Monday, December 04, 2006

Las Vegas Trip report (Part 1 of 2)

Disclaimer: I hereby understand and disclose that this trip report is lame in all ways, known and unknown, in comparison to the events that will transpire next week at the WPBT. By reading this, you acknowledge and agree to not hold me in contempt for missing the WPBT blogger symposium in Vegas and admonish me and my lame schedule from further abuse regarding my inability to attend said event despite being in Vegas a week prior to B-day.

It’s a Monday night flight, and I got to the airport a tad early, so I sat down at the Japanese restaurant and got my fix of unagi. Mmmm, Eel. My film for the plane was “Bottle Rocket”. Eh. So-so. The Wilson brothers attempt to amuse you with dysfunctional characters in a ply reminiscent of the overly plotted crime films. Films like this rarely hit. I recently saw both “Rififi” and “Big Deal on Madonna Street” so this should be even funnier. It was not. C├ęst La Vie. (Hey, that’s French) I missed the Monday night NFL game.

I arrive at 10pm local time (1am for me). As I get out of my cab at the RIO, I see the Hooter’s cab-top ad and recognize the big guy with the big smile on his face. Really. I did SOMETHING with him. Was it stand up? Improv? It was something and it’s been haunting my brain for a week now… Like an itch you just can’t scratch. Even worse, you feel bad about it since you can’t remember. I STILL CAN REMEMBER HIS NAME. ARGH.

Oh, and it’s cold, very cold.

I amuse myself by catching up on a blog written by another Michigan blogger (with huge confirmed junk) who is suddenly posting again!

In the morning I attend a Convention, and stare bleakly at Starbucks Christmas ornaments while I wait entirely too long for coffee. How does Las Vegas not understand that every second I wait for something is a second that I am not gambooooling!. It was weird being where the WSOP was held and there are no poker tables! Just geeks. Lots of geeks. Hey, I run a top 12 percent IT organization according to the pundits and their metrics. Bully for me, off to eat and play poker. ANY time I get a chance to eat sausage and drink German beer, I take it! So it was a quick ride to the Hofbrauhaus (I recommend the veal sausage with kraut) and then a quick exit to one of the better run poker rooms, the MGM card room rodeo fishbowl. VERY long story short, I play tight aggressive and in 5 hours win 2 beers and 2 dollars. Zero sum poker @ MGM.

The next day, the cowboys have started rolling in for next week. Enjoy G-Rob! Some more convention (who cares), and then dinner. I had planned on going to the cool street food court in NY-NY, but alas I got free convention food. So, I decide to play a tournament. Using the ultra-scientific tournament listings page at lasvegasvegas.com (putting the Vegas in Vegas) I decide that my low risk donk-fest is at…..(drum roll) Luxor!!!!

Dicks Last Resort is coming to Vegas? It’s only a matter of time before Vegas has to turn the old downtown in to a world showcase ala Epcot Center to house all things from everywhere.

WARING: COMPREHENSIVE POKER CONTENT IN THIS PARAGRAPH. IF YOU DO NOT WISH EXPLICIT POKER CONTENT, PROCEED TO NEXT SECTION.

The Luxor was $47+$13 juice for 500 in chips. $3 for the dealers added 20% for a total of 600 chips. The blinds start at 25/25, so your effective starting M is 12. 24 players. The VERY first hand, a lady raises to 100 from UtG+1 and I have 77. She might have AK or she might have Ax? Who knows. I call and heads up we see a flop of 854 rainbow. I am excited until she bets 200. Am I willing to go out on hand #1? I should be, but I am not. My read is she has the 8 beat. Maybe JJ. I fold.

It was feast of famine with so few chips to play with. One guy gets all-in twice, wins both and each time knocks out another player. I see a couple of flops and surrender a blind and suddenly I am at $375. I have yet to win a hand. Heck, I have yet to see a turn card. The blinds are now 50/100 and soon to double. I decided that I would be all-in first chance I get and roll the dice. Why not? My M is 2 and change and I need to double up to even play. When I look down at A7 sooted, I push. The button, who is the same guy who has sent the two players to the rail, goes into think mode. What is there to think about? He calls with A9o. The Ace flops and I get up to leave. The river is a 7. My one big luckbox suckout for Vegas. I sat back down, determined not to waste it. And waste it I did not! From that hand forward I never got my money in behind the rest of the night. Normal, math correct and nothing fancy play, gets me to the final table.

I have about the 6th largest stack of the 10 (which says little). But what I have on my side is SnG experience and a strategic viewpoint. It seems my opponents had neither. I was like the flowing water, changing my shape to flow around the big stacks, but to come crashing down like a breaking wave on the short stacks. By using my head and knowing what battles to choose, I broke 3 other players. Fast forward to 3 players left. A Swede, a big guy wearing Raiders gear, and me. The Swede was smart but inexperienced. He fell to the Raiders guy. Now we are heads up. Its $500 for first, but only $225 for second. I have 60% of the chips, but offer a 50/50 deal. (sound familiar). But apparently some people are gamboolers. He says, “Nah. If I win I’ll buy a big screen TV”. And the moment he said it, I knew I was going to have the edge. It wasn’t about skill for him, nor the honing of his craft. He just like the idea of winning a lot of money. All I have to do is keep the pots small until I have a big hand. The first 2-3 hands confirmed my diagnosis as I watched him reluctant to spar with me. By hand 5, I broke him when I disguised my top pair flop and got him pot committed on the turn with bottom pair.

He thanked me for something and I thanked him for not taking the deal. He was not amused. Then the lady from hand 1 told me she had TT. It was that fold on hand 1, (yes, and a suckout), that won it for me.

I TRIED to play a bit at the castle, but they wanted me to WAIT for a seat. Their poker “room” is now so small, that when you walk in there all you expect to see is a copier and a coffee maker. "Columbo!" "Playing Poker" "Colum-ster" (etc, et al.). I said, “why should I wait when I can walk right up and sit down at MGM?” and with that cashed back out and left.

At the MGM (where I walked in and there was a seat open) I GRINDED out about $67 at the 1-2 table and finally had to sleep...

Tomorrow, the exciting conclusion where I attempt to LOSE money instead of win it!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent Report!!!

Congrats on the win!

My gawd does that structure suck or what?

ElSnarfoGrande said...

Very nice win. I actually played in a tournament at the Luxor as well, only I wasn't able to recover as gracefully as you did.

For your future trips, Paris had an excellent structure, well as far as most of the tournaments go. 2000 in chips, blinds at 25-50, 20 minute levels, didn't find much better then that.

Godard said...

Venetian is good once you get past the early levels... if you can get a double up in the first hour, you'll have a better M and blinds last 30 mins, not 20.