Friday, June 23, 2023

What Have I Gotten Myself Into? I'm The New Very Josie Las Vegas Wingman?


"Josie's on a vacation far away
Come around and talk it over"
Your Love by The Outfield

Yes, I just got back from a week in Las Vegas. Not a particularly great week poker-wise, but it is always good to play poker with and spend time with friends. Unfortunately, some people who work don't have the same flexibility that we retired folks do. Very Josie picked out some dates for a Las Vegas vacation during the WSOP and inquired as to my availability. Hmmm ... did I really have any choice?

"In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns."
                   Calo in The Godfather

So ... come Wednesday evening June 28, the one and only Very Josie makes her return to Las Vegas in hunt of a WSOP bracelet and chump money in selected cash games. She has already stirred up a bit of a commotion by announcing  a special giveaway that she posted on Twitter. If you haven't seen it yet, check out her Twitter feed for the opportunity to win some real cashola!

"When Josie comes home
So good
She's the pride of the neighborhood
She's the raw flame
The live wire
She prays like a roman
With her eyes on fire, oh"
Josie by Steely Dan

As for me? Well, it's not like I have never had to be a toady for one person or another over the years. Why stop now? But please -- I'm just the messenger. If you want to get on her dance card you need to contact her yourself. But just remember what Calo said about those Sicilian women.

For any of my Las Vegas friends or buddies who will be in Sin City next week, I should be hitting town by dinnertime on Wednesday. Until then ...

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Several Thoughts on Las Vegas After Spending a Week There

I recently wrote a two-part trip report from my trip to Las Vegas on June 5-12, 2023. Besides the information in the reports, there were also some other impressions I wish to share which were not included in the reports.

Hotel rooms
I stayed in four different hotels this trip. My update on what they are like.
Harrah's: One of the low-end Caesars properties. I stayed in the Mountain Tower. A great job has been done in refurbishing and redecorating these hallways and rooms. However, the room registration process is still a pain. Lines are often long at the key times, and if you want to get in before 4:00pm, prepare to be offered a ridiculous price for that privilege. The casino itself is smoky and crowded, and for those of us who are not Platinum and above, we pay for parking or we find creative ways to get around it.
Excalibur: I hate when people call it the "dirty castle" or other derogatory terms. It is MUCH better than it was several years ago, especially if you stay in one of the Stay Well rooms. The rooms are okay, and there are several inexpensive eating places on the premises. The Mexican cafe just out side the Resort Tower serves decent food, and late night options include Johnny Rockets and Krispy Kreme. I do have an MGM credit card, so parking is free for me here. It tends to be my fallback place to stay.
South Point: My first time staying here. There are many advantages that outweigh staying on the Strip -- as long as you have a car! The rooms are nice size and the floors are laminate, not carpet. There was a Keurig coffee pot with free pods! The buffet is still relatively cheap with decent food, there are several nice restaurants (although I have yet to eat at any), and the Coronado Cafe is great, especially its midnight specials. I've yet to use some of the other amenities -- bowling alley, pool, etc. In the times I've stayed, it was not unusual to see either a big rodeo crowd here or lots of teens due to some type of competition being held at the resort. Of course, I haven't even mentioned the poker room that has good action and promotions.
Golden Nugget: First time staying here also. I have stayed downtown two nights at 4 Queens, but that is it for me downtown. The Nugget was a great place to stay! Excellent room slightly big in Carson Tower, a wonderful pool if you want to fight the summer crowds, numerous restaurants inside the hotel or within quick walking distance on Fremont, and a poker room with great action and a monster bad beat jackpot. Parking in the garage is included with your room -- something the Caesars and MGM Strip hotels should include in their ripoff resort fees.

