Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Labor Day Weekend in the Desert

Labor Day Weekend is one of my favorite times to be in Vegas.  In addition to a full slate of bases each day, college football is on the board Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Plus, you can squeeze in some NFL futures action just under the bell (Jets UNDER 5.5 anyone?). 
My flight is booked for Wednesday morning, with a return on Sunday.  Depositions on Tuesday and related travel will prevent spending Sunday in Paradise (which sucks since Sabbath is playing the MGM that night . . .).
I locked down a room at the PH for the 4 nights.  The price was right -- $38 Saturday night, and comped the remaining three days.  I guess my MLife card will remain holstered this trip.
grrouchie, I can't be sure, but I think I hear the tables at Bally's calling . . .

Sunday, July 28, 2013

DMB Weekend

Matt Harvey and Los Mets are in town.  Boyd Tinsley and DMB are in town.  Good weekend:



That is all.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dover Downs Turn Around

A day after getting stacked at Charles Town, I set out for the Delaware Shore, seeking redemption at Dover Downs.  If the Chuck is the Wild, Wild West, Dover is the place where nuns go to die.  The game is usually filed with locals and quite tight.  Tonight was no exception.  At least six of my nine opponents knew each other on first name basis.  None were particularly good at poker.
Once again, I was card dead for the first hour or so.  A few weak Aces were the best hands I saw, and they all hit the muck.  While I tried to be patient, boredom ultimately set in and I couldn't help myself from making a move:
I limp in with 33 from UTG+1.  One caller - a regular who I've seen at the $2/5 tables from time to time.  We see a 77J  (two hearts) flop.  Reg bets $8 and I call.  Turn is another J.  I check.  Reg bets $20.  I raise to $55.  Reg thinks about it and calls.  River blanks.  I lead for $85.  Reg folds.  
I think I told a decent story on this hand, and figured it would be hard for Reg to call without a jack.  Fortunately, he wasn't living the story I was trying to tell.
An hour or so later, the hand of the night went down:
I'm sitting on $290 and limp call $12 three ways with 88.  The flop comes down 89Q (2 spades).  Big stack -- one of the regulars -- leads the flop for $25.  I call.  Third player calls as well.  Turn is a red 4.  Big stack bets $45.  I raise to $145.  Third person folds.  Big stack shoves . . .
I've got a set.  I've also got $182 in the pot already.  JT flopped it.  QQ has me crushed.  If Big stack is holding one of those two hands, I guess his stack is going to get even bigger.
I snap call.  Big stack flips JT for the flopped str8t.  Ouch . . .
And then the dealer lays out a beautiful red 4 on the river, pairing the board and doubling me up.  I tip the dealer a red bird and stack my chips...
Now, to say Big stack did not take it well is an understatement.  First, after expressing his disbelief multiple times and commenting to his five or six friends that he "can't believe I snapped him in that spot," he says to the dealer, "Marco, if I had won the hand at least I would have tipped you well . . ."  Sort of uncalled for, particularly given my $5 tip.
Then he starts asking me whether I thought about if he might have had JT or a higher set. 
Not through being a dick quite yet, he asks:  "If I had shown you my straight would you still have called?"  Yes, I got lucky.  It happens.  Get over it. 
Could I have folded in that spot?  Sure.  I've folded sets many times before.  But I wasn't folding in that spot --  with $180 or so already invested in the hand, $100 give or take behind, and getting approximately 4-1 on a call.  I can live with my decision. 
For 15 minutes or so after the hand, Big stack continued to bitch, and his friends openly talked about what a "bad call" I had made, and what a luck box I was, right in front of me.  And, just when the talk started to tail off, I won the poker room raffle for a free HP LazerJet printer, leading to more eye rolling over my naked good fortune . . . .  Fun stuff.
I ended up adding another $100 or so to my stack, before walking with a solid $385 profit:

 I left the free printer behind . . .


Friday, July 19, 2013

Fuck the Chuck

I drove out to the Chuck this evening after work.  It had been six months or so since my last visit.  Because, like, I hate the Chuck.  I hate everything about it.  I hated my visit tonight.

