Rules for the trip:
1. Don’t play poker intoxicated. Never goes well.
2. Don’t play poker at O’Sheas. I love the place but I give in to the atmosphere and play bad.
Day 1 Wednesday:
Flew in from MKE on the 6am flight with my best buddy. For the sake of this report, we’ll call him “Ricky”. I had heard great things about the places off the strip so we decided to rent a car for the first day. Get our car assignment and head over to the parking space where it is supposed to be to find that it is the wrong car in our space. We didn’t even realize it until we tried to get past garage security and the lady laughed and said we were in the wrong car. Went back to the space and tried to find the right plate to no avail so I went to the customer service desk with the issue and got a nice upgrade to a Mazda 3. First win of the trip!
We weren’t able to check in at 9am so we were off to the Red Rock to catch the breakfast/lunch buffet swing. That was 5 bucks very well spent! Lost some money at the tables and we moved on. Hit the LV Gun Range where I tried out a Mac10 and a Desert Eagle. The D.E. almost blew out of my hands as it was the first handgun I’ve ever shot. We went to went to a couple other places before checking out the M Resort. I immediately got seated in a 2/4 game where I was the youngest at the table by at least 30 years. Everyone knew each other which I guess is common at these kinds of places but the players were just bad. You know it’s a weak table when the players are discussing strategy for starting hands based on what the cards add up to. Things like position, pot odds, and "playing the player" don't really matter usually, but I digress! Adding up cards, now that’s a winning strategy!
Made like 11 bucks before hitting up Jokers Wild for some $1 craps which was a blast. Gotta love rolling for 30 minutes and making 40 bucks! Whoo hoo! It was then off to Green Valley Ranch for the Wednesday HORSE tourney. I found this on AVP and had to play. $45 buy-in with 27 runners. The room is gorgeous and the people were great but the structure was just brutal. 2K starting stack with 15 minute levels. I have never played anything but hold’em in a casino so my goal was to survive the first 5 levels so I could play each game once. I knew starting hand selection would be the key as most inexperienced players have the “oh, I can make something out of that!” mentality especially in O/8 and Stud8. There were only 1 or 2 competent HORSE players at the table who would frequently correct players/dealers mistakes. I didn’t do much for the first 4 levels as I was card dead and didn’t feel like getting cute playing games that I was not experienced in. I won one decent pot playing Razz.
Level 5 was 100/300/600 Stud8 where I look down at A8 down with A up. I complete to 300 and get 3 callers. I brick on 4th street but throw a bet out there and get 3 callers. I get an 8 on 5th street and make the 600 bet and get 3 callers. Another 8 falls to me on 6th. I bet and 3 callers. I’m not paying much attention to the rest of the cards on the table right now as I have a lock hi hand and figure I’m getting half as I don’t even have any kind of low let alone a good one. No improvement on 7th street and I bet 600. With the cards I had up, I would have needed 3 low cards that didn’t pair my up cards to make a low. No one seemed to realize this and all 3 fold. What a scoop! Even though I accomplished my goal as we were at 1st break, I was technically short-stacked while having the chip lead at my table at around 6K.
As I expected after the break, players start dropping like flies. Ricky is 2 seats to my left and on a rollercoaster chip stack but that’s how he plays so no surprises there! I have an iffy LHE round and do nothing in the O/8 round. Had to fold K’s in the hole playing stud as the guy to my right had an Ace up and was just internally screaming to throw every chip in he could. Oh well, good lay down. At this point we got 11 left and are at the mercy of the cards as the levels are insane compared to stacks. The next Razz level was both hilarious and profitable. We were playing 200/800/1600 limits. Our dealer looked like he had been up for about 72 straight hours and had no clue what game we were playing. Instead of giving 4th street to the players remaining in the hand, he decides to burn and deal a flop! About 6 collective “WAIT!!” from the players held him up before he ruined the hand. I was internally voting for a misdeal and I had JQK haha.