Construction traffic
One of the most problematic issues for anyone staying in Las Vegas, especially for any of the ongoing poker series, is the construction sites that are preparing for this fall's Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix. I first ran into it when getting into town and going from I-15 to Harrah's around 4:30 to 5:00pm. Most of the drivers were calm and courteous and, despote the wait, things were not too terrible except for the people making turns who clogged up the intersections when the traffic lights changed. Morons. Oh, that and the pedestrians who continually cross the Strip and side roads/entrances to casinos against the walk/don't walk signs, thinking they won't get hit. It is amazing that more pedestriams don't get hit.
I experienced the Koval construction when driving from Venetian to MGM (thanks Google Maps?) at night. This one was frustrating as things moved very slowly.
I had few other issues on I-15, although there were some slowdowns. 

If you are going to be visiting Las Vegas in the near future, be advised to check on where the construction areas are before you go. It will be worth your time. When in Las Vegas, avaoid them as much as possible, especially outside of the late night and early morning hours when there is less traffic.

I only played in one small event, a weekly seniors deep stack. However, I did heed the advice and registered in person for mine the morning of -- at 12;30am. No line. Paid in cashola, so no extra fees. In and out quickly. Meanwhile, there was quite a long line of people waiting to register right before the tournament at the Horseshoe tournament site. Oh well.

The poker tables were okay, but the chair I sat in was a "banquet chair" -- a few steps up from folding chairs, but still lacking comfort. I know that this kind of seating causes problems for people with special seating needs. We were seated ten to a table, so things were a bit tight.

One legitimate issue at my tournament: Two denominations of the chips looked similar ($5,000 and $1,000 I think -- both yellow or yellowish. Adding to this was a dealer who had a heavy accent and was also wearing a mask. A guy sitting in seat 8 (who admittedly has hearing issues) was sitting at a bad angle and misheard the dealer. I imagine you can always blame the player for not clarifying, but he did attempt to do the and did not heard the muffled, accent-heavy answer. He had the floor come over, but there was little the floor could do except say that what happened stood.

Poker Wait Lists
Wait lists near the middle of the Strip got to be ridiculous at times. Both Horseshoe and Caesars tended to have long lists, but if you are not Diamond or about, you get to watch those at the higher levels move to the top of the wait lists. During non-WSOP times this is generally not a problem, but it certainly is during WSOP. Wait list were also enormous at Bellagio and Aria, this making Venetian, Wynn, Resorts, and MGM better Strip choices for many of us.

Good luck if you will be playing and of the WSOP or other tournament series going on this summer. Of course, may run good also follow you in the cash games!

Thanks for reading. 😀

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Las Vegas Trip Report June 5-12, 2023: Part 2

Thursday, June 8, 2023

I started this morning with one of my favorite things: eating at the South Point Bloody Mary Breakfast Buffet. The SP buffet might not be fancy, but the food is generally pretty good. I took a food porn picture to send to my brother, thundering36, who shared many Las Vegas buffets with me over the years. Jim - I wish you could be here!

While I was eating, a text came in from my friend Norm in Vegas, inviting me to his house for hamburgers and watching the Golden Knights playoff game that night. I replied that I would need to check my schedule for later that day. Suddenly, I felt this overwhelming feeling of fatigue, similar to how I felt when I contracted COVID earlier this year. I went up to my room and hit the sheets. I didn't wake up until later in the afternoon. I texted Norm that I thought my body was punishing me for abusing it so much lately. I thanked him for the invite, but declined since I didn't feel well. I just stayed in my room and began watching the hockey game when it came on. I felt better in the evening, and decided to try venturing out of SP. I picked up RobVegasPoker and drove us to MGM.

My initial table at MGM sucked. One guy in particular made it unpleasant. He talked ... and talked ... and talked. He was bragging about cashing in Day 1 of the Gladiator. I mean, c'mon -- yes, that is a nice accomplishment, but some of my friends have cashed in WSOP events for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was not impressed. The irritating guy was wearing a cowboy hat and apparently was from Oklahoma. I thought about what Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket would say to him. 😁

Rob told me that his table was fun and that he was sitting next to a fun woman from England. I was able to get seated at his table, which saved the evening. The woman, Emily, was jovial and engaging. Suddenly, I was surprised that the room seemed to be taken over by the sound of Simon and Garfunkel:

"What I dream I had
Pressed in organdy
Clothed in crinoline of smoky Burgundy
Softer than the rain"

This was a great time to have some fun with Rob, who seemed enamored with her. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Rob, ummm, looking good there. Possibilities?
Rob: She's married
Me: Well, we ARE in Las Vegas.
Rob: Her husband is sitting on the other side of her.
Me: Oh ...

