Thursday, February 21, 2019

That Hand Still Sticks in My Craw Ten Years Later

Today was a really slow day at work. I got a little bored and decided to check out what I was doing poker-wise a long time ago. Strangely enough, a post I published exactly ten years ago from today featured a hand that hit me hard at the time -- the hand below from my report of poker at Bally's. It was the first time that I remembered getting sucked out on really badly in a live game for a pot of $700+. After I left the table in almost total shock, I got out my flip phone, sat in the corner near where Nosh is now in Bally's (the poker room was in a different location from where it is now), and called my wife, feeling about as discouraged from poker as I had ever been.

I'm sure that when my brother thundering36 (AKA the King of Komps) reads the post, he will remember that trip to Las Vegas because of the $700 in faux charges that were added to the Bellagio hotel bill, which was under his name! And although at the time I wrote that Bellagio did "a fine job in taking care of the situation," it ended up not being so. As I recall, the folks at Bellagio kept questioning thundering36, thinking that somehow our nephew  and I were responsible for the $400 dinner bill and misc charges. People who know me know the likelihood of me running up a $400 dinner bill! Worse yet, thundering36 still had to deal with this charge and American Express months after we left.

So ... enjoy a little lightning Las Vegas poker from ten years ago!

Las Vegas Trip Report -- January 24-28, 2009
Time to finally report on my last trip to Las Vegas. I usually do my reports right after the trip, but a cruise to the Bahamas right after my Las Vegas trip (I run goot) set me back a little. It is hard to believe that my visit was already a month ago. Let's see how much my aging brain can remember.

The trip was originally contemplated since Harrah's was actually giving away free nights to even lowly poker players. When I mentioned the free rooms to my brother Jim, the King of Komps, he checked his e-mail and found several great offers. He strung together two offers for a total of six nights -- three at Bellagio and three at Encore -- gratis. He also got $350 of free slot play, but I don't recall him sharing that with me - ha ha. I decided to stay only four nights -- three at Bellagio and one at Encore. It had something to do with my wife's birthday, as I recall ...

We had a standard room at Bellagio. To tell the truth, I have no idea why someone would pay a lot of money to stay in one of these. The room did have an excellent bathroom and was decorated nicely, but I much prefer the rooms at Planet Hollywood and Paris. We didn't really avail ourselves of many services there, so I can not speak of the pampering for which Bellagio is famous.

We always joke about not breathing anywhere near the mini-bar. When we found an unaccounted for bottle of Sprite on top of the mini-bar (left by housekeeping, we postulated?), we wondered if it had come from the mini-bar. Jim checked our account and found out that about $700 of meals and purchases had been charged to our room, including a $400+ meal at a restaurant at another MGM property. Bellagio did a fine job in taking care of the situation, but it kept us wondering about that Sprite ...

I only stayed at Encore for one night, but the room was excellent. I also loved our room at Wynn on a previous trip. If you haven't stayed at either hotel, I highly recommend it, especially if you get any type of decent rate.

First Time in the Bellagio Poker Room
I slipped in a quick two-hour session my first day while waiting for my brother and nephew to arrive in town. Surprisingly, the service was much better than I had heard. I was greeted at the desk and immediately put on a wait list for $1/2 NL. I was seated about 15 minutes later. My table had absolutely horrible players. They stayed in hands until the end when they should have clearly known better. I doubled up during the session, then left when the others got to the hotel. I hated to give up that juicy table.

I played one more session at Bellagio, but the second time was much different. The players were much better, including an off-the-clock Bellagio dealer who talked nonstop. The players were good and pretty tight, so I left after about an hour or two up a whole $5.

Wynn Poker Room
I only played one session at Wynn. Although I like the Wynn poker room, I just don't seem to get cards there anymore. I only lost a few bucks there this trip, but I was pleased at one play in particular. I was getting frustrated at my lack of cards and called the blinds with K-rag diamonds. The flop came with two diamonds. A guy from Amsterdam raised (I put him on top pair), and I called. The turn was a blank. He raised again, and I said F it, I'm chasing. The river was a non-diamond Ace. The Amsterdam guy checked. I had nothing, but thought about how I could win the pot, which was maybe about $150. I decided to bet only $30 -- obviously a value bet screaming for a call, right? The guy started talking the hand out. "You had Ace-rag of diamonds and paired your ace on the river? Why only $30?" I was just staring straight down at the table. He then put his cards right in front of my face and said "This is what I have. Should I call?" It's funny -- I didn't even look at his cards to see what he had. He was convinced that I paired an ace on the river, thought some more, then folded. YESSSS!!! My best play of the trip.