After a mere 1 hour wait, I was promptly seated at a $1/2 table.  It became immediately clear I was in the Wild, Wild West.  Nearly every pot was bet and three bet pre flop.  Most flops cost between $20 and $60 to see.  Tons of limp calling $20, $40, $60 and showing down with hands like 58, Q8, et cetera.  My favorite hand:  guy three bets to $40 preflop.  Gets two callers.  Flop comes down JQ7.  Two players make it to showdown.  Player 2 shows AK and wins with A high.  Original 3-better mucks.  Um.  What the fuck is he three betting to $40 with that can't beat AK on that board?  AT?

Shortly after the hand above, a young guy fired a $400 river bluff which was picked off by a 30 year old Russian who had flopped a set of 5's.  Young guy promptly rebought for $300 and proceeded to attempt to get another jackass with a poker hoodie and glasses to "flip" preflop for stacks.  The discussion lasted a solid 15 minutes before they backed down.

In the meantime, Russian had built a $1,300 stack, showing down 5 sets in an hour and a half.  I, on the other hand, had yet to play a hand (aside from completing a small blind or two).  I was totally card dead.  I did get AT one hand, but folded it on the cutoff after a raise and a re-raise.

Finally, after nearly two hours of mucking, I looked down at AA on the button.  My stack was $270.  Russian raises to $10.  The blinds look disinterested.  I decided to just call (if I had three bet, I think my range would have been too narrow to get any action whatsoever based on my play to that point.  Plus, I'll take AA heads up any day).

Flop comes down 576 (two spades).  Russian leads for $20.  I raise to $60.  He calls.

Turn is a jack of hearts.  He checks.   There is approximately $140 in the pot.  I bet $100.  Russian raises to $200.   Fuck. Me.  I'm faced with calling my last $100 to win $440.   I stick it in.  Russian shows 89 for the flopped nuts.  Stacked first hand played.  Good night.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pete Peters and the $500 Score

The past two summers, I rolled into Vegas fully expecting to make some cash on the felt.  Instead, I left with my ass handed to me.  Aces cracked.  Sets of aces crack.  Virtually nothing went right.  This trip, I was determined to change my luck.  Unfortunately, it did not get off to a good start.  Rather, my first session of the vacation, playing just to the left of famed poker player (and legendary womanizer) Rob, I dug myself almost immediately into a $200 hole.  Nice.  I love a challenge.

Over the course of the next week, I played mainly tournaments, including the Binions' Classic and the Aria daily.  I cashed none.  Nice.

Thursday evening, with several days remaining on the trip, I returned to the cash table and left with a modest win.  But still in the red overall.

Finally, Saturday July 13th.  Last day of the trip.  Last chance to leave town on a positive note.

After one last trip to the Signature pool, and a stop by the MGM sports book to place a bet on Texas +165 versus undefeated Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers (which cashed easily), I arrived at the poker room at around 2:00.  After a ten minute wait, a new table opened, and I took the two seat with $200 in chips.    Tight was right, and I barely played a hand over the first several orbits.  Finally, I looked down at 99 on the cutoff.    Two people limped, including the young agro to my right.  I raised to $12.  Young agro commented that I rarely ever raise (true of the 20 or 30 minutes we had been playing . . .) and called.  The flop came out 457 with two diamonds.  Young agro donks out three redbirds.  I smell a draw and raise to $45.  Young agro tanks, and starts talking about the "nothing hand" he is currently holding . . . about "how weak" he is.  Then, of course, he shoves for $65 and finishes his diatribe with "you're going to hate me . . ."  More confirmation he is indeed on a draw.  Not that it mattered since I owed a mere $20 on top.  I call and flip my 99.  The board runs out and Young Agro mucks.  I rake a nice $80 pot with pocket 9's.

Shortly thereafter, I look down at QQ and raise 5 limpers to $17, giving a little less than 2-1 for a call.  The big blind calls, and the remaining players fold.  The flop runs out J K 7 with two clubs.  Big blind, an older, extremely tight gentlemen leads out for $30.  He's not betting a jack.  And I'm not convinced he's leading into this pot with a club draw.  That sort of leaves the K.  I fold.

A few hands later, I look down at Q 6 from the small blind and toss in a blue chip to complete.  The flop comes out QQ9.  Sort of nice.  I'm able to drag a $30 pot.