A little later on, I was having some fun with Emily, making her think that I was mad that she intimated that I lied in poker. Imagine!

It was an interesting night of poker. Rob informed me that a vlogger was at the table. I saw his camera up, recording the table play. The vlog is called 4 Bet Blind. The vlogger's name is Will Tinoco. Rob and I have been waiting to see his newest vlog about our night at MGM. Since Will has a long gap between vlogs, we might not get to see much or any of that night.

Rob had been cruising with a nice stack ever since he rivered quad Aces. He almost took a horrendous beat when a player who never should have even been in the hand turned a gutshot straight. My big hand came later when, in a hand with a growing pot, I hit my straight on the river. The initial raiser bet $100 and was called by Will. I only had $141 left, so it was thespian time. After trying to look pained, I threw in my final $141. The original caller quickly called, but Will labored with his decision. It was only $41 into a pot that exceeded $600, but he had a feeling he was just throwing money away. He eventually decided to call, and both players were forced to settle for second best hand. I happily scooped up the chips. As Rob later said to me, "You had to work for your chips." Indeed. Rob and I headed out, hoping for some more run good the next day.

** Lyrics from "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her" by Simon and Garfunkel

Friday, June 9, 2023

I checked out of my South Point hotel room and decided to enter the 10:00am donkament. Everything went right for the player to my left and nothing went right for me. Since I had spewed off a lot of chips, I was looking to chip up. I raised on the button with AsQs. A couple of people who limped in called. The flop was disjointed and nine high. After two checks I shoved to grab the blinds. Much to my surprise, the first caller who checked called my raise. The other folded. The board ran out dry and the other player flipped over A-K. Gg me. 😑

I then decided to play some $1/2 NL before I headed to the Strip or downtown. I was able to speak with Chris Abramski, who was playing cash, for a few minutes. Several hands in once I was seated, I looked down to see A-A in the big blind. The UTG player made a small raise and I raised to $25. He called. The flop consisted of rags. After the turn, we got it all in. It turns out that he originally raised with 8-4 and hit two pair on the flop. What was he doing raising with that in the first place? And calling a $25 bet in a $1/2 game with only the two of us still in the hand?

It was already past 3:00pm, so I decided to drive to Golden Nugget and check in for the final hotel of my visit. I had three weekend nights here. After I parked my car and headed into the Nugget with my luggage, I was horrified to see what was in front of me: a sea of humanity! Checking into the hotel on a Friday afternoon at 3:30pm. Duh. The line just to get into the pool area was really long, and the long line of people waiting to register was unreal. It was the second longest hotel registration line I had seen in my life. 

I asked a hotel bellman if that was the registration area for all towers. He said "Yes. Are you a good tipper? I mean a really good tipper?" I nodded my head. He put my stuff on his cart and took me to the VIP registration area. He said "Do you know how long you would have waited?" I happily handed him a generous tip. I got waited on immediately and the clerk said "Are you a VIP?" I said "He brought me here. I was invited and comped for the weekend." She said "He owes me." I got checked in and happily walked past the , oh ... couple hundred or so in the registration line, got my room, and had plenty of time to get to Tony Roma's inside Fremont Casino to wait in line for the restaurant to open -- and get the $8.99 prime rib special, which I had been wanting to do for over a year. 

Verdict: Pretty good, and an excellent value for only $8.99.

