Mixed games: 6hrs 15min, -$185. GRAND TOTAL: 41hrs 15min, -$151 Pocket AA: 1-3 :(