Monday, January 29, 2007

Bad Poker, Good Golf

The weekend started off badly as I managed to donk off $200 in online poker. The first hundred was due to me deciding to get cute with AK after flopping an Ace. I slow played it and let the guy with AQ hit his inside straight and take 80% of my chips. Then I tilted off the rest bluffing into a pot with an inside straight draw. No Limit causes so much frustration because you can play great for an hour, make one bad play, and destroy all the profits from the first hour.

The second $100 was lost $20 at a time. I found a good table and kept waiting to get good cards against the bad players but it just never seemed to happen. Luckily, earlier in the week I had made some profits so I think I was probably only down $40 for the week.

My main focus all weekend was the upcoming golf match with Bill. On Saturday, Michele took baby Jake to work, so I had the day to myself. I spent a couple of hours at the club practicing my short game and hitting a few drivers and 3 woods.

Sunday was the big day. I was really keyed up because if I win the 18th hole from the previous match and then win the regular match today, our score would be 3-3. I haven't been this nervous about a golf round in a while and I had to tell myself that it was just a round of golf and if I lose $500 over the bet, it won't change my standard of living. Basically, all the silly stuff you tell yourself when you are trying to calm down.

I arrived an hour early to get loose and surprisingly, Bill also arrived early. He almost never warms up, but he knew he was not going to get a mulligan off the 18th tee and he wanted to be ready.

We drove out to 18 and it was a beautiful sunny day. A lot different then when we last left the hole a week ago, just before it started snowing. I had the honor so I hit a perfect 3 wood down the middle. Bill hit a 2 iron down the left side that was hooking slightly. We drove down the fairway and found Bill's ball. He was stuck behind a tree and was not able to take a full swing. He bunted the ball forward about 20 yards. Then he hit his 3rd shot to the right and was behind the big pine tree in front of the lake which guards the green.

After Bill's drama, all I needed to do was lay up with a 5 iron. I hit it perfect and had 120 yards into the flag. The pin was back, so I all I needed to do was aim for the middle of the green. I hit a good wedge and it stopped 6 feet from the pin. Now it's virtually over.

Bill was going to have to hit a shot under the pine tree, over the water, and get the low running shot to stop on the fast green. It's nearly impossible to pull off. Bill took a swipe at the ball and it took off hot. It hit the tree and bounced right back to him. He hit the ball again, this time missing the tree but hitting the water. Somehow the ball skipped off the water and out to the edge of the fairway. He was going to pick up, but I told him he might make it for 6, so he tried and ran it over the green into the back bunker. I picked up my ball after Bill conceded and we moved on to the first tee. The score was now 3-2.

Over the first two holes, I picked up one stroke. On the third hole, I pulled my drive left and had to punch out down the fairway. Bill hit his drive further left and his ball rolled into the fairway bunker on the left side of #4. His lie was not great and he had trees in front of him. He hit his first shot solidly but it was fading to the right and took a bad hop even further to the right. He was flirting with out of bounds, so he hit a provisional. This one was worse but it was in play.

As Bill went to look for his ball, I had 200 yards into the green and decided to hit my hybrid club. I hit it perfectly with a little fade. Unfortunately it was too perfect and there was some wind behind us that I failed to notice. My ball flew over the green by 20 yards. Meanwhile, Bill was looking for his ball. He found one and hit a great pitch under a tree and over a bunker to about 25 feet.

I was still waiting for him to drive over so I could pull my wedge. Then Bill announced, "I hit the wrong ball!" Apparently he hit a Titleist Pro V1, but Curtis found another one close by and Bill realized that the first one he hit had the wrong number on it. Bill hit his ball this time and it wasn't quite as good, but it was still on the green. I hit a bad pitch and left myself with 40 feet for bogey. Bill managed to two putt for 5 plus 2 penalty strokes for a total of 7. Somehow I rolled in my long putt for bogey and now my lead was 3.

We continued to play good golf until the 7th hole, a long par 5. I have decided that I will play a 3 wood off the tee here to keep the ball in play and to stay short of the fairway bunker on the right. I can't reach the green in two, so I might as well try and stay out of the trees. My strategy paid off as I had a 110 yard shot into the pin for my third shot. I hit it perfectly and it was on the flag like a fat kid on a twinkie. It almost went in on the fly and stopped 12 inches away for a tap in birdie. Now the lead is 4.

