Happy Birthday to Me


Warning...this is long, but it is thorough.

Got into LV Sunday morning. Dumped my bags at TI and immediately took the tram to the Mirage. Got into a 3-6 game for a couple of hours, finished up $100 (bought in for $100). One tourist was mad at me when I milked him for a monster pot. I had AJ spades on the button, and I called the one raise. Flop came KQx, with the queen and rag being spades. The other three in the pot called, he raised, I reraised, the other three folded, and he called. Turn comes a rag, he bet, I raised, and he called. The river is the 10 of spades, giving me both the nut str8 and nut flush. He bet, I raised, he went to 3 bets, I made it 4, he made it 5, and I called. He had J9 offsuit to hit the sucker str8. One of the dealers was playing was impressed, he told me later that he wouldn't play if I raised. I'm scaring dealers and I haven't even been there a day yet? I'm liking this, a lot.
My old boss was in town, so she took me to lunch at the Venetian, and we hung out for a few hours. After that I went to play there, and finished up $25 after about 2 hrs.
Back to the Mirage, this time for 6-12. This was about 7pm and I was there for almost 8 hrs. I did hit a bad patch, was down to just $60 (I bought in for $200). I started scaring some of the other players. One hand was fun. I had 8s, and the flop was 8-5-something, rainbow. The turn was another 5. I raised preflop as there there 3 limpers and I was one to the right of the button. Five players including the blinds called. The guy in the big blind called, two others called, and I raised. The small blind folded, the big blind reraised, the two in the middle folded, and I made it 4 bets, the small blind folded too, and the big blind called again. Same thing on the turn. The river was the ace of diamonds, and the big blind again called, I raised, and he called. He had A8, but he said, "You always show down the nuts, but I have to pay it off anyway." The player to my right was a dealer at TI who told me that he could see my cards, but I was able to win against him anyway. I'm really liking this poker thing now...=). I finally left there up about $150.

I played again at the Mirage on Monday, this time at 10-20. I bought in for 500, and I got my butt kicked. I was card dead. No draws hitting, AK losing to A9 when a 9 hits on the river, and so forth. I left there down about $425, making me down $275 for the trip. I went back to TI to get some lunch and play there for a bit. The room is nice, but the play there was hideous. Any ace is worth 3 bets, inside str8 draws against 4 players were hitting, and it didn't help that I was having a hard time reading players or feeling comfortable there. I left after about 2 hrs down another $125. That evening I went back to the Mirage for more 6-12. I started with $200 and got down to $90, and then it turned around again. I had AA for the first time, and I hit a set on the flop. I was up against 3 players (I raised in middle position and the button and blinds called). Flop came three rags, rainbow again. The small blind called, I raised, the big blind and button folded, the small blind 3 bets, and I call. Turn comes a king, same 3 bets. The river is an ace, and the small blind turns over AK, again after we go to three bets. One of the players I had played with before told the guy "Don't call him unless you have the nuts." Another hand I had QQ against KK and rivered a queen to give me queens full, and the funniest one was when I asked for a black 5 on the river and got one to make my wheel. When I finally left I had gotten back to about $760, so I'm up $140.

Tuesday back to the Mirage (are you seeing a pattern here?). I again played 6-12 all afternoon and finished up about $225, and now I'm up $365 for the trip. I played the tournament that night which was $130. I made the final table after being down to about 1200 in chips, you start out with $2000. Greg Raymer walked in while the tournament was in progress, and the guy sitting on my right shouted "Hey look, it's Greg Raymer!" Right after that, he busts out and I go on a rush to sit down as one of the chip leaders. Of course, they pay top 5, and I finished 6th out of 48. I had A5 hearts and two hearts come on the flop. The other guy makes a big bet, and I go all in. Turns out he had two smaller hearts, but he also had a pair, which held up. After that, I was card dead, didn't get anything I could even think about stealing with, and I busted out with K8 clubs against pocket 9s.

That night I decided to throw caution the wind and went to the Bellagio. Now this is about 230am Wednesday morning. I sat down at a 4-8 game with $150 and clawed my way to leaving with about $220 about 8am. The BIG game was going on in Bobby's Room, Chip Reese and Chau Chiang were there and I saw Phil Laak walk in with a friend to the high-stakes area about 330 or so. So far so good, I'm up $305 for the week.

