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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Partying like It's.....FRIDAY????

You be the judge....playa's!





OR:



Yeah....partyin partyin partyin.......FUN!  That is what happens when The Squirrel rolls up into this desert outpost. I made a decision for this trip of hers. I was not going to let my 'bad run' in poker affect her visit. Period.

Also, I was able to mentally psyche myself into thinking that maybe I would get lucky like I did in 2009 when she came out to visit, when we got married, and I proceeded to go on a Mega Tear at Venetian. So naturally, after I drop her off at the airport late Wednesday night...I fully expect to go apeshit, no pun intended.

Where to start? Well, not really too much I can say about poker. On Friday I played the nooner at Venetian, which I thought was a $550, but which was a $340. I lost pretty early...with AA of course. Then I went over to Rio to play their 2pm tourney...which was backed up to 4pm...which was then locked to any more players. So while standing in line...I decided I might as well buy into the next day's $1500. I have a very loyal blog reader who was itching to stake me in something with some value...and that sure as hell was a good choice, as 2800+ players showed up.

I let my backer know what was up...and she thought it sounded like a good opportunity...so we went after it. I could NOT have started any better. My table was super soft, I was getting a lot of good cards...bluffing wasn't too difficult. By the end of the first two levels, I had reached my goal of 7500 chips. By the end of Level 4 I was hovering around 13k...which was perfect. 

People gripe a little bit about the WSOP only giving 3k chips on the $1k and 4500 chips on the $1500...but I'll be honest...the structure is so good, and the levels so long...that if you are a good, patient SNG-type player...its perfect. If you can manage to control the size of most pots, and pick up a few decent pots along the way...you are able to position yourself to really lean on your table in the Levels 3-5...when a lot of impatience and shoving begin among the short stacks...or what they have convinced themselves are short stacks.

Testimony to that would be that by the end of Level 4 the field had already been whittled down to around 1500...nearly half the field was gone! Which meant the average stack was about 8000. I think that once you get to about 800 players...things really flatten out and it becomes a really good tourney. Of course this only comes from speculation...because my day ended in the middle of Level 5.

This old guy on my left...who was really kind of a bizarre dude, one of those guys who has no idea why he is being asked to put his large denomination chips out front...and who never knows it's his turn to act. Kind of the last guy we want to lose to. Well, it was either really happening or was just my imagination...but every time I would limp, he would raise, if I raised, he would re-raise. He was what my buddy Kai Landry (who by the way has a new HILARIOUS blog just up) calls the chronic leg-humper. My own personal dog in heat.

Well...I get AQh. I raise to 475 (at 100/200 w-25) UTG...to which, oh...I didn't mention this...the guy ALWAYS raised 6 or 7 times the big blind...which is also incredibly annoying. So this time he raises to 1400. Sigh.

I had folded almost all the previous times...but now I was starting to think this guy was just using me as a chip depot...knowing he could just keep snagging one pot after another from me...pushing me off hands whenever he wanted to, so I looked him up. The flop comes...magically...A-10-3...rainbow.

I check...with the full intention of check raising...but he fails to bet. Dammit. The the turn produces a KING. I check again. Now he bets 3000. Huh? None of this is making sense. I decide to flat...to see what he does on the river...or hope for a jack to hit, giving me the nuts. Instead a useless 4 hits the river. I check again. He bets 700. Yeah...700. Whatever, I call. He turns over a set of kings. Jeezuz. 

And from there it became one of those scenes from a movie where you keep thinking the good guy is about to triumph over evil...but one villain's ouster just leads to another one taking his place. Calling raises...missing flops. Limping with 44...which I must have gotten about 5 freaking times without winning with once. Nothing was going my way now...and about this time...the 3rd German guy of the day sits down in Seat 8...which served as our table's ejection seat. He had a decent stack...and I am watching him peruse the table and can read his thoughts....

"Ahhhh, a table of shortstacks...seems like a good time and place for me to start pillaging the less fortunate."

So he goes to work...raise, raise, raise, raise, raise, raise......ad nauseum.

So...on a hand I wish I could get a mulligan on...he raises...yet again...when we are at 150/300....to 750. I look down at 88. I am in major need to win a hand...any hand...to regain some momentum. My stack has now dwindled down to 5500. I make the call.

That's when the guy in the BB makes one of the stupidest plays I've ever seen, especially in a event this big. He is sitting on 1300 chips. And he has Q10 offsuit...and he decides to shove all in. Which sucks...because its just enough of a raise to re-open the betting for the German guy.