It was time to play some poker at Golden Nugget. I have a really bad history there of taking nasty beats. I was hoping for a change. I was part of a new table that was starting. One guy appeared to be high on something. He was talking fast and non-stop, and when we started playing, made bets that exceeded the type of bets common to $1/3 NL. He ended up bluffing one guy, which really pissed the guy off. Half the table was targeting him. My big moment came when I called a raise with 8-8 (about $425 behind). The flop was challenging for my set: 10-9-8 with two diamonds. I raised about half the pot to see what the others would do. The first player (about $150 behind) went all in. The second player (about $100 behind) called. So I had bottom set on about as wet a board as there could be for my hand. I guessed that one of the two had Q-J, but maybe both were drawing to straights or flushes. Since they both had smaller stacks then me and the pot was growing, I called. The first player flipped over J-7sooted and the second flipped over Q-Q. I was going to need to pair the board. The turn was a Queen, giving the second player a bigger set, and the river was a brick, meaning the guy who flopped the straight held. My stack was still okay with the hit, but that was the high point of my session. As luck would have it, the loud lucksack was catching cards. In fact, he called my button raise with crap when I had AA. He  hit a straight. Needless to say, it was a rather unfun and unsuccessful night. I had a lot more fun playing slots at Golden Nugget. I figured that I had better invest some time in them since my room had been comped for the weekend.

The night ended with a $9.99 corned beef hash special at Magnolia's in 4 Queens. Pretty tasty for a late-night meal.

I took note of a guy who was having a taco salad that looked great. It would be on my agenda if I returned.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Funny thing: Although this was just a few days ago, I have no recollection of what I did in the morning or early afternoon! Unless I have some revelation, I guess I just slept really late and didn't do much of anything until I went back to Magnolia's for lunch in the afternoon. And yes -- I did get that taco salad, and it was pretty tasty.

I decided to head to Wynn, where I've had very good results over the years. There was a bit of a wait, which was the case almost everywhere, but especially near mid-Strip. However, when I was given my table assignment, I thought I was getting an omen of a tremendous night:

However, a very familiar theme this trip, success was to elude me once again. I was in the middle of one of those run-bad times that just seem to go on forever. None of my open-ended straights would complete. Every time I had four to a flush the fifth card was nowhere to be found. If I had a big hand in position, everyone or almost everyone in front of me had already folded. My aces were crushed two or three times to shitty hands. None of my pairs hit sets on the flop, and boats? Mwahaha! It was that bad. I guess I was paying the price for the fantastic day I had shortly before my Las Vegas trip. The $394 hourly win rate I had that day was exceptional and funded my losses on this trip. Although my table was decent and kind of fun, it again couldn't produce for me. This was certainly not a memorable day.

I headed back to Golden Nugget and spent more time playing slots. My money maker was Rich Little Piggies Meal Ticket. I'd wait for people to fatten the piggies up and then I'd play. The machines paid off for me several times. I also had great fun playing the Discovery Shark Week games. I'm not sure how I finished on those. I was up quite a bit, then skidded at the end. I guess when poker sucks, there are always slots to cheer you up or make you descend deeper into gambling hell!

Sunday, June 11, 2023

After being out quite late playing slots, I awoke just past 6:00am and was surprised to see this text from Norm in Vegas: "Goooood morning. I just sat down ... table 13 at GOLDEN NUGGET!" My response: "6am poker? Wtf? ...😀 Norm had already hit quads for a high hand bonus, so I decided to get on some clothes and head down even though I felt groggy and tired. I believe we call this foreshadowing! I noticed something funny when I tried to look through my reading glasses at the cards. Then I realized: I had apparently only put in one contact lens. One eye could see clearly without the glasses, and the other needed the glasses, Great. I thren made my worst move of the weekend. I was in a pot with one other guy. I had A7. The flop had an Ace and three spades. I had no spades. We went back and forth a little until the river, which was a 7. Two pair. I bet $30 and the villain shoved in a couple hundred. Now, the reality is that this should have been an easy fold. However, being tired, having the screwed up vision, and having crappy sessions for the past few days, tilt took over and I unfortunately guessed that the player was trying to bluff me out of the pot. Needless to say, I guessed wrong and felt terribly embarrassed to have played so stupidly with a friend watching. I had had enough poker for the trip. Norm wanted to play for a bit, so I headed back to my room to sulk and put in my other contact before we would grab breakfast together. I got back to my room to find that there was no second contact lens there. I had somehow lost it between my room and the Nugget poker room. Kind of a fitting way to wind down this trip!

