Monday, March 21, 2022

Las Vegas Trip Report of March 13-17, 2022: "Drunk Poker, Old and New Friends, and the Poker Battles Continue"

I've been home for a few days from my recent trip to Las Vegas. Once again, it was a trip of ups and downs, but a fun trip nevertheless. Even when Las Vegas is bad, how bad can it be??

I left in the morning on Sunday, March 13, to give myself enough time to make the drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas and have enough time to check into my hotel (Harrah's) before heading to South Point to take part in what was called a "drunk poker game. Actually, the game was designed to be a fun game for a group of friends. I got to South point at 3:45pm, 15 minutes before the game was to start. We would be playing $3/6 Limit, a game that had creamed me at Talking Stick Resort (Scottsdale, AZ) the few times I played it. I was looking forward to having some fun playing, but $3/6? Yecch!

The poker playing pink flamingo, Flynn, and his human, Erin, were already seated at the table, as were @bigfokkerdog (Erin's husband - Jeff), whom I'd never met, and Joseph (@Hockey_Jerseys), whom I'd also never met (and his wife, Toni) and had recently traded comments on Twitter. There were a few non-friends at the table, and most left in a short time. That allowed the resident political opposites to sit next to each other: total left-wing flamer @LuukeJohnston and right wing Trumper @ZetusLarry. What a line up! 
Picture courtesy of The Flynn & Ollie Chronicle

Things started off very slowly for me in this "wonderful" game of $3/6. I was in for $160 and almost busted when I was gifted a river suck out against Larry. Then, however, things rapidly changed. I believe a common phrase I could use would be that the deck "smacked me in the face." Well... not only in the face, but in the chest, the belly, the legs, and everywhere else! I even won a high hand bonus with a straight flush. It helped that a few of the players were in a nice "relaxed" mood due to the consumption of a few drinks, the table was playing lose and having fun, and a few other players apparently got crap cards and struggled to win any hands. Meanwhile, I was shocked to see that virtually none of my good hands were counterfeited on the river -- which had been the story of my $3/6 life at Talking Stick.

As the afternoon and then evening wore on, players started leaving the table. At long last, Erin, Jeff and I were the remaining players until there was only one remaining. I played for a short time with all the other players who filled the seats formerly filled by friends. I had a nice conversation with a friendly woman about retirement living. Finally, I decided that it was time to cash out my winnings and move the trip along. Other people that sat at the table didn't say boo to me, but just stared at my house of chips. Along with the brown $1 chips, I also had a mixed stack of red and green. I cashed out and grabbed some dinner at South Point's Coronado Cafe. 

Since things seemed to be going my way, I decided to play a late night session at Caesars Palace. In 2021, Caesars had been full of pain and torture for me. Getting rivered and felted in an $800+ pot when my AA was beaten by QQ just as I was ready to head to the airport was etched in my mind. This time, however, things changed. I won a moderate amount and decided to head back to Harrah's and get some sleep. I had been a little groggy after my drive to Las Vegas, but now I was ready to crash bug time, secure in the knowledge that I started off my trip with two winning sessions. Could I keep it up?

I took Monday to mostly veg out. In fact, I was was pretty worthless. I slept late, got lunch, then was reading in the early afternoon and crashed for several hours. I decide to head back to Caesars and try my luck again. Once again, I had a decent session and cashed out with a nice profit. And with Caesars, one never knows who one might run into!
Photo courtesy of Bill Tait

I then decided to head to Bally's for a late night cash session. Years ago, Bally's had been my poker home. I used to crush it there and even got two Royal Flushes in one year. Things then changed, however, and I started having trouble winning there. In fact, I didn't play any poker at Bally's my previous trip the month before. It was time to give it a try. Unfortunately, I got behind right away after running top-top into a set. Try as I might, I couldn't get any cards and was unable to get unstuck and took my first loss of the trip, albeit a small one. It was time to hit the sheets and look forward to another great day!

On Tuesday, I slept in, as usual, then headed to South Point for its lunch buffet, then to the poker room. I was meeting new friend Joseph there, and as I was finishing my lunch, he messaged me that he was  seated. I headed to the poker room, got my name on both $1/2 and $2/3 lists, and was quickly seated at Joseph's $2/3 table. There were a couple of young aggro guys who were juicing every pot, so my plan was to mostly wait in the weeds, play a few speculative hands, then drop the bomb when I got a biggie. I had been in a few pots with mixed success when my chance finally came. I was dealt the "dreaded pocket  Kings" (see Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog). I raised to $20 and got two callers: a guy in early position who had been playing pretty solid, and Joseph, who had position on me. With approximately $60 in the pot and stacks of (approximately): EP player - $400; me- $400; Joseph - $185, we saw a flop of 9-3-x with two hearts. EP raised to $30 (which surprised me -- perhaps an overpair smaller than mine or a flush draw) and I re-raised to $100. Joseph then pushed all in for $165. EP folded, and with KK and about $355 already in the pot, I called the additional $85. I was horrified to see that Joseph had crushed my KK when he hit top set on the flop. Bah! They certainly can be the "dreaded pocket Kings!"