After the players ante for the next razz hand, the dealer decides to burn 1, then deal 5 cards face down in front of him. WHAAAT?? What game was he playing? Everyone was laughing and he changed decks. My big hand had Q up with 23 down. This has potential for a monster. I am in the hand with the only decent horse player(V1) and the guy next to me who had chipped up from 100 to about 8K(V2). With both players having a Q up behind him, he completes to 800. Hero calls and V2 calls. I draw a A on 4th street. V1 bets, I raise as I put him on nothing from the beginning based on what the other two players had up. V2 drops out. I draw a 4 on 5th street and bet. V1 thinks he’s live so he makes the call. A lovely 6 on 6th street gives me A2346. V1 knows I’m probably good as that Q is meaningless but pays me off on 7th street anyways for a monster pot putting me in the top 3 in chips. 3 players including my buddy bust a few hands later and we make the final table. We start talking during level 10 Stud8 with 7 or 8 left but the original V1 is apprehensive and we play on.
At this point, chips were flying around wildly. My cards were crappy so I wanted none of it. One player accrues 50% of the chips on a massive scoop knocking out 2 guys and we;re down to 5. We chop based on three tiers. The leader is in one tier, me and the V1 are in the second tier, and 2 short stacks. We chop 375/165/165/85/85. I made the money and am both thrilled and am tired as hell as I’ve been up for 40 of the past 43 hours. We go back to the Flamingo and pass out immediately. What a day!
Day 2 Thursday:
Woke up ready to go as I am every first morning I’m in Vegas. This was just not my day. I was truly drawing dead before I even woke up! Played a lot of table games as I hit the sauce early. I came up with the brilliant idea of playing beer pong at O’sheas before it got too crowded so there we were at 9:30am…It was truly hilarious being stared at by a food court full of breakfast eating patrons as me and my buddy are playing 1 on 1 with multiple pitchers of Miller Lite on the table. Classy, I know. Went up the strip and played mostly table games with bad results until we headed back for a nap.
Since I had sobered up, we hit up the Mirage 3/6 game. They were just opening a new table so we got seated immediately. I was really impressed with all aspects of this room including dealers, management, cocktail service, and table quality. Only problem was the chips were brand new. Usually this is a welcome sight to any poker player who is used to playing with absolutely disgusting chips in most casinos. Since I shuffle chips compulsively at the table, the bright blue dye melted off and got all over my hands. The poker room manager was laughing and brought me a couple wet naps. That’s a first! Anyways, dragged a few pots but couldn’t really get anything going despite my strong starting hands. My buddy made a small profit but my 100 bucks went busto and we moved on.
I always get one of those massive “Fat Tuesday’s” yard high alcoholic slushies once a trip so grabbed that and moved back to O’Sheas. Didn’t feel like playing anymore table games so sat down at the 2-6 spread game. See rules 1 and 2. I ran horrible but probably played worse. I saw on twitter fellow AVPer AlaskaGal was playing over at Bill’s so I grabbed my yard-high beverage and cashed out my remaining chips. It was great to meet her and we sat down at the next table playing .50/1 NL. I bought in light because I knew I should not be playing this haha. It’s pretty hard to get blinded off in that game but that’s how bad I ran.
Either way it was still fun and we hopped the bus downtown for some $2 blackjack at Fitzgeralds. I’ve had the same graveyard dealer at the same table 3 years running! He’s impossible to forget as he’s a few fries short of a happy meal. Played for 4 hours and cashed out down 2 bucks! Now that’s value! We got back on the Deuce going back to the Flamingo at 4 or 5am which is always an entertaining crowd.
