Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Let There Be Day 1

Finally, some down time to post about my recent sojourn to Vegas...

I traveled alone. For the months leading up to this trip, I simply assumed Otis would be a last-second decision to crash in my room at the MGM. It had been a long time since I actually paid for a room in Vegas. I always scheduled my trips around Otis' work duties, crashing on his floor or couch whenever possible. I thought that this time would be a justified reversal of fortune. Unfortunately, that reversal never came.

G-Rob wasn't going either. CJ was staying home too. Even TheMark who had been there the past few Decembers during the blogger gathering made other plans. I invited GucciRick. I invited Chip. I even invited the Mrs. "Can't make it." "Can't get time off." "Can't get a sitter."

Can't. Can't. Can't.

I'll admit, my enthusiasm dropped slightly. But then, all I had to do was think about the Bash and remember who among that group would be there and I managed to recover from my malaise.


I absolutely love playing live poker. Locally, I'm down to playing once a week. In Vegas, I can't control myself. If there's an opportunity to play, I'll probably take it. Who am I kidding? There's no "probably" about it. But even with all that said, there are memorable times when I don't play that I end up enjoying myself more than I thought I would.

Right after I checked in, I was getting texted by PokerPeaker and StB to come down to the MGM poker room and play. I was busting at the seams to do just that. But before I could, I got a text from the Dr. that he and a few other folks were having a drink at the Zuri bar. One beer turned into a few and it took me a lot longer to finally get to the tables than I anticipated. Pauly, Change, Gracie, Pablo, Maudie, Spaceman, Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot (Keno4Lyfe) and eventually Dr. Jeff were all responsible for my delay. Of course, it was totally worth it.


Dr. Jeff, to whom I promised to not refer as a poor Otis substitute, and I excused ourselves and made our way to an open MGM 2/5NL table. During my cab ride to the MGM, my driver mentioned that Vegas was as dead as he's seen it since the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when few people wanted to travel. Based solely on the activity in the MGM poker room, I would have been forced to agree. There we sat playing the biggest game at MGM on a Thursday night at the only 2/5 table going. It was really quite dead.

And thankfully, the players were still quite horrible.

My first big pot of the trip saw me call a players open-shove on the turn with AsKs on an Ace-hi, two-spade board. When I insta-called, the villain looked deflated. "You have the Ace?" he asked. "And the flush draw too," I replied. "I need some help then," he said as he looked down at his marginal holding.

The river was the 5 of diamonds.

"I'm sorry," he said as he flipped up his A5o. I took it in stride, as I am accustomed. "You seem to be taking this rather well," another player said as the $400-ish pot went the wrong direction. "Happens," was all I could muster.

I lost the rest of my 1st buy-in on a coin flip all-in preflop holding pocket Jacks against Ace-King. Thankfully, before the flop, Dr. Jeff remarked about folding an Ace. As soon as he said that, I stood up with a fresh $500 buy-in. For some reason, whenever someone tries to console me about a hand before it's over in an attempt to help, it backfires. So thanks again Dr. Jeff, your words magically caused the shuffled deck to re-arrange itself so that I'd get beat. No way it happens if you keep your mouth shut.

Poor Otis substitute.



Dr. Jeff and I had both lost our first buy-ins and re-bought knowing full well this table was going to give it back to us. In the meantime, we took a break and ate at the MGM buffet right before it closed. I bought dinner with some comps MGM sent me in the mail and Jeff and I evened out our blood sugar for the long haul.

We felt neither one of us were playing badly, just getting a bit unlucky. That luck would change for Dr. Jeff when his top two-pair felted another guy who turned a worse two-pair. Then came the hand of the weekend for me.

I had chipped up a bit on my second buy-in to about $720 and was dealt pocket tens in middle position. With one limper under the gun, I made it $20 to go. One caller in late position coupled with a caller in the blinds and the original limper made me realize that I was probably going to have to flop my set. There was no "probably" about it.

KT8, rainbow.

Checked to me and I fired $55 into the $80 pot. Only the original limper came along for the turn. An off-suit 9 hit the turn and the villain checked to me. I was a bit wary of QJ getting there, but wanted to leave some room to find out. The pot was $190 and I fired just about a half pot sized bet of $100.


I was just check-raised all-in. It was about $350 more for me to call. I had the guy covered, but damn, all-in?

"For real?" I asked. "Seriously?" I did some math. $350 into a $750-ish pot, I was getting just over 2:1. But why all-in? Does the nuts go all-in there? Maybe. If he did have the straight, I only had 10 outs. That's 3.4:1. I wasn't getting enough odds to call.