Why do I think it's one of the stupidest plays I've ever seen? Well...it's pretty clear that neither one of us was going to fold preflop to his massive re-raise of 600'ish, and not only does he have a SHIT hand there, but why not just call the raise and hope for a miraculous flop where he can double or triple up maybe? Just idiotic. And yeah...I'm kind of bitter because the flop came K-K-4...there is a pretty good chance that things would have gone MUCH differently if he hadn't shipped.

And as I am watching the German guy...I know what he's thinking. Getting me out of the hand...like most good players. But as he looks down my way...and asks how many chips I am playing total...I think, or THOUGHT...I saw weakness in him. And I kept thinking back to last week at Venetian, when I had a small stack shove all in...a guy with a stack similar to mine smooth call...and my stupid ass folding 10-10...only to find the other two with 5's and 6's...a hand that would have given me a HUGE stack.

So with that in my mind...and this guy re-raising to 5000...I kept thinking that I probably have the best hand...and if nothing else, if the SB wins with a big hand...I will still make a substantial amount on the hand with a nice side pot.

All of this, of course...went up in smoke...when I shoved all in, he snap called...and turned over QQ. Oh man! Bad read. Bad move. And bad result. With Brian Hepinstall watching over my shoulder...I packed up my stuff..and very disgustedly (in myself mostly) left the playing area.

Brian, on the other hand...who is always on a shoestring budget, and who is one of the nicest guys in the poker world, went over to Venetian and played the $340 yesterday...sends me a text message this morning that he was going back as the chipleader today. Later on I heard back from him that he finished 7th....which I know isn't what he was hoping for, but still...great job to Brian!

Couple that with fellow Tuscaloosan BJ McBrayer winning the 1k at Venetian, and then again cashing in the $1500 event that I bricked...and its been a really solid summer for a lot of my good buddies. 

I decided after losing that $1500, that I would take the rest of Squirrel's trip here OFF from poker and just spent time with her. 

The management at The Venetian's poker room got Squirrel and I two tickets to see the critically acclaimed show, 'Jersey Boys' at the theater there (Palazzo actually). I simply asked them if they could 'get me some kind of deal' on tickets...and they got them fully comped. Very, very cool of them! Squirrel is really excited to see the show, as am I. Tomorrow is our anniversary, and I am sure that our dinner and show date will be fantastic. Probably spend the day tomorrow at the pool together. 

So a quick social recap:

Saturday night: We pick up 'The Claw' from Rio...and go to visit my buddy Smoke at Palms Place...as well as JD, Mr. Jewelry! We went to the lobby, to Rojo Lounge...and met Jason Young and Ben Klier for a cocktail...then it was off to Nove...a really nice restaurant at The Palms that Cheryl's good friend Christina manages. She ended up sitting and eating with us. It was a great dinner...and we had 3 excellent bottles of Pinot Noir. Our servers...Ryan and Alex, were awesome.

The lovely Christina...who gave us the VIP treatment..and later hung out with us. She used to work with Squirrel at the Beau Rivage a few years back. 

My boys Smoke and JD...this was the second FUN weekend of the year with these two cats. Last weekend it was a table at 'Surrender' for Smoke's birthday party.

My sexy wife...who never seems to age...and the infamous 'Claw' enjoying the great food at Nove


After that, we went up the back stairwell to the Playboy Club...which I had never been to. It was pretty cool. Nothing outrageous. High limit gambling with girls in Bunny outfits dealing. Great view of the city. Expensive cocktails...which we had a lot of!

After that we called it a night.

Sunday: We all got together and about 1:30 went over to Omar Hickary's kickass condo at the Turnberry...where he had assembled an amazing spread of every kind of BBQ item you could ever want from a picnic. The pool was beautiful, the food and beverages were plentiful...and it was a nice turnout. At some point I was sitting at the table trying to figure out a ballpark number on total career winnings that were seated there:  Me, Gabe Costner, The Claw, David 'Lefty' Diaz, Tim 'TK' Miles, Kai Landry, Oren Zweig and Omar....the latter being cash game demons as most of you know.

Diaz...sporting his 'Hangover' baby shirt...and TK fresh off the third or fourth trip to the 'food counter'

The Claw...with her 'Oh So Fabulous' Pool look for the day's posh extravaganza!

The view of the pool at Turnberry, with its two cascading waterfalls and the Las Vegas skyline in the background...really a nice, relaxing (and much needed!) day!

