Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Still the Same Old Me...

On a recent trip to Las vegas to hang out with a few clients, I experienced the highs and lows (well, mostly the lows) of Sin City. Got the trip rolling with a visit to my favorite dining spot in Las Vegas. If you haven't been before, you HAVE to go. Seriously, the lamb burger is the bomb. And for those of you courageous enough to go balls out, I suggest you follow the lead of my client's entourage and try the lamb burger topped with a fried egg and brown gravy. Awesome!

My clients were horny for some low-stakes blackjack action so we headed to the Barbary Coast. Two words: Shit-hole. Then again, perhaps my memories of said establishment are clouded by the fact that I didn't win two hands in a row through 4 shoes. Without altering my betting patters from small multiples of $5 increments, I managed to lose a cool $300...Which is hard to do. I was utilizing a system taught to me by a wise sage, and normally this system kicks ass. I've won about 70 percent of my sessions using the system. Shoot me an e-mail and I might share the secret with you.

So, having had my fill of the Barbary Coast I went back to my hotel planning to go to bed. Of course, the route to my room took me right past the poker room and , of course, there was an open seat. To say that the $1-$2 NL game at Paris is soft would be a gross understatement. There were raises, re-raises, horrible bluffs and idiotic showdowns. Imagine sitting at a table with nine Michalski's and you'll get the gist. Most importantly, it is the kind of game where you can have a monster hand (even represent that you have a monster hand) and still get people to raise into you. Case in point, I was dealt KhQh on my third hand. UTG, an inebriated meathead from Chi-CAH-go, raised to $10 and five (!) players called in front of me. I called the raise. The flop came 3-7-9 all-hearts giving me the next-to-nuts. Meathead bet $30 and got one caller in front of me. I raised to $60. The Meathead called and the third player folded. The turn was a blank and the betting continued with his bet of $30, my raise to $60 and his call. The final card was a blank and Meat checked. I led out for $30 and Meat said call but placed $60 on the table. I asked him if he meant to raise and he stammered, "I guess I did." I then came over the top for another $100. Meat asked if I was "playin' the hearts." Truthfully, I said, "Yeah...in fact, I've got the next-to-nuts." He responded with, "den' I gotta call" and for a moment I felt my blood turn cold, thinking he had the Ace-high flush. I rolled my cards and he turned over 9-10 for top pair. All he could muster was, "Ouch!"

The next orbit, I went at it with the guy to my right. Meathead and his less than demure female companion kept calling him "Texas." When I mentioned I was from Texas as well, the sausage guzzler became extremely confused. For the remainder of the evening, she kept referring to me as "Kansas". Anyway, in late position, I re-raised a $25 raise by Texas with pocket Kings. Texas called. I had to double take when the flop came K-2-2. Texas led out for $50. I figured him for AK and guessed he would call a min raise. So, I came over the top for another $50 and he moved all in. I couldn't shove my chips into the pot fast enough and he turned over Qc-10c. Are you kidding me? The turn put a second club on the board and Texas drunkenly pointed at the table screaming "Oooooohhhhh, here comes my flush!" I replied, "That would be a big second place hand." At this point he realized that his flush draw was a dominant underdog to my full house and he quietly left the table. The Sausage Queen barked,"Ooooooohhhh! The guy from Kansas beats Texas!" When I reminded her that I too was from the Lone Star State, she replied, "I gotta pee!" Awesome.

Of course, all was not golden. Twenty minutes later, I limped into a pot with Ks-9s. With a flop of K-9-6 rainbow, the BB (a Lebanese mush mouth) led out for $20. I raised to $40 and he called. The turn was a harmless deuce. This time he led out for $50. Now, marginally concerned about a set, I raised to $100. He reluctantly called. The river was another 6 and mush mouth mumbled "I go...All...in" and threw his last $60 into the pot. I still figured myself for best hand as I showed him top two pair. He turns over 6-4, proudly proclaiming, "I have set. Three seex." Indeed, as a 19-to-1 underdog, his blessed jihad was rewarded with a miracle card. So, after losing a nice chunk of my stack to "three seex", I cashed out and went to bed...Up $350 at the poker table and up $50 overall.

Interesting sidenote: Meathead and Sausage Queen had been verbally sparring with a kid who looked like a Green Day refugee. Meathead and Green Day had been betting recklessly into each other and their showdowns looked like something from the Gus Hansen Family Christmas $1 tournament. Sausage Queen wasn't even playing. She was just shoving Coronas down her gullet with the dainty aplomb of a crack whore. Still, she and Meathead jabbed at Green Day calling him "Ducky" (due to his mullet) or "Ugly Guy." Green Day responded with less friendly taunts like "Fag" and "Slut." As I would later find out, about an hour after I left the table, Meathead went to the bathroom. Green Day left the table a few seconds later, went to the restroom and punched Meathead. Somehow, the Sausage Queen joined the fracas and they were all escorted off the premises. Sweet!

The next day, I decided to try my hand at some tournament play. I went over the Wynn to enter a $120 satellite for the $500 buy-in event at noon. I played solid and tight and held my own. In third place, with five players left, I moved all-in with AK in an attempt to steal the blinds and a weak-looking call. The short-stacked BB, a nice gentleman from Lubbock, called me with A4, caught his 4 on the turn and I was crippled. I moved all-in shortly thereafter with QQ, only to lose to A-10. I finished fourth, but was pleased with my play.