I got in one more session on Tuesday: a late night session at MGM. Things seemed to go okay for awhile, as (I hope my inner self hears this) I struggled and succeeded to double my buy in. At that point I should have cashed out, but the table had some nice guys at it, so I stayed. Mistake. I shoved all in on a bluff against a highly analytic player. When in a tough spot, he talked the hand out loud. I knew he didn't have much of a hand, but I think his frustrations with the night led him to make a crying call, figuring that he was done for the night. That left me short stacked, and I was felted when I was looking to get money in the pot before pushing. I finally got my chance when I was dealt A-10 and thought I was in great shape with a flop of 2-A-7. I was shocked when my shove was called. It seems that the villain played the worst hand in poker -- 7-2os -- and hit two pair on the flop. Sometimes poker sucks!

I was actually scheduled to go home on Wed, March 16, but while ahead at MGM Tuesday night, I reserved one more day and would be switching to Excalibur. I checked out of Harrah's and headed to South Point to play in the 1:05pm NL tournament. I initially got some cards and then made a foolish call when I raised with A-K sooted and saw a flop of J-K-Q. I raised and my opponent pushed all in. Looking back, if the player had been at the table longer and if I'd gotten a better read on him, I could have folded. However, seeing that at least one player at the table had long donkey ears, I called off about half my stack and saw that he flopped two pair with K-Q. My hand didn't improve and I was going to have to look for a quick hand to shove. I got the opportunity a few hands later when I was dealt 8h9h. I shoved and was called by pocket 6s. I was happy to see that it was a typical pair vs two overs hand. I hit an 8 on the flop and felt great until my opponent rivered a 6 for a set, knocking me out. Meh. I have to get better if I am going to be playing anymore tournaments.

I decided to give MGM another chance that night and was not rewarded. I was not impressed by the level of skill I saw at my table, and it looked like suck outs were prevalent. About 20 minutes in, someone raised to $20 and got two callers. I was on the button with 10h9h and decided to call. The flop was a rainbow J-K-Q! The initial raiser, who was a short stack and was only still at the table because he rivered a two-outer a few hands before, shoved all in. A seemingly clueless guy (he was having trouble understanding the concept of raise amounts) called, another guy folded, and I pushed all in. The clueless guy called. As long as nobody had A-10, I was ahead. The flop was a meaningless 4. The river, however, was a King. The clueless guy turned over K-Q (notice this hand playing a huge role today?) for a rivered full house to crush my flopped straight. I was pissed and decided that I was done with MGM for the trip. Bah!

There was still plenty of Wednesday night left, so I decided to go back to Caesars for one more session. I was initially seated next to a woman who was gabbing non-stop with a voice that was driving me crazy... and I had only been there a couple of minutes. I immediately went to the counter and asked for a table change. the woman there asked "Where do you want to go?" My response: "Anywhere but table five!" So... I sat down the table behind it. Thankfully, I could barely hear the woman's chatter!

Readers of my blog have seen that I whine plenty about getting sucked out on. Most times, I get my money in good. However, here is some honesty about how even I can sick out with the best! I was at a relatively normal table with $about 400 in front of me when I looked down to see pocket Aces! I raiswd and was called by two players, each with smaller stacks than me. The flop was J-Q-K -- not what I would want with AA. I raised, and the smallest stack shoved all in. The other player in the hand called. I decided to just jam and hope for the best. It turns out that the players had identical hands -- K-Jos, and therefore both had flopped two pair against my overpair. However, the turn was a 2, and the river... another 2, giving me the winning two pair! I felted them both. They were actually both laughing about it, which certainly made it feel better on my part. I won more hands, including felting one of the players in my AA hand a second time when I flopped a set of 3s I ended up with a nice win for the night, more than making up for the MGM hand I was so upset about.

Perhaps it is due to my background in sports when I was growing up, but when competing in poker, I hope to win every hand I'm in and every session I play. I know that is not realistic, but that is what I shoot for.

I ended my trip on a winning note and despite some losing sessions, ended up ahead, which is always a victory. Winning at poker, seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones? What a great trip. Viva Las Vegas!

A few personal notes and plans for the future
I recently did testing with my new AZ cardiologist to see exactly where I am heart health wise. My heart is in great shape, and a comprehensive blood panel showed that my blood sugar was down significantly, my cholesterol was good, and my blood pressure was largely okay. Unfortunately, I have put on a lot of weight over the years. Starting today, my wife and I are looking to really restrict the carbs we eat. I hope that the next time my friends see me there will be at least a tad less lightning36!

Upcoming travel: My wife and I might go to visit our son and his girlfriend in Seattle in April sometime. We usually take short trips of about three nights there. In May, possibly a trip "back home" to Illinois and possibly Wisconsin to visit with our daughters, other family and friends. In June, I hope to make a three or four night stay in Las Vegas and see old friend Koala Pete, who will be coming in from Australia and spending June in Las Vegas. I hope to be able to have Pete spend a few days in Phoenix.

Life is good. Thanks for reading!


Blogger J Jacks said...

Glad you had a good time. Enjoyed meeting you too

6:52 PM  
Blogger Ace said...

Finally, the Hero gets slapped the deck!

6:25 AM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Happy to hear that you're doing well both physically and mentally! Get to eating right and follow that up with physical activity - you'll shake out just fine!

3:23 PM  

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