My gorgeous Squirrel...ten years together and two years married. She is my best friend and the best thing that ever happened to me.  :)


Well, we finally left around 7pm...following Kai and his brand spanking new (previously owned- I think) Toyota FJ Cruiser...which he was very proud of...and which he will be transporting his recently purchased Sahara Casino (now closed) poker table (for $357 at their clearance auction) back to Biloxi on it's roof! Grabbed a change of clothes from my room at the Riviera...home of the now defunct Monkey's Midnight Madness, and was off to Rio to drop off Gabe and Claudia. A quick change and shower later...and we were back on the road...to meet everyone at Hard Rock Casino for a night of partying at the club Vanity.

It was Squirrel, Claudia, Kai, Smoke and Wally...another good poker player from Baton Rouge...who's last name I always forget. Quiet guy...but really cool. He was wearing a ball cap...which cost Charlie a fat tip to get him in. On the way into the casino...driving through the valet lane...this punk valet guy...who was actually about 35, punches my car. Literally PUNCHED my car...claiming I 'almost ran over his foot.' This from a guy who is accustomed to having cars constantly passing through the valet lanes, right? The girls thought our car was hit by another car. The thing is...I completely saw the clown...passing in between cars..and I was going no faster than 10 mph. No...this guy's problem...was that he was just an asshole. So I demanded to see a manager...which resulted in security arriving.

The security guy could not have been any cooler. And it didn't hurt that I had Squirrel and Claw both telling him the same thing I did. I don't know what ended up happening to 'Dean' the valet jerkoff...but I hope he was reprimanded. 

We arrive to the club. Minus Gabe...who couldn't be prodded out of his nap. We had reserved the table with a 3 bottle minimum. Now here is where it got fun. And by fun...I mean REALLY irritating. Now this is where the night almost took a bad turn...with everyone thinking I was MAD and upset about the amount of money...when that wasn't the issue at all. I already knew the night was going to get expensive...that wasn't the issue. I collected cash from everyone and gave the girl my credit card. So we were properly informed that there would be a $1500 minimum. Okay...fair enough. With the three bottles we ordered, it still left a balance. Or did it?

Well...here is the slick little trick they pull. The bottles cost $425 for each bottle of Grey Goose we ordered (total $850) and $375 for the bottle of Captain Morgan. On the Goose...she tried to up-sell us to the 'magnum' which is really just a 1.5L bottle. From my days in the liquor business, I knew that a 1.5 is just a 750ml twice (yeah yeah common sense there, I know!). There aren't any clubs that sell bottles as 1 liters. So basically...with the magnum costing $900...they were looking to hook us for another $50 while getting nothing for it in return...other than a big, impressive bottle. No thanks...I will take the two bottles and be charged $50 less, thanks.

So this total should be $1225, right?  Guess again. With my bill...comes $64 for 7 bottles of water, $65 for 'carafe' which was god knows what...and then a charge for $421...which I was told was for TAX and TIP. Huh? TAX? Oh...and on top of that...a separate charge...called 'SERVICE CHARGE' of another $48. Which...I never was given a reason for. No...what I was pissed about was that the tax wasn't part of the $1500 minimum. The tip...sure, I could understand that...so we get charged $1500...then leave a tip of $250 or so. But the TAX???? How in the F*** is THAT not part of the total charge? That just put me in an irritated mood, because I felt like we were being taken advantage of. But I know that it wasn't just us...it's everyone who goes in there. I think its pretty damn shady and just shitty. I can't remember if some of the other clubs I frequent like Tao at Venetian pulls that shit or not.

This is last week's Go Go Dancers, performing on a stage in the middle of a pool at Encore...very impressive!

At any rate...Smoke got me out of my mood...and the fun times were on. Having a table in a Vegas club is simply a MUST. You just can't even try to move around in those places without a place to park it. And I really like parking it. One of my favorite things to do in the clubs is to people watch. And...apologies to my super hot wife...watching those Go-Go dancers on the speakers and/or stages...is one of my favorite 'peoples' to watch.


My sweetie with The Kai-ster

Mr. Diaz surprised us with a late appearance! And yes...I am aware of how crappy I look.
 It was a great night. It's always a good night when Squirrel and I go out and have a good time...it doesn't happen often enough. And its great to see my good buddies somewhere other than a poker table. 

I hope you all had a good weekend. I hope to have some happy poker stories here in the next few weeks.


Monkey

Don't forget...when you are in Las Vegas...always make sure you have the free app downloaded to your phone from my boy Smoke's THE LIST....click here for details....its a MUST HAVE for visitors to Sin City!

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