Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Vegas Trip Part 3 (Final Part)

Monday morning came fast with a phone call from my parents for dinner early (around 7:30am). They wanted to meet for breakfast and my Dad, brother, and I planned on going to a tournament or two so we wanted to determine which one (or ones) to go to. We hadn't been able to talk to my Dad about it previously due to the surprise so we had a little catching up to do. Over breakfast we talked about our options and settled on checking out the 11am tournament at the Sahara. I had heard good things about the structure in relation to cost and wanted to check it out.

At 9am we got to the Sahara by way of the monorail and signed up for the 11am tourney. It is $42 for T2000 with one $20 rebuy that you can take anytime during the first hour which gets you T1500 more. So for $62 you get T3500 with the blinds starting at 25/25 and going up in 20 minute levels. A great structure for the money in comparison to what else I saw out there.

While we waited for the tournament they had one 2/4 game going with 3 seats available so me, my Dad, and my brother sat down. Three players at the table had been there all night. Two were buddies and they were feeling REALLY good. They were still putting down Corona's and Budweiser's one after another. The second guy was an oriental fellow and wasn't drinking but would fall asleep for whole orbits at a time. They simply folded his hands. Once in awhile he'd wake up......Play a pot......and usually won it which brought about more razzing from the two younger drunk guys. It was a fun light-hearted table and we had a good time playing while we waited. I sat to the left of a dealer that was playing until he had to be on for the tournament (or until someone else wanted a seat). His name was Paul and someone had called him from beyond the rail while we were playing. The one young drunk kid thought he heard the guy say 8-ball and gave him a sideways stare.....with a big smile.......and said, "Eight ball, eh, I see how it is". We all started cracking up and he was known the rest of the time we were there as 8-ball. So if you're ever at the Sahara and have a dealer named Paul......Call him 8-ball and see if he remembers that day. He's a very nice guy and I can't say enough good things about the staff there at the Sahara and how they ran their tournaments. Nothing eventful happened in the 2/4 game and I cashed out as the tournament approached up $25.

During the 11am tournament there were around 40 players that day. I simply got no cards what so ever. Every time I got a small or mid-pocket pair I didn't hit my set and the flop was a monster action flop with Aces and Kings everywhere. I doubled up when I got fairly short with 55 that held against AK and then dwindled from there. I re-bought before a card was dealt and was happy to start with the full alottment of chips. Some people did this while other waited until they went bust or never re-bought if they were happy with their chipstack. My Dad, brother, and I all sat at different tables and we all busted out one after another within 10 minutes of each other with me being the last one in. We enjoyed it very much and as we walked to the monorail decided to definitely come back to the 7pm tourney. If we had really been thinking we would have signed up before we left but we weren't.

My brother got off at Bally's and my Dad and I continued on to MGM to play more poker (it was around 3pm). My brother had been getting hammered at the limit games and wanted to take a break. My Dad and I got to the MGM and got seated quickly at two separate 4/8 tables. My table was a rock garden and no one was having any fun whatsoever. I played there for maybe 45 min. to an hour before getting a table change to my Dad's table as there were several people there with monster stacks and it seemed really action oriented the couple times I walked over. Boy was I right. I got the seat immediately to the right of my Dad which he was pleased with due to the fact that he knows how aggressive I play. There were two ladies in seats 8 and 9 that had stacks of chips in addition to a rack each. The guy immediately to my right also had a huge stack but what I didn't know (and wasn't thrilled with later) was that he had pulled two racks off the table in addition to what he had. I'm not an expert but aren't you required to keep the chips in play and on the table (visible?) until you cash out and get up? Anyway....This game was action packed and the two women bled their chips away with my Dad and I getting a good chunk of it. They played any Ace and any face sometimes catching and taking a good size pot down but more times than not losing by getting out kicked or running with their top pair to the river on a coordinated paired board to get hammered by a straight, flush, or full house. It was unbelievable.

We did not want to leave that game but my brother was waiting on us to go back to play in the Sahara's 7pm tourney and we didn't want to disappoint. So we reluctantly cashed out at 5:30pm with each of us tripling our buy-ins. My brother called and said......what else.....The monorail was broken down and he was grabbing a taxi and would meet us at the Sahara for dinner before the tournament. So that's what we did.....Grabbed a taxi and headed to get a bite to eat.

The 7pm tournament had the same structure (they all do) and had 95 entries. I played a solid game and went out around 10:15pm 23rd. My Dad didn't fare so well and was planning on heading back when my brother and I started increasing our chip stacks and he wanted to stick around to root us on. Mine took a nose dive when my pocket 10's got a ten on the flop to go along with a K x and ran into someone with slightly less chips than I and slow played pocket Kings on the flop giving them the pot with trip Kings over my trip 10's. I had the blind plus T25 UTG and went all in blind losing knocking me out. The good news was my brother was stacking some chips and reached the final table being top 3 in chips. He played a nice tight game and let several players get knocked out but failed to change gears when it got down to 7 or 6 left ultimately getting knocked out 5th when he got aggressive and ran into a bigger hand. It was a nice run for him though and he was very pleased with his play. I'd definitely recommend the Sahara tournaments for anyone looking for a great structure with a LOT of chips for the money and a friendly staff. I'll definitely play it again when in town.

