Day 1, Saturday 7/5 –
I happen to be on the same flight out to Vegas as Sif and Twink, so we talked a little poker on the way. Shannon had worked a bunch prior to taking vacation and hadn’t slept in 46 years, so she pretty much was out for much of the flight. I too slept a bit, because I always tend to fall asleep on airplanes. We were due to arrive at 3pm local Vegas time, and my plans were to go play the 6pm $330 mega supersatellite at the Rio for a last chance effort to get into the WSOP Main Event. I wouldn’t be there in time to play the 4pm $550 satellite, and the $330 was the last mega being offered before day 1D kicked off on Sunday (except for a $1060 “turbo” on Sunday morning, which I had no interest in playing. The $550’s and $330’s were turbo enough without the word “turbo” in the description, I can’t even imagine the structure for the Sunday morning bingo-fest). Shortly after waking up from my nap, the pilot announced that we were making our decent… into Albuquerque, New Mexico. Which was a bit of a surprise, since the flight was non-stop from Chicago to Vegas. Apparently the de-icing for the wings wasn’t working, and the pilot had to do some creative maneuvering to avoid going through areas that we’d need that de-icing for. Then he decided to lower to an altitude that would be warm enough where it wouldn’t matter. And once there, they determined that we now might not have quite enough fuel to make it all the way to Vegas. So they took the safe course and diverted to Albuquerque. We had to wait on the plane for an hour while they got the new route approved by air traffic control and fueled up. By the time we landed in Vegas, it was already about 5:20 local time, and I didn’t have my luggage until a half hour later, so there was no way to make the mega satellite… my first bad beat of the trip, or so I thought. I later found out from Sailor Moe that he went over earlier that day to play the $550 mega, and both the $550 and the $330 were already sold out, so I was drawing dead anyway.
My best friend from my 6 years residing in Vegas, Hector, who still lives there, picked me up from the airport. After grabbing some dinner, we decided to go over to the Venetian and play their 8pm $180 NLHE tourney, which has a pretty good structure. I play for a couple hours with nothing eventful happening. Get my 5K starting stack up to 8K rather quickly, then get sucked out on for a big pot early in the 2nd hour with KK vs. AK and am knocked down to 3K, from which I wasn’t able to recover. Hector gets moved to my table 2 seats to my left. As my M got short I needed to pick a spot to move with 1st in fold equity, which I did from the cut off with J9s. The button apparently can’t lay down AA preflop though (the big fish ;D LOL), and I don’t suck out, so I’m gone. Hector’s still working an above average stack, so I go check out the cash games. Immediate seating in $2-$5 NL sounds good to me. I get sent to a table with 2 loose-aggressive players on my right, raising and making moves and tabling air. Yum. I’m able to take a couple pots away from them with air by raising with an ace on board, since they rarely actually held anything, but have to surrender other pots where I miss and the board is dangerous vs. loose players. Two young 20-something European guys sit down to my left, sandwiching a solid playing older lady who was in the 3 seat (I was in 1). The one UTG min raises to $10 when it’s my button, and gets 5 callers to me. I take the cheap positional flyer with 4h3h, only because I know if I catch a deceptive big flop this table was prone to giving action. The blinds call and we see the flop 9 handed. It comes down 335 and UTG bets $35 into the $90 pot. Everyone mucks around to me. His bet is pretty small, so I figure him for big cards only. For this reason I elected to just call him. If I thought he had an overpair I’d want to raise to re-open the betting and give him a chance to make it 3 bets, building the pot, but my read was that he missed, AND he was willing to bluff as I observed on an earlier hand, so I figured I’d flat and give him a chance to. The blinds mucked and we’re heads up. The turn was an 8, and now he bets $60 into a $160 pot. Again it just felt really weak, so I tank for a bit and decide there’s no point in raising him because he’ll just muck if I’m right, and he’s probably drawing dead, so give him a chance to bluff the river. I call. The river comes a ten. He studies me and comes out with a $150 bet, which is bigger than the 35, 60 progression earlier in the hand. His posture was threatening too, a classic “strong means weak” tell. Unless he was throwing me a reverse tell, which I doubted, he was just bluffing trying to move me off my hand. He probably doesn’t put me on trips or better since I haven’t raised yet, he’s probably got me on a pocket pair like 66 or 77, and thinks for the big bet he can move me. At any rate I decide there’s little value in raising him on the river here… if my read is right he can’t call, and if I’ve misread the situation and he’s got a hand like 55, 88, TT, or A3s, I’ll get stacked. So I announce call, and he mucks his hand without showing it. No one asked to see my hand, and I opted not to table it unless someone asked, so I’m awarded the pot without even having to show down my cards (which is nice, no need for everyone to see how I played the flopped trips there).
