Whiskeytown trip report – Las Vegas –
So, as was common knowledge, I spent this week in Lost Wages –
SUNDAY: - Starstruck
The morning starts off positive EV – I head from work after 7am to the airport via light rail, get my flight (I have 4 hrs to kill before it goes but I didn’t feel like going home) and I find that I still have time for the 9:30 flight if the line thru security is short… - free tkt. transfer and all – SO, I rush to the gate, sit for 10 min, board, and I’m on my way 4 hrs early. I have to get a hold of Felicialee and tell her not to come pick me up at 4pm, but come 10am local time, I am at the airport. The line there is around the block, but after 20 minutes, a cab arrives to get me to the Imperial Palace –
First thing I do is lose the army jacket (I won’t wear it again pretty much the whole trip except my first night walking the strip – I don’t know what the crowd is like and if there is danger, that jacket sort of tells everyone to stay away) – Head over to the Imperial Palace, and get myself in one of those 77 person tourneys that Felicia always warns me about – an exceptionally flat payout makes 10-8th pay the same and it’s only 4 times less then 1st. I make it to 8th when I bust out – I made the right call at the right time on the turn but got the wrong goddamn card. Ah well. – good start anyways.
Great story here. We’re down to 18, and one guy has a massive chip lead but has a plane to catch. He doubles me up playing shit cards (thank you) but wins a few from others too. Finally at 17, he says his wife won’t forgive him if he’s late – (whipped, obviously) – He goes to the floor, leaves his address, and proceeds to get blinded off. However, he doesn’t lose all his chips till 6th place. That means I lost 2 places in the lineup to a guy who was gone 45 minutes ago….LOL – I guess the place mailed him his money.
I mark myself as a tourist right away when I ask the cocktail waitress for a whiskey and ask her how much when she brings it. I continue to ask them every time they bring one the whole week. I know it’s free, I just like hearing them say it. Beautiful women giving me free booze at a poker game I’m winning it….does it get any better without getting R-rated?
Then, over to the Mirage – I’ve gotten a voicemail from Luv2driveTT (a fellow twoplustwo'er) and when I get to the Mirage an hr. early, I see a seat at a table right by the entrance, so I sit down at 3/6 and wait for the rest to show up. Felicia and Glenn show up at 5pm (having looked for me at the IP and just missed my busting out) and we go to California Pizza Kitchen where they scrap together a meat lover’s pizza for me – All is good as we head to drunk magoo poker with 2+2’er’s and Mason and Ed Miller – (I’d have brought their book to sign had I known BOTH were coming….it was at the hotel, crap) –
The stories of drunk magoo poker? – Me mucking when I have the rock and a mandatory straddle – Ed looking way to young (and suspiciously like a pothead to me with that long hair….you on the wacky weed, ed? - J ) – Stabn, Accident, Felicia, Glenn, Al Capone, Luv2Drive, The Dude. Me, Mason and Ed Miller – damn – I’m missing someone…sorry guys. I can’t remember if Stabn’s significant other played or if she just watched - I was a bit blurry by then on 36 hrs of no sleep and 7 shots of Bushmills during the tourney 2 hrs. before.
Anyways, I bail as everyone else is bailing about 9pm. The plan is to go to bed, get up and start fresh and awake, but as my feet hit the strip and the hotel, and I walk out onto the small balcony, I realize that going to bed early in Vegas feels as wrong as passing up a free roll in the hay with a cheerleader – it’s a sin against humanity.
So I grab the walkman, and walk down to catch the show that is the Bellagio fountains. I’ve seen these on the travel channel, and I’m aware of the issues they had building them, but I am so damned impressed I can barely breathe. It’s like watching comets or shooting stars going up in front of you sometimes. Having done that, I am content to go back at 10pm and sleep like the dead for about 8 hrs.
One funny note – at the Mirage before the gathering, I run into a woman named Rachel – she fits the stereotypical retired woman who now plays poker and comes to Vegas several times a yr. She asks me if I’ve ever heard I look a bit like Russell Crowe (I’ve heard that several times….and they remember my name even more when I tell them I’m actually Russell Brown) – This is important in the days to come – LOL.
