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Annual Poker Trip - California October 1-5

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30

    My Trip Report

    Although we played a little poker over Super Bowl weekend, this was the first proper poker trip in two full years due to stupid, fucking COVID-19. But vaccinated I was, and I really treasure these Guy Times in Vegas, so I pushed hard to make this trip happen.

    We didn't have Scott this time (who was with me Super Bowl weekend and will be with me for the upcoming Super Bowl), but Pete, Pat and Phil were all there, and we met up with Tim (also from previous Super Bowl trips) along the way. But Scott was not forgotten. He made a bet with me for a $2 bill... he bet that Pat would win the most money in poker tournaments, and a second $2 bet that Pat would have the highest individual cash.

    What was really hard, though, was to find poker tournaments that were in our wheelhouse. We don't play high buy-in tournaments because our bankrolls wouldn't allow for high entry fees for the 7-9 games we'd play on a trip. But between the lack of open poker rooms with tournaments and the World Series of Poker in town (with many of the poker rooms having Tournament Series with much higher entry fees) it took a lot of work to put together an agenda that hits all of our buttons. But with some mental gymnastics, we were able to get in as much poker as we wanted.

    I am getting old, however. A couple of weeks before the trip, my Posterior Tibial Tendinopathy flared up. What's Posterior Tibial Tendinopathy?

    upload_2021-10-8_20-45-13.png

    See that green tendon (which may not be green in real life) that goes from the calf muscle to the joint at your big toe? Very owie. Don't know how I hurt it or what causes it to flare, but in addition to feeling like you broke your ankle, when it gets angry, since the nerves are so close to the skin, it can be very painful to the touch. As of today, I haven't bowled in three weeks and it may be a couple more before I do. But the worst of the worst part is that the tendon goes below then ankle exactly where most shoes contact the ankle. When the nerves were pulsing, shoes were not an option. I was concerned about how much walking I would be doing, and I packed an extra pair of shoes and bedroom slippers (as a worst case scenario).

    I also made sure I had these...

    upload_2021-10-8_20-51-10.png

    These 25 bills had been in my lock box for over two years. Time to let them breathe!

    I didn't take a lot of photos this year, as, well... I get bored of seeing slot machine and VP photos for minor wins so I set a $500 minimum photo rule. This report will be a little more blue than some of my normal reports, as our house is now empty (including the dog) so I no longer have to watch my mouth (in a few years, it will be considered adorable for this drooling old-timer to be mindlessly swearing like a sailor with Tourette's). Also, same disclaimers as every trip... I don't like live trip reports so I don't even try, and the poker talk will be indented so that it is easy to skip over. All times PDT, except where shown.

    Thursday, September 30 at 9:01 PM CDT - Phil and Pat left. Fuckers.

    When we set the date, we found an insanely cheap Spirit flight (like, $48 or so) that left Friday night, and a reasonable Southwest return flight on Tuesday. A few months ago, Spirit changed its flight time from 7:30 PM to 7:20 AM. Phil doesn't do mornings, so he got a refund and was going to find a Southwest flight on Friday night. I decided to keep my morning Spirit flight, and they got jealous that I would be there 12 hours before them, so they changed that flight to Thursday night (getting in 12 hours before me). So fuck them. I hope they had a horrible time.

    Friday, October 1 at 5:00 AM CDT - Up and at them to get ready for my flight. I grab the Chromebook to download The Many Saints of Newark off of HBO Max... that is, until the wife caught me. "I thought we'd watch it together", she said. Sigh. I downloaded other stuff and headed out.

    6:30 AM - She didn't think it would work...

    upload_2021-10-8_22-9-32.png

    I tend to pack a little heavy for Vegas... For example, I hate to take just four pair of tighty-whities for four days as I don't know what kind of mood that my colon will be in. However, my foot thing required me to take my dress shoes (and slacks) and bedroom slippers as I didn't want to be footily-miserable for five days. Those took up valuable real estate, causing me to make some hard cuts. Once I had finished packing my bag was bursting at the seams. But it fit!

    7:00 AM CDT - I may have been too cheap to pay for a carry-on, but I did decide to break the bank for the 2-across, Big Front Seat for $53. Brought the total cost of my outbound flight to $101 and I would be there by 9:00 AM. The wins keep winning!

    upload_2021-10-8_22-13-49.png
    Maybe they'll ask me to be co-pilot.

    For the first two hours over 10,000 ft - Watched The Highwaymen. It was an enjoyable look at two over-the-hill former Texas Rangers played by over-the-hill actors Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson chasing down Bonnie and Clyde. Might have been about 20 minutes too long, but it killed time nicely.

    For about 40 minutes until we got back to 10,000 ft - Started watching The Deuce, which was a series on HBO about the prostitution and porn scene in New York in the 70s and 80s. Hope the guy in 2A enjoyed the titties.

    9:00 AM PDT - Arrived early, sat on tarmac for 25 minutes as we wait for the gate to be available. It seems that I lose more Vegas Time to tarmac waiting than I do to stoplights.

    upload_2021-10-8_22-47-18.png
    Home. Finally home.

