Monday, December 20, 2004

Day 3 - Part 1

More Vegas Action! Right here! Check it!

Sunday began with only CJ and I waking up at the Excalibur at a somewhat normal hour of 8:30AM. CJ thankfully included me in what was to be a free breakfast at the Aladdin Casino. I'm somewhat dense at times, but even I know not to ever refuse a free meal.

We walked our way down the Strip toward the Aladdin and I remember how fresh the air was. It was invigorating to breathe the outside air, you tend to forget what an unhealthy atmosphere the smoky casinos can be. I am afterall, the pinnacle of health. Cough.

Our gracious host for breakfast was Edna, the cardroom manager at the Aladdin. G-Rob, PokerProf, Flipchiro and I helped support CJ in his quest for female companionship, er, I mean in support of discussing how powerful blogging can be, especially in promoting our dear obsession. Edna was extremely interested in furthering the WPBT, even suggesting hosting an event. CJ and the PokerProf took the lead here and represented us well. Me? Free breakfast. Mmmmm.

Afterwards, we made our way over to "Vandalay Industries, say Vandalay Industries!!!" or Mandalay Bay Casino for some football watching action. I had earlier made a parlay bet and upon arrival, 2 out of the 3 games were in the book in my favor. Only New England needed to cover an 11.5 point spread and the last score I had seen showed them up by 35-14 against Cincinnati. Alas, it was not to be as those damn Bungles scored some garbage touchdowns to beat the spread.

I saw most of the gang there already lubed up with liquor and whatnot. I put my name on the poker waiting list for both the $200NL and the $4/8 game. I was eager to take the first seat. Otis had already sat down at a $4/8 table and mentioned it was pretty juicy.

I found things interesting at the $4/8 table I initially sat down at, especially when I realized that this was a kill-pot game. Whenever someone won 2 hands in a row, the limit went from $4/8 to $6/12. The first time this happened I won the kill-pot with A,K suited. The second kill-pot, I notice the good Dr. standing behind me. I peel back my two cards and find....

Yes, the hammer.

Since Pauly was there, I had to play it. I caught a 2 on the flop and bet out. The turn brought a 4-card straight draw to the board, but nobody bet. I knew the hand was mine when the river brought the 7. An eruption of "Hammer! Hammer!" echoed through the casino as I looked behind me at the blogger contingent rooting me on. That was a feeling, let me tell you.

I finally found my way over to the $200NL tables.

Stop reading now if you hate bad beat stories. If you choose to read on, put the women and kids to bed. This shit hurts even in retelling.

The first: I'm dealt A,Q in EP and raise the $4 blind to $17 and get 1 lone caller. The flop is A,7,4. Me like. I get fancy and check the flop and the lone caller bets $25. I immediately check-raise it to $50 and the guy pauses. I know I'm good here. His reaction to my raise, his reluctance in calling, it's all there. I've got him nailed. The turn is a K and I put him all-in. More pausing, more hesitation. Finally he calls. We flip up our cards and he shows A,10. There is $320 in the pot. The river? Guess. My first bad beat is a 3-outer and it costs me huge. I wince, but I vow to keep on keepin' on. The other players at the table even complimented me on a hand well played. Big freakin' deal.

Then comes the second: I'm dealt K,K in EP and raise the $4 blind to $17. See a pattern? Anyway, the SAME FUCKING GUY re-raises me to $30. Now, I'm certainly not psychic, but his re-raise seemed weak. Again, I knew he didn't have aces here. So, of course, I re-raise all-in. The guy has me covered with the $320 he won only 20 minutes earlier and quickly calls. We flip our cards, he has Q,Q. Can you say dominated? I didn't. However, the bastards at my table tell me "Don't worry, he'll catch his queen on the river." Honestly, I'm not making it up, this was said to my face before the flop even occurred. The flop was junk, the turn was a brick. The river? Guess. A 2-outer, and I'm busted.

Twenty minutes apart and to the SAME GUY. I said aloud "Is this Party Poker?" and left the table. I was given some condolences as I left but I had to get out of there. I relayed my story endless times that day. I even had to call home. Talking to the kids cheered me up a bit and I vowed not to let it get me too down. But in all honesty, I was down. Huge. Both monetarily and in spirits. I had to let it go, and I eventually did. I told myself I'd somehow turn these bad beats into something positive. It took a while but I think I did.

Initially, I lamented the fact that every time I played above my normal limits and "took a chance," I seemed to fail. This was no exception. There are those players who take the chance, hit it big, and never look back. For whatever reason, not me. Upon further thought, I realized I played those hands about as good as anyone could. I had all my money in the pot when I was a 93% and a 95% favorite. What more could you ask for really? Losing the hands was just a formality, an occurance out of my control.

As absurd as it may sound, I took home from Vegas a greater confidence in my play. I was making good reads and good bets, and that's all you can really do at the tables. I rallied myself and my spirits and eventually made my way to dinner at the Palms with some friends who happened to be in Vegas at the time. And that's where I'll leave off for now, the finale will be next.

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