Spent 8 days in Vegas for a work conference… I landed on Saturday April 24th and flew back on Sunday May 2nd. I have been lucky enough to attend this conference in Vegas on a yearly basis. Last year, I had to pay my way completely so I spent tons of time at the poker tables to recoup my expenses. This year work paid for the trip so I spent a lot more time at the work conference and actually got plenty of sleep each night (mostly because I was sick all week and didn’t want to be dragging at the work conference). However, being in Vegas for 8 days I still managed to work in an estimated total of 68 hours playing poker.
Day 1 – Took the cab straight to the Trop, checked in and headed to MGM. MGM is usually my favorite place to play due to the action and high percentage of drunks. The action is there Saturday night but not many drunks. The lack of drunks is a theme for the rest of trip unfortunately. I buy in for the $300 max at the 1/2 tables and spend the next hour and half either folding or missing the flop c-betting, then folding. I have about $210 in front of me when the following occurs. UTG+1 is a horrible player who is on tilt after donking nearly two buy ins. He raises to $10 and I put him on anything ranging from two cocktail napkins to two aces. He has only another $95 behind. It folds around to me on the button. I look down at two JJs and mentally lick my chops. I raise to $30 looking to isolate the donkey. Small blind smooth calls. No big deal he just showed down 9-2 in a raised preflop pot. He could have anything I think in my head as I focus solely on the donkey. It folds back to the donkey, who of course, shoves in his remaining $95. I’m happy about this as I am pretty sure he could have anything so my JJs are way ahead of his range. Oh yeah, what about the small blind? Small blind has me covered. I decide to completely isolate and shove what’s left of my stack. Good thinking, right? Wrong! Alarms should have gone off when small blind smooth called from $1 to $30 preflop. Apparently those alarms never made it to my brain. Small blind snaps calls. Donkey #1 flips over 55 (yup I knew I had him beat). Donkey #2 flips over JJ. Yes, I am donkey #2. Small blinds flips over…. Let’s all say it together now, “yes, two aces”. Boards bricks out. This is easily the worst play I made all week. To pacify my ego I will blame it on jet lag. I rebuy for $300 more and redeem myself slightly by winning back almost $200 of my original $300 buy in. I decide it is time for me to do some serious drinking so I take a cab to Hard Rock.
For those who don’t know, the Hard Rock is inconvenient to reach but such a beautiful room (and has a button straddle). Plus, they have free Patron tequila shots. Since the work conference goes into full effect Monday I decided Saturday night was the best time for me to partake in some good ole’ drunk Vegas poker. I get seated at Seat 7. I notice Seat 2 with a mountain of chips. Two rounds go by and I realize he is actually playing kinda snug but once in the hand he appears to pick heavily on any weakness. I pick up AA in middle position (no straddle) and raise to $10 (standard). I get called by Seat 2 in the small blind. Flop comes A-3-3 two cards to a flush. Jackpot. I can’t remember what suits (as the tequila is already kicking in). Anyways, he checks so I lead out for $10 into the pot hoping it would look kind weak and that he might have a pair of something, the case Ace, or a flush draw. He check raises me to $25. I “think” about it for a couple seconds and call. The turn is a 9 or something like that. No flushes or straights. He checks to me so I quickly bet out $40. I want to build the pot but I don’t want to scare him away. He calls. The river bricks a Q or something. No flushes possible. Pot is now about $150 and I have about $200 left. Villain pushes me all in. I immediately call with the 2nd nuts. Villain, of course, shows… one 3 and then… a 4. Scared ya didn’t i? I scoop the pot. That was very nice of Villain to shove me all of his chips. I proceed to have a total of 5 or 6 tequila shots and unfortunately give back most of the chips from that pot. No exciting hands… I Just couldn’t hit anything and we were playing lots of big pots due to the button straddle. Still bitter about misplaying my JJ’s earlier, very tired and semi-drunk, I decide to call it a night.
Day 1 results, lost $110 at MGM in 3 hours and won $22 at Hard Rock in 3 hours.
Down $88 for the night.
