Thursday, June 21, 2018

Las Vegas Trip Report for June 2018 - Part III

After a leisurely morning on Wednesday, I decided to walk to Ellis Island to eat lunch in the cafe there, which had been a favorite on past trips. I was surprised that there was virtually nobody there during the lunch hours. Maybe the construction at Ellis Island is keeping people away. I ordered the steak special and was a tad disappointed. Ah well, I hate to complain about a $10 steak, but I just did!

I walked back to Bally's to get in a session there, wondering if my buddy Ron could once again deal me some good cards. Little did I know Ron would be saving my butt before the afternoon was over!

I was having a good session and was up. There was plenty of aggressive play, and I was hoping that I could really take advantage of it. A young guy sat down -- and I mean really young looking, like about 16 years old. He lost a buy in, re-bought, and then watched his stack go up and down like an elevator. He went on a heater and started crushing the table until the big hand of the afternoon. He was in UTG and raised ($12?). Another player or two called as I looked down at Q-J offsuit. I called. The flop was Q-J-3. I saw this as the moment I had been waiting for. The kid checked. I bet from middle position, a guy in late position called, and the kid called. The turn was a King, which I certainly didn't want to see. The kid bet, I re-raised, and the guy in late position with a modest stack shoved. The details at this point are a little fuzzy to me, but we got everything in. Frankly, I didn't know if I was ahead once the King came on the turn. I hoped I was. Ron then dealt the river and ... BINGO - I hit a full house. Unfortunately for the kid, he also did. It turns out that he had flopped a set of threes and I was way behind until the river. I felted both played, won a huge pot, and made a mental note to myself that I need to refer to Ron as "the best poker dealer in Las Vegas" for about the next two years. I am usually the one getting sucked out on. It felt good to be on the other side for once.

I had made plans to play that evening at the Wynn poker room with VegasDWP, so I eventually cashed out at Bally's and headed down the Strip. DWP had already had me on the wait list as a call in, and after a short wait we were both seated, but at different tables.

If you have never played at Wynn (actually Encore), you should know that it is a really nice room, themed in blue and white. Many think that it is the premier poker room in Las Vegas. The $1/3 NL game often has some tough players, so I knew I had to up my game for the evening. Right after sitting down, I was dealt A-K and raised as I should. I got two callers. The flop was rag-King-rag, so I bet and again got two callers. The flop was a beautiful King, giving me trips with top kicker. I bet again and was called by a short stack who was now all in. A woman in late position also called and then called my bet after the river. I felted the guy on my first hand and won a significant portion of the woman's chips. The next hand I was dealt pocket Queens and raised. The same woman called. The flop: K-Q-rag -- I had now flopped a set. I bet and she shoved with King-something. I, of course, called winning another nice pot and now felting the woman. Everyone at the table was looking at me like "who is this guy?" The player on my right remarked that he had been there for hours and barely had any playable hands. Dat's poker!

Rob answered the bat signal for additional players to join us at Wynn, and soon Mike Ritze also showed up in hopes of playing some Omaha. While waiting, he was seated  at the same table as DWP. Rob was at a different table and texted me that a guy at his table looked like infamous 2016 WSOP speech play guru Will (nine high like a boss) Kassouf. I went to Rob's table to get a look and confirmed that it was him or an exact double. Rob later said that the player's accent was spot on. Welcome, Mr. Kassouf! I'm sure that Rob will talk in some detail about this evening at some point on his blog.

Mike needed to leave, and DWP and Rob were both able to join me at my table. Being at a primo poker room in Las Vegas and tossing cards with friends -- does life get much better for a poker player? Of course, that and getting a decent run of cards and playing some skillful poker!

After a great afternoon and evening, it was time to head back to Bally's. Bally's currently has a promotion where four hours of live cash play earns you a free buffet at Paris. I was short about an hour, so I headed to the cash tables to play. At my first table, big stacks were throwing lots of chips around. I decided to switch tables. We were in the early morning hours and several players were leaving. I got switched to several tables and then finally figured I should just go to bed. In true Las Vegas fashion, I got a buffet comp that was worth about $20. Unfortunately, I lost $78 at the session I needed to get in the extra hour!

On late Thursday morning I headed to Paris for my "free" buffet, then headed back to Wynn in the afternoon to play some poker with my friend Arch, who I first met at the 1st Annual TBC "Memorial" Meet Up that I organized back in January 2017. Arch has an interesting take on Tony, having played with him many times in Las Vegas. Arch was on his home turf at Wynn and had position on me, so I tried to avoid shipping too much money his direction! On my right was a guy who is doing a trip report on the 2+2 Poker Forum. I felt like our end of the table was pretty strong. We all ended up leaving with a profit. I am happy about winning again at Wynn, because I think the better competition there makes me play better poker overall.

I confirmed with DWP that Trooper Thursday was still in good shape at Westgate, so I had Arch drop me off there (thanks again, buddy!) and in my first half hour was up almost $500. Rivering a boat one hand when I had pocket Jacks didn't hurt! However, I lot a big chunk of chips when one player chased and hit his flush. Meh. 

