It was like pieces of a carcass spread across the table. Little bits and pieces of bright green were everywhere, but for the most part it was lying in front of me.
I haven't been to Vegas in almost a year. This is quite a bit of time seeing as I used to live in California and would drive up on a regular basis. Having recently moved to the East Coast, it takes a little more planning to make this trip happen. I was in the middle of some serious withdrawals from the length of time between trips. I would have this recurring dream of me waiting at the light at LVB and Flamingo while the fountains are going off at the B. Every time I was disappointed when my alarm went off and I got ready to go to work.
Having put in my fair share of rude awakenings, I finally got in to Vegas in real life around 4:00 in the afternoon. I went to THEhotel at Mandalay Bay to check in. I am impressed by how calm this hotel is. It's kind of a pain to be so far down on the Strip, but it's not too big of a deal seeing as I rented a car.
After using the $20 trick, I receive a $100 dining credit (+EV) and the desk agent books me what he thought to be a great room. I requested as high up as is possible with Strip view. He obliges and I gather my things and go up to the room. I get up to the room and it is indeed a higher floor, but the only strip I see is the strip of asphalt out at McCarran. Not only that, but it’s a one king bed room, when I really needed a two queen room ( I'm sharing the room with my brother-in-law. This was a deal breaker) . I head back down to the lobby and tell him the issue and he sees the mistake and clearly feels dumb. To make it worth my time, he upgrades me to a corner suite on the top floor with the best views I have ever seen. 180 degrees. If you ever have been to Club Mix, you know what I am talking about. You really owe it to yourself to see Vegas this way if you haven’t already. I was very happy with the service and the room is on par with the other higher end hotels on the strip, if not better.
Marathon Session at MGM
After cleaning up a bit, I leave at 5:45 to head to the MGM. I sit down at 1/2NL and buy in with $200. After getting a feel of the table for about 3-4 hands, I look down at pocket nines on the button. After seeing 4 limpers, I raise the action to 12 and get min-raised by the villain in MP to 24. The villain up to this point had played every hand up to this point and was super laggy. All limpers fold to me and I just flat call. Flop comes out 689hh. Beautiful. Villian bets out 30, I call. Turn comes out the Qh. Not my favorite card, but I have him on a big pocket pair. V bets out 50. I shove for the rest of my stack and get the call. I flip over my set and get the extremely gratifying sigh, followed by, "its good." I get the quick double up.
For the next hour and a half, I can't hit a thing. I start leaking chips due to impatience After my drought, and $60 blown away on nothing, I look down at QQ in the CO. I bet out 12 and get 2 callers. Flop comes out Q56 rainbow. I bet out 25 and get one caller. Turn bricks. I c-bet 25 and get raised to 50. I three bet 100 and get the call. The river shows another 5 giving me the boat and I shove all in and the villain calls for the last 130 of his stack. He shows pocket 6s and is crushed when I show the bigger boat. This was the beginning of really starting to run good.
Over the next couple hours, I feel like I am really on top of my game combined with running as good as I have ever run in my life. I continue to get max value and I am aided in the process when I have set over set, AA over AK suited, etc. I fix my leaks from my play before and I rarely give any chips back to the rest of the table. I play until 4:45 in the morning and my stack has grown to $1276. Great way to start the trip.
I wish I could have continued that the next day. Feeling on top of my game, I head over to Aria and sit down at 1/3NL at around 12:30. My table was a mix of better than average players and 2 to 3 fish. I play with a tight range, hoping to catch one of the fish on a marginal hand. I get my chance at QhQd in MP. Play is folded to me and I raise the action to 13. All fold except the King of the Fish. He had seriously seen at least 75% of the flops since I showed up. Flop comes out Q3jcc. I bet out 20 and he calls. Turn comes out 2x. I bet 45, he calls. Flop comes out Kc. I shove putting him on a pair of jacks and he calls. I tell him, "Three queens," and I get ready for the insta-muck like he has been making over the past hour. He takes about 15 seconds and slow rolls the 7c4c for the rivered flush. I go on tilt trying to get unstuck, but end up losing another buy-in in the process. Not my proudest session. I leave tail between my legs -$600
My brother-in-law was flying in later that afternoon, so I decide to get some food and relax for several hours in order to get off tilt. I head over to the Burger Bar for an overpriced burger before going back to the room for a nap.
After I picked up my brother-in-law, we play at Mandalay Bay's room after we take his bags up to the room. Session is bleh. Didn't get too many noteworthy hands. We play for about two hours before heading back. I cash out -60.
Golf, P Ho, and Air BJ's
The next morning, we head out to go play golf at Paiute. We played the Sun Course and it was a beautiful day. About 75 degrees and sun without any wind. If you have a car and are looking to play while you are in town, I couldn't recommend Paiute enough. Plenty of risk reward holes and several Pete Dye signatures scattered throughout. It's off the beaten path though. About 35 minutes from the Strip.
Once we got back we decided to eat an early dinner at RM, Rick Moonen's seafood restaurant at MB. We got the seven course prix fixe menu, featuring charred Spanish baby octopus, Alaskan halibut, pan roasted rabbit, lamb, and finishing off with an amazing mascarpone cheese cake. It was truly an amazing meal.
After dinner, we decide to do some fishing of our own. Seeing as my brother-in-law had a good experience in game selection at Planet Hollywood in a previous trip, we head up the strip for several hours of complete frustration that netted me a grand total of 18 dollars. P Ho can't decide whether it’s a strip joint, a club, or a casino, let alone a respectable card room. But those things I can deal with. What I have a harder time dealing with is the Eastern European gentleman on my left who cannot for the life of him figure out how to not bet out of turn or string bet or the drunk middle aged woman on my right who celebrates winning an $80 pot by standing up, screaming "I F****** LOVE POKER!" and then a graphic portrayal of giving a BJ. Not making this up. After my main target busts out before I can make a hand, my brother-in-law and I decide its time to move on.