I get up early still on East Coast time and decide to head over to MGM to play the 11am Shovefest. This is a horrible structure. $65 buy in, only 2000 in chips, 20 minute levels. I actually want to play some tournaments on this trip but I hate the fact that I might bust out without making any money (when I could be making money on the side at the cash games).
Foreshadowing alert: This is kind of ironic as I end up losing money overall playing the cash games.
Anyways, I decide this is a good structure as either way I will be done in less than two hours. I arrive early so I sit and lose $30 playing $1/$2 cash. Nothing exciting to speak of. Tourney begins and 4 hands later am I getting blinded out. I told you it was a bad structure. Seriously, I can’t remember what hand I went out swinging with but I know I shoved a couple times with a little less than 10X BBs and finally got caught with junk. There were about 60 runners and I dropped out somewhere around 30th.. Anyways, I look at the time and see it is 12:40. I decide to rush over to Aria and play their 1pm tourney.
I arrive and get seated only missing one or two hands. The buy is $120 and the structure is fabulous. 8000 in chips, 30 minutes in blinds. 6 hours later we are down to twelve people. The top nine make the money. About 4 rounds earlier I got it all in with AK vs AQ and lost 75% of my stack when a Q hit the river. Ever since, I’ve been hovering around 10X BB solely by stealing blinds when nobody has raised. I did show AA once when everyone folded hoping that would scare away any future callers. Everybody folds around to me in the small blind. I have about 10X BB still so I pretend to look at my cards and shove (big blind has been playing extremely snug). Big blind calls and flips over AK. I flip over Q8 sooted. Oops. I am about to spend six hours playing a tourney with zero results. Then it happens… a queen peels off on the flop and I suck out with the Q-8. We move down to the final table and decide to pay bubble boy $10 each. Bubble boy busts out and we are down to nine. At this point the talk begins about chopping… I’m quite happy about this as I only have 10X BB, no room to finesse and absolutely no image after finally getting caught with a junk hand. Chip leader has about 35X BB but actually agrees to a chop for a little extra money. Chip leader gets $1000, 2nd in chips gets $900 and everybody else splits the rest (which happens to be $819 each). After tipping and entry fee, I profit $659 so I’m very happy. I’m planning on meeting Mauihaole at Binions so I decide to head back to the room for a long nap.
Maui works the graveyard so I make it over to Binions around 2am not long after his shift starts. One table of $1/$2 no limit going. I buy in for $300 which is close to the max on the table (no max at Binions). A very drunk guy is sitting on my left. He is asking silly questions about the rules, but I suspect he actually knows what he is doing (though he definitely is drunk). Can’t remember exact details of this but I think it went as follows: I am dealt AJ of hearts and raise two limpers on the button to $15 . Drunk guy calls in small blind as well as one other player. Flop comes K-10-5 with two hearts. Both players check to me so I bet $30 into the $45 pot. I’m ready to get all my money in here if I have to. Drunk player check raises me all in for another $100 or so. Other guy folds and I snap call for the additional $100. I know I have 12 outs to the nuts and hopefully my ace is live so I’m not too upset. Drunk guy rolls over AK and almost throws up when a heart peels on the turn. I scoop the pot as drunk guy leaves with his friend shouting about how he was just acting like he didn’t know what he was doing and that I was just lucky. Somebody else says something about how I could put all my money in with a flush draw? I guess he didn’t see the straight draw as well. Sad thing is I am pretty sure this the only draw I manage to hit the whole week. The table breaks up and I chat with Maui for a while. We decide to meet up at Excalibur during his day off Tueday nigh.
Day 2 Results: lost $30 cash at MGM, then $65 in the tourney. Won $659 in the Aria tourney and then $209 at Binions.