Day 3 Friday
Got some much needed rest and woke up ready to hit the felt. I had always wanted to play at the Bellagio but never got the chance. We walked over and I sat in a 4/8 game they had going. Now my buddy and I were the youngest players there by literally 40 or 50 years. It wasn’t a local nit Aces/Kings cracked game as you would get at promo poker rooms but more of a morning coffee game. I had always read on AVP that the room feels cramped and I have to agree. The room wasn’t full by any stretch as it was early in the morning but just the tables feel cramped. I hardly had any room to shuffle my chips and keep my hot chocolate on the table. It was delicious by the way. I saw Jeff Shulman at the next table and said hello. He was a good guy. Also saw Doyle Brunson across the room playing which was a neat sight.
The chips were flying and I honestly felt myself playing a bit nervous. It wasn’t really because of the stakes but more my surroundings. I put in a raise pre-flop frequently with great starting hands but continued to brick every single flop. The one time I managed TPTK, I had a bet and 2 raises in front of me and had to lay down. It ended up being a set to a straight so it saved me some money but still frustrating. I took one decent pot where a player put in a bet on a super wet board and I put in the raise forcing him to lay down. I love winning pots with 10 high! Had maybe 40 bucks left in front of me when I look down at 36o in the big blind. This was the first hand in at least 10 that wasn’t raised pre-flop and with 5 limpers I happily take the free flop. I said in my head when I saw the hand, well my KK and AK went no-where so maybe I’ll try 36 offsuit! Dealer burns and flop comes 245 rainbow. YAHTZEEEE!! The small blind bets and I flat call hoping to fade the potential draws and take a monster. Might not have been the best strategy but I took my chances. The other three players in the hand make the call including a guy who is LAG in seat 8. An ace falls on the turn pairing a suit on the board. SB checks and I bet and get the same 3 callers. An off 10 gives me the nuts on the river. SB checks again and I go to put in a bet just expecting maybe 2 callers and a take down but I see the guy in 8 has 8 chips ready to go and inching to throw them in. I put my chips down and check. This is an mistake that a lot of casual limit players make. They will have their bet in their hand ready to go essentially taking position right out of their own hands because it becomes obvious what they will do to the people in front of them. He insta-bets and the button folds. My buddy in the SB puts in a raise. It’s clear what he has and I feel bad but I have no choice of what to do. Now I’m thinking monster and knew there was no way I was chopping. I three-bet over the top and the LAG guy makes the call. My buddy knows exactly what I have as he’s played with me forever. He calls out my hand and makes the call. I sheepishly flip my 36 but I really didn’t do anything wrong here. I was BB with no raise pre-flop. I probably would have called even if there was a raise pre-flop with 5 in and hope I hit. Almost a $130 dollar pot woo hoo! I know that’s peanuts for a lot of you high rollers but it was still a thrill of the trip!
This took me from down to up about 60 bucks. My buddy went busto and I cashed out up 2 bucks! Playing here really was a cool experience. While waiting for my friend from Cali to show up, we just had to kill a few hours so we hit the O’sheas spread game again. See rule 1. Chronic run-bad at this place the whole trip and I cashed out down like 35 bucks or something. My friend showed up freaked out from the desert drive but it was great to see her and the night got blurry from there.
We don’t leave the room till maybe 2 or 3pm as we all felt crappy for multiple reasons. I was just hungover so we hit Johnny Rockets for a shake. We walked south and just enjoyed the scenery at a few places before we stopped in at the Trop. I heard it was nicely re-done and that was spot on. The place is bright and hopping. The poker room looked great and was packed. Good for them. We hit the Ellis Island steak dinner in the evening as it is a go-to for every vegas trip. I definitely needed the steak knife to cut that damn thing but it was still good for the 8 buck price. After a re-group at the hotel we headed over to Bill’s for the 11pm tourney. It was a 30 buck buy-in so Ricky and I played while our other friend hit a blackjack table. The tournament had 20 runners paying 3 places. I decided I was going to trust my reads completely and act on them because the tournament was such low dollars I wouldn’t be upset if I busted. I’m getting better at doing this more as I’ve gotten more experience. Anyways I played really well the first two levels routinely taking down pots from just bad players with well timed 3 bets and good value bets when my hand was made. By level 4, the blinds were already sky high and you either needed to accumulate chips quickly or your going broke. I 3-bet ship it in with QJo and get two callers one of who has me covered. I believe it was a 910d for one player and two other under cards for the other. I survive the flop, survive the turn, and fade literally 30 cards on the river for the triple up!
