Originally, I was planning to head back to L.A. from my most recent trip to Vegas on a Monday, the Monday after this story took place. But as the trip was winding down, I had been doing pretty well, and I didn’t really have anything on the calendar to come home to, so I decided to stay one more day. One of my motivations was the fact that this particular Monday night was the first Monday of the NFL season. That meant that the MGM would be running their football promo for two games, not just one. Double the opportunity to get picked for a cash prize or two. As you will recall, in the post I linked to, I was picked once and won $300.
I had already decided to extend my stay before hitting that promo that Sunday night, and winning the $300 made it seem like an even better decision to stay. Although, I suppose I could have looked at it the other way and reasoned that I had used up my luck on football promos and there was no point coming back the next night. It all depends on how you look at it, right?
I had played at MGM for both the Thursday night game and that Sunday night game, and in both cases, the games were fine. But this Monday night, not so much.
I got to MGM a bit before the first football game started, a scintillating affair between the Falcons and the Eagles. I couldn’t have cared less who won, I just wanted to see a lot of scoring so my chances of getting picked for the cash prize would increase. There was a decent amount of scoring in this game, at least.
But the first table they sent me to was awful. I didn’t recognize any of the players, but it was super, super tight. No one was putting chips in play—except me, it seemed, I kept losing those. There was one other problem with the table—the temperature. It was absolutely freezing where I was sitting. Now, this was still summer and the temperature outside was still over 100°, but my seat was about 45° if that. I was shivering even though I had bought a sweat shirt to put over my long-sleeve shirt. I might possibly I’ve stayed there if the game was any good, but the combination of a terrible table and the freezing conditions was enough impetus to get me to ask for a table change to the other side of the room where it was much warmer and I was no longer in danger of coming down with frostbite.
Unfortunately, the game wasn’t any better. Now, I recognized one or two of the players, but I started hearing a lot of conversation and I realized that it was mostly regs at this game. I could tell because they were all talking about their results in the freeroll that had taken place Sunday morning (ie, yesterday). All of them were clearly veterans of the freeroll and in fact, they had all played at least 30 hours leading up to it get double the starting stack.
So the question was, if these guys were all regs, how was it I didn’t recognize them? By now, shouldn’t I recognize most of the MGM regs? Well, I have a theory about that. I think the allure of the back-to-back football promos brought out a lot of the regs who might ordinarily play at times when I’m not there—overnights, or during days. They figured they could make a huge dent in the number of hours they need to put in while having a shot at some free cash.
I have to assume that the presence of all those regs—and regs who were clearly intent on earning hours for the next freeroll—impacted the games. I mean, if there were any tables with a lot of loose tourists, I sure hadn’t found it.
I was down to a bit more than $100 when I moved to this second table. I hadn’t written down a hand at the first table, and I had thus lost nearly half my stack in totally undramatic fashion (and without winning a pot there). It didn’t take too long for me to have to top off my stack with another $100.
One guy at the table who was not a reg was an older, white haired gentleman. He was complaining about high tight the table was. At one point, he shoved a relatively short stack, and when the other player folded he said, “I guess I’m the only one who wants to gamble.”
Finally I got a hand to play—Ace-Queen offsuit. I raised to $8 and this old guy called, along with one other player. The flop was Ace high and I bet $20, only the old guy called. The turn was a King, and I bet $50—he called. The river was blank and I bet $65. He went into the tank, and then looked straight at me and asked, “Are you local?” WTF?
I started laughing, it was such a non-sequitur. At first, I didn’t say anything but he asked again. I said, still laughing, “What difference does that make?” He finally folded and said, “You play like a local.” OK. It did remind me of the time some total jerk asked me, “What’s your nationality?” and I went ballistic (see here). I did not laugh that off. But clearly I was in a better mood. I even told everyone about the guy asking me my nationality as I stacked my chips, still chuckling.
At one point during the game someone I didn’t recognize came over to say hello. He was not a young man by any means, and he said, “Hi Rob…..I’m Larry. I met you once….” Yeah, indeed, I remembered. I mentioned meeting Larry at the WSOP Deepstacks in the post here. He had recognized me from the Ante Up pic and wanted to tell me he was a big fan of the blog. Subsequently, via email and in blog comments, “Big L,” as he signs his name, has made me one of the most interesting and unusual offers I can remember getting. He has offered to take me to a Vegas strip club and buy me a lap-dance. Now that is one hell of an offer. But I have to say, the idea of a man buying another man a lap-dance seems just a bit strange to me—unless it’s either a bachelor party or some guy’s 21st birthday party. Well, I’m not getting married and my 21st birthday was a few years ago. But I really appreciate the offer, sir.
Anyway, he knew I was playing there—I’d told him on Twitter—and said he just came by to say hi again. Wow. He told me he had played at the Aria 1PM tourney and was likely going back to play the 7PM. But sometime later, I noticed he was actually sitting at another 1/2 game right there one aisle over from me.
