You da Bird! Trip Report #2


February 3 (Day 4)
I got up about 7:30, still in a bad mood from the results from the day before at the Excal and the MGM. Still I pride myself in not letting bad things get to me so I still plan to get my head right and hit the felt again. First of all, though, there is some business to do, some packages to ship back east. I hit breakfast at the Planet Hollywood Spice Market Buffet and as always it puts me in a better mood. Decent food at a reasonable price. It ended being $17 with taxes and tip.
I walked to the MGM, they had two 1-2 NL tables running, looking like a lot of tired tourists and I was feeling better already. I sat down in about 10 minutes and found a weak table – lots of limping – big bets were either monsters or air bluffs on the river with busted draws. No real good players but one young guy was quickly my target. He liked to raise strong with bigger cards like AQ of AJ. If he misses he gets tied to his Ace and bets strong and will keep betting all the way to the river. I felted him twice when he had A high and I had 2pr or better. After awhile several of the table left, and a couple of Vegas regulars I recognized sat down. I knew the character of the table was going to change so I decided to pull a LV Michael and cash out after having doubled up (+$220).
Went back to my room at the Excal to get caught up on some email and chill for a bit. Part of this is my attempt to balance out two conflicting goals. Number one is I want to keep fresh at the tables so I don’t go cuckoo by next week. The second is I do want to build up my “stamina” so I am ready to play some longer sessions this weekend. I am expecting the action to be pretty special on Friday (it’s a Friday in Vegas) Saturday at Mandalay Bay (UFC Fight Night) and Sunday (Super b—er - Big Game Party Time).
After awhile I went down, originally thinking that I would go to the Mirage and check it out before the Big Game. Before I had gotten half way across the casino I heard an announcement for open seating at 1-2 HE at the Excal Poker Room and thought, “Why not?”
I sat down and the game was better than the night before, with a good mix of a couple of locals and several tourists, including the old man who had snapped off my big bluff the night before. No real hands to tell. I built my stack steadily using position and aggression post flop. After three hours I doubled up again, and again pulled a LVMichael and cashed out (+$208). The games are great but by this time I am really getting to not like the seats at the Excalibur Poker Room. Also, sad to say, I realized I had left Seymore back in my room. I hope he forgives me!
Hoped the tram to Mandalay Bay. This is another first time for this poker room for me. Overall it is a nice place, quasi separated from the casino and sports book, with comfortable chairs. The comp and tracking system is straight from the 1990s, as others have noted on the posts. However, the games were wonderful. I sat next to Tim “The Thrashing Machine” Hague, a UFC fighter staying at the MB before the UFC Fight on Saturday. He is from Edmonton, Canada, and generally trains in the morning and plays poker at the local casinos in the afternoons. He was a solid player, and I was happy he was on my right. There was another tricky player the other side of the table, but the rest of the players were loose-weak. Again, I mostly made my money with playing small pot poker and being aggressive after the flop. One hand that was off was when I made a hero call to a $25 river bet when I only held 3rd pair, but I couldn’t put the kid on anything after he had check-called through most of the hand. He showed a missed straight draw and I took down a tidy pot. Otherwise, about 6:45 I realized I was getting hungry, mostly because I did the Las Vegas thing and lost track of time, forgetting to eat lunch. I cashed out mostly doubled again (+$204)
I headed back to my room at the Excalibur to recheck emails and change clothes. Then I was off to Caesar’s Shops to have dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Since I was alone I sat at the bar, having a couple of dark ales and the Jambalaya Pasta. Whoooo! So good!
Then it was over to the Mirage Poker Room for some more 1-2 NL. To tell you the truth, I probably shouldn’t have played, because I was getting tired and goofy. I can’t even say much about the table or players, since it was all a big blur. I do remember that I had been whittled down from my original buy-in of $300 down to about $150 when I won an awesome 3-way pot when my AA made a set on the turn to beat one lady with 75 2-pair and a man missed his straight and flush draws. I know I cashed out for a $98 profit about 11:30.
I was really pleased for the day. Four poker rooms and four profitable outcomes.
MGM +$220
Excal +$208
Mandalay Bay +204
Mirage +$98