I  headed back down after a while, and Norm and I had breakfast. He saw what a pisser mood I was in and bought my breakfast. It's nice to have friends. 😀 I went back to my room and was going to decide if I should just call it a trip and head home a day early. The reality was that I was fatigued and did not want to make the drive home in that state. I slept some and loafed around for some time. I knew that Rob was at Venetian, so I inquired about us having dinner. When he decided to leave his table, we met at the Grand Lux Cafe. The sandwich special, featuring a salad, half sandwich and a cup of soup was my choice. Excellent meal, as the Grand Lux always seems to deliver.

Now came the big decision: to play or not to play. Rob and I looked at options, and our best was to stay at Venetian. I borrowed some money from Rob (like I was gonna pay a fortune in the Venetian ATM!) and we both got on the wait list. My table had a group of four youngish friends playing wildly. Perfect. Fortunately for me, the poker gods must have thought I'd quit for the trip and they forgot to screw me this session. I got some good starting hands, and the flops were actually hitting me a decent number of times. I scored some decent pots off the group of friends, then had someone three bet my flopped set of Aces. When I four bet, he shoved with a wimpy A-9 that looked like it had no chance until the turn came, giving him a gutshot possibility. Thank goodness it didn't hit, and I scored a nice pot. I did well in more hands, but then the friends left, and I thought it was a good time to take my profits and run. This ended up being my best session of the trip. Thank you Rob!

With a little success going, I could either go back to my room for the night or head back to MGM. Yeah - you know what I did. Back to MGM!

My table there seemed kind of goofy. The players who appeared to be solid were rarely winning hands, but the fishy looking players were sucking out and taking pots. I went down $100, then up $100. I then rivered a boat, which was raised after I bet. Based on the board, I was pretty sure my opponent had a bigger boat, but I called anyway. Stoopid!

I cashed out with a win there, ending my poker for the trip. It has been a few days since Rob and I saw Emily there, but I thought I'd look for her before I headed out. She was at the final table I searched.

We talked for a few minutes, but then it was time for me to head back to Golden Nugget and get some sleep before my drive home. At least the end of the trip was good!

Monday, June 12, 2023

Checking out of Golden Nugget was easy on the television. I hopped in my car and headed out around 11:00am, hoping to get home before dinnertime. On my way, I stopped at the scenic view of what I consider to be one of the most beautiful sites in the USA: just inside the Nevada border before entering Arizona, looking at Lake Mead and the unusual surroundings. The pictures do not do justice to the view.

I made it home with taking two naps along the way. I got home in just enough time to play with my weekly trivia group. I was certainly not sharp for the contest, but hey: trivia is only a game. But isn't poker a game?  Is it like Phil Helmuth once said: "To you, it's poker, man. To me, it's my life."

In a follow-up blog post, I'll talk about my experiences with hotels this trip, staying downtown, Las Vegas traffic, ...

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Las Vegas Trip Report June 5-12, 2023: Part 1

Sunday, June 4, 2023
With my Las Vegas trip set up for Jun 6-12, I began getting a little antsy. I had nothing on my agenda for Monday, June 5 and had been getting excited hearing about the WSOP starting up. I saw that I could get an inexpensive room at the last minute, so at about 11pm Sunday night I pulled the trigger and added Monday night to my trip. I had actually been packing much earlier than usual, especially since I thought I might add Monday. Also, having heard of the traffic snafus around the Strip, I thought I'd be more relaxed and prepared to play in the WSOP Gladiator on Wednesday morning if I got in Monday afternoon. In retrospect, that was a wise decision. The only problem was that I now had another hotel to stay at this trip. Seven nights, four hotels. Meh.

