As I mentioned last time, I'm in Vegas now. Got in Thursday, and thus far, every day has given me blogging material. If only I had time to write up the blogs. Oh wait, I have some time right now, so,, since it's fresh in my mind and will thus be the easiest to write up, let's try talking about what happened yesterday. And by yesterday, I mean Sunday even though this will be Tuesday the earliest by the time you read this. But I'm drafting this on Monday so it was yesterday to me.
There almost wasn't anything to write about. I woke feeling poorly and never really felt a-ok. I had a headache and a rather queasy stomach. Mostly it was a severe lack of appetite with the occasional feeling of nausea. If I had been home, I would have probably just vegged out in front of the TV for the day, but I wasn't quite feeling poorly enough to waste a precious day in Vegas, so I braved going out and tried to play some poker.
I wanted to play in the "Stratstack" over at the Stratosphere. That's a $110 deepstack tournament they run semi-regularly (once a month?) and they were having an extra one for Labor Day weekend. This is was the first time I can remember there being one when I was able to play, and since Mark, the new manager of the room, is a good guy I wanted to check it out for myself. Those of you remember (or played in) the initial TBC Invitational at the Riviera will remember Mark from that (see here).
It had been a long time since I'd been over to the Strat. It's actually a pretty nice room, and I know that Mark is trying hard to make it even better. One thing I really like is that the tables aren't all jammed together like so many poker rooms; there's actually adequate space between the tables. The chairs are another matter, there are some good ones and some really bad ones, but I was assured that new chairs have been ordered. When I got stuck with one of the bad chairs, I commented to Mark and he swapped it for one of the good ones. But he wasn't giving me any preferential treatment. I saw a woman complain earlier and she too got an improved chair.
Anyway, the tournament had a great structure--$20K starting stack, 30-minute levels and was well run. The dealers were all top notch and the floor staff was quick to respond any issues. I just wish Mark had used his pull to get me some decent cards. But between not gettng much to play and probably not being able to play my best due to not feeling so great, it was a pretty early exit for me. One nice touch for the tournament: They serve pizza during the first break. It was funny though, the pizza was running late so we had an extended first break until the pizza arrived and everyone had a chance to get some. They actually serve pizza the first break of all their tournaments.
And I didn't last much beyond the first break. By then, with the blinds at 25/300/600 I was pretty short stacked and looking for a place to shove. It folded to me in the small blind and I thought about shoving with Ace-4 off. But instead I figured I'd raise to see if I could get some value for my Ace. Unfortunately, I didn't raise enough...I meant to make it $1,600 and only added a $1K chip, so it was pretty easy for the big bind--an older, very tight player--to call what was basically a min raise. He did just that and the flop was all hearts. I had the Ace of hearts so I went all-in. He snap called with something like Queen-5 of hearts. I still had the draw to the nuts but I missed and I was done.
I went back to my room to get some rest and even managed to nap a bit. When I awoke, I wasn't feeling too good. Maybe I was just groggy from the snooze? Anyway, I was texting back and forth with Pete Peters who was in town, seeing if we were going to get together for some poker. Now previously, PPP had blogged about being too lazy to walk to his own mailbox to get his mail, so for sure he was way too lazy to make his way down to MGM for some poker this evening. So I agreed to meet him at Bally's.
After consuming some soup for dinner and feeling a bit better, I headed over to Bally's. I was barely on the list for a minute when PPP showed up and got on the list behind me. We managed to get into the same game and I was in seat 5 and he was in seat 3. Ironically, we were at the very same table where, end of last year, Lightning, Nick and I all played together. PPP, like Nick on that night, was two to my right, and in position to button straddle my big blind. And unlike Nick, he never did it, not even once. But then, Nick has already explained how he purposely tries to piss off his friends whenever he plays poker with them (see here). Unlike Nick, PPP is a man of class.
Of course, PPP has not only already blogged about this session, he's actually blogged about his entire Labor Day weekend Vegas trip. In one post! Clearly he doesn't understand how to write properly. Writing legal briefs all day has gotten him addicted to the word "brief." Blog posts are supposed to be long, drawn-out and anything but brief, sir. Anyway, you can find his write-up of this session summed up in a few sentences here.
