Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Day 1 - Part 1

Going to sleep at 1:00AM and getting up at 4:00AM for my flight to Charlotte was not fun. Three hours of sleep the night before I’d be in Vegas. Dumb. Perhaps I’d be able to snooze on the long leg of the journey, but I know that sleep on an airplane is about 20% to 30% as efficient as normal sleep.

I met up with Otis at the airport in Charlotte and we boarded our flight. I was a bit disappointed not to be sitting near him, not because he had his laptop and new “Rounders: Special Edition” DVD to watch, but because as Felicia has noted, we’re more than just friends. I kid. I wanted to watch the DVD.

Just my luck, I get the aisle seat. No so bad you might be thinking to yourself. Well, it’s very bad when the man in the middle seat is about 1.5 seats wide himself. So a quarter of his girth occupied both my seat and that of his wife next to him. So that meant every person that passed down the aisle bumped into my shoulder. There went my plans for sleep recovery.

When we finally landed, I met back up with Otis and we grabbed a cab to the Excalibur to check in. I snapped some pictures from the cab ride over and I believe those were the ONLY pictures I took on the entire trip. Part of it was me feeling uncomfortable dragging a camera around and part of it was that I knew more capable photographers would do a much better job.

Not long after check in, Otis recommended the Luxor noon tournament. Who am I to argue about playing poker right away, this is after all why I came. This tournament was structured a bit oddly; the first hour was limit, and after that it was no-limit. Starting chips of T250 could be bought for $25 and a $3 add-on got you T50 more. There were 50 players with about 5 or so alternates ready to join the fun after the first few were eliminated.

Obviously to do well here, I’d need a fast start. The cards let me do so. The first hand brought AQ; with a raise pre flop and an A on the flop, I was off and running. Hand number two brought K,K. No A on the board let me take down another big pot against someone holding two 10’s. I lamented to Otis that had this been no limit from the start, I may have tripled up by now.

I didn’t play too many hands at that table. I saw Otis get crippled on a two-outer after he slowplayed his trip K’s. An eight on the river gave someone the 8 over K boat and Otis was basically in deep trouble. I believe he busted not soon after the table broke up.

When the no-limit portion began, I doubled up by going all-in preflop with Q’s. I got called down by someone holding 7’s and he didn't catch. Before I knew it, I was at the final table, probably at or near average stack. Unfortunately, average stack at this point was only about 4 or 5x the BB.

At this point, my cell phone rang. It was the Dr. He was in. Any other phone call, I let it go to voice mail. I actually left the final table of my first Vegas tournament to speak with Pauly. Few others would receive such an honor :)

I was able to triple up with A,Q when I was shortstacked on a Q,Q,x flop. I didn’t need the A on the river but I’ll take it. They were paying out the top 7 and soon enough there were 8 players left. In mid-position, I’m dealt A,Q again. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to finish higher, I pushed. I got called by the BB who I had covered holding 5,6 hearts. Unusual call from my perspective. But once the flop showed all hearts, thoughts of becoming bubble boy in Vegas filled my head.

I’m now down to T800 with the blinds 800/1600, probably not a great situation. I have about 3 hands before I was blinded away. Luckily for me, there was an all-in and a call. I was rooting for the guy who had the other covered and luckily he won. I’m in the money!!! I got eliminated when my blind came around, but got paid $47 for my troubles. I tipped the dealer $5, which was probably too much considering where I placed, but I was borderline giddy.

Afterwards, Otis and I made our way back to the Excalibur to meet Dr. Pauly and the other bloggers who were already there….

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