Then it was Game. SET. Match.  Hand number one -- I limp call $12 with 77 and go heads up against a very capable player.  The flop comes down 6 7 9 rainbow.  Not perfect.  But, given Villain's $12 preflop raise, I'm not too concerned that this particular flop hit him.  I'd be far more worried in a multi-player pot.  I check.  He checks back.  Turn is a K.  I check and villain bets $17.  I just call.  River is a T.  I decide to check again.  He bets $25.  I call, he shows a K, and I scoop a $60 pot.  Not sure if I could have gotten much more value out of the hand.  Given that he had the K, I probably could have value bet the river for somewhat more than $25 and still gotten a call.  Obviously, I could also have checked raised the river, although villain claimed afterwards he would have folded his top pair.   At the time, I choose not to because of the obvious straight on the board and the fear of being check-raised.  But, upon considering the hand afterwards, that fear seemed pretty unrealistic.  Not a lot of hands Villain could have that would put the eight beneath his fingers -- 88, perhaps.  That's about it unless he raised preflop with 79 or A8 suited (or, less likely, T8).  I probably should have at least tried a modest check raise in that spot.    

Three hands later I limp called $12 again with 55.  This time, we went four to the flop: 5 J K with two clubs.  I'm first to act and check (although still hoping to play this board fast).  Original raiser bets $25 and gets one call.  Action is back on me and I raise to $85.  No takers.  I'm content winning $85 given the texture of the board (I've learned my lesson "slow playing" my sets!!!).               

I left the table shortly thereafter, pocketing a decent $220 win. 

During my session, I had been texting with grrouchie, with whom I was planning on meeting with later that evening for some adult beverage and poker.  I decided to grab some food, a few beers, and then head down to Bally's for our blind bromance date.  It was my last day in town, and I decided to revisit the place where my trip first began -- Michael Mina's Pub 1842 at MGM.  This place is relatively new.  MGM's answer to the Todd English P.U.B. at Crystals.   Pub 1842 has a great selection of beers and really good food.  I had $230 in comps on my MLife card, and decided to burn a bunch.  First up - Miller lite and Oysters.  Next, Miller Lite and the grilled ahi tuna.  And finally, for desert - Miller Lite in a "go cup." 

I then began the walk down the strip from MGM to Bally's.  Even though it was 6:00 or so, it was still H.O.T.  I lacked the conditioning to make the journey without a few rests along the way.  I stopped first at El Diablo's for a cold Corona Light.  Feeling refreshed, I ventured on.  Suddenly, Bally's was in sight.  Was it a mirage?  Not The Mirage, but a mirage?  Possibly.  At the very least, the nearness was most likely some sort of illusion based on the size of the casino.  Could I make it all the way there without another break?  Possibly.  But why risk it.  I stopped at The PH and ventured into the Miracle Mile, suddenly finding myself at the Oyster & Wine Bar.  Some Shiraz might provide the strength needed to complete my journey . . .

Success!  I rolled into Bally's around 6:30 and quickly spotted a rather slender gentlemen with a love of comics, movies, weird music, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and, apparently, Mimosas.  After some small talk, a new table opened up and grrouchie and I sat down to play.  grrouchie took the one seat (purportedly to harass the dealer) and I took the two seat (with the intention of harassing grrouchie all night with incessant check raises . . .).

My evening got off to a fantastic start with a fantastic hand - K3 hearts.  After a few limpers, including grrouchie, I called.  A player then raised to $10.  I was going to fold.  I have to fold.  K3 suited is no hand to be played, particularly out of position.  But then grrouchie called.  And I'd feel like less of a man limp-folding the first hand played alongside this local Vegas legend and poker blogger extraordinaire.  So I call $10, and we see a K high rainbow flop.  Now what?  I call a flop bet.  After a heart on the turn, I call a turn bet.  And after a river blank, I call a modest bet on 5th street.  Of course, my King is outkicked and I'm immediately out  $85.  grrouchie offers a conciliatory "well, you picked up the second nut flush on the turn."  Well, there's that . . . I'm done trying to impress grrouchie . . . 

A short while later, I reloaded for another $100.

Then I went on a 10 minute heater of magnificent proportions:  AK, followed by AK, followed by AA.  I raised each hand to $12.  I got zero callers.  And in the end, after tipping the dealer, I lost a total of $2.

Finally, things changed, beginning with the hand detailed here.   I drag a nearly $300 pot.  Nice.

