It Hath Begun (Vegas Trip Report Pt 1)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Ah Vegas. Atlantic City's bigger, cooler brother. Vegas gets all the chicks, knows where to get good drugs, and can party like a rockstar. Atlantic City is lucky if he can score a $10 hooker, snort some over-cut coke, and stay up past midnight.
I'd already written a long post about the first day of the trip, which is sitting on my laptop at home. I have since written a lot about day 2, the main day for me, but I don't want to post it out of order. So, instead, I give you this Cliff's Notes version of day 1, which will come as a pleasure to those of you not interested in my usual extensive expositions.
Waking up at 5:30 am is never a good way to start a day in Vegas. Waking up at 5:30 am in New York after fitful sleep is even worse. If you do the timezone math, I was up at 2:30 am Vegas time, so it was going to be a long day.
I made my way over to the airport via subway. It was convenient and took a little over an hour. The new JetBlue terminal at JFK airport was a nice change, but nothing too special. I grabbed a bagel and killed some time before boarding the flight.
Television on weekday mornings are pure shite. Thank god I had enough reading material and the movie Wanted on my laptop. By the way, Wanted wasn't bad, but for my rupees, the graphic novel is much better.
When I landed in Vegas, I headed immediately to the cab stand. My cab turned out to be a gutted mini-van designed to hold one or two wheelchair passengers. Because of this, I was a good 8 feet from the driver in the only row of seats left in the vehicle. I day dreamed about all the nasty things that probably occured on the open floor of the van. It looked ideal for a quick lay by a tranny hooker. It also would be a nice spot to chop of his/her body. The dark reddish stains seemed to confirm my suspicions.
"Any conventions in town?" I yelled to the driver from the back seat. "Just the rodeo," he yelled back. Every year, Vegas hosts a rodeo championship around the same time that the bloggers head to Vegas. It basically means that you can tell a good poker table by the amount of cowboy hats.
Usually, I like to find a convention in town as the basis for my cover story, if ever I need one. In this case, the rodeo would not work. No one was going to mistake my Herbrew ass for a cowpoke.
At the MGM Grand, I went to the front desk to check in. The guy who helped me seemed a little too nice, as though he was one of those 'special' people. More likely, he was trolling for a tip. "Is it okay that you are on the 5th floor?" "Yeah. It's all the same to me." "Let me move you up to the 23rd floor. It's a better view." "Okay, I guess." He also told me that my promotion included a $300 flight voucher for my next trip. Not bad for a $150 room.
I considered tipping him, but decided against it. The view meant little to me and seemed like a kiss-ass ploy to separate me from my money. I never understood the joys of a view unless you are somewhere tropical with a balconey or terrace. Otherwise, how many times have you spent more than 60 seconds looking out of a window? The answer is probably very few, if any. Why? Because views mean shit in a world of HDTV, laptops, and a dozen other distractions, of which gambling is top dog.
Settled in, I called PokerPeaker, my roomie from last year. He had been in Vegas for a day already. We agreed to grab some grub and ended up in the diner-like Studio Cafe, where I had a fantastic patty melt. Just thinking of it now is getting me hungry.
Satiated, we headed to the MGM poker room. Peaker wanted to explore more casinos, but I had to wait for PokerWolf, my roomie for this trip. We both put ourselves on the 1/2 list as we walked around the room and caught up with the sprinkling of poker bloggers around. Eventually, we were called to a new table. I took the 7 seat. Peaker took the 9 seat.
The 8 seat was an interesting guy. He was a tall, older, bald white guy with a gut. He looked like he could work a lumber yard or a ship yard or, well, any sort of yard. He also was happy to talk poker, which at first was fine. We'd discuss a weird hand we saw play out and he would opine about how player A had to have XX. As time wore on, though, it became apparent that this guy didn't know shit. I even almost texted that very sentence to Peaker, but I didn't want to even create the suspicion of collusion and I worried that someone might see me send a text and Peaker receive a text back to back.
I didn't keep hand histories, but I remember losing $100 relatively quickly and reloading the $100 immediately. Then I pretty much went into lockdown mode, trying to play smart while I slowly chipped up. CK joined our table at some point and took the 10 seat, directly next to Peaker. The three of us hung out while the guy in the 8 seat continued to opine, wrongly, about various plays and player holdings.
