Also, good buddy Falstaff is doing some more writing and also is having his book The Chosen published via the same Lulu.com publishing system. Here's hoping they both have success with their projects. Great job guys.
First things first. Before I start my trip report, I'm going to have to take some time to thank TheMark once again. His generosity in allowing me to stay in the other half of his Rio suite for this trip was greatly appreciated. If he keeps it up, he'll pass Otis for first on my list of most free rooms bummed off of in Vegas.
Traveling with TheMark is traveling in style. He and the Pizza King picked me up at my house in plenty of time to catch our flights out of G-Vegas, connecting through Charlotte. On the main flight, his new 17" MacBook Pro acted as the in-flight entertainment, and we watched Terminator Salvation to pass the time. Once on the ground, a limo picked us up (sadly, the sign held by the driver did NOT say "TheMark") and got us to the Rio.
Standard operating procedure when TheMark is your host: Prior to check-in, bet $100 on a single roulette spin. "Bet black," he said. Off went the Diamond Total Rewards card and a $200 bet, one that probably lowered his average spin wager, was placed on the felt. Clickety clack went the ball and bam, right into a red slot. "Sighball." Down already.
No worries, we dropped our luggage off and had lunch at the All American. I donked $80 off at video poker to earn my two free Heineken's and when we were finished, we walked down to the Pavilion to check out the poker action. It was early still on Wednesday and nothing much was going on. We found AlCantHang and had some fun reading Pauly's Mastodon weekend recap in Bluff magazine. It should be online soon, and it's pretty funny if you know our G-Vegas scene at all. If you're still out in Vegas, it's the issue with Annette15 on the cover.
TheMark and I put our names down for a single table PLO satellite that unfortunately never materialized. I wanted to focus on PLO this trip since I was playing in Event #20, the $1500 PLO. I still wanted to play a satellite since Event #20's entry fee was the most I'd ever paid to enter a tournament. We settled on a $125 10-person SNG. Obviously the structure for these things makes them effectively a turbo, but I've played enough of them online that I wasn't too worried.
It was during this SNG that I remembered why I began playing PLO in the first place. The edge in these things is nearly zero. I won some limps when I raised with pocket Jacks. Standard. I raised with pocket 8's and called a short stack's shove. I lost a race against AJs. Standard. I re-raised all-in with pocket Aces, and got AQ to fold. I re-raised all-in with AK and lost a race to pocket Tens. Standard, standard, standard. And boring as hell. There weren't any mistakes made by anyone really, the hands played themselves and the only deciding factor was luck. Sure, most of it was due to the structure of this turbo, but the appeal of playing Hold 'em hit an all time low for me. I'll get over it, but if there's PLO to be played, I'm probably going to always want to play that first.
Off to the cash games.
The Rio was only offering the following PLO cash games: 5/5 and 5/10/25. Both had no cap on the buy-in and several players had $2k+ sitting in front of them in the 5/5 game. Still, I bought in for a lucky $700 and internally reiterated my PLO mantra: Patience + Position.
Over the past year and a half, I've played primarily 6-max PLO online and was cognizant of the fact I was now sitting at a live, 9-handed and deep stacked game. There would be differences. Online, 100BB games are actually pretty shallow and buy-ins fly into the pot regularly. Here, things would be different. There was a decent amount of limping, which wasn't a mistake generally when the implied odds were so large. I just kept my eye open for players who played obviously bad starting cards and tried to take advantage of them.
Oddly enough, there were a lot.
Everyone at the table knew to raise AAxx, KKxx, and some double suited rundown hands, but there were several players calling out of position with effectively garbage hands. I played tight enough that I was able to win a pot with an airball on the button on a Q77 board, getting some one's naked 7 to fold. Over the course of two sessions at 5/5, I booked a +90 and +540 win, erasing the roulette, video poker, and SNG losses for the day. I turned in early so that I'd have enough sleep in me for the reason I went to Vegas in the first place, my first World Series of Poker Event.
