Saturday, February 09, 2013

Las Vegas Super Bowl Trip Report

Having been to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl twice before, I know that going for the top game of the year will be a good time. This trip did not disappoint.

I flew out of Chicago-Midway the morning of the Super Bowl and landed in Las Vegas sometime in the 10:00 a.m. hour. I made the decision to rent a car again this trip -- E-Z Rent-A-Car, which I highly recommend -- and headed to Bally's to check in. I was hoping to take part in the great poker promotions at Mirage, but by the time I got there the waiting list for $1/2 NL was already over 40 people long. No way there was going to be much movement with all the promotions, so I played at the new poker room at Harrah's, which is now just inside the area leading to Mirage and Casino Royale.

Frankly, I liked the old Harrah's poker room because it was glassed in and therefore not smelling of smoke. The new room at Harrah's was okay, but there was nothing particularly special about it. I played during the Super Bowl (no great promotions like last year) and then had dinner with Rob at KGB, Kerry's Gourmet Burgers. I decided to have the buffalo chicken sandwich (watching my eating habits a bit this trip) and Rob had a tasty-looking burger. The food was reasonably priced for a strip burger joint, and the sandwich and fries were great. It was nice to visit and share some poker and Las Vegas gossip with Rob, who always has good info and stories to share on his blog and in person. We then checked out the new poker room at The Quad, which seemed to be pretty much same old same old as the former IP poker room, except that it is now located near the entrance to Hash House A Go Go.

Rob decided to head to MGM Grand to play while I opted to go back to Bally's to either crash for the night or play poker. Guess what won out? I ended up the day with a modest profit -- not a bad start.

After sleeping late Monday morning, I caught a healthy lunch at one of my go-to spots, the Sidewalk Cafe in Bally's, which is a great place for breakfast or lunch. My afternoon session at Bally's was meh -- no cards. I headed over to Sam's Town late in the afternoon to meet up with Tony Bigcharles and play some $2/6 spread limit poker, which I had not played for some time. We were later joined by Poker Johnny -- first time meeting him. John is a great guy and certainly one of the many friends who help look out for Tony. We had some fun talking sports and then gave Tony a hard time about using comps to pay for friends' meals. Good times. I told Tony that the Lightning Taxi Service would be charging him $1.30 per mile.  Gotta cover my poker nut somehow, right?

Tony and I then went to the Stratosphere to play some $1/2 NL. We were at a relatively fun table and I did quite well, including busting Tony when he monkey shoved preflop after my raise and I called with A-K. As I suspected, he shoved with A-Q. He caught a Queen on the flop but I rivered a King to win the hand. The fun part of the night was that some skinny little Asian guy got all upset with Tony, first because Tony's eczema flaking pissed him off, then somehow because he decided that Tony and I were conspiring to take all his money. Frankly, I don't even know why the guy was playing since he rarely paid attention to the game and kept slowing it down. A reg at the table told me that the guy is usually very nice but sometimes picks out people to hate and gets nasty with them. Personally, I think the term bat shit crazy applies here. It was kind of funny and I was having fun staring him down as security were leading him away. I decided not to egg things on further since you never know how bat shit crazy some guys might be. I took Tony home and decided to call it a night.

Tuesday provided to be a rarity for me -- waking up early in the morning! I decided to have breakfast at the Orleans casino and spent quite a bit of time playing some Deuces Wild video poker. The machine I played was doing pretty well for me and I was hoping to hit the four deuces. Thanks to Lucki Duck and The Neophyte's wife, the Poker Queen, for helping me find one more way for the casinos to get my money!

I caught a late lunch at a place I saw on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Yayo Tacos. I decided to order a combo taco combo that included Pescado (pollock), Texano (barbeqed pork), Shanghai (wasabi-seared steak, black bean salsa, napa slaw) and Pollo (chicken). The tacos may look small on the plate, but they were filled to the max. If you are looking for a different twist on tacos, this is the place!

I then headed to Sam's Town to play a little more of the limit spread game with Tony. He did quite well and so was I until I ran into the biggest problem with limit poker: guys who chase with shit and hit a lucky river. This one really crappy player ran me down three separate hands and kept me from having an excellent session. Tony and I then decided to head back to the Strat to try the NL game there again. This time things were quite different.

Have you ever had one of those nights when everything goes wrong? That was what happened to both Tony and me. For those who are hand analysis people, I am not attempting to do that since I din't write down details and can't remember crap. It started when I raised with 10-10 and got two callers. The flop was 8-6-6. I raised and was called by a guy from Vancouver who seemed to be a decent player. The turn was an 8. I raised again and he reraised me. I had to decide if he hit a card or was playing me. I guessed wrong. I jammed and he called, showing 8-something. Ouch. I few hands later, feeling slightly tilted, I raised with K-K. I got one caller. The flop looked innocent and I raised. He pushed all in. The price was right to call. Damn -- he hit a set of 10's. Finally, a few hands later, I was in a hand with pocket 8's. The guy who creamed me with the 8 was in the hand as well as Tony. I hit a set on the flop and, seeing an innocent board, decided to smooth call with a plan to jam the rest on the turn. The turn was a Jack, the other guy pushed and I called. He hit a set of Jacks! So damn -- he two-outed me twice. I could have shoved after the flop and likely gotten him to fold. Normally I wouldn't try to get tricky with my set. Got greedy and paid the price. Frankly, I felt like a huge donk and just wanted to leave, which Tony and I did shortly thereafter. Overall the clientele at the Strat seemed a little sketchy, so I decided not to return this trip.