Shortly thereafter, I limp in against Pit Boss with A3 spades and flop a 3.  He leads out, I call.  He fires the turn, I raise.  He folds.  I now have nearly his entire stack and he is reloading.

A few minutes there after, I look down at KK in position.  An early position short stack shoves his last $65.  Pit boss can't resist.   He calls (fuck, why didn't he try to isolate!!!!!).  I eye Pit Boss' stack.  He has about $100 left.  I decide to shove.  Pit Boss thinks a bit, and then says, "you're good" as he flips TT over onto the table in front of him.  I flip KK (short stack doesn't show).  The flop comes out A-high and the board then runs dry.  Apparently, short stack doesn't have an Ace, and gets up and leaves.  Now, here's where things get a bit interesting.  Dealer pushes the pot to me -- $130.  I look at the rest of Pit Boss' chips and say, "I was all in."  Dealer says, "he folded."   Ok.  My bad.  Now, granted, at this point in the evening, I was feeling pretty good.  My recollection of events is a little fuzzy.  In fact, I can't recall if the dealer mucked the pocket tens or whether they remained on the table.  I didn't notice.  Again, in my head, I really though he had called my shove.  After a few minutes of reflection, I was left wondering whether Pitt Boss ran an angle here with the "your good," followed by tabling TT face up (which, I do seem to recall, was close in front of him and no where near the muck).  The fact that he appeared to be a gambler, combined with the fact that he had only $100 give or take $10 or 20 left, and that the pot was $198, also made me question his intentions.  Again, maybe it was just my semi-drunken perception of the matter.  But it seemed a bit strange.  I'm curious if grrouchie recalls the hand and has any thoughts . . .

At this point in the evening, the quality of my record keeping (which, generally, has a negative correlation to the number of adult beverages consumed) deteriorated rapidly.  Ok.  It ceased to exist.  I have no further notes on any subsequent hands.  I did, however, manage to take a series of pictures of my growing chip stack and its numerous configurations and re-configurations, including this beauty:

ggrrouchie called it a night around 11:30 or so.  I quit sometime thereafter, and booked a $330 profit for the session -- a total profit of $550 for the day.  Solidly in the black (for cash games) for the vacation.  Success.





Monday, July 15, 2013

The Rake is Too Damn High!

I'm back in the office this morning after a week and a half in Vegas.  Upon arriving, and concerned with my ability to afford lunch after 10 days of degening, I took a look at my recent pay stub.  More than 50% taken out in taxes, Social Security, Medicare and the like.  Let me repeat - MORE THAN FIFTY PERCENT!!!  Yes, I officially keep less than half of what I earn.  How is that even fucken possible?  Folks, the rake is officially too damn high!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Game Over

At McCarran awaiting the noon flight back to WDC.  A great trip was capped by a great night playing poker with fellow blogger grrouchie, whose blog (Confessions of a Local Fish) is linked on the blog roll to the right.  While a thorough trip report will be forthcoming over the next several days,  I wanted some comments on one hand that took place last night:

Villain is a local.  According to grrouchie, he is a pit boss.  Mid-50's.  Loud.  Sat down and asked the dealer for a copy of the rules (e.g., flush beats a straight... Trips beats two pair...).  My impression - gentleman likes to gamble. Villain straddles $5 from the button.  One caller and the action gets to me.  I look down at KT spades and raise to $17.  Villain calls.

Flop is 4 7 9.  I bet $20.  Villain calls.

Turn is a red K.  I bet $32.  Villain again quickly calls.

River blanks.  I bet $40.  Villain tanks and raises to $140.

To steal a phrase from Poker Meister - what what you do?


Friday, July 12, 2013

The Aria Daily

Gus Hansen was hanging out at Aria today (skin tight Full Tilt shirt and all).  Every Hand Revealed is quite possibly my favorite poker book.  It's the inspiration for this piss-poor post detailing my play at the Aria daily today (or, as I'm publishing this Friday morning....yesterday).

The Aria daily started at 1:00 pm.  10,000 chips, 30 minute levels.  10 tables were dedicated to the tournament.  A list of alternates were worked in over the course of the afternoon.  Eventually, a total of 151 runners were seated.

