More blood, less money and a freezer

Reports & Blogs by jjmaximum about Bellagio Casino Posted

I posted a trip report from two weeks ago entitled ‘Blood, Money and Refrigerators’ and didn’t think there was any way I would have chosen the above title for this trip….
In case you didn’t know/haven’t read, I started a ‘blog’ to chronicle a 3 trip session I am doing for the next three months. It is on the discussion forums for AVP member blogs and is titled ‘JJ joins the ranks of LV hopefuls.
Got to the Ft Collins airport a few minutes later than planned. This airport is smaller than you can imagine. There is 1 commercial flight per day and it is to LV. There is a line out the door and it is 45 minutes to takeoff. As I peek in, I can see Allegiant only has 1 person working-she has to check people in, process baggage (and I’m sure answer lots of stupid questions). Once I check in, I have to go through security. I can’t help but notice there are SIX people working security. I ask the guy behind me if he can tell which of these two areas are run for profit and run by the government. He then points out THREE more TSA workers that are outside talking. I only mention this for the benefit of those that think the gov should run our healthcare system. Flight is fast (1.5 hours) and lands early. It is about 110 degrees in LV and thankfully, a short cab line. I check into Ballys and am in my room at 1PM, about an hour before I estimated. Check in with the wife/kids and I am free to start my high-stakes poker venture.

I decide to ease into it and have lunch. It is too hot outside, so I opt for the Paris buffet. Many people like this buffet, but it is not one of my favorites. The food is kind of ‘strange’ and they only have about half the items labeled so I don’t know what some of it is. I notice my first stupid LV budget cut right away when the waitress brings me my tea in what looked like a shot glass. She said they ran out glasses. She then brought me a pitcher of tea to refill it myself. It is not overly busy, so I realize they have laid off a dishwasher or two. So because the bean counters wanted to save $10/hr, I now get to dirty two glasses and waste a half pitcher of tea. Brilliant!

This is only my second stay at Bally’s (first time was 5-6 years ago). The rooms are very nice and big. I stayed in the North tower and had a view of the Strip/B Fountains. It is obvious that they have orphaned the place as the TR booth, shuttle to Rio and Diamond Lounge have all been closed and moved to Paris – which is not as close as they seem to think it is. It’s really too bad that they’ve written the place off with such a great location.

I get back to the room and just kind of relax for a bit, trying to clear my head and get ready to rumble. I was planning to start playing around 5, but at 3:30 I decide to wander over to the Bellagio around 3:30 to see if a list is being started for the $10/20 game. To my surprise, a game is going and a few people are on the list. I sign up and decide to kill some time playing my martingale system on the video roulette they have at the B. Yes, I confess to a TBC-style roulette system. It only ‘works’ on video roulette because it only has 1 zero and still pays 17-1 on 2 number bets. I ran it through a formula and it has a $(0.68) expected EV and earns comps. I don’t play it often, so its not a big deal. Last trip I used it a lot and won several hundred dollars, then one night when my wife was with me, I showed it to her and it failed me for the first time and a lost $150 and never did it again that trip. I was going to do it once and win my Paris buffet money back. It failed again for another -$150. Not a good start to the trip. For those wondering, I put in $200 and bet $1 between two numbers (1/2, 16/17, etc.). I do this 10 times or until it hits. If I miss, I do 10 more at $2, 10 more at $4 and 10 more at $8. So you get 40 chances to hit either number.

I go back and check and I’m first up and I get seated in about 15 more minutes so its 4:00PM and cards are in the air. For the first hour, I don’t get much and only see 3 flops. I win all three with a continuation bet and by 5:00 I am up $500. Certainly have a tight image, which is fine with me. After a while, I get AdKd and raise it up. Flop two diamonds and turn the nut flush. The board does not pair on the river and I got the nuts and scoop a $1K+ pot. By 6:00, I am up $1,400. A few hands later I get AA (first and last time on this trip), someone raises to $80 and I repop to $300 and get called only to have to fold on the river with 4 clubs on the board. My 3 hours is up and I cash out +$900. As promised, I am taking notes of various hands so I can post/discuss them here. It seems to intimidate some of the other players, so that is an added bonus. Nice first session. I met a very cool AVPer who was playing in the $540 tourney. He says he reads a lot, but never posts. Is a high-stakes player from Memphis. He busts out of the tourney 9th (paid top 5) after going card dead with high blinds/antes.

