I have a full day of work, go home and grabbed a sandwich and it was off to the airport with the wife and kids. Breeze through check-in and security. Flight leaves a little early and we arrive about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Fox car rental is quick and I cruise to the IP only to find about 80 people in line at check-in. It takes from 9:30 until 10:20 To get checked in. Head up to the room and find it to be perfectly adequate. Wanted to grab something quick and cheap so I hit the subway in O'Sheas and take in the beer pong action while I wolf down a sandwich. I head out to find a poker game and take off for the V. On the way I decide to see if there is an open seat at Harrahs as I haven't played here before. They had just opened a new table and I take a seat with a $200 buy in in seat 3 just before 11:00 PM.
There was a good cast of characters. 2 friends from Wisconsin that didn't mind driving the action that were drinking heavily but were decent players. A very friendly local named Rick to my right. And an over better at the other end of the table who makes ridiculously large bets, but only with really good hands. The other seats rotated people throughout the session. I pick up AA early on. A bust out from the tournament opens to 11, folds to me and I make it 25, raiser calls. Flop is K85 rainbow, V check calls a 30 bet. V checks 2 on turn, I bet 45 and he thinks for a while, flashes a K and folds. I would guess it was KQ or KJ as he failed to lay down top pair top kicker on 2 other occasions. About a hour in I find AJ clubs in the big blind and call a raise to 10 from a shortish stack (about 75). I flop 2 pair and check raise his cbet, V pushes and I call. V had AK. I know I misplayed one hand about 2 hours into the session. I see a 5 way flop of QdTd9x with Jd6d from the big blind. I lead for 8, a new player calls and the over bettor (OB) makes it 30. With this flop I know he has the straight, 2 pair or a set. I decide to call as does new player. Turn is the 3d. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to go for a check raise, but everyone checks behind. River is the 5d and I hate life as my hand is now nothing more than a bluff catcher. I check, new player checks and OB bets 60 into a 100 pot. The only hand in his range that beats me is KdJx, but I he had the goods every time he had bet big on the river. I fold as does NP and OB shows a set of nines. I call a raise to 8 from one of the Wisconsin boys with KQ of hearts (he had been raising quite a bit, so I thought there was a good chance I had the best hand already, he starts with 170 and I have him covered). Flop is Q86 with 2 hearts. I raise his $15 c-bet to $45 and he calls. Turn is black deuce, V checks, I bet $55, he pushes for about $60 more. I call, river bricks and V shows AA. That hand brings my hand to 145. I take down a couple small pots to get my stack back to about ~180 when I get AK off suit in LP and raise several limpers to 15. V from the KQ hearts hand is the only caller (he has me covered. I flop broadway on a rainbow board and c-bet 25 and get called. Turn is a 5 and I bet 45 and V shoves, I call and V shows KQ, my hand holds. I play until almost 3:00 AM and cash out +170. I head to bed and crash, it is 5:00 AM back home and I haven't been up that late in a long time. This is the first time in my last 4 trips that I am ahead after the first night. Nice start to the trip.
Day 1 Total: +170, 4 hours
Up at 8 Tuesday morning. I was hoping to sleep a little longer, but oh well. I hit Ellis Island for breakfast and have the country skillet. It was really good. I decide to head out to Red rock canyon and do some sight seeing. It is beautiful. I highly recommend checking it out if you like doing outdoorsy things. I hoped to find the wild burros that roam the canyon, but they were hiding today. On the way back to the strip I make a stop at Red rock casino to check out the poker room. Buy in for 200 11:45. Holy retires Batman. I know this is more of a locals casino so I was expecting the older crowd but some of these guys would barely be considered alive. There were 3 guys sitting in the 4-6 seats that could barely read the board. The action was fairly light. I slowly bleed some chips for 1.5 hours and then flop a set of eights in a limped pot and they hold vs 2 pair to move into slightly positive territory for the session. The action remains slow and I cash out at 1:45 down 10. The room is very nice and the chairs are comfy.
