Sunday, May 15, 2005

Vegas Kicks Me In The Nuts

The plan was to go to Vegas, check out the Wynn poker room, and win a satellite into the World Series at the Rio. I need to go back and make another plan.

First of all, the Wynn is spectacular. The lobby with all the beautiful flowers and intricate tile work is amazing. We had a room on the 23rd floor that had an incredible view of the golf course and the mountains. The room had two great double beds, a flat screen tv in the living area and the bathroom. It blows the Four Seasons away. The best part is the ability to check the poker room list on the tv in your room.

The poker room is impressive as well. Lots of tables and the video screen above the check in desk does a great job of telling you which games are being spread and how long the wait will be. They were spreading 4-8, 8-16 Hold'em and 1-2 and 2-5 No Limit Holdem. These were the games in my category. No need to mention the 50-100 No Limit or the insane heads up matches that Daniel Negreaneau likes to play.

On Friday night I was hoping to see Daniel play Barry Greenstein heads up. Daniel was there but Barry wasn't. Eric Seidel showed up but didn't play. Daniel eventually wound up playing against David Oppenheim (a WPT finalist). I heard through the grapevine that David won the match.

On to the depressing Poker recap. Friday night I went down to the Wynn Poker room and tried to sign up for the 8-16 game. The line was about 7 deep but they only had one table going so I knew it was going to be a while. I went to the buffet with Chris and Billy. This might be the best deal in the hotel. $30 for dinner which included Alaskan Crab Legs, Chicken, Rib Roast, and all kinds of desserts. When I came back 2 hours later, my name had dropped off the list, but a $1-$2 No Limit table was open.

The table seemed pretty loose, so my normal game should have been well suited to the game. My problem was my brain was foggy from the excitement of the new casino and the fact that the Suns were playing their playoff game on the flat screen above me. I kept getting nice pocket pairs of Queens, Jacks, Kings, 8's, and none of them were holding up. First of all it would have been nice to hit trips just once. Second of all, I would bet hard on the flop and the turn with my opponent staying in the hand, only to find out at the end that they had flopped trips.

The reason I said I was foggy was that the possibility of trips was not even entering my head as a possible holding for my opponent. Three different times, my top pair, top kicker went down to three of a kind. After a couple of hours I was down $200. Billy and Chris wanted to go downtown, so I said what the hell.

I went to the Horseshoe. The fabled home of the World Series of Poker. I had spent a lot of time in the Horseshoe in years past playing blackjack and craps. This was before I found the positive EV games of poker. I used to enjoy the old school attitude and the ability to find a cheap table and a dealer that would talk to you. Now I guess I have turned into a snob. I played poker for the first time in their 4-8 game.

The poker room at the Horseshoe is big and it's fun to see the Wall of Champions. However, the room looks like shit, the list takers are rude, and the tables are lumpy. I played in a boring 4-8 game and won about $20 over 2 hours of play. Finally I went looking for Chris and Billy and found them at 1:00 AM at the Golden Gate. I played a few hands of black jack with them and quickly lost another $100. Nothing much going my way so far.

Before we left the Gate, Chris went to the bathroom. He came out and said someone was throwing up in one of the stalls. Probably a normal occurrence, except Chris said he was making the most horrible sounds he had ever heard. Just the sound of the puking was making Chris nauseous.

We went outside and tried to catch a cab outside of the Plaza. While we were waiting we saw a guy across the street, dip his head down a trash can and start puking. Again, probably a normal occurrence except now we heard the sound. "RRRROOOOOHHH" Chris recognized the sound immediately and ID'd him as the same guy from the bathroom earlier. It sounded a lot like the clip Howard Stern plays of Beetlejuice throwing up on his show. I don't know what was causing the noise because when I throw up, the only loud noise is the vomit hitting the water in the toilet. We all enjoyed a good laugh at his expense.

I slept in comfort at the Wynn and awoke renewed and ready to make my money back. After breakfast, I went back down to the poker room and got into another $1-$2 No Limit game. I bought in for $400. Immediately after I sat down I saw two different hands where the standard preflop raise was $25!. There was a woman in the 9 seat who had a decent stack of chips and a bunch of folded up $100 bills in front of her. She threw in one of the raises. A foreign guy of unknown origin in the 1 seat was obviously waiting for a seat in a bigger game and was ready to gambool it up. I have to admit I was a little scared of the big raises, but once I saw the cards they were playing I thought, that maybe this will be the table where I make my big score.

I was patient and waiting for good hands. I played a couple of small pots and folded after I missed the flop or didn't get the right price to chase a flush or straight, so I was down probably $50 when the first of three critical hands in the trip happened.

I was on the button and was dealt Ace King offsuit. I was in the 4 seat. The woman in the 9 seat raised it to $25 from early position and everyone folded to me. I went big and raised it to $70 total. She is the only caller, so there is $143 in the pot. The flop is Ace, Jack, Three rainbow. She checks and I bet $75. I was tempted to throw in more, but I thought this amount would let me know where I stand by her reaction to the bet amount and how quickly she called. She called rather quickly, so I thought she caught some piece of the flop but didn't feel too confident about her hand. The pot is now $293.