Level 1: 25/50

First hand played - AK clubs.  Middle position raises to $150 and gets a call.  I'm on the button and three-bet to $625.  One caller.   Flop is 8 T 9.  It's checked to me and I bet $1,050.  Player on my right check raises to $2,500.  It's immediately evident that I'm not playing the 2:00 pm at Showboat. Fold.  Good start.

Level 2:  $50/$100

I call $250 with AQ in middle position.  5 to the flop of KJ9.  Under the gun continues for $350.  I call with my broadway draw and over.  Next to act raises to $1,500.  Fold.  Stack down to $7,500 and already feeling abused.

Limp 5 ways from the button with A4 clubs.  Flop is checked around and turn puts up a second club.  I call $300 on the turn.  River gives me the nuts.  I bet $700 into $1,400.   No callers.  Stack $8,500.

Level 3: $100/200

AA under the gun.  Nice.  Open the action for $700.  Folds to the big blind who calls.  Flop is KQJ with two diamonds.  Delightful.  Check, check.  Turn is another K.  I bet $1,200 and get called.  Feel sick.  River is a black 7.  Check, check and I scoop.  Stack $10,100.

Level 4: $25/200/400

JJ on the button.  It's raised to $700 and after two callers, I opt to flat.  Flop is 8 K 2 with two hearts.  It checks to me and I fire $1,700.  Original raiser calls.  Turn is the 8 of hearts.  Checks to me and I check.  River blanks.  Villain leads for $1,500 and I snap.  Villain has the K high flush and I was toast the entire hand. Stack $4,500.

Two hand later, I look down at KK.  A limp and a raise to $650.  I three bet to $1,350.  Fold.  Fold.  Stack $5,800.

A series  of A4...A2 ... A3....Q5....47.... over the course of a level and a half.  Infuriating.   I'm blinded down to $4,500.

I fold T 4 from the big blind after a $1,200 raise.  Flop comes 4 4 T and gets action. Fuck. Me.

A 3....Q2.....58 ... Blinded to $3,700.

Level 6: $50/300/600.

Shove time.

After a series if shit hands, I look down at KK.  Sweet.  I shove.  TT calls.  Cowboys hold up.  Stack is 8,200.

Same level - AA.  I raise two limpers to 2,500.  Fold.  Fold.  Stack 9,400.

Level 7: $75/400/800.

Card dead again.  I win one pot when my K high from the big blind wins at showdown against a limper and the small blind.

Level 8: 100/600/1,200.   Stack is 8,600.  Still in deep shit.

A constant barrage of unquestionably unplayable hands.  Finally, after getting blinded down to 6,200, I look down at J 8 spades in the big blind.  One limper and the small blind completes.  Flop is K63 (two spades).  Small blind checks, I shove.  Limper folds, and small blind calls .... With the K.  No spade comes.  Do so.  Out in 68th place.

Disappointing run.  I feel like I may have come out to aggressive in the first level, which put me in an immediate hole.  But regardless, given the cards I had most of the day, I don't think it made any difference.

PS.  For those wondering about my diet . . . Today began with a Muscle Milk and coffee.  During first break at the tournament, I had a protein bar.  After I busted, I stopped by Todd English for a beer and a bowl of the braised roast beef chili.  Finally, at 1:00 am, I picked up a lobster Cobb salad from Avenue 24.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Desert - Day 7

Yesterday was one of those days that reminds me that I am not as young as I use to be.  Perhaps it's the heat.  I sweat more here just sitting at the pool than I do working out at home.  I think it's taking it's toll.

Yesterday morning began with a quick trip to the book to get down on the Mets + 175.  Wheeler against Cain.  Mets going for the sweep.  An insane bet on its face, but my system called for it.  Yes, the Mets 3 days in a row.  But I don't question the system.

From there it was straight to the pool.  I finished Ben Mezrich's Sex on the Moon and started reading Straight Flush . . . just dripping with sweat.  After the pool, I hit the gym for a quick 4 miles on the treadmill and then grabbed a salad at Avenue 24 Cafe at MGM.  Vegas, old man style...

After lunch, I placed my second bet of the day: D-Rays -185, and went to mash some 100 hand VP.  The machine which had been so kind to me the day before turned antagonistic.  A deuces wild machine sans any deuces.   I was down $100 in ten minutes.