Ahh -- My Home Away From Home
Ballys is my Las Vegas poker home. I love the constant action, the friendly home game atmosphere, the quick drinks, and the donkey tourists who play there. I did well my first three sessions there, and then ended up grabbing my ankles big-time in the fifth session. I doubled up early on when a wild player who was getting ready to leave town decided to spew all his chips. I caught a boat on the river and heard him say those sweet two words: All in. However, before the session was over, I took a beating I will remember for a long time.

I was just getting ready to leave and even had a rack on the seat next to me. I had a free hand coming before the blinds, so I stayed for one more hand. I was dealt pocket 3's. The flop: Q-3-K. I raised and was called by the donkey of the table. All good so far. The turn was an 8. I raised and was reraised $90 by the donkey. I went into the thespian routine and acted like I was in the tank. I reraised all in. The donkey went in the tank, then decided to call off the rest of his chips. He turned over K-8os for two pair. All I had to do was dodge a King or an 8 on the river. The river: K! Donkey boy won the $700+ pot and I was left with about $150. Ouch. The worst part was that I knew that he would just give the chips away to everyone else at the table. Sheesh.

I played a few more sessions at Bally and did okay. However, that big pot was the difference between having a good trip and a really good trip money-wise. Damn.

The Carnage Continues at Caesars
After getting my spirit crushed by the big hand at Ballys, I grabbed a hot dog at Bill's (love those street vendor-type hot dogs right from the cart) and went across the street to Caesar's to play in the 7pm tournament. I was getting no cards, getting no cards, getting no cards ... sigh. I was down to about half my $10,000 starting stack when I was dealt A-Q sooted in middle position. I raised and was only called by the table aggro guy in early position who limped in and was starting to get a big stack. The flop came Q-rag-rag. He looked at my stack and announced that he would put me all in. I called and immediately turned over my cards. He said "Nice hand" as he turned over Q-J. Of course, the turn was a Jack and I got no resuck on the river. Out. Just like that. What a freaking crappy day.

In Summary ...
So ... I stayed in nice hotels, ate at some great buffets at Bellagio and Paris, had much fun playing poker, won some money ... but dammit, that one big pot I lost would have really capped off a great trip.

Las Vegas -- my kind of town.


Blogger Tony Bigcharles said...

how did the hotel charge get on your bill? was it done by someone who knew your name and room number? maybe very josie did it

6:28 AM  
Blogger thundering36 said...

Yes, the Bellagio trip. At least staying at Encore kind of made up for the bastards at Bellagio.

1. After we found the amount due on the TV account I went down to the front desk and was told things would be sorted out since there must have been some mistake. When I checked again, I think the next day, there were even more charges added. They insisted that I was responsible for the charges. The extras were a few items from a gift shop, like some chips and drinks. The funny thing was that the time of the meal was at about the same time that we arrived in Vegas so there was no way we could have been at two places at the same time. Bellagio didn't care.

2. When we got home I contacted AMEX who were great. It took about two months to sort out. AMEX had them send a copy of the signed receipts to me. Bellagio insisted that the signature was mine. Really? Even after I talked to them and insisted that my signature does not use Chinese characters, they refused to admit that it was their mistake. After talking to AMEX they spoke to Bellagio and were able to convince them that the Chinese signature on the receipts wasn't mine. The charge was taken off my AMEX card. I never received an apology from Bellagio. All I received was an acknowledgement that the charge was withdrawn.

3. Whenever anyone has asked me since then how Bellagio was to stay at I advise them never to stay there. I even told a guy just last week here in Australia who is going to Vegas for his honeymoon later this year and asked about where to stay. He and his bride will not be staying at Bellagio.

3. As you stated, the Bellagio room was standard, nothing special. It was fantastic to then move over to Encore which had just been opened the month before.

4. Bellagio sucks. Big time.

6:32 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@Tony - see thundering's explanation of the Chinese characters in the signature. We were pretty sure that with those and the sloppy handwriting that the charges were just put on our room by mistake. In all my other trips to Las Vegas, I never had anything like that happen!

9:47 AM  

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