Friday, March 11, 2016

My Favorite Las Vegas Trip of All Time -- 10 Year Anniversary Special

I have made somewhere around 100 trips to Las Vegas in my adult life. Perhaps the most fun was one in June 2012. I have consolidated several posts into one here. It includes several friends of old and today. Enjoy!


What -- I am up posting at 8:00 a.m. while in Las Vegas? And this is even after a night of sleep!

Nothing eventful, thank goodness, on the trip here. I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Going through the TSA line, however, I was selected at random, yanked to the side, and my laptop was given the swab test.

Check in at Bally's was quick and easy -- just the way I like it. No -- keep your mind out of the gutter!

Met two bloggers in person for the first time. The first was balt999, who is also a dealer at Bally's. I had played at Ron's table before, but did not know he was a blogger at that time. I also met Rob from Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog. Rob and I played some cards at Bally's, had dinner together, then went to his favorite place, the "BSC" poker room, and tossed a few cards there. Of course, knowing full well Rob's aversion to guys who were their caps backwards, I made sure I wore one just like that for a bit in his honor. We had some great conversations, and I am sure at least a few ears were ringing!

I hit the wall at BSC and decided to call it a night early. I did sneak in one more quick sessions at Bally's before going to bed.

The first day was one of ultimate grinding. I actually made a small profit in every session, even if that profit was only a few dollars. Still, being ahead is better than being behind.

If anyone in Las Vegas wants to connect up with me while I am here, send me a tweet: @lightning36.

Onward and upward!


Not having either the time or the inclination to make a looooong blog post like this guy, I am, however, able to at least briefly note some things that have been happening the past two days in Las Vegas.

Day 2 (Thursday): Met koala, a member to the TBC “head patters,” at Harrah’s and had lunch together. It was quite a great time, reviewing the history of Tony and talking about some of Tony’s latest happenings and his upcoming homecoming in Las Vegas. Koala, like most of the lone poker players and or bloggers I have met, was really great in person – very personable and very funny. We had a great time!

I got in several hours of poker. Koala and I played at Harrah’s, where he did quite well and I finished with a small loss. I then went to The Mirage, where my table quickly disintegrated soon after I got there. I lost a little bit also. Things just never seem to go well for me at The Mirage. I then returned to Bally’s (naturally), played more poker, and then met Man in Black for dinner. I had met MIB in passing on my last trip to Las Vegas. He has been through some difficult times but recently got a new job and is getting some important things back on track. As always, the conversation at mealtime was great. This has turned out to be the social trip of all time for me!

Later that night we were hoping to meet Carmel, who earlier in the evening had sent me this great direct tweet: “You rat bastard.” It turns out that she was going to surprise me at Bally’s but got a ticket driving there. Of course, I was to blame! Unfortunately, due to my getting his twitter name wrong and Carmel’s fondness for libations, we never met up. However, MIB and I must have looked so pathetically desperate while waiting for Carmel that we were approached for “dates” by an elderly hooker. As I texted Pokah Dave, “I wouldn’t screw her with your dick!” Oh and yes -- when I tweeted about the incident, referring to the woman of way too many evenings as a “random woman,” I received a few texts informing me that she was a prostitute. Thanks to those people for explaining to me what a hooker is. Having been to Las Vegas more times than I can remember, I had always wonders who those skanky looking women were who flirted with me in the wee hours of the morning. Gee – I never knew …

I ended the evening playing more cash games at Bally’s, and then finally called it a night. Actually, it was the early morning.

Day 3 (Friday): Woke up late and had a brisk walk down the strip to get in some exercise. I then caught a bus to downtown and registered for a deep stack tourney at the Golden Nugget. I was surprised during the tourney to get a tap on the shoulder from Memphis MOJO, who was also playing in it. Unfortunately, MOJO got felted on a big play and was out while I played short stack ninja. After 6 ½ hours of play and on the final hand before the dinner break, I woke up with A-Q and pushed all in against a raise and a call. The original raiser said “I am giving you a gift” and called. Unfortunately, a big stack who had already called the first raise also said he was all in. The nasty scene: my A-Q vs. A-J (original raiser) and A-A (big stack that originally smooth called the raise). Shit! The big stack knocked us both out.

I then headed to Rio to have dinner with cmitch and Shabazz Jenkins, two really tough online tournament players. It was interesting as Shabazz was at the end of his trip, I was in the middle, and cmitch just arrived a few hours earlier.