From there I found a Dealers Angels black jack machine, made famous by TBC's journey to Jean.  Christ.  What a miserable game.  Slower than a live game.  I made it about 4 hands before walking away.

It was now around 6:30.  I had wanted to check out the action at Venetian.  But the thought of leaving the air conditioned casino for the 97 degree evening heat was just too much.  Instead, I decided to donate $80 in the MGM 7:00pm tournament.  6000 chips, 20 minute levels.  By far the worst structure I've played in years.  It's complete bingo, nearly from the open.  It didn't help that I was card dead.  I had two decent hands the first hour.  Both JJ.  Both hands I raised preflop, got one caller, and took the hand down on the flop, making a few chips....  By the first break, I was basically sitting on my original starting stack of 6000 with blinds at 300/600.  Still, no cards.  I made a move, raising 56 off from late position and won a few chips.  Then nothing.  I got blinded/anted down to 4,500 when I looked down at AT in the small blind.  With blinds at $600/1,200, was prepared to shove it.  But a short stack beat me to the punch, shoving her $2,300 in the middle.  AT is not a calling hand.  Sure, maybe I'm racing with two overs to a small pocket pair.  But I could easily only have one over or, worse yet, be dominated by a bigger ace.  Yet, given the state of the tournament and my stack size, I tanked for a moment.  Ultimately, I folded.  Big blind called.  Shoved flips AJ and big blind shows A2.  WTF?  The jack kicker took it, and I was happy with my fold . . . until I realized that I was still just passing time before my inevitable bust out... I won't be playing that tournament again.

After my 21st place showing, I grabbed another salad and called it a night.  At 10:30.  Vegas, baby.  Vegas.  Finished the day up a few dollars thanks (as always) to bases.   My record for the trip is 8-3 (+535) and has kept me hovering around even.

Well, for those reading this in the Valley, you can see it's cloudy out.  Perfect opportunity to skip the pool and play the Aria daily at 1:00....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Still Alive in the Desert

Tuesday.  Day 6.  The beginning of the back stretch.  Down a mere $200 for the trip and feeling good.

Yesterday morning began with a trip to the MGM pool at 9:00 am.  Utter chaos.  Kids running around .... Splashing in the water.... Flapping around the lazy river with no regard to the personal space of a certain refined gentlemen named Pete.  Savages.  All of them.   By 11:00 am I had reached my limit.  I quickly made haste to the pool at Signature.   There, I chilled in the water, frosty beer(s) in hand, until 2:00 pm.  A decent start to the day.

After a quick lunch I placed the two bases bets that hit my system - the Rays and Pirates.  The Pirates were even money, and I made a simple $100 bet.  The Rays were -160, and I said to the guy behind the counter, "#794 to win $100."  Somehow, from that, the guy gave me a ticket for a $120 bet on the Rays (which would pay off at $75 at the -160).  Huh?  Fuck it.  I just hit the play again for another $120.   I love the Rays anyhow.  In the end, the Rays won and the Pirates lost (despite out hitting the A's 12-3... Right side, wrong result.  Shit happens).  A one - one split, but I ended up making a little cash thanks to the teller's error...

I was planning on meeting a friend over at Mandalay Bay in the evening, but it didn't work out.  So, I headed over to the MGM poker room to play some hands.  I ended up booking a small $75 profit over the course of 2 hours.  I'll take it.  I played tight.  Maybe too tight (at one point, I folded AQ from the small blind after a $12 raise and 4 callers.... bad poker?) and only saw a handful of hands.  Only two were of any significance.

The first hand:  after two limpers I raised AA to $15 from the hijack. Both limpers called.  Flop was a delightful 8 2 A rainbow.  The second limper, who was sitting on about $130, looked like he wanted to bet the flop, but ultimately checked.  I checked as well.  Turn put a second diamond on the board.  It checked again to second limper who bet $35.  I raised to $95.  Early position folds, and second limper shoves.  I snapped and quickly showed my bullets.  After a club on the river, villain just mucked and left the table.

The very next hand I look down at TT (off soot ...).  After a middle position raise to $10, I decided to flat, and the button calls as well.  The flop came out 8 high and middle position leads for $15.  Call.  Call.  Turn blanks and MP shuts down.  I bet out $40 and button calls.  Shit.  I check the river and button checks back and flips JJ.  Good game.