Head back to Bally’s to deposit my first $3,400 (buy in + win) in the safe, have a snack in the Diamond Lounge and walk around/relax for a while. 9:30 I head back to get back in the game with a new buy-in. No roulette this time. For the first hour, I don’t see a single flop and am -$150. I finally get TT and limp. One other caller and BB raises to $80. I call and limper calls. Flop is 6d5s3s. I like my hand. BB bets out $200, I think he is FOS and reraise to $640. To my surprise, limper cold calls, BB folds. Turn is a 7h. I bet $900 which puts limper AI. He calls and 7s comes and he turns over KsJs – no odds whatsoever to call on the flop. I have $800 left, but am OK. A bit later, I get Ad7d in SB and complete. Flop is 9d5x2d. One guy bets $80, I raise to $300 and he calls. Turn is a Kx, I go AI for my last $440 and get called. I of course miss and caller tables 6-9 for top pair (9). WTF is he calling with? It is about 11:30 and I just got felted so I go back to the room and go to sleep. -$1,750 (1,600 poker, 150 gambling). If those two hands go the other way, I’m up HUGE.

I wake up at 3AM and can’t go back to sleep and decide to go play a late night session because I’ve heard it is the best time. I get seated and win several small pots and am up to $3,100. Raise with AK, get two callers. Flop is AKT with two hearts. Not my favorite flop but I like it – lots of flush chasers here. EP bets $300, I call, LP calls. Hmmmm. Turn is a 9. EP bets $1,200. Seems like a big bet, and I think I’m ahead, so I call, LP calls. Double Hmmmm. River is a blank/no heart. EP bets $3K and has us both covered, I think for a minute and decide to call after realizing this is going to be a $9K + pot. LP folds. EP turns over QJ. Felted x2 now. -$4,250 (4,100 poker, 150 gambling). Be sure to read my blog for more details about these hands, as I am trying to keep this short (but I can see it isn’t working). It is about 5AM and I push the button for the elevator just as a major hottie walks around the corner. She gets in too. On the way up, she looks at me and says “I guess everybody stays up late in Vegas” which I quickly interpret as everybody=old people. I’m 39. Nice.

I wake up about 11 on Sat feeling like crap. Things didn’t go they way I hoped after a good start, I had already used 3 of my 4 buy-ins and I was running ice cold. I eat some lunch and decide to take a walk down to Meridian (the condos down the street that are selling for 90% off). It is raining outside – I remember reading somewhere that it rains an average of 10 days in LV. It does make it nice outside though – maybe 80-85. While walking I realize the odds of me seeing it rain in LV is like hitting a 1 outer. 10 minutes later, I arrive to have the security guard tell me I can’t go through the gates to look around and I need to call a Realtor. I try to explain my situation and am well-dressed and appear harmless. He tells me those are the rules and I don’t feel like arguing so I just leave. When I checked in, they said I could get a $75 shopping spree at the Forum Shops so I decide this is my next move. I walk to Caesars and the registration is at the Augustus Towers. FAO Schwartz is my destination and I realize this is about a mile away. Its for the kids, so I continue my journey and get them each an Airhog remote controlled helicopter (for them or for me?). I then have to walk all the way back to my room to drop the stuff off. It is now almost 3:00 and I realize I just walked for TWO hours. Vegas is huge. With a full day ahead of me and only 1 buy-in, I decide to split it up and take $1,500 to play 5/10 and $1,000 to play my table game-Mississippi Stud. This game has bailed me out before and I owe it some play. MS is like hold ‘em but with only a flop. You push with a pair of 6-10 and win with a pair of Jacks or better. You win more for 2 pair, trips, etc. It is nice because you aren’t playing other players or the dealer – just the house. I find it relaxing between poker sessions because there is no raising, bluffing, etc. I decide to play small and do $10/hand. In less than 1 hour, I manage to lose the entire $1K after not winning a single hand. That is probably 45-50 hands without getting a pair of 6s or better ONCE. MS is one of those games where you usually have a few chips left (like LIR). I took those to the roulette wheel and place $30 on the 2 (long story). Wheel spins and the ball is literally sitting in the 2 hole and at the last second ii spins out and goes backwards somehow and lands in the spot next to it (25, I think?). It looked like God didn’t want me to win and moved the ball and at this point, I believe it. Really disgusted, I go back to the room and call the wife. I told her how bad things were going and she told me that I knew this was a possibility and to play as good as I could with my last $1,500. Picking up my spirits, I head back to the B for some 5/10. Now instead of being one of the shorter stacks, I am right in the middle. After about two hours of missing every flop and/or getting my steals/bluffs called, I am down to $1,100. I limp OTB with KdJd and BB raises to $80 and I call. Flop is Qd10c4d. I have a huge draw and BB bets out $100 and I just call. Turn is 8h. BB bets $220 and I raise AI and have him covered. He calls quickly with his last $600. River is a brick and he turns over AQ for the win. I only have $300 left and am worn out so I leave. On the way back to the hotel, I realize that I am SO COLD that the temp in LV is 20 degrees less than it was when I arrived…I’m a freezer at this point. I decide to dump it on MS stud and proceed to go on a heater with pairs/two pairs and build it back to $1,110 and cash out. Thinking maybe luck has turned, I immediately go back to the B and sit back down, but this time, I decide to short stack the 10/20 game because I can double/triple up more easily. Seat is open and we are 8 handed. I make a comment to the table that I’m going to be sticking it in quickly so be ready. First hand, huge pot (won with one pair) and two people go bust and leave. They then move a player (this was a must-move table) so we are suddenly 5 handed, which is not exactly the best place for me. Third hand, I raise to $80 with AK, player raises to $300 and I go AI for $1K more. He folds, and I am up to $1,400. Next hand I get KhQh and just limp since I have missed every flop for two days. Flop is KsQx5s. EP bets out $80, MP raises to $240 and I ship in my $1,400 not wanting another flush or straight to get there. EP thinks and moves AI! MP calls rather quickly. I’m looking to scoop a $4K+ pot and be right back in the game after two low/non-spade cards come off. First guy flips over K5 for lower two pair and the next flips over….pocket 5s for the set (Live poker IS rigged after all). Felted x3 (or x4, I forget). I am now -$6,950 (6,400 poker & 650 gambling. Ed note: I got some other money mixed in there by accident so totals are a bit off). Its about 9PM and have to be at the airport at 7AM so go to bed. End of trip.