MONDAY – this town is tough?
Another day at the Imperial Palace tourneys…. they’re mostly freezeout with one rebuy and one add-on. I HATE rebuys, but in this case, I just consider it a $65 tourney instead of a $40 tourney. I end up sitting next to a couple beautiful women during the tourney, and am glad I changed into clean clothes. Alas, my styling black boots get me nowhere, and I am left disappointed. I did get 4th in the tourney though, for a small chunk of change. I manage to catch Accident for about an hr. before the tourney as he comes over to play before catching a plane. – but that is the last 2+2er I see before the plane ride out.
Well, I HAVE to go to Bellagio and play. – So I head over there, and almost double up in 5 min. on a 4/8 game – I see Rachel again (as she shouts Russ when she sees me…LOL) – and she tells me she’s heading over to Flamingo – I spend the next 2 hrs dropping my winnings and leave Bellagio about 9 bucks up. I then go to Flamingo and play the WORST poker players I have ever seen. I struggle with this cause I’m down 100 bucks after 3 hrs….but I KNOW that the cards will come, and their luck can’t hold up. But I play on the same table with Rachel and her hubby and feel like I’ve been playing with them for the last yr. -
So I toss it around….go to bed and rest (I wasn’t getting the best sleep at nights….big pillows or whiskey…not sure which) – or grind it out. I didn’t think I could play my best poker pissed at getting run down and being tired/wore out. – So again, I pack it up and head out, satisified with my $24 profit for the day… - (hey, if you can eat and drink free, that’s half the reason I play poker…LOL)
TUESDAY – ah…found the assholes
Tues. I wake up eager to find a tourney, but it looks like there isn’t one at the IP till 7pm. So I call the Sahara and find there’s an early tourney at 1pm. (researched on the internet before coming) – get on the Monorail, and take a LONG trip to the north end of the Strip. When I get there, I am disappointed – one NL game with 4 people around it, that’s it. But a few locals assure me if I join the 2/4 list and we get 5 handed and sit near the front of the room that more people will fill it up – SO, we do and I drop 40 bucks in 60 min. playing shorthanded 2/4 holdem. – Ah well…LOL
Then starts the tourney – 18 players with one rebuy and one add on. I find out one rebuy doesn’t stop players from buying back in with new player entries when busting out – (you’re allowed to do that the first hr.) – so I’m in no danger. One chump busts out twice and buys back in twice. You know this guy, the slightly flashy Middle Eastern player with a poor attitude, swingers clothing, and a bit of gold. All he needed was the toothpick.
It’s at this point my first bad experience comes. We’re down to 11 in the 2nd hr and the next player to bust leaves and we go 10 handed at 1 table (still no money till 3 players) – I fold and pretty much ignore what’s going on at the far end of the table, but Middle Eastern guy (hereafter referred to as MEG) and another local get all in – MEG has KJ, other guy has AQ.
Flop comes KJT – turn and river come, and the pot is pushed to the Middle Eastern Guy (MEG) and we go 9 handed. We also had another player bust same hand, and she mentions the straight takes it and we go on to the final table and draw seats. A minute later, the other player who busts out is wondering where his chips are….just like that, 3 of us (including the dealer but not the girl who was all-in as well) saw the 2 pair but missed the straight and the pot has been pushed to the wrong player. Then starts one HELL of a debate – 5 players at the other table are saying the hand is done and you can’t fix it, but we haven’t started the next one yet. MEG is being a total dick (notice he didn’t correct the error when it happened) – and doesn’t want to give back the chips. The camera tells the truth, but MEG is fighting it tooth and nail with the floor, and the other guy doesn’t even want to play cause if he does, he’s got to sit next to the guy who tried to steal his chips. In the end they give him his buyin/rebuy back and he leaves and the other players bitch about whether it’s coming out of the prize pool.
