Poker chips and ketchup


Five guys from a dusty, small town in the middle of the Arizona desert. Each with a dream to turn a small roll into a fat stack in Vegas. Back in March, I learned I wouldn't be going on the European vacation with the missus and suggested a Vegas alternative. To my small surprise and huge elation, she not only okayed the trip but found the arrangements for me. I hooked up a buddy and we were in. Not 10 minutes later, two other buddies want in on the same trip and it's done! We are headed for Vegas during WSOP Main Event! SWEET! The last of the posse, who turned 21 a mere four days before the trip, bought his fare and room also.

We arrive on Monday around 8:30. Shoot to the hotel(Circus-hey! it's only for sleeping!) drop the bags and head to the V! NICE! Everyone gets into a 1-2 game. My first big hand of the night..get QQ and make a nice raise...called by a couple. When flop comes with a King I know I'm probably beat...but it comes around checked and I fire anyway...the big reraise tells me to go away and I do. A few hands later I get A/Q and call a raise in position. Flop comes Q high and I figure I'm gonna rake my first pot with a nice $80 all in. Not to be as the off-duty dealer to my right rolls over his kings. Oh well...first rebuy! Few hands later get A/10 and call the same guy's $15 preflop. Flop comes with an ace and two rags. I call his $15 bet. Next card another blank. Another call for $15. Last card off....a 10..BEAUTIFUL! He makes it $15 again...I raise him up another $15 and he starts asking me about that river. I don't lie and tell him straight up that it helped my hand. He makes the call and says, "show me A/10. I of course do.'s now around 1:00 am and I'm out. Down 130 already, but LOVING this place.

I get to the room and Buddy tells me about his huge hand. He flops trip 6's with pockets, makes a nice bet and is called by a foreign guy with stereo, hoodie, glasses, all MR. PRO. Well..on the turn...a 10 comes on and buddy makes another nice raise. Villain says all in...around 350 in chips with 2 bills behind. My buddy of course calls and flips his 66's. Villain mucks his hand...but then it gets interesting. As the dealer is pushing the chips...he reaches then for the bills...and the villain tries to take them off the table. He starts screaming that he had trip 10's???!! Calls for the floor...asks my buddy to be nice...tries everything but of course to no avail. Buddy is up nice for the night. Lesson #1 - make sure you know what's going on at the table.

Day two - tried the MGM. Nice action! Bet out in position with 88 on a KK4 board when it was checked and nobody had the K so raked a nice one. Later caught a Jack with A/J but Queen was hanging on the flop. Had to bet a guy with $15 and continued for $25 on the turn to get him to fold his draw. Sweet. Go over and cash out for my first Vegas win! Now I'm only down $99 so I head over to the Rio to check things out.

Took the free shuttle and get to Rio around noon, just in time to hear the shuffle up and deal for day 2B. What a cool place! Saw quite a few famous players and really enjoyed the whole circus of it all. (Ate at the Carnival Buffet...would not recommend it. Mandalay Bay FAR exceeds)

Get back to the strip and decide to try the T.I. for a bit. After two hours of nitty play, I get A/K in the blind and flat call a $17 raise from an early position raiser. Flop comes king high so I check. Villain fires 50 and I go all in...only to find that he has the AA and I'm done. No redraws either. Ok..lesson learned. Leave the T.I. and get back to the V. Only one hand of note. Had 10/6 in the blind and it comes unraised. Flop of 10/6/X with two hearts has me leading for pot...getting reraised all in for about 60 more...I call...he's on the flush draw..but doesn't hit so Bingo! I'm up. I cash after around 2 hrs for about 50 bux and I'm done at 1 am. I figure I should get some z's so I can be in better shape tomorrow.

