We landed in Vegas late Friday (2/4) evening not able to hit the strip until 1:00 a.m. Saturday. Tired but excited our group moved on, Dave, Brad (aka Ted), Matt and myself. We went directly to the Excalibur to check out this new room. When I was there in March of 2004, the room was more in a hallway not in a corner, big improvement. The placed was packed. Dave and I signed up for the NL game but was told it could be awhile before we got on, so we went down to the Luxor to check out their action. The Luxor had a $50 max/min buy in NL game, so we joined in. Interesting game. Players varied in their range of skills. Highlight of the activity this night was when I held 5h3h and the board eventually gave me a straight flush! I won $100 for this endeavor. Our entire group turned in around 5:00 a.m. at the soon to be Hooter’s Hotel and Casino, now known as the San Remo.
Next day (2/5), we started our day with the Prime Rib and eggs at the San Remo, Ted’s favorite because of the price. Not bad really, a nice way to start the day. We tried to enter the Luxor noon tournament but it was chaos and we were unable to attend (foreshadowing of things to come). We then ventured down the strip and wound up at the Monte Carlo. A nice room. The dealers are efficient, the room ambiance is comfortable and the cocktail waitresses are nice on the eyes. Matt and Ted played $2-$4, while Dave and I played $4-$8. Matt did well and has several stories of his own, Ted stayed about even and he was fine with that. I ended up a little down but Dave was up. While playing probably one of the best looking woman our group had ever seen sat down to play at the $4-$8 table on my right. She was extraordinary. She was nice, a tight player who received a couple of bad beats. My concentration probably was not all there from that point forward. I had the shades on for good reason, wow what an outfit! The perfect woman, great looking and a hold’em player, does it get any better than that guys? Later we went to the Aladdin for their buffet. A very good buffet, voted best in Vegas for a reason. Very good food, but expensive. Since we were there we thought we would try the poker at the Alladin. Nice room and fairly open. Not run very well because when we signed up for the $100 max/min NL game they said it would be awhile, but I could see that there were seats available. So after assisting them on numbers at the table Dave and I sat down while Matt and Ted sat at the $2-$4. There was a very drunk and loud individual from Chicago at the table. At first it made the game uncomfortable but after he continued to make mistake after mistake it became better. He was warned after a while of cursing loudly and they eventually cut him off. Our group left around 2:30 a.m. for bed.
Sunday, day of the big game. We were going to the Boulevard Bar and Grill at 9860 S Las Vegas Blvd. Nice place, ask for Peggy she will take care of you. Another member of our grouped arrived, Mike, and he was pumped and ready to go. But before that we went to the Luxor to burn a few hours after our Prime Rib and eggs. A down session, drinks came fairly quickly, poker was average, players were okay. Dave had an up session, while mine was down. We then went to the bar to watch the game and we ended up having a $320 bar tab, really not bad considering. Out of four bets on the Super Bowl I had only one come in. So I was even for the event. Dave played the under on the score for the Pat’s and just about doubled up. We then went back to Luxor and played for several hours. Not a good session. The dealers were a mess, and so were the players. Dave ended up, I was out drawn before going on tilt. Fun time but a losing one for me, while Dave seemed to be breaking even for the trip. Matt was still on fire at the $2-$4 table, Ted holding his own, while Mike was tired and had to turn in.
Monday (2/6) came and I was looking to head down further on the strip. We checked out the Bellagio and saw Phil Ivey playing in the higher limit area. Ted Forrest was playing a Stud game. The room was intimidating, but very nice. The cocktail waitresses wore cheerleading outfits, I would have preferred something more revealing but hey that’s me. We didn’t stay and play, we moved on to the Mirage. This was also a nice room not to terribly busy at least from first look. Dave and I wanted to try $10-$20 limit. We asked the higher limit director about the game and he said that there were 12 or so on the list, so we asked about them starting a new table, but he was not sure and said that he would have to check. We waited but he never got back to us so we decided to bail, and head over to the Harrah’s. Nice poker room at the Harrah’s, once you find it. We walked right by it and missed it because it is isolated in its own room with high ceilings and walls. Big screen televisions everywhere. Nice people running the place. Dave and I sat at the $60 min/$120 max NL game. We sat with a couple of regulars and Dave had a bad experience. This one guy seemed to hit everything he needed when he needed it. Dave would be ahead of him in an All In situation but this guy would out draw him. It was brutal. This one guy had easily +$900 in front of him in this game. Nice place though. We ate at the Luxor buffet which was okay, then up to play the NL game again. The dealers were really bad this evening. Throwing cards over, not calling hands right, allowing people to show their buddy their cards while in play. Not a good situation. Dave liked them because they would forget to take the rake, which was the only good thing. We decided to go to the Monte Carlo again. Dave went to the $4-$8 while I went to the $200 max $1-$2 NL game. Matt & Ted were at the $2-$4, as always. The people at the NL table knew what they were doing. I played tight when I finally got QQ in the SB. I raised to $17 and got 3 callers. The flop was all rags and a rainbow. I bet $30, and got 1 call, the BB. That bothered me because of the rags on the table. But I was not giving up. Then a King came on the turn. I bet $30, I was re-raised all in. Not good! I new he hit two pair at that point, with one being a King. I folded and this was the beginning. A few hands later came AKo. I raised to $20. I received 2 callers; one was the guy to my left again. Flop came rags. I bet $20, one call came, again the guy to my left. Turn came a King. I went all in with my remaining buy in $90. He called. He turned over KQs. The river was a Q. Oh the agony. Rebuy! This one lasted a while; I won a few hands then the big one came. I held J9s in late position. There was a middle raiser and I called so did the BB. The flop came 9cJcQh. BB checked, middle raiser bet $10, I raised to $30. BB folded, middle guy re-raised to $70. I put him on an AQs or a KQ for a double gut shot, so I went All in with $160, he thought for a while then called. He held the KTd, the nuts!!!! This is the part where the Phil Ivey’s of the world then get a J or a 9 on the turn or river, but not me. That put me on tilt, big time. I then took a break and then later lost $100 at $4-$8. Another very pretty girl sat down to play, so if you want to play with pretty girls at the table I suggest the Monte Carlo. After that I went with Ted and Matt to play Blackjack for a while and I met the most amazing dealer ever. His name was Joe and he was so fast you could not see his hands, it was amazing. Ted said he was like a cartoon character with his movements. You must check him out. He plays your hands for you at lightning speeds, and better than you can. That was a treat.
Tuesday, the day to go home. Ate lunch at the Monte Carlo buffet then I lost some on the $2-$4 table (licking my wounds from the night before) with Ted, Mike and Matt while Dave played on the $4-$8. We took a limo ride to the airport then off we went leaving Las Vegas with memories of a very good time. Who knows this might need to become an annual event.
In summary, I liked the Monte Carlo and the Harrah’s but both have pretty stiff competition. While if you can stomach the dealers at the Luxor money can be won with patience.