Chillin Chillin...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Back from Vegas

What a much needed trip for Leslie and I. Wish I wish still out there playing poker, but had to come back to reality.

Friday's trip was uneventful. We had a lot of turbulence the last thirty minutes of the flight into Vegas, but other than that it was ok. We should have packed some food for the flight. I was pretty stubborn at the layover in Dallas and decided to not get something at the airport (only thing close to our gate was Popeye's, yuck). By the time we got to the Bellagio I was starving and exhausted. We checked in and checked out the room (very nice), and then walked around the hotel in search of food. Somehow we ended up in Caesar's and ate dinner at one of their restaurants (pretty good).

I wasn't feeling too good after dinner, so we headed back to the room. Surprisingly it was very cold (40s or 50s), and the winds were around 15-20 mph. Got back to the room, eight o'clock hit and I was out. Leslie stayed up for a couple hours watching TV.

Saturday morning we were both up at four o'clock (not adjusted to the time yet). We tried to go back to sleep, but it wasn't happening. Went to eat breakfast at Cafe Bellagio, which was some good stuff. Then we headed towards the south side of the strip. Walked down to Mandalay Bay to check out the hotel. Wanted to show Les where we stayed for her bro's bachelor party. While we were their, I sat down to play some $2/$4 limit poker. After about a forty-five minute session I was down $30. There was one hand that killed me where I hit a set of 2's. Girl caught a straight on the river and stole a big pot from me. Leslie played the slots and was down around $10.

After that we made our way back to the Bellagio. We walked through New York, New York, The Luxor, Ex Calibur and a handful more hotels. When we got back to the hotel we changed into our swimsuits and headed down to the pool. It was beautiful outside. We stayed out there for about an hour, and then loooked for somewhere to eat lunch. Ended up at a small cafe outside of Bellagio's Poker room. This is where we got our first glimpse of all of the Professional Poker players. Throughout the trip we saw the following people play in the Bellagio Poker Room: Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negraneau, Johny World, Gus Hanson, Cecilia Mortensen, Barry Greenstein, Freddie Deeb, Phil Gordon, James Woods, Humberto Brenes, Erick Lindgren, Antonio Esfandiari, and David Williams. Very cool stuff. Some of them were playing in a 25K Satellite, and the others were playing 3K-6K limit Hold 'Em.

After lunch we went back up to the room to relax for a bit. I then took a walk to the Mirage to pick up our tickets for the Danny Gans show. While I was there I checked out the Poker Room and entered myself in a $70 10 person Sit and Go. I started off pretty well, and was able to steal three or four blinds. The second level of blinds is where everything went downhill. I was dealt pocket Js, and was two spots to the right of the button. Blinds were 25/50 and two players limped in when it came to me. I didn't want any callers so I raised it up to $350 (1/3 of my stack). The button re-raised me all-in (I had him covered by 325). Was in a bind, thought I was against AK or A's or Ks. Was hoping for AK and called him, but he turned over Ks. I then waited eight or nine more hands before I made my move to double up. Was faced with had A2 vs Q7 (big blind called). He flopped a 7 and I was the first person eliminated.

So I headed back to the hotel to tell Les the news. My gambling for the trip was off to a bad start (-$100). We slowly got ready for the night the rest of the afternoon, and headed to a Japanese restaurant called Shintaro in the Bellagio for dinner. Hibachi, our favorite. Was a pretty expensive dinner, but it was worth it. We sat with a guy who was playing in all of the poker tournaments Bellagio had running (including the 25K tourney). This guy was buddies with TJ Cloutier, and placed in a couple of the WSOP events last year. Had a good time chatting poker with him and his kid. Sounded like he was living a nice life. He also plans on spending the entire month of June in Vegas (must be nice).

We got out of dinner with enough time to get lost on our way to the Mirage and still make it in time for the Danny Gans show. The show was great. This guy is extremely talented. It's amazing how many different impersonations he can do. He had a couple (Homer Simpson and Jay Leno) that needed some more practice, but man it was funny stuff.

After the show we played a little blackjack at Caesar's and I lost $80. Had a couple of nice runs of three winning hands in a row, but couldn't get to four. Headed back to the room after the blackjack and called it an early night.

Woke up pretty early on Sunday. Went to a coffee shop in Bellagio for breakfast, and then went to O'Sheas. O'Sheas is a small casino we found when we came to Vegas for Matt and Shak's wedding. They have $5 blackjack and $.25 Roulette and Craps. Leslie sat down and played blackjack for about an hour while I watched. She ended up $20 for the session. We then headed over to Harrah's to check out the hotel in hopes of some WSOP apparel (I later found out Rio's is the hotel that hosted the WSOP last year).

While we were there I visited the poker room, and sat down to play what I thought was $1/$2 limit. After two or three hands I realized it was $1/$2 No Limit. No big deal. Figured I would play real tight and wait for a hand. The first hand I ended up playing was AQ on the small blind. There were 5 callers and I decided to stick with my conservative play and just call. The flop was AQ7. I was first to act and I checked. The guy to the left of me threw out a $15 bet. Everyone folded, and I re-raised him to $55. He called. The turn was a 3. I went all-in (another $40), and he called and flipped over QJ. Sweet!! Doubled up after about 15 minutes of play.