I stop by the Gamblers General Store on the way back to the strip. They have some neat things in the store. Then back to IP to park the car and relax in the room for a while. Then decide to head over to the Bellagio. There is a short wait but get seated around 4:00 with my 200. Early on I get 88 in middle position and call a raise to 12 with a V that has me covered, we are heads up. Flop is jack high rainbow and I check, V bets 25 I had a sneaky suspicion that he missed this flop. I had only been at the table for 30 minutes, so it wasn't like I knew V is crazy or anything. He just looked like he didn't like the flop. I decide to go with my gut and raise to 70. As soon as I slid my chips in I knew I was right. V reacted like he hated the raise. After some thought the V moves all in! I had 110 left in my stack and decided to stick with my gut and made the call. V says "thought you would fold and turns over AQ. A Q falls on the river and I rebuy for another 200. I Tread water for a little while and then raise to 10 with JJ and get called in 2 spots (including the V from the last hand). Flop JT8. SB checks, I bet 17 and both call. Turn is 7d putting 2 diamonds on the board. SB checks, I check and v bets 45. SB folds and I call. River is 3d. I check and v bets 100. This is where I go a little crazy. I go allin for 10 more. V calls and has Td9d. Done at 5:00, down 400. I'm pretty sure I am tilting.
Time to do something non-poker related so I can get my head on straight. I walk the strip a little and decide on grabbing diner at Le Burger Brassie for dinner. Good and huge. Watched UConn women destroy someone. I found it odd that they were pressing with 10 minutes to go in the game and a 30 point lead. Classy move by Gino (please note sarcasm). On to Ballys poker room and get seated right away at 6:00 with 200. Float from up a little to down a little and had about 150 when I got 55 in a limped pot. 6 see a flop of AT5 with 2 clubs. UTG (pretty straight forward player but has bet some pretty thin holding like top pair no kicker) leads for 10 and MP calls (traditional calling station). I raise to 30 and both call. Turn is an off suit 6. Checks to me and I bet 45. Both call. River is off suit J and UTG ships it for ~100. MP folds and I call. 55>AT. Stack is to 380 and I decide to leave when/if I get to 400. A couple hands later I get QQ raise to 10, get 1 caller and take it down with a cbet. Stack now at 399. 3 hands later I get QQ again and make it 10, 1 caller and Greece makes it 30. He started the hand with ~100 and has been fairly frisky so I raise enough to put him allin. MP folds and Greece thinks for a bit and then calls with AA and it holds, thanks for the slow roll. Now at +75. A little while later I get AA and make it 10 and get a call from a new player. Flop comes QTx with 2 diamonds. I lead for 17 and v calls. Turn is a Q and I feel sick. I check and v bets 30. I know I should fold but don't. River is a deuce and I check call another 40. Flame thrower. A little later I get a free look at the flop from the BB with A9 of diamonds and flop the flush. I bet 10 on the flop and get 3 calls. Bet 20 on the 4th diamond on the turn and get 2 calls. On the river I bet 30 after the board pairs, I call and the table nit makes it 90. I fold after flashing my neighbor the Ace of diamonds. She couldn't believe I laid down that hand. I tried to get her to make a $100 side bet about if the nit had a full house but she wouldn't go for it. He later told us he had flopped a set and rivered the boat, shocker. I eventually cash out down 110 at 9:30 and cruise the strip for a while before turning in for the night. Hopefully tomorrow I can turn things around. This table was full of calling stations, but between playing a couple hands poorly and not getting a lot of action on top pair hands I'm unable to turn a profit.
Day 2 Total: -520, 6.5 hours
Trip Total: -350, 10.5 hours
Woke up fairly early again and set out to find toys for the kids. Get hungry and head to Yama Sushi for their all you can eat special. It is good (2nd time eating there). I took down just over $50 worth of sushi for $20. Not a bad deal. I head down to Mandalay Bay and get seated around 12:30 with 200. The action was pretty good, but my cards weren't. I won a couple of pots early to get up $40 or $50, but then it was a fold-a-thon. I would see a flop here and there, miss and have to fold on the flop or turn. My stack slowly dwindled to about 130 and I added another 100 at 3:30. I eventually get AK and make a raise to 15 and get called in 2 spots. Flop is KQJ rainbow. I bet 30 on the flop and get 1 caller. turn is the 5h and I bet 45 and get called. River gets checked down and V shows T5 of hearts for the back door flush, he was going to the check raise. I leave a while later at 4:45 down 215.
