SCENE 1 –the arrival
I arrived for in Vegas around midnight on Friday the 30th after a delayed flight and the world’s longest carbide from the airport (maybe more on that is a separate thread). I checked into the Flamingo for a mighty 4 night stay, and using the $20 trick (I’ll post more on this is a separate thread as well) was able to upgrade to a mini-suite with a separate bedroom and living room. The accommodations were nothing to write home about, but seeing as how I spent less that $180 for all four nights I’m most certainly not complaining. As many have said, for cost and location you really can’t beat the Flamingo or Bally’s. I prefer Bally’s since the Flamingo’s elaborate pool area seems to attract families with an abundance of toddlers, and it’s connected to Paris…which gives you two casinos for the price of one. Anyway, I debated running across the Blvd for a little late night NL action at Caesars, but my need for sleep got the best of me. Of course, my upgraded suite turned out to be adjacent to the PURE nightclub and the whole room was vibrating at a pitch not conducive to sleep. So I ended up giving up on the upgrade and getting moved to a quiet king room in the back looking out over Bally’s—nothing special except the serenity…during the entire 4 days I never heard a peep from the elevators, ice-machine, or nightclubs.
SCENE 2 –the grand plan
Saturday morning I pop out of bed at the crack of 10. I grab a little breakfast and head over to take my shot at the Venetian Deep Stack tourney. I pay my $550 and before taking the 9 seat at table 32, I do a little reconnaissance looking for Straybullet. I don’t know what he looks like, but I know from one of LVM’s earlier postings that his card protector may be flipping me off. I walk around ogling everyone’s card protectors and getting weird looks, but no luck. I take my seat prepared to prove once and for all that the only thing standing between me and well-deserved tournament success was the right tourney structure. I’m sure you can see where this is going. As it turns out, I’m the only thing standing between me and tournament success. I could say that I didn’t get cards (and that would be true), of course the decision to play the cards I did get…well that’s all me. Level 5 with blinds at 200-400 with a $25 ante and I’ve got $4,900. It’s folded around to me on the button with J-Qs and I decide to push (yeah, I know), the SB wakes up with A-K and calls and I’m done. Despite my lackluster showing, this is an amazing tournament with fantastic structure, room, and staff. The competition is definitely tougher than anywhere else I’ve played (the Caesar’s tourneys in particular) but I still highly recommend it. I think I did spot stray bullet before I left (with a white character chip protector), but I didn’t get a chance to say high. Apparently he ended up chopping for the prize pool: Way to go Stray!
SCENE 3 – Meetings
I gather the remnants of my crushed spirit and head over to Treasure Island for some $1-3 NL. The room is small and packed, but I liked the game/players a lot. As soon as I’m on the list, I go on another reconnaissance mission to see if LVM is in the room—sure enough there he is with his big baccarat chip protector. I introduce myself and he is (as you would expect) a great guy. Although not red-headed as I imagined. We only get to chat for a minute of two before my seat on another table opens up. I then sit down, anxious to play and discover I am sitting with the tightest poker players known to man. I think we went 5 hands without a flop and nine hands without a turn card. Who are these players? Anyway, I’m an action junky, so I put in for a table change and get moved onto Michael’s table pretty quick, at which point he introduces me to a bona fide WSOP celebrity—the guy who finished 46th in the main event (sorry forgot his name and the year) but he was a blast too. I also got to meet Michael’s wife who is both charming and stunning (and I’m certain incredibly tolerant), before they left for dinner with a good cache of chips. After that I continued catching some decent cards and made one really epic bluff for a small profit before heading out around 8pm.
SCENE 4 – a soft seat
After grabbing a bite to eat, I decide to stay in and try playing at the Flamingo. The room has about 8 or so tables and is in a corner of the casino floor. It’s not posh or comfy and the dealers weren’t that great, but the list management was excellent. With names on the list they did everything that they could to drum up players, including making announcements that carried into the casino encouraging people to come try the game. The room was packed from 9pm-2am. I played pretty loose pre-flop since the table was full of callers. One hand in particular illustrates how great the game was. UTG and two other players limp as do I (in the cutoff with 67s). The small blind raises it up to $15 and is called by the big blind and three of the limpers (including me). The flop is 568rainbow, giving me middle pair with an open ended straight draw. The initial raiser bets $25 into a $70 pot and two players before me call (as do I). I’m certain I’m currently behind, but I figure I’m getting awesome odds to chase my straight here. Turn comes and it’s a nine giving me a straight. The small blind bets all-in for another 50+ and gets a single caller, before I push all in on the caller for his last $60 (which he calls). I’m expecting a monster over-pair and a set, but the SB has pocket jacks and the caller had A8. This is my kind of table! I finally head off to bed around 2am after some drunken fool tries to start a fight with a dealer. The room calls security, so the guy (psycho Joe?) just grabs two handfuls of redbirds from a tablemate and books into the casino…being chased by two security cards well into their dotage—clearly it was bedtime.
To be continued: The saga continues on Sunday morning…