MB and I just returned from Vegas. It was a very successful trip with our winnings exceeding the cost of the trip. MB crushed the tournaments with 3 entries and 3 cashes. All tournies were over a $100 buyin and she dominated each one. On day 1 she entered a 27 person tourney at the Wynn, $10,000 in chips 30 minute blind structure. At midnight, exhaustion set in and she gladly accepted a chop 5 ways based on chip counts, she was 3rd at the time, although essentially tied with fourth and fifth. Day 2 she crushed the cash games at Mandalay Bay. A set and the nut flush helped. Day 3 she entered a tourney at the Venetian with 135 players and she final tabled, finishing 8th at about 2 a.m. after a 7 p.m. start. Day 4 she entered a satellite sit and go, finishing 1st out of 10 players. Wynn cash was $140 entry, $450 cash, Venetian tourney was $120 entry and $385 cash, Venetian sit'n go was $130, $570 cash. She attributes her success to listening to Rhythm of the Saints on her IPOD, same routine every tourney. Her only significant down session was a loss of $200 at a Wynn cash game when she moved all in on a AJx flop with pocket Jacks and lost to AA. Unfortunately, MB's memories of specific hands is weak at best, but with this kind of success, who cares.
My run was equally successful but with a much bigger roller coaster ride getting there. Before I get into any of my specific hands (as the brother of a real Rainman I can actually remember them), I would like to share one of the more interesting hands I have ever seen in Vegas, one that I was not involved in. We all see boneheaded plays by the novices in Vegas but this one seems to defy all logic IMO. The flop is taken with 2 or 3 limpers plus the blinds at a $1/$3 table NLHE. Flop is 3,6,7 all hearts. Checked around. Turn is a blank, checked around. River is the Jack of hearts. Blinds check early position player bets $100 into the pot of about $12. A little unorthodox but not yet a bad play. This guy is a heavy set guy maybe late 20's. Stack size is about $250 to $270. Older gentleman reraises to $200. Everyone else folds. Heavy set dude without much thought goes all in for his remaining $50 to $70 in chips. Older guy thinks for about 10 seconds then calls.
Heavy set dude tables Kx os with the King of Hearts. Older guy tables Ace,x os with the Ace of Hearts. Heavy set dude looks dejected and gives the face like how could this possibly happen to him. Older guy says I thought you might have the straight flush but I had to call.
As for my hands, I hit my first flush in a cash game in at least 2 years, capping an amazing run of cold decks with zero flushes at showdown and zero sets at showdown over about 12-15 sessions. It was a four to a flush board and a paired board and I got 2 callers on a river bet. One was the flopped flush, the second a Queen high flush. Day 1 was relatively uneventful other than breaking my cold deck streak as I broke even for the day, winning about $70 in the unbeatable NLHE and losing about $90 in limit $10/$20 PLO8.
Day 2 I played in the unbeatable $10/$20 PLO8 game with all locals, all good players. Besides hitting a cold deck and a number of second best hands, I probably chased too many gutters and runner runners, none of which seem to get there. Net loss for the session $600. I am a bit dejected but remember an email I got from Martin before the trip. Play games that are EV positive. The daytime PLO8 game at the Wynn is not one of them, so I retool my strategy for the rest of the trip to concentrate on nightime NLHE with drunk people or PLO, evenings at the Venetian.
We saw Chris Angel's I Believe Magic show that night and loved it. After the show we went over to Mandalay Bay and ran into drunk Steve, or at least Vegas version of drunk Steve. I am in seat 4 and a dude in Seat 10 just folded a big pot to an all in raise of the turn. He goes on tilt and the subsequent 5 hands he raises to $25 preflop and gets no callers each time and all limpers fold. I am down to about $80 in chips and pick up ATos, good enough for me. I limp. Drunk Steve raises to $25. Blinds fold and I shove. Table seems delighted. Flop has a T in it and my hand holds up against A5os. About 7 hands later after drunk Steve was just felted, I pick up QQ. Drunk Steve announces after his felting that he is rebuying for $300 and it is going all in. I shove all my chips in the middle, about $170, drunk Steve is in the SB. Seat 8 wakes up with a hand and asks the dealer if the all in by Drunk Steve is binding. A big controversy arises as the dealer is trying to figure out if Drunk Steve had cards when it was announced. It is finally ruled that Drunk Steve must go all in and his verbal declaration is binding. Inexplicably, seat 8 folds anyways after a 5 minute discussion. Drunk Steve goes all in and I double up again. I lose some chips later when I raise to $10 with pocket 10's and get 3 callers. Flop is 8 high, all hearts, I have the 10 of hearts, I throw out a bet of $25, everyone folds to the blind who goes all in for his last $31 as he was almost busted by Drunk Steve when his AK ran into 2,4 all in preflop on a 44xxx board. I call as I am likely priced in to runner runner boats and SB might not be there yet. He tables KQ suited in hearts. No runner runners. Net gain about $40.
