Play Poker 'Til You Drop! PART II


The day before we left on our trip my son Chris spotted a $10k guarantee tournament at Binions. Although we had read some reviews that were so-so about the place, we decided that we should give this one a try and since Binions holds such a large place in the history of the game we were looking forward to visiting the hangout of so many legendary players. The tourney started at 2PM so we headed down a little early to see how the downtown looks these days and were very pleasantly surprised. We have been there before so this wasn't our first rodeo. Everything looked cleaner and brighter. When we entered Binions it was the biggest surprise of all. The place looked great. Don't get me wrong, we're not talking about the Venetian but I have to say it was about 1000% better thant the last time we visited. They have a new air filtration system which makes a huge difference and in addition they've done a lot to brighten things up. We were told that the 4 Queens had recently bought the place and there was much more to come. After looking around a bit we headed to the poker room. Although we'd never been there before we were pleasantly surprised at that as well. Of course there are pictures of all the greats around the walls so it adds to the experience. We signed up for the tourney and waited for it to start. It cost $70 plus an optional re-buy for $40 which we did immediately when we were seated. Some guys waited and would re-buy if they busted out. I can see the strategy in doing it either way so choose your weapon. There were 150 signed up so they covered the guarantee with no problem. 1st place was about $3600, 2nd around $2200 and down from there for about 15 places.

We both got off to a good start, I managed to nearly triple up before the first break on the following play: The player to my right goes all in and I look down to see KK. Oh yea. I figure him for an A-blank since his stack was a bit low so I go all in. The Asian guy to my left immediately calls and I think uh-oh, we just found the other aces. Wrong-99. Flop comes XXA, crap, turn no help- river K! Whoa Nellie we sucked out! Grumble Grumble, handshake good luck.

After the break things are going fine until I catch an A-Q offsuit and put in a decent raise. A guy 2 places to my left goes all in. He'd been a bit erratic and I put him on A - rag and so I thought "what the hell" and I called. I was right, he had A-8. Flop comes rag-rag-rag, turn the same. Now we're down to 1 card and he catches an 8. Ouch there goes a bunch of my stack. After that it was the death spiral into poker hell. I looked around and my son Chris was hanging in there with a nice stack. HMMM, still something to get excited about.

Long story short, Chris ended up at the final table and they moved them to center table where they used to hold the final for the World Series of Poker. What a rush. I could tell he was pretty excited to be there but he kept his head and played his game. The players kept dropping and they were down to 5. The chip leader at the table (the same guy that killed me on the river) all of a sudden lost his focus and committed Hari Kari. I don't know what happened to him but he made one crazy play after another and he was gone. Wow, down to 4 from 150. They had a break and everyone wanted to chop. The chip leader donated some money and the rest of the guys each took $1800. Chris had some real mixed emotions about doing this since he was playing well and two of the guys were obviously just trying to stay alive without taking any chances but rather than being a jerk he agreed so the day ended on a high note. We ate at Binions Steakhouse overlooking the city and the food was excellent. Nothing like $1800 bucks in your pocket and a good steak dinner I always say.

In conclusion I have to say that Binions was a very pleasant experience (even without the win), they are trying hard to improve the place and are succeeding. The poker room staff were all very good and the dealers did a fine job-I didn't see any mistakes at all.

With the strip fast filling up with upper end resorts, there will certainly be a market for the downtown and places like Binions.

Part 3 to come shortly, and the old man cashes!

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  1. congrats to your son on his fine play...but tell him next time that if doesn't want to chop he should not feel bad in the least about saying so.