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Late Nights and Early Mornings (Vegas Trip Report Pt 3)

After my 1/2 NLHE table busted at the Venetian, I was moved to a new table. I had been drinking copious amounts of water all morning, trying to re-hydrate, and it finally caught up to me. I put down my stuff in the 10 seat and said absentmindedly to the dealer, "I'll be right back." The Caucasian, bald prick replied, "I'll alert the media," in the dryest, most annoyed voice possible. I just kept walking, but the statement sunk in and irritated me. No slight too small, as my mother used to say. "Fuck you," I thought in my head. I considered the different ways to address the situation, including ignoring it, joking about it, refusing to tip, or asking, "Should I alert the media that you are a prick?" I opted to let it go as part of my desire to move beyond such negative things. Luckily, though, after I folded my first hand, I heard my name announced for the 4/8 O8 game I registered for over an hour ago. I picked up my chips and walked away, happy to be leaving the prick dealer. Its remarkable how something so small can set off feelings that could negatively affect poker play.

Ironically, the 4/8 O8 table was at my old 1/2 NLHE table that broke five minutes prior. I took my same seat and waited to see who would join us. At one point, it looked like there would not be enough players. There were only five or six, and the lady floorperson said, "This table isn't going to go. I hope you kept your seats in the other games." WTF! I replied, "Listen, lady. See all those bloggers behind me? Any minute now, those donkeys are going to bust and fill up this table." I pressured her to let the game start with 6 players, but it turned out to be a wasted effort because we had 8 people in no time.

The O8 game was half-kill. If someone scooped (won both the hi and lo) any pot higher than $40, the next hand would be played 6/12. I managed to stay around even for a long period of time. There was one point when I felt that I was finally gaining some traction. My stack was growing and I finally decided to take a count of my chips. It felt like I was kicking ass, but I was only up about $40. That's how it went for much of the evening, as I played for several hours.

At one point, I felt like taking a walk, so I hit the head and stopped by the sportsbook, where a bunch of bloggers were hanging out at the bar. I returned to the table and saw that I had missed my blind. I could post the big blind or wait. I opted to post. I'm lucky I did. My hand wasn't special, but I flopped trips on the 88X board and turned a full house when a Jack came. I made some nice moola by check-raising at the right times, keeping the maximum amount of players in the pot while building it slowly.

From there, I didn't look back. I hit a couple of more full houses, which is necessary to win at LO8, and I got the maximum payoff each time. In one instance, I sucked out on the river. I had flopped trips Aces (AAx board) with my Jack kicker and rivered the Jack. My opponent had AQxx and was pissed about the river, but it was a no-brainer for me.

After a while, I noticed that I was misreading my hands. I thought I hit trips again on a 44x board, only to realize after the flop bet that I didn't have a 4. I thought I had the nut straight on a board that rivered a diamond flush, only to realize that I also had the flush. I did this one other time and won a hand or a low pot. Whatever the case, the writing was on the wall and I cashed out, up $222.

One thing about the table. It was a good time and by the end, I was chummy with everyone. Still, there was this one guy a few seats to my left that really annoyed me. I don't get angry players. These guys throw a fit every time they miss a flop or lose a hand. Wah! I can't win every hand, Wah! Here, I would normally wish these people some terrible death, but instead, I wish them continued frustration. As unpleasant as these people may be at the able, they usually are on tilt and giving their money away. I still think anyone with that attitude, though, should just fuck off and play some slots. That's for their sake, though; not mine.

One more thing. There was a guy at the 1/2 NLHE table who had also returned to the 4/8 O8 table. I assumed he was in town for the rodeo because of his quiet toughguy demeanor. He had a goatee and baseball cap. During the 1/2 NLHE game, he was very quiet. A few times, I watched him for tells, and didn't find any. That said, I didn't think he was a particularly dangerous player because he didn't play many pots and didn't seem too aggressive. During the O8 game, he sat a few seats to my left. It was then that I noticed he was chatting with Miami Don. It was then that I introduced myself. He replied, "I'm Chad. Crackin' Aces." If you don't know, Chad is a blogger who has had a few blogs, all of which he ultimately deleted. One thing Chad is known for, though, is not pulling punches. He's also an accomplished player. Suffice it to say, if I were to guess from his table demeanor which blogger he was, I don't think I would've guessed he was Chad in 20 tries.

