Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Redemption of Skill or Fate of Luck

Now that the alcohol has run its course and sufficient bodily rest occurring it was time to sit down with Sportscenter running in the background to write down a few paragraphs about the first Vegas trip that ended with more money than I left Charles Lindbergh International Airport with last week.

This was supposed to be a trip to reconnect with friends spread across this land of the brave who come together once a year to chronicle a month long festival of poker degeneracy in their unique voices for those at home who cannot join the carnival themselves. They put you at the final table, in the bathroom, in the middle of a juicy cash Pot Limit Omaha game and occasionally jump into the fray themselves to show some poker chops behind the pen.

A trip to reconnect with my wife, trying to strengthen a marriage that has seen much and not received the attention needed. Of course, she was in Vegas for work reasons so this did not pan out as much as both of us wanted. We settled for enjoying our time in bits and pieces: a dinner at PF Changs, a decent variety show at Planet Hollywood, hitting up the penny slots, or the best pool/beach I’ve been to in Vegas at Mandalay Bay.

The highlight will be the trip downtown to Freemont Street where dreams of Vegas past are illuminated for a few minutes every hour during a free song and light show that doesn’t suck. Lower limits and lower expectations are found along this stretch of casinos that have done well in carving out a marketing plan to keep the coupon toting crowd coming back for more 99 cent fried Twinkies and afternoon shift strippers at the Glitter Glitch.

My Vegas dream started with the Las Vegas Monorail ride from MGM Grand to Sahara with $160 earmarked for the Binions Poker Classic Event #38 Limit Omaha 8 or Better (listed as NLHE but we know I wouldn't play that) event starting at 2pm. Due to my ten cent head, I walked from the Sahara to the Stratosphere for a cab ride since I had forgotten about the $2 bus ride that would have saved me some time in the dry 106 degree heat.

After arriving at the birthplace of the World Series of Poker, and handing over a good amount of money left in my wallet thanks to a cranky ATM machine there was a wait for CK to leave the boys at the Wynn cash game to join me so I sat down at a dime keno machine to channel my inner PKP Neil Fontenot by throwing down an American dollar and hitting nothing, but threw in second dollar and bounced around with it until my last solidarity dime hit six out of six for $160.00 meaning the tourney was a freeroll!

For the first eight hours of the tourney I spent my time chatting with a couple of locals about the dangers of ice fishing at 30 below, my choice of alcoholic beverage which they noticed came by far too often, and enjoying a leisurely live game of O8 that I don’t get to indulge in very often. My stack was the table leader by far after five hours, but my cooler wife walked in and I managed to lose the next three hands I played but still retained the table lead and was around the par stack after the dinner break. Looking up I could see CK was doing well for herself, plugged into serious poker mode yet remembering to shoot the boys a smile hidden with meaning. “Yes, I will be taking your chips soon”.

After I rinsed out the horrible Benny Binion hot dog with a few Captain and Cokes, three tables were left and I was moved to the left of the chipleader for a spell. Nothing significant happened except learning he was from Minnesota and moved out to California while my stack stayed the same thanks to a crap board hitting my big blind special. Once into the money the fun stopped.

There was a new table coach in the form of a green shirt sporting blob that once taught Phil Ivey a thing or two about split games. There was no stopping this douchebag’s runaway train of filth, spilling a cargo load of insults on good natured players who were either having fun, or hey there seems to be seven grand we’re playing for! I was in the fun boat having blown through my twenty singles nearing the twelfth hour of the tourney and starting to feel tired or the after-effects of that rat meat in a sausage casing. Having the table covered with authority this waste of oxygen managed to blow through so many penalties he didn’t play a hand for nearly two hours and still would end up chopping.

I was pissed because he managed to kill my well-labored buzz and having to turn off my hearing aids wasn’t helping. Nor was his harpy wife who had missed her clonazepam dose and shock treatment down at the dollar store back room pharmacy, she managed to catch the ire of the brush and also had to take a break away from the table while clutching some assortment of crinkled Fed-Ex wrapped papers like they were a sick child.

Were we playing poker? Ah, yes. Somehow I missed a bunch of draws and found myself down to a small blind with 14 or 15 left. Won the hand all-in preflop. Next hand all-in again, tripled up. Three hands later, doubled up again after calling a raise and forced someone off their hand with just one bet behind while the other table people dropped like recent celebrities. With five big blinds, I watched a lady with many years of poker under belt lose the last of her chips as the final table was announced!

FREE FUCKIN HAT!!! I love swag more than money, and was very excited to win it due to my very short stack I wasn’t looking to make more than the bottom money anyway.

But I did.

Caught a strong double suited A-3-X-X in the big blind with someone raising into me, doubled up. Very next hand catch A-2-6-K double suited, someone raised into my small blind, doubled up again to go from shorty to mid-stack in short order. Meanwhile places 10th, 9th, and 8th took leave to set up the reason why I chopped third place.

Folded around to CK on the button she raised as I looked down at a very welcome A-A-4-8 all red. I three-bet as CK elected to call with the flop coming down T-8-2, I bet she calls. Turned 3 gave me the nut low, so I bet as she raised, and the rest of my stack went into the middle turning over the black aces good for ¼ of the pot until…

… river 5

Runner-runner wheel scooped the pot from the friend I did not want to beat. Shortly after she would bust holding all crubs and I was forced to make a few bluffs due to the cards turning ice cold. The doucherocket returned to the table and immediately took a pot or two to salvage a few chips as we headed into the break, 25K/50K blind level coming back with me only holding three big blinds and in third place. Since the crew of Otis, Mean Gene, F-Train, and the walking party himself AlCantHang dropped in I tried to play the part of serious poker player but couldn’t help but smile seeing my friends travel downtown in the wee hours of the morning after their hard workday at the Rio.

Double fisting drinks with Al during the break, chatting about non-poker things we headed back to the elevated final table to find four anxious players awaited the Joe Mauer draped player to return.

“Do you want to chop?”

Having just three big blinds it made sense to me, but as the TD wrote down the stacks even the big stack only had 10 and we were left to playing Casino War for differences in the thousands. Even the deep-throating tampon was in for the chop, doing a 180 from prior requests.

$4,900 for 1st, $4,300 for 2nd, $3,270 for 3rd-5th, as I sat in third in chips.

But wait there’s a jacket for the winner! Oh man. Torn between my love of stitched garments to be worn at the gym and the biggest cash ever for this low roller, Al was the voice of reason and told me to take the money, stop being an idiot, and stop scaring them.

With the chop in hand with a glob of chips the crew reconvened at the bar for a couple round of celebratory drinks as the amount of 100s laid out was for once for me. We would head to the Gold Coast for a continuation of my luck, that’s a story for another time.

(I'm hoping the guys with their camera phones have a few pictures as my 90s style phone can hardly handle text messages)

From PokerPages the official results.

Hey, I have my own ranking!

1 comment:

Blogger said...

I've just installed iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.