After dinner I headed back to Bally’s and played some poker at the same table with Very Josie, Poker Grump, and Rob’s Vegas Poker. The game deserves an entire post in itself. I made a totally donkey play against Grump (there were reasons, of course) and Josie was a total agro wild woman at the table. I was so card dead (and trapped at an aggressive table with the guys on my right button straddling my every blind) that I was finally forced to switch tables. Later on in the evening I finally got a few cards at a table I could exploit and ended the session with a nice profit.

I have gotten to the point where I play very few live tournaments. I look at this day, for example, and see most of my day wasted in a tournament where I failed to cash while losing a buy in. I much prefer the flexibility of cash games. I will therefore most likely take a pass on the big All Vegas Poker tournament on Saturday but will play in the much more intimate private tournament for “Friends of TBC” Sunday night.

Cheers! Las Vegas

Days 4 & 5: Bad Beats and a Pissed Off Blogger

Day 4 in Las Vegas (Saturday, June 30) started off with a nice lunch with Very Josie, followed by a session of cash games at Bally's. The day, however, was most notable for the All Vegas Poker tournament that was scheduled for the evening. I was not sure if I wanted to play in it. It sounded like it would be fun, but I just didn't want to play in tournaments three days in a row. So ... I did go to the Mirage, where the tournament was held, to socialize. I got to meet several AVP people/bloggers including grrouchie, Lindy, Stump, and the lovely Carmel. Carmel, who earlier had tweeted that I was a "rat bastard," showed me the reason for her tweet: the traffic ticket she got while driving to Bally's the night before to try to surprise me. Well ... excuse me!

When the tournament started Carmel and I headed to Casino Royale (home of $1 Michelobs and margaritas) and had a few drinks while getting to know each other -- which Carmel called my "interrogation" of her. Well, with all the provocative things she had written on her blog, I sure had lots of questions. We then went back to the tournament for some additional socialization, and then went our separate ways as I decided to play some cash games.

I first went to Harrah’s and was doing well when a player at the table saw his A-A go down in flames to Q-9. The guy just would not let it go, muttering nasty stuff to the guy who cracked the Aces and snapping at others at the table having a good time. I finally decided that I did not want to continue in that atmosphere and headed to ... where else, but Bally's! I had a great session there, but unfortunately won one hand I would have preferred to lose. I got in a hand with 5-5 and was excited to see a flop of 5-6-5! There were two diamonds on the board which led me to hope I might get a nice score on the hand. One other player was in, and he obviously had a good hand. I three bet after the flop and he came along. He even called my big value bet on the river. At the end of the hand, I saw the mixed news: good news -- I won a big pot; bad news -- the other player flopped a straight flush draw. If he had hit his two outer on the turn or river, we would have hit the bad beat jackpot. My share would have been either $4K or $5K! Ah well ... at least I cashed out with a nice score.

Day 5 (Sunday, June 24) -- the day I would like to forget -- started out nice and early. Surprisingly, I was up at an early Las Vegas hour for me: 8:30 a.m. I puttered around the room for a bit and texted Very Josie to see if she wanted to grab some breakfast or brunch. No answer. I figured she was sleeping late. A little later I called and texted again. Still no answer. I headed down to play some cash games and heard from Rob, asking about lunch plans. I thought I might hear from VJ soon, so I waited. After not hearing anything, I contacted Rob to tell him it would just be me and arranged to meet him at his famous "BSC" (Big Strip Casino), where Rob was taking care of lunch -- yes!. He would not be ready for some time, so I stayed a few more orbits at the cash game. Right before it was time for me to leave, I had a few free hands before the blinds came to me. On a previous trip, I stayed and played one last hand ... and lost an $800 pot! Wanting to break the curse, I stayed for the last free hands. I was dealt K-10 and called a raise. The flop: A-Q-J! The action was on me and I threw out a pot sized bet. The original raiser said "all in" and I instacalled. He flipped over A-Q and was shocked to see that I had flopped the straight. However -- and you know what is coming next -- he was happy to see that the turn was an Ace, taking a decent chunk of my stack. Strike one. Two hands later I was off to the BSC.

After lunch at BSC, it was getting late in the afternoon. We had still heard nothing from VJ, and I was concerned. We had heard that TBC and Pete Peters were playing poker at the Flamingo, so Rob and I headed that way. I asked Rob, who was driving, if he could stop in Bally's first so that we could check on VJ. We tracked down a hotel security guy to ask if he could do a wellness check on her. He called up to her room and spoke with her, then handed the phone to me. She was pretty nasty to me on the phone (excuse me all to hell for being concerned about her) and I let loose with some pretty foul language. I was pretty hot. Strike two.

