Check It: DADI |


Lessons in Humility (WPBT Trip Report Pt 1)

The anticipation before a WPBT trip is often a double-edged sword. On one hand, you know, in your heart of hearts, that it will be a great trip. After all, it’s Vegas. Even if I was going out there for a Douchebag Expo, I’d have a great time. But there is also that trepidation. When I had dinner with some college friends last night, I mentioned my Vegas trip.

“Who did you go with?”

“Um, myself, sorta. I was meeting people there.”

“What people?”

“Um, other bloggers.” This is where I wait for the awkward pause. “I mean, um, a bunch of them are local and I’ve hung out with the group before. It’s not like that. We all know each other.”

Once I’m there and for a long while after, I can appreciate this ragtag group that borders on a dysfunctional family. But the night before, all sorts of scenarios can race through one’s head.

All that being true, I’m not one to go to sleep early. I often joke with wifey Kim that sleep is my enemy. I just hate sleeping. It’s so boring. But that didn’t stop me from going to bed around 10pm on Thursday night. After all, I had a flight to Vegas at 7:25 am, and I was way too excited to do anything productive Thursday night, anyway.

Friday morning, I got up at about 4:40 am, or 1:40 am Vegas time. While I was getting dressed in the dark, there was already a slew of bloggers in Vegas, probably shit faced drunk as I still cleaned the gunk from my eyes. Like a good soldier, I just kept my eye on the mission. I got dressed, grabbed my pre-packed bag, and left the apartment, off to the subway. From there, I took the Air Train to the airport, about a 1 hour trip door to door.

The JetBlue terminal at JFK airport is pretty awesome. Once I got through security, I grabbed some grub and found a place to wait for my flight. The flight itself was mostly uneventful. I just remembered that it was long. Very long. I guess something like 6+ hours, but it felt like 10. I tried to sleep a couple of times, but each time, I would nod off for maybe 5 minutes before waking back up. It was useless, so I spent most of my time flipping through the shitty channels on the JetBlue TV (er, maybe shitty programming, since it was so early on a weekday), and watching movies on my iTouch. God bless the iTouch.

Let me take a moment to sing the praises of traveling solo. Life is so much easier when there are no attachments. All I have is me and my backpack. No concerns about anyone else or anything else. It is an amazingly isolating and yet freeing experience.

Once I landed in Vegas, I was back in soldier mode. I headed to my next checkpoint, the taxi stand. I hadn’t brought any bags, aside from my overstuffed backpack, because I didn’t want to wait for the luggage carousel. No joking, I literally jettisoned clothing while packing merely because of space issues. Before I left for Vegas, I had already decided on no fancy meals…I couldn’t fit nice clothing in my backpack.

A quick ride from the airport (which seemed overpriced at $20 with tip, but I was just happy to be there), and I was at my Vegas headquarters, the Imperial Palace.

The IP is a great hotel if you are not looking for any bells and whistles. It has a nice sized gaming floor and is not overly dominated by wall-to-wall slots, like some places. The poker room is small, but the players are usually super fishy, not that I would play any poker at the IP this trip. The hotel is slightly dingy, but the rooms have always been clean and adequate.

Once I was checked in to my totally free room, I started to walk to the back of the hotel to my room in Tower 4, the Lost Tower. I swear, by the time I got there, I had to take two mini-escalators, a flight of stairs, an elevator, and a canoe. I think my room was officially in Henderson, even though the hotel was in Vegas.

But I’ve already skipped over a key fact. By the time I was at the IP, it was probably 11 am or so, Vegas time. As I walked to my room, I scanned the floor, hoping to see some of my fellow bloggers. As I passed the Geisha Bar, which incidentally sounds way nicer than it actually is, I had my first sighting. There, sitting at the bar, drinking various adult beverages, was none other than the One Man Party AlCantHang, Dr. Pauly, his brother Derek and a young lady by the name of Katie. It wasn’t even noon, and I had already done a shot of SoCo with Al and crew. Just typical.

And if it wasn’t obvious, whereas I was up all morning, those guys were up all night.

I got to my room, dumped off my stuff and decided to do what came naturally: poker. I was already dressed in poker gear. I was wearing a new Flash t-shirt (courtesy of wifey Kim for my recent birthday), cargo pants, and my brown Buffalo hoodie. I grabbed my other necessary items and started the trek to the poker room. I figured if I didn’t see anyone down there, I’d eventually bump into someone in the poker room.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly the case. The poker room at IP had two tables going. As I got closer, it became clear, though, that I was looking at one of the saddest tournaments ever. I walked to the floorperson and asked what was spread. The Asian woman looked at me like she didn’t understand the term. I confirmed my suspicions: only a tournament right now? She nodded. I still wasn’t sure that she speekee Ingrish, but it didn’t matter. No poker for me.