Leaving Wednesday to Vegas to play in the WSOP Event #20, $1500 PLO. Some folks were gracious enough to offer me stakes, and I've enabled a Twitter feed in the upper left so that I can post updates for them to follow the action.
Thanks to TheMark and his degenerate ways, for allowing me to crash with him at the Rio for this trip.
This is my first event and like I told Otis in a recent email, I'm treating it just like my race. Focus, have a good time, do my best. And whatever happens after that, happens.
Back when the prop bet was made, the race up in Gaffney was scheduled for July 10th. Sometime between then and now, they rescheduled the race to July 17th. This was bad. My family and I made vacation plans for that week and now I'd have to find another race. Research began.
Apparently, 10K races are not very common. 5K's are a dime a dozen, yet 10K's are few and far between. The nearest 10K I could find was taking place up in Brevard, NC, not known for its flat country roads. Still, they had a race scheduled on May 29th and July 3rd. Nothing in the prop bet stipulated that I couldn't run a race earlier than July 10th, nor did it limit me to the number of tries. I decided I was going to try to finish my end of the bargain earlier than anticipated.
I was leery. I input the race map into the mapmyrun website and this is what I found:
If you click the "show elevation" checkbox, you'll notice that the end of the race has about .6 or .7 miles with 2 and 3% grades. Upwards. Ouch. Most, if not all, of my training was on rather flat areas, like a treadmill set to 0% incline. I figured if I could get to mile 4 by 32 or 33 minutes, I'd have a shot. Undeterred, I registered for the race and paced my training accordingly.
It was difficult. I began running last June, but mainly just for cardiovascular activity purposes. Constant speed, no variation in tempo, just boring running. Luckily, as I mentioned in my original post, I had a secret weapon.
The beauty of this blogger community is that even though we've all been basically introduced to each other via poker, there are many experts and enthusiasts in many fields. And most everyone is willing to give advice when asked. I called upon the PokerPeaker for assistance and he was more than happy to lend a helping hand with some training advice.
So beginning in January, I followed it as best as I could. There was some slight variation, based mainly on my 42-year old knees and their ability to withstand pounding punishment, but I kept at it. That was what I felt was my edge in this wager. Some people may call it discipline, but fellow Taurus' know the truth. Stubbornness. A blatant disregard for obstacles in your way.
G-Rob lost about 30 pounds in the first 6-weeks. He talked trash. I didn't care. This was a 6 month bet and I'd seen him lose that type of weight before. I remember my first run at an accelerated pace - a form of interval training known as a fartlek - I ran three 2-minute stretches at a 7:30 minute per mile pace. I was exhausted afterwards. My face was red and my legs were burning. According to my running log, that was on January 10th. My last week of training, I did 4 5-minute intervals at that pace. And I felt pretty good afterwards. Regardless of how race day ended up, I was coming out of this bet in much better shape. That alone was worth it to me.
The weekend before the race, G-Rob effectively conceded. He plateaued and then had a vasectomy. That took some of the pressure off, but in all honesty, I still wanted to successfully complete my end badly. Perhaps some of you also remember this:
The guy I lost that bet to is our Monday Night poker game dealer, Broc. I bet $100 I could beat him in a 75-yd dash, then fell and fractured my wrist, not my finest moment. This past January, Broc parlayed another $100 wager with me and G-Rob that we'd both fail our end of the prop bet. If we both didn't hit our goals, we'd each owe Broc $100 even though we wouldn't have to pay each other. But if we both made it, he'd owe each of us $50. If one of us made it, he'd owe that person $100. That also motivated me. I wanted my $100 back.
I went to bed early every night last week. I passed up a poker game last Thursday with two former NFL 1000-yd running backs, one a Heisman Trophy winner. I woke up at 5am alone and in the dark on Saturday and drove 90 minutes to the race. Then I ran.