Rob and I went to Flamingo and met up with TBC and Pete. Rob had never met Tony, and was in for his first taste of the "TBC Experience." Tony wanted me to drive him downtown, but I did not have a car. He turned to Rob and said "Aren't you Rob? Do you have a car?" Rob agreed to drive Tony downtown while I sat next to Pete at a $1/$2 table. I was not getting much in the way of cards but was able to chip up a little. Josie came a short time later and soon it was time to head toward the Riviera for the private tournament that had been arranged for supporters of TBC. We were beginning to rack up but I still had a few free hands. I looked down to see A-A. I bet and got a few callers. The flop contained three low cards with two spades. The other players checked, and I put out a bet of about 2/3 the pot. One player who had butchered a hand against VJ earlier and had checked when action originally came to him after the flop said "all in." I was shocked. He impressed me as being a really crappy player. I was 90% sure I was ahead of him. I tanked for a couple of minutes and then thought "I didn't come to Las Vegas to play like a pussy," and called. The turn was a spade. The player turned over his cards to show that he hit his middle flush. My whole buy-in plus extra mobney was gone. Strike three.

On the outside I appeared pretty calm but on the inside I was going berserk. I just walked away from the table and wandered around the casino for awhile. Two nasty beats while getting ready to leave that made a four-figure difference in my bankroll plus feeling like I had been shit on by a good friend was just too much.

I finally decided to get in some exercise and walk down to Riviera. I got there just as the tournament was supposed to start. Needless to say, I was not very good company. To make matters worse, the other of the two tournament tables had all the people I knew. Mine had Rob, Poker Grump, and other players I had not met. Fortunately, I was next to Cool Dave, who really made the table fun. During the first break when VJ was away from her table, I had a little fun with the others at the table that she had been running over. I took out a vial of medicine I had been carrying and acted like I has going to slip a micky in her drink. I then pretended to hock a loogie in it. Or did I pretend ...

I did not last long in the tournament and played a little HORSE afterwards. I got a sub sandwich and decided to head back up the strip since I certainly wasn't very good company. I sent a couple of tweets the next morning to apologize for being such a downer. Unfortunately, one did not go through. For those who were at the TBC tournament, I do apologize for being a curmudgeon (I was told that Grump and g(r)rouch(ie) were already taken -- curmudgeon was suggested).

I headed to Bally's (natch) to lick my wounds. I started feeling a little strange before I headed to Bally's. Little did I know that things were about to get even worse the next day.

Las Vegas Days 6, 7, 8: Excuse Me While I Run to the Bathroom

Day 6 (Monday, June 25) proved to be one of the poorer days I have ever had in Las Vegas. I met up with Very Josie and we walked to Aria to have lunch. Although I had not eaten anything that morning, I was not particularly hungry. I stuck mostly to healthy things, with, of course, a mashed potato tribute to TBC. I was starting to feel a little punk. However, I was a master chef that afternoon as I grilled Josie like never before. The great interrogator strikes again!

As we were finishing lunch Rob called to ask about afternoon plans. We invited Rob and his car (he he) to pick us up and go with us Golden Nugget, where TBC and koala were playing. Josie had a dinner date with TBC late that afternoon. Rob and his car are very nice to have around sometimes!

Josie seemed to be doing pretty well at the Nugget, so I thought I would have a little fun with her -- bluff her off a hand (she doesn't let go easily but knows a big raise from me means huge hand), and then show the bluff. Well, things didn't work out as planned. Ms. Run Goot called my raise with pocket Jacks and hit a set on the turn. When action came to me I fired out a big bet, expecting her to fold. She then raised me and I hollywooded like I actually had a hand and had a big decision to make. Bah!

Josie eventually went to her dinner with Tony, leaving Rob, koala, and me at the table. I got a whole lot o nuttin.When the dinner was over, Josie had to leave to catch her flight. By this time I had been feeling even worse and asked Rob if he could drop me off at Bally's. I was hoping that I would feel well enough to play a few hands, but instead went immediately to my room where I felt the full effects of my illness over the next several hours. My flight was scheduled to depart at 11:40 a.m. the next morning, and I knew there was no way I could be on that flight. I called Southwest Airlines and was able to reschedule my flight home for a day and a half later. I went to sleep and planned on extending my hotel stay the next morning.

Day 7 started out with a call to Caesars Entertainment. I was given what I thought was a high rate for an extra midweek day, so I decided to check in person at the desk. I was given a lower rate by the woman working platinum check in/check out, and she suggested I speak with a host to see what could be done (I already had several comped days during my stay). The host gave me a great rate for the extra day, and I ventured out in search of some food and some Gatorade. I ate breakfast at La Salsa Cantina in the Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood, and chugged down a quart of Gatorade. I got one more for the road and headed back to my room for more sleep -- for I had to sleep immediately!