    9:30 AM - Get my Thrifty car from the Dollar rental counter and head to the Hertz lot to get my car. "Anything in this row" she says. As we know, red cars get better parking spots. But there was one SUVish-type car in that row, so I grabbed the white Ford Ecosport.

    Worst fucking car I've ever driven. Besides the fact that the interior was smaller and had less room than my Mazda 3, it accelerated like a dump truck... I thought the overdrive might have been on so I clicked it and it made even MORE noise as I accelerated. I also had no idea how to open the hatchback, but I figured one of the others might know so I just threw my bag on the back seat and started my vacation.

    10:00 AM - I circled back to the soon-to-be Harry Reid International Airport to get Pete (whose flight was about a half hour after mine) and then to the Paris where Pat and Phil spent the night.

    Four guys are in the Paris porte-cochère, trying to figure out how to get the back open to stash the bags. I said "RTFM", and Pete found it in the glove box. The next trick was that the first three guys all tried to read it before passing it on because nobody had their cheaters ready. Finally Pat, the engineer, found the page that said the release was above the right brake light. What brilliant scientist decided to put it there? Instead of opening up, the door opened right to left (meaning the person opening it also had to step out of the way to let the door complete the openizational process) like a '62 Rambler Ambassador.

    upload_2021-10-8_22-41-45.png
    (Note, not my photo. My mom was 14 in 1962).

    "JFC, James", says you, the Gentle Reader. "Enough of the effin' airport and rental car talk... would you PLEASE get to the Vegas part of your Vegas trip report?".

    Fair enough. Thanks for asking.

    11:00 AM - Lunch time for those of us that had been up for seven hours, breakfast for those who fucking arrived the night before.

    upload_2021-10-8_22-49-15.png

    Melissa and I ate at one of the Egg and I locations in May and I used it as recon for a poker trip meal. In that trip I had the butterscotchie chip pancakes and I've been dreaming of them for the past five months. So what did I order?

    upload_2021-10-8_22-53-51.png
    Right. The Chili Burger. Don't @ me.

    (Side note regarding meal photos for the rest of this report. Phil and I are foodies. I don't like eggs, turkey, ketchup, mushrooms or olives. Or organ meats. Tripe, too, for that matter [though I guess that is an organ meat]. I do like Foie Gras [which is an organ meat, too... I guess you can skip the part about organ meats]. Point is that unless it contains one of the no-no foods, I'll try anything. Phil doesn't even limit himself. If it is edible, he tries it. Pat and Pete, however? Food is sustenance and frankly not worth spending a lot of money on. Therefore, their food is boring and not worth photographing.)

    Phil had the Blackened Prime Rib Benny.

    upload_2021-10-9_0-29-58.png
    He said it was "good, not wow". He is a hard-to-please Foodie.

    12:00 PM - Seated at the first poker tournament of the trip at the Sahara .

    upload_2021-10-9_0-1-3.png

    We didn't know what to expect at the Sahara. It is a relatively new poker room with only seven tables. But they had one of the few sets of tournaments with entries under $100 as there are now only 19 poker rooms in Las Vegas and most of those with tournaments raised their entry fees with the WSOP in town. But once we got started, we were happy to see the turnout.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-2-58.png

    Sahara 12:05 PM Friday tournament - 21 entries at $60 each (add-ons available). Start with 10K chips.

    Fourth hand with blinds 100/100, with red JJ. Two spades 269 on flop. Called 600. Turn blank, called 1200. River Js, raised from 2500 to 5000, guy had two spades. It was going to be one of those kinds of trips.

    Re-bought for $40. Card dead through L3, but with 8500, had AJ and raised to 1000, then called 3-bet to 3000. Flop 22J, he shoved, I folded. I was already $100 in and he screamed that he had a 2 or JJ.

    Couple hands later I had black KK, bet 1000 with three callers. Flop 663. Same guy as before bet 3000, I shoved last my 4500, he called then said "I misread the board" and showed 45. I dodged the seven for a huge triple-up.

    At the end of registration, everyone still alive can (and does) add on another $40 for 10K more chips... I'm now $140 into a $60 tournament.

    First hand post-break had AA that held for a nice pot.

    After a few rings of being card-dead, I had AQ, and with an A on the flop, one opponent bet big. His betting pattern didn't suggest he had AK. I was right... he had flopped two pair holding A6. I am relegated to Slot World in 11th place.​

    4:30 PM - I am actually holding my own nicely on the slots and manage to level up my tier status at Sahara to the Premier Level. No idea what that means except that they brought a blue card to me, but whatever. Pat finally finishes on the bubble in 5th place, and each of the other players give up $20 each so that he gets $80 for his 4-1/2 hours of work. I won more than him on the Dragon Links, though.

    5:00 PM - Phil decides that we're hungry, and as a group we decide that we don't need to check into our hotels unless there is time before the evening tournament.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-28-2.png

    5:30 PM - I had always wanted to try the Pork Belly Bahn Mi at the Art's District Kitchen (located inside the brewery). But I had waited too long as its no longer on the menu. So I started with a beer.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-30-30.png

    Can't complain about the selection. I started with the #9 Honey Dip Porter... meh, not worth $8. Then I tried the #18 Calutron Girl Hefe for $4 (all of the beer with orange numbers are $4 for Happy Hour) which I liked much better.