Finally, I decided that I'm just not folding a set at this table. I prayed for the board to pair. At least I thought so.


The river was another King. I looked over to my opponent and said "Full house." He replied, "Me too."



Well, I thought to myself, at least I got my money in good, the guy didn't have QJ. I looked over to see the damage. My adrenaline spiked and I really couldn't believe what I saw. He had pocket 8's, I was good the entire time. Thankfully, the board paired the right card. I most likely would have crawled into a little ball under the table and cried had the river come an 8. There's only so much abuse a person can handle when they first arrive to Vegas.

That hand pretty much did me in for the night. I finished up for the evening and retired somewhat early because I knew the next day would be epic in a Steel Panther sort of way.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two Time, Two Time Champion

I'll do some Vegas posts soon, but in the meantime, I won for my second time the most important tournament on this side of the asteroid belt:

Thanks again for hosting Pauly.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I rarely stick to them, but each Vegas trip I make a set of plans for myself that I'd like to at least try to do. Here are some of them and their odds of success:

1. Thursday upon my arrival, play some 1/2 NL at MGM. (85%)
2. Later on Thursday, play PLO on the Electronic Poker tables at Excalibur. (75%)
3. Friday night dinner with some good company. (100%)
4.* Friday at midnight hike to Green Valley Ranch for some Steel Panther (100%)
5. Saturday at noon-ish Procedure PhaseOne launch at some video poker bar (100%)
6. Blogger tourney at 3pm at Venetian aka Procedure PhaseThree (100%)
7. Saturday night re-visit to the Palm's Casino for button pressing and dealer abuse (70%)

Somewhere in there is a wedding, but I haven't seen the official details yet. Also, I owe some people a skillet at Denny's, not sure when that'll be, perhaps during an unlisted activity from above that would be item 5.5.

Sushi would be nice to include sometime, but that shouldn't be too hard.

I am traveling solo it appears, the lone G-Vegas representative. That is diminishing my excitement levels just a tad, but sadly, there are things outside of my control.

See y'all soon.

* Who besides me, TheTrooper97, StB, and PokerPeaker are in for this? Leave a comment if you want in on the roll call.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I was eleven years old. It wasn't long after Christmas and I had asked my dad to play a game of baseball on my brand new Atari 5200. He agreed. We fired up the game and I soundly trounced his ass 12-0. He quit in the third inning when he couldn't figure out how to prevent me from stealing bases at will. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why he couldn't stop me nor why he got so frustrated. My dad left my room in a huff while I finished the game up against the computer opponent who replaced him.


I have a PS3. I mainly use it for the Blu-Ray player, but have a couple of sports games too. Saturday I played my eight year old son in a game of Madden. I took the Pats, he took the Colts. Tom Brady threw 4 interceptions and miniBlood won the game 17-14.

He talked trash.

He did dances.

And I felt just like my dad did nearly 30 years earlier.


I hate to admit it, let alone say it. My mental reflexes have diminished. I no longer possess the ability to rapidly process streams of visual data and make the proper decisions based on them.

Can you guess where such a skill might be valuable?

How about multi-tabling online poker.

I've made the decision that I'm just not as skillful any longer (if I ever were) at multi-tabling.


I felt the need to multi-table just so I could get in enough hands. Based on research, and a careful perusal through the 2+2 forums, it seemed that tens of thousands of hands were required to be played each month just to determine what your win-rate might be. Oh yeah, don't forget about IronMan or SuperNova quests either.

Four-tabling turbo sit 'n go's has been profitable for me. But goddamn if it didn't seem like an incredible grind. There was simply no fun in that. If poking my eyes with a hot iron was profitable, I'd still opt out.

Multi-tabling cash games, while more fun, was an exercise in frustration. After careful consideration, I've determined that it's beyond my mental abilities at my advanced age. It's no coincidence that the professional multi-tablers are in their late-teens to mid-twenties.


So I'm back to one table. Early prognosis is that I'm performing better. But again, small sample, low confidence.

We can debate for hours if online poker is the same game as its B&M counterpart. I maintain that it can be if you want it to be. But it can also be something else. It can be a video game, a challenge of reflex and response. For some people, the latter is most profitable. But for me, those years are long gone.

Sigh. Age. Pass the laxitives.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Keep On Rockin'

My 160 gig iPod is still crunching out wallpaper-pealing metal. I hope to improve on last year's 24th place finish. And by hope, I mean pray. See most of you there.

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

The WBCOOP is an online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers.

Registration code: 033323