Saturday, March 12, 2022

My Continuing Saga: Life is Good but Poker Leaves Much to be Desired

Shortly after getting back home from Maui, I left once again to scratch my poker itch by taking another trip to Las Vegas. I had recently had a pretty brutal run at Phoenix-area poker rooms, and I was looking for a change of pace. I would be playing my usual low-level NL Hold em. At least the trip started well.

I drove into Las Vegas on Monday, February 21 and headed to my hotel, Excalibur. Despite what I read from several people on Twitter and others social media, I don't think the rooms nor the casino are bad. I prefer the special Stay Well rooms, but for this trip I even stayed at a different tower - the Royal Tower. If I ever stayed in this one before, it was probably around the time that Bill Clinton was president. Once again, I had no complaint about my room. It was clean, furnished acceptably and was fine for my purposes, which are basically to sleep and shower.

My first stop was at Mandalay Bay, as I had not played poker there since December, 2014! Since the poker room closes during the middle of the week, I knew this would be my only chance to play this trip. I actually felt uncomfortable to some degree as I seemed to be the one outsider in a game of regulars. I did, however, win two $50 drawings for a hot seat (winning table is randomly picked, then the dealer picks a card with a seat number on it. To win a high hand bonus, Jacks or better are required. I never saw a hand nearly that good. I bowed out after a few hours, winning a small amount thanks to the hot seat drawings.

I decided to play a session that started about midnight at MGM Grand. I was just basically holding my own for a couple of hours until I was dealt a straight flush! I was fortunate in that the only opponent in the hand flopped a set! Unfortunately for me, a fourth Club was dealt on the turn, and my opponent didn't pair the board like he needed. I took a good chunk of his money, but he was disciplined enough to fold on the river to my value bet. If only! I made a nice profit on the session and headed back to my room in the early morning hours with a smile on my face.

On Tuesday, February 22, I decided to head to a poker room I had not seen for some time: Aria. My experiences there had been mostly good. My table consisted of a bunch of guys mostly 50-70 years old, so I felt at home. The first of two monster hands came after an hour or so. I was in a hand with my A-K vs 10-10. I had about $300 in front of me and my opponent, who had been making initial raises to $25 in this $1/3 NL game, had 10-10. We saw a flop of K-K-10! Obviously, we would both be getting it all in. We did so after the flop, and I was horrified to see that he had one of two hand that could beat me. I was preparing to ship my chips when I sucked out -- a rarity for me, it seems -- when the board ran out 4 and then 4! I felt like I had been due one of these. However, the tables were turned about an hour later when I raised with pocket Queens. He called . We saw a flop of low cards with two spades. I raised, he shoved, and I called. He flipped over two low clubs and had both straight and flush draws. The turn was a brick, but the river gave him a straight flush. I was busted. It was hard to complain when I had sucked out against him earlier. I needed to get some dinner, so I decided to take a poker break at that point.

I didn't know where to eat, so I decided to get the dinner buffet at South Point and play poker there afterward. The buffet and the casino in general were both really crowded as South Point was hosting  some sort of youth competition. After eating, I got seated first at a $1/2 table. soon thereafter was called for the $2/3 game. With a big dinner in my belly, I decided to stay at the $1/2 table for what I thought would be a fun session. It was not. There was a ton of limping, and sometimes initial raises to $20. Again, I felt like quite an outsider. Nothing went right and I was spewing money. I eventually busted and was pissed at myself for playing so poorly in a shitty game. Such is my poker life!

On Wednesday, February 23, I met up with my friend, Larry. He drove us to Caesars Palace, a place that had finally been good to me on my last trip. While there, it was good to say hi to poker buddy Bill Tait.

Proving that retirement is fun!

The session at Caesars was pretty much ruined by a lucksack who was playing every hand and kept hitting good hands even when he started with almost complete crap. I ended the session with a small loss, but was happy that I don't seem to get crushed at Caesars like I did in the past.

Larry and I had dinner, then headed to Red Rock, which might become a tradition on all my trips. Once again, I felt like I was an intruder on a home game. I treaded water, then lucked out when I hit an Ace-high four flush on the turn in one hand. I felted an aggressive player and left with a small profit for the night. One more session of poker to go.

I got back to the Strip and decided to play one more session at MGM. The table was fun and I kep bouncing around with my stacks. One guy was playing wildly, and when I raised from the button with J-J, he shoved all in with a lesser stack. After I went all in and everyone else had folded, he flipped over 8-8. It looked like I would take the rest of his money and finally be well into the profit area for the session, a sign that it was time for me to wrap things up and head to bed. Unfortunately, the villain binked an 8 on the flop and doubled up. The player, who seemed to know essentials but was really wild, then went on probably the best heater I have seen in years and perhaps ever seen. He played each hand and won a ton from others, including a guy to my right who was up a few hundred, got drunk, and donked it all off. I was short stacked and eventually went all in with K-Q on a Queen-high flop. Three others went all in. The guy who had binked the 8 on me flopped a set of 7's and took the money from three of us. I was felted. Time to end poker for this trip. I dropped a 2-3 buy ins. Meh.

On Thursday, I packed my things, checked out of the hotel, and headed to Windy City Beefs-N-Dogs to finally meet Norm In Vegas. We had messaged each other several times over the past six months or so and finally met. What a great time we had: two Chicago guys out west living the good life and munching on a Chicago hot dog and Italian Beef!

A couple of former Chicago bad asses 😃

After getting home, I had a couple of days rest before my brother-in-law and has wife came to visit for a week that turned into nine days. With some friends visiting Las Vegas, I decided to head back to Sin City tomorrow (Sunday, March 13) and play in the "drunk poker game" scheduled for Sunday at 4pm at South Point. It looks to have a cast of characters. I'll be staying for three nights at Harrah's before heading home in time to watch when the Chicago Bulls come into Phoenix to take on the Suns. I haven't seen a Bulls game in over ten years, so it should be fun.

Hit me up if you are going to be in Las Vegas March 13-16. C'mon out to South Point Sunday afternoon for some poker fun!

Thanks for reading!


Blogger Ace said...

Nice post. Traveling, playing poker, and blogging, that's how retirement should be!

2:29 PM  

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