I hit the conference early in the morning and check out some of the sessions. No free sessions in the afternoon so I head over to the 2pm planet Hollywood tourney. I like PH’s tourney structure because you get 5000 in chips (not 2000 like other small tourneys). Buy in is for $70. I sit down and the dealer hands me my 3000 in chips. What? This sux. I specifically walked to PH to get into a mid-size tourney (one that might last four hours not two). I find out afterwards that they changed the structure after Harrahs took over (had I checked our fabulous AVP web site I would have noticed that LVM had updated the details with the proper structure amounts). I think there were 50 runners. I’m doing ok as we get down to about 20 people I think. Unfort I have been card dead forever and the blinds are starting to kill me. I have been doing my usual shoving with junk to stay alive with nobody calling. Blinds go up to 300/600 and I only have 4500 in chips (which is only a little below average at the table). I look down at AQ and shove. I can’t even remember if they were suited. Big blind has me easily covered and calls. Apparently he has seen me stealing pots. He flips over A5 of hearts and I am quite happy until the fourth and fifth hearts hit the turn and river and make his flush. Oh well. I go on to lose another $188 at the cash games at Planet Hollywood. I don’t really remember much of it other than getting it all in preflop with KK against QQ then losing when my opponent hits a J-10-9-8 straight on the river. Planet Hollywood still seems weak in competition though I never made it back there during the trip. I decide to head back to MGM and play their 7pm $80 shovefest.
I bust out in the $80 shovefest when I shove all in with 10X BBs in the small blind after two people limp. The first limper calls off half of his stack while the second limper who only had 7X BBs limp/calls my shove as well. I shout out, “I’m probably ahead now but one of you lucky saps is going to draw out on me.” Then I table my 6-4 and everyone stares at me like I am not wearing any clothes.. First limper tables Q-J while the second limper tables A-K (what???). I shout out “live cards baby”. Boards comes out something like A-A-K-Q-J and I barely lose. I head over to the MGM cash game which usually is very lucrative for me.
Once again nobody is really drinking though the level of play does not appear great. About three rounds in I have what I think is a pretty good read on everyone. Table has been pretty loose and semi-passive. Seat 8 has about $180 while I have a little bit more than my starting $300. Seat 8 has been playing a lot of pots with marginal hands, but doing ok (he had about $150 when I sat down). I think he is capable of paying off a big hand. Seat 8 raises to $10. The cutoff calls, others fold, and I look down at QJ of hearts in the big blind. I decide to call as I don’t think I will take the pot down without reopening huge. Flop comes A-J-6 with the ace and 6 of hearts. I’m ready to get all my money in if I have to. I check expecting a continuation bet and hoping to get a caller in between. Seat 8 bets $21 into the $30 pot. He has another $140 behind. Cutoff folds. I’m ready to play for stacks but decide that a raise to $80 all day looks stronger than an all in. Seat 8 thinks for a little while and then decides to ship in his remaining stack for $60 more. I snap call. Seat 8 flips over A-10. Turn and river break and the pot gets shipped to seat 8. Surprised he called with the A-10, but it was the right move as it was a 50/50 pot. During the trip I think I faced about 6 or 7 of these 50/50 hands and the only one I won was at Binions. Oh well. Fast forward about 10 hands and my luck evens out.
I have bought in for another $200 more so I have a stack of around $300 again. Early position player raises to $8. 2 players call. I look down at the KQ of clubs. I decide to just call as this player has been pretty snug so far. I call expecting to be behind but hoping to hit the flop hard. Flop comes K-Q-8 two diamonds. Yippee! Early bets $20 and the other players fold. I am pretty sure I am ahead here as I don’t put 88 in his range at all. I think he either has AK or AA. If he has the unlikely KK or QQ I will just have to pay him off. I decide to simulate what I did earlier with the combo draw and raise to $80. Early guys shoves all in over the top (I had him covered by about $50 I think). I call and he tables AK. Board bricks out and I win a large pot. He probably would have called with AK regardless but I tell myself my raise to $80 was perfect (my ego needs feeding). I eventually cash out up $94.
Day 3 results: lost $70 in planet Hollywood tourney and then $188 in the cash game. Lost $80 in the MGM tourney but won $94 in the cash game
Tourneys won $444
I still need to write the rest of the story, but I assure you it includes playing poker with maui, buckeye, TBC and then meeting the duke (including a picture of his “business card”).