Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oh, how I love to Wynn!

Even though I didn't win at the MGM, I really felt I was playing very solid poker most of the day and because of that I was really looking forward to playing today. We didn't want to play at the MGM, and I suggested that we give the Wynn's poker room a shot.

I've always liked the Wynn's poker room the best, and that doesn't change at all on this trip. I think it has very comfortable chairs, the drinks are plentiful (none of the poker rooms charge for drinks, but it can be a long time between rounds), they'll comp the food if you play there long enough, and the room itself just has some character. There always seems to be some action going on there, too. Did I mention that all the cocktail waitresses at the Wynn have modeling contracts? Not something the ladies might be interested in (unless you'd like to work there), but I think the average joe doesn't mind the occasional distraction while being served his drink.

David and I made the trek from NY NY to the Wynn, which is a lot further than I originally thought. We got there and got our names on the $1/$3 list, and the Wynn told us to hang around because the list was getting to the point where they were going to open a table with the people on the list. Now, on a trip like this I don't necessarily like to sit at a table with someone I am friends with because I really am not trying to win that person's money. Don't get me wrong, if I've got the nuts and my friend sets me all-in I'm going to call, but I am usually hoping that situations like that can be avoided.
My cards and play were pretty solid while I was playing at the Wynn this session. David and I only got heads up twice, with me checking down Ace-Ten to a showdown that I won, and the other hand I held AK and moved David off his hand on a raggedy-looking flop that David checked to me, and it turned out I was way ahead (found that out after the session). We did have an interesting time with one of our dealers there, and I can say that this incident was the only time I've ever had any issue with anything at the Wynn. This dealer sits down, and I cannot recall the name, only that I thought it started with an 'O', so let's call him Oscar for this story. I was seated in seat 9, which is to the immediate right of the dealer. David was seated in seat 5, which is directly across from the dealer. Well, Oscar gets seated, and shortly after he gets seated the cage brings over some chips to him for his chip tray, and he's got to take the time to count it all and verify things and get it into his tray. I imagine that this had to be done because the game had just recently opened and the dealer's tray was short on chips for handling the rake. Well, Oscar seemed to be having trouble with the chips. He decided to take it out on us for some reason. I did hear him mutter "My day was going great...until now." He started dealing very slow, and Oscar was being pretty much a grouch. There was one point where Oscar took the cards out of the shuffling machine in the table and then just sat there...waiting...and waiting. He seemed to be staring off in to oblivion, and it was then that I realized David hadn't put out his big blind yet. This guy couldn't be waiting for that, could he?!? So we all sat waiting. This had to go on for about a minute, which is an eternity with nothing going on at a poker table. David put out his big blind, and then Oscar finally cut the cards and dealt the next hand!! What an a-hole! I think EVERY other poker dealer in Vegas would have either said something or started dealing and informed the player as they dealt that the big blind had to be posted, but not Oscar. We apparently had done something to piss him off. Another dealer came up behind Oscar to be what appeared break him and Oscar asked "Are you here to break me?" the other dealer responded with something unintelligible to which Oscar muttered, thinking he was being taken off our table, "Good...I hate this table." I only heard this because he happened to be muttering it as he dealt me my card so he was facing me. I don't think anyone else heard it. I know David did not. The fact that he apparently misheard the dealer since he didn't get to leave our table then did not help matters. I honestly don't know what Oscar's problem was, but everyone at our table was glad to see him go at the end of his half-hour. I tried to replay the events from when he showed up to the "not dealing" hand, but unless someone not tipping him for a hand really pissed him off I cannot think of anything other than the chips being brought from the cage that would have caused his bad mood. I can only imagine that he didn't get tipped a couple hands in a row. I've never seen a dealer act like that before. I'm guessing he woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, but man, he was going to ruin his tips for the day if he kept that crap going on other tables!

The rest of the session went well for me. I got a little lucky as I was getting beat down early in the session when I was dealt 6-6, and on a flop of 5-5-7, my opponent checked blind to me so I bet, and he then raised, but I had enough chips in the pot that I had to play the hand so I moved in only to find my opponent had Q-5. The turn and river came a perfect 3-4 to make my straight. After that little bit of luck to double up I started getting some better hands and saw enough action to finish ahead $226. It was a well-needed win given what had happened in the other sessions to this point.

