Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Vegas Extravagana - Day 3 (and 4)

After falling asleep at 10:30Am the previous day, I desperately needed at least some sleep. I made sure to leave a message on Matt’s cell phone that he needn’t bother disturbing me until at least 5PM because I would be in bed, dreaming of cracking pocket Aces. My body woke me up at about 4:30, and after showering and getting dressed, I called up Matt again to see what was going on. He wanted to meet up for dinner at about 8PM or so, so I was on my own until then. 3 hours wouldn’t be enough time to do anything worthwhile, so I wrote the last blog entry and did some more trip research. I got bored of this after about an hour and I wandered downstairs to the Stratosphere poker room to see what was going on. There was a 1-2NL game going on which I joined, but it was boring as hell. Not only couldn’t I get any cards, but there was nearly no action at the table. BORING.

I got up from the table at about 8:15PM and went to meet Matt at The Paris. There is a great little restaurant on the casino floor called Mon Ami Gabi which I had been to in my first trip to Vegas. My friend Gary, who used to live out here, had brought me to it and I remember it being pretty good. It was. We had a nice dinner of filet mignon (for them) and steak Dijon (for me) and a couple of really great glasses of wine. Afterwards, we dropped off Rachel at The Venetian (her request) to leave the boys alone for a night of poker.

At Matt’s request, he wanted to see some of the local joints, which fit into my plans perfectly because we could go to some places I’d never been before. We decided to hit Santa Fe Station, north west of the city. The place, like a good portion of the locals places, was nice enough, but a bit on the smoky side. The poker room is a decent size with about 14 tables, and there were at least 5 or 6 tables going. We were seated at two different 1-2 tables immediately and we went at it. For about 90 minutes. We were crushed! I can’t speak for Matt, because I wasn’t at his table, but I got creamed. I lost two full 200 buyins on three pots, all to the same guy, who check-raised me every single damn time. And the worst part is, I really don’t think I could have done anything differently. It seemed to really be a case of bad timing. Here’s what happened.

I get A7 on the button and it limps around. The flop is 723, with two clubs. A guy in MP bets 5 and a few people call. I pop it to 25 on the button and just my nemesis calls. The turn is another 2. Nemesis checks to me. Now I put him on a flush draw. I bet out 45 (much bigger than the table is used to). He smooth calls! Ru-roh. The river is a brick. He checks, but I can see the trap coming from a mile away and I check. He tables 77 for the second nuts.

Next, I have 89o on the button again and the guy to my right raises to 15, a pretty standard PF raise here. I debate calling because I know I’ll get a whole bunch of other callers in here so I do and I do. About 6 people call to build a juicy pot. The flop is 779. It checks all the way around to the original raiser to my right and he C-bets 40. I have a good read that this guy is bluffing, so I decide to take it down with my pair. I move all in for 71 total. It folds around to my nemesis, who moves all in for 103! Shit! The original raiser says, “I was bluffing but I have outs, so I call.” Huh? My nemesis tables another slow played monster, A7. There were no diamonds on board, by the way. The turn is a 6 and the river is a Ten. Wow! I made my straight. I turn over my cards and say, “Straight!” and original raiser says, “I got a bigger one bro.” and turns over Jd8d. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck!

I buy in for another 200 and take down a nice pot when it limps around to me in the BB and I call (free call) with 95o. The flop is 558. I check and the UTG guy bets out 15. I call and it’s heads up. The turn is a brick. I check again and he bets out 30. I pop it to 50 more. He seems puzzled but he calls. I have a good hand with three 5’s, but it’s a crap kicker and I’m out of position. So when the river comes, another brick, I check again and he checks. He has KK! LOL. He’s upset he lost with KK. Uh, dude, try raising with it. So now my stack is about 290, which gets whittled down when I can’t hit my big cards after I’ve raised them. You know the drill. AK in your hand, flop is 223 with a bet. JJ in your hand, flop is AKQ. Etc, etc, etc. I have about 220 in my hand when I get 67o in MP. UTG, new player, raises to 15 and I call because, again, a bunch of other people are going to call. That’s why you play these cards, though I wish they were suited. My nemesis, on the button looks at the 7 callers and says, “I guess I have to call now”. The flop is 679, all hearts. I have bottom two pair, with no heart in my hand. UTG moves all in for 105! My read is that he has a high pocket pair (KK or AA) that he wants to protect against the straight or flush draws. He does the right thing here, except that I’m ahead. It folds to me and I decide the best thing here is to isolate against him. My feeling is that if he had the Ah or Kh, he wouldn’t have moved so quickly. So I push all in for 220. It folds around to my nemesis (who had already checked as first to act, btw) and HE pushes all in! UTG folds in a huge display of disgust and picks up his chips and walks. I’m pissed that I got slow played and trapped yet again by the same guy and I know what he has before he even tables it. He was reluctant to call PF so he must have….T8. Of course he does. Flops the nuts against me and again, I really don’t think there was much I could do here. My reads were right and only a flopped flush really worried me. I couldn’t hit my 6 or 7 and I was done. Matt and I ran with our tails between our legs.