I made a tricky bogey putt on 9 to close out the front 9 with a 40. Bill shot 44. On 10 I made my standard play of the day which was yank my drive left, punch out, hit the green and two putt. Bill did the same.

On 11 Bill made a move. He hit his drive right, but he had a shot at the green. Meanwhile I hit 3 wood as far left as anyone can hit it. It was so far left that it went into the lake on the right side of hole 12. I took a drop and hit 7 iron back into the fairway on 11. I hit a good wedge to about 15 feet. For some reason I was seeing the line very well all day, and managed to drain another big putt to save bogey. It was a good thing that my putt went in, because Bill made his birdie putt to pull within two strokes.

I got up and down for par on 12 and I made par on 13. Bill missed a 3 foot side hill putt for par and my lead was 3 again. Here comes number 14, my nemesis. This hole has pretty much decided 3 out of our 5 matches. Bill starts talking some trash about how many balls I have lost out of bounds on this hole, but I step up and rip a 3 wood right down the middle. I pulled my approach left, but hit another great chip and made the 5 footer for par. Bill made his par and I still had a 3 stroke lead.

The par 3 15th hole was playing easy for me today. The pin was back right with a bunker in front and over the lake. The pin was hard, but it made it easy for me to just hit something safe to the middle of the green. When the pin is in front, I often try to get cute and hit it close which has caused me to lose balls in the water in the past. This time I hit a good 8 iron. Once again it was too good and went over the green into the back bunker. Bill also joined me in the back bunker. My worst fears were realized when I found my ball in the bunker. My ball was half buried in the sand. The green sloped away from me down to the lake in front of the green. This was a very difficult shot. I dug my feet in and hit it perfectly. It still ran 20 feet by the hole, but at least I was putting instead of hitting out of another bunker or fishing it out of the lake. Bill and I both made bogey and we moved on to 16.

On 16 I made another great up and down for par and Bill parred as well so I still have the 3 stroke lead with 2 to play. Bill stepped up to the tee on 17 and hit a solid 2 iron down the right hand side and I hit the same drive I had been hitting all day, which was a pull left into the trees. I was forced to punch out and I had 135 yards into the green. It is important to keep the ball below the hole on 17 because the slope on this green is pretty severe. I hit it right where I wanted and had 30 feet for par. Bill hit the back of the green and had a tough 2 putt for par, but he pulled it out. I hit an ok lag to about 4 feet. Unfortunately I missed the left to right breaking putt and double bogeyed the hole. I was not too upset because I felt like I played the hole the best I could, after the bad drive. It's just that tough of a hole.

For the second time today, we are on 18 and I have a one stroke lead. I don't know what he was thinking, but Bill was in a hurry and teed off on 18 with a Driver before I had even walked off of the 17th green. I told him I had missed the putt and double bogeyed the hole.

"You are down by one now," I told Billy.

"I'm only down one? If I'd a known that, I wouldn't have hit driver!" said Billy. He had pulled his drive far left into the fairway on 17. He later admitted that he thought he was down 2 and was planning on trying to hit the green in two shots on the par 5 18th. No chance of that now.

I hit a good 3 wood and had 275 yards to the green. I wanted to get as close as I could without bringing the water into play. I figured a 200 yard shot should do the trick, so I hit my hybrid club. I hit it pretty solid but it started to fade right and landed on right hand side of the fairway and trickled into the rough. There was a good chance that I might be stuck behind the big pine tree just like Bill was earlier today.

Bill played it safe from the 17th fairway and hit it back into the fairway on 18 about 100 yards away from the pin. He flushed a wedge and stuck it 6 feet from the hole. Now I'm really in trouble.

When I found my ball, the news was even worse. I had a muddy lie, but not wet enough to declare that it was in casual water. The tree was right in my line so I could not hit it over it. The lake was sitting in front of me, waiting to gobble up my victory. The greens on the course have been running so fast, that my shot looked impossible to pull off. I decided to punch a 9 iron under the tree, over the lake, and into the bank in front of the green. Hopefully that would take enough off the shot, that it would roll onto the green and stay out of the bunkers. I hit the shot perfectly and managed to stop rolling on the left edge of the green 25 feet from the hole.

Now it's 2 putts for a sure tie. My putt was going to break about 2 feet left to right and was downhill. I hit a good putt that was a little short and broke under the hole. I was left with 24 inches for par. A gimme. I asked if Bill was going to be a jerk about it and he told me to pick it up for the par.