I built my stack to about 10k from 2k starting at the first break with 13 left. The blinds are huge at this point and similar to the other tournament I played, I knew players would be busting right and left. We were down to 9 maybe 10 minutes later. My buddy and I both made the final 9 and I am maybe 1st or 2nd in chips at this point. With 7 left my buddy who is short-stacked and on my right shoves in and I made the call with A6c. My ace holds and he is eliminated. Oops! This is where the tournament took a turn for the worse. Drunk guy in 6 who has been pretty quiet the whole time with his wife sitting behind him starts shoving every hand. He knocks out a player in 6th place on a 3 outer. He keeps yelling, “Every hand I’m all-in blind!!” I’ve seen some donks in the past due to the number of hours I’ve logged playing limit hold’em but this guy was the worst I’ve seen. He was a true Donkasaurus Rex! He steals two hands of blinds before two players with medium and short stacks shove in and without looking he makes the call flipping J3o. He spiked a J on the river to take it down and in stunned disbelief I actually made the money again! Even though I was upset at this moron, I was happy to cash again. The next hand the medium stack on my left shoves in with QQ. Rex calls without looking and flips 33. Of course the door card is a 3 a his hand holds. The nice guy shakes his head and laughs at the guy who busted him who is ordering a drink instead of watching the hand. First hand of heads-up has the donk putting me all-in blind. I look down at 22 and make the call. He hits the flop and holds. Good game me but still it’s a second place finish and I’ll take my second cash in 2 tournaments.
I shook his hand and said good game but this is where it got out of hand. Thinking he played amazing poker he started yelling at me that I should tip the dealers like 60 bucks because that is what he was tipping. Now I’m all for supporting the dealers as I do on a regular basis but I was not going to tip 60% of my winnings. He keeps telling me its karma and life is coming to get me. I calmly told the drunk donk that he can tip whatever he wants and I will tip whatever I want. The third place finisher and I both throw in 5 or 10 bucks for the boys and I get berated over it to the point where I almost have to ask for security. Solid job by the poker room supervisor watching this moron and saying nothing. That’s a real responsible way to keep order in your 4 table poker room!! Playing aggressive is one thing but pushing blind every hand then yelling at players is unacceptable. I chose to ignore it and just walked away with my winnings. Went to go find my friends who were each about 10 shots deep at the blackjack table and enjoyed the ride the rest of the night!
Day 5- Sunday
Woke up Sunday determined to try In N Out burger because I live in the Midwest and have never had it. We got in the car and went to the one at Tropicana and 15 but it was ridiculously packed. Most of the drive-thru line was taxis I’m guessing of tourists who had the same idea I did. We got back in the car and headed over to the UNLV campus to a much less hectic location. My friend got me animal fries which are probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever tried. If you don’t know what they are, just find a picture on Google of them. After lunch my friend left to go back to Cali and we had a few hours to burn before the flight so we hit up IP for some 2/4. I cannot even describe how good I was running. At one point I hit a set on 3 flops out of 5 hands and every single one held. The good thing about 2/4 is no one folds so if you survive all the draws you’ll scoop a nice pot. Even the hand I had AA and two players flopped 2 pair I won when I spiked a off pair on the board for a bigger hand on the river. I haven’t run that good I don’t think ever! I ended up making 130 bucks in just over an hour. Even got free cookies out of it as the room advertised them on Twitter! Now that is hard to do in a 2/4 game!
Grabbed our suitcases from the hotel and headed off to the airport to conclude a fun trip. I was down overall a little bit in gambling but definitely up in poker! Thanks for reading! Hit me up with any questions or more stories!