I took Tony home and headed back to Bally's. I got in a wild game that started when a guy came to the table and announced "I have two Mercedes in my garage." Yeah -- a guy just looking to give money away. He had a typical pattern -- played loose, hit some cards (cracked aces twice and got a huge stack), then donked off almost everything. We caught him ratholing six $100 bills and he had to put them back on the table. I was losing a bit and then got a double-up plus when  I called his big preflop bet with A-Q. An ace hit the flop and everyone checked, including me. When it got to Mr. Mercedes, he put out a big bet and I monkey shoved. He called with pocket 6's. Heh. Not a bad ending to the night.
On Wednesday I headed to lunch with Man in Black. In-N-Out Burger was the scene of the crime. My selection: Double-Double Animal Style. Caught up on MIB's latest happenings (we think we have found the perfect girl for TBC!) and dropped him off and then headed to Bellagio to play. I had not played at Bellagio for many years. I had heard that the service at Bellagio had gotten better. In my opinion it certainly has. I was greeted at the desk and seated at a new table opening up. Bellagio is still a tight fit and the cocktail service was slow, but I was at a fun table. I flopped Broadway and was doubled up by the table donk who was giving money away. I cashed out with a nice profit.

Poker Johnny recommended playing at Luxor, so I played at this room that was part of my early poker training. I lost part of a buy-in when my Kings went down again to a set of 10's (I was channeling my inner Rob), but played some great poker and left with a nice profit. I plan to play at both Bellagio and Luxor next trip. I was going to drive to Sam's Town but was alerted that Tony and DonkeyTax were going to Hooters. I got there first and lost a bit when I ran top pair, good kicker into pocket Aces. Although Adam, the guy running the "room" (small corner of Hooters with two tables) was great, I didn't like the environment. Hooters, the old San Remo, looked dated and run down. It was fun playing with DonkeyTax, another one of the guys who helps look out for Tony. But ... I needed to eat left to make a second trip to In-N-Out. Yes -- I am hooked! I got back to Bally's and played at a wild table with two guys having a pissing contest. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take advantage of it.

A special shout out to balt999, fellow blogger, Las Vegas poker dealer, and good guy. It is aways nice to have a number of friends in Las Vegas to chat with during your trip to provide interesting conversation and make the trip more enjoyable.

Thursday was uneventful as I had just enough time to wake up, get packed and head to the airport. I left a sunny, 68 degree day in Las Vegas to return to an ice and snow shower in Chicago. Why did I come back?

So ... I had a good trip, but was somewhat frustrated since I thought my poker suffered because of my lack of play and practice at home. I really wish I had a decent poker room in the area. I will have to make more of an effort to play at the room nearest to my home.

I had a good time hanging out with Tony. Only one problem: I forgot to collect on my taxi bill. So TBC ... as I figure it:

26.76 miles @ $1.30/mile = $34.79. You can pay me via PayPal. That's just the kind of guy I am.


Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Good report. Sounds like you had fun and won a little money to boot.

6:35 PM  
Blogger sevencard2003 said...

No idea what womam u mezn

6:46 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Tony, you'll have to ask MIB to set you up.

6:55 PM  
Blogger The Neophyte said...

Sounds like fun Light. The PQ says not to blame her that you're a degen gambler. If not for Video Poker you probably would have tossed money into Wheel of Fortune or something.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Lucki Duck said...

@ neo- Problem was that he kept mucking the twos. The "Dueces Wild" title didn't click with him :)

@ lightning- I like your slow playing the set of eights on a dry board. You had your opponent drawing thin, that's where you make your money. Every now and then they hit. That's poker.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Team MiRketti said...

Makes me want to hop a plane and head to Vegas. Thanks for the trip report.

10:33 PM  
Blogger balt999 said...

It was great seeing and talking to time, we have to play cards together instead of dealing them to you :)

12:14 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Nice trip report, glad I could make a cameo appearance. I see you managed to run into the dreaded pocket kings a couple of times, I coulda warned you.

Not sure I followed the story about the Asian guy at the Strat. Did he really get escorted out of their by security? Exactly why?

1:41 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@ Rob -- I think security handled him with kid gloves because he was a reg. The guy got really mad at Tony for no apparent reason. It looked like they tried to get him away for a bit to settle down. I was not impressed with security at the Strat. A guy at another table threatened a dealer, I think, and was dealt with too gently.

2:52 AM  
Blogger VegasDWP said...

Wow, those tacos look really good - I love mexican or tex-mex food. I will definitely check that place out next time I'm in Vegas ... which hopefully will be the first two weeks of July, this year. Might play in a WSOP event, just for fun.

6:22 AM  
Blogger ManInBlack said...

It was great seeing you again. Even though the French Fries sucked you still went back to In N Out. WOW. You must be hooked. And in regards to TBC's taxi bill, beware he may try and trade you comps for it

12:09 PM  
Blogger thundering36 said...

1. So you didn't have time to go to In-N-Out Burger when I was with you in Nov./Dec., but you can go TWICE when I'm not there?
2. Oh, for the Prime Rib special at San Remo...
3. The tacos... next time!
4. I still don't understand all that poker jargon.
5. Don't forget to watch the Grammys tonight and see Wally win!

3:50 PM  
Blogger Cranky said...

Light - great report. Makes me want to take a trip out to LV.

8:32 PM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

SO SO SO SO SO SO JEALOUS! I want to hop a plane right now.

So glad you've become a convert to I-N-O! That's the best burger joint - I've never had the animal style; I usually get the double double and love every second of it.

I thought you had a room nearby - isn't the Horseshoe Hammond where we were going to meet close to your home? I thought so... there's plenty of fish there, fwiw.

Happy to hear the pokers is going well! Get some seat time and get more proficient. You have a TON of resources at your disposable who will enable you to become a lethal player; why not use them?

9:33 AM  

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