Monday, June 5, 2023
My drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas was fine until I got near the Strip on I-15. Getting off at Flamingo was a pain. I was finally able to get to Harrah's, but felt spent. After a short time to relax, I headed to the Roma Deli to meet up with @Onechiquita (AC) and @WASHDUDE. I had a great meal there -- eggplant parmesan with a beer, then some wine (he he) to splash it down. Todd Brunson came in and added to our group. After AC left, Max Pescatori and two other guys sat down. We had a great time, telling stories and talking sports. A big thank you to WASHDUDE, who picked up the bill.

I gave WASHDUDE a ride to Horseshoe, then headed to MGM to play some $1/$2 NL. The table was tight and I struggled just to get up to a $90 profit. Some players changed, and a couple guys joined the table after busting and cashing their WSOP event. One was at a table with Phil Helmuth. I heard his name mentioned (alcohol was apparently the reason) somewhere around 30+ times. Unfortunately for me, some new guy sat on my left and either bluffed the heck out of me or apparently caught some juicy cards several times when I had a hand. I don't know for sure, but I think he really caught the cards he needed. I got frustrated and cashed out, then headed to play Rich Little Piggies slots. One pig was huge and the others were big, so I played. I got ahead, then behind, and was finally able to get the bonus with all three. At least there was one win for the night! But crap -- I stayed up much later than I wanted to, a typical Las Vegas first day mistake. Ah well!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023
My wife and I like to joke about how I always seem to forget to pack something when I head to Las Vegas. I found out what I forgot when I was ready to get dressed for the day. As I looked and looked in disbelief, the sad truth hit me: I didn't pack my underwear! I know I had my undies set aside and they had actually been in my suitcase before I started swapping out some clothes for the trip. It looks like they inadvertently got swapped out. Note to self: go to Walmart or Target later.

After checking out of Harrah's, I drove to South Point to meet good buddy @Robvegaspoker for lunch, then cash games. We ran into @LuukeJohnston and @AZ_Snoop_20, who were both playing the SP Omaha 8 tourney. Luke was down to the ol' chip and a chair and pulled out a final table cash! For some reason, I was playing recklessly and donked off part of a buy in (notice the trend beginning?) and decided to take a break. I headed to Excalibur to check in. That night I headed to Resorts World to join Rob for some $1/$3 action. As with my previous cash sessions, little seemed to go right. My draws never got there, theirs always did. Three cash sessions and three losing sessions. I had been on a pretty good heater at my home poker room in Arizona, so I guess I was due for a little misfortune.

Several people encouraged me to not play the Gladiator on Wednesday morning but to instead play in the WSOP seniors deep stack. I decided that that might be a better way to go and registered for it after midnight. I then hustled back to Excalibur to get some much needed sleep and prepare for my return to the WSOP. I had not actually played in any WSOP tournaments since ... well, let's just say many years!

Wednesday, June 7, 2023
WASHDUDE and I getting ready for a morning of deep stack tournament. Photo by WASHDUDE.

I got up early Wednesday morning to prepare my tournament backpack, check out of Excalibur and get some breakfast. I had few traffic issues and decided to park at Bellagio and avoid the WSOP crowd parking at Paris and Bally's. In true seniors fashion, I got to the tournament about 45 minutes early! AZ Snoop was there to play, and lo and behold, WASHDUDE and I started at the same table. I was in seat 7 and he was in seat 9. Unfortunately, the guy sitting in between us who came after the start has had several tournament cashes and a few wins -- Christopher "Buck" Bucceri. Having him to my immediate left was a disadvantage, but such is life.

I actually got some cards in the first two or three or levels. I got AA twice and got the remainder of chips from a guy who had lost most of them a hand or two before. I got KK three times and flopped a set with them once, but didn't get paid much on them. If that wasn't frustrating enough, I then got few playable cards for the next two levels. My stack never seemed to vary greatly from the beginning 25,000. I think that I was between 18,000 and 32,000 the entire time. Our buddy Buck, meanwhile was providing some entertainment. I told him that he looked familiar to me. He asked if I kept up on the latest poker news. I told him I kind of did. He said he'd been in the news lately. During a break I looked up his information. Yeah -- the guy was a tad more experienced and accomplished in tournaments the past few years than me.