After poker, I got stuck $37 on two glasses of Cabernet and went on tilt.

Then, it was off to the Excalibur for some black jack.  Despite the smell, the Excalibur actually has a pit with $10 black jack at 3/2.  Sort of a rarity these days.  I sat down and grinded small: $15 to $25 hands.... After two shoes, I left with a small $100 profit and called it a night from gaming.

Then I went back to Michael Mina's Pub at MGM and got stuck $18 on two Bud Lite draughts.   Around this time, TBC sent me a text that he was playing downtown.  Unfortunately, Pete Peters is old.  And, despite possible impressions otherwise, Pete needs some structure in his life.  Midnight is no time for impromptu trips down town.  Pete needs plans in advance.  Pete also doesn't wake up at 6;00 pm.  Rather, by 6:00 pm, Pete has often lived a nearly full day.  This makes it hard to ever meet up with TBC.   But there are still 5 days left.  Maybe one of these days Pete and TBC can put a plan in action.

PS - grouche, if you are around one of these nights, hit me up...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pete Peters and the Binions' Poker Classic

Saturday.  Vegas day 3.  After a quick workout, I cabbed downtown to Binions for the 2:00 poker classic.  $125 buy in.  20,000 chips and 30 minute levels.  I started out with a nice run of premium hands - KK, AK, TT, KK, AQ - and actually managed to get paid off.  For some reason, poker seems so much easier when you have big starting hands...

I also managed to avoid some early pitfalls.  Near the end of my early heater, I looked down at AJ diamonds.  I raised 3x and got one call from the older rock directly to my left.  The flop came down Js 3d 8d.  Bingo!  I bet out (I had been betting aggressively up to this point) and rock raises me.  Um. Ok.  Quite possible he thinks I'm full of shit given how active I had been.  But rock didn't strike me as the type of guy to raise me with air.  I call.  Turn is the 3c.  I check to rock.  He fires 3/4 pot.  I'm not getting anywhere near the odds to call on my flush draw, and I don't think rock is firing like this without top pair beat.  I fold.  He shows JJ.  He may have cost himself some value by firing the turn there, because if the river is a diamond, I'm going to donate some chips!

A few hands later, it was my turn with JJ.  UTG raises 3x.  While I'm debating whether to smooth call and play my JJ small or repop from the button, UTG+1 re-raises to 10x.  My JJ hits the muck, while UTG calls.  UTG shows AK and the fellow to his left shows KK.  Flop came out T-high, and I thanked the poker gods that UTG+1 didn't just smooth call because I likely would have found a world of hurt with my jacks.

By the first break, I had chipped up to $44,000 and was feeling good about myself.  And then, in one hand, it all came crashing down.  With $40,000 chips and blinds at 500/1,000, I look down at KK for the third time.  After a limper, I raise to $4,500.   Small blind calls as does limper.  There is $14,500 in the pot, and the flop comes 5s 6s 5d.  It checks to me and I fire 10,550.  Small blind check-raise-shoves for approximately $30,000.  Set of 66's?  Spade draw?  Over pair?  Limper gets out of the way and the action is back on me.  $55,000 or so in the pot and it costs me $20,000 to call.  I've already committed 35% of my stack to this hand.  While his action was aggressive, I really thought there was too much I was beating on that flop to fold.  I call and villain shows A5.  Um.  Nice hand, sir.   I mean, if you are gonna play A 5 for 4.5x preflop, you might as well do it from out of position.  Whatever.  It's poker.

After the hand, I was down to $8,000 and never recovered....  Finished 78th out of 166.

Fortunately, I had a 3-0 sweep on the bases (bringing my trip record to 6-1) and ended the day in the black.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vegas Quickie

I'm two days in, and I'm taking it slow.  Pacing ... It's all about pacing.

I played my first session of the trip last night at MGM.  It went swimmingly.  I dropped $200.  I may never win at poker again.