Side notes:
There was a game on Fri night in Bobby’s Room-lineup was Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Hoyt Corkins, Bobby Baldwin and the owner of Air France. Heard AF dude lost $800K.

Vegas was as busy as I’d seen it all year.

Never flopped a set (or better) all weekend. Hit one draw-missed about 12. Got AA once and had to lay them down.

I stop at the bookstore in the airport and buy a crossword book so I won’t have to think about what just happened for the next two hours. On the first puzzle, the clue is gush out and the correct answer is….spew. Next puzzle, clue is poker holding and the answer is….aces. Whatever.

I do think for a moment on the plane that at least I didn’t see blood pouring out of someone’s head on this trip. I’m driving home and about 15 minutes outside of town, there was a motorcycle accident that had just happened minutes earlier (police/ambulance not even there yet) and the dude is sitting up on the side of the road with blood pouring out of his head with about 4-5 people sitting around him. Eerily similar to the scene I witnessed two weeks prior…and since I was ice cold, I had the title for this crappy TR.

Got home and the kids liked their $7K helicopters. Second flight, oldest daughter flies it onto the roof. I don’t have an extension ladder, neighbor has one but isn’t home and it is starting to thunder…

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  1. Good report. Look at it this way ... next trip, you're due!

  2. Nice trip report!!! Always nice to read about someone taking a shot. Thanks for sharing!!!

    Did you retrieve the helicopter?


  3. JJ, thx for the trip report (As you know I read your blog on the hands). All-in-all, this seems to be bad luck and if you had "normal" luck, seems like you would have won at this level. I hope your analysis of your play reaches the same conclusion. Other than the bad luck beats, what idd you learn from playing @ $15-$20 vs. $5-$10 that is different? Is it much different? How will you play next trip (I think you are still planning a few more monthly trips). Seems like none of your big hands paid off and you lost all the big pots without winning any (or not too many).

    I wish you good luck and it seems like you have a good chance of making money if you can maintain a bankroll and keep the faith.

  4. Hello JJ ,

    I'm sorry to hear the bad news.I guess you might be disappointed but have played poker long enough to know that a few sessions are not that meaningful, either way good or bad. Maybe this is me being a poor player but getting away from that hand in which you held AK on an AK high board would be tricky, your opponent did a good job getting the money in the middle with the nuts.
    One mild criticism, in my opinion when you are down and things are going south playing house games is a mistake. Think of it, you are playing poker at higher stakes and that requires the right frame of mind and discipline, which may very well be the opposite from trying to hit big or get lucky. We all know luck is very important in the short run when we look at our session results but we have to try to detach ourselves from that view.

  5. Yuck. I hope it gets better for you on subsequent trips.

    When people post about all trip reports only being winning reports can we direct them onto this one?

  6. is it possible having to latly done the AA hand and lossinh the 1010 hand affected your AK hand?

  7. @tunicaDan

    I don't think so - it was a completely different session with different players. The reason I couldn't lay it down is because in prior hands, the same players were making the same bets with very marginal hands.

  8. WOW, What a ride. I share your frustration with the TSA,travling for a living myself, however how late would you have been if the TSA had only one agent working, and given your aversion to government programs I suggest you pass on Medicare and Social Security. I disgress WHAT A RIDE.