Tuesday May 3rd was our final day and we wanted to make the most of it. My Dad had spent the majority of time with us boys playing poker so he was going to spend the afternoon with my sisters doing some -EV gambling. But the ladies were spending the morning at the pool so that meant we could get some poker in prior to their plans. We went to my new favorite Vegas poker room......MGM. It was 8am and they did not have a 4/8 game running so I put my name on the 4/8 list and sat in the current 2/4 game. The 2/4 game had an oriental guy that had three racks of white sitting in front of him with at least another racks worth stacked he was playing with. He straddled everytime he was UTG and raised from late position many times in the dark. I don't know if he had won those chips or bought them but in an hour and a half he had lost it all and had reached into the well for more. Unfortunately I didn't get any of it. It was a typical wild 2/4 game and my Dad didn't fare well at all practically busting out and bailing by 10 am heading back to catch up with the girls.

I moved to a new 4/8 table with $5 less than my $100 buy-in at 10:30am. At 12:45pm I cashed out down to $65. There were two guys that saw just about every flop AND CAUGHT. It would have been worse but my cards were worthless for the most part.

I made it back to Bally's where I found my Parents and sisters playing craps and roulette. I jumped on the craps table and in 15 minutes dropped another $75 as the table cooled fast. I jumped on the roulette wheel with my other sister and the $25 that survived the craps table losing all but $8 of that. I then stopped by the poker "room" to see what games they had going. They had several 2/4 games and a 3/6 game going. They had a list as well and were looking to start a 1/2 no limit game. I put my name on the list and pointed to the blackjack seat I was sitting in. I played Blackjack for 30 minutes before they called the names for the no limit game. I broke exactly even.

My brother had been whining that he sucks at limit and wanted to play no limit so I kept telling him to play a 1/2 No limit ring game. I called him to let him know they were starting one and that we had seats available and he said he was heading over to give it a shot. It was 2:30 pm and we had to head to the airport around 4:30 pm. I cashed in for the max of $200 as did my brother. We were seven handed to start with and gained an 8th before too long. I sat in the 1 seat with my brother in the 10. There was an older gentlemen in the 9 seat who called 1/2 and full pot sized bets with next to nothing.....Bottom or middle pair. Another guy played alot of hands but didn't get to showdown more than a couple of times. He showed down monster hands those couple of times but couldn't have had monsters every time unless he was on the biggest rush of cards ever. I played tight aggressive poker and cashed out at 4:30 pm up $70. My brother cashed out at 4pm pretty much even......FOR HIS TRIP. He won the majority of it on one hand. It was around a $600 pot that saw raises being called by 3 people pre-flop. Three people stayed to see the turn after a pot sized bet. Then there was a large bet followed by one caller and they lost one. The river brought the third of a suit and I thought my brother got ran down by a flush when the old man pushed his last $60 in to go all-in. My brother thought for several minutes before stating he had to call based on the pot size (and what the old man had been showing down up to that point). He took it down with his pocket eights to go along with a third 8 on the flop.......The old man had top pair weak kicker. It was a sweet pot and I was happy for him.

Everyone that goes to Vegas for the first time I always wish they win or at least come close to breaking even. Then you're hooked for life. If you lose I think you'll come back if you got some gamboool in your blood but you might not rush back. If you win I think you'll come back with too big a chip on your shoulder thinking you can win and "pay for your trip" everytime. It's always nice to win or break even as your time to get the airport approaches. That's what my brother did. Good job man!

To my Dad: Happy 50th Birthday! I had a blast playing poker with you in Vegas. That semi-regular poker trip to Vegas your talking about......let's set it up! Hope you had as much fun as I did.

Sorry for the lack of specific hand details. I took notes to the best of my ability and will work on better details for future trips. I kind of get in a zone while playing and at a break or something I jot down times, amounts, and what I can remember of hands which is usually very little.

I also put some money on some horses for the Kentucky Derby. In a field like they had this year it's anyone's race so I always pick 2-3 long shots and 2 mid-range odds horses I think have a good shot. I put $10 down on each to win. My horses this year were:

High Limit
Afleet Alex - 3rd
Giacomo - 1st
Closing Argument - 2nd
Going Wild

Closing Argument actually went off at 72-1 by race time so that would have been that much sweeter but I wasn't complaining at the $500+ win. Gotta love the Derby.

If you made it this far.....thanks for stopping by.

Baz Out.