Now Bill has to make his putt for the tie. It had a few inches of left to right break on it, but I fully expected him to make it. He hit it a little hesitantly and that took off enough speed that it broke under the hole and he missed. Sweet Victory! I finished with an 80 and Bill had an 81. It was by far the best score for both of us in the series, but I managed to squeak out the win and now it's tied 3-3. What a great day!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Golf Bet Update

I was down 3-1 and in no hurry to play Bill again since I had been playing like crap. Last Sunday, the weather was looking real cold and rainy and I was hoping for a rain out. Since Bill has 3 kids, any time he gets the ok to play golf, he tries to do anything in his power to make it happen. If the wind was blowing 40 mph and hell fire was raining down, he would try and convince me to play.

So Bill had arranged to bring out his Dad and his Dad's friend, Larry to play with us. When it was raining pretty hard at 10:00 AM I called to tell Bill that I was out. Bill got all upset and said I should at least come to the club for lunch and make a decision then. I dragged my ass out of the house and met them for lunch. Sure enough, the rain stopped and there was some blue sky out to the North so we decided to give it a shot.

I hate playing golf in the cold, especially when I have not had a chance to hit any balls and practice my putting. Naturally, everyone else in the group was ready to tee off right away without any warm up so I had to suck it up. I immediately double bogeyed the first hole when I stuck myself behind the trees on the left of the green.

Meanwhile, Bill kept plodding along making pars and the occasional bogey. After we had both parred the 8th hole, I was 6 over par and Bill was 3 over. I asked Bill, "Are you ever going to make a mistake today?" Bill then hooked his drive left into the bushes by the driving range. My drive finally found the fairway. Bill's ball was unhittable and after some discussion on whether he gets a free drop, we decided that he would take a one stroke penalty. He then put his ball in the front right bunker. I managed to just miss the green, but got up and down for par after making a 10 foot putt. Bill got out of the bunker and two putted for double bogey. Now I am only down 1.

On the back nine, my putter caught fire and I made some big putts to save par and bogey and one long 50 footer on 12 for birdie. I managed to go two up by the time we got to 15. This is the short par 3 over the lake. The pin was in front, so it was an easy 8 iron. I made a rushed swing from the top and sliced my ball into the lake. Now I gave a chance to Bill to make a move. Fortunately, for me, he hit his shot short and it spun back off the berm in front of the green and into the lake. Bill made his up and down for bogey and I missed, giving me a double bogey. Now I am up one.

16 is a short par 4 that has given me fits lately, because I cannot seem to find the fairway. Bill hit a great drive and was only 80 yards from the hole. I sliced it right and had to pitch back into the fairway. My approach was horrible again and sliced into the deep bunker on the right. This is one of the deepest bunkers on the course, so it's tough with a good lie. I had a downhill lie so I had no chance. I hit my shot heavy and left it in the bunker. Next one out and two putts for a 7. Luckily, Bill had missed his short birdie putt so I was only down 2 going into 17.

After we had started the round, the weather had managed to change to quite nice. By 16 though, some really nasty clouds had moved in and the temperature had started to drop again. We both teed off on 17 and hit good shots. The wind had picked up and I was nervous about the weather and was beginning to speed up my preshot routine. I had made up my mind after the last two iron shots I hit, that I needed to focus on trying to hit the shot a little harder to make sure that I released the club head. Naturally I overcompensated and pulled my shot 40 yards left of the green.

I immediately chased down my ball, because the weather was turning nasty and I didn't want to wait around for anyone else. I hit a great wedge shot, that almost went in. It ran 10 feet past the hole and I still had a chance for par. As I walked on to the green, I began to look for Bill's ball to see where he stood. He was not on the green, and I looked back into the fairway and he was taking a drop by the lake. Could I really be this lucky? Bill took his drop and hit a bad wedge shot, that faded right and went into the lake again!

I hurriedly tried to make my putt, which just missed so I carded a 5. Bill finally chipped on and made an 8. So now I have my one stroke lead back. On the tee for 18, it started to rain a little and it had become really dark, even though it was only 5:00 PM. I used a 3 wood trying to keep it in play. I swung hard and hit it solid, but it felt like a pull left. I lost sight of the ball immediately and asked for help. Ron and Larry said it went left along the cart path. Bill finally clutched up and hit a good drive down the left side.

