Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Las Vegas Trip Report So Far -- July 11-14, 2021

Planet Hollywood  Poker Room Event
This current trip to Las Vegas has been pretty good so far. Of course (u see), almost any trip to Las Vegas should be good. But how did this one start?

I was saddened to hear that the Planet Hollywood poker room would be closing. I had spent many fun nights playing there. As luck would have it, a distribution of the extra rake jackpot money was to be held last Sunday, the first day of my trip. So ... the drive to Las Vegas began with waking up at 4:00am on Sunday, loading up some drinks and beginning the drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas. The best part of the trip is, in my opinion, the area of Arizona just south of the Nevada border. The scenery is absolutely stunning, especially to a guy who lived in Illinois his whole life until last December.

I got to PH early - just in case. As advertised, they began the process at 11:00am. They stated they would not recognize any line that might have formed prior to 11:00. By 11, the poker room was teeming with people. It almost seemed like PH didn't realize there would be such a big crowd. The man giving instructions throughout the process wasn't using an amplification system -- definitely a mistake. We were led up the nearby escalator to the mezzanine level. I'm guessing the elevator couldn't handle the load of people since it shut down, forcing people to walk up it. 

People were standing around wondering what was going on. I saw The Trooper (@TheTrooper97) and had a brief conversation with him. He put out a nice vlog on his experience with this day. Anyway, we were divided into groups. The Caesars Seven Star people were few in number and were to get seats in the poker room. Most of the Diamond and above people got seats -- all except four, who were placed at the top of the wait list. For the remaining Platinum and lower hoi polloi, we were to pick a tournament card from the organizer. If it was blank -- cya. If it had a number, you would be placed on the waiting list. I drew a card with the number 8, so I was actually 12th on the wait list.

The process: Drawings for $10,000 WSOP Main Event seats would be every half hour. To get in a drawing, you needed to win a pot with a straight or higher using at least one hole card. If you ticket was drawn, you won. The ticket hopper was then emptied for the next drawing. You could only win once, so when people won the Main Event seat, they left. I believe only one or two other people left during the event until the very end. With number 12, I was hoping I'd get in before it ended. So ... it was slot city time ... for several hours. Those of us with small wait list numbers hung around and had fun plotting. Could we find some spoiled food and deliver it to players for free? Perhaps some Ex-Lax infused chocolates?

I finally got in a $2/5 game in time for the final two drawings for the final $10,000 and the remaining $4,000. Despite winning a few hands, I never had a hand good enough for a ticket. Such is life. I was able to meet Bill Boudreau (@billvan1971) in person. That and a decent run at slots were the highlight of the PH day.
The now empty Planet Hollywood poker room   R.I.P.

What the long-time poker room area has become

After wasting most of my day at PH, I drove to South Point for some uneventful cash game play. I was pretty tired and headed to Excalibur, where I was staying for one night. I was so zonked that I just took off my clothes, collapsed on the bed and crashed at midnight. 20-hour days used to be easier in my younger years!

Monday Morning Blues
I awoke Monday morning and was in a dazed, tired state. I just stayed in bed, caught up on news, made social media posts, etc. It had rained Sunday night and my car looked like crap with Las Vegas rain drops on my Arizona dust, so I got my car washed and headed for lunch. When the eating area of a local Popeye's was closed, I made a terrible mistake and disregarded what Yelpsters said about a particular restaurant. I foolishly ate lunch at Kirin Buffet on East Flamingo near Maryland Parkway. It was terrible! The restaurant was hot inside. Almost everything was bland except for the sushi. It was probably the second or third worst Chinese buffet I had ever experienced. You don't want to go there - trust me.

I then went to the airport to pick up and meet for the first time Dan Kuester (@ddkuester), whom I'd know on Twitter for some time. After dropping Dan off at his hotel, I checked into Bally's, where I would be staying for three days. Thanks to Dan for getting me hooked up with a great room!

After some relaxation time in my room and a quick dinner, I headed down to the Bally's poker room and said hello to my old friend and Las Vegas lifestyle/poker/garage sale vlogger, poker dealer Ronnie B (@balt99). Ron and I have been friends for many years. I think I have finally forgiven him for felting me at the old Luxor poker room. After all, it has been more than eight years.

I sat down to play and was later joined by another Twitter friend I had never met in person, Jeff Temple (@JT88Keys). What kind of a guy is Jeff? When my youngest daughter had her iPhone stolen at her high school and I was searching for a cheap replacement, Jeff sent me an old one - for free!

