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Altered Stakes (WPBT Trip Report Pt 2)

Down $300 and still raging solo, I returned to the IP to see if any of my contemporaries were awake. Nope. It was still dead in the casino, and I began to appreciate the seriousness of The Economy (TM) when I returned to the IP poker room and saw only a 2/4 limit game running. The IP poker room is not exactly a happening place, but it was not this desolate on my previous trips.

I decided to play some table games and settled on some Pai Gow, still my favorite table game of all time. I started out with the minimum $10 bets, but eventually worked my way up as I won a couple of hands. I finally decided to walk when I was up an even $50. By that point, I was playing two spots on the table for $20-30 apiece.

During the Pai Gow, I hit a full house. Lulu, the Asian dealer, gave me shit for not putting any money on the Bonus. Let me make this clear for my loyal readers: NEVER PLAY THE BONUS! It’s a terrible deal. The payout for the full house would’ve been 5 to 1…and I was already at least 9 hands into my play when I hit it. Lulu, unfortunately, did not understand the math, though, and insisted on giving me shit for missing the huge $5 payout.

The rest of the table were a bunch of chain smoking Asian guys in their late 20s or early 30s, and a 20-something white girl, whose boyfriend was playing blackjack one table over. It was a fun crowd, and we quickly got into Pai Gow chants. Lulu was eventually replaced by Lily and one of the Asians said, “Who is next? Lala?” Maybe it was funnier at the time.

Satiated, I decided to quickly freshen up before meeting up with Poker Peaker. Peaker was staying at the MGM, but was kind enough to take the Momorail to the IP before we were to head out to the HardRock, well in advance of the 7pm call time for the PLO/NLHE mixed game arranged by Michalski.

The cab ride over was easy. Peaker and I first did a lap around the casino. There was absolutely no signage for the poker room, but once we asked around we were directed to a corridor off of the circular main casino floor. The casino itself is actually pretty snazzy and well styled. I am not, however, inclined to go to a hotel that is part of a franchise that specializes in chicken fingers and signed rock star pants.

The poker room itself was actually quite pretty. The room has darker tones, by my recollection, a deep bluish purple feel. The tables were nicely appointed, big and clean. There were probably 40 tables or more. The room was open to the hallway, but otherwise clearly its own room/space.

We entered our names on the 1/2 list. It was still 4-something, so we had some time to kill. When we gave our names, the floor asked for our cell phone numbers. They told us they’d call when seats were available. There was at least one person on the list before us.

We walked around some more until my cell rang. They were opening a new table, so we headed over.

I had never before experienced this, but the HardRock actually started the new table with…four players. Ridiculous. I insisted on reduced rake (Today’s Tip: When there are less than 7 players, ask for reduced rake. You will usually get it.) and got what I asked for. I was still not too pleased, though, about the shorthanded table that included Peaker.

Fortunately, the other two guys were pretty predictable. One guy looked like Matusow and seemed to play a fairly straightforward game that was easy to exploit. The other guy was just plain bad, and would usually pay off value bets with lesser hands.

I wish I could say that I won tons of cash. I didn’t. But I did have a great time. Once I realized that a $7 raise preflop would win me the blinds, it became clear that I wouldn’t be making thousands at this kiddy table. So, I did the next best thing: I got drunk.

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but it was my birthday. In fact, it was a milestone birthday, and there I was in Vegas without any of my real world friends or family. That was cool, though, because I had my invisible internet friends, and I was happy to have a low key b-day. Seeing as how the game was boring, I decided to have one drink. By then, the table had filled out to about 6 or 7 players, and the guy to my immediate left and I had struck up a conversation. That’s when I learned that the HardRock gives premium shots for free in the poker room.

In total, I must’ve had 3 rum & cokes and 3 shots of Petron while playing. My play was noticeably deteriorating, but I was having fun, yucking it up with my table mates. Eventually, though, the blogger crowd arrived, and Peaker and I moved to our new table. I was down about $63.

At the new table was a slew of bloggers. This is where I can admit that I was officially drunk. I won’t even try to run through the roster of players. All I knew was that I was getting unlucky a bit. I was either missing flops or facing ugly turn cards that killed my hand. This was not helped in any way by the fact that my buzz had set in and I was really just riding co-pilot to my inebriation. I had a couple of more drinks and eventually even learned that I could get Don Julio instead of Patron, which resulted in at least one more shot.

I also grabbed a steak sandwich while the PLO/NLHE game was starting. Just after ordering, though, a casino host came by with a menu and offered all of the bloggers free food. This was all Michalski’s doing, but kudos also has to go to the HardRock for treating the bloggers like, well, low level rock stars. I explained that I just ordered and the host told me he’d have it comped. Done and done. As it turned out, it was also one of the better steak sandwiches I’ve had.

At some point, we must’ve decided to head back to the MGM. All I know is that I ended up at the MGM, probably by catching a ride with CK.

I walked through the poker room and saw a bunch of different bloggers playing mixed limit games and NLHE on various tables. I was in no condition to play, now down about $500 at poker thanks to $124 in losses at the blogger PLO/NLHE game at the HardRock. I was also how shit-faced.

I left the poker room to check otu the sports book bar around the corner, where a bunch of other bloggers were hanging out. I spent some time chatting with Schaubs, Dr. Pauly, and Woffles, to name a few. I’m sure there were more, but I was in no condition to remember specifics.

At about 1am, I headed back to the IP with Pauly, Derek and Change100 (I think…we may’ve met up with Change when we arrived back at the IP). I stopped by Pauly’s room for a bit with the crew and we chatted about the amazing group and the place poker blogging may have in the lexicon of poker writing. Er, at least that’s what I think happened. By then, I was pretty hammered and after hanging out with Pauly and the crew for a while, synergy was really kicking in and I was at a whole new level of fuckedupedness. I was flying high as I probably babbled on about how the group felt like one large dysfunctional family (in a good way) and how some poker blogs, and frankly, Pauly’s blog in particular, could be seen as the definitive writings about poker for the current era. Before us (and I use “us” very loosely), guys like Alvarez and McManus wrote about the poker scene in book form. It made sense, too, since that was probably the best venue for such info at the time. But currently, blogs are able to produce a lot more output with a lot less editorial restrictions. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 80 years, people see Pauly’s blog as the definitive work about the poker scene in the age of the online and Moneymaker poker boom.

Yeah. So, after all of that, we all decided to head back to the casino floor. I, however, wanted to drop off my jacket, so I returned to my room. By then, the spins had started to kick in and I realized I was not making it back out for the night. Instead, I curled into bed and held tight, hoping that the room would stop moving. I remember thinking, “Just fall asleep and it will all go away…just fall asleep and it will all go away…” That and, “don’t puke…don’t puke…” Those were my mantras until I drifted off to sleep.

Day 2 is coming up, including the blogger tournament, some more Pai Gow, and my last night in Vegas.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:58 AM,


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