Some free food was delivered, and I was surprised to see DrChako there, along with BadBlood. These guys are former poker bloggers and tough customers at the table. My table broke and there was no other table with openings, so I cashed out and intended to head back to the Strip. However, soon a seat opened up at a table with DWP, Chako and BadBlood, so I bought back in. What a great decision that was!
lightning and VegasDWP at Westgate

The game was really wild as the chips were flying and the alcohol was flowing freely. I don't even like tequila and I had several shots! DrChako and BadBlood were continually challenging a player at the opposite end of the table. But it was done in a fun, drunken sort of way, not in a mean or spiteful way. A couple of hands that stand out included a bomb pot hand when  DrChako was dealt A-K with a flop of A-A-Q! 
DrChako, BadBlood and me

In another bomb pot I looked down to see pocket Queens! The flop was uncoordinated and all card values were below my Queens. I was first to act and bet $100. A guy two seats down who seemed to be a solid player announced "all in." What? Either the guy flopped two pair or worse yet, a set. In my last visit to Las Vegas, I played on Trooper Thursday and flopped a set of deuces, felting my friend DWP, who flopped two pair. With a solid player shoving and my hand consisting of just an over pair, folding wasn't difficult albeit painful since I shipped that quick hundo in. Everyone folded and the player showed, as expected, a set. Ah well ...

I have now played at two Trooper Thursdays, had a bunch of fun and made money each session. If you are around on Thursdays, and especially if you are a fan of TheTrooper97's vlog, I highly recommend that you join in on the fun.

Knowing that heaters can do just as quickly as they come, I decided to continue the poker night when it was time to leave Westgate. I hopped on the monorail and went to MGM to see if I could turn things around. I did, booking another winning session. However, I shortened my time there since a poker Twitter friend, BigChiefTalkBollocks, had arrived from England and was playing at Planet Hollywood. I walked down to PH and met Paul, who seemed to be struggling in his first hours of play. After another winning session, I thought I should get to bed since I had to check out of Bally's in the morning. Before I left, I went over to Paul's table to say goodbye. I was happy to see a healthy stack of chips sitting in front of him. Good job, mate!

I woke up Friday morning, packed my bags and actually made it out of my room close to check out time. I am a notoriously slow packer and dresser. I dropped off my luggage at the bell desk and then went to P.F. Chang's in Planet Hollywood for lunch. I had my favorite meal there, Mongolian Beef. It seemed like this meal wasn't as good as in previous trips, a common theme on this current Las Vegas adventure. I played one final PH session, continuing my run good. A new player came to the table and complained about taking bad beats. He seemed like a nice guy but a  bit cocky. We got into it one hand. I raised with A-K, he three bet, I four bet and he shoved. I called. It was A-K vs A-K. However, the flop was three hearts and I had the Ace of hearts. And yes, you can guess what happened: I caught the nut flush on the river. Needless to say, his run bad continued. I didn't like the vibe I was getting from him and wanted to play one more time with a hope for some type of promotional jackpot, so I cashed out and headed back to MGM.

Despite some good promotions at MGM, I just wasn't hitting anything and lost a chunk of chips when I ran top-top into a set. Fortunately, I didn't lose too much. I got a comp to pay for most of my dinner at Tap in MGM, then headed back to Bally's for one final session. Rob and VegasDWP said that they would meet me there. We were all able to play at the same table my final session, which was great. I think I astounded (or maybe made nauseous)  Rob when he saw that I won a pot playing 9-3sooted. I guess that just confirmed for him that I am the "bad player" he said I was many moons ago. I was up to about $330 from my initial $200 when I looked down to see The Dreaded Pocket Kings. A  relatively new player to the table raised to $6 (below regular raises at that table). I bumped to $25, he re-raised to around $65 ... you can guess what happened. We were all in preflop and he had ... Rockets! I guess his small initial raise to $6 fooled me. He could have had six or more callers. He left me with a few redbirds which I parlayed into a bit more before shoving and losing, but it was just about time for me to leave. I was ready to go.

I said goodbye to DWP, and Rob drove me to the airport (thanks again, good buddy!). I got a late meal, got on the red eye flight, slept almost the entire way back to Chicago, ate breakfast, then slept during the short final plane ride back home. It was just over one complete week from when I went to the airport at the start of the trip.

I mentioned in my previous trip report post that I had figured out why the poker gods weren't crapping on me like they had been for most of 2018. I got a text from my brother, thundering36, Friday night at Bally's. He is currently in Australia (17 hours ahead) and sent me the following text: "Spending mom's second anniversary today at home." He was already into Saturday -- the second anniversary of our mom's death. I had to fight back the tears at the table when it finally dawned on me what might have happened. You can believe what you want. I posted the following on Facebook while waiting at O'Hare Airport:

It was two years ago that my mother passed away. I'm on my way back home after a vacation in Las Vegas. All week long, I seemed to have a trail of good luck. In the poker world, we joke about the poker gods and whether or not you are in their favor. Maybe it was just a mother still looking after her son. I dunno.

All in all, this was certainly one of my favorite trips to Las Vegas. Although there were a few losses sprinkled in, I had win after win and ended up with a very nice profit. I spent time with, played cards with and chatted with several friends throughout the week. I met some new friends and just had an overall excellent time.

My thanks to the friends who helped make this trip so much fun. I got back home with a bulging wallet and a huge smile on my face. What more could I ask for or want?

Thanks for reading!


Blogger Koala said...

Great trip report Lightning 36. I hope some of your good fortune rubs off on me when I arrive in Las Vegas on July 25 and then on my subsequent trip to Denver and South Dakota.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Lester said...

Oh yeah you had some luck come your way on that trip! Well done kind sir!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

I am usually the one getting sucked out on. It felt good to be on the other side for once.

I never apologize for stuff like this. They've done it to me so many times. Nice to be on the reverse side.

Glad you had a great trip. Thanks for the write-up.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice read sir! (PokahDave)

1:49 PM  
Blogger The Neophyte said...

Good post Lightning, sounds like you had a great trip.

12:15 AM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Great post! I'm happy to hear that you had a good time -- not only with the cards working in your favor, but also that you were able to meet up with a bunch of blogger pals!

5:34 PM  

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