Monte Carlo June 16-19th Day 2 Day 2 (Sunday) When we last left our hero, he was finally drifting into a blessed state of unconsciousness after what was literally the longest day of his life (26 hours). Our plan for the morning was based loosely around the fact that I wanted to play the poker tournament at TI @ 11am, so a late morning buffet was probably out. We had agreed to meet at Harrah's and head over to the Denny's @ casino Royale, with the thought that such would be an ok, and hopefully fast breakfast. Kevin and I got up at 8am, got ready and headed over to the monorail stop at MGM, and went down to Harrah's to meet the others at the party pit. We sauntered over to Denny's around 9:30 or so and were shocked to discover that it had a huge line, and from the looks of things a slower one than a buffet line. When did Denny's become so popular? We give brief consideration to McDonald's, and we check out the Cafe at Harrah's, but once we find that breakfast there will cost the same as buffet plus coupon, no one wants to eat there and its back to the Harrah's buffet. We acquire some more coupons and get in just before the 10am price bump for Champagne Brunch. We have a brief conversation as to whether our server will check our receipts if we ask for "champagne". But I don't feel like drinking at the moment, and no one wants to get charged extra for their plonk, so we just stuff our faces like good little proles without trying to get one over on Harrah's. At 10:30, we part ways and I head towards TI. The plan is that while I play the tournament, Dave and his wife and Kevin's parents will check out of Harrah's and head over to the Monte Carlo, and pick up show tickets for Mamma Mia at the coke bottle. If they can't check in early, they'll leave their stuff in our room. I have my cell phone with me so that I can call Kevin and check in when I'm done with the tournament. I hadn't planned to use the phone on the trip because picking up US service through my canadian carrier will cost a bundle, but we decide its the easiest, most direct way. Of course, since I hadn't been planning to use it on the trip, the batteries were pretty low, so I didn't even have it on when I wasn't using it (important foreshadow, but not for the reason you think). I buy in for the tournament and take my seat. The tournament has a $60 buy-in and allows late entries and rebuys for the first hour, after which those still in the tournament can pay $5 for an additional 1000 chips (players start with 2000). The blinds go up every 20 minutes. This tournament would end up with 39 players. I start the tournament off playing very tight. Of course, this is pretty easy to do when you aren't getting the cards, but I was planning on playing that way to start anyway. I start trying to get a read on the style of the others at the table. I decide pretty early that there are two people I'm worried about, and that I am delighted that they are both directly to my right. They are both playing with a familiarity and comfort level that you can tell they know what they are doing. I am also keeping an eye on the lady in seat 1 (I was seat 6). She doesn't seem as good at the other two, but is showing good aggression and getting paid off for it. I'm not sure if I even saw a hand past the flop on the first blind level. On the second blind level I take down a couple decent pots with a pair, and then bluffing with a continuation bet on the flop. Then I get to witness one of the worst beats I have ever seen. Small pre-flop raise is called, flop comes Q-3-2 rainbow. A big bet is called. Turn is Q. Both players end up all-in. The guy has 2-2 and the lady has 3-3. And on the river? The case 2 to knock the lady out. She rebuys and rejoins our table a short time later. Shortly thereafter I limp in with 5-6 suited in late position with 2-3 limpers ahead of me, and a 5 and six come on the flop. I bet it and get one caller. The turn gives me my full house and I put the lady all-in. She calls and is drawing dead with only a medium pair. I think that went well. We are down to 2 tables now and losing players quickly, and my stack is starting to slide below the average. I catch an A-x suited and raise in late position. The lady in seat one had tried to limp in early position and called my raise. The flop comes with a flush draw for me and no particularly high cards. I lead out and try to steal and she raises me enough to put me all in. I do the math and the pot odds and the odds on my hitting the nuts are just about in line, but I am still tempted to muck. I hate to put my tournament on the line for a draw. Then I start to replay the hand in my head, thinking what she could have hit, and about her limp in. I also think about my style and how often I've been continuation betting a flop. I decide that there is an excellent chance she's just trying to steal it from me on a bluff, assuming I held two high cards and missed the flop. After much deliberation I decide to call, and sure enough she has nothing more than King high. I double up and am now in excellent chip position. She takes a decent pot off me a few hands later, and my chips are back down to earth. When its almost time to go to one table, a person in early position limps to my big blind and I check with 2-4 offsuit. The flop comes K-x-2. I lead out trying to steal and he flat calls. Then the turn hits a 4 and I am perfectly poised to put a hurting on him. I check it, and it has to look like I was trying to steal and am waiting to be bought out. He bets, I raise him all-in, he calls and finds that his Kings are counterfeited. We get down to one table and I am a pretty large stack, and my plan is to be conservative and let the short stacks go out, but very aggressive with my quality hands. Then I get 7-7 in middle position and play it all wrong. I limp, end up heads up with the big blind, and then call 3 successive bets as I though I read him on the bluff and had a decent draw. He had top pair, bad kicker, and I was now a slightly below average stack. I still cannot believe how badly I played this hand. As a result, it is now ultra-conservative time, as I wait for big stacks and blinds to force out the short-stacks and get me into the money (top 6 paid out). At various times I muck jacks and a suited ace as I wait. Players 10 and 