I was at a table with some bad mojo when Jeff came and was seated at a new table. I quickly moved there was able able to sit right next to Jeff. Just two Midwest guys who talked like they lived next door to each other! One of our dealers was another friend -- Vinnie, who many people might recognize as Tony Bigcharles's friend "Vince."

I built up my stack form $300 to about $575, taking advantage of a great run of cards and some loose, poor players at the table. One of the guys seemed annoyed that I was winning and had bested him a few times. I was dealt pocket Aces and three bet this guy big. He called. The flop was 4-5-6 rainbow and he muttered something like "I caught some of this." A bet and a couple of raises later we were all in. He flipped over A-7os. Now why this guy called my big pre-flop three bet with this hand? Anyway, as luck (and poker) would have it, he binked a 3 on the turn and won a big pot, doubling up through me. An orbit or so later, I flopped a set of Kings. Another crappy player at the table was relatively short stacked and decided to shove and chase a flush, which he hit on the river. So not only Aces went down, but a set of Kings. I kept my profanity to a minimum, but I surely was not happy looking at my scrawny pile of chips that should have instead been over $1,000. Sometimes poker really sucks.

After Jeff left to eat and go to bed, our table broke and I was moved to another. In my first orbit at the table (the same one I vacated earlier), I twice called guys who went all in and seemed to be on tilt due to losing other hands. Both times I had A-Qos. I won both hands, and just like that, I was back at even for the night. I left a short time later with a minimal loss. It should have been a great session.

Tuesday on my Mind
Tuesday another old acquaintance from online poker days, Chris AKA Mrs. Lederer (@MrsLedr) invited me to have lunch at the South Point buffet. She was being joined by another old poker social media (AVP) friend, David Petina (@dappoker). Dave was able to use his comps to pay for lunch for all three of us. Yes! Dave, Chris and I had a great time talking poker at lunch. 
Blog Hero, David and Chris

Chris then went to enter an Omaha tournament while Dave and I talked about tournament poker. Recently, I had been thinking of giving more tournaments a try. I decided to play in the South Point 6:05pm NL donkament. Later on, Dan Kuester entered late and was seated at my table.

I was down a little early, but hung in and chipped up when the times were right. I think the only time I sucked out was when I won with A-8 vs 8-8(70% favorite). As we were at the bubble (players could not agree on paying the bubble), I made a big raise on the button with A-10. The guy on my left, who had me covered, three bet me, which would put me all in on the bubble. He had only been at the table a relatively short time, but I got the impression that he was a solid player who wouldn't attempt to bluff off most of his stack to abuse the bubble. With his big raise, I started thinking of all the better hands he might have. I decided to fold (I was called out on this type of fold one time many years ago). He showed ... A-J! Good thing I am a wuss or had a great read on him). I could always chip back up.

I kept hanging in. Dan was moved the other table when we got down to 18, and he cashed a short time later. I kept hanging in and chipping up until finally we were at the final table! My final hand was shoving UTG with A-Q. The same guy who had the A-J before made a huge raise, so I was pretty sure I was sunk. He had A-K. With so poker god suckout assistance there, I finished in 7th out of 129 runners. Without a few suckouts guys had at the final table, I would have finished 5th or higher. But no complaints - I had a good run!

I drove Dan back to Encore and was going to head to Resorts World to play poker with  Tony Bigcharles AKA TBC (@sevencard2003), but we were both tired and hungry and decided to eat instead. Of course (u see), we got one of our favorite meals: country friend steak.
A TBC and lightning36 favorite: country fried steak

Blog Hero and the legendary Tony Bigcharles

I gave Tony a ride back to his hotel and headed back to Bally's. I was tempted to  get in a little late night poker, but just went up to my room and crashed instead.

I am here all day today (Wednesday) and have to drive home sometime tomorrow.  I am currently running a gambling deficit this trip and hope that maybe I can break even or head into the positive column before I leave.

Thanks for reading!


Blogger Pete P. Peters said...

Tony looks like a Mexican Mushmouth

12:09 PM  
Blogger JT88Keys said...

Sorry it took me so long to finally read this and comment. It was great finally meeting you in person and getting to spend some time at the felt together. Hopefully we will wind up in Vegas again when I’m there solo and able to play more poker.

We can break down the Cubs fire sale and decide whether to not it will take another 100+ years for them to win another World Series.

3:01 PM  

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