We went across the street to Texas Station, which is a much crappier casino with a much crappier little poker room. There was only 1 out of their 9 tables going and it was a limit 4-8 game with a half kill, which Matt wouldn’t play. The tables were all worn and the players were all locals, but there were MOUNDS of white chips at the table. No joke, the average stack size, for a 4-8 game, was about 350 dollars, in whites. It looked like a cartoon. I sat down with 100 just to do one rotation and book the casino as an official visit. There were no great hands to speak of, just a whole hell of a lot of action. I’d really like to come back and play this game again.

Matt was kind of tired at this point so we decided to finish up the night at the Venetian where he was staying. I love the Venetian poker room. In my opinion, it’s the best in Vegas. Hell, it’s the best one I’ve seen anywhere so far. It has about 65 tables, they’re all immaculate suede and leather, the chairs are comfy leather and the cocktail waitresses are the shizznit. Matt went to self-sacrifice at 1-2 but I was too tired to risk it, so I went with 4-8. As the night wore on, the table started to break up and at 6:30AM (Matt had already busted and gone to sleep), we combined the remaining two 4-8 tables. There was a kid in seat 10, with a large stack of chips in front of him, who was drunk and somewhat belligerent. I didn’t pay him any mind, but there was a crappy player (a kid of middle eastern descent) who really hated the drunk kid. For the sake of this conversation, drunk kid will be referred to as DK and middle eastern kid as MEK. DK was needling MEK all night, talking to him whenever he went into the tank to make a decision. It didn’t help that DK was making seriously donkey calls and sucking out big big pots. The action at the table was significant, with a few players really juicing the pots. MEK complained to the dealer about DK no less than 4 times and no less than 4 times, the floor was called over and gave DK a stern talking to. They cut of DK’s alcohol, but he still nursed the beer he had left. The floor guy kept a watchful eye on DK and there was a good bit of drama surrounding the whole thing. Then all hell broke loose.

I got 22 in late position and called a raise from DK in EP. About 7 players called because no one believed DK anymore. The flop was Ks2s4d. I had bottom set, which I was SURE was good about now. DK bets out and about 6 players call behind me. I’m last to act and I smooth call because I want to see what the turn will bring. My best card here would be the 4s, because it would fill up my boat AND make someone’s flush draw and there would be big mobneys for me! My heart skipped about 3 beats when the 4s came on the turn! Hello mobneys! Dk bets out and it folds to MEK who calls. I raise and DK re-raises for 3 bets. MEK calls again and I re-raise to 4 bets! DK re-raises to 5 bets (capped) and MEK goes into the tank. DK starts in again with MEK, who flashed his cards to the guy next to him. It’s obvious to anyone who plays poker that MEK has a weak flush. DK starts goading him into calling. “Your flush is no good. What are you even thinking about donkey? Wait, I know what you have. It’s…67 of spades, right?” MEK is getting incredibly flush and he finally shouts, “If you talk to me one more time, I’m going to punch you right in the mouth, you got that? Shut the fuck up!”. DK says, “Whatever, I’m just talking.” The floor comes over to see what the commotion is about and both sides start arguing. The floor guy says, “Ok, let’s just play this hand out and then I’ll take care of it.” I took that to mean he was going to boot DK because he had already warned him 4 times about being a drunk asshole. MEK is visibly agitated and he finally mucks in disgust. DK is a bit distracted, luckily for me, because when I raise again to 6 bets, he just calls. He’s got K4 for the bigger boat. Ouch! Not only is he an asshole, but he’s winning big pots!