Wed. am - straight to the V around 10. Called a small raise with 9/6 suited and flop the open str8 draw. As I'm down to only 80 with about 20 already out there...I decide I'm gonna try to build a pot. I bet the caller..who had paired the Ace on the board. Turn no good..but I get another 25 in. Call. Last card is a beautiful 10 giving me nut str8 with no flush possible...I'm all in for last bit and get called for a nice pot. Left up a bit and went to get some lunch. Get back to the V and sit down at another table. Up and down for 2 hrs. before I finally get JJ in early...decide to limp. Bunch of callers and no raises preflop. Flop comes A/J/9 with two hearts. I make it $25 and get raised by the player on my left. Folded around to me and I go all in. CALL he says! Sweet...except I hope he isn't on the flush draw. Relief when a 9 hits on the turn and I have the boat. Leave after about three hours with another nice win! Went over to MGM to see how the amigos were doing. Everyone is winning! This is a great action place! Lots of everything. I sit down and am down right away when I try to push A/9 from the button on a weird flop. A few hands later I make it up with AA when I get a call from an early position raiser after I pump the $15 to $50 preflop. I put her on A/K....but flop comes Q/J/blank. After she checks...I make it $100 just to make sure and she folds after some thought about calling with the draw. Few hands later...I have A/Q and make it $15 to go. Get called by BB. Flop is 10/J/X. Whiff..he checks...I decide to let a card come off..and bingo...King hits on the turn. He leads out...I raise...he reraises..I go all in and he insta-calls! Poor guy had Q/9 for second nut str8. first big all in double up! Left MGM with around 200 profit and went to dinner at Carve, Eastside Cannery. Highly recommend! EXCELLENT service and food, reasonably priced!

Get back to the V for a little late night and buy in for $200. First hand brings KK! what?!GEEZ...make it $10 in early pos. Get the blind to call. Flop comes 7/9/J..not great...but who knows...he checks. I fire $35 and he calls. Next card off...K! Sweet! I check after he checks though...just to see if I can boat up on the river. River brings an Ace. Guy bets $60 and I insta call. Of course he has the straight the whole time...nice. Man...rebuy for another $100 on top and start over. Ran it back up to over $350 catching some good stuff and left around 12:30 up $100 so..not bad for the day.

Thurs. AM - decide to check out the Mandalay Bay buffet. Definite food highlight of the trip. I would recommend coming at 1100 and camping out till around 1130 to get the lunch menu working. It was amazing. Head over to the poker room. There are two 1-2 games in progress and they seat me with 5 others at a new table. It fills quickly. I soon realize that I am going to have to make a hand against these people as nobody respect raises, top pair or anything else. To my ULTIMATE frustration...I end the session down $260 having been card dead basically for two hours and getting sucked into the bingo poker mentality. Not my best work although I would recommend this room to a tight, patient player looking to make a profit.

Get down to the MGM and play for 5 hrs! Longest session yet. It was up and down till I got the cowboys in position. Early raiser calls my $25 preflop. Flop comes queen high. After she checks..I make it all in with two flush cards out there...she mucks...definitely not getting a lot of value on my huge hands. Another hand, I have A/Q suited and raise in position, blind calls the $10. Flop is 9/10/J rainbow. Beautiful...he bets $20...I call. Turn is Ace...he only had $60 I put him all in! Last card off is another J...and he turns over Q/J for the win. WOW...was I wrong to call the flop bet? Please let me know.

Friday morning I head over to the V for one last session...after folding for 45 min I get the cowboys in position and make it $15. I get 4 callers?! Ok...flop comes 522....BB bets all in for $60...I call..he has pocket 88's. Sweet. It's just time to get to the Rio to watch day 3 so I rack up and leave with a $100 profit. Get to the Rio and get to the feature table area. Kenny Tran is showing the audience his hole cards and it's so cool to watch him make his moves! Joe Hachem is on the other side doing well. We watch a hand where one poor dude gets his AA cracked by pocket JJ's and he's out.

It's 5:00 and time to think about getting back to AZ. We get to the airport quite early and after eating, bs'ing about the trip and buying the family goodies...we finally realize we should be playing poker!! Chips please! Oh sure..those Burger king ketchup packets will do for the dollars and the pepper packs look like $.50 chips to me! SWEET...we all buy in for $20 and get the last of our poker playing in till it's time to board.

GREAT TRIP! Learned a ton...but need to learn a whole lot more!

Last Edited: