Saturday, September 08, 2007

Las Vegas Trip Report: Part I

How to put down everything that happened in Las Vegas over a five-day span from September 2-6 ... that is a task. I'll start with my experiences at the different poker rooms, then conclude with non-poker information. All my ring table poker was either $1/2 or $1/3 NL.


MGM was the first room I visited after getting into Las Vegas last Sunday morning (Sept 2). Nothing like starting the trip off in a bad way as I was dealt horrible cards. In the first 75 minutes, I got no pocket pairs and my best cards were A-10 suited. I finally got a pocket pair (snowmen) and hit my set on the flop. Unfortunately, only one other person was in the hand and I wasn't able to make a killing on it. After a few more hours of poor starting cards, I finally gave up and decided to move on.

My second session at MGM started much the same way. The players in seats 7, 8, 9 and 10 had decent stacks and appeared to be catching hands while the other half of the table got in occasionally. However, my big break came when I was dealt 6-6. The board was dangerous -- spade flush draw and the possibility of flopping a straight. Seat 9 led out with a $50 bet. Since the starting maximum was $200 and I had just been mostly contributing blinds, I (Seat 1)decided to push and went all in for about $185. Seat 2 went in the tank and finally decided to fold. Seat 9, however, called. The turn was absolutely one of the most lovely things I had ever seen -- a 6! I can't even remember what the river was.
It turns out that Seat 2 had a King-high flush draw. Too bad he didn't call. Seat 1 flopped a straight. How many times have we seen a flopped straight lose?
I won a few more hands, then decided to move on since I was once again getting virtually no cards. Too bad the only time I got quads the entire trip was at a place with no high hand jackpots.
The Wynn
I was only at The Wynn for an hour or two. It seems to me that there is more variance in the type of players and tables at The Wynn than any other place on the strip.
My first table had a few players who had decent stacks -- $400+. A few of the players appeared to only be playing with about $100 in front of them. The play was extremely tight. Players were heavily debating whether or not to make $9 calls. Geez.
The first table disbanded at dinner time, so a new one reformed. I made the mistake of sitting between two aggressive players with lots of chips and stacks of hundred dollar bills behind. They were raising up pre-flop no matter what and were making big raises throughout. I decided this wasn't the table for me and moved on.
Planet Hollywood
I actually like the new room at Planet Hollywood. Unfortunately, I was only able to play two sessions since the other times I attempted there were too few players.
In the first session, I was doing well until I got an idiot sitting on my left. As soon as he came to the table, he started making big raises and re-raises with a minimal stack -- an obvious donkey. He lost chips and then donked out a few hands, so the better players at the table were looking to bust him. Then my opportunity came. I got K-K and raised. The villain called and was my only caller. The flop was an excellent flop for me: 3-7-J. I checked, knowing what would happen next. Yep -- the villain went all in. I called only to find that this guy called my pre-flop raise with 7-3os. I got no help on the turn or river, and doubled him up. Unfortunately, someone else busted him before I got my chips back. I tilted just a little and lost a pot I should have won. I was hesitant to put in a big raise that I should have and was beaten on the river by a guy who was on a semi-bluff. Never would have happened if I wasn't skittish after getting wounded by the donkey.
Second session was another good one. I played all my hands correctly and came out with a nice profit. However, I was not involved in the most fun hand. One guy was ready to leave and had even racked his chips. He was in a hand and had bottom two pair after the flop. He led out for $50 and was put all in by a big stack. He tanked until someone called time, then waited until the absolute last second to call -- about an additional $200-300. He was right on with his prediction -- that the other player had top pair and a flush draw. Unfortunately, the turn completed the flush and he lost all his chips. He came back ten minutes later and bought in for another $200. He lost that in about ten minutes. That amounted to almost a $1000 turnaround in bankroll in 20 minutes if the flush doesn't hit.
I had only one session at Paris since there were few people there most of the times I looked. I ended up with a nice profit, but unfortunately that was dented somewhat by this drunk biotch who had a big stack and was calling everything. I was in the big blind and flopped a low straight. I bet it big to get rid of chasers, but she stayed in. As you might guess, she hit her four-outer on the turn -- a gutshot draw for a higher straight. I had seen her play with some crap to the end, so I decided to pay her off to see it. In retrospect, I should have bailed. My instincts were correct, but the stubborn Irishman part of me wouldn't let go of my hand.
A couple of guys pushed all in on questionable plays and I couldn't figure what was going on. After one guy got busted, I heard the other guy slam him. Curious, I asked, "Excuse me, but why were you so angry at him when you just sat down at the table?" He replied, "I've played with him before. He's a weasel and I hate his fucking guts." Guess that explains it.
Treasure Island
Okay - here is where I really screwed up. After my unfulfilling session at The Wynn, I decided to give Treasure Island a try. It is a favorite of several members of All Vegas Poker, an excellent forum to which I have belonged and written trip reports for a few years. TI had a tournament starting in ten minutes (7pm), so I jumped in.
The poker gods seemed to be with me as I got some excellent starting hands and grabbed several thousand chips, putting myself as the chip leader in this small (two table) tournament. Unfortunately, TI allows people to enter late (and rebuy), and that was when the trouble started. A new player came to the table, and I was pretty sure I had played in tournaments with him before. He started raising and chasing people out of hands, so I thought I would teach him a little lesson. I got pocket 10s and merely called, knowing that he would, of course, raise to get people out. As expected, he raised (about 500 - blinds were maybe 50/100), and I re-raised over the top -- about 2,500. Much to my surprise, he went all in. With so much in the pot I felt I had to call, and was hoping that he was drawing on A-K . Nope: A-A! Boy, did I feel stupid. I went from chip leader to one of the guys who would be pushing before too long.
During the break, I met Las Vegas Michael, the moderator of the AVP forums. He told me that my nemesis was none other than AVP all star Yappy Dave. Yeah -- it looked like I figured out his plan -- intimidate and chip up early -- but I sure had rotten timing, didn't I? I eventually doubled up on 9-9 vs 8-8 in a battle of short stacks, then went out while trying to steal blinds with Ad-7d. I knew no one except maybe Yappy Dave would call, but unfortunately, the poker gods gave him A-Q. Needless to say, I might think twice the next time I am cruising in a tournament and decide to "teach someone a lesson."
Las Vegas Trip Report: Part II will include Harrahs, Bally's, Flamingo, and other items.


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