I can’t resist at this point, as I look directly at MEG and say “good job…way to take the high road” – cheap shot, but he deserves it. – Long story short…4 handed I’m all in with AK hearts and get called by AJ diamonds and am busted by an English Tourist who is slumming in Vegas for a couple days before heading over to Commerce to play in the big $15000 tourney at Commerce (he won a satellite online but didn’t want to be in LA for 3 days…. don’t blame him) – I hope he busted MEG in the balls.
I go back to the Mirage and play for a bit – play a satellite I can’t win for their evening tourney (that was nasty…$300 in chips) – drop $100 playing Limit 3/6 – One talkative guy there got me when I had QJ – flop came KJJ…. turn came Q – river A – we got it 3 bets on the river before I checked and show him QJ – he takes 2 seconds talking before turning over KJ and slapping me up for the bitch I am.
I go to the Imperial Palace, enter the tourney I’m 2 for 2 for – we’re down to 35 or so when I call a mini raise with A8 on the button. Flop comes AK8 – he checks, I’m all in and he calls with AJ. I see the J before anyone else (sitting next to the dealer’s right in seat 10) on the river and slap the table before anyone sees the card, but that’s poker. Hell, I’d probably have lost anyways if it was AK7 cause I’d have done the same thing. – I just got a lucky flop. I play in a live NL game and stay good for an hr. playing tight and folding when my JJ runs into KK. I decide to call it a day and play somewhere else on Wed but not before dining on the good old’ Prime Rib sandwich in the Teahouse on Poker Comp Dollars.
WEDNESDAY – you can’t hit if you don’t swing.
Back to Bellagio at 8am. I walk in as they’re doing satellites for the $540 at 1pm. I sit down – it’s 10 handed – 2 get seats, and we get 1500 in chips – so it’s not the worst tourney in the world. One loud talkative [censored] near me (a dealer apparently) can’t sit still long enough to play 4 handed without a drag on the cigarette.
Early on, I get K8 Clubs in LP, limp, and flop comes with 2 clubs and the turn gives me a double gutshot. My opponent goes all in and I decide to gamble with 15 outs. (I thought the satellite would move faster, but it lasted over an hr.) - He has A10 and it turns out I have 18 outs with my 3 kings as well. I hit the A of clubs and I’m in comfy shape till about 3 players.
There’s the loud kid, a friendly local who knows everyone, and myself. One hand I get all in with 22 vs. KJ, flop trips, and I’ve knocked loud kid down to 4 BB’s. Next hand I get AQ vs. his 64 but can’t close the deal, so he’s almost back. – We collar up, and we’re almost even 3 handed but with about 6BB’s each. I get all-in with AK vs. 66 and can’t win so I bust.
The local comes to me afterwards and apologizes. Apparently he had a hand he would/could have played had he not been distracted. He’d have gotten the straight and busted the kid. Because everyone was talking to him, he didn’t concentrate and didn’t bust the kid and cost me the satellite.
I’m not going to say I went on tilt, cause I didn’t. But suddenly, I’m thinking very heavy. $540 is the most I’ve ever paid for a tourney, and if I bust, it’s 2/4 the rest of the day or maybe 3/6 if I’m lucky. AND I need to hit the ATM to do that. But these guys, they’re no better then anyone else. I’ve placed twice in Vegas, bubbled twice, and lost my shot once to a 3 outer. I’m not losing with the worst hands, just the best ones or the occasional 50/50.
If it was the beginning of the week, I’d say screw it and move on. But this is my last day, it’s a Bellagio tourney (with a better structure….takes about 6-7 hrs. to complete) and the fields are softer cause of Commerce going on. So I sign up. We end up with a few over 100 – so one table will pay.
