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.


DrChako said...

If you'll remember, I happened to walk up right as POS (note that "Poor Otis Substitute" initials work out quite well here), mentioned that he folded the Ace. I'm just glad the blame went his way and not mine for just standing there.

Can't wait to read your take on Steel Panther.


Anonymous said...

I have been reading and enjoying your articles and just wanted to wish you a happy new year. Lets hope that the next year will bring us much luck in poker rooms..:)

Anonymous said...