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Poker Oasis (Vegas Trip Report Pt 3)

I have to say, I'm really happily surprised by some of the comments left to the last posts. These things often feel like a fool's errand, so when I get positive feedback, it really re-energizes my effort. Without further adieu:

After the tournament, Roose was looking to see a bit more of Vegas. Patiently, he waited for me along with his college friends Johnny and Big Rob, and Roose Home Game regulars Robbie Hole and Scotty.

Ironically, once I was done with my orbit, $50+ up from the session, but still down overall in poker and table games, Scotty and Robbie Hole mentioned that they wanted to make a pitstop in their respective rooms. I had worn my off-white hoody to the poker game to protect myself from the casino cold air, and so I chose to join them. It was definitely too hot to be traveling in long sleeves.

Roose, annoyed by the wait, decided to head over to the NYNY roller coaster with his college friends. For all his waiting, we ended up going in different directions anyway, and after dropping off our stuff, Scotty, Robbie and I headed to New York New York.

The walk was beautiful. It was a hot 94 degrees, and the dry desert air was already giving me itchy eyes and a killer thirst, but the sun was out and it was a welcomed change from the constant indoor excitement of the casino. We made our way to New York New York and headed to the rollercoaster. Robbie Hole and Scotty went up ahead. I opted to skip the ride. Truth be told, I'm not much of a thrill seeker, at least when it comes to rollercoasters. Rather than pay for something I wouldn't enjoy, I waited for them by the entrance. It was in an arcade area, so I changed $5 into quarters and played some TimeCop3. When I was done, I headed over to the rollercoaster entrance and everyone was waiting, sans Robbie Hole. "Did he have to wait for the next ride?" I asked. "No, he wanted to go on it again." Shit, go figure.

Once he was done, we walked around some more. New York New York's sports book did not impress and it didn't have a poker room. The Mets/Yankees game was starting at 1pm Vegas time (if memory serves) and we were nearing our deadline. On our way over to the MGM, we stopped at a random food place in New York New York. Roose ordered the Italian hero. He may be a member of the Tribe of Israel, but Roose could easily pass for Italian, from his looks, to his clothes to his meal choices. I've never seen someone eat Italian heros so damn consistently.

As Roose and one other person ate (I was still satiated from the buffet), the group discussed the environment at New York New York. Truth be told, it wasn't very New York at all. It felt more like a Disney pavilion in Epcott Center. The faux lake and stream were very un-New York, and the low faux building didn't help much either. It felt more like an old time Italian village, but perhaps they were going for old New York. Whatever the case, the floors were all wrong. To really make the ambience feel like NY, the casino needed to do away with the blue marble-like wavy patterns for the walkways and replace them with faux sidewalk cement and roadway asphalt complete with dividing yellow line. But alas, it was what it was, and we made our way to the MGM after a round of roulette (and another $100 loss).

MGM was fantastic. When you walk in the entrance, you can immediately sense that MGM has it going on. The place was dark but vibrant. The mood was just right. We headed to the poker room and the casino. I believe that someone recommended both the poker and sportsbook at MGM (Don, possibly?), and I was impressed. The room was open to the rest of the casino, but also semi-private enough that you weren't surrounded by the ding of slot machines. One wall to the poker room was shared on the other side by a club-type bar. Meanwhile, the sportsbook was steps away, and dozens of TVs lined the wall with all of the action set out. Roose and I went up to the counter and I purchased a couple of bets. $20 was placed on the Mets. $20 was placed on the over 8.5 runs. $10 was placed on the Mets to win AND the over, as a parlay. As the guys sat around, I headed to the poker room. Big Rob joined me, as did Roose. Roose and I opted for 1/2 NL, but Rob went for some limit poker. Roose was short on cash so I gave him $200. In about 20 minutes, I saw that he was gone. He apparently suffered two difficult hands against players who slowplayed AK.