As we walked to our balls, a big strike of lightning touched down a few blocks away. Our caddie had a look of terror in his eyes and we knew we would have to postpone the final hole. I jumped in the cart with the caddie and picked up my ball. I had been pretty lucky in that I had a clear second shot if we were still playing. However we had decided to play it safe and get out of the weather.

After we all arrived in the clubhouse, we decided that the next time we play, we'll go and play 18 first to finish our match and then play a regular round. It looks like our next round will be this Sunday. I am psyched up now, because if I can hang on to win this match and then win the 18 on Sunday, Bill will have gone from up 3-1 to tied at 3-3 in one day. :-) Plus the weather forecast is 69 degrees and sunny.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Close Call at Weekly Game

I managed to make it to the Wednesday game at Greg's last week. It was the normal cast of characters as we had 8 players. It's a new year and the guys have agreed to make some modifications to the tournament format. I'd like to think it's due to my influence, but who knows. Now the blind levels are 45 minutes instead of an hour and rebuys will get you $30 in chips instead of the old $20. Everyone starts with $40 and the blinds start at $0.25 and $0.50. They are also combining the the initial prize pool and the rebuy pool together and splitting the money as 70% to the winner and 30% to 2nd place. They used to just have winner take all on the intial prize pool and second place would win the rebuys. Overall I like the new format better.

The game pretty much progressed as usual. I had to rebuy after I got low on chips and called an all in with A-7 of diamonds. There were two other players in the pot and I knew I was behind. I just thought it might be a good chance to triple up. Plus the rebuy period was going to be over in 10 minutes, so even if I lose, I get to rebuy for more chips than I had currently.

After the rebuy, things started to go my way and I was slowly accumulating chips. With 4 people left, I was 2nd in chips. It was at this point that an interesting hand occurred. The blinds were 2-4. I had about $120 in the small blind. Craig was on my left with about $70.

It was folded to me and I looked down at Ad-Qs. Since Craig is a loose aggressive player, I did not want to give him control of the pot or let him see a cheap flop with trashy cards. I raised to $12. Craig bitched a little about my raise but he called it.

The flop came 7d-5d-2d. I checked since all I had was the flush draw and figured I would wait to hit it. Whatever regular sized bet Craig would put in, I was ready to call. Instead of putting a regular sized bet in, Craig decided to move all in. Now I had to think about things. There was $82 in the pot and it was $58 to call. If I lose, I still have chips, but not a lot of room to maneuver.

Craig is a bit crazy and could very well have nothing and just be trying to push me off the hand. My first instinct was that he had a flush draw. If that's the case, I have him crushed. Then I counted my outs. If he has a pair, then I have the 3 Aces, 3 Queens, and 8 diamonds (one of the diamonds is a Queen). 14 x 4 = 52% to win. If he has the worst possible hand like AA, then I have 3 Queens and 8 diamonds for 11 outs or a 44% chance. I still have the pot odds to call.

So I called and Craig turned over a pair of 7's with no diamond. Unfortunately, his hand held up.

I wonder if the better play is to bet the pot on that flop. I guess if the odds are good that I am ahead, then it makes more sense to try and win the pot right away. If he raises me all in, then I really have the odds to call.

So I was down, but not out. I managed to build up my stack again and before I knew it, I was heads up with Jason for the prize. Jason had about a 3-1 chip lead on me and asked if I wanted to make a deal. Since it was only 9:15 PM, I told him, let's play until 10 and decide then.

I won the first 3 pots, including one where Jason tried to check raise bluff me on the river and I called with middle pair and won. I was really on a roll when the following hand came up.

I was on the button with 7-9 offsuit. I just called the $3. Jason checked his option. The flop was A-7-7 rainbow. Yahtzee! I was determined to double up on this hand and take the chip lead. Jason checked and I checked behind him setting the trap. The turn was an 8 and Jason checked again. I checked again, hoping he would hit something. The river was another 8 which I thought was perfect. The board now read A-7-7-8-8. Jason would now think any bet I made could be a bluff.

Jason checked again, and I over bet the pot by betting $20 into a $12 pot. I was trying to sell the bluff aspect of it. Jason, moved all in and I called in a shot. It was then that I felt a swift kick in the nuts as Jason tabled 10-8 for a higher full house. I went back and ran it on a poker odds calculator the next day and I was a 99% favorite to win on the flop.