    So what did Phil and I have? Thought you'd never ask...

    upload_2021-10-8_23-32-41.png
    Pork Belly Tacos. The best thing we tried.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-33-19.png
    Steak Kimchee Tacos. Had we not tried the Pork Belly Tacos, this would have been the best thing we tried.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-47-34.png
    Tika Masala Fries. They were very good. Not $13 good, but they were lovely nonetheless.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-35-49.png
    Pete didn't actually have the pager, but he may as well have once I saw the hockey puck of a burger that he ordered.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-36-52.png
    From left... Your hero, Pat, Phil and Pete.

    6:30 PM - Time to quickly head downtown to check in before heading to the next poker tournament. I get my room at the California, drop off my bags, then head towards the valet when I see Phil playing an old 3-reel dollar slot. I figure two can play that game, so I slid in $20, downloaded my $40 in free play, and on my last "free" spin, I really pissed him off.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-45-20.png

    Without wagering a penny of my own money, I was $800 up as we left to head to the next game.

    7:00 PM - We arrive at the Westgate and immediately am awestruck by what they've done to the SuperBook.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-46-0.png
    That is insanely gorgeous.

    We sign up for the poker tournament, but they are short of dealers so they only have two tables and have all three of us on the alternate list. They finally get to me around 7:40 PM.

    upload_2021-10-8_23-49-54.png

    Westgate 7:00 PM Friday tournament - 32 entries at $75 each. Start with 10K chips.

    Nothing of note thru 8:30 (about an hour since I started). The blind structure isn't too onerous, but the game had been going on for over 90 minutes and I am noticing my stack get shorter and shorter.

    One of the problems with cheap tournaments is that some people use them like a lottery. There was one of those guys two seats to the left of me.

    I have KK and shoved. Mr. Lotto called my 6500 all in pre-flop with Q8 which held, putting me at 13900.

    Two hands later he shoved blind with J5 to someone else and walked away He had missed his lottery hit and gave up for the night.

    A little while later in the big blind with 8-10, flop is 8J8, One guy bets big, I raise all-in, he calls, and with a J on the turn, his JJJ88 beats my 888JJ and I am relegated to the casino floor.
    9:30 PM - Although I love playing craps, I choose to only afford a $10 game. Unfortunately my local removed all table games (blaming COVID, natch) so I don't get to play much. However flush with cash from the slot hit, I buy into the $15 game and manage to play for almost two hours until all the guys find me. Pat had cashed for $211, making him 2-for-2. One day in, Scott is winning both bets.

    11:00 PM - Exhausted by an early start to the day, I get to my room and collapse. I consider going back down to gamble, but I had played enough at Sahara and Westgate, so I was happy to call it an early night.

    Evening came and morning followed, the First day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  2. Valgal

    Valgal VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    4,641
    Location:
    Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Always love your trip reports. Funny your friends one upping you getting to Vegas 12 hours before you. :D
     
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  3. clr

    clr Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Very entertaining! awaiting more
     
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  4. Wallew

    Wallew VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Nice super detailed report. Cant wait for the next update.
     
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  5. booker

    booker VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Coast of Washington State
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    75
    What @Valgal said. Some day I hope to meet your crew at a poker tournament.
     
    Tentative for WSOP & Super Senior event
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  6. Tarstarkas

    Tarstarkas High-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    Messages:
    625
    Location:
    moved to Maine
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    17
    Nice re.port
     
    Wsop...here I come
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  7. KKB

    KKB VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
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    USA
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    Loving it so far--can't wait for the rest!
     
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  8. Johnzimbo

    Johnzimbo VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Messages:
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    Location:
    DFW
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    Hope the foot issue didn't flare up and hope your poker luck got better. Looking forward to the rest.
     
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  9. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Saturday, October 2 at 7:00 AM - I knew of so many people that were in (or en route) to Vegas that I was trying to carve out some meet-up time. Independently, pod-casters Tim Dressen (Five Hundy by Midnight), Timothy Lawson (The Bettor Life), Julian Romero (Vegas Confessions) and Mark DeVol (You Can Bet on That) were ALL in Vegas at the same time. In addition, the manager of the bowling alley where I bowl on Monday nights and another Tim (who as stated above had been part of our group during Super Bowl weekend) were also there. Finally, Brian Christopher and many, many VMBers were all in town. Even Ty was staying in the same hotel on the exact same dates as I was.

    Since we're playing the $2 betting game... how many people in the collective listed above did I actually meet up with?

    7:45 AM - Good morning, Las Vegas!

    upload_2021-10-9_21-50-49.png

    Curious how hard it is to get a window washer crew now and again. The California has dreadfully dirty windows, and since I usually ask for an east-facing room, most morning photos are for shit. I've since been informed that dirty windows are a "thing" in Vegas. C'mon, Vegas... we request (and in some cases) pay for a room with the view. Would making the view something we can see and enjoy be so hard? I know that y'alls claim never-ending poverty, but you guys gotta spend your money on something.

