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Dipping the Big Toe (Vegas Trip Report Pt 2)

I fell asleep around 4 or 4:30 the night before. Even so, the best part of waking up isn't Folgers in your cup if you are at a casino. It's the sweet smell of opportunity, and even though my iPod clock only showed 8:30, I was not going to fall back asleep.

Quietly, I got out of bed and found the clothing I wore the night before. I suited up in my now disheveled outfit, my High on Poker t-shirt, gray cargo pants and sneakers. I grabbed my poker accoutrements and headed downstairs.

I put on my old clothes for a reason. On many occasions, I've returned to a poker game after a night of sleep only to see familiar faces who were either still playing from the night before or had started a new session. It was my goal to have these people think that I didn't sleep. By wearing my same, now-disheveled clothes and grabbing an empty glass of alcohol (melting ice included) on my way to the poker room, I hoped to play the role of a complete degenerate. I even put on a little faux stagger to play the role.

When I looked at my iPod that morning, I thought of one thing: Aces and Kings Cracked Promo. The IP has a slew of promos that I mentioned in the last post. Included in that is the 8am-11am promo, where you get $100 if your Aces are cracked or $50 if your Kings are cracked. Truthfully, this was the reason I was awake so early. I wanted to get Cracked.

Downstairs, two tables were going. One was clearly a 2/4 limit table, since each player sat behind a stack of whites. The other table was three-handed. Two of the players were old timers. The other was a young guy, probably in his late 20s, with a hooded sweatshirt with some hip hop design. He looked like a white version of Shaggy (the R&B singer). To me, a guy like that has a target on his head. Ironically, its the same target I paint on myself when I intentionally try to look disheveled at the table. This isn't just my wear-yesterday's-clothes routine. The very Superman shirts I wear are a calculated effort to look like a loser. Whether you are a white hip hop wannabe or a man dressed in a comic book t-shirt, the message is the same: Bust me, because I'll be playing fast and loose.

I assumed the game was 1/2 NL, since that was the only NL game I could envision at IP's small room. However, I was wrong. Somewhere in the evening, I guess some of the players asked to bump up the stakes. Therefore, the three players were at 2/5 NL.

I've only play 2/5 NL once in my life, when I was in Buffalo last April. But I sure as hell wasn't going to play 2/4 limit sober, and the 2/5 NL table seemed soft. I was up so far for the trip, so I manned up and put $500 on the table. I intentionally sat on Shaggy's left so that I could take advantage of my LAG read.

Within an orbit, one of the old guys left, leaving me three handed with Shaggy and the old guy with the Ponytail. I remembered Ponytail from the night before. I thought I had a good read on his play, so I was happy with my challengers. I raised preflop a handful of times right off the bat, since we were shorthanded and I was dealt Ace-high hands. This, hopefully, would set up a loose image. Eventually, the generally tight Ponytail raised preflop and Shaggy called. In the BB, I called with K9. The flop was K9X. I checked and Ponytail bet out. I min-raised and he pushed all-in with his short stack (less than $150 at the beginning of the hand). I called. The river was a 9, giving me a full house. He busted and opted to walk.

Shaggy and I considered our options and decided to keep playing. I had the better of him for the most part, especially since I was dealt great cards for HU play. I never let up the pressure because I wanted to set him up to be uber-aggressive at the wrong time. Ponytail came back and tried to buy in for $100, but the floor told him it was $200 minimum. I liked Ponytail's money, so I told the floor to let him play. "We are heads up. We need him to keep the game going." The floor put up a fight, but I like money, damnit, and eventually won the argument.

In the first hand dealt out, Shaggy raised to $15, Ponytail called, so I called. The flop was T7. I hit the flop and checked. Shaggy bet. Ponytail folded, I raised, Shaggy called. On the turn, I bet out big and took down the pot. I looked to my right and Ponytail was gone. GONE! He must've seen our action and realized that $100 wasn't going to cut it. Still, he donated $15, so it was all worth it. Remember Ponytail, too, because I'll be seeing him again later, and it wasn't in a way I expected.

So, Shaggy and I are heads up, and I eventually crack his KK with T7 when he min-raised preflop and I flopped T7x. At the river, we realize that its still before 11am, so he should get the cracked Kings bonus. We called over the floor, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. Sadly for Shaggy, we didn't have the 4-players minimum to hit the bonus. Sucka!

I was up $185 or so when I saw GCox watching from the rail with one or two people. I went over and said, "Guys, I'll cash out." G told me not to rush for them. "Are you kidding," I replied, "I'm using you as my excuse." The guy and I were trading chips back and forth, and even though I felt I had an advantage, I had enough of a profit to call it a morning. I went back to the table and shrugged. "Can you believe it. They want to get breakfast. Sorry, man." We shook hands, having a shared admiration for each other at the table. Even when he was losing, we were able to joke about it, and while he looked like a tool, he was a decent player (albeit, LAG, as expected).