I head back to room to relax for a while and decide a change of pace could be good. Head to mirage for the 7 PM tourney. Make trip 10's early on and win a few other small pots and make it to the first break with just over 8k. Table is pretty passive so I'm raising light and stealing in position. Pretty card dead for the next hour and am still at ~8k at the 2nd break. Won the blinds a few times with allins with an unimproved AK and 77. Chipped up to 12.5k, which is 4k below average. Time to double up with the blinds going to 600/1200. Got as high as 17 or 18k and then blinded down to 11k with 6 left (5 paid). I push from UTG +1 with KT suited. I count out my chips and it folds to the big blind. He thinks for a minute and finally calls. I start taking a drink of my beer and the dealer reaches around my chips, grabs my cards and shoves them into the muck. I couldn't swallow my drink fast enough to stop her. I tell her she just mucked my cards and she says 'No I didn't.' The rest of the table informs her that she did and she calls the floor. Floor rules my hand is dead and the pot goes to the BB. I try and make my case that the exact same thing happened in the WSOP and the player got chips back the were above what she would have to call (which would have been the BB in this case). Floor assures me that didn't happen in the WSOP and that is that. Here is the footage of the hand (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dx47VMC0c0). I'm surprised I didn't go ballistic on someone. 6th of 33 isn't too bad but it pays the same as all who went out before me, $0 for almost 3 hours of work. Met a guy who sounds just like Ray Ramano during this tourney, I wanted to laugh every time he talked.
I then head to the V and get seated at 10:30 with my standard 200 buy in. Up a little early and then completely card dead. Great action at the table but I couldn't have won a pot without a pure bluff. I don't even know if I was even ever still in a hand at the river. Down 130 at 1:45. Must sleep immediately.
Day 3 Total: -405, 10.5 hours
Trip Total: -755, 21 hours
Went to Ellis Island for breakfast again. Had terrible service. I didn't see my waiter from the time I put in my order until he brought the bill. Someone else even brought my meal out. The food was good and I have had good service every other time I have eaten here. Head back to IP to park the car and walk the strip for a bit. Then it is back to the V. There is a decent list when I arrive but they fire up a new table after a few minutes. I sit with 300 at 12:45, time to go big or go home down for the trip. I assumed the action would start out slow but I was wrong. The first pot was close to $300 and was taken down by 2nd pair. Everybody wants to see flops with multiple caller with raises to 17 and the action is crazy after the flop, chips are flying!!! I stay right around my original 300 until I get AdQd in the BB. Limped to me and make it 17 and get called in 2 spots, new guy (NG) and a typical craisian that is already into the game for 700. Flop is QJJ with 2 clubs and I lead for 25 and NG is the only caller. Turn is the Ace of spades (2nd spade) and I bet 45, NG calls. River is a small spade and I check. NG goes all in for 95 and I think for a little while and decide that most would raise the turn with trip jacks, so he could have Aces up or a busted flush draw and I call. He had KQ of clubs and my hand is good. I took down a small pot with AK after a c-bet on the flop and then lose a little with AQ vs the crasian after I miss the turn and river. I'm sitting on just over 500 at 1:45. I then get KT spades in the small blind and limp along with 5 others. Flop is KT8 rainbow and I check. A big stack (BS) at the other end of the table who looks, talks and acts like my neighbor bets 10, craisian calls and I make it 35. Both call. Not sure why, but I was worried about the 6d on the turn (it could have made a straight if either V had 97 but still. I check and it gets checked around. 2d on the river and I bet 40 and craisian call, my hand is good. An orbit later I limp from the button with QcTc, BB makes it 7 and 5 call. I flop the nuts on a J high rainbow board. It checks to the player to my right and he bets 10. I decide to slow play and see if anyone want to get crazy. 1 caller and craisian min-raises to 20. If it was a bigger raise I would have 3 bet it, but I decided to wait 1 more street. 