    8:00 AM - Gotta start with a good breakfast, so we head into Jamms.

    upload_2021-10-9_21-55-44.png

    When I came here with my beautiful bride in May, I marveled at the French Toast Sticks on the menu and made a point to return with the poker boys. Unlike the non-butterscotchie-chip pancakes that I had the previous day at Egg and I, I ordered and got what I came for.

    upload_2021-10-9_22-1-25.png

    Phil had a chicken waffle BLT that he forgot to photograph, but that he wasn't really impressed with. Everyone else enjoyed their breakfast (this might be a Do-It-Againer if there would be more poker around here) and we left and headed south to the first game of the day.

    10:00 AM - We had gotten to South Point with enough time to get a little gambling in, so I sat down at a 3-play VP machine. I don't get the fascination with multi-play games... you get dealt K-9-3-2-8, hold the K, and hope one of the three lines drops another K so that you only lose 1/3 of your bet. I am all for pissing money away in large quantities in a casino, but this seems quite a daft way to do it. In the course of about 10 minutes, I got two sets of quads, and ultimately cashed out even. I can see why casinos like this game.

    upload_2021-10-9_22-16-44.png

    South Point 10:00 AM Saturday tournament. 130 entries at $130 entry. Start with 15000 stack.

    This used to be a $60 tournament, but as stated above, the cost of poker has gone up and we chose to invest on this game. If the cards go well, this could be a very long game.

    Third hand I was dealt AsJs, flop had A, there was a J on turn, and completed the nut flush on the river. Guy was betting into me, I won just under 3000.

    Still Level 1, dealt pocket AA, flop KJ4 with two clubs, turn was a third club, I bet 2500, all folded. Next hand with KJ on the button limped pot, flopped Broadway. Bet 300, all folded (which really sucked).

    Level 2, I lost a little too much with AJ with an A on the board to a AK. Still over starting stack.

    Level 3, dealt Kc7c in small blind, called small raise to 500. Flop K75, checked around. Turn K, bet 1000, two callers. After river bet 2500 one caller. Now at 21500. Getting hands, but not a lot of big pots... that could mean that the level of poker is better, as there are less "poor" players chasing hands.

    Dealt 77, flopped a set. Called a 2700 all in, one other caller. Board ran out, the other caller went runner-runner double belly buster straight, costing me another 6000. Down to 10000 (remember that run out in a couple of days).

    The blinds didn't increase too drastically, but when you suddenly don't get any playable cards and your stack is dwindling, it can be rough. So in the middle of Level 6 and hemorrhaging blinds, I was dealt AJ off-suit in the small blind. Someone raised to 2000, I shoved for my last 6200. He called and showed A5 off. I hit a J, up to 14500... Almost starting stack.

    Shortly after, I was in a limped pot with As5s against big blind. Flop A24 with two spades. I bet 2000, he called. Blank turn, 2 on River. I called 3000 bet, he had K2 off for trips... Why did he call 2000 with a pair of 2s after the flop? What did I say about the level of player? Fuck that thought. Seat 1 players are killing me. Back down to 8000.

    In Level 7 (about 2-1/2 hours in) and in small blind, shoved for my last 7500 with 99 against A9 and it held. Up to 17000 (only 17 big blinds) remaining.

    Level 8 contained the hit I needed. On the button, I shoved 18200 with AcJc, top stack called with KQoff. Flopped three clubs. In addition to negotiating the blind structure, large, multi-table tournaments are had to get through... when a couple of people drop out from your table, they might move a player from one table to yours... and he may have a big stack of chips. Or worse; you have your table read and they move you. Bottom line is that you can't coast in a large tournament with a large buy-in. The chips I won in this hand won't make a dent... need to still press my good openers.

    Near the end of level - with just under 30000, I am dealt KK and put all the chips in the middle, called by a player with QQ. Since this is the last entry for this tournament, you know how it ended. The flop had a Q
    1:30 PM - Neither Phil nor I am hungry, but we decide to have some pity sushi. I was crushed that I made the exact right move with the KK at the right time against the right opponent and the cards failed me. I was consoling myself that I played some very solid poker. I may have been a wee-bit conservative at a couple of points, but in over three hours I made no moves that I would come to regret. Phil wasn't quite so introspective, he was just tired of losing everything he played.

    upload_2021-10-9_22-35-39.png

    Two guys talking poker... I guess its understandable that I missed a pic...

    upload_2021-10-9_22-36-16.png

    That had been the Lucky Rolls, Harmony and Seafood Gyoza... all Happy Hour pricing. Now, before I go on, a bit about Zenshin's "Happy Hour". It runs from Open to 6:00 PM, and again from 8:00 PM to close. In other words, that's their regular pricing that they jack up for the dinner period.

    4:00 PM - In a rare instance, we all decided to stay and gamble at South Point before heading to our next tournament. Although Pete was well ensconced in a cash poker game, Pat is not a gambler (nor eater) and is well out of place in a casino. But he and Phil played Face Up Pai Gow poker while I bounced between VP and slots.

    upload_2021-10-9_22-42-26.png
    Apparently, Phil had room for dessert.