I ran upstairs to shower change into clean clothes and when I came down, G was gone. I heard that he was at the Tea Room, a diner-like establishment at the IP, so I went up there to see what was happening. G was with Mrs. G, Instant Tragedy, Buddy Dank, and one or two more person whose identity now escapes me. They were all cool enough to wait for me as I ordered a simple two eggs over medium, bacon, toast and a chocolate milk. The food was fast enough and delicious. It felt good to get some real sustenance in me.

After that, Peaker and I walked over to the Venetian to see what was happening. One other person came with us, but once again I can't remember who. This group is great, especially since people were constantly mixing and matching, coming and going. I sat at a 1/2 NL table with Peaker and the other person, until I overheard an announcement of a noon tournament. I headed over to the tournament desk and signed up for the $150 buy-in. I played 1/2 for another 20 minutes, and pretty much broke even folding away.

The tournament ended in the third level, with 30 minute levels. It was clear fairly early that I was one of the better players at the table. Unfortunately, in one hand, I flopped a straight with 25o, but the board paired on the turn and I got into a raising war with another player. He bet, I raised big, and he pushed all-in. Everything he did seemed like a fullhouse. In fact, his hand was shaking like a leaf. I even announced it, "You hand's shaking pretty bad buddy. Looks like you got a monster." I folded. He then told me that he had a shaking disorder. Whoops! He also claimed to have been slowplaying AA preflop. But we'll never know.

A little while later, I flopped a Ten-high flush, only to lose to a flopped Ace-high flush. Amazingly, I didn't get felted on that hand, mostly because the river four-flushed. A little while later with over 3k of my 6k starting stack, I re-raised the shakey guy with KK all-in preflop. Blinds were 200/400, so I consider this a standard move. He called with QQ and flopped a Queen. I walked away dejected, but accepting. I was friendly as I left and wandered around the casino to relax. I hit the sportsbook and decided to play three games on a complete whim, the Knicks/Pistons to cover the over, the Pistons to cover the spread against the shitty Knicks and the Spurs to win (Pick game) against Utah. That morning, I watched ESPN, so I basically just went with what felt right based on what I heard (and the fact that the Knicks SUCK!). In other words, I may as well be playing Keno.

After that, I wandered around until I saw Dank. He was looking for his players card, which he left in a machine. He had walked the entire casino floor without luck. I asked what the machine looked like and he pointed to the one right next to us. "Just like that one...HEY!" There was his card. What luck that we bumped into each other right there.

I decided to play a spin of roulette, mostly to play the numbers given to me by wifey Kim and the Big Boss Man. None of them chose 9, so I lost. My boss still owes me $4!

We returned to the poker room, where I watched Fuel playing 10/20 NL. I felt like a kid with his nose pressed up against the glass at Toys R Us.

Eventually, Peaker and I decided to check out a Caesars tourney, but when we got there, there were only 5 seats left and the event didn't start for 45 minutes. Jordan doesn't wait well, especially if he's waiting for poker. Instead, we returned to the IP where I sat next to IT at a 1/2 NL table. But we'll get to that later. I hope you all like schadenfreude!

posted by Jordan @ 6:10 PM,


At 11:54 PM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

"I felt like a kid with his nose pressed up against the glass at Toys R Us."


At 8:46 AM, Blogger madbrooklyn said...

Great writeups Jordan.

I guess since we see each other fairly often in NY, you forgot that I was at the Tea House and went to the Venetian with you and Peaker. Maybe your man-love for Peaker blinded you to the female company*.
: )

Playing at the IP with all their promotions was great fun. On Sunday, after losing my buyin at the Venetian when my aces got cracked by kings I figured I might as well play at a casino where I could get payed for that happening. So I went to the IP, sat down at a fun table with a bunch of bloggers, flopped quad AA on my second hand and got a $98 bonus. And then the mega bad beat jackpot was hit and we all got $140. I love the IP now!

Anyway, we got to play very little poker together but that's okay, I'll see you at the WS or IHO games soon.


*Now I know how Maryann felt when the original "Gilligan's Island" theme went "and the rest..."
Just kidding of course!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Schaubs said...

Nice posts so far dude. I can't beleive I didn't sit down and play Pai Gow with you when I had the chance.

Gun shy I guess, next time!

At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dud, reading some of your blogs, i've come to the conclusion that you are a gambling addict. tell your chick to get you some help

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

shit, i just saw i wrote dud instead of dude. are Freudian slips real or did i just mistype?

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Mary, that's so funny. When I was writing the post, I kept thinking it was you, but then I thought, no Jordan, she was with you on the way to the Mixed Games. I almost wrote you in once or twice, but I was so unsure. It was a confusing weekend.

IT, we'll get to that fucking commie next.

Shay, I'm not so much a gambling addict as a gambling enthusiast. And by enthusiast, I mean addict. So, um, point well taken.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger GaryC said...

As always, your trip reports are stellar my friend. I especially liked the part where I said don't rush for us and then felt free to head on up for breakfast before you got back. Whoops.

Great times bro, I can't wait for the next one.



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