Sunday, July 29, 2007

Vegas: Part Two

Johnny Cheng was up with the birds, and the other 2 of us woke in time for a breakfast at the Teahouse around 10 am. Immediately after the meal, the 2 of us go down to the IP poker room and we each got seats in a 2/4 limit game. About half of the table had little to no clue how to play and both Johnny and I ended up the short session with modest wins. The Shoeshiner was rolling over his table and ended up about 100 bucks ahead after only an hour or so. Considering how weak the game was, it was kind of hard to leave the IP, but we had planned to play the 2pm tourney at Planet Hollywood and we stuck to that plan.

The room at PH had a nice modern feel to it. The dealers were pretty good, but I wasn’t in love with the wood ‘racing track’ on the tables. The tourney had about 75 runners in it, and I got off to a pretty nice start the first hour. I won a decent sized pot with K10 suited against a young girl who probably wants to be Brandi Hawbaker, but was a tad over weight. She was playing pretty fast, and it seemed like she was bluffing a lot early. Not long after that hand I pick up AA in the big blind. A Dude chugging rum and cokes raised from 1 spot behind the button and the Brandi wannabe smooth called from the SB. I popped it up 1K and original raiser folded, but Brandi moved all in immediately. I called, she showed 55, my AA held, and she was headed for the exit. I won another decent pot when I flopped 3 of a kind with KQ off, and won a few more pots before the end of the first hour. I had more than doubled up before the first break and liked the spot I was in. The next hour was atrocious as I got very few cards and was only able to steal the blinds a few times. I think I ended up the second hour with fewer chips than I had at the end of the first.

Johnny busted out during the 2nd hour, but the Shoeshiner had a decent sized stack. We were down to 25 players or so when we started the 3rd hour. I am in the big blind the first hand I have 3500 chips left after posting the 2K bet, it folds around to the SB who limps, and I put the rest of my chips in with garbage hoping the lady to my left folds. She calls off half her stack with J7 off, a J comes on the flop and IGHN.

I spent the rest of the time sweating the Shoeshiner who made the final table, despite taking a nasty river beat when they were to 11 or 12 players. The final 10 got paid and the Shoeshiner played some nice poker and ended up getting 4th for $350. We had all exchanged 15 of each other, so I got back about 50 of my 60 dollar buy-in. After the tourney, we went down to the Spice Market Buffet which was very good, but slightly expensive.

We head back to the IP and agreed to play there the duration of the night. The Shoeshiner and I started to play some Pai Gow and have some drinks. After a few hours we decide to get in on a 2/4 game hoping it was as weak as this morning. It was, but I lose some big pots and end up losing a good chunk of my buy-in before deciding to go back to Pai Gow. I got up and left and the Shoeshiner and Johnny joined me not too much later. We are playing and a hand comes up where the dealer set her hand wrong, although no one caught it at the table. I think she set a flush behind and a very weak two card hand up front, when she could have set a pair up front and a pair in back. She went through most of the table pushing with everyone and taking their cards. A pit boss walked up and notices that she set her hand wrong and proceeded to give everyone their cards back and reset her hand. Everyone raises a big stink and I ask if we can all reset our hands after everyone’s hands have been exposed. He said yes, and I reset my hand to where I could still push with her. This pissed him off and he set my hand back to where it had been in the first place and takes my bet. This really pissed me off and I go into a profanity laced mini-tirade about how he had just told me I could reset my hand. Everyone at the table is yelling at him. He ends up giving me my bet back, but everyone at the table got up and left. I don’t know what the proper ruling is there, but it seemed like a pretty poor decision from a PR point of view.

We decided to take our Pai Gow tour next door to the Flamingo and got seated at a ‘mini Pai Gow’ table. This game was played with 6 cards, with a 1 card poker hand up front and a 5 card in back. There was no 5% rake which cut back the house edge and ended up making the game run smoother. I ended up a few bets after 2 hours or so and got a pretty nice buzz going from the 2 stiff 7 and 7s I drank. We head back to the IP around 6 am and crash having to check out 11am. We all made it up on time and caught our flight back to reality.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Vegas: Part One

The flight to Las Vegas was largely uneventful. I sat by a middle aged black woman who listened to the XM radio most of the flight, although somehow we managed to get our seatbelts tangled together at some point. We got off the plane, hopped on the tram, and got to the taxi waiting area. After 5 minutes or so we were off into the dead heat, headed for the Imperial Palace. The check-in line was somewhat long, and my attempt to bribe the clerk into giving us a suite did not work. We dropped our bags off in the room and headed up to get some lunch at Pizza Palace, which was ok. With the bill settled we headed down to get into the action at the IP poker room. I jump right on a 1-2 NL table that was running. There was a smattering of folks at the table; a T.J. Cloutier look-a-like, an annoying Texan to my right, chain smoking woman across the table. I played for about 4 orbits and didn’t win one hand. I had basically got blinded down to about 70 bucks, when I picked up 2 black aces on the button. The drunken Texan to my right raised to 15 and I pop it 25 more. The SB tanked and ends up flat calling. The flop was Q 10 rag. The SB bets 30 and the Texan makes it 60. I call off my last 30. The turn and river are both 3’s, the SB shows JJ and the Texan shows QQ for the boat. I took off and had a beer while winning 30 bucks playing video poker. I had two more beers during my charter Pai Gow session and won 10 bucks over the next hour or so.

The Shoeshiner, Johnny Cheng, and I decided to press our luck and play in the 7pm tourney at Sahara. All three of us got the impression that the tourney was a complete rock garden. I managed to last the longest collecting 5 dollars from my two companions, but bowed out in about 20th place out of 140 runners. I doubled up early when my KK rolled over my opponents QQ, but it was slow going after that. I was low on chips almost the entire last 2 hours of the tourney, and went out when with 94 offsuit with about 2.5 times the BB left. The tourney seems pretty well run and the dealers were pretty decent and friendly. The structure is pretty good, although I wasn’t crazy about the fact that there are no ante’s. We jumped on the monorail and headed back to the IP.

The Shoeshiner and I bellied up to a Pai Gow table and began tossing back beers while learning the finer points of the game. Johnny joins us shortly thereafter. Hours and several beers pass, while Johnny decided it’s was time for him to head out around 2 am. We stayed in the game and downed several more drinks. At times our game was down to just the two of us and other times it was lively with random drunks. Two completely drunk morons sat down around 3 am and the one proceeded to clog the automatic shuffler by getting his cards wet. The next hand he bent one of the cards and they had to get another deck. He had to have been very close to getting 86’ed. Some time later a couple of decent looking drunk girls sat down and bought in for $200 each. They were both betting $50/hand with 5 bucks on the fortune bonus. Needless to say, they didn’t last long. I got out of there around 4am with a modest loss and a belly full of beer.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

T minus 24 hours

This time tomorrow I will be descending into McCarran for a quick two night Vegas trip with a few friends. Plans: Planet Hollywood/Sahara/other cheapo tourneys; Dealertainers; Cherry-breaking Pai Gow session; 20 dollar trick at check-in; betting on the Twins; ; Free booze; Buffets; Pizza Palace; Cash games at IP/MGM/PH. I'll try and whip up a decent trip report when I get back.

I got wind of this awesome thread on 2+2 where Steve Albini offered himself up to answer a ton of questions regarding pretty much anything. If you are a music nerd like me, you'll love it. The result turned out to be a very candid Q and A session between Albini (who trashes Urge Overkill about 100 times) and a bunch of people. I think the thread is still alive. You might remember my run-in with Steve at a 7CS table on