    5:00 PM - I had been playing Pai Gow with Pat when Phil came around and said that he was ready to go. I had been down, and asked for a few more hands to catch up (but I'm no degenerate, right?) I few hands later I am dealt a full house WITH a pair, winning the hand and a bit from the progressive and the Fortune Bonus. I was still down $20 for the session, but I didn't want to give that back so I colored-up.

    5:15 PM - But walking to the cashier, I came across an empty $10 craps table. I stopped and told Phil that I was going to get caught up the rest of the way. I made my pass line bet, established a point, and made a couple place bets.

    5:16:30 PM - I resume my walk to the cashier, down more than that full house caught me up. Drat.

    6:00 PM - The closest I got to the Strip all weekend was when Pete asked to be dropped off at Resorts World to play in their new poker room and then play tourist. It was on the way to our next tournament, so we obliged him.

    7:00 PM - Back at the Sahara for a second crack at that apple (I told you the pickin's were slim in the price range we prefer).

    upload_2021-10-9_22-52-12.png
    Let's play poker!

    Sahara 7:00 PM Saturday tournament - 24 entries at $60 each (add-ons available). Start with 10K chips.

    Completely card dead for four levels. Phil is two seats to my left and has the same misfortune. It is so bad that my chip stack is still in pretty good shape.

    First hand after break in Level 5 and on the button I'm dealt A4 off, Phil raised and I called heads up. Flop 44K. Phil bet 1600 and I called. Turn A. I bet, Phil folded. First real hand of the night for me.

    Two hands later KK, raised to 2000 with two callers. Flop nothing. Bet 3500, one caller. Turn put a flush draw and straight draw on the board, I had to shove as I didn't want to see either hit and it worked as I raked the pot.

    Suddenly I am up to 29500 (which is three times the starting stack). Dealt AK off in the cut off, raised to 1500 with only the chip leader calling. Flop all undercards, I bet 3000 and he called. Turn blank, bluffed 5000 at it and he folded. OK, maybe not a bluff... let's call it a Positional Raise.

    Took out same guy with nut flush a few hands later, up to 40000 chips and down to 11 players.

    Into L9 with two tables of 5, the blinds move so fast... Pat, Phil and I are three of the five at our table. We're certainly not colluding or anything, but nobody wants to be the one to drop out and be the one to combine the tables. I am down to 32000 at the second break, but I am on to something... My tournament started so slowly that I didn't play a lot of cards, and the cards I did play were winners... I developed a rep at the Final Table.

    Then things start to move fast 99 double up against chip leaders 77. Now up to 61000 and suddenly A-10 becomes my favorite hand.

    With A-10 off-suit, I shove and am called only by 10-10, I get a miracle river A to double up, now 110000.

    In Level 12 with A-10 suited, I shove in the small blind and called by JJ in the big blind. I say "oops" just long enough to see an A in the window, I hold on to knock that player out and am now at 145000.

    The tournament pays 4 players, and the table discusses taking $20 off of each prize to pay to fifth place. Four agree, one doesn't, so there is no bubble prize.

    A few hands later, Phil is knocked out in 5th place.

    In Level 13, I once again shove with A-10, called by 88, and a miraculous second-suck-out A on the river (against that same guy as the first river A) knocks him out.

    I get to heads-up against the guy who didn't want to pay a bubble and ask if he wants to chop. He says, no... to play it out. Kinda pissed me off, frankly. I know that chops are by no means assured and that some people have advantages heads-up that they want to exploit. But we were creeping up on four hours and I grunted something like "Fine, let's play". I decided that I was going to drag this as long as possible... even if I lose, I wanted to make this last forever.

    Third hand heads up, though, I am dealt K8 off in big blind, opponent raises and I call. Flop J88. He bets, I shove, he shows AQ. He gets a Q on the turn but I dodge the river for the $705 win.

    upload_2021-10-9_23-10-0.png

    10:45 PM - Fuck that guy. He can take his $455 and piss off.

    On one of the breaks, we discussed going to Pizza Rock for a late dinner, so we'd told Pete to get to Sahara and we'd go over together. Pete arrives just about the time I complete my Holy pictures. We get to the car and Phil checks the website and sees that Pizza Rock closes at Midnight (on a Saturday night in downtown Vegas? Really?) so I book it downtown.

    11:15 PM - The car is parked at the Cal and we start race-walking to Pizza Rock. We arrive and they turn us away as they've shut the kitchen down already. Flummoxed, we make the choice of two... Chicago Brewing at 4 Queens (with no idea if they are open) or Evel Pie which we are certain to be open.

    11:40 PM - The bouncer of Evel Pie made us put a mask on to get past him, even though we were going to stand in the courtyard. As soon as we're past him, we took them off. I get the mask mandate, really. But outside? Nah.

    I had been to Evel Pie once and grabbed a slice and wasn't impressed. It seemed small with not a lot of toppings, and it dried out when they put it in the oven to reheat it.

    upload_2021-10-9_23-22-47.png
    A pretty shitty picture... but what the fuck do I care? I win!!!!