For the next 15 minutes I stayed out of the action again. I then got dealt 56 off suit on the big blind and was able to see a flop for free (3 players). The flop was J65. I checked the flop and was to the button. He bet out $10. I re-raised it to $35 (which put him all-in). Both players called my raise and we checked to the river. I ended up taking down the pot with my 2 pair against his Js. Played about ten more hands and then cashed out up $175.

After that we walked through a couple hotels. We went through the Venetian, and the Wynn. Both hotels were very nice. While we were at the Wynn a very bad thing happened. I was introduced to the slot Wheel of Fortune. Be very careful of this slot machine. Leslie was obsessed with it. It's very misleading. You deposit your money, and can play anywhere from 1 to 15 lines. We were mostly playing 15 lines. Where this slot gets you is say play 15 lines (15 credits), and win, the slot machine makes all of kind of noises (you would think you won a car). You get all happy and start getting into it. But it turns out you only won 4 credits, so you actually lost money. Still the noise of the slot, and the fact that you can spin the wheel every 20 spins, kept us amused, and we ended up throwing away close to $20.

After that we jumped on the monorail over to Bally's. In Bally's we spotted a Sbarro's and sat down to eat some lunch. After that it was back to Bellagio, where Leslie headed up to the room, and I stood outside the poker room to watch the likes of James Woods. He didn't fair well while I was watching him, but he is apparently a very good poker player.

Watched the poker for about thirty minutes and headed up to the room to get in the swim gear. We chilled out by the pool for 45 minutes and then watched some more poker. Headed up to the room and started getting ready for the night. Went over to Caesar's around 5:00 to pick up the tickets for Celine. Unfortunately the show was cancelled because Celine was sick. Apparently she cancelled Saturday nights show too. We were really bummed.

That left us with a lot of time for gambling. I headed straight for the poker room while Leslie looked for the closest Wheel of Fortune slot. I really liked Caesar's Poker Room. They had flat screens in there that showed the waiting lists, and they had a lot of tables. I put my name down for a $60 Sit and Go. After waiting for about 10 minutes I decided to also put my name down for $1/$2 No Limit. Fifteen minutes later a seat opened up at the $1/$2 No Limit game. I took the same approach I used at Harrah's. Played very tight and waited for a monster. After about 15 minutes I got As. The guy to my left acted before me and raised it to $12. The dealer told him to take his money back, and the I raised it to $20. Unfortunately since I raised it more than his $12, he wasn't forced to play the hand. If I would have just called, he would have had to make the $12 raise. After seeing my raise, he decided to fold, as well as the rest of the table.

On the next hand I got dealt Ks. I again raised it to $20 and this time I got two callers. The flop was J93. I came out with a $40 bet, and got one caller. The turn was a 4 and I went all-in. The one guy in the hand called and turned over Qs. The river was a K and I doubled up.

Later I played K9 in the small blind and hit a K on the flop. One guy came out with a $10 bet, and I called. A nine came on the turn and the same guy bet out $10. I re-raised to $40 and he folded. I stayed for another time around the table, and ended up cashing out up $138.

After that we headed to a restaurant called 808 in Caesar's. Very good stuff. I had the Lobster Bisque and Shrimp and Scallops in a Red Curry Sauce. Leslie had the Lamb Chops. Both were great. After dinner we walked back to Bellagio. Leslie was exhausted. We played some more Wheel of Fortune at Bellagio and then headed up to the room. It was still on the early side and Leslie was in for the night, so I decided to go back to Caesar's to play some more poker.

Went back to my favorite game, $1/$2 No Limit. I had a lot of fun at this table. Half of the table was filled with twenty year old punks or teenagers with good fake id's. They actually played very well. They knew how to play monster hands very well, but couldn't get away from mediocre hands which got them in trouble. I played my same game. Lost a decent size pot on a good bluff from one of the young guys. I hit As on the flop and he called my down to the turn. The river brought a third diamond and he came out betting big. I thought about calling for about a minute, and then folded my hand. He turned over pocket 2s and took the pot. I got him back two hands later.

I had K8 suited and was the two of us again. The flop was KJ3. He came out betting $10 and I called. The turn came an A, and he came out with a $20 bet. I made it $60 to play. He thought about calling for about a minute and mucked his hand. Played pretty tight the rest of the way. Then the biggest mistake of my weekend play came.

I got AT on the button and limped in. Three players. The flop was AKT with two hearts. The guy to my left checked. The third player (plays a lot of hands and draws) bets out $10. I re-raised it to $45. Both players call, and with the call the guy to my left was all-in. The turn comes and it’s another A. I hit the boat. The guy who is not all-in bets the minimum $2. I think for a while on deciding what I want to do (raise or call). As I am thinking he turns over one of his cards and it's an A (didn't know you were allowed to do that). Now I am starting to worry. He's talking a lot as I decide on whether I should call him or raise him. For some strange reason I was convinced he had AK, so I just called. The river was a 6. He bets another $2. I decide to play ultra conservative and just call again. He turns over his 4 kicker and I lose out on an opportunity to get paid off big time. It was still a big pot, but I could have gotten at least another $40-50 out of him. Bad play on my part.

The next hour or so was very dead. The entire table started playing very tight, and there was very little action. I was hitting any cards and started opening up my starting hands. Didn't hit anything and ended up cashing out up $131. Headed back to the room and that was the end of our Vegas Vacation.

Good times and can't wait to do it again. Would have been great to come back to a Monday-Friday cruise (with Samantha). After all of the walking we did in Vegas we were exhausted and needed another vacation. Thinking that might be plan next time.


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