David and I went back to NY NY, hit the pool and whirlpool for a little bit, and then just relaxed for a little while. Dan was going to be showing up soon, and I figured we'd grab a bite to eat together before heading out to play some more cards. Dan wanted to hit the Wynn, so Dan and I made the trek back to the Wynn. I put myself on the $1/$3 list, and Dan got on the $2/$5 list. I got seated pretty quickly, and then Dan must've gotten tired of the waiting and got himself on a $1/$3 table behind where I was seated. That session went well for me, too. I was checking on Dan's stack periodically to see how he was doing, and he appeared to be up as well. Shortly after Dan sat down I noticed the guy on Dan's left was very familiar. It was none other than the guy who took me for all of my hard work from the MGM!! I tried to get Dan's attention before the guy spotted me, and Dan came over to my table. As it turns out the guy's from Waukesha! Dan had already been chatting with him and had pointed out that I had come here with him. The guy told Dan that "Ah, yes. I was playing with Jason over at the MGM yesterday," but hadn't mentioned to him his good fortune. I was already up a couple hundred at this point, and he wasn't at my table so I could care less...sort of. The
guy was all right, though. I got up at one point and jokingly said to Dan, who had about $300 in chips in front of him at the time, "Dan, you'd better get working...you need to collect another $900 off that guy," referring to the guy on Dan's left.

The guy was actually pretty nice. The Wynn offers back and neck massages while you play. The cost is $2/minute with a 10-minute minimum. The dude from Waukesha bought me a 10-minute massage, which, after having one, I highly recommend. As I said, the session was going well, and I finished that session up about $430. I decided to call it quits around 2:30am, and when I looked back at Dan he didn't appear to be up. I suppose I could have stayed, but my chip stack hadn't gone up or down for a while, so I was feeling like the game was getting stagnant. I knew Dan wouldn't want to leave down, so I just told him I was heading back to the hotel to catch some sleep before watching the Badgers and the other college games since they started in a couple hours. All in all, a pretty good recovery day. Oh, how I love to Wynn!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

On the comeback trail...or so I thought

David and I decided to play in a tournament the next day. After looking up the daily schedule in Cardplayer we decided that we would play in the MGM's morning tournament. The MGM was right across the street so it was convenient enough, and the buy-in was reasonable. We registered and had a little time prior to the tournament so we each got seated in a cash game. I was able to double through a player for just under my buy-in when a player that had been playing very aggressive called my all-in with his 6-6. I was holding J-J at the time. I had originally limped hoping that he would raise because he had been doing this quite a bit, and once he obliged I was able to get all my chips in. Shortly after that the tournament was getting ready to start so I got seated for that.

We started with 1200 in chips and blinds at 25-25. Blinds were to go up every 20 minutes. The MGM stated they didn't allow rebuys, but instead during the first hour if you were knocked out you could get yourself on the "alternate" list. If spots opened up you would be able to accept a seat as an "alternate". Basically it's a rebuy opportunity for the first hour. With the blinds as high as they were in relation to the starting amount I was trying to be very selective. I did get 4-4 under the gun and tried to limp for 25, but when the player to my left made it 225 to go and got another caller I let the hand go and painfully watched the flop come 4-9-9, which I am sure would have been ahead at that time. After some blinds and increases I thought I had found my opportunity with A-K and the blinds at 50-100. My stack was 875, which was quickly becoming a very short stack so I moved in and promptly found myself with two callers. One held AA and the other A9, so unless the T-J-Q or a couple of Kings showed up I knew I was done. With my tournament done I got back in to a cash game and started getting some hands. I managed to work my way up to triple my buy-in so I moved up to the $2/$5 from the $1/$2 game. I was playing aggressive enough in hands that I got involved in so that my cards were hardly ever displayed. This continued for about 6 1/2 hours and I had worked my stack to a little over 12 times my buy-in. Boy, do I wish I had left right then! Things were going so well though I had no reason to think anything would go wrong. In the next ten minutes I managed to lose the whole stack! I was dealt AA in the first of the two hands, raised it, got a couple callers, and after a flop of J-5-2 I thought I was in good shape when a player bet in to me. I raised, setting the player to a decision for his chips, and he happily called holding 5-5. My Aces had been cracked and I lost about half my stack. Two hands later I was in the big blind and got dealt 4h-2h. The pot was unraised, and after an all heart flop (A-Q-J), that same player and I started betting and raising one another. I felt that a flopped flush would be good there, but my opponent had also flopped the flush, and since his flush was larger than mine (T-7) he was able to obtain the rest of my stack. I was betting on the low probability of two flushes being out since the odds of a person flopping a flush are a little over 100-1. It made for a lousy ending to what had been a pretty solid day of poker, but that's the risk of No-Limit play. It only takes one or two mistakes to make up for a really good session. It was time to take a break, and concentrate on re-building my stack the next day.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A game with a bit of flavor

David and I grabbed a bite to eat at the ESPN Zone, which is located inside the NY NY hotel. It's a large restaurant/bar with plenty of screens to watch pretty much whatever game you want. It took a while to get seated because the host asks what game/event you are interested in, and then they try to find a seat near those screens. So after eating there we decided to head over to see what the MGM's poker room was like.