PLO $2/$5at the Venetian
I sit down in the Salon at the Venetian, the cool private room in the back with glass doors and two tables. I recognize about half the players from the last time I was at the Venetian in January.
Here is the line up
Seat 1 unknown dude, who later turns out to be the only bad player at the table.
Seat 2, Massive Stack big dude, aggressive and good. At least $6,000 on the table.
Seat 3, Chris, attractive married 30 something female that I saw last time. Solid player.
Seat 4, 20 something young guy, playing about $800 in chips, must be an internet player as he only says pot.
Seat 5, loose aggressive 20 something, playing about $600 in chips.
Seat 6, Mr. ADD, I later find out he is in the Poker Stars Nova Club, which apparently means you play a boatload of hands and generate massive rake. Way more massive than me as this guy plays up to 23 tables at once, PLO, 6 handed, stakes between .50/$1 and $2/$4. Dude also has a massive wad of $100s in his pocket at least $5K.
Seat 7, another guy I recognize from January, early 30’s average stack size
Seat 8, older gentleman, well dressed, resident of Las Vegas.
Seat 9, me, playing my normal short stack as I bring in $140 in chips from a $1/2 game and put 2 $100 bills in front of me for a total of $340.
Seat 10 empty.
BTW, as this is a real action table, everyone determines that it would be way more fun if we have a mandatory straddle. We all agree so we are really playing like a $5/$10 PLO table. Almost every hand has an initial pot raiser, followed by 2-4 callers.
Table pretty quickly notices I am playing pretty nitty as I am probably playing 20-25% of the hands dealt to me, the rest of the table is about 50 to 60 percent depending on the player.
Flop is 894 rainbow. I have KT89 in the blind. I check, seat 5 pots it, he is the initial raiser so this does not mean that he really has anything. Seat 7 repots. Do I want to play for all my chips with top 2 and no redraws? I decide not. I fold. They both end up all in. Seat 5 had a run of high cards, Seat 7 a set of fours. The board double blanks and the set wins. I tell seat 5 I folded top 2 no redraws and he gives the baaack, baaack, baaack, chicken sign to the guy next to him. Whatever, I thought it was a good fold.
First big pot.
I am down $200 as I have reached into my pocket twice to pull out $100 bills. I have about $340 in front of me. I pick up an AAxx hand on the button. Seat 6 opens for a raise as he does with about 60% of the hands dealt to him. I grab a $100 bill announcing raise. The blind calls my raise in Seat 2, now an Asian dude who replaced massive stack. Mr. ADD calls and we take the flop 3 handed.
Flop is T52 with 2 spades, a pretty good flop for Aces. Blind checks, Mr. ADD checks and I bet pot, putting me all in. Asian dude in the blind calls and Mr. ADD grabs about 7 or 8 $100 bills and puts them in. Asian dude says lets do it and puts his stack in, about $1000. Mr. ADD calls. We all agree to run it twice, very common at this table.
First run goes 2,2 and I announce full house 2’s full of Aces. Mr. ADD says I know what you have as it was pretty obvious that the nitty player made his first reraise with something.
Second run, 2 random blank cards. I announce pair of Aces. The blind can only muster up KKxx with a spade draw that did not get there. Mr. ADD says I can’t beat either, I was just trying to isolate and mucks. I rake the main pot winning it on both runs. The blind takes the pretty significant side pot.
Fish in seat 1 loses his stack and is replaced by a bigger fish, the only one at the table. Fish in seat 1 makes the worst fold ever, while getting a massage. I am not in the hand but there is $20 in the pot with 4 limpers. The straddle crowd has long gone.
It is checked around to the river on a board of King clubs, Queen Spades, Queen Clubs, blank, T Clubs. Seat 1 bets $5 into a pot of $20, Seat 2 raises to $15, Seat 1 calls. Seat 2 shows KQxx for a full house. Seat 1 then goes to muck but mucks in such a way that the dealer, myself, and one other player can see his hand. The dealer says are you sure you want to muck. Seat 1 half asleep says yeah muck it. He mucked AJ3 of clubs.
