The Bad Beat BBQ

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vegas Recap

First off. Screw Microsoft. I had three fine paragraphs of this post ready to save and when I clicked the save button, Internet Explorer stuck it in me again. I am using the Mozilla Firefox browser now exclusively. I've had the same thing happen 2 or 3 times before and I'm sick of it. Update this, patch this hole, critical update that. This has been a public service message.
Vegas Trip Recap

My lovely wife and I stayed at the Luxor for 5 days. The room was ok. Rather small if you ask me. About the size of a big Marriott Courtyard room with a nicer bathroom. The shampoo soap and other toiletries were decent. I liked the soap, but the shampoo was runny and you had to use it twice to do the job. The conditioner was horrid and unusable. The never used shower cap comes in a nifty little pyramid shaped box. But enough about that.

After checking in, I hopped in a cab and got slowly carried to the Fashion Show Mall to meet a friend from Minnesota that does a weekly podcast all about LAs Vegas. I met Tim and his wife Michelle. Five Hundy By Midnight. It took like 45 minutes of pacing the mall back and forth before I found the Apple store. They don't have a sign! They have only an Apple logo on the wall outside and I walked by it 3 times at least. I must have been jet lagged. I strolled in and headed straight to the display of cases in the back of the store. I had just received my new 60gb Ipod with Video and I was anxious to get a case for it before I had the screen totally ruined. The only case I had for it was an old silicone one that was initially bought for my 3g that I had cut up to make it fit. I also had a cool cling wrap cover that was given to me. Graphic Cling As it turns out, they didn't have any cases yet. Apple sucks. Soon thereafter, the FHBM couple showed up and gave a little talk about podcasting to a sold out crowd. It was standing room only. A fake Sigfried even showed up briefly to have a listen. I think Tim was starstruck.

I hit the strip again, fired up my Ipod and started jamming down the sidewalk again towards the Luxor. I'm not giving my dough to these cabbies all week.

I sat at the Luxor poker room the first night for some NL Holdem action and was sickened to find that they have a ridiculous blind structure of $1 -$1 - $2. Who ever heard of three blinds in a poker game ? I should have taken that as a clue to leave but I didn't. I commenced to lose $150 in three $50 chunks. I think I'll try another poker room. I got up and cabbed my way to Emeril's Delmonico restaurant at the Venetian for dinner. They burned my steak but the cheesecake rocked !

Sunday Oct. 23rd
I woke up in the mood to gamble. I strolled over to the MGM Grand about 11am and took a peek into the georgeous Sportsbook filled with frothing NFL fans. I saw that they had a $1 $2 NL game with a minimum $40 buyin. I got ont he list and was seated within 5 minutes. I bought in for $100 and prepared to fold. I played tight and soon had my stack built up to nearly $200. THe Red Bull and VOdka had already started to warm me up. IT has to be the best drink there is. Soothing and uplifting at once. I took a break from the table after an hour and walked into the sportsbook, leaving my chips at the table, so I could place some football bets. I looked over the big sheet with the lines for all the games and decided to make a smart play. I called my uncle Shawn in CHarlotte, NC to get some prefessional advice. We spoke for 10 minutes and decided on 3-4 games that looked good. I had to play all late games because I had slept through the 1st quarter of all the early games. We settled on these. $20 on a three teamer at 5-1 odds.

Tee under in the Dallas/Seattle game (in the rain in Seattle).
Seattle 13, Dallas 10

Arizona -4 against Tennessee.
Arizona 20, Tennessee 10

Oakland -5 over lowly Buffalo.
Oakland 38, Buffalo 17

easy money !!!!!!!!!!

Back at the poker table I killed 2 people with trip aces and won a nice $75 pot. I got up to around $275 in chips and was feeling good. I played tight and folded alot as I watched the NFL games unfold. The only scare I had was the Arizona game. It came down to the last few minutes and I was losing to the spread until.........
TD Larry Fitzgerald, 34 Yd pass from Josh McCown (Neil Rackers kick is good), 5:20. Drive: 3 plays, 34 yards in 1:10. I picked up my chips and cashed out $265 with put me back in the black for the trip!! Then I went to the sportsbook and handed the winning ticket to the cashier as time expired in the Arizona game. CHa CHing !! $139.50 return on my $20 bet. I owe you dinner Uncle Shawn !

Monday I played some more poker at MGM and even got the nerve to plop down $100 on the craps table. I rolled the dice like a punk, but the table was hot and I made up for my own rolling deficiencies by parlaying the rolls of others into a $150 payday. So sweet. I won further $75 playing $1 $2 NL holdem for a few hours and I am now considering moving to LAs Vegas and becoming a pro gambler.