Wednesday I went again to the Mirage for more 6-12, and this time I sat down and one of the two best tables I had all week. I was sitting next to a girl named Cindy. She deals at Caesars and her boyfriend Dave was playing there as well (he deals at the Mirage). Bought in for my usual $200 and finished up just over $400 after about six hours. There were two guys on my left who were no fun to play with at all. One was complaining how bored he was, conveniently NOT mentioning how he was losing BAD, he lost about $400 before finally leaving. The guy on his left was picking on everyone else's play, telling everyone how good of a player he is (that explains why he was down $50 LOL), and tried to get into it with Cindy, but she put him in his place in a hurry. He didn't try that with me after I won two nice pots from him, once when I caught him bluffing (I had AA once and a set the other time). I kept hitting sets at this table, and one girl gave me a good-natured hard time..."Did you just hit ANOTHER set of 10s?" The level of play at this table was perfect. There were aggressive players like myself and Cindy, and more passive types who didn't know you were allowed to raise if you have a good hand. I had AA one hand against KK and QQ, and they held up. It was very hard for me to leave this game, but I had tickets to see Toni Braxton and I wasn't gonna miss it. After the show I want to the Bellagio again, this time for 8-16. The table only lasted about an hour before it broke up, but I was up $75 for that hour. Finally crash, up $580 for the week.

Thursday I went back to the Bellagio about 1pm, again for 8-16. It was a very up and down table, I finished down about $150. I had the housewife from hell at this table. She was Russian, and the suckouts she pulled were so awful at one point I made the comment that she'd be dangerous if she knew how to play poker. Only the drunk and stupid call 3 bets with 4-3 suited out of position (she wasn't drinking anything other than hot tea). What was really sad was that she hit her str8 on the river against KK, and a third king came on the flop. I did see one VERY nice thing happen, involving this idiot. The player to her right flopped a set of jacks, and she rivered a flush. She was about to muck her hand, and he told her to show her hand, and pointed out to her that she won. She was so clueless that she didn't see that she had sucked out again. I'm not sure I could have done that, and I sure wouldn't have done it against her. I was out of my mind that day, I played there for almost 12 hours. It was insane, I know, but what the hell, I was on vacation...=). The big game was going on again, you could see Gus Hansen, Sammy Farha, Eli Elezra, and several others in Bobby's Room. At one point Mike Caro walked by our table outside (we were by the rail close to the theatre entrance) and he watched us play for about 5 minutes. That was unnerving. I went out for a cigarette later and he came up to me and we talked for about 5 minutes. I was wearing a t-shirt with all the New York subways on it, and I guessed he noticed it or something. The dealers were telling us stories about the big game. Apparently they don't like Sammy Farha. He is notorious for NOT tipping the dealers, cocktail servers, and food servers. One dealer told me that everyone else tips well in the big game, and when he left, the others all tipped him extra, telling him "This is from Sammy". Chau Chiang was in the bar having a cigarette and couldn't find his lighter so he borrowed mine. He was very nice, we talked for about 5 minutes, and he seemed genuinely happy for me that I was having so much fun, though I was card dead at that point. He smiled and told me it will change, and to enjoy myself. I did, even though the housewife was terrorizing the table. She was pissing me off, but when I did go on tilt, I didn't tilt long, and I got over it pretty quickly. Sean Sheikan was in the high-stakes area playing, and it was said he's as obnoxious off-camera as he is on-camera. David Williams was there as well when I was cashing out, and I wasn't watching what I was doing and almost knocked Barry Greenstein into a table as I was leaving. I was very apologetic, and he was a good sport, he just smiled and made a comment that I was obviously having fun and went back to the big game.

Friday afternoon I went back to the Mirage after I checked out and played nonstop until I had to catch my plane. I decided to play 1-2 no limit for a change. At one point I was up over $300, having bought in for $200. Then my cards started going cold and I started playing badly too. I was down to about $20 bucks when I finally left to go play 6-12 again. By then I was only up about $250. They didn't have any open so I eventually wound up playing 10-20 again. I waited for the big blind, and I get Q-8. There was a raise, three calls, and I called (I was getting 9 1/2 to 1 to call). Flop comes Q-8-3. I check, a bet, two calls, the last player raises, I reraised, the middle three players folded, and the last guy called. The turn is a queen. I bet, he raised, I reraised, he makes it 4 bets, and I call. The river is a blank. Again we go to 4 bets. He had Q-3, and I drag a $300 pot. I bought in for $400, and in one hand I made up the $180 I lost at the no limit table, and in the two hours I played I turned that $400 into about $1000. I had AA and make 5s full and won a $200 pot there. This was my other favorite table I played. It was the last table I played, I did well, and the play was aggressive, but not stupid.

This is VERY long, I know, but I learned alot while I was enjoying myself. I enjoy staying at TI, but I won't play there again. I absolutely loved the Mirage, even when I was having a bad run. I do wish they would get a modernized system like the one at TI. The same goes for the Bellagio, though I'll play there again in a minute. As for the local players, they like good players and I guess I fell into that category (that's what I'm hoping, anyway). The other thing is that I wasn't obnoxious or rude at the table either, and that always scores points with the other players (and helps with good karma). There weren't many who were rude, but the ones that were were usually 20-something kids trying to be the next great WPT champion and tell you how well they play. The ones who really did play well just played and let their chips and cards do all the talking. It was fun to take their chips and let them know they are just like the rest of us.

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