As I left the O8 game, I heard that there was a mixed game going on, so I switched to 6/12 HORSE. I played the H, O and R rounds, but left during the S. I wasn't having fun, and I was down $100 playing HORSE, so it seemed like a good time to walk.

It was at this point that I realized that it was 10:30pm. The Blogger Tourney was still going, and my two partners-in-crime, PokerWolf and PokerPeaker, were at the final table. I was proud for them both, as neither have extensive live poker experience. Wolf, sadly, busted at the bubble, but I reminded him that he must have played extremely well to finish near the top of one of the toughest fields you can imagine.

It was also at this point that I realized I had not eaten in over 10 hours. Jordan doesn't normally not eat (except for that summer in high school when I was an anorexic...damn I was sexy). But poker can do something odd to me. Food and sleep don't matter when I play. Poker is the only thing that has this hold on me. Whatever the case, I felt the need to eat, even though I was still not hungry.

Everyone else was busy, so I opted to check out the food court solo. I grabbed a cheesesteak and a table and listened to Howard Stern on my iPod. As I ate, Wolf showed up and we agreed to head back to the hotel. This, however, would not happen.

I wanted to stop by the blogger final table to say my goodbyes, and at that point, I realized that a return to the MGM might not be the right move. Wolf had an early flight and was planning on going to bed. I was still up and raring to go.

Instead of joining Wolfie, I joined Kat and MeanGene for a walk to the Imperial Palace. I had stayed there the year before, but had yet to step into the lower tier casino/hotel during the present trip. Halfway, Kat left us for Sephora, and Gene and I walked back talking lightly about poker and blogging.

Back at the IP, the Geisha Bar was in full swing. I had a beer and chatted with Iggy for a while. I can't write enough about how much I appreciated that time chatting with the blogfather. It was one of the best and most sincere conversations I had all weekend. When you are dubbed the blogfather of poker, it must be very easy to slip into a persona. Iggy, however, doesn't fall into this trap. And for that alone, one could call him remarkable. But really, more than remarkable, he's just himself, which is refreshing when surrounded by the sleaze, grime and anonymity of Vegas.

After that conversation, I roamed the casino floor hoping that a spot at Pai Gow Poker would open up. It didn't so I stopped by the poker room, where a couple of bloggers were playing a 1/2 NLHE game. I decided to join them, mainly on impulse.

The table was a wild one. I was in the 8 seat, with bloggers on both sides of me. Across the table in the 2 seat was a big dude (think height, not weight) with floppy brown surfer hair and a button-down shirt. He had a huge stack of $700 or more. To his left was a generic looking dude with another big stack.

I'll admit that I didn't feel entirely at ease. The last time I played at the IP, I recall a session where I never felt good about the table, and consequently lost a couple of stacks. Granted, at the time, I lost to suckouts, but I remember the distinct feeling of unease and the thought, "I need to get out of here." I didn't listen though.

This time, I started out okay, but once I saw the action, I felt the unease again. These guys were playing big bet poker and I was just looking to donk around. After a gambling Asian player sat down, the action got even more crazy. The Crazian was raising $30 preflop standard on almost every pot. It was absurd. Why spend $30 to win $8 in blinds? Whatever the case, I saw an amazing hand where the Crazian bet big preflop and a bunch of limpers for $2 called his $25 or larger preflop raise. I couldn't figure out what was going on. The flop was Ace-high. It checked to the Crazian, who was in late position. He bet. The big guy with the surfer hair called, and another guy pushed all-in for several hundred dollars. The Crazian called and the Surfer got out of the way. The Crazian held AK for top pair, top kicker, and the pusher had nothing but an open-ended straight draw. Just nuts. Surfer claimed he had AQ. I just assumed it was set v. set, based on the action, but I was wrong. While TPTK isn't a terrible hand, everything at the table suggested that the players had real monsters.

When I first sat down, the Surfer had won a pot when he called an all-in with nothing but 77 after a flop with overs and rivered his set. He said, "I knew my set was coming. I just didn't know when." He was cocky, so I made him my target. Unfortunately, he was also playing big bet poker and successfully bet me off of a hand, leaving me down $75 or so very quickly. After I realized that it was a big bet table and he was calling light (the AK v AQ v OESD hand actually were better cards than most), I decided to play my KK hard.

