Thursday, December 15, 2005

WPBT Imperial Palace: Day 3

The day of the big tournament.

My anticipation of an early bust out and subsequent whining enable me to catch four hours of restless sleep. Actually I was extremely excited to see everyone that I didn’t catch at the MGM or Excal. After snagging a cheese Danish at Starbucks with Chad and Speaker we strolled upstairs to the massive gathering of fellow online poker scribes.

This is where the tingle started. I probably repeated the phrase “I’m still tingling”15 million and one times to Otis and Rini because it was the truth. I’d never played in a big live tournament nor felt the exclusivity of the roped off area, OPEN BAR, and professionally set up poker arena. The only other time I’ve felt this was playing in the state high school baseball tournament. Except this time I didn’t have to worry about being eyed by scouts/college coaches. Instead I would be stripped mentally by fellow virtual card slingers.

People say you shouldn’t drink while playing a tournament, but for me it’s the opposite. While playing competitive volleyball, my teammates ALWAYS insisted I have a shot/Cap’n Coke before stepping onto the sand. Reason? Because then I would just react to the flow of the game, rather then think about it. If I made a mistake, I’d shrug it off easier and get ready for the next point. And as soon as BigMike graced the table with his presence right next to me all thoughts of sobriety went under the table. Shots of SoCo were handed out and consumed before the announcement of “shuffle up and deal!” came out.

I won’t go into detail about the tournament except to say thanks:

To all the participants: We all play this brutal game of taking each other’s money yet come together like one big happy, dysfunctional family. Your smiles and jokes are infectious. The generous offers of drinks and conversation, warm up a saddened heart of losing on the felt.

To Rini and Otis: Your leadership brought this tournament and gathering to life and exceeded every expectation. Be proud of what you’ve done and here’s to hoping it will happen again. Did anyone get a picture of Rini kicking me in the balls after busting him? I want to use it as blackmail for a Full Tilt hockey sweater :D

To Imperial Palace: Ok, your hotel is a maze worthy of a MENSA entrance exam question. But you put on a great show! The staff was attentive and polite. The waitresses’ boobs were firm and legs were long. The poker room, while small, provided some great side action (not to mention those yummy finger sandwiches and cookies).

To The City of Las Vegas: You left me with a depleted wallet, blue balls, and one massive hangover again. But, I’ll be back for more in six months. Keep seat 4 on table 22 at the MGM warm for me.

I managed to finish 18th in the WPBT tourney. Four hours of play with 100 friends all for the amazingly low price of $65 (does not include shipping and handling). As you probably read from our victor’s write up, you need to get lucky more then once and that just didn’t happen as I got shortstacked with 4BBs left and found 77 UTG. As soon as I saw –EV look at his cards, I knew I was in trouble. Queens never win, right? Yeah, the Hilton’s punched my ticket and sent me over to the open bar for one last Cap’n Coke.

After the bustout I spied the adjacent poker room for an open seat and found BG playing a little 2-4 with some WPT pros. After taking the seat to his right he informed me of the half kill which confused my alcohol addled head to no end. I decided on a short buy of $500 this time because my chip stacking skills were a little off due to the lack of food in my system mixed with a full tank of various drinks. My chip stack went up and down and BG kept taking my money like an Enron executive, but we were both receiving donations from the guy in the one seat who felt compelled to call to the river with any two cards completely ignoring my panting when I had a big hand. Then a kill pot came across while I was in the big blind, BG folded, raised by a scruffy/quiet kid in the two seat, SB was the kill, I called blind, and the kill also called.

Flop T T 6

SB bet, I called blind, the scruffy kid wakes up and raises. Hmmmmm. SB calls, and now I look down at my cards JTo and start doing a mental happy dance. I call the raise. And the turn comes out a blank which completed the rainbow. Blinds checked, scruffy kid leads out, SB calls, and Drizz RAISES! Suddenly the all of the air from the scruffy kid seemed to be let out but he calls and the SB folds because you know he’s wearing a poker shirt and stuff. The river is another blank and I throw out one more bet knowing I’ll get called by an overpair. Just before the showdown BG interjects “I bet my boy turns over a ten”.

You are correct sir. Scruffy turned over QQ.

After racking up, the batcall came from the Excal to return to alcohol and wheel spins. I found the Vegas Hold Em’ table already filled with G-Vegas and Wil Wheaton so I tried a little spot of 2-6 limit with Derek. After only playing two or three orbits, I wasn’t feeling well and decided to walk the floor a bit. Easycure and his lovely wife waved me over to play some Pai Gow, but my head just wasn’t in the right place to have fun. Little did I know I just gave up seeing her hit a Royal for $750 which paid the table as well. I tried bouncing around on the nickel slots to see if some cartoons would get me back into the gambling mood but alas, even a couple of bonus rounds on the Monopoly machine didn’t do the trick.

I finally realized I needed to be with the group.

Speaker, April, Columbo, Falstaff, and DP were slinging chips at the same table I lost $300 at on the first night. Figured if this doesn’t cheer me up, maybe I’ll check out a strip club on my own.

It only took one wheel spin to flip the switch back to fun.

First hand I watched Falstaff’s flopped TPTK with AQ, fall to runner-runner quad jacks by DP. Then GRob started dropping by to hand out money like it was candy. The wheel at the Excalibur has three colors, I took blue, Speaker had green, GRob had yellow, and then I also had blue with Falstaff taking green. Yellow missed the next 7 times in a row, reducing GRob to sob like someone who got left at the altar in the middle of the poker room.

“No more!” cried the meticulously coiffed one as he weeped back to something he could actually win at.

The game broke after a few hours and we were offered new seats which everyone but me took but I wanted to head back to the IP and possibly hit up the poker room for some comps towards the hotel bill and try out the NL game. Instead I got sucked into a penny machine with a super-cool bonus game at 5am! DP and friend were lounging by after getting back from the strip club (opportunity missed again) inquiring why I was playing video games as the lovely bouncy waitress came by with another Cap’n Coke. The idiot boxes usually calm me, but they were a sign of boredom tonight as I was stuck with a case of the shoulda-coulda-wouldas. Not soon after they left, Chad came bouncing by with a mile-wide grin on his face as he headed to the bar. He also inquired about me throwing away money playing slots but I think his mind was on other things…

Thanks for dropping by, tomorrow will bring a race to place a parlay bet, SKOL VIKINGS, Pai Gow losses, and will Mr. Otis fall out of the gate?

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