About an hour or so in, a certain blogger, who shall go unnamed (hint:  his name has 3 letters, which are OBR) stopped by.  When the seat next to ORB opened up, I took a table change and got the chance to humiliate myself with my poker play in front of yet another member of the blogosphere.   It was really a slow bleed.  I flopped about twelve OESD's and missed on everyone.  I got 10 or so small pocket pairs and couldn't flop a single set.  There was really only one hand that ended up costing me any real coin:

I limp in from middle position with A9.  A mistake from the start.  I knew this at the time.  We go three to the flop, including the club kid on my left, who had just sat down and didn't even have his chips yet.  Flop comes out 9 high, two hearts.  It's checked to me and I bet a little less than pot.  Club kid calls (other guy folds).  Turn blanks.  I lead out again.  Club kid calls.  I really think he's on a draw.  River is a J.  I check to let him bluff at the draw.  He bets $35.  I call.  He flips J9.  I grimace.  He says:  "did I river you?"  You think?  Good game.

The table quickly degenerated into Bingo with people shoving stacks with small pocket pairs and small suited aces.  I had had enough.  I bid goodbye to ORB and headed across the street to degen a bit at the Excalibur.

I quickly found a $10 table with a personality-less dealer, and ran my buy-in up $100 or so.  About 30 minutes in, my MLife card was still sitting on the table and the pit boss had not even swung by.  Fucken tilting!  I left and headed across the moat to The Big Apple bar for some sweet, sweet Devils Game.  During the course of 40 minutes, I hit quads 4 times, and quickly won back my MGM buy in.


Heading downtown shortly to play the 2:00 at Binnions.  OBR said it was a good tournament.  He also said I would likely cash it (maybe i mis-heard that last part).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Zoooom . . . Desert

Trudging through another day-and-a-half at the office before lifting off for Vegas Thursday morning.  Leaving D.C. at 11:00 with a layover in Phoenix.  Should hit McCarran at 3:00 p.m.  No complementary First Class upgrade on the flight to Phoenix, although it did go through for the 35-minute jaunt to Vegas.  Um.  Thanks.  On the bright side, at least I can score my first free cocktail of the trip . . .

Of course, as it generally happens just prior to vacation, after a solid crisis-free two months at the office, things started to blow up last Friday.  Matters that have been quiet for 6 months suddenly re-emerged.  Clients called with projects that "must be done" in the next week or two despite any conceivable reason for any deadline whatsoever.  I've decided not to worry about it.  I'll deal with it when I get back.  Hell, maybe I'll hit some sort of a Mr. Cashman jackpot, or parlay a satellite into a main event ticket into a few million dollars and not even have to return to work.  In short, a lot can happen in ten days.  At least that's what I'm telling myself (in reality, of course, no one has ever left Vegas rich after spending a week grinding $1.25 video poker or donking $65 tournaments at the Flamingo . . .).

I've found the key to a ten day trip to Vegas is pacing.  I plan to spend 3 or 4 hours a day poolside at Signature or MGM.  My IPhone is full of podcasts, and I have a few books ready to go (including Ben Mezrich's new one, "Straight Flush").  I plan on working out every day for an hour or so as well (you've got to earn your beers . . .).  I'm also strongly considering taking a quick two day trip to Phoenix to catch the D-Backs-Dodgers series at Chase Field Tuesday and Wednesday -- a vacation from my vacation, courtesy of USAIRWAYS miles and SPG points.

But there will be plenty of wagering.  While my goal is to focus mainly on poker ($1/2 NL cash and some tournaments), the lure of the Devils Game, otherwise known as video poker, will most certainly prove irresistible.  It always does.   And some hands of black jack will be played.  I mean, after my most recent trips to AC, I'm due for a nice run.  I have to play.  And, of course, I'll be out to improve on my bases record -- 18 and 5 the past to two summers on sides and totals.  It's actually the one thing I've done well at.  I have a system.  I can't tell you what it is.  But it exists.  And it's never let me down.  Seriously.  Of course, for every ticket I cash, I generally lose twice as much playing VP at the bar while watching the game.  Some might call that a "leak."  I call it just plain fun.

In the end, I don't go to Vegas in hopes of winning money.  I know I'm going to lose.  I just want to have some fun . . . hang out at the pool . . . have an adult beverage or so . . . check out some live music . . . watch some baseball . . . enjoy some fine steaks and good wine . . . and, oh yeah, earn some sweet, sweet (like, very sweet) tier points (sitting on 73,000 Mlife points and 13,655 Harrah's points at the moment).

In closing, hope to see some of you over the next week or so.

- Pete