    I also get the bill.

    upload_2021-10-9_23-24-36.png

    The full, freshly baked pie was AWESOME (if not a little greasy, which is also AWESOME!) I don't care if they don't like it... when they win and they pay the bill, then they can have an opinion.

    Oh, by the way, they liked it.

    Sunday, October 3 at 12:30 AM - One guy didn't have his second piece of pizza, so we got that slice in a go-box and Phil was going to put it in the room for if he got hungry. Instead, he recalled a few homeless sleeping on the sidewalk as we walked towards Evel Pie and said that he was sure the homeless would appreciate a reasonably warm slice.

    We retraced our steps. Some of the homeless were gone, and one guy was eating a cheeseburger and fries. Phil had missed his chance to make a difference, so Pat took it to their room and got it in the fridge.

    1:00 AM - I had mentioned to the guys earlier that I really owed some play to Boyd to pay for my comped room at the California, but I was really beat by this time. The adrenaline had crashed, my belly was full... I wanted to get to the room, brag to Facebook and catch up on Twitter. Instead, Phil tells me to sit down and play blackjack. A very fast $100 lost, and I beg off and head to my room.

    Evening came and morning followed, the Second day.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  10. Johnny Bollocks

    Johnny Bollocks Never mind the Bollocks...

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    Really enjoying this TR. You don't see too many poker-centric reports and the detail makes it a fun read. Congrats on the win!
     
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  11. booker

    booker VIP Whale

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    Really enjoy your TRs. Excellent formatting and poker information. And as for the the guy who wouldn't chop, very well done.
     
    Tentative for WSOP & Super Senior event
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  12. Wallew

    Wallew VIP Whale

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    Congrats on the tournament win!
     
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  13. Johnzimbo

    Johnzimbo VIP Whale

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    What did the pai gow full house with a pair pay? I have no clue...
     
  14. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    The hand was $20 (dealer had a pair up top), then 5:1 on the Fortune Bonus for $25 and 4 for 1 on the progressive for a whole $4. Made $49 on that hand.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
  15. NPLV

    NPLV VIP Whale

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    Love the poker tournament action!
     
    An NPLV Family Thanksgiving!
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  16. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    Sunday, October 3 at 5:28 AM - I gotta piss again. It is really starting to bother me... I don't have any health problems in that department, but I didn't bring my CPAP and maybe I am non-breathing myself awake? I didn't really have that much to drink. Regardless, I don't wake up in the middle of the night at home, but this is my third up in three-plus hours, and I am really, really tired. And of course, the more it happens, the more frustrated I get and the harder it is to fall back asleep.

    7:08 AM - Up again (made it almost 90 minutes this time). This time I text the group and say that 8:00 is not going to happen, and that we should all find our own breakfast and meet up to leave around 9:00 AM.

    8:00 AM - Except I can't get back to sleep this time, so I decide to get coffee and a donut from Lappert (where a donut is no longer free with the coffee) and I try to relax with some VP on the mezzanine.

    upload_2021-10-10_21-55-9.png
    When in Rome...

    8:45 AM - Pat finds me (I am not sure how... I am really pretty hidden up there) and we decide to run over to Circa to make some sports bets. As we leave the California, Pete sees us and tags along.

    upload_2021-10-10_21-56-32.png
    Gotta pay homage... though none of the current group ever went into Girls of Glitter Gulch.

    9:05 AM - Bets placed, and we find Phil to head out. As I leave the valet, Phil says that he hasn't eaten, and could we stop at the Donut Bar for breakfast.

    upload_2021-10-10_21-58-12.png
    Clockwise from top left... Pete's Birthday Cake donut, my PB & J, Phil's Maple Bacon donut and Pat... well, Pat had a chocolate long john.

    9:30 AM - They were great as usual, except I had a minor issue with my donut. I had expected PB & J in each bite, but the first 3/4 was just the PB, which made it sticky and tough to eat as my coffee was too hot to drink. As I was trying to do a Chicago Sweep (cross from the Charleston on-ramp across six lanes to the HOV lane at 75 MPH) an entire blotch of raspberry plopped out at once. Thankfully, it plopped onto the back of my hand instead of my Packers jersey. I was able to salvage the raspberry jelly AND a jersey... one of the bigger wins of the trip.

    10:00 AM - Tim (from previous Super Bowl trips) meets up with us at South Point for the first time on the trip as Pat and I are in line to enter the poker tournament. He says that he'll be joining us for most of the day, but I have to talk him into playing poker. He's played our home games a few times, and in playing with him, he's not much of a poker player. Tim said that even if he can last an hour, its still cheaper than what it might cost at slots for an hour.

    South Point 10:00 AM Sunday tournament - 24 entries at $60 each. Start with 10K chips.

    Never raked a pot... Didn't really play many, either. I don't think that I was still basking in the win the night before, but I never got anything going.

    Level 2, dealt AKoff, bet and was heads up with Cowboy, the guy who seems to have won every pot. Flop AQJ, I end up calling 5000 in bets, he showed QJ. Sigh.