We got there and found that they have approximately 30 tables of which about 4 or 5 were being used for Limit Hold 'em, and about 8 tables were being used for No Limit Hold 'em. After getting some information about their daily tournament we got seated at the $1/$2 No Limit game. I bought in for $100. The game had lots of players taking lots of flops. I tried playing my normal style, but I wasn't hitting any flops. Even when I got a solid hand like QQ I ended up against 4 or 5 players and both the Ace and King hit. The game had several international players with two Aussies, a Brit, and a New Zealander in the game. The one Aussie could not be shaken off of seeing a flop unless there were at least 2 raises before it got to him. This session ended up with my getting whittled down to the felt in a slow, frustrating fashion. After a second buy-in and continued lack of success I decided to call it a night and get some rest, hoping that maybe I was just tired from travelling that day and would play better on a full night's rest.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I’m sorry sir, but do you have your ID or a player’s club card?

Well, it was good to be back in Vegas again. The last time I was here was June when Dan and I played in the World Series of Poker. This trip was planned to be a longer trip than I usually do for Vegas. I arrived Wednesday noonish and was staying until my flight left Tuesday morning around 7am. This trip was a little different, with everyone that was coming to Vegas arriving and leaving on different days. I already mentioned when I came in, David showed up later Wednesday and left early Monday. Dan showed up later on Friday and left Monday afternoon. Chris showed up later on Thursday and was leaving Wednesday. Brian showed up Thursday and left late Monday night. David, Dan, and I stayed at NY NY, and Brian and Chris were staying at the Imperial Palace. So all in all five of us were out there, and there was lots of poker to be played.

I had some time to kill prior to meeting up with David, so after making a poor decision to play a little craps at NY NY where I lost $107, I decided to take a stroll down to the Bellagio to play in their poker room. I got my name on the $2/$5 No Limit game, and found out that the Bellagio had changed the format a little bit. When I was here in June that game had a buy-in of $200. It now had a $200 minimum with a $500 maximum.

I looked around the room to see if there were any recognizable faces, as a lot of the pros play here in Bobby's Room, which is a separate room within the poker room at the Bellagio, but none were to be seen. The poker room was rather busy though, as the WPT's Five Diamond Classic had just wrapped up on Tuesday, and there were still a lot of people playing at the poker rooms that were here for that. I didn't see any of the poker pros until my name got called. I went to get some chips and saw Erik Seidel talking with either a fan or a friend while he was waiting in line at the cage. He got in line behind me, and since there were a couple people in front of me yet I decided to turn around and say hi and acknowledge the guy. He was friendly enough. I commented on his pair of Full Tilt commercials, which I'm sure no one has EVER mentioned to him before, and then I got called up to the window. While I was being helped another cashier asked Erik to step up to the cage. It turns out he was either cashing in some chips or getting some smaller ones because when he put his chips on the counter he had several $5000 chips there. As I was trying to count his stack I heard his cashier ask, "I'm sorry sir, but do you have ID?" at which point I almost started laughing. I looked at the cashier and told him, "Umm, I can vouch that he's Erik Seidel as can most of the room." The cashier looked briefly at me then turned to Erik and asked, "Well, do you have a player's club card?" Now I had to laugh! Here is a guy who's won seven WSOP bracelets and probably plays in this room with the big hitters on a regular basis being asked for ID! Erik handled it pretty well, giving the guy the "don't-you-know-who-I-am" look, but pulled out his ID for him. I just couldn't stop laughing as I got my chips and headed to my seat.

I took my seat and early in to the game I found myself holding Ad-3d in early position. I made it $15 to go, and was called by two players including the big blind. The flop hit me pretty hard as it came 2d-4s-5s with two spades. I decided to bet my wheel hoping that an overpair would raise it, but my bet drove out the late position players and the big blind called. The turn came King. The big blind checked to me so I bet a little over half the pot hoping that if the player was on the flush draw they'd just go away, but this player decided to raise me. I was trying to put the player on a hand with which they would check-raise me. Since I was holding the second nuts I guessed that he was on a flush draw that paired him or maybe even had now two-paired him (maybe with the Ks), so I decided to reraise all in. I was called immediately. Now, unlike most casinos' cash games once players are all in and the betting is complete the Bellagio makes you turn over your cards. It was then I got the bad news. He was holding the 3s-6s, so he had flopped the higher straight when I flopped the wheel and he had a redraw to a flush and was open-ended for the straight flush. By the way, THAT's a good hand with which to check-raise. The river didn't matter and I was down pretty quickly. Rather than rebuy right away I decided to head back to the hotel since David was going to be arriving a little later. I figured we'd grab a bite to eat and get on to the next session someplace.