Las Vegas is the land of opportunities (for VDs) though, so I took to the streets. I was contemplating my next stop and decided to just start walking. It didn’t take long until I arrived at the next building, Harrah’s. I made my way through to their poker room.

The Harrah’s poker room, unlike the IP room, is actually its own room. It looks to be a decent size, as well, with maybe 30+ tables, but it didn’t look like they needed it for their Friday afternoon crowd. Once again, the room was woefully short on players, and maybe three games were going, with at least one 2/4 limit game in the mix. I put my name on the 1/2 list with two names in front of me and grabbed a Bluff magazine from the rack. I was several articles into the magazine when I gave up. The one 1/2 table I could see seemed like no one was going anywhere anytime soon. In subtle passive aggressive protest, when I left, I didn’t take my name off the list. That’ll show them!

So, with 2 failed attempts at poker, I decided to go to a poker room that I generally hate: Caesars. Incidentally, I didn’t realize what a Harrah’s whore I am; all three hotels, IP, Harrah’s and Caesars, are owned by Harrah’s. I guess they got the last laugh.

Caesars’ room, in and of itself, is actually quite nice. It’s a big, private room, just off of the sports book. It’s actually like two rooms. There is the main room where the cash games are usually played. I won’t even hazard a guess at how many tables they have, but I’d be shocked if it was less than 60 total, including the back room. The back room is huge and is usually reserved for tournaments.

I do have one beef with Caesars, though. I hate that they spread 1/3 NLHE instead of 1/2 NLHE. It’s such a minor difference on paper, but I still find that the 1/3 throws off my bet sizing and general play. They use $2 chips also, which also throws me off.

Alas, at least there were games going, so I signed up on the list and then headed back to the sports book to place a ridiculous 5-game parlay ticket on the NBA (I lost my first pick and declared that I’d rather lose the first game in a parlay then the last). I waited about 15 minutes, and they finally called a new table.

At the new table, it seemed like the usual mix of players. No one particularly concerned me, but there were also no obvious donks. We started somewhat shorthanded, but I was fairly card dead, so I just watched the action around me. I had bought in short, at $200, since I only saw one guy with more. So be it.

Admittedly, the hands I am about to divulge are not my proudest moments. In the first hand, I held K8d in LP and after a bunch of limpers, I limped as well, finally getting re-popped preflop to $15 from one of the blinds. There were five callers by the time it got to me, so I called as well. The flop was T86, with two diamonds, giving me middle pair and the 2nd nut flush draw. The EP preflop raiser pushed all-in. It folded to me and I decided to call. He only had $88 in front and the pot was already $75+ preflop, so I was getting slightly less than 2:1. It wasn’t the best play in hindsight, as I think I could’ve found a better spot at the table, but I guess part of me was in the mood to gamble. The turn was a Jack and the river was a 6; my opponent showed pocket Jacks, so he turned the set and rivered a full house. At least I didn’t have to show my cards. I just mucked, rebought another $100 (bringing my total buy-in to $300) and moved on.I may’ve bled some more chips on some preflop hands that did not develop. My last hand, though, just plain sucked. I held AK in middle position and raised it to $11. The button seemed like a pretty astute guy, in his 40s, tall, with glasses. It was coincidentally his birthday. It was also mine. When it got to him, he raised to $30. To my surprise, a chick who was in one of the blinds called. She was a pretty loose player, though, so I didn’t think to much of it, aside from the fact that a raise and re-raise must’ve indicated some level of strength. When it got back to me, I just flat called, hoping to see a flop before I got deeper into the hand.

The flop was a seemingly nice K53. It checked to me and I pushed all-in. I think I had a pretty penny left, maybe $130 or so, but with a $90 pot and, if I’m not mistaken, a flush draw on the board, I would be happy to take it down. The Birthday Guy folded and the Chick took a moment before calling. She then showed 55 for a flopped set. To add insult to injury, I turned an Ace. In other words, I was going broke one way or another.

After that hand, I only had $15 left. I think I pushed on the very next hand with King-high. I lost and decided to leave. After all, sometimes you can just tell that you’ve lost the table. Unless I started getting monster hands against second-best hands, I wasn’t going to be winning much with my now tarnished image. I wished the table good luck and headed out.

This seems like a decent enough place to pause. Coming up, we have my first Pai Gow session of the trip, my visit to the Hard Rock cafe, and more pokery action.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:57 AM,


Post a Comment

<< Home