Meanwhile, I settled in to an interested table. There were only a few players with significantly large stacks. There were two females on my left who were chummy with each other. Across the table was a tough-looking broad-shouldered bald guy wearing a fisherman's hat and sporting a weird looking beard. It was cut sort of a la souvarov. He had a decent amount of chips, but something about his demeanor immediately told me that he was a good target. Sitting to his left one or two seats over was a younger guy, in his mid twenties with a red cap on. He looked familiar, almost like a young, skinnier Jared Leto, and his demeanor told me that he knew how to play. Something also told me that he was no pro. In fact, he was in that nice little area where he knew enough to play in a way that I could read fairly easily. I felt good already.

I set up shop, placing my $200 max buy-in and sporting my sunglasses. I took out my card cap, my old red and gold buddha statue and set him up on the temple of chips I was building. My goal was to build Buddha a glorious monument, and I prepared myself for the endeavor.

The fun started when I got JTo in my BB. By the time it got to me, there were several limpers. The "good player" in the Red Cap raised to $10. By the time it got to me, there was at least one other caller, if not two, so I called the extra $8. When the action got to the big guy with the a la Souvarov beard, he raised to $20. Clearly, that's a stupid bet unless you have a drawing hand. Then, maybe it makes sense if you want to keep people in the pot while building the pot. But really, this play made no sense here, and everyone called. There must have been five players to the flop, Tc9c3x. I had top pair with a decent kicker. Since I was first to act, I glanced around the table. No one seemed like they were itching to bet, so I bet out $60 to get a feel for the table. That was not a large bet compared to the pot, but it seemed to get respect from the table as it folded around to me. Easy money.

The next significant hand I played was 88. I was in position on the button, probably just two hands after the JTo hand. When it was limped to me, I raised to $12. I got 4 callers, and resolved to play the hand carefully with that many players in the hand. The flop was 257 with two hearts. I almost couldn't ask for a better result. With over $48 in the pot, I bet out $40 when it checked to me. To my surprise, the player on my immediate right, a young kid with a desperate-looking shortstack, called. The turn was an 8d, giving me top set, with flush and straight draws on the board. He checked, I looked at his stack, and I bet $70, putting him all-in. He thought for a while, and I decided to show him one of my 8s. He folded after thinking a bit longer. Easy money.

I eventually saw Rockets for the first time in Vegas. There were four limpers by the time the action got to me. I raised to $15 to thin the herd. By then, I realized that the table was desensitized to $12 preflop bets, especially with Souvarov donating so much money. He had dwindled from probably $450+ to about than $100. I was ecstatic when Souvarov decided to raise to $30 total. First off, he would scare away the rest of the players by making the raise-reraise a more imposing $28 call, rather than the mere $13 I priced. Second, if it was just him and me, I knew I could take his whole stack. Sure enough, everyone folded, and I sat there for a moment feigning desperation. I finally re-raised $20 on top. He had about $70 left and I like to give short stacks the illusion that if they push, I'll fold. A $50 push on top of my seemingly desperate $20 re-raise would be tempting to a guy in his position. Like a lamb to slaughter he obliged and raised all-in. "I call" We flipped our cards, AA v. A9c. By the turn he had an open-ended straight draw, but by the river, I was stacking his chips. Easy money.

I began playing lots of hands because of my deep stack and the passive table. I'll play a lot of hands for $2 preflop, and they seemed to let me. In one hand, I played 74d in LP for a limp. The flop was Q84, giving me bottom pair with a shitty kicker. When it checked around, I got the feeling that I was good. The turn was another 8 which reassured me even more. I bet out $10 and got one caller. The river was another 4, and it also filled a flush draw on the board. I bet out $15 and got called once again. At showdown, I tabled my hand and he mucked. I just assumed he had the 4 also, but in hindsight, he may have had a baby pocket pair or severely misplayed top pair on the flop. Whatever the case (say it with me now), easy money.