Preflop, I raised to $22 and got three or four callers, including the Surfer. The flop came down JTx, so when it checked to me, I bet $50. Surfer raised to $100 and I decided that I was ready to ship my whole stack. Generic was still in the hand, and took his time. He eventually folded. When it got to me, I pushed. Surfer called and showed JT. I rivered my King, though and sucked out. "I knew my King was coming. I just didn't know when." In truth, I hated how I played this hand. Losing an entire stack with an overpair is a stupid error. I had convinced myself that he had jackshit, but that wasn't based on any empirical data. I was playing sloppy. I decided to finish two orbits and walk.

After the hand, the Generic Guy was standing up, bitching and moaning to a guy who may've been his father. The bitching wouldn't stop. "I woulda won that." It was annoying to me. "What did you have that would've beaten top set?" I heard someone say that he had AQ. It was either that or Q9; in either case, my King would've made him a straight to take down the pot. But based on the action, there was no way he was going to call. And more importantly, he didn't call. If the Surfer was bitching, that was one thing. He suffered a suckout. But this guy was complaining about something that was completely fictional: "If I would've called, I would've won." I got annoyed as his bitching and announced, "If I had pocket Aces and flopped quads, I would've won outright, but that didn't happen either, so I don't see the point in bitching about it." I was basically calling him out for bitching about a hypothetical. We exchanged some more heated words, practically yelling at each other across the table. I was on edge, but also enjoying the sport of tilt fishing. I whispered to my fellow bloggers, "I'm going to tilt this whole table and walk away, leaving you guys to clean up." After another orbit, I did just that. I left, up $142. It was my most profitable NLHE cash session of the trip, and it was my worst-played session.

I made the trip back to the MGM, listening to my iPod as I waited for the Monorail. The people around me were drunk, loud and partying. I enjoyed the show.

Back at the MGM, I returned to my room and fell asleep. The next morning, Wolf was already gone. I walked the hotel looking for an easy breakfast, and ended up heading outside. I eventually got a bagel at New York New York Casino. The bagel was aweful though. NYNY is the shittiest version of NY I've ever seen.

Satiated, I returned to the hotel, where I packed up and got on the phone. I had a conference call for work. When it was done, I realized that I may as well head to the airport. My trip was over. Up a couple of hundred overall, hanging with my invisible internet friends, it was a successful trip.

Final bad beat story.

I boarded the plane and headed over to my seat, 7A. Sitting in 7B was a really attractive girl, no older than 23, probably 100 lbs. tops. She was a real beauty. As I neared the seat, we caught each other's eyes and she asked if I was sitting next to her. "Yeah, 7A," I replied. She asked, "Would you mind switching with my friend?" "Where is your friend?" "22A, toward the back." "It's a window?" I wanted to make sure I wouldn't be stuck in the middle seat. "Yeah." Being the chivalrous guy I am, I agreed.

I walked to the back of the plane and found the friend. Instead of being another cute coed, it was a douschebag, twerpy dude. Still, I promised the piece of ass in 7B that I'd send over her friend, so I gave him the good news. I then took his seat.

I figured that I was giving up about 5 minutes of my life, the time spent deboarding the plane in NY. I was hoping, as the flight time neared, that no one would take the middle seat. It was still open as the final people entered the plane. Most were small, old people. One was a brickwall of a man. He was wide, tall, and hispanic. I knew immediately where he would sit...right next to me. So it was done. He took the seat, and as it turned out, joked about my bad luck being stuck next to him. He didn't joke about the fact that he was clearly up all night and didn't have time to shower.

I had accepted my fate when I heard a faint cry to my right. That's when I saw across the aisle a woman and her newborn baby, no older than 3 months.

From hot co-ed to a fat, smelly guy and a crying baby. It was the worst bad beat of the trip. I figured it was karma's payback for my KK v. JT suckout.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 6:01 PM,


At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot the best part of the story... the car ride home with O8 expert Chuck.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Ah! Thanks, Chuck. That almost deserves it's own post, since I learned a lot during that ride. Thanks again.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger kurokitty said...

Great seeing you at the IP table -- it's too bad Generic Guy didn't bust out later on.

I would think your $50 bet would have committed you for stacks at that point, with about a 1/3 of your stack in the pot...

At 1:47 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

What a bad beat. You lemon.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

That was Chad in the corner/eight seat?

Wow. Wish I had known.


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