So, I skipped over to the Bellagio to play in a $240 satellite, hoping to win a $1000 buy-in at the big Friday night tournament. I was fortunate to make the next-to-last satellite before the event started and played extremely well. I was short-stacked for the duration, but never shoved in my chips recklessly. With four players left, I moved all-in with pocket 7s against a meek raise by a player who had been loose and overly aggressive. Surprisingly, he called with J9. My hand held up and I was in second chip position. Under the gun, I moved all-in with Ah9h against the short stack on the big blind. With no choice but to call, he turned over 9-4. My hand held up and I felt the momentum turning my way. I had qualified via satellite for a big event. Wheeeeee!

As for the event, the field was awesome. Amir Vahedi, Freddie Deeb, Minh Ly, T.J. Cloutier and a host of other well knowns were in the field. I took my seat and saw none other than Mel Judah sitting three positions to my left. As play started I had planned to be super, super, super tight. As I sat there playing nothing, Mel ran over the table. He won five of the first seven hands with flopped sets, straights, two pair flops that became the nut straight, etc. He was a force. Incidentally, the way he handles his chips is fascinating. Whenever he is the first into a pot, or whenever he raises, he counts out the chips for his action, plus another set amount which he keeps in his hand. On the next round of betting, the chips still in his hand are his next bet. Completely interesting to see that he is always thinking about his next bet, even when faced with a betting decision.

Anyway, I sat there for three orbits without playing a hand. I still had over $4700 of my original $5000 (three round through the blinds). With blinds still at $25-50, the player to my right raised to $150 under the gun. I looked at my cards to see pocket queens. Not wanting to screw around, I raised to $450. Everyone else folded except the original raiser who called. At this point, I pegged him for a smaller pair or AK. The flop was A-x-x with two clubs. When he checked, mildly concerned about a check raise, I represented strength with another bet of $450. He immediately called. The turn was the beautiful Queen of hearts giving me a powerful set. Again, my opponent checked. I led out for $1200 and my opponent re-raised to $2400. Since a mere call would force me to call on the river as well, I went all-in. When my opponent went in the tank, I knew I was ahead in a big, big way and I was already congratulating myself on taking the chip lead at my table. Reluctantly, my opponent called and said, "Good play. You got me. I have nothing." I began to feel euphoric has he turned over QcJc. Huh? He called me and re-raised me with second pair and a flush draw? All I needed to do now was survive a 4-to-1 draw and I was healthy.

You guessed it, the river was a stinking club and it didn't pair the board. Fuck me. While the rest of the table groaned, I composed myself, smiled quietly and patted my opponent on the back and congratulated him on his win. Mel Judah nodded to me as if to say "that was a tough one". As I stood up, my emotions got the better of me. With an enormous grin on my face, I looked at the table, gave everyone an enormous double-middle-finger salute and said, "Fuck all you people." Everyone chuckled and I left a lonely, dejected loser.

Still I was in Vegas and my fortune could turn in a minute. I had run roughshod over the cash game at the Paris the night before (save that one stupid suck out). It certainly seemed possible to do it again. Next thing I knew, I was back in another game. True to form, the play was stupid and aggressive. Within two hours, I had turned my $300 buy-in into nearly $900. A few more hands and I was going to cash out. Then it happened.

On the button, this stupid a-hole wearing a sweater even Randy Brown wouldn't be caught dead in, raised to $7. After four players called in front of me, I looked at my hand and AQo. Feeling frisky I called the bet as well. The flop was a haymaker -- 10-J-K rainbow giving me the dominant nuts. Anyone else not holding AQ would need at least a card, if not two to beat me. Inexplicably, with barely over $40 in the pot, Mr. Rogers moved all-in for $600. He had consistently been overplaying big hands, so I knew he had cards. I figured him for a big set,but most likely AQ. I knew I had to call, but I was sure we were holding identical hands. I almost passed out when he turned over AA for top pair only. I had a huge lead in a $1200-plus pot! Even with a King on the turn, I still owned him. Cardigan Boy was drawing to a measly three outs to win, with the remaining three queens giving us the chop. Naturally, the turn was the case ace and that jag-off swept most of my impressive chip stacks.

I fought back valiantly to get back to even that evening, and had it not been for a sweet blackjack session (hello, secret system!) the next day at the Excalibur with my aforementioned clients, Las Vegas would have gotten the best of me.

I left town with one thought: is there anyone who is a better candidate for a bad beat jackpot than me?

5 comments:

Tulsa said...

Genius post. You are the trip report king. Effing awesome. Your links leave me in awe.

When you linked my mug to going in the tank, I shat myself.

Ed said...

Thanks for the great report, Shane. Even though I did just waste a lot of time at the office reading it...I now know the play at the $1/$2 table up at Winstar over the weekend was just par for the course. $100 gone first hand I played when my AKo was beat by 94s when he called my $30 pre flop bet...and then kept calling big bets to the river to get his flush. The lesson I learned is $1/$2 at a real casino is like .01/.02 online. :)

Ed

Gentle Shane said...

Ed-

Thanks for the kudos, but only I get to post bad beat stories on our blog. Fuck off and go get your own site.

P.S. Love you. Love your show.

Ed said...

I got my own blog...but if I write something it could never hold a flame to this entry of yours.

BTW, you ever going to hit the Lodge free game? Would like to meet ya in person. I think I saw tulsa up there once. If it was not him then it was a look alike.

Ed

Gentle Shane said...

Ed- Used to play at the Lodge all the time, but haven't been up there in a while. Usually make it to the Rounder's Club on Mondays and Wednesdays though.