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.


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