Even if I win the pot, there are no guarantees that I win the tournament since I would only have a slight chip lead and each of us would have over 30 BB in our stacks. That one stung though and I took my $65 home and cried.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Vegas Trip Report 1-5-07

I was very excited to get back to Las Vegas. My last trip was the solo trip to the World Series of Poker and the Blogger gathering. It was fun, but it’s always better when you travel with your good friends instead of meeting them there.

We arrived at the Palms at 6:30 PM on Friday night. We had dinner reservations at Nine Steak House in an hour. I caught up with everyone at the blackjack tables after I tried to get a bet down on the Phoenix Suns vs Miami Heat game that was starting in just minutes. To my dismay, I found out that the Palms does not take bets on NBA games because the Maloof brothers own the Kings.

So I sat down at a $10 black jack table and impressed my friends by requesting a $500 marker on my new line of credit at the casino. Since I had never done it before, I had a bunch of questions for the pit boss. Apparently it works like a delayed debit card. Take as much as you want up to the limit. Pay it back at the tables or the cage if you can. If you can’t pay it back, they will just take it out of your bank account after 30 days. I joked that after 30 days, the Maloof brothers distant cousin Guido Maloof comes looking for you to collect.

After dropping a quick $130 at Black Jack we went to dinner. The food was fantastic and the gang was having a great time. The “house” music blaring too loudly was definitely not to my liking. I had a filet mignon with some potatoes. We also shared some great appetizers of popcorn shrimp, shrimp cocktails, and fried calamari. My final bill was $120. Yeeouch!

After dinner, Rob and I hit the poker room. I got on the list and had to wait for about 30 minutes before a spot in a 4-8 limit game opened. I still felt a little rusty with the live game compared to the online game. I started out losing right away and it never really reversed itself. After an hour or so, Rob came back in and said he was going to put his name on the 2-5 No Limit list. Since I was getting bored with the 4-8 game, I told him to put me on too. It took a while but eventually I was called away after losing $130 in the limit game.

I have only played 2-5 No Limit a couple of times. I would prefer to play lower, but this was the only No Limit game they were running. I figured I would buy in for the minimum for the first couple of rotations and see how the game was. If I liked the game, I would add more cash to the stack.

It did not take long to realize that there were a couple of bad players at the table. There was an Asian man in the 3 seat to my right that was a calling station and I was hoping to trap him. Since I was playing on a short stack, I was playing extra tight. My plan was to raise a good hand preflop and then stick most of my stack in on the flop if I had more than one caller.

After about an hour, the bad Asian raised the blind to $25. It was folded to me and I had pocket Queens. I thought about raising to $75 or $100 and seeing if any overcards hit the flop. I only had $270 in front of me so my next bet on the flop if I liked it was going to be all in. This guy had me covered by a couple hundred dollars. I also thought about just raising all in. He had raised light before, so the chances of him having AA or KK were pretty small. Plus he might just be stupid enough to call me with AQ or worse. I decided to push it in and with only 2 seconds of thought, the Asian called me. When you get a call that quick, it’s usually never good news. I was wrong, it was pretty good news, he called with A-6 offsuit! So my decision was good, but my luck was bad again as an Ace hit the flop.

I thought I handled the pain pretty well. I was not upset since I want him to call with that hand all the time. I did ask him what hand he thought I was playing and he said he didn’t know. So obviously he is stuck in first level thinking and only playing his cards. That’s useful to know.

I dug into my pocket for another $300 and tried to play patient poker. It was tough going as I was not getting much to work with. Finally I did win some of my money back on two hands. I raised Ace-Jack from middle position and got two callers including the bad Asian. The flop came A-J-7 rainbow. They checked to me and I checked it through, hoping to trap. The turn was a blank and they checked again. This time I bet about ½ the pot and the Asian called. The river was another blank and he check called a $100 bet. I had him crushed. The second hand, I raised pocket Tens from the big blind after 4 callers. 3 of them stayed for the Ten high monotone flop. Since there were so many draws I overbet the pot and nobody hung around.

I was getting really tired around 1:00 AM since I had been up since 4:00 AM with the baby in the morning. I told myself I was not going to quit until the Asian got up. He finally did at 2 AM and two really attractive blonds sat down at the table to play with their boyfriend’s money. They weren’t clueless but they weren’t strong players either. In my single days I would have started ordering Red Bulls and Irish Coffees to stay awake, but I was spent and called it a night down $280 in poker.