I may have only really played about 10 hands the whole tourney. I was hand dead but got a great lucky flop at one point and survived easy into the 4th hr. but I was flat tired most of the time (lots of J4) –
I make one mistake over raising the third hr with KK and only getting blinds/antes - stupid amateur move – made it 7 times BB instead of 4 (didn’t account for the fact the antes were only 25 instead of 50) – so I missed a good double up there.
when we get to 21 players (9 pays) we’re 7 handed and I have to steal blinds every 6 hands just to stay even with them and antes, and it can’t last forever. Anyways…after two successful steals around the table I get AQ – a pretty tight player raises UTG. I’m almost certain at best, I’m 50/50 – but I have to try. Just cause he hasn’t been playing doesn’t mean he’s tight. His cards could suck as bad as mine and I had only played with him since we consolidated to 27, so not a lot of time to see his style. I have to take the shot even though I think I’ll probably die about 75 percent of the time. I can’t steal blinds forever with so many bigger stacks.
He has AK – I actually caught a Q on the turn but he rivered a K. goddamn. So they make it 2 tables and I drag my sorry ass back to the Flamingo and play in their 3 table tourney but not before running into Rachel again…(I kept hearing Russ being shouted all week and expected to see a 2+2er and it was a nice retired lady …LOL) –
I play in their tourney and raise with JJ to 5 times BB early on about the 4th hand – and get called by BB. Flop comes 742 and I go all in and he calls – he had 22. – Called 1/3rd of his stack with 22 and flopped a set. I’m down to $250 and can’t recover and am the 3rd person out of that tourney in 30 min. At that point, I say [censored] it and go to my room and lie down. Watch Tilt, and decide at 9pm to go down and play a bit more at the 3/6 IP game. I think I won a few bucks, I don’t remember, but I skip the midnight multiple rebuy tourney – go to the 24 hr. place only to find it’s closed – (another bad beat – I have 30 bucks in comp dollars I can’t use now)- and just say fuck it and go to bed.
There will probably be a few comments about bankroll management and whether the $540 was a good investment. My biggest hole two years ago was winning 200 bucks and entering 200 buck tourneys instead of more 10 buck tourneys. It’s a hole I’ve plugged, and like I say, I would never do it at the start of my week with my $800 allocated for the trip. But it’s the last day, it’s a decent tourney, and sheeit….I’m on vacation. I want the new experience – I want the vibe of playing tourneys with 2 hr rounds and seeing if I can keep my focus when it’s half speed of online.
And I thought I could place in it….plain and simple. I think long term it would be a +EV move for me, and I’d do it again – I had shit cards and still almost made it to 2 table – just think of what I could do with real hands.
I did see Daniel Negreanu there probably getting money from his lockbox for Commerce but was too shy to ask if he’d take a picture with me – (hardly took any pictures, actually) – met Suzie Issacs – Maureen Feduziak was in the tourney with her Husband, and a guy who looked a HELL of a lot like Erik Palladino was there. (his name was Erik too…could have been him for all I know - ) – but no $18000 first place prize.
I go to the airport via shuttle at 8am, not sure of how long the security line will be. It’s a hell of a lot shorter and I’m sitting at 9am for an 11am flight after trying the new BK double crossandwich. (Not good…the bacon is all that makes it a double, and it isn’t worth it…) – I’m sitting there reading when Luv2DriveTT is there and spots me – we’re even flying out of the same gate, he’s just the plane ahead of me. We chat for a bit before he has to rush on – wish we could have played some more – I’ve urged him to come to Canterbury and take part in our fine-ass fishes. We’ll get ya covered…LOL –
Flight is on time and arrives at Mpls.…take light rail to bus to home, play in a satellite online, watch Veronica Guerin, and sleep the sleep of the dead. Dreamed I played poker with Britney Spears…and she sucked. Woke up this morning and can scarcely remember Vegas- it’s 18 degrees here, and the place is a bit of a mess. No parties outside my window, no Bellagio fountains, any lights or Mexican guys trying to give me cards for hookers/strip shows. No asking people where they’re from and sharing stories of Montana or Minnesota if they’re from the same local.
I think I’ll try to make it back – I don’t know…. maybe if I wipe out my credit card debt I’ve been hanging on to the last few yrs. I’ll come up in April or May before the temp. really soars….good times.