Monday, December 10, 2007

Houdini and the Technicolor dream coat (aka my WPBT trip report - Part 1)

There is so much to write, I hardly know where to begin. I had decided to take this trip on the tail end of a business trip to California (the HQ of my company). Our large meeting on Thursday was scheduled to end in the early afternoon and I was planning on flying to Las Vegas right after it concluded. This turned out to be a moot point, as my company and I parted ways before I got on the plane. I was a VP at a 200 million dollar company, which was acquired earlier in the year. And as often happens with such acquisitions, there is some downsizing. The new company never really had a place for me, and thus I completed the transitions with the professionalism and hard work that made me a VP in the first place. Nevertheless, I was a bit shocked to find out as the timing was a surprise. But since certain events can not be undone (such as a big suckout), we just need to roll with it and move on. I headed to the airport a bit early.

A short digression. You can no longer beat the rake in San Jose! They went to a three blind structure at both Bay and the Garden. The 1-2NL at the Garden is 1 on the button, 2 in the SB and 3 in the BB. THREE? It’s 1-2! Then, of the $6 in blinds, the rake is ALWAYS $5. So, if you raise it up and everyone folds, you win a dollar. I played for 3 hours, won a ton of hands, and left up $2. Forget it.

When I arrived in Las Vegas, I decided I would keep a low profile. I am not a gambler anyway, so after having a simple lunch I went back to my room to await the arrival of Mrs. Columbo. When she arrived, I hooked up my personal laptop, and sold every single piece of stock I had in my previous company. I felt only slightly better.

We walked to the IP for the exercise and before meeting up with everyone at the Geisha Bar, stopped at Trader Vics. I am a big tikiphile and wanted to see the new place. I was unimpressed as my basement is more authentic. But I did enjoy a signature drink or two. Then, off to the IP for the meet-up. I think I enjoyed this meet-up more than any other in the past. I knew some faces, and finally got to meet some of the other bloggers with whom I play with every week. I had never met GCox in person, and we talked about our similar re-raise style. I meant Buddy and Tragedy, the radio duo from the Mookie tournaments. I even got reacquainted with some faces I had forgotten, like Astin. I drank beers and watched bloggers play Pai-Gow until I could stay up no longer. We stumbled back to the Monte Carlo.

Friday was a great day. We slept in, had a nice burger lunch, and just sort of killed time that afternoon. Biggestron was playing over at the Venetian, so we decided to wander over. Said hello to the fellow bloggers and then played some NL (about an hour). Afterwards, Biggestron, Penerii, Double Dave, Mrs. Columbo and myself headed over to Hoffbrau House for dinner. I love this German beer hall. I had a great meal and 2 liters of beer. Now I was ready for mixed games at MGM!

When we arrived there were already 2 full tables of 2-6 mixed firmly entrenched with bloggers. I went to the floor manager and said if they started a third, we would keep it full. And the MGM complied. What a great card room. It’s just plain fun donking off money in Crazy Pineapple or Razz. But after the 1 seat gets up and leaves, who sits down on my right but Dutch Boyd. He played at the table with us for about an hour and engaged in conversation (he is an ex-blogger). I watched intently whenever he was in a razz hand and picked up some interesting patterns. For Example, if he did not brick on fourth, he would bet fourth, and see what players went away. He did this even if he did not have the best hand showing. On fifth, he almost always bet if he had bet fourth. He ended up losing a big hand to Garth when he correctly deduced he was ahead on 5th and kept betting and raising. Garth picked up the mircale perfect hole card on seventh and took down the biggest razz hand of the night.

Saturday was the big day. We slept it, had lunch to make sure we did not repeat past mistakes that involved tournaments (open bars and empty stomachs), and headed off to the Venetian 2 hours early....

End part 1: Next, THE TOURNAMENT! (and how this post got its name)

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