Stick to Poker

Reports & Blogs by Tucson Jim about Golden Nugget Las Vegas Posted

Our youngest son's and nephew's 21st birthday so we uphold the family tradition of taking them to Vegas to begin the process of turning them into degenerate gamblers and alcoholics so they can be more like us. Occurred the same weekend as our guy trip with 28 of us from work flying in also. Left Tucson at 7:30am (!) for a quick 45 minute flight. Rented a car at Dollar to avoid being worked over by cab fare, joined their express club on line earlier in the year and bypassed the front desk to go straight to the garage and pick up the ride. Slipped the guy a few dollars and he said " many of you, four, ahhh take a van..." Sweet, a Dodge that seats 7 which came in handy with 32 family members and 28 guys, got to shuttle a few back and forth anyway.

Since we are low rollers I budgeted $500 a day for gambling. The family was on a later flight so I took the guys downtown, they were staying at the Plaza so I dumped them off at the dump (one guy said there was a hole in the bathroom door, another guy said he wished he had a bathroom door) valet parked at Main Street Station, very easy to get in and out to access Fremont street and the freeway back to the strip. Slipped into Main Street to play my lucky Wheel of Fortune machine (I know, don't hate me) and turned my first $20 into $80! Hopefully this would be a sign of things to come. It wasn't

Wandered around a little and checked out some of the custom motorcycles on display for Bike Fest week. Rolling works of art but not very practical. I have ridden my Kawasaki 650 KLR to San Francisco and Colorado this year so Harleys don't get me that excited. But still, the Harley Davidson Factory was giving test rides so me and my riding buddy shoot down to the dealership and sign up for a ride. I picked the Fat Bob and he picked a sportster (he rides a BMW) Pretty intimidating riding a giant behemoth that costs $30K weighs like a million pounds and doesn't belong to you. Not having ridden a Harley for a long time I didn't know how to start it and the factory rep looked at me like I was wearing a dress while trying to date his mom. The ride was fine except for the red hot heated cylinder a quarter inch from my crotch and vibrations that had me thinking I was having a stroke because my body kept going numb. The quick on/off freeway and city driving was too distracting to enjoy the ride.

Anyway head back downtown and immediately drop $200 at the craps table. Bad sign.

Go to the Luxor where my wife pre-paid $279 earlier in the year for a room that now costs $179, another bad sign. Do the obligatory family stuff which includes watching various family members sing Karaoke at the piano bar at Harrahs. It is no fun to watch drunks when one is not drinking. Text message my buddy to please come and kill me. Drop another $300 at craps. Doh! My son's buddy goes to the bar to get a drink and the bartender says they are free if he puts $5 in the video poker machine, so he does, plays max credits and hits a royal for $1100! Same kid bought a scratch lottery ticket on his 18th birthday and hit $5k.

Saturday morning the wife was going to nurse her hangover by the pool so I head downtown and play at the Golden Nugget. (Since I'm driving I am not drinking more than 2 drinks at any one time and then switch to water) Buy in for only $100 and decide on a TAG game to set them up for the kill. Pretty boring so I catch 5,8os from middle position (the year I was born) so I see a flop for $2. Flop is Q,5,8 and I bet $5. Loud Canadian guy raises to $15 from the button, all fold to me and I just call, setting the trap, I put him on AQ. Turn is a rag and I check, he bets $25 and I raise all in for about $70 I have left. He says "...I know you have two pair but I'm going to call anyway..." and doubles me up when the river doesn't help him as he turns over AQ. Take my $200 and leave.

Wander around downtown and watch a little football, lose more at craps, I did have a hot roll at Binions, played there with T.J. Cloutier a couple years ago with some drunk and naughty soroity girls so it holds a special place in my heart. I was setting and lobbing the dice short and soft so the pit boss kept yelling at me to hit the back wall or he would take the dice from me, I finally told him he wasn't man enough to take them and then immediately sevened out after hitting my point like 5-6 times. Up only $500 since I wasn't betting real big with too many hard way/prop bets. Got out of there before security could show up, pit boss was staring daggers at me.

Dinner at Main Street Station with all 32 family members. They gave us a special buffet with pizza, wings, sushi, chicken planks, peel and eat shrimp,etc. and all the micro brew we could drink for $24 per person. Tab still came to $850 with gratuity added in, ouch. Passed the hat for folks to kick in what they could so that eased the pain a little. Youngest son was up $300 from blackjack and $200 from poker, I began to plan to steal his wallet when he was asleep.

We all went to the craps table, my three sons, brother in law that had never played before and two nephews all at one end. Son #3 point seven, son #1 hot ass roll that brought me up about $300, then point seven, point seven, my turn to point seven, then the virgin roller BIL hot roll brings me up another $350. Had a $4 horn that hit so I parlayed and he hit it again. I kissed him and he said he felt dirty and needed a shower. Son #2 point seven so we left. Dropped a hundred of my winnings showing my mother-in-law how to (not) play.

Wind up back at the Luxor's poker area. Not really a room but good spot to people watch. As a new 1/2 NL table was started, myself and another guy buy in for $200 while everyone else buys in for $50 or $100. Typical make up of off duty dealers, tourists, mediocre and good players. Bluffed out a couple of weak players here and there when I eventually caught pocket Jacks, fist mistake is I only raise $5 and get four callers. Flop is 9,10, Jack with two hearts. I'm not loving it when an older clueless white haired gentleman in an overcoat and an ascot, (WTF, who wears an ascot these days!) Anyway I don't put him on a hand when he bets out $20 from UTG and make second mistake by just calling instead of raising big or all in, one player folds and when the off duty asian dealer calls me from seat one and the button I put him on a flush draw. Turn brings a heart and I know I'm dead but call my last $25 or so into the +/- $150 pot. I mentally beg for the board to pair but the river is a rag so I tell asian dude his flush is good and he turns over K5 of hearts for the flush. I head for the room.

All the guys lost most of their football picks, one of our guys won $2000 playing roulette. Go figure. The only guy to win all weekend was playing the game with the biggest house edge. At least youngest son wound up about $700 to the good playing smart poker and lucky blackjack.

Lessons Learned: No one else listens to me so why should I. Don't play craps or other table games, stick to your poker game plan, fold when you know you are beat. Make pot sized or bigger raises pre-flop to drive out the players that will play weak hands cheap and isolate weak players.

Take care, don't drink and drive and watch out for your family.

Tucson Jim

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