Early in the session, there was a situation that had Pete and I giving each other quizzical looks. An older guy button straddled. Under-the-gun called the $5 (because, yes folks, here and at I believe all CET properties, they do the frightful button straddle the wrong way, with UTG having first action--see here). It folded to the button who popped it to $15. UTG called. The flop was Queen high, two spades. UTG checked, and the button shoved for $59. And UTG tanked.
I don't mean he tanked, I mean he tanked. He stared at the board. He counted the pot about a zillion times. Yes it was a bit of an over bet. $59 into a $30 pot. He counted it 87 more times. You could see the wheels spinning in his brain as to what the bet could mean. He kept muttering to himself. PPP and I kept looking at each other amused. Or annoyed. Or both. I mean, it wasn't like this was a tournament and the call was for his tournament life. It wasn't like the call would have even been half his stack, or for what even 1/5 of what his mortgage payment was. It was a lousy sixty bucks. Come on, fella, make a freaking decision. You would have thought it was the last hand of the WSOP main event.
He was taking so long, I worried that PPP might miss his flight--which wasn't til the next afternoon. Now, I have never ever called clock on someone, but this was getting ridiculous. I don't do it because, honestly, I don't want to make an enemy of anyone at the table. Also, I think calling the clock might affect the action, and I don't want to do that either. But this was absurd. I was about to call it when, instead, the button called it on the guy. Rarely do you see the player who made the bet call the clock on his opponent, as you never know if that will cause the guy to change his action, which may be good or bad.
But the guy who was all in did indeed call clock and after using most of it, the guy facing the bet finally folded. Then he said he had pocket Jacks and thought he made a bad lay down. I have no idea. The old guy left the game not long after. There was a debate at the table. "He wouldn't have made that big bet if he had something." "He was protecting a big hand against the flush draw." Who knows. But it was just $60! Save the 10-minute tanks for the $600 pots.
While PPP was turning quad 7's, I was barely participating. It was one of those sessions where I hovered around break even pretty much the entire time. I'd win a few small pots, then bleed chips away very slowly. For most of the session I was never more than up $25 or down $10.
When I was catching cards, I was only winning small pots. Within a very short period of time, I caught a straight on the river with pocket 9's and another with 5-4 of hearts from the big blind. But it was mere pennies.
Then with PPP away from the table, I got a bit luckier. I limped in with pocket 5's. It was 4 ways and the flop was 7-5-4. I just called a bet for $11, it was heads up. He checked a 7 on the turn and I bet $30. He called. The I bet $55, which was about his remaining stack, on a 3 on the river. I was hoping it gave him a straight, but after tanking, he folded. Still the biggest pot I'd dragged in thus far.
Just a few minutes later I had 8-2 off in the big blind, no raise. The flop was 4-2-2 and I checked. A new guy at the table bet $11 and I just called. I checked a blank turn and called his $30 bet. The river was another 4, now I wasn't so happy about my hand. I couldn't dismiss the possibility he had a damn 4 and had me boat over boat. So when he put out $40, I just called. He showed two paint cards that in no way had connected with the low board. He fired three barrels into me with total air. Sweet.
Getting those two boats in such a short period of time finally got me well into the black.
Getting those two boats in such a short period of time finally got me well into the black.
PPP returned to the table and then soon cashed out. His luck had changed for the worse, and if you read the blog post I linked to, you will see he somehow blames me for his bad luck! There was a lady dealer when he picked up and as soon as he was gone, the lady dealer said to me, "How are you two guys friends?"
Well that was an odd question. Are we such an odd couple that no one could believe we'd be pals? Really? Weird.
I said something about being internet pals. She said, "OK. I've never seen him before. I know I've seen you in here before." Odd because PPP has probably put more hours in at Bally's than I have.
Then she started talking to some other guy at the table and said, "I'll try flirting with you. I tried flirting with Robert and he wasn't interested." Huh? That was flirting?
Whatever. The table started to break up and I was fine with calling it a relatively early night, since I'd been under the weather all day. I managed to turn a break-even session into a $150 profit at the last moment. Not bad.