Hunger Games Poker
We get back to our hotel, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, and decide on if we want to play some more or not. Still frustrated to have sat at a table of fish and not having much to show for it, I was ready to sit down again. It didn’t matter what time it was (it was now 2:30). Usually this is -EV and I should have paid for it. Not tonight. Just as I got to Mandalay's room, they broke down two tables into one full table. I was the last player in. I sat down to the left of a young, aggressive German (YAG) who had about $1100 behind. His stack wasn’t out of the ordinary. There was over $6500 on the table with stacks ranging from about $500 to $1400. It had been clear that this table had been feasting on a steady diet of weak fish throughout the night and the war of attrition landed the remaining tributes all together at this final table.
My max buy in of $300 put me in as the short stack. I needed to pick my spots carefully and play smart TAG poker. Over the course of an hour, I chip up to about $450. In the meantime, YAG was irritating the entire table by deliberately holding up play as he casually took his time picking over some food. I didn’t know if this was a tactic to exploit other player's frustration or what, but I knew that I hoped to get in good against him. This was made even more the case when he called up the floor to color up his entire stack to green. He threw his stack around and was raising nearly 40% of all of his hands, usually for dramatic overbets on the flop to take down mid-sized pots. After going card dead for what seemed like forever, I finally got my hand where I could make a move.
On the button, I look down at AhQd. The player UTG makes a raise to $7 and gets 6 callers. Wanting to pare down the number of weak limpers, I re-raise to $25. All but one call. The flop comes out Qs4hJh. Everyone checks to me and I bet out $50. The big blind folds, but I still have 4 callers. WTF?!? Turn rolls out 6h. Play checks around to YAG who bets out $125. I go in the tank. Given YAG's play up to this point and the bizarre play on this hand, I could have him on just about every hand out there. I figure I am behind and chasing, but with the nut flush draw and TPTK against such a lag player, I call with $350 more behind. The other three players fold, leaving us heads up into the river. I always laugh at players who call out "one time," but given the size of this pot, I admit the words were repeating in my head over and over. The dealer takes his time and lays out a gorgeous 7h. Nut flush. YAG takes no time in casually throwing out a c-bet of $125. I take a minute and do my best job making it seem like I am contemplating an incredibly difficult decision. In an exasperated way, I sigh, "All in," for $225 on top. YAG goes in the tank for several minutes. I go into "all in mode" doing everything I can in order to not give any tells. After staring at the yellow ALL IN placard in front of me for about three minutes, he shows his cards Qh6s, hoping to get some kind of a read. I continue my blank stare for another minute (which felt like 15) before he calls. I try to make the kill as quick and painless as possible as flip over the nuts and take down the $1200 pot. YAG goes on tilt and donks of the remainder of his stack in less than two orbits. Green chips are scattered around the table, a stark illustration of where his stack had been torn apart. I couldn’t have been happier to have the majority in front of me. I cash out soon after +$1440.
Overall, this was a fantastic trip. Other than my embarrassment at Aria, I played the most profitable poker I have ever played. I hope the wait is shorter for the next trip.
TOTALS -180 Room -170 Food -79 Golf - 89 Car rental and gas +2074 Poker = +1556 for the trip
Last edited by TheWire on Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Nice report, wish I could write as well. Your nut flush wasn't really the tops. Ironically, the same kind of hand as the unlikely by the blind fish at the Aria could have been duplicated by the German YAG scoring the straight flush with or even . I would have been certain he had those, as my experience has been that past bad beats seem to reflect into current moments.
I don't have much cash game experience, so...
Dumb question #1: Can you call time to the dealer, when the German YAG goes into staredown mode? I've done this in tournaments to both escape the glare and to keep the pace of the game as a courtesy for the other players not involved in drama.
Dumb question #2: To prevent a meltdown or going on tilt, can a player just start pocketing the winnings so you always keep, say, no more than $300 in front of you. There's no worse feeling than winning a lot and then going heads up with a bozo who has you covered while you sit there with a worthy, but potential 2nd best hand. I lost about $450 once with Ace-Queen vs. Ace-King all-in who had me covered betting into the Ace - 7 - 3 flop. If I only had $200 on the table, it would have been a more reasonable call.
Biffo: in regards to your second question: no you can't take money off the table. It's called "going south" and is a breach of etiquette. You can, of course, leave the table with all of your money and come back into the game later, but trying to squirrel away money so as avoid losing it is bad form.
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:03 am Posts: 1068 Location: West Seneca, New York
Nice report. I agree...I like your writing. Congrats on the profit and taking down a tribute. Question for you, why on earth would you move from Cali to the East Coast? What part of the East Coast are you on? I did a stint in L.A about 12 years ago. Couldn't get out fast enough having moved from Houston. I too now reside on the East Coast near Buffalo, NY.
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:03 am Posts: 1068 Location: West Seneca, New York
Yep Vinny. Born in Italy, grew up in Tucson, moved to Houston at 18, to L.A. at 30 with a stop in West Virginia and Pittsburgh on the way to Buffalo. Been in Buffalo since 2003. A lot like Houston (on a smaller scale and without the snow). Never been to NH but was married to someone from there. Didn't last long. lol
One of my best college radio chums wound up in Buffalo. He is very happy there. I loved passing through on my way to Toronto back in the day when I lived in Philly. Moved to Arizona in 2001 and New Mexico in 2004 and been in this dust bowl ever since.