I had gotten a message from Carmel offering to take me out to dinner if I felt well enough, and in the early evening I ventured to the Bally's poker room. Feeling somewhat better, I met Carmel later that night for what proved to be an interesting and fun evening. Before we left Bally's, however, I was begged by some guy to have my picture taken with him.

Carmel and I ate at a great place in Chinatown -- Hue Thai's Sandwiches -- having some Banh Mi (house special and chicken) sandwiches and Tom Yum soup. It was great! Afterwards we rode around Las Vegas and stopped in at Ellis Island to check out the poker room. The tables were covered and no one was anywhere around, so we went back cruising around when Carmel decided to stop at the Green Door - a swingers club! Did I want to see the dungeon?  Hmmm ... carrying a substantial amount of money, still feeling ill, not wanting to end up like so many of the rubes I had seen on CSI -- uhhh -- NO!

We drove down to the Fremont Street Experience and had a great time bumming around. Unfortunately, koala and Tony had already gone to bed. However, there were plenty of interesting things to keep us occupied.

The line, was, I am sure, long and I did not feel up to it, but we decided that on my next trip to Las Vegas we would for sure try the zip line on Fremont Street.

The illness still had a hold on me, however, and I finally had my batteries worn almost all the way down -- meaning that I must again sleep immediately. Carmel dropped me off at Bally's -- the end to a very fun night.

Day 8 -- my extra day -- was the day to get in a little shopping. I bought a dozen decks of casino used playing cards for my home game friends and a few other gifts, then met Rob and his car back at Bally's. He was going to join me for my final poker session after checking out, and I told him that I would like to play on his turf, the BSC. This final session included the story I posted about earlier -- the group of women who wanted Rob to take a picture of their cleavage -- and some expert poker play by Rob, who clearly was in his element at the BSC. As for me -- tons of draws that never got there. Meh. So much for poker on this trip.

Although my flight was delayed, it ended up getting into Chicago only a little later than planned, shortly after midnight. I did not feel up to driving the over two hour trip back home, so I instead stayed overnight at my Mom's house in the far west suburbs. Home would have to wait one more day.

One final Las Vegas post is still to come to tie up a few things and talk about some people I need to mention.

Las Vegas Odds and Ends

Wow -- I have been home from Las Vegas for over a week now. Despite all the posts, the blog comments, text messages and tweets, there are still a few thoughts I wanted to get down before finally moving on.

** I would like to apologize to Mr Subliminal. I had been wanting to meet this self-proclaimed homeless Las Vegas poker player (you mean there are more than one?) for some time. Unfortunately, we were not able to connect up as I inadvertently deleted his phone message and then got lost in a bit of a haze toward the end of my trip after I got sick. I hope to be back in early September. Perhaps we'll get a chance to tip a brew or two then.

** One blogger I failed to mention in my earlier posts was ck -- the Black Widow of Poker. Carol came out to the Nugget to wish good luck to me and Memphis MOJO while we were playing in our deep stack event. I did get a chance to see her for a minute later that evening, but certainly I wish things had worked out a little better so we could have tossed some cards together at Binions.

** In my reports I failed to mention finally getting to meet balt999. Ron is a dealer at Bally's and did deal at least a few hands to me. It was nice getting to meet Ron although he was usually working when I saw him. Ron's wife is a great tournament player and will likely be featured in an upcoming post at Ron's blog. I won't say anymore than that.

** Home court advantage -- I was going to sign in on the waiting list at Bally's when the brush said "You're Chad C, right?" The wink then let me know the story -- Chad C didn't answer his call for a seat so I became Chad C and was able to play immediately. Yes -- being a visiting regular and being friendly at the table does sometimes get you a perk or two!

** While letting VJ use my laptop (Uhh -- the computer this time!) I walked around and ran into a co-worker at Bally's. Yes, sometimes the world is amazingly small.

** Mucho thanks to Rob for the taxi service he provided throughout the trip. No need to paint your car yellow, but you and your car will be in Las Vegas the first week of September, right?

** Even with a week's stay, it seemed like there was not nearly enough time to do everything I would have liked to. I am already looking forward to my next trip -- tentatively scheduled for September  3-7. Hey -- that is less than two months away. Yessss!!

Misc Las Vegas Pictures

Great Picture of Very Josie ... in my hotel room ... he he

Rob (Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog) enjoying our meal at ... BSC!

Two cuties -- Very Josie and Carmel


Blogger Rob said...


4:17 PM  
Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

Enjoyable re-read.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Good ol' times.

3:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home