The floor guy asks to see DK away from the table and it’s obvious to everyone that he’s being booted. DK comes back and stands over his chair and points at MEK. “You know what you are? You’re a pussy for getting me kicked out of here. You’re such a dick”. That did it. MEK stands up, in full fighting mode even though he weighs about 135 soaking wet. They get chest to chest and start the shoving. One of the players gets up and try to get in between but it’s no use. MEK throws the first punch and now fists are flying. DK gets in one good shot for every two that MEK gets in. They do this for about 15 seconds before a security guy shows up out of nowhere. He’s about 5’8” with full grey hair, about 145 pounds and maybe 65 years old, but you can tell he’s an ex-cop. He grabs MEK by the throat and throws him down onto a poker table with a bang. “Do you want to go to jail?!?” DK keeps going after MEK and the wiry security guy gets in the way. Now that the two are separated, a guy in a bullet proof vest from the K9 corp, with a K9 in tow, shows up, again out of nowhere, and the dog starts barking on command. It’s a very menacing german shepard. I don’t move an inch from my seat. Two more security guards show up and the wiry 65 year old guy flashes his badge when the two kids start shouting explanations. The security guards don’t care. They handcuff both participants and walk them out as the floor guys pick up their chips off the table. Maybe DK can use his winnings to make bail? LOL. It was some Christmas Eve.

With two players gone at 7:30 AM, we only played another 2 hours before the table finally broke. Of course we talked about the fight the whole time. The guy next to MEK, whom he had flashed his cards to, told us why MEK finally flew off the handle. It turns out he really did have 67 of spades! DK called his hand perfectly and that crushed MEK’s pride. I lost the hand, but it was well worth it to see a fist fight break out in the Venetian. As the table got down to 4, we broke it up except for an Asian kid who wanted to play me heads up. Ok, I thought. I’ll play heads up. After 15 minutes, I was up $40 and he called no more and went to play 1-2NL.

It was about 9:50AM at this point on Monday morning. I had wanted to play the O8 tourney at the Orleans at noon so I had a fateful decision. Go to sleep or stay up. Uh, dude, I’m in Vegas. I stayed up and drove to The Orleans. They had no fewer than 3 cash tables for O8 going and I was seated at one almost immediately where I putzed around for about an hour before the tourney started. The tourney, even though I busted after the first break, was a lot of fun. It’s $80 total to get in, you start with $4,000 in chips and blinds are twenty minutes until the first break, 30 minutes afterwards. I have a whole bunch of leaks in my O8 game, all of which manifested themselves yesterday at The Orleans. The big one is calling with too many speculative hands that aren’t even good if they hit! Somehow, I think 5689 double suited is a calling hand. What the hell am I thinking? But the tourney was still fun and I met a bunch of really nice locals who took to tutoring me, so I consider it an investment in learning the game. After the tourney, I was so jazzed to play the game that I ended up playing O8 cash (4-8 with half kill) until 7:00 PM! After not having slept all night, I was up until the next night. That’s Vegas for you. I called it quits after losing my 3rd rack and drove to get some quick food.

I stopped at a seedy little taco joint and was wary to see 4 menacing looking drunks loitering outside the entrance. No sooner had I gotten out of the car, one of them walks up to me and says, “Hey man, I don’t mean to bother you. I mean, I’m not hustling you or anything but, do you think I could get something to eat?” I weighed my options and decided that this is not my town and it’s better to take the path of least resistance here so I said “Sure, come on in.”. He said, “Well, wait. You ever eat at the buffet across the street? It’s real good, so maybe…” I cut him off because I could see where this is headed. I give him money for food and he gets drunk with it after walking away from me. I said, “Hey, you want some food or not?”. He threw up his hands and said, “Ok, ok.” So he walked in with me and ordered the biggest burrito off the menu and I got two little tacos. Richard, that was his name, started making small talk. I wasn’t interested at all and I guess he got the message. He thanked me for the burrito and walked outside again but that didn’t stop me from keeping a close eye on my rental car as I ate my tacos (which were REALLY good, by the way).

I drove back to the Stratosphere and it was only about 8PM. I didn’t want to wake up TOO early, so I played some Pai-Gow, and low limit Craps for another two hours before calling it a night. I had been up for nearly 30 hours straight and I feel asleep instantly, peacefully waking up on Christmas day at 10AM.

I don’t know what I’ll do for Christmas, but I think I might take a trip out to Laughlin and see what that’s like.

1 comment:

HighOnPoker said...

Great job so far, Jaime. Keep up the great posts.