Thursday, February 11, 2010

January 2010, Las Vegas Trip Report, Day 1 - Anticipation and Arrival

Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

It was a soggy/foggy Wednesday morning as we prepared to leave for the airport. We are backing out of the driveway, I turn on the radio and, as if on cue, The Animals – House of the Rising Sun begins to play. As we made the long drive to the airport to get my vacation underway, I could not help but notice all the poor souls driving to work. I thought soberly to myself, all too soon, I would be returning to my job as a wage slave, too.

I could not wait to get to Las Vegas. The rainy drive to the airport, the loathsome pre-flight check in process, the seemingly endless wait before the flight, the flight, etc. - everything was just another obstacle to be overcome, another annoyance to be endured, another hour to be sacrificed - all for the sake of getting to Las Vegas. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of discomfort I had to endure on my flight. It was the best flight ever - no headache or earache at the end, which is highly unusual for me. Nice job, Continental.

I had already obtained the weather forecast and, as we landed, we could see it was definitely raining in Las Vegas. And, it would continue raining all day in LV, including some flooding in the evening. We get our first jolt of unexpected excitement when, after watching the luggage conveyor go around repeatedly, our luggage never appears. I find an attendant and ask if any luggage was lost or late. He says, no, but some luggage arrived early on a different flight. We were greatly relieved to see our luggage was among those to which he referred.
We show our claim ticket and head outside to catch the shuttle to the rental car center. Once there, we obtain our vehicle (a thoroughly unimpressive but inexpensive Toyota yaris) and head in the direction of the Strip.

We ate our first meal at the Gordon Biersch Brewpub just off the Strip.
My Marzen burger was decent but not great. My wife’s pizza was very good. However, even though I am not normally a french fry lover, the pungent garlic fries are still my favorite thing about this place. The service was pretty good but also, not great likely due to the fact the place was packed for lunch. Despite the meal not being as good as in previous visits, it did not matter that much because now that we were actually in Las Vegas, all my anticipation was focused on how soon I would actually sit at a poker table and be dealt a hand. My “Poker-Jones” was peaking.

Since it was still too early to check in at Planet Hollywood, we drove back to the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. On past trips, it had been hard to park and get photos but a small parking area and Astroturf covered mound have been added since 2007 when I was last here. We brave the rain to get a few souvenir photos next to the famous sign.

We finally get to check into Planet Hollywood and I, of course, attempt the $20.00 trick (i.e. obtaining a room upgrade for a $20 tip). To my chagrin, the clerk refused to accept the tip and, although he went through the motions of checking for an available upgrade, I was not at all surprised that he did not find one. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, although we did not get the upgrade, at least I got to keep the $20. First wager in LV = a push.

I make my way to Planet Hollywood poker room approx. 5:30pm. There are 4-5 tables of 1-2 NLHE going. I look for Joe Viator, whom I have been following on Twitter, to introduce myself but before I can find him I am called to my seat. The moment I have been anxiously waiting for all day, if not all week, has finally arrived. Notable hands included the following:

I am dealt A-A on first hand in CO, incredible! I bet $15 into a few limpers and get 2 callers. Flop is J high and checked to me. I bet 40 and everyone folds. I don’t show, of course. I probably should have checked behind to draw them in. I proceed to get A-A twice more in first hour and reduce my open bet to $10 but no one calls anyway.

I build my stack up with some more small wins with non descript hands but soon get K-K and open for $15. I get 2 callers. Flop is 10 high, and I bet $30 into $45 pot hoping for a little action.

A TAG re-raises to $130 (more action than I wanted with one pair) and from his demeanor, I sense he out flopped me (maybe set, maybe 2 pair). I do not think calling would be right since I would be committed, I need to raise all in or fold so after thinking, I fold (later he says he had 2 pair).

A few hands later, I get A-Jo. I open bet and flop is J high. I bet again and have one caller. Turn is another J so I check behind to act scared of the 2nd J. Opponent fires a ½ pot bet on bricked river. I raise, he insta mucks, and a I drag in a decent pot.

Soon, I limp in with Q-7. Flop is Q-7-4. Turn = 7 River = J and I win about a $100 pot.

Limp 3-3 from EP and turn a set of 3s but everyone folds to my ½ pot bet and another monster goes to waste. Not much later, I get dealt pocket 10s and I win another small pot. Within minutes, my wife arrives and it is time to go for now. I cash out 2 buy ins up for a nice start to my trip.

We decide to have an inexpensive dinner so Ellis Island it is. This place is one of the best values near the Strip. It offers consistently good food at ridiculously low prices. Added bonus is they are also a brewpub and offer $1 micro brewed beer, as well as my wife’s favorite, micro brewed root beer. I recommend the off menu steak dinner special.

After dinner, I had about a 10 minute wait to be seated on Wednesday night at approx. 11pm. There were 7 tables of 1-2 NLHE going.

Notable hands:

Early on, I get one of my favorite hands, 10-10, in LP. I always open bet with 10s (and Js, too) so I made $15 to play after a couple of limpers - the loose guy to my left calls and so does one of the limpers, so it’s three to the flop. Flop is Q-10-4. Limper checks, I check knowing the other guy would bet it if I checked, and he does not disappoint. He bets about $30, the limper folds and I raise enough to put the rest of his stack at risk. I have him covered and he calls. I table my set and he groans and says he has a Queen. He doesn’t improve and I felt my first opponent of the trip.

After (foolishly) choosing to fold garbage hands like K-3o and Q-4o (rather than just limping in) and then seeing those garbage hands catch flops like 4- 4-10 and some guy with the 10 winning, or 3-3-7, etc. I started playing/limping some junk trying to catch a miracle. All I ever got were some top pair/weak kicker hands that had to be folded to big bets on the turn or river. Finally, I get A-K. I open to 10 and get a couple of callers. Flop is A high, turn is K and I win approx. $80.

Later, I see a flop with 7-10 in LP and flop a made straight (flop = 6-8-9). An Ace comes on the turn and my sole remaining opponent leads into me confidently. Thinking the Ace helped him and my call here would commit me, I go ahead and raise all in. My opponent thinks for a minute before calling. I table my straight and he tables his. We both had 7-10 for the same straight and chop the pot.

Near the end of my session, I get 10-10 again. I open bet to 15 and get two callers again, one is a short stack. Flop is 6 high. I bet the pot and get called by the short stack (whom I think has 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, or a big Ace). Turn pairs the 6 on the board and I bet again, opponent raises, I 3 bet all in (because I have tight image and I could not believe the opponent called me preflop with a 6 in hand) and they call. To my surprise, they had called my open bet with 4-6s, then called my flop bet with top pair and no kicker(which is usually a recipe for disaster for my opponents) and then got lucky. Keep in mind, I have shown nothing but winners (with primarily good starting hands) all night. Arghhh….talk about unobservant opponents, fortunately, I had the opponent covered so I was not felted. However, it was after 3 am Thursday morning (I had been up since 4 am Wednesday) and I was feeling mentally fatigued so I called it a night (while I was still up for the day). There would be much more Vegas to be had and I didn’t want to make my traditional mistake of over doing it on day one.


HighOnPoker said...

Great report so far. I love that 20$ trick!

Memphis MOJO said...

Nice report, love the photo!