The turn was the King and it put two of the same suit on the board. It also puts up a possible straight. She checks again. This time I bet $100. I was willing to let her chase a flush because I didn't think she had that type of hand. If she was chasing a straight, $100 is just enough to make her call a bad one. If she has the straight, she'll come over the top of me. She is thinking long and hard about calling. Now she is acting like she has a good hand but that maybe she's beat. She even mentions aloud that she thinks I might have Ace King for the two pair. She makes the reluctant call. The pot is now $493.

The river is the 3 which pairs the board. No flush possible. She checks again. Now I could bet, but I had been burned on the previous night not taking into consideration the possible three of a kind. I didn't think she had it, but you never know. I also felt that I would only be called by a better hand. I checked it through. She turns up Queen - Three. She spiked her set of 3's on the river. She apologized and said she misread her hand at first. C'mon! Don't you think you would check your hand again for a $100 bet on the turn? It was a 2 outer. A 21-1 shot. I tried to console myself that I had played it right, but it still stung.

I folded some more, and actually won a couple of small pots. I also put in another $100 just so I had a somewhat respectable stack. Finally I felt like I needed to play a hand every once in a while just to make sure I get some action when I get the nuts. I was in the Big Blind with King-Jack of clubs. An early position player who has played some questionable hands, raised to $12. I call. It's just me and him so the pot is $24. The flop is Queen, Ten, X.

I decide to try and get my straight cheap, so I check. He bets $30. I decide if I hit my straight, I might double up and therefore the implied odds are good enough to call. The turn is my joker. It's the Ace and I have the nuts. I throw some chum in the water and check to him. He chomps down hard on the bait and bets $100. I go all in for $130. He has no choice but to call the additional $30 in a $335 pot. The river is an Ace. Uh oh. Luckily I don't have any more money to lose as he turn over Ace-10 for the full house Aces over 10's. This one was only a 10-1 shot but it cleaned me out. I tucked my tail between my legs and went back up to the room.

After watching a little golf and trying to clear my head, I decided to cab it to the Rio and see if they were really running any satellites into the WSOP. The Rio has cleared out part of their sports book and turned it into their poker room. It's pretty much the standard now a days since everyone is trying to squeeze in a poker room to their existing layout.

I sat in the 4-8 game and waited for the floor supervisor to return from lunch. When he did, I said I would like to play a $150-$175 one table satellite to get an entry into the first $1500 hold'em tournament. He said he would try to put it together. A woman came back about 20 minutes later and said she would put a $125 satellite together with first prize being two $500 tournament chips, and $125 in cash. I said that was good enough and signed up. We were stuck at 8 signups for an hour before they finally filled it. In the mean time I had won about $60 in my 4-8 game.

I sit down in the 5 seat and start in middle position. The blinds will start at 25-25 and will increase every 15 minutes. We start with 1000 in tournament chips. My very first hand I am dealt Aces.

Two early position players limp in for $25 and I raise to $100. Everyone including the blinds folds and the two limpers call. The flop is King spades, Queen spades, and a low card. The two limpers check to me and I bet $300. First a strategy aside. I decided I was going to play my top pairs hard and hope they hold up. I was going to count on the fact that some dummy was going to call with a Queen or Jack kicker and lose to me so I could build up my chips quickly. I knew the blinds were going to go up fast and I figured I am not going to have the time or the chips to play around too much.

So I bet the pot on the flop, fully expecting a fold. First player folds, good. Second player declares all in. What the fuck!? Is he on a flush draw? Two pair? A set? At least today I am considering all the hands that beat me. I contemplate throwing it away, but then I look at him and ask myself, "Does he want me to call?" He is quiet, stiff, and rigid. I think if he was confident in his hand he would look a lot more relaxed. I put him on a flush draw and decide to take the risk and call. He turns over King - 5 of clubs!!!!??? Talk about naked aggression. I am having visions of doubling up on the first hand and how am I going to wield my big stack. The turn is a blank. Oh the table respect I will have, I show down a strong hand and made a great call. This satellite is mine. I will turn the whole trip around in this one tournament.

The river is a 5.

Why are the chips being pushed to my opponent? Oh shit he hit the 4 outer to beat me. How much of a favorite does a guy have to be to win a fucking hand in this town? So once again I am out of my first satellite in one hand with pocket aces. I say once again because you can refer back to the first step tournament I played on Party Poker to go to the World Series where I busted out with Aces in the first hand.

I decided to get the fuck out of Dodge after that. I went back to the Wynn and packed up my shit and got on a plane. Luckily I was leaving for Colorado Springs the next day for a 4 day vacation. I am writing this after not playing for over one week. The break was nice. I am still pissed off but I am more determined than ever to build the bankroll back up.

I will climb back through the steps and make it to the main event. I will play my required hands to get my $500 bonus on Noble Poker and then start back on my quest for glory. Look out poker world, here I come.


Ignatious said...

good tales, too bad they weren't with happier endings. but damn, i was glad to hear the rio is running some sats - i've been curious about that.

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