4 players see the 7 come on the turn, putting 2 heart on the board. I think this could be a great card for me as any ten now has a 2nd best hand. It checks to the player on my right and he goes all in for 85. The other 2 Vs in the hand don't have a ton more than the 85, so I push (hoping 1 has a ten) but all others fold. He has a set of eights and my hand holds. Next orbit I limp with KT spades from the hijack and the button makes it 11. 6 of use see a flop of KT3 with 2 diamonds. It checks to the button who bets 35, BS (who has well over 1k, mostly from the craisian) calls and I make it 135. Raiser folds and BS calls. Turn is another 3, BS checks, I bet 200 and BS folds. Maybe I bet a little to much on the turn. I know have ~1,000 in my stack and am considering leaving to pocket the 700 profit but decide that the game is still good so I will stay for a little longer. I limp from middle position with 33 and BS (~1,000 in his stack) makes it 15 from the button. I am the only caller. Flop is J32 with 2 hearts, jackpot! I check and BS bet 20. I raise to 65 and he calls. Turn is an off suit 4 and I lead for 80. V thinks for a few seconds and makes it 300. I pause to replay the hand. BS has been raising a fair amount but I couldn't recall him ever doing it with Ace-rag (A5 in this case for a wheel, I would have outs). I'm only worried about a set of jacks. I know I'm not folding and finally decide to go all in. BS doesn't snap call so I know my hand is good. He asks if I hit a set and I actually laughed a little out loud. He finally calls and tables AA. River bricks and I rake in a pot of $1,992! This is the biggest pot I have won by 7-800. In all of the excitement I actually forget to tip the dealer, but then it just randomly popped in my head a few hands later. I played for about another hour without any significant hands and cashed out +1640 at 4:45. Talk about a swing in fortune!!
Back to room and shower, grab a piece of pizza at O'Sheas and head to Bellagio for some 10/20 limit. Get seated at 7:00, with 300. Pretty aggressive game. Folded almost every hand foe the first hour, the blinds add up fast when you don't get any playable hands. Cash out -140 at 9:00. There were some high strung characters in this game. It is a different crowd than the typical 1/2 nl game. It does seem that the action is pretty good and I will play the game again.
Head over to Aria and get seated at 9:45 with 300. AK early on. I'm on the button, one limped, I make it 15 and BB calls. Flop is Q76 with 2 hearts. I cbet 25 and get called. Turn is 8h and I bet 45 and get called. River checks and v had turned a set and rivered a boat. Then I raise in LP with AJ off and fold to a flop bet after I miss. Bet 15 from LP with KJ suited, 1 call, sb raises to 45. We both fold. Add another 100 at 10:20. QJ off from small blind, 6 way limped pot. I check call bets on all 3 streets from aggro v in seat 1 and my hand is good (+100 on the hand). The aggro claimed Ace high. QQ in EP, bet 15 get 1 caller and take it down with a cbet. TT and limp call 13. Flop is all unders and I check raise the 20 cbet to 65 and take it down. Cash out at 11:00 even. This is my first time playing here. The room is very nice to look at but the tables don't have room to stretch out the legs. I'm not a fan of the color of the felt. Good action but could not get comfortable.
Time for 1 more session and I decide on Planet Hollywood. They have 7 games going! Get seated at 11:15 with 300. The tables are worn but the action is pretty good. There a mix of deep and short stacks, so I need to pay attention to who is in the hand. I get KK in LP an orbit or 2 into the game and make it 10 and get 3 callers. Q high flop with 2 spades. I cbet 20 and get 2 callers. 3x on turn and 60 bet takes it down (+70 on hand). Next hand is AQ with a straddle and I make it 15. 3 callers on 554 flop. Checks around. K on turn and I bet 30, a guy that has pushed his 400 into $50 pots several times with the nuts shoves. All fold and the shover shows 54 for the flopped boat. Dust off 200 with AT vs AA on a ten high flop. Really dumb. I decide I'm way to tired to keep playing well and cash out down 235 at 1:30.
Day 4 Total: +1,265, 8.25 hours
Trip Total: 510, 29.5 hours
While I'm happy to have turned a profit on the trip I'm not all that pleased with my play. I torched 400 or so on calls that I knew were wrong but just didn't want to fold. Had I been able to lay down those hands I would have been up somewhere between 950-1,050. I think I was relatively card dead for the trip. I had AA 2-3 times, KK 2 times, QQ 3 times, JJ once and it seems like the big Aces were scarce as well. I didn't even get many suited connectors in spots that they would play well. All told I had a fun trip and can't wait to get back.