9 are shortly dispatched and there are still a few stacks shorter than mine. The blinds are at 1000 and about to be 2000 and one of the shortstacks goes all in ahead of my big blind. He gets one caller, and while I hate to commit the chips, I have AJ suited, and he was shortstacked enough to push with any above average hand. i make the call, the high card on the flop is a Jack, and I go all-in to isolate. The other caller folds and I take down the shortstack. A few hands later, 7 and 6 go out in the same hand. The good news is I'm now in the money. The bad news is I have 4 times the big blind and am by far the short stack. So now its "go for broke, look for a good race" time. I push all in and snag the blinds 2 hands in a row, muck some crap, and survive an all in against a better ace because our kickers didnt play. Finally the big stack calls my K-8 all in with J-10 suited and a Jack comes. I am out in fifth place, good for $153. I step outside, turn on the phone and call Kevin, who says they are just about to head down to the MC pool. It is then that I discover I have a text message waiting: Hey. Are you in Vegas? I'm flying out tonight. Interesting, but I don't have call display, and while the phone # rings a bell, I can't immediately place who it is who called me. I make my way back to my room at the Monte Carlo, and sift through my phone numbers, and finally figure out that the mystery text came from Paul, a co-worker and former billiards teammate of mine. I send him a reply text to let him know that my phone will be off, and leaving him the room number so he can get in touch with me when he gets in. I head down to the pool and meet up with everyone. We stay down there for an hour or so, then go upstairs to get dressed for dinner and the show. The plan is to gamble for awhile, then have dinner and head over to Mandalay Bay for the show. I sit at a $10 blackjack table and put 200 on the table. Our dealer is a joker and asks if I want to play it. I get my chips and have a pretty up and down session. I was never up more than 20 or down more than 30, I think. The dealer is doing better when I double down with him in the hand. Of course, he still asks me if I want to double down or if I want one card. The dealers rotate tables and this guy starts using all the same lines on the next table over (which Kevin is at). I get back to even and it is about time for dinner, so I cash out. We have dinner at the Monte Carlo buffet, who were giving 2-for-1 buffet coupons with the room rate. For the most part, the food is excellent, especially the pasta station (very nice pesto). There were a few things that were not that well prepared though. The brussel sprouts were underdone and Kevin and I both found the veal picatta inedible. Then it was dessert to the rescue, as the MC has these addictive little mini eclairs that helped make up for the gaffes in the main course. Afterwards, we walk down to Excalibur and take the tram to Mandalay Bay to see Mamma Mia. The show was pretty good. Most of the singers were pretty good (I felt the one guy was really forcing it, but the ladies were excellent) and the show was suitably fun. My only criticism would be that it is pretty loud for the theatre size, and they begin the act after intermission with a blast of sound instead of damping the lights or some other subtle hint. All in all though, it was a good time, and it was nice to have a show that both generations could go to. Kevin's parents had seen it before but enjoyed it. Dave and his wife loved it. Kevin and I watched it and applauded at the end. We had caught the earlier show (which I had previously thought would be 6, but turned out to be later) with the plan of going downtown afterwards. When I had pitched the plan to Kevin, I was thinking the others wouldn't be interested, and we'd see the show as something to do together, then split up. But apparently everybody was up for a trip downtown, and so now we needed to find an effective way to get six people from the Mandalay Bay to downtown. Doesn't sound like it would be that hard, does it? Before we got out to the cab line, though, there was also rampant speculation about how expensive a cab from Mandalay to downtown would cost. They asked, and were told by the guy that it should run about $25, which they completely disbelieved. And of course, then we'd have to cab back. It was pushing 10:30 and I just wanted to get downtown. But the straw that broke the camel's back was being told we couldn't take 6 in a cab. That was it, apparently, and we were going to take the monorail down to Sahara and figure out transport from there. This wasn't exactly a flawless plan. Kevin and I had monorail passes, but the other 4 didn't. Of course they were encouraged when they saw on the monorail map when it said "Shuttle to Fremont" beside Sahara station. So we got on and rode down to the sahara, where no hint of a free shuttle was to be found anywhere. They asked in the casino and were told that the best way downtown is The Deuce. We are also told that the last FSE show is at midnight (which I was shocked to hear). So after paying for day passes on the monorail, here we are waiting for, then buying passage on the bus, and hoping it gets us there in time for the last show. We finally get downtown about 11:50pm and start wandering down the main area. We watch the light show, which was fun to see, but which I won't be going out of my way to see again, and we settle in for some gambling. I stop in at 4 Queens at a 5 dollar blackjack table. I tried signing up for a players card first but the players desk was closed. Oh well. It's blackjack and free beer time. At least that was the plan. I have some great conversations with fellow tourists, and a few beers, but finish up down $45 when Kevin (who is not playing) says that he wants to go back. The others are over at the Nugget and he can't find them, so he leaves them a voice mail and we hop the deuce back to the monte carlo. We hit the hay about 2:30 am and day 2 draws to a close. The message light in the room is not on, so I assume that Paul got in late. Final gambling tally for the day (poker + blackjack): up $40 Still to come on day 3: meeting up with Paul, the revenge of the IP, we get our drink on, and a show more suited to the young male demographic.