I’m cruising along in the game with a stack around $800 when the poker gods decide to forsake me. There’s a couple limpers and I raise to $25 from the button with 88. Both limpers call and the flop comes down 8s 2h 3h. The first limper leads out into me for $50 and the second limper folds. Sometimes players will lead out like this into a preflop raiser with a set, hoping the PFR has a big pair and raises, allowing them to get a lot of money in preflop with their set. Some will do it with draws as a semi-bluff, and some with air on a raggy flop hoping to steal it. I’m going to raise him here to charge a draw, and to build the pot vs. a smaller set. If he’s got air, he wasn’t the type to keep firing big barrels once I called as he’d put me on at least an overpair, so I won’t get more action from this one anyway. I make it $150 to go, and he tanks for a bit then announces “all in”. Obviously I call, hoping he’s got the smaller set. No such luck, he’s got a huge draw with the 5h 4h. He peels an ace on the turn and his straight holds up. His stack was $550, so just like that instead of being way up I’m down to $250. As I’m contemplating reloading, I pick up KK on the very next hand. Everyone mucks to me and I raise to $25, figuring it might look like a steam raise. The solid lady on the button thinks and then cold calls… she has called my raises a few times in position and executed float plays on me post flop, so I decide if there’s no ace on the flop, I’m going to check to her, let her make the positional bet, and the check-raise her. The blinds both call, so we take the flop 4 handed and there’s $100 in the pot. The flop comes Ts 8c 4s and the blinds check to me. I don’t want to risk a free card, but I felt very confident the lady would bet for me if I did check, putting me on a big ace and giving up with 3 opponents. I’m definitely committed with KK here, but decide to gamble and check to her. She doesn’t disappoint, and bets out $65. Both blinds muck, and I raise all in for $225 total. She tanks. Asks for a count, $160 more to call… still in the tank. Finally she says call and puts the money in. The turn is a Q and the river a 9. I show my KK, and she sheepishly turns over Td 9h for a rivered 2 pair. Just like that I’m felted.
Although the game was good, I was no longer in the right frame of mind to reload, so I opt to pass and go see how Hector’s doing in the tournament. He seems to have a stack with 4 tables left, they’re paying 2 tables though so he still has a lot of work to do. I give him the thumbs up, then go take a walk to shake off the sting of the last two hands and get my head right.
Back to the poker room, and they’re calling down a new $5-$5 blind PL Omaha game. I decide what the hell, I’ll sit for a while and see how it looks. I tell the floor if there’s open seats in the new PLO game I’ll take one, and he sends me to table 4. I ask what the buy in is and he tells me “minimum $500”. “What’s the maximum?” I ask. “There is no maximum”. Uhm, ok… this may be a bigger game that I want to play LOL. But I decide to take a seat on a short buy in of $500 and see how it shakes out. The game starts off 5 handed as almost no one from the interest list shows, a tight player with a lot of cash on my left, another tight, young looking “kid” on my right who also buys in for $500, the same loose European guy that ran the 3 barrel bluff on me in the 2-5 game when I flopped trip 3’s and just called him down on all streets (he also bought in for $500), and a player to his right who sat with a rack of red ($500 in chips) and a stack of $100 bills. This player turned out to be loose-aggressive. After a while a new player sits down between the tight guy on my left and the LAG… I’ll call him goofy. Goofy is loud and a bit obnoxious, and the first few hands make it clear he came to gamble.
So one really interesting hand came up during this session. Goofy limps for $5 UTG, and the LAG raises to $25 next to act. My European 3 barrel friend calls $25, as does the tight kid on the button. I opt to call $20 from the SB with KsKc5s3c. This is a pretty marginal call I think , but with both goofy and the LAG in the pot if I did hit a big flop I expected to get paid off handsomely. And then all hell breaks loose. The big blind, the tightest player at the table announces “raise pot”, making it $150 to go. I know this has to be AAxx, he wouldn’t reraise pot without aces. Goofy rechecks his hand and then calls $150. The LAG also calls $150. I was already planning to be done with it, but now I’m done for sure. I figure either goofy or the LAG has my other two K’s. It’s not certain, but has to be a higher than normal probability. The young European folds, and then the button, the 2nd tightest player at the table, announces “I’m all in”. Huh?!?! He’s got about $450 behind. This absolutely has to be the other two aces. I muck. The big blind thinks and flat calls the $450 rather than re-shove. He’s probably trying to suck in a caller, figuring the tight kid for the other two aces and hoping to build some more money in the pot since he might well chop with the kid. Goofy checks his hand again, and CALLS $450. Now the LAG calls behind him. There is almost $2000 in the pot preflop. Goofy announces that he’s even money to win this hand. lol I figure him for a rundown like T987 or some such hand. The flop comes down J66 with 2 diamonds. The BB checks, and goofy slaps his last $120 into the middle and says he’s all in. The LAG insta-calls, and the BB slumps his shoulders in that “I’m gonna be sick” sort of way (you PLO players know the look) and slips in the $120 call. The turn is an offsuit 5, and the BB and LAG go check-check. The river is an offsuit 7 and they go check-check again. The dealer says ok, let me see these 3 hands (the BB, LAG, and goofy) for the side pot first. The BB sheepishly plucks out his AA and sets it on the table, turning over 2 non-helpful side cards with it. Goofy picks up his hand, shrugs his shoulders, and in a loud voice says “I missed!”. LOL The LAG then disgustedly slaps his 4 cards face down on the table (I figure that must have been the other KK right there). The BB wins the side pot with his aces, and the tight kid tables the other 2 aces, splitting the main pot with the BB.
Not much else of excitement happens… Hector comes to find me after he busts out in 15th place, cashing but barely. I rack up with $600 for a net PLO profit of exactly $100. Net result for the day, -$180 in the tournament, -$500 in the NL cash game, +$100 in PLO for a total of -$580 for the trip.
To be continued…