We ate at Joes Stone Crab in the Caesars Palace Forum Shoppes. It was the best meal of the trip by far. Giant Crab claws and Lobster. I had not eaten lobster in 20 years. What was I thinking ? As we sat with our drinks in the bar and waited on our table, in walked the Hedgehog
, Ron Jeremy. He's kinda hard to miss if your a 30 something male in the USA. He came right over when I gave him a low-key thumbs up. We shook hands and I told him it was cool to meet him. That was it. LEt me tell you, this guy can eat. The man came to take us to our table but I went to the mens room to wash my hands first : )

Teusday we went to the GhostBar at the Palms and had so overpriced drinks as we gazed upon the awesome view of the whole strip as helicopters zoomed by every 5 minutes.

Wednesday the 26th I take on the Bellagio
Pokerworks - Table Tango Linda is a dealer at the Bellagio and she maintains a kickass blog about the goings on at the Bellagio and the biggest stakes game in the world. She deals on and off in Bobby's Room. The high stakes corner where the likes of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Barry Greenstein, and Ted Forrest choose to play for life changing ammounts of money every night. Above is the link to her entry from the very night I was playing there at the $1-$3 NL game til 6am.

As I walked into the Bellagio I was swollen with The Demon Drink from dinner so I headed straight for the mens room nearest the Poker Room. Just ahead of me, dressed like a midwestern tourist with no belt and horrid white tennis shoes was none other than Ted Forrest , world famous poker player and holder of several World Series bracelets. He was walking way too fast, like there was a fire in his ass, and he was yapping it up on his cell phone the whole time that he pissed, washed his hands and walked out again. He talked a million miles an hour all the way back to the poker room where he of course sat down in Bobby's room witht he likes of Chau Giang , David Benyamine, Paty Gallagher and Player of the Year Allen Cunningham. Chau walked out to the floor as Ted walked back in and I took my opportunity to shake his hand and tell him I thought he was brilliant. He was chewing his gum just like on TV and appeared to be waiting on someone.

I bought in for $200 but had to wait 10 minutes for a seat at the $1 - $2 NL game they had going. On my right was a big big guy named Nate who bet his big hands big and folded to big re-raises without the nuts. On my right was a middle aged Indian man named Unni who played very weak tight. Directly across the tabale was a loudmouth I called Dell, because he reminds me of a guy I used to work with. On Dells right was young kid with a Brooklyn accent that took me forever to come up with a nickname for. He was begging me for a nickname, as I had come up with one for nearly every other player at the table. When I eventually settled on one, I told him he wasn't going to like it. He took a few guesses as if he had been called these names before. (a young Richard Gere ? ARod ?) I laughed at those guesses and remarked, "you wish". When I tossed out the name Tony Danza his eyes rolled and the whole table exploded in laughter. One player and then the dealer exclaimed in turn that the choice was brilliant.

Big Hands ? Here you go.

I called a minimum raise with J 10 of spades from the Big Blind. Unni, on my right in the Small Blind was the only other player in the hand. The flop was 9s 7s 2c. Unni checked to me. I checked my gutshot straight flush draw. The turn was the georgeous 8 of hearts, giving me the nut straight. Wow. Unni decides to make a pot sized bet of $30. I have no idea what he might have, but with the nuts I want action so I just push him back for another $30 which he calls. The river is the perfect Ace of diamonds. Unni pauses only briefly before betting out $40 into the $120 pot. I only had about $65 left and I pushed it all in. He called the last $25 and showed AK of spades. He had the Top Pair Top Kicker and he had the Nut Flush Draw. Boy am I glad and spade didn't hit : ) Unless of course it was the 8. I doubled up.

I picked up a $60 pot against Dell with trip tens vs his top two pair. Then I took another $60 bite out of him with Aces vs his Jacks. I even made a few homegame plays at the Bellagio. I pretended to look at my cards and just bet out on the flop or reraised whoever bet and I picked up 2 or 3 hands like that. Once, I got called down, but I was happy to see that I had flopped two pair with my suited 3 5. All in all the Beallagio was great. The drinks came fast and the players were friendly. Unni even payed me a compliment after I laid down poocket Queens to a reraise before the flop and let him glance at my cards. When Tony Danza showed down his aces Unni turned to me and said that I was a good player. I felt like one.

I got up and left with $230 of their money at around 6:30am and I cashed out and walked back to the Luxor on a cloud.

Blah Blah Blah. It's Wednesday already and I am up over $600 to the good. It's been a great trip so far. My feet are holding up and more importanly, my bankroll is all swoll. I have seen everything that I planned to on this trip except one thing. I wanted to see the new Wynn hotel. I set out on foot with my Ipod blasting and watched the Wynn get larger and larger as I approached. I immediately felt under dressed as I walked through the doors. The Wynn is huge ! It dwarfs Treasure Island across the street. Very impressive. The interior is just another casino however, save the Ferrari dealership across from the poker room. The Poker Room is decent size and easy to find, with the cashier conviently located at the back. I strolled up and handed over $240 to get into the $1 - $3 NL game that had immediate seating available. I sat down at an innocent looking table with a mish mash of faces, ages and ethnic persuasions. I was sitting by a 20 somthing Johnny Chan look alike with a mountain of $5 and $1 chips that must have been $800 - $1000 easily.