Just before the end of the eighth level and second tournament, with blinds and the big blind ante getting pretty expensive, I saw a my chance. Looking back, my M was below 10. I was looking for opportunities to steal or push, but the situation was never right. I woke up with A-K in early position and raised. A player in seat two, who had been fairly aggressive, re-raised. I got ready. Then, a short stack between us shoved all in. he had done so previously with a small pair. I figured the time was still right. I shoved and the player in seat, who had us both covered, called. So BOOM -- we were in the biggest hand we'd had at the table. The short stack had 10-10. The other player had Q-Q. The flop, came rag, K, 10! I paired my King and it looked like I would still be okay with the chips from the player in seat two. The turn: a Q! She-it! I had one last chance, needing a Jack on the river for a straight. It didn't come, and I was out.

While I had fun, it was frustrating that me good hands didn't get me anywhere and my marginal hands either didn't hit or I couldn't play them due to raises ahead of me. Three different times I thought I would trap our new "friend" Buck, but somehow he eluded me. I will give him credit for likely being the best tournament player at the table, but WASHDUDE taught him a lesson or two.

After I busted, I felt crabby and frustrated, so I walked around a bit in the WSOP store, then looked for other rooms to play some cash games mid-Strip. Without being a Caesars Diamond card holder, Horseshoe and Caesars Palace were both out. Huge wait lists. I tried Bellagio, but it was the same case there. I decided to just get away and headed to South Point, where I would be staying the next two nights. After some relaxation time and dinner, I decided to play a little $1/$2 NL at SP. The poker gods seemed to be punishing me again, but suckered one guy into doubling me up when I flopped two pair, then got another to do so when I shoved with top/top (A-Q on a Q-high flop with two Diamonds) and he chased his flush draw. The turn was a Queen and the river -- another Queen! Unfortunately, SP does not pay for quads unless you are holding a pocket pair, even though my kicker played. I cashed out a win (yea!) and was pretty tired. It had been a very long day.

I'll have at least one more trip report as I have one more night at South Point, then three at Golden Nugget. I've never stayed at the Nugget and generally don't like to go downtown, so this trip will really be different for me. Every time I have played at Golden Nugget, I have had terrible luck in poker. It is definitely time for that to change!

Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 02, 2023

On to Las Vegas!

The month of May just seemed to fly by. It started out with my wife taking an international trip and being gone for 12 days. Throw in my oldest daughter's birthday, Mother's Day, school years ending and the like, and May was likely a busy month for many others also. I kept on playing poker pretty regularly and continued what has so far been a pretty successful 2023. I decided to skip going to Las Vegas in May and decided that I would go at the beginning of June. That being said, it is almost time to return to Sin City.

I have been getting some very nice Las Vegas offers this summer. I will be driving out next Tuesday, May 6 and staying until Monday, May 12. I also have the option to stay an extra day or two if needed or desired. Although I have mostly abandoned tournament play, I was looking at making my return to the WSOP by playing in either the new Gladiator donkathon and/or a WSOP senior daily. I might even consider something at the Golden Nugget, Orleans or South Point. In summer, there are soooo many tournament series going on.

I'll be shifting around in my stay this trip: one night at ol' standby Excalibur, two nights at South Point (first time staying there) and three nights at Golden Nugget (first time staying there). The second half of the trip should be interesting as my worst Las Vegas poker room (results-wise) is Golden Nugget. In over 100 trips to Las Vegas, I have only stayed on Fremont Street two nights -- at Four Queens. I have generally felt uncomfortable on Fremont in the evenings, so I am open to reframing my experiences there.

Although not set in stone, a side trip to North Las Vegas to play some poker and blackjack at the Poker Palace may be in order. Tony Bigcharles, NormInVegas and I went there earlier in the year and had a blast.

If any one wants to meet up, say hello or grab a meal or a drink, hit me up with a blog comment or a PM on Twitter. I am hoping that the construction on/near the Strip won't cause me too much trouble.

Thanks for reading. Cya in Las Vegas!