Total Day +$730
Total Trip +$1363

February 4 (Day 5)
Meant to be a light day of poker while I spend some time with friends and doing some shopping. Morning began with breakfast at the Sherwood Café. Had the omelet, okay but nothing special. I stuck my nose in at the Excalibur Poker Room. They had their morning tourney going with a couple limit games on the side. I put my name in on a 1-2 NL interest list. After about 20 minutes I gave up and headed over to the Venetian.
First, I absolutely love the Venetian. I consider it the top poker room in Las Vegas and always make a point to spend at least a few sessions there. I was sat immediately in a table they were opening.
Label this THE TABLE FROM HELL. Most of the players were a bunch of old time Vegas nits who did more gossiping and angle shooting than a church quilting group. That I could handle, except there were two foreign tourists at the table, I believe Israeli because they mostly spoke Hebrew and only a pidgin smattering of English. The problem was when the Hebrew next to me threw his hand away he started talking to his friend at the other end of the table in Hebrew, which of course is a violation of the “English Only Rule” and the Hissy Nitty (HN) to my immediate left got hissy at the repeated problems. The floor was called three times, and the Hebrew to my right finally figured out what was required, but he sat grumpily not talking at all. Problem fixed, except HN kept harping about it forever – which caused Hebrew to tell HN to “Don’t Talk to Me!” which meant HN had to continue harping about “Of course I can talk as long as it is in English”
Generally tables like this are profitable, but the nits sitting here would make it a long process and I would probably either shoot someone, HN or myself, before I got far enough along to do any good. Finally I couldn’t take it any longer and asked for a table change and almost immediately was whisked away to another table.
And as bad as the first table was the new table was POKER HEAVEN. A whole table of tourist poker players who all thought they were better players than they were, all overbetting and going AI with hands like 2ndPrMK against a scary board. Chips were flying and I couldn’t wait to cash, except I played some of the stupidest poker of my life. There was little doubt I was by far the best player at the table, but I fell into the zone Mike Caro calls “Fancy Play Syndrome.” I was throwing off check raises on scary boards and being called by people with 3rd Pair bad kicker. I’d raise big with KK and be called by five people and see aggression on a flop of 379 one-suited (not mine) then after I fold I find the winning hand was a different suit 89. I started playing too loose trying to get lucky and ended up not lucky. I cashed out down $350.
After that I met up with some friends and we found the lounge at the Excalibur where they were having karaoke, good times and some of the singers were awesome. Some were not, of course.
We finished up about 10pm so I went to the Excalibur Poker Room for another session. No hands stood out by again I was playing too loose, calling thin draws and basically being a donkey. I ended down $200 by 1am when I called it a night.
Venetian -$350
Excal -$200
Total Day -$550
Total Trip +$813