Bill woke me up at 4:30 AM getting ready for his day. The man can’t stay up past 11 anymore and I am the one who gets to suffer for it. I can’t complain too much though, because my sleeping in skills have long eroded away and I was wide awake by 6:00 AM.

I went downstairs and had the power breakfast of a Sausage McGriddle and large Coke. I needed to replenish my cash so I went to the cage and took out another $600 on the line of credit and headed to the sports book. It was NFL playoff Saturday and I wanted to come out of sports betting retirement and make a big score. Here were the games I bet:

Kansas City +7 against the Indianapolis Colts
Seattle Seahawks -2.5 against the Dallas Cowboys
Arizona -2.5 against Washington State in college BB.
Washington -15.5 against Arizona State in college BB.
UCLA -1.5 against Oregon in college BB.

I bet $100 on each game and felt like a big time gambler. I had never bet so much on sports on my life and I was excited because I felt really confident about each of the games.

After the sports book I walked by the Poker Room. Luckily there was a spot open right away in the No Limit game. Usually I like playing poker in the morning because you often catch bad players after an all night bender and there are lots of easy pots to be won. This game was no exception as I had a 21 year old on my left who had been up all night and was playing any 2 cards preflop. I also had another guy in his mid 20’s on my right who had also been there all night drinking.

I started out slowly trying to get a read of the table. The drunk 21 year old on my left kept exposing his cards to me, so I knew I would make some money off of him. After about 20 minutes, Joe Awada, WSOP bracelet winner, sat down on my right. I thought about getting up, since this game can’t possibly be profitable for me now. However I was in position against him and I figured I would just play tight and try to avoid pots with him. Maybe I’ll learn something.

After not playing a hand for 40 minutes, I find pocket 7’s on the big blind. There are 3 other limpers when it gets to me. I guess the correct play would be to check and hope to flop a set. I figured I could raise and win the pot right there or play one other player heads up. I raised to $35 and everyone called. Shit!

The wannabe pro on my left was one of the callers and I had seen him expose one of his cards which was a red King. The flop was 9d-5d-2c. It looks pretty ragged and I think I have the best hand. I want to win it now so I bet $100 into the $140 pot. Wannabe Pro goes into the tank. He’s thinking as hard as he can while the other two players in the pot, including Joe Awada, look like they are folding for sure. All I need to do is get by this one pathetic player. He took so long that one of the other players called the clock on him. If he takes this long, I gotta think I am ahead and that he is trying to call with a draw. He finally decides that if he calls, he might as well go all in so that’s what he does. It’s $102 more to me. Since I put him on a flush draw and I am getting 3.5 to 1 from the pot, I have to call as well.

He turns over King-9 offsuit for top pair. Good read by him, I guess, although I don’t know why he is limping with that hand preflop under the gun or calling a 7x blind raise from the tightest player at the table. Anyways I am drawing to two measly outs and I don’t improve.

This may be a little results oriented thinking, but I definitely think the correct way to play that hand was to check my options and hope to flop a set. If I had done that and then maybe put a feeler bet on the flop, I think I would have got away for a lot less. I think I also learned that when a player thinks for a long, long time that he probably has some kind of made hand, but that he's just not happy with it. A draw would call much quicker.

I rebought for another $300 and managed to win about $75 back. I also got to ask Joe Awada a few boring questions. The funniest part of the session was that the Wannabe Pro kept calling him Joe Juanda. He even called his buddy on the cell phone to brag about playing with “Joe Juanda”. We all heard it and Joe Awada got a good laugh out of it.

I met the guys for lunch at Garduno’s and got to check on the first of my sports bets. It did not look good as Oregon was busy beating UCLA. I would eventually go fucking 0-5 on all of the bets. Marty asked me what the odds of doing that were. I told him the same as winning 5 in a row, have you ever done that? Officially it’s about 3%

After lunch I went up to the room to watch the football game and catch a nap. After a couple hours I was bored and went back down to the poker room. I was placed in a must move game with a beautiful line up of players. All of them looked like they were tourists playing with scared money.

