January 2014 Las Vegas Trip Report - Part II
The session at Harrah's was certainly a trip. Man In Black was a wild man! I was wondering wtf he was doing with his seemingly wild aggro play. In the first 1 1/2 orbits he got QQ, AA, QQ! He chipped up, lost a big pot on a huge bluff (I think he overestimated the ability of an average $1/2 NL player to lay down a hand), chipped up, lost a pot on a nasty beat ... It was like watching an elevator! Then came the crucial hand with me. I raised with K-Q and he called. The flop was K-2-rag. I led out and MIB pushed all in. He was short stacked and it was about another $50 to call. I thought he was bluffing again and I called. Set of deuces - damn! Shortly after I doubled him up he had to leave. I waited until he had been gone for a bit before I sent him a one word text message: "Dickhead." I let everyone know he was my friend and what I had sent. They had a good laugh.
The table was a good table in many ways -- a group of "mature" gentlemen who were very nice and having fun. Soon I hit my first run of good cards on the trip and built my depleted stack up to $500 from my $200 buy in. If a guy got a set, I got a boat. I had A-3 on the button with a bunch of limpers and limped in myself to see a flop of 3-3-3! This was a fun hand since, of course, everyone checked after the flop and my small bet looked like an obvious button steal. I got some callers and hoped that at least one person had a nice boat. One apparently did since he bet the turn. I hollywooded a bit and decided to smooth call. He then bet on the river and I placed a decent value bet. He called. Just the perfect storm to make money off a hand like that. As I was stacking my chips, one of the guys at the table looked at me and said, "Hey -- you know that text you sent to your friend? Well ..." We all laughed. I ended out cashing out a nice profit and was suddenly feeling like maybe the poker gods were back on my side. Ha!
It was getting quite late in the afternoon and I still needed to check into my room. If you are wondering what a Harrah's petite suite looks like, this is it:
No big deal -- just a little more space than a regular room. It even included an empty non-functional mini bar that had a sign on it indicating that it was for sale. Classy!
After relaxing in the room, I decided to head downstairs for an evening session at Harrah's. The session started out great as the first hand I was dealt, pocket 6's, improved to a straight flush on the river, netting me a decent number of chips by the other person in the hand. I had a table change request in to move back to the table I was at earlier. Only one person remained from the afternoon session, but he told me it was a good and fun table. And hey -- he was a Chicago guy, so of course I knew that was the place to go. I switched over and won a few hands here and there. Then came the biggie. I was dealt pocket Queens. A player who had a big stack but did not impress me with his play opened up the betting. I raised and he looked me over and called. The flop was a a rainbow of low uncoordinated cards. He checked, which surprised me. And here is where I second guessed myself: I checked behind. The turn was another rag, but it put two diamonds on the board. The villain let out with a big raise. I felt pretty sure that I was way ahead but I had my doubts. The way he played the hand sure didn't make me think that he had Aces or Kings and I doubted he hit a set. I pushed all in. He tanked, which told me that I was ahead. Finally, when I thought he was going to fold, he just said "screw it" and called. The dealer peeled off the river -- a King. I had a feeling I got screwed. Villain turned over his A-K of diamonds. He made the big river call with just the nut flush draw and binked a freaking King. Dang -- that hurt. I never recovered the rest of the trip.
I rebought and saw a string of horrendous cards. As with most of this trip, premium starting hands did not come. I was getting very few small pocket pairs, and none were hitting a set. I was getting very frustrated. Finally, I was dealt one of my favorite starting hands:
A short stack raised and several people were getting in the pot. I called and was just hoping that for once I would hit a set. I got my wish as the flop was 2-6-8. The shortie went all in and the next guy to bet raised. Although I feared that he might have hit a higher set, I was determined to get it all in and did so. He called -- with pocket 8's! To make matters worse, he quaded up on the turn. Bah! He had me covered, so I was stacked for the second time of the long session. I decided I had had enough poker and went in search of some sweet, sweet video poker machines to sooth my wounded poker soul ...
On Thursday I had a leisurely lunch by myself and decided to check out the improvements at The Quad. I must say, junky properties like the Imperial Palace and O'Sheas have been replaced by really nice casinos and stores. Quite an improvement. However, as always in Las Vegas, "improvements" means that some of the trashy, kitschy places that were fun to visit are now gone. I saw a dealertainer at The Quad, but it was not the same. O'Sheas, instead of being this cool little Irish-themed casino that was great for beer pong and a late night food area, now looks to me like an upscale Irish bar. yeah it was very nice looking, but still ...
No poker games were going at The Quad, so I went to Flamingo. I rarely play at Flamingo and have never really liked the room. I was quickly seated near the rail, which made me very uncomfortable since I had someone standing about two inches behind me. I only stayed for a few orbits then left. I still don't like the place.
I decided that I would spend my final evening playing in my usual Las Vegas poker home, Bally's. I can't say the play was memorable. I had pocket Queens with one caller and saw a flop with three hearts. The caller checked and I shoved to protect my hand. The villain tanked and folded. He never did show. I don't know if he had a better draw than me or not. The rest of the session was spent folding poor starting cards and folding starting hands with potential that missed the flop. This ended up being the theme throughout most of the trip. I finally decided to end my poker playing for this trip and met up again with Tony Bigcharles, who hopped a shuttle to the middle of The Strip. We were going to look for a place to eat, but that is a challenge with Tony when mid-strip at night since he has been 86ed from so many places. We just decided to slum at the Mickey D's next to Harrah's and watched all the young people come in in various states of intoxication. Finally, we went our separate ways and I decided to actually pack most of my clothes to make things easy in the morning.
Oh yeah -- there were several times when I got to play my favorite slot game:
Willy Wonka was very good to me. Bring on the Oompa Loompa bonus! After all, that bonus does remind us of one particular Sicilian Oompa Loompa ...
It was tough leaving the nice Las Vegas weather (highs in the 60's) to return to the sub zero weather in Illinois. I was actually able to wear shorts and a tee shirt while in Las Vegas. When going to pick up my car in Midway Airport's long term parking, it was winter coat, hat , gloves ...
I am perhaps rethinking how I do my Las Vegas trips. It might be a little better to cut down the frequency and instead stay a little longer. I dunno.
So in short -- a great first night to the trip, but after that, nothing special outside of seeing a few friends. Poker was below average as I continued to get crappy starting hands and likely, therefore, didn't play my best poker. But it was still a Las Vegas trip, and who can complain too much about that?