Monday, December 11, 2006

Vegas: Cards, steak and balls

Gambling is the oxygen of Vegas -- it's everywhere you go and it's necessary for survival.

But this trip, I didn't feel like I was gasping for air, trying to get in as much playing time as I possibly could. There are plenty of opportunities to gamble it up in any trip to Vegas, so why push it? It certainly helped that I got off to a strong start so I didn't feel pressured to put in long hours at the tables.

Of course, I always wish there were more hours in the day so that I could have gotten more play in!

I felt like it was still Friday when I got in to town Saturday morning. I had worked during the day, packed afterward, ate a good Thai dinner and watched Battlestar Galactica before getting on my plane. My connecting flight in Los Angeles got canceled, so I didn't get in to Vegas until after 9 a.m.

From there, it was straight to Caesar's to sit at a newly started 2/5 NL game. In that first short session, I flopped three flushes, got dealt KK and successfully bluffed several pots to win more than $900. That was very nice. This one guy wearing a Kauai hat made the table a lot of fun, and I even got lucky when he hit his 2 pair on the river off a starting hand of 73 vs. one of my flushes.

Afterward, I played in the blogger tournament, which Caesar's kindly hosted. Congrats to -EV for taking down the tourney, even though he busted me when I pushed my short stack in with QQ and he called with 33 and hit a set.

Sunday was filled with delicious food and donktastic low-limit poker at the Alladin, Caesar's and the Stratosphere. I'm still wondering if Daniel may have bluffed me off a decent-sized pot when I raised big preflop with Q9s in an attempt to steal all the limps on the table, and then fired a continuation bet into an A7x flop. He called, and when I check-folded the turn, he showed a 7. I don't think he had a set, but maybe A7. Or maybe nothing. :)

We ate at Commander's Palace and had dinner with Fuel55 at Binion's Steak House. It was a fulfilling meal, and it was fascinating to talk a lot of poker with Fuel. His style appears to be a little bit more aggressive than mine, and it seems to be quite successful.

At the end of dinner, Daniel broke out the deck of cards. We had been high carding to decide who would cover the bill all weekend, but Fuel didn't know what hit him. When he drew a 2 out of the deck, he was stuck with the $200 tab. That's OK though -- his Vegas vacation was very profitable.

Then we went out to Sam's Town to go bowling with an awesome subset of poker bloggers who like drinking and knocking down pins. Metsfan schooled us, and bowling turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Everyone there was really cool and fun to be around. Afterward, I was too tired to gamble effectively, so I played some 2/4 and 1/2 NL at the Stratosphere. It was terrible.

All weekend, people were telling me I looked like celebrities -- Robert Wagner (who plays Number Two in "Austin Powers) and Ted Forrest are the two I remember. I hope I am never remembered as Number Two, but I can aspire to play poker like Forrest.

Monday morning brought poker at the Bellagio, which remains the gemstone of Vegas. Its poker room was already packed at noon, and I saw Chip Reese and (I think) Eli Elezra playing in Bobby's Room. I settled in to a 2/5 table when this hand fell.

In a three-way pot, I held 87 of diamonds on a Jd Td Xc flop, so I had both a weak flush and gutshot possibility. A player who was bleeding money led out for $40, I called, and the late position player called. The turn brought another rag, and again the early position player bet out $40 again. It felt weak, so I raised to $120. The late position player called, and I didn't get the fold I wanted from the original bettor. He called, and the pot was getting big.

I didn't want to watch what the river would bring. As I looked out into space, a beautiful 9d fell, giving me a straight flush! The early position player bet $300, and I called with the rest of my chips. He turned over Q8o for a made gutshot straight on the river.

I must be living right.


JL514 said...

Nice report. Hell of a hand to end the Vegas trip on!

katitude said...

Great to see you Mark! Wish I'd been able to stick around for bowling tho rather than being on the flight from hell, lol!

Alan said...

Damn you. You've made me want a Pearl.