This is the time when you can really control the table. Everyone was seeing me as a lucky player, something that can be more scary than a skilled player. The Asian woman on my left said, "You keep getting cards." "Well, actually that was 47d." "Your cards keep hitting." "Um, I hit bottom pair." "But you made full house on river." At this point I stopped arguing, but I was thinking, Yeah lady, because you people are letting me get there.

A few hands later, I played K3d for a limp. The flop was AdQdx, so I had the nut flush draw. I bet out $12 and only Red Cap called. It looked like he was controlling the table before I arrived, and he was getting really annoyed by seemingly effortless success. The turn was an offsuit Jack, so I had an inside straight draw as well. When he checked to me, I decided to check as well. The river was a King. Now, Red Cap decided to bet out $25. I thought for a moment and opted to call. Knowing that he was a knowledgeable player, he probably was making a move, since I looked weak by checking the turn. I figured that if he had the Ace he'd bet out a long time ago. He was likely also flush drawing, or in the alternative, his the Queen but was cautious that he was playing into an Ace. $25 was affordable so I made the call and showed my King. I think he mucked. Easy money.

From there, I just tightened up. I stopped getting great cards, and I thought that the 47 and K3 hands had ruined my credibility at the table. Ruined is a harsh word, though, since it was well worth ruining for some more pots. Roose called and asked me where I was. "I'm in the poker room. Where are you?" "I'm in the Sportsbook. I'll be right over." "Wait, you are at MGM, right?" I asked. I had no reason to think otherwise, as Robbie Hole and Johnny were watching the games from the sportsbook. "No, I'm at Excal." SONUVABITCH! They ditched me. To tell you the truth, I was glad. I wasn't ready to leave when they left, and I could use some time to rage solo.

I cashed out, up $341 for the session and up overall for the weekend. But truth be told, I wouldn't be up for all that much longer. Nope, not much longer at all.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:31 PM,


At 3:52 PM, Blogger StB said...

I guess I missed it somewhere. First time in Vegas? MGM is loved by the bloggers. I hope you spent some time at the bar in the sportsbook. That is where Al likes to hold court.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Littleacornman said...

Enjoyed the report as usual.Nice result too.Congrats all round!

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Second time in Vegas, first time with a group of degenerate friends.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Glad you won Jordon. Not sure I like the TJ hand but you won so I guess it was good. My biggest problem with it I guess is you are in a multi-way pot with no real draw if you are behind.. and you have committed like 1/2 your stack already.. If Red Hat suddenly wakes up and jams what do you do?

The 88 hand was slightly better.. and you caught a nice card on the turn at which point I do like making for a bigger pot.. but your making these huge pots where your going to have to make huge decisions with mediocre hands..

Anyway.. good job and I am glad you won.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Thanks Woffles. Remember, I don't have all of the details. The JTo hand was definitely gutsy, but I had a feeling that I was good. I would say that it was a read, but it was actually a bit more elusive than that. All of the players looked like they had given up on the hand. In live games, the decisions are a lot less mechanical, so I'm not able to put all of the nuance and reasoning behind the play. Whatever the case, as you said, it worked out. I don't hold it out as a shining moment to my game (that comes later) but it was one of the hands I won, and I kept notes on the significant winning hands (and losing hands, which we'll also get to later).

At 11:08 PM, Blogger MHG said...

Dog! I might just have to take the roll of official over/under line setter for the Summer Classic--off by $41!

Also, I have this sinking suspicion that your "wouldn't be up for all that much longer..." cliff-hanger is leaning towards some huge win, and not a loss.

Because Jordan > Vegas! Can't wait for the jackpot story!

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Haha! I'm the M. Night Shamalan of Poker Bloggers.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

lol. I agree Jordon. if you have a good read on the table then you should push it.

At 4:30 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Nope, not much longer at all... I can't wait for the next post. The suspense is killing me. Wait, wait, two additional posts. Time to cut n paste for the trip home on the metro.


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