I played a few small pots and stole a few hands for the first hour and waited patiently for a big hand. I don't even remember one hand that I played for that first hour, but I won't soon forget this one. I am in the Big Blind in an oddly unraised pot with 9 10 offsuit. There are 4 people in the hand including me and I watch the players faces as the flop comes down. I don't even look at the board until the Small Blind checks to me.

8 J Q Rainbow. Cool. I flopped the nuts. How nice.

The pot is only $12 so I bet $6. A 55- 60 year old stout Indian man announces a raise. He pops it up $30 more. The other limper and the Small Blind both fold. I glance back at my hand and announce my own raise. I casually make it $60 more on top of his $30. Making the pot $144. I wanted to give him some odds and I certainly did not want him to fold. Instead of calling, he announces another raise !!! He comes back at me for a measly $60. What could he have but his own 9 10 I'm thinking ? I go all in for my last $130 or so and he calls instantly but doesn't turn over his hand so neither do I. When the board pairs the Jack on the turn I get a sinking feeling in my stomach and he looks up from the table at me briefly. The river was a 5 and he then turns over his hand to reveal pocket Queens, giving him the nut Full House. I don't want to, but I show the table that I indeed flopped the nuts and had been outdrawn. The gaffaws from the table are heard at all the surrounding tables and people turn their heads. I got up and headed to the cashier with some travelers checks and buy back in for $240 again. I come back and start playing way too many hands. I commence to stare straight into the eyes of this Indian guy for 15 straight minutes like I can see his soul. I don't even care about my cards, the hands, the chips or the other players, I just want this guy to glance at me sideways so I can pounce across the table and choke him. I'll tell you right now, I'm not a scary looking guy by any stretch of the imagination but for those 15 minutes I was Genghis Kahn I wanted to squeeze the life out of him with my bare hands and I think he knew it. Indian guy does not play a single pot the whole 15 minutes I'm staring him down. Soon after ward he stands up, gathers his chips and heads to the $4 $8 table with my hard earned money. Oh yeah. I didn't win a single hand fromt hen on. It was a blur of bad bluffs and dumb calls. I hate the Wynn. I'll never ever go back.

I went back to the MGM on Wednsday night for my final shot at coming out ahead. I went card dead for most of the night but managed to lose only $7 in 6 hours of play. I went back to the LUxor disgusted and tired. I did however, get approached by two hookers inside the Excalibur casino on my way back to the my room at the Luxor. The short one looked me up and down like a steak popsicle and remarked "I see you lookin, baby....". : O Just thought I'd throw that in there. I said back in a voice just loud enough for them to hear across the hum of the slot machines, "No thanks, I already got screwed at the Wynn."


It all started back in when I walked into one of my favorite restaurants on a Free Shirt Tuesday wth my son and after announcing "Welcome To Moes !!!" I was handed an ugly ass tye-dye t-shirt with my meal. I got lucky I thought, so I wore it to poker on Friday at my new homegame and won for the first time. I'm a tad superstitous so I gave a small ammount of credit to the shirt. Only a month later I put the Moe's shirt back on again and commenced to win the losers table by taking down T.J heads up.

I hung the shirt back up and didn't wear it to poker again until last Friday. After rebuying once in the early going I built my stack up to become one of the chip leaders, even with Burl sitting on my left and calling every raise I made and then outflopping me. When the other table got short on players I was happy as hell to leave and join them. I took my chips over, sat down and started running the table. I raised each of the first five hands and took each one of them. Then I knocked out FNG Tony (who still has my Cincinati Kid DVD) and added a big chuck to my stack.

By the time we combined into one table I was the chip leader. My grandma (you heard me) made it to the final table with her 80 year old boyfriend Burl in tow. Burl tried to sit down on my left again my I said no way and moved over next to T.J so he couldn't. He then sat on my right and I took him out within 5 hands with A8d vs his K9d. I pushed all in on a 2 diamond flop and he called. The turn was a diamond and I sent him to the rail. My grandma Patty had picked up Aces on three occasions already and had a formidable chip stack almost equal to mine. Slowly, we both picked off the short stacks and it was down to 4. Myself / T.J. / Sammy / Granny.

We took TJ out first and he got one championship point for his efforts but no cash. Grany did the favor of expelling Sammy in a big hand and took over the chip lead from me going into heads up. Sammy was tickled to get 3rd and make his way onto the championship leader board fianlly.

Heads Up with Granny !

Not far into heads up, I made a reraise with A2 of clubs and took down about $1500 which put us in a virtual tie. I chopped out a few small pots with some solid raises and took the lead. It wasn't 15 minutes into the match when I reraised her all in with A8 (her favorite hand) and she called with K 10. The ace high won the pot and gave me the win and the all important 4 championship points which vaulted me into sole posssion of the lead with 11 points. Bub is now 2nd with 7 points and Johnny "Buzz" is in a close third with 6 points, thanks to his back to back second place finishes in the last month.

Poker night is tonight already. Should I wear the lucky shirt ?