Wednesday, December 14, 2005

WPBT Imperial Palace: Day 2

Started the day as a tourist, by midday I was a man of the cloth, and by night I was a card slinging blogger.

The Tourist

When the Excalibur PLO8 game broke in the wee hours of Friday, I attempted to go back to the maze that is Imperial Palace for a quick hour or two of shut-eye. Even though I consumed enough alcohol to fill Lake Superior twice over, I couldn’t sleep. What’s a person to do when he can’t sleep in Vegas?

No, I didn’t dial up a “relaxation therapist”. I went for a walk up and down the strip. Its one of the most overlooked free things to do in Vegas. There’s something therapeutic about day-break on the strip. Its not overtly crowded with seniors hustling from casino to casino wielding their coupon books for a free deck of cards and a coffee. The strippers have succumbed to their narcotic highs and lay in comatose till the dinner buffet starts up again at their club. With the weather being near perfect for a winter-hardened Vikings fan, I also enjoyed watching people bundle up in gloves and coats while I carried my freshly made McGriddle and hash brown with no destination.

Maybe I’m a dork (ok, not maybe…), but I also enjoy watching others’ gamble. No, not just the people betting my yearly salary on four to six cards of baccarat. Its watching the frat boys slinging dice for $5 at O’Sheas, the slot queens with players’ club cards from every casino on the strip, and the degenerate who is wagering on borrowed money praying to the gods of Hoyle to turn over an Ace and face so he can pay his bookie and rent this week.

After the nice walk I met up with Joaquin, Donkeypuncher, and Performify to go raid the Orleans for an O8 tournament, with AlCantHang and F-Train already there. Since I wasn’t lying in a pool of puke on this morning, I was ready for my test to see if there’s ANY reason I should try to play in the O8 tourney at the WSOP in July. I figured if I bombed here there’s no reason to blow 1/4th of my bankroll to earn a souvenir stating “I Played in the WSOP and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt”.

But, I didn’t bomb, in fact I came darn close to cashing despite being the only person left who wasn’t wearing an Orleans hat/jacket/shirt or with a Las Vegas driver’s license. The cards just didn’t materialize for me as I was short-stacked much of the third hour, only able to split one pot, and steal another on a raggedy flop. I went out with a decent A25J hand but the flop came out mostly high leaving me to runner-runner and the chip leader’s continued run of premium AA(wheel)X hands held up. I placed 17th out of ~80 runners, excellent staff, excellent structure, well worth the entry fee. Sure, the WSOP will have MUCH better players but this was reassuring that I may have a knack for this mixed game. Or I'm just extremely lucky while playing.


I cannot properly write up that cab ride since I was still half-drunk and going on nearly 40 hours without sleep, but I can tell you next time I’m asking for the parochial discount on strippers. Check out DP’s write up of the crazy finger banging Hispanic cab jockey.

Time to gambOOOOOOOOl!!!!

Since the Orleans took up most of the day it was time to descend upon the MGM Grand for Joaquin’s mixed game mosh pit. I arrived a little early and found a Princess and a Genius silently stealing chips at a 2-4 table. Matty soon came up to intro himself after leaving a healthy chip stack at his table. I decided on a $700 buy-in at the $2-$4 table once my name was called but not after many drunken attempts to just sit at the open seat. If Helen Keller and Steve Urkel were ever to mate, you’d get me. Finally sitting down with my tower of blue chips I started playing my usual weak-tight game, calmly tossing the blackjack hands back into the muck with the flair of a TGI Friday’s worker. Maigrey managed to impress even CJ with a one-outer suckout when her short stacked opponent turned a straight flush only to get rivered by her four card Royal. I would have gone broke.

“Why do you have so many chips?” inquired the “serious” player in the one seat. The simple answer is that I loathe limit hold em, the complex answer is that I play looser with a big stack and see the towers as legos rather then checks which can be redeemed for money. Tight isn’t right at a limit table where it pays to hit those gutshots, flushes, and idiot two pairs. I’m not breaking any new ground with that statement, just overcoming a mental block that I have at a live table.

Soon the mixed HORSPE game started and I was back in blogger heaven. There’s nothing like slinging chips with friends and dragging a few suckout pots. I remember seeing Matty, CJ, BG, and Performify at my table (please help me fill in the blanks) and also bouncing back and forth to the back bar where blogger’s were yielding to the Roshambo skillz of Mrs. Head and discussing various subjects that need not to be repeated.

In between the bouncing, a surprisingly short Chris Moneymaker scrolled out of the restroom with the scowl of someone who just got stacked. I guess even WSOP World Champs lose once in a while. Then, my stomach started growling from neglect; it’s the food capital of the world and I choose a McGriddle for an entire day’s meal (unless you count my steady liquid diet of course). My dinner wasn’t much better as I settled on eating a warm pretzel with Speaker and Rini while watching futbol highlights in the massive MGM sportsbook.

After the pretzel was consumed, I went back to the IP for the only sleep I got the entire trip. All four hours of it.

Thanks for dropping by, tomorrow will bring tournament highs and lows, “I bet my boy turns over a 10”, and “Drizz, why are you still up at 5am playing slots?”

Side note… A big FU to shoveling snow at 4:30am this morning. That is all.

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