February 4 (Day 5)
Got up a bit before 10pm and decided for a return engagement at Mandalay Bay.By the time I arrived lunch was being served at the MB buffet and I decided to give it a try. Big mistake. It is attractive and comfortable, but the food just wasn’t there. It was at the start of lunch and all of the food was already cold.
Still, I was full and Seymour the Seagull and I headed to the poker room and were seated immediately. Wow, great table, mostly loose weak with a couple over aggressive types post flops. My number one target was getting hit in the face by the deck, but was slowing down. He had a distinct betting tell and I was waiting to take advantage of it. He also stated to a friend that he was going to be more careful with his cards because he didn’t want to blow his winnings if his luck turns bad.
I can’t remember the exact cards, but the essentials follow: I am sitting at about $250 and he has everyone well covered. He is in early position and raises to $7, which signals he does not have a premium hand, but something like two face cards or maybe AT. I call from MP with KQoff, less for the cards but more for the hope for outplaying him post flop. Five see the Flop of AKx with one heart and two spades. He bets $20, a solid indication he has TP. I call, and everybody else folds. The Turn is a heart, putting two flush draws on the board. He immediately bets out about $80. I am now 100% sure he has only TPMK and is scared of the draws on board. I get into my schtick with “Da Bird”, basically arguing over what should be done, call or raise. After a bit of this I go AI, figuring he’ll fold.
The following was about five minutes of pure theater. My opponent was quizzing me about whether I had gone AI on a draw or with nothing. I said that I wasn’t playing the cards, Seymour was. So he asked if “the duck” was going AI on a pure bluff. I asked but Seymour said no. He asked if “the chicken” would show one card. Seymour said no, and didn’t like being called a chicken since he was a seagull, after all. After humming and hawing for a while, counting out chips and trying to get my reaction, he looked to be about ready to fold, but finally pushed in and I was set to rebuy when a Qh hit the river. He showed AT for top pair and almost had a heart attack when I showed a rivered 2pr.
For the next few hours I dominated the table. Various threats were made to cook and eat Seymour, and every newcomer to the table was warned about “Da Bird.” I worked my stack up to about $900. After that the makeup of the table changed radically. I gave back some chips and decided it was time to go. After seven hours I left up $488.
I walked down the walkway towards Luxor, planning to have something at the Burger Bar, but there was a long wait so I ended up having dinner at the Pyramid Café at Luxor. Had a Burgundy Blue Burger with Onion Rings, very tasty – much better than the Sherwood at Excal. However, I have to say I’m not impressed with the redo of the Luxor. Inside it is now just another modernistic casino like you can see in a hundred locations around the world. I know that the old design needed upgrading and some fixes, but I think this is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Pity, I'm watrching all the resorts with character steadily being replaced by soulless, modern examples of corporate, avant guarde free-think.
After my meal I then headed back to my room at the Excal to relax a bit more, answer some emails and phone msgs and pick up a Fedex package I’d been waiting for.
Then it was off for a return engagement at the MGM, which was in its most glorious of Friday night forms. I was sat within minutes, and landed in a table with a great mix of steady locals along with a strong assortment of drunken tourists, two of which had trouble counting their chips out.
Raises and reraises flew and it soon became apparent that I’d have to simply wait to catch a hand. The next few hours were a grind, as I’d win one moderate size pot, then go several circuits without getting a sniff of a pot, while watching my stack slowly melt. In fact, looking back, I am quite proud of myself for this session. I can often get frustrated during times like these, and start getting too loose and force things, generally to my ruin. This night, though, I did a good job of avoiding dangerous situations and husbanding my chips. Finally, four hours in I caught a nice rush, no great cards but decent flops that saw other players overplaying. Example is twice I looked down to see A3 suited in the blinds when 5 players called a $7 raise, so I called to see. Each time the flop was kind and other players overplayed underpairs or TPMK to give me some juicy pots. I ended up over $400. By 2am I was done and happy to head to my room. For the next part of “You da Bird” it will be Saturday at Mandalay Bay for UFC poker, followed by Super Bowl poker.

Mandalay Bay +$488
MGM Grand +$415
Total Day +903
Total Trip +$1716

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  1. This bears repeating: @rlloydevans

  2. Yep very sad.

    Awesome TR thanks for posting in such detail. Can't wait for part 3.

  3. nice report seagullman!!

  4. The following was about five minutes of pure theater. My opponent was quizzing me about whether I had gone AI on a draw or with nothing. I said that I wasn’t playing the cards, Seymour was. So he asked if “the duck” was going AI on a pure bluff. I asked but Seymour said no. He asked if “the chicken” would show one card. Seymour said no, and didn’t like being called a chicken since he was a seagull, after all.


  5. I don't know how I missed this report. I read one and three, but found this gem today. You are very entertaining. Love the report.