Second Decent Size Pot
I have QQxx in the blind and complete on a raised pot, about 5 handed. The flop is Q78 rainbow. I check in first position, hoping to check raise. Checked around. The turn is an 8, bingo. I check as I know if I bet out everyone will fold with the possible exception of someone with an 8. Fish in seat 1 announces pot, about $90 to go. Everyone folds to me and I throw out 3 $100 bills. Seat 1 calls. River is a deuce, bad card, as it is unlikely fish boats up. I throw out 4 $100 bills and fish says, did you slow play those queens and mucks. Good read, but I am not sure why he called my turn check raise.
Win a few decent size pots and never seem to hear from MB, a good sign as she final tabled that night in the 135 person tournament. I decide I am exhausted at about 2:15 a.m. and cash out just under $1600 for a net profit of about $1050.
Day 4 at the Wynn
I sit down at a $1/$3 table with $200 chips trying to beat the unbeatable daytime game. I call a raise of $10 in the blind with A3 suited and we take the flop 3 or 4 handed. Flop is AJ3, checked to the button who makes it $20. I have 2 pair and the button is in the anti position, the I have to play a hand because I am on the button position. I check raise to $60, button folds, I win. I pick up AA in early position and raise to $17, a fairly standard raise at this table. Folded to the button who must play as she is on the button. Not only does she play but she shoves all in with her short stack about $75. I call. She loses with the AK hand and the button, a double curse.
I then pick up 77 in the cutoff. No limpers so I make it $15 to go. Big blind calls. Flop is QT7 rainbow, wow this could be the first set I can show down in the last 2 years of Vegas cash game play. Blind checks and I bet $25, he calls. Next card is the 4 of clubs putting a club draw out there. I bet $45 and the blind announces in an annoying voice “Let’s make it $100.” I recheck my cards and the board to make sure I don’t make a boneheaded play. I announce all in and the blind folds. I leave the table with $440 and have beaten the unbeatable game.
I play 2 orbits of the other unbeatable game $10/$20 Limit 08. I pick up an AA23 hand and raise. 5 callers. Flop is K68. I bet everyone calls. Turn is low card giving me nut low. I bet, 2 callers. River is a 6, I bet, 2 callers, one had a six and the other mucked when I showed my hand. I leave up $30 from this game or up $270 from play at the Wynn today.
$2/$5 PLO back at the Venetian
A new table is formed at the Venetian and I am in the first group seated. An aggressive very good player is seated to my left that I recognize from the night before as he came in and out of our game. I also have Johan to my right, who joined us last night very late. Johan plays poker for a living on line. To Johan’s right is another Sweedish player that the table refers to as team Sweeden. Fortunately, the fish is there too, seat 1 that folded the Royal Flush.
First Big Decision
I have KKxx in early position and raise. 4 callers. Flop is T52 rainbow again, another good flop for an overpair. I bet out about $60. Tricky aggressive player to my left calls as does the button. I say to the guy on my left thank you for the call. He says I am not sure I like that when I am thanked for calling. Turn is a jack and I have a jack. There are now 2 clubs on the board. Normally, I would just bet out there, but for some reason I freeze up and check. Tricky player bets pot, button folds and I decide to reluctantly fold. Tricky player says will you be mad if I show to myself and the button. We say no. He shows 776X and 2 clubs for a good semi bluff. I say nice play but why were you calling me on the flop. He said to take it away from you on the turn as I did not figure your hand had enough strength with a likely one pair. Plus, I picked up a club draw. O well, bad fold, but a good play by tricky player.
I then lose my stack shortly after to the same player. I limp with a low run and a pair and he pots to $40, 5 callers. Flop gives me bottom set. Checked to me and I bet out my remaining chips about $140 into a pot of $200+. Tricky player calls, everyone else folds. He has a pair and a gutter which gets there.
Later in the night after being down a few hundred I pick up AAQ8 in early position, no suits. 7 limpers and the BB repops to $90. I look in my money clip to make sure I have enough money for a rebuy. I do. I ask the dealer how much a repot is. He says $330. This sounds good to me as any callers will be pot committed. I repot. Tricky player to my left calls with a run of middle cards and everyone else folds. We run it twice, I win the first board as all he has is a pair. The second flop is 777 and he is drawing dead. A $20 tip seems appropriate for giving me Aces and 2 winning boards.
I go on a mini heater and cash out for $1160, having invested $840 for a net profit of $320.
Very successful trip with almost $1100 in poker winnings, just under $200 in craps losses, and with MB's winnings, the airfare hotel and meals were all paid for.