Friday, December 21, 2007

Las Vegas Trip Report, part 3 - the Variance

I slept a bit late on Thursday and then headed out for a late morning breakfast at the famous Peppermill restaurant on the Strip. The place was bright, neon, and shiny. The breakfast was enormous. The food was good, the steak was not quite as tasty as the one we had at the Flamingo coffee shop but the service was excellent. I love eggs and I always finish all my eggs and half of my wife’s so when I tell you I could not eat all the eggs they served me with my breakfast, that gives you an idea of the massiveness of this breakfast. After the feast, I went back to Caesar’s and decided to try out their new poker room. The room was plenty big and had a lot of tables. They had 3 tables of 1-3NL going at approximately 1:00pm. I bought $100.00 in chips and I was seated after about a 10 minute wait. The players were a mix of young guys that seemed to know what they were doing and a handful of older players that seemed fishy and deep pocketed. I folded everything for the first 40 minutes and then looked down to see two red Kings. An early player had opened the pot for 5xBB and had 2 callers before the action got to me. Having only $95 or so in chips, I raised all in. The initial bettor called and everyone else folded. I thought to myself, could I really be so unlucky as to have run my Kings into pocket Aces? The caller quickly tabled his Aces and I had that all too familiar feeling of being kicked in the junk. Then, lo and behold, another King comes right out on the flop. He did not improve and as he enjoyed the receiving end of that “kicked in the junk” feeling, I stacked the chips and tipped the dealer. Surprisingly, the dealers at Caesar’s were not particularly friendly and the cocktail service downright sucked. Sticking to my plan of leaving while I was up, I played for about 2 hours and cashed out with approximately $400.00 in chips. After my wife was done with her conference for the day, we headed out to Battista’s for some Italian food. This place was right around the corner and had been highly rated on the internet so expectations were high. The place itself did not disappoint and had a little old man that wandered around and played the accordion. He would ask guests where they were from and then play a brief song associated with that place. For us, he played “Eyes of Texas” and then “I have but One Heart” by request. While we were there, he also played the British national anthem, Australian national anthem, and some songs that referenced other US States. Sadly, the portions were small and the food was only mediocre. We then went to tour the Rio and the Stratosphere. The Rio was thoroughly unimpressive and I doubt I will ever return unless the WSOP is going on. The Stratosphere was also unimpressive. Their poker room was behind the sportsbook, about half full, and open to the casino. After tucking my wife in to bed, I headed back to Harrah’s for more poker. As usual, I bought in for $100.00. Although there were plenty of donkeys, I was card dead for the first hour. I met a guy from Houston and we were both aiming to play pots with the three donkeys in the 3-5 seats (we were in the 7 & 8 seats). I built up my stack to about double my buy in before that Witch known as variance reared her ugly head. I flopped 2 pair and rivered a full house. Sweet. I make a substantial raise hoping to get paid and an off duty dealer in the 5 seat smooth called. The river gave him 8’s full of 6’s for a bigger boat and (I held 6’s full of 8’s) he takes my pot. OK, not good but I wasn’t steaming. About 30 minutes later, I’m down to about $80 in chips and flopped bottom 2 pair in the big blind. I check-raised all-in after the 3 seat opened the pot for 20 with one caller. The caller folds and the 3 seat tables his A-4 for top and bottom pair. Neither of us improved on the turn or river and I am busted out for the first time during my trip. About that time, the table goes sour as most of the donkeys leave so I do not re-buy. The walk back to Caesar’s seemed a lot longer and colder than it had when I was leaving a winner.

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