Thankfully the deck hit me upside the head and every starting hand I was dealt seemed to be AK, AQ, KK, AA, etc. The one decent player at the table was on my left, and he was having horrible luck against me. Every pot he was in with me, he lost with a really good hand. Mine was always just a little bit better. When the guys came to get me for dinner, I had run my $300 up to $660.

We went out for another spectacular dinner at Delmonicos in the Venetian. I had filet mignon again with wine and different appetizers. The most exciting moment of the night was watching Dallas fuck up their playoff game against Seattle by botching a 21 yard game winning field goal. Unfortunately Seattle did not cover so I had lost my 4th bet in a row. My last hope was the Arizona Wildcats who were behind by 12 to Washington State. Eventually I would find out that the Cats managed to send the game to overtime before they finally pissed it away. After dinner, I was hoping the gang would want to stay at the Venetian and gamble since their poker room is awesome. However the gang, led by Rob, were gung ho to go to Score’s.

Scores gets rave reviews by Howard Stern in New York, but the Las Vegas version was definitely the junior varsity. It took an hour for me to find one girl worthy of spending $20 for a dance. It seemed like half of the girls had surgically enhanced bodies, but the face of a man. The Spearmint Rhino is definitely the best place in Vegas. Luckily I escaped from the club only $100 lighter and went back to the poker room at the Palms.

I had made up my mind that after losing the $500 in sports bets that I was either going to lose my $300 buy in or win big. There was no in between. I started out well when early on, there was an early position raise to $20. I had pocket Queens in middle position. I thought that no one else would call the raise, so I just called. It’s folded to the Big Blind who now raises to $120. It looked like a squeeze play. The first raiser folded and it was to me. If I just call, my only move on the flop is to push it all in. This guy had made some aggressive moves in the short time I had already been there, plus he had to figure that my hand was not that great since I just called the first raise.

I decided to gamble and move all in. There was enough in the pot, that if he calls with A-K it’s worth it. I will just pray I don’t run into an overpair. He thinks for about 20 seconds and calls with AK. Amazingly my QQ held up and I had a quick double up. Now my stack is $550 and I should be ready to roll.

It was still relatively early in the night so I had time to make more money. Unfortunately, the cards were not cooperating. Every time I had a good hand, someone would make a better hand and I would have to lay it down. The few bluffs I tried, the other player would have just enough of a hand to call. I eventually frittered away all of the profits from the Queens hand and left the table down $119.

Another big loss in Vegas. What a surprise.

Overall, I think I played pretty well. I lost the one big pot with QQ when jackass called with A-6. The pocket 7’s hand was not played optimally, but he almost laid it down. If I win one of those hands, my loss isn’t nearly as bad. Overall I only lost $185 playing poker. The rest of approximately $1,000 loss was from $500 in sports bets and the rest from blackjack.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Prelude to Vegas

The last single guy I know is getting married in a month and we are going to Vegas to celebrate his bachelor party. We have a smokin' room rate at the Palms for $159 a night for Friday and Saturday. I was approved for my application for a $10,000 line of credit at the casino and I am ready to roll.

I was hoping that applying for a line of credit may get me some juice with the casino hosts, but it doesn't appear to be working. I left a message for one yesterday morning and I have yet to hear back. I was hoping to at least score a limosuine ride from the airport to the hotel, but I guess we will just negotiate a deal when we get to the baggage claim.

This will be the first trip where some of the regular crew will attempt No-Limit poker in the cash games. I hope I get to play on the same table with them. It should be very interesting. They have made the standard limit complaint a hundred times that in Limit poker, "you can't protect your hand and you always get sucked out on." They have not experienced the joy of getting felted when your Ace-King flops top pair and goes down to a flopped set of 3's.

I am hoping to improve my dismal record in No-Limit cash games from previous trips. I have logged approximately 15,000 hands online over the last 6 months and I feel like I am vastly improved from the last time I tried it. I even ran my online poker tracker numbers and I am now a break even player. I am sure that the first few thousand hands were a disaster, so I have made a nice comeback.

I am also planning on making a few sports bets. Here are my lead pipe locks:
Kansas City Chiefs +7 against the Indianapolis Colts
Seattle Seahawks -3 against the Dallas Cowboys
Phoenix Suns money line against the Miami Heat.

I will probably bet on the U of A and ASU basketball games on Saturday as soon as the lines are posted.

I have a feeling this weekend will be a win big or lose big kind of trip. I sure hope it's the former.