    Level 3, 10-10, went all in for last 2400. Two others also went all in... 88 and 55. Called by a guy with A3 spades. If I win this, I am back above starting stack. Instead, I survive the first four cards as the rivered a spade to take us all out. I made it about 45 minutes or so, so there's that...
    10:45 AM - I wandered around South Point semi-aimlessly. I've got wads of cash so I can gamble, but I actually settle into a VP machine near the sports book so that I can keep an eye on some of the games.

    12:30 PM - None of us did particularly well in the tournament... except Tim. Phil and I are ready to go get everybody to watch the Packers game and I gather Pat as he busts, and grab Pete from the cash game. We check in on Tim and he has mounds of chips... looks like he'll be driving himself.

    upload_2021-10-10_22-22-24.png
    If you follow these poker trips, you know we're watching the Packers from here.

    1:00 PM - We walk in and the place is packed... nowhere obvious to sit. I find a rail along the wall and feel defeated about having to stand for four hours.

    upload_2021-10-10_22-24-54.png

    Meanwhile, Pat makes some fast friends and before we know it...

    upload_2021-10-10_22-25-28.png

    1:45 PM - Although the Packers/Steelers started at 1:25, apparently Rum Runner no longer subscribes to the Sunday Ticket as we had to wait for the Jets/Titans overtime game to end before the local station flips over to the Packers. That actually suits me fine, as I had a hunch and made a money line bet on the Jets at +206. It seemed to be a dumb bet when I made it, but it made my day once the Jets scored and made me a winner. If I only knew what was to come.

    3:00 PM - Not shown, the mediocre wings and fried bratwurst bites that we all shared. Being that we weren't impressed, Pat and I each bought TWO of the halftime bratwursts with potato salad. Tim shows up at halftime... he had cashed at South Point in 14th place for about $120. So much for not being much of a poker player.

    3:30 PM - Also not shown, the second helping of potato salad that I just couldn't force down. I was highly uncomfortable sitting on that barstool in a food coma.

    5:00 PM - The Packers cruise to a win, and we discuss playing either at Sahara again (for a $60 tournament that can cost up to $140) or the Golden Nugget for $120, but we'd be close to bed for those who drop out. I was highly surprised when I lost the vote. But because we're headed downtown, I can catch a nap.

    6:50 PM - Precious, precious Vegas Nap. So very underrated. Amazing what about 80 minutes of sleep can do. I feel great!

    7:10 PM - I catch up with Pat, who is also post Vegas Nap and we make our way to the poker room from memory. We check in and they say that the Grand Tournament Series is being held in the Grand ballroom. Takes us 5-10 minutes to get there, but enough people sign up at once that they start a new table with all of us in that block.

    upload_2021-10-10_22-37-37.png

    While it is pretty cool to be in a large ballroom playing cards with many, many tables going (there were three other tournaments still in progress), it had all the ambiance of, well, a hotel ballroom. It was all sort of cheap... poker table tops attached to banquet tables and those horrible mass-produced banquet chairs. But I'm paid, so let's play cards.

    Golden Nugget Grand Tournament Series 7:00 PM Sunday "Event 13" - 101 entries at $120 each. Start with 12K chips

    By the time the new table was set-up, we started at the beginning of Level 2, early on dealt red 5s, raised with four callers. Flop QsJs5c, bet 700, called a raise to 2500, the others folded. Turn 7s, check check. River blank. I Bet 2500, he folded. Quickly up to 16700.

    Last hand of Level 2, dealt AsKs, raised to 600, with three callers. A on the flop, I bet 1200, with one caller. Third diamond on the turn, I bet 3500, he called. Worried he might have a flush, check check the river. He had AJ, I am up to 27000... I doubled my chip stack in 20 minutes. Sooner than I would have expected, they break up our table and I am assigned to a table that will really test my mettle.

    One guy is a pro who said that he has been on three PokerGo final tables, and twice has been on a table featured by ESPN in the WSOP Main Event qualifying. Damned if I remember his name, though. But people certainly knew him and he had this uncanny knack for really knowing his opponents cards. Oh... did I mention that he was on my immediate left? There was also another lady that clearly knew what she was doing. Nobody seemed to know her, but every move she made seemed to work... whether it was an overbet or a fold in a tough spot. She won all showdowns that I saw.

    Level 5 (blinds 200/400 with 400 BB ante), lady superstar raised my pre-flop bet to 3400, I called this bet that was 8+ times the big blind with AsQc. Unders on the flop, check check. J on the turn, I stabbed with a 5000 bet (about half pot), she called. I was embarrassed. I'd started so well and told myself to stay away from the real players, and here I am donating 8400 to her. River blank, check check. I showed my A-high, she mucked. Maybe she really isn't that good, or maybe I was too stupid to not respect her. Anyhoo, I took a huge pot and now sit at 39100. Ultimately that table broke up and I was seated at a table in which I was the clear chip leader.

    Unfortunately I was card dead at that table. In Level 9, I made dumb call of someone's all in with A9off, board ran out to Broadway for a chop, my stack is now 52000.