I had finally worked my way back to even and had worked up a $50 or so profit when I had the following hand. I was dealt AQ and decided to raise it to $10 or $15 in the BB, only to be called by CK and one other player. The flop came down A6X, so I decided to check. If figured my Ace was good because AK would have likely raised preflop instead of limp-calling a raise from the BB. Since I wanted action on the hand, I figured a check was in order. CK took the bait and bet out. The other guy folded and I called. The turn was a Queen, giving me two pair. I considered the best course of action and opted for another check. If she thought she was ahead on the flop, she probably thinks she is still ahead and will bet it. She did, betting a large amount that I thought seemed suspicious. I reraised all-in and I think she called. I don't remember exactly if I called her all-in or if I raised all-in. I'd like to think I called. I showed AQ for two pair. She showed 66 for a set. The river was no help and I was suddenly down a sizeable sum, probably $250 or more. I reloaded again to give myself a workable stack.
Not two minutes later, I received a call from PokerWolf. He was at the casino already, so I told him to meet up at the poker room, at which point, I'd take him to the room. Once he got there, he told me no rush, but I insisted, since I wanted to take a break from playing after losing that last hand. On some level, I knew I was behind, but I made the wrong play anyway. If I didn't slowplay the flop, I would've been re-raised, which may've been enough for me to slow down for the rest of the hand.
After dropping off Wolf's bags, we walked slowly back to the poker room. I don't recall where he went next, but I returned to the table, hoping to turn the day around. In no time, I had succeeded. I don't recall the hand or the pot, but long story short, I hit a monster hand and got paid off, from -$250 to about +$50 in one hand.
CK's man, F-train, had returned from the Pinball Museum (I kid you not) with a bunch of the crew, so F-Train and CK decided to get some dinner. I like food sometimes, so I decided to join them. I cashed out up a little over $40, which was still much better than -$250.
Time has no meaning in Vegas, and I must've played that first session for about seven hours, if not longer. Dinner was a good idea, but the poker messed with my stomach, as it usually does. It's all due to the adrenaline and the crappy food at casinos. We ended up at a pan-Asian restaurant, where I opted for something simple, fried rice with duck, pork, shrimp and lobster. It was delicious. I also spent the time chatting with Kat, one of my favorite people in this community.
After dinner, I stopped by the sports book and placed a 4 game NBA parlay, which I lost in the first game. Lemon. I then returned to the poker room for mixed games.
Last year, the bloggers had 1 mixed game table going all night and another one that eventually got going. This year, there were already three tables going and no seats for me. I decided to play some 1/2 NLHE in the meanwhile. I don't remember anything much from that table either, aside from a young kid on my immediate left with his two friends to his immediate left. They all had small-ish stacks, no more than $150 and two less than $100, but the kid to my left was acting like a big shot. I liked that thinly-veiled-self-delusion; it seemed more shtick than reality. I could tell there were some sharp, young Asian players at the table, so I thought I'd hit up my white boy neighbor for a little bit of racial teamwork by asking about the Asians at the table. "I'll tell you for $50," he replied without an ounce of sarcasm. I laughed in his face, "HAHAHA! Buddy, I don't need your input that bad." We ended up bumping heads in a couple of pots, but in the end, I only took a couple of bucks off of him.
The kid and his friends all got up to leave at once, and I noticed that I was sitting at a table with a couple of sharp players. The majority of the fishies had left the pool, so I was glad to hear my name announced for the Mixed Games tables. I grabbed my chips, up $40 (up $82 total) and left.
The mixed game was interesting. I got some great prop bets going with Wolf and a couple of locals who were friends or friends of friends with CK, Johnny and Cindy. Both rolled with the jokes well, and the game was a riot. No one took it too seriously, which makes mixed games feel like NLHE used to feel before people realized that there was actual strategy involved. I took some wild swings, alternatively talking about how mixed games are the worst ever or the best ever, depending on if I was winning. Eventually, though, I felt my 2:30am Vegas wake-up time taking its toll, and I cashed out, down $15.
I made my way to the sportsbook bar where a bunch of bloggers were drinking. I found Blinders and Spaceman and we took a walk outside to breathe in some fresh air. Much appreciation to Blinders for the idea, because a little bit of air was definitely what I needed to cap off the long day.
High on the fresh air of Vegas, I returned to the bar, where I sat with Wolf and talked about the day ahead of us. He must've been able to tell that I was fading fast, because he eventually said he'd see me tomorrow. I made my way upstairs and passed out for the night.
Coming up, the blogger tournament and a wide variety of gambling.
Until next time, make mine poker!
posted by Jordan @ 3:26 PM,
- At 5:41 PM, Schaubs said...
I've never read about a blogger hitting more sets than CK. She is a set Queen!
I love fresh air too, especially in Vegas.
I look forward to the rest of your trip reports as usual.
- At 7:50 PM, Shrike said...
Nice to finally meet you, sorry we didn't get a chance to talk more.
- At 10:03 AM, Katitude said...
It was one of those dinners that I wish could have lasted much longer. Always good to chat with you, J-Man!
- At 11:00 AM, Memphis MOJO said...
Thx for the report. Can't wait for the next one!