Also at that same table was my pall Don, who I last mentioned in the post here. Don texted me earlier and asked if I thought the games at the MGM would be good for the NFL promos. This was early, before I realized I had discovered two tables that were not very good. Based on my nice result the night before—including hitting the promo—I told him yes. When he arrived, he was sent to that other table and I told him not to bother transfer to mine, and to see if his was any better. Unfortunately, he figured out that there were a bunch of regs at his game too and it wasn’t much (if at all) better than mine. So I didn’t bother to try to get in his game either.
I would have moved to his game anyway, to be sociable—or perhaps looked for a different game to try—but I had to maneuver around eating. You see the big block of football games right around meal time presented me with a challenge. I had to eat after the first game started and before the second game was over. My initial thought was that I’d hopefully have enough time between games to take a quick dinner break. I had also strongly considered just grabbing a sandwich from the deli and bringing it back to the table and eat while playing. In fact, thinking I’d likely be doing that, I didn’t want to move to another table until after I’d eaten, as the one good thing about my current seat was that there would be room for a cart right next to me to eat off of, and there was no guarantee it would be so convenient if I moved tables.
But two things affected my thinking. One, as the first game appeared near conclusion, I wasn’t really that hungry yet. And second, it actually appeared that there was a chance the first game would go into overtime. And I thought, what if the second game starts while the first game is in OT? Double the scoring chances—for sure I didn’t want to be away from the table if that happened. So I decided to hang on and eat during the halftime of the second game.
Well, that second game, if you will recall, was between the 49’ers and the Vikings and was god-awful. Seriously, it was a terrible football game. In fact, I believe it has already been voted the worst football game ever played. You can Google that if you don’t believe me. There was no scoring during the first half at all until the very end of the half. And again, I had no interest in the outcome, I just wanted lots of scoring. So this second Monday nite game was not exactly the game I was looking for.
By this time, the idea of eating at the table didn’t appeal to me. The trouble was, there was no sandwich I could eat that wouldn’t be extremely messy and difficult to eat at the table. I envisioned getting either mustard or BBQ sauce—depending on my sandwich choice—all over my fingers and thus the cards (Note: the only mustard available at the deli is in those tiny little tin foil packs, and I defy anyone to open one of those without getting mustard on their fingers—if not your shirt). I am a fast eater, the deli area was pretty empty so I decided to just take a shot and see if I could gobble down a sandwich during half time.
Now, after that score late in the half, there was, in my estimation, so little time left that the Vikings, trailing 7-0, wouldn’t even bother trying to do anything, they’d just run out the clock since their offense had been so pathetic up to this point. So as soon as the random seat was selected for the cash promo and it wasn’t me, I bolted and hit the deli up and got my sandwich. By the time I sat down to eat it, I was surprised that the game was still going and that the Vikings were actually attempting to score. The deli is located right next to the sports book so I could follow the game. And damn, it sure looked like I was gonna miss a score. It appeared they had a shot at a long FG attempt—but opted go for a TD instead. I don’t remember it exactly, but I was happy that they didn’t score and I didn’t miss one of the few opportunities during this pathetic game to win a seat drawing. You know, now that I think about it, I’m kind of surprised that after this game, bad as it was, they just didn’t decide to disband the NFL right then and there so that the public would never again be treated to such a horrific display of ineptitude. And by the way—can someone please explain to me how Colin Kaepernick still has a career?
Anyway, I was almost done with my dinner by the time the half mercifully ended, so I had no problem getting back to my game before this scintillating display of boredom resumed.
And at that point, I asked to get a table change to where Don and Larry were sitting. I mean, how could I resist playing with someone who liked my blog so much, he wanted to treat me to a lap dance?
The table with Don and Larry, when I finally got there, was actually a bit better than the other two games. There was one certified donkey putting chips in play, and there were some big stacks, so it wasn’t a nitfest by any means. The trouble was, the big stacks all belonged to really good players and thus hard to extract. But at least the conversation was fun. Especially from Larry, who was almost embarrassing me telling me how much he loved my blog. There were a couple of regs at this table who knew me and were probably surprised to hear that I had a blog, although they didn’t ask about it. It turns out that Larry is a really cool, really funny guy. And I might even have said that if wasn’t a huge fan.
Don and I actually did get into a couple of hands together. I called his raise to $12 with pocket 4’s and hit a set. The board was 10-5-4, and I checked. He dutifully put out a $22 c-bet and I checked raise to $55. He speculated aloud on the likelihood that I was bluffing (not very) and then folded Ace-King.
Then, I believe I was in the blind with Ace-8 off and there was an Ace on the flop. I kept calling Don’s small bets. On the river, he was betting $25 and I figured I was probably outkicked. But I called because the $25 was just small enough to rope me in. I probably wouldn’t have called $35. He had Ace-2. But unfortunately for me, there was a deuce on the board.
Having to get up early the next morning for the drive back home, I called it an early night. I’d struck out at the football promos, to mix metaphors. Although I dropped a couple of bills playing in three different games that were all fairly lame, it turned out to be a good decision to stay that extra night. It’s always fun at the poker table with Don, and I was glad I got to know Larry better. He is a real hoot.
As for the games, well, I do think it was the back-to-back football promos that made the room a bit top-heavy with regs (since I didn’t recognize so many). And truth be told, there were at least three other tables going that I could have checked to see if they were jucier games, I suspect one was. I should have been willing to try them all. Next time……