    Near the end of Level 9 (600/1200/BB 1200), I tried a bluff of 10000 with Ks9d, and was called. I miracle rivered a flush. The very next hand I had AK, raised pre-flop and took a walk. Now 72000.

    Level 10 in big blind, called an all in, my AcTc vs 99. Got 10 on the turn. Now 125000.

    Level 13 (1500/3000/BB 3000). We'd been playing 4-1/2 hours and were getting close to Low to Cash (paid 14 spots). I called all in with 10-10 and he showed KK. I lost a lot, down to 64500. I was close to the chip lead (maybe had it) at the table, I should have just let it go. Sure, he might have had KQ suited or something, but I shouldn't have taken that chance.

    Two hands later, I proved how very much of an amateur I was. Tilting from that previous hand, I was heads up with one player with 66, the flop was 34A. I shoved, called by AQ. Now I admit to tilting, but my thought process was that if the other player doesn't have an A (or has A with a bad kicker) no way he can call. I was representing a strong A, I thought. It never occurred to me, though, that he might actually HAVE an A. However, the turn was a 7 and the river a 5 for an unbelievable double-belly-buster-straight draw (I told you to remember that from Friday's post). The table gasps, I turn bright red from stealing his chips, the vanquished foe walks away, and my stack is back to 12700.

    I vow to never, ever do anything that stupid again and fold my way to a cash.

    Level 16 in small blind (3000/6000/BB 6000), I limped with 25. Flop Q58. Four players, checks around. Turn 5. I shoved, she called with AQ, then grumbled and walked to the casher. Know who "she" was? The lady superstar from the Level 5 story. I guess I have her number. Now 150000.

    It was past 1:00 AM (we had been playing for six hours) and had started discussing a chop. One guy said "no" to an ICM chop, another said "no" to an even chop of about $875 per person. So we continue on.

    Level 17, a guy bet 20000, I shoved with AhJh... the 20000 bet wasn't too big, but I didn't want him in the hand. Instead, he called with 10-10, I got a J on flop and almost knocked him out. I was now at 289000 and way, way the chip leader. Oh, and that guy with 10-10? He is the brother of the guy who broke my 10-10 with KK. The KK brother got quite a laugh at it.

    However, before another card was played, the discussion of a chop came back. As chip leader, said that I wanted the most money. Second place guy (the KK brother) said the same. Spots 3-9 mostly agreed to that and to chop the balance.
    upload_2021-10-10_23-13-38.png
    I got my $1000! Never had touched a Banana before. Kinda disappointed that it was a dirty white and grey.

    upload_2021-10-10_23-15-1.png
    I do love taking Holy pictures!

    Monday, October 4 at 1:30 AM - The KK brother was given $900, the rest took $850. However, one lady was happy for the money, but she wanted 1st place designation for her Hendon Mob page (the Hendon Mob is a database for career winnings and stats of pro players). I was in it for the money, so I guess I didn't mind if I won the title or not, but the Tournament Director said that the complete standings needed to be submitted, and that they can't alter the amount of money on the form just to give her a faux title. She had to settle for 3rd place... and she wasn't happy.

    upload_2021-10-10_23-18-49.png
    I'll let you figure out which bitch bitched about "only" third place, and allow you to decide of any of her other first place finishes are legit.

    But wait... if SHE was concerned about her place on the Hendon Mob... then just maybe... could it be?

    upload_2021-10-10_23-22-0.png
    Why yes I am!!!! I am also ranked 1559th on Wisconsin's all-time money list but somehow only the 675,720th most popular player.

    I am gonna need all of your help to move up the popularity rankings.

    As the tournament was going on, I was in regular contact with Tim Lawson and Mark DuVol for a craps or Pai Gow game. Unfortunately Mark was leaving too early on Monday morning and Tim begged off to bed. We tried to discuss a meeting on Monday, but our schedules were not going to mesh.

    2:00 AM - The tournament finalists all head across the building to the cashier, and the two brothers (the 10-10 and the KK) discuss the tournament with me. They said that they are semi-pros and could tell I was an amateur, but a really good one. It was nice praise, but I had the $1000 chip and they didn't. Once we got through the cashier line, they went to the bar outside the poker room and ordered a bottle of champagne and asked me to join them to toast a 1st, 2nd and 8th place finish. If all poker players were less hoodie-and-robotic-math-skill-automatons and more like these guys, lowish stakes poker wouldn't be fading away.

    2:45 AM - The down side of a late, late game is that my crew was long in bed. I had nobody to share it with. I got back to my room and posted to Facebook and Twitter and sent some texts to my wife, but I had some pent-up energy to release. Even the damn hookers on Fremont St were already done for the night. I tossed and turned for awhile, basking in the victory and replaying hands. I will never forget that 5 on the river.

    Evening came and morning followed, the Third day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  17. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc High-Roller

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    Man City? Really?
     
  18. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    I like powder blue and Yaya Toure.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  19. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    And I get chilly easily in casinos.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
  20. Gmoney10

    Gmoney10 Low-Roller

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    Congrats on your win and title! Cool that you can look yourself up on Henden Mob rankings! Nice to meet you at the Cal. Enjoying this trip report!
     
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