Las Vegas Trip Report: October, 2007
With a little sleep under my belt and my life beginning to return to normal, it's about time that I post at least a little bit from my most recent trip to Las Vegas -- Oct 20-25, 2007.
I stayed the first night at the Best Western Mardi Gras Inn. Why there? Well, I wasn't getting in until late Saturday night, so I didn't see any sense in paying out over $100 just to lay in a bed for a few hours. I had actually stayed at this place 20 years ago, and I remembered that it didn't seem too bad.
One bonus of staying at the Mardi Gras was free shuttle service from the airport. Yep - no cab, no shuttle bus, just a free private ride in a hotel van.
The room was nice sized but a little dumpy. However, check in and check out was fast and friendly. You could see the strip from the hotel, but it actually seemed almost a million miles away. I ate at the breakfast buffet before I left, and it was okay -- at least no wait.
I spent four nights at the Imperial Palace. Having never stayed there before, I was really interested in the true scoop on this place.
I was told I'd have to get my key after 3:00 pm (which I expected), then had to wait a long time in a small line when I picked it up later that night. Check out was exceedingly fast -- about 3-5 minutes, but I had to wait 20 minutes in line to check my bags so I could play a little more poker.
My room was actually quite good. And the "horrible" elevators I had read about always were always there within about one minute. You can't beat the central strip location and the rooms were about the cheapest on the strip, so kudos to the Imperial Palace. I will stay there again ... but be wiser about checking my bags the next time.
Although I had hopes of playing at the Binions Open one night, I decided not to get caught up in too much tournament action since I did have to spend a significant amount of time at an educational conference the first few days. I only played two tournaments -- a 7:00 pm one at Sahara, and a 10:00 am tourney at Planet Hollywood.
I initially got some good starting hands at Sahara -- including K-K and A-Q. I chipped up with KK, but must have run into a monster hand with AQ. I had TPTK after the flop, and some guy kept calling my raises. After the river, he went all in. I have no idea what he had -- a set, maybe? Anyway, I had to fold with a chunk of chips gone.
After that, I was totally card dead. Fold, fold, fold, fold, ... Pretty soon I was one of the shortest stacks and went all in with A-J. The flop was A-J-rag -- all hearts, unfortunately. The two other guys in the hand had the nut and second nut flushes. No more Jacks or Aces came on the turn or river, so I was out.
The Planet Hollywood tourney was even more frustrating. Once again, I got a few good hands early, then nothing. Meanwhile, about half the players appeared to be decent and half were total donks -- going all in with A-8, A-2, ... One guy who busted out and rebought (a total waste of money) was the guy who went all in with A-2 (but they were sooted) and then said, "Aces haven't been very good to me lately." Excuse me ... you meant "Ace." Anyway, the donks loaded up the decent players while I sat on my hands. When we got down to two tables and I was a short stack, I got pocket Aces and went all in against a raise. One other short stack went all in, and the initial raiser bailed. The scene: My A-A vs her K-K. The flop brings a King, and I was out a few hands later.
Ring Game Action
I spent the majority of my time in Las Vegas at the $1/$2 NL tables. Where did I play??
I only got in one or two sessions at Planet Hollywood. Although I like playing there, the room has two big negatives: 1) There never seem to be enough players; and 2) For some reason, jerks think that they can be total dicks at this place. This trip, one guy got pissed when another player raised all in. Thinking that the winning player had a high-hand jackpot hand, the sore loser attempted to muck the winning hand by throwing his cards at the winner's cards. Geez.
Played for the first time at the Stratosphere. The atmosphere was kind of fun, but I was getting no cards, so I left.
I had two great sessions at MGM. In the first, I hit a torrid streak of catching cards. After getting up a few buy-ins, the guy next to me caught the heat and began chipping away at my stack, so I decided to take a break. In the second session, I was doing okay when I flopped top two pair -- 10 and 8. The turn was a beautiful 8, and I just checked. My opponent made a huge raise after the river, and I went into the ol' acting routine -- looking at my cards, grimacing, counting my chips, and then I asked him, "If I fold, will you show?" He said "no," so after a little more drama, I re-raised him all in. He called and showed his trip 8's. Someone said, "nice hand," and then I just turned my two cards over and put them in front of my face, showing the boat. Maybe he should have said that he'd show me the hand if I folded -- he he.
I spent most of my time playing at one of my favorite places, Ballys. Although I had a bad session where I lost two minimum buy ins, I had my two best ever sessions of $1/$2. Nothing like cashing in several racks of reds to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
On my final night, I was going up against the player to my right, who was pushing people around. I had pocket Aces and was hoping he didn't catch a lucky set or two pair. We butted heads until he put me all in, hoping I'd fold. When I called, he got pissed off and threw his cards toward the dealer. Since the guy had been acting like a butthole, the dealer immediately said, "The hand is mucked," and awarded me the chips. My opponent never did even see what I had.
He then started playing irratically, giving away his chips (mostly to me, some to others). I finally told him that he was too good a player to be doing this and suggested that he take a break. He said that he was drunk (I didn't see him drink much), and he preceded to stay. Oh well -- I tried to be decent guy.
Pretty soon I had monster stacks and was picking my spots. Unfortunately, one other guy hit a few hands and then hit a straight flush for a high-hand bonus of $300+. He began drinking more and more, and started raising EVERY hand. I was waiting for my chance to grab his whole stack, but I went card dead for an hour.
Then ... some new guys came to the table. One guy, from Ireland, I believe, who I played with before, was very aggressive, and hit a set almost immediately, taking a mountain of chips away from the other guy. This Irish guy -- my idol -- was at the table for maybe 30 to 60 minutes, bought in for $200, and cashed out for over $1200. What a player!
Overall, my big sessions took care of my losing sessions and tournament buy-ins to give me a good profit. Since I was in Las Vegas for a work conference, I had almost all my costs covered, so this was one inexpensive, profitable trip.
But wait -- the first leg of the trip helped me hit my bonus quota of points at Southwest Airlines and I got a free round trip ticket. And even better -- I qualified for a second free round trip by making two high-mileage trips in September and October in a special promotion. So ... my trip was free, I won at poker, and I got two free round trip tickets on Southwest, good for any destination, including Maui. Does it get any better than this??