Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Vegas Archive: Winter Assault revisited

i wanted to share one of my favorite Vegas Trip Reports... from this January, 2005
Vegas Winter Assault:

In sharp contrast to my last Vegas Adventure, which was to celebrate my bachelor party, this trip was originated by my wife Ms. Dynamite, as a trip for the Girls, with “significant others” invited along for the ride… Of course, as soon as Ms. Dynamite mentioned Vegas, I called the Big Show, and he had himself and 2 buddies booked before the Girl Crew even had time to respond to Ms. Dynamite’s Evite….

Ms. Dynamite and I arrived in Vegas Thursday night at midnight, after a brutally uncomfortable flight on Song: just vastly unsittable seats… B-R-U-T-A-L.

The bad beats continued as we arrived at the Mirage to check-in, and had the following exchange:

Check-In woman: “I’m sorry sir, I see you requested a non-smoking room with a king bed, but all we have left are rooms with 2 queen beds”

Me: “Huh? You guys charged me for this room like 10 weeks ago. It’s paid for. That cannot be.”

Her: “I’m sorry sir – it’s convention week – we are completely full.”

I resist the urge to tell her that it’s ALWAYS convention week in Vegas, and I also restrain myself from pointing out that she may have heard of me, as I finished second in a late August Thursday night NL Hold’em Tourney, but I figured I’d be better off not drawing attention to the Kid Dynamite mystique yet, and saving my chits for a cabana comp when the weather gets warmer… We settle for the two queens (no, not Sigfried & Roy), a room change request, and head upstairs to change before heading over to the Mandalay’s hot new club Mixx, where Big Show is already established.

We get to Mixx at about 1:45 am, and blammo – more bad beats: the doorman tells us the club is closing! It’s too slow, they are shutting it down. Wow… ouch. I already hate the south strip, and Mandalay folding on me early on a Thursday night does nothing to alter this sentiment. Ms. Dynamite and I kill 20 minutes as Big Show comes down stairs, with Dirty Dave, and Dave’s boy from home, Craig.

We roll over to the NY, NY, and hit Studio 54. Dirty Dave interrogates the woman at the door before we go in:

DD: “When do you guys shut down?”
Cashier: “between 4 & 5”
DD: “Is it industry night?” (for those of you who don’t know, Industry Night is the hot night, as all the locals (read: strippers, showgirls, cocktail waitresses) go out, and provide easy pickings for the skilled predators like Dirty Dave.
Woman: “no, that’s Monday.”

Dave is thrown for a loop, but the woman assures him that the club is packed, and we pay the $10 cover and roll in, basking in the glow of the Freeroll Ms. Dynamite got (ladies free! Booo yah!)

Studio 54 is ok: we camp out in the upstairs lounge area, pound several Red Bull & Vodkas, observe the odd industrial motiffe the have going, and the dance floor packed with thoroughly mediocre looking people.

We are just chilling, drinking, and the place is emptying out. We decide that the Big Show has to take a crack at the sparse talent lurking around, and, using Ms. Dynamite as a wing-girl lure, we hit the mini-upstairs dance floor to circle and isolate the weak ones from the herd.

Craig hears a girl’s friends call her “Emily” and tries to pull the smooth “Hey Emily, what’s going on” as he sidles up beside her with some sweet lounge moves, but she pegs him as a psycho stalker and slinks away quickly.

We are about to give up, when suddenly the Big Show has a cute little blonde all over him. We’re not sure if she’s using him as protection from the Bobby Brown carbon copy who’s hitting on her, but it quickly becomes clear that she is interested in the Big Show – and seriously – who can blame her?

After an “I’ll be right back, I have to find my friend,” she leaves Big Show to temporarily re-join us to make a plan. He decides he’s going to go out with her, and we tell him to go for it. After 20 minutes, she’s not back, and we go downstairs. We’re about to bail, when the Big Show goes to the bathroom, and this girl goes jetting out the door with her friend. Big Show returns from the Head and I immediately lead him out of the club so he can make the final play.

They leave to go to Drai’s for some late night action, and Ms. Dynamite, Dirty Dave, Craig and I catch a cab to the Imperial Palace for some late night double deck blackjack action. Dave, always in tune with the Scene, tries to get the hot shot tip from out Isreali-accented female cabbie. She assures us “Everyone goes to the Rhino.” Now, it’s 4:30 am, and the Spearmint Rhino is a strip club. Dave, being one in the know, tells the driver this. “No, No, “ she insists “all the guys and girls go to the Rhino – it’s like a club, not a strip club.”

We are hesitant of course, as the Vegas Cabbies have major ulterior motives for bringing clients to strip clubs: they get $20 per head from the clubs. We give it a “what the fuck” and decide to go for it, agreeing that Dave will go in to scout it out.

We roll up to the Spearmint Rhino, and this hilarious exchange occurs as we see several guys leaving the club with girls on their arms.

Cabbie: “See, there are lots of girls. I tell you this… “
Dirty Dave: “Yeah, they’re called Strippers.”
Cabbie: “no, no, they are normal girls.”
Dirty Dave: “They’re on drugs!”

I’m doubled over in the front seat, but Dave bullies his way past the doorman anyway to finish casing the joint. He returns in 5 minutes with the verdict: “It’s a really really big strip club. Not a regular club.” No shit… but it was a fun Vegas sidetrip anyway, and we avoided the Cabbie Hustle, eating only the extra $5 of cab fare from our detour.

We finish off the night with an hour of double deck at the IP, and I return to the Mirage for 5 hours of restless “Sleep” – which was really basically lying there in bed as the Red Bull and Vodka fought over control of my system, as my heart rate beat about 85 beats per minute.


Ms. Dynamite goes to the Mirage Spa to workout, and I hit the poker room. $2-$5 NL is the game of choice – I get a seat right away in the main game.

I’m in the 2 seat, they deal the game 9-handed. The 9 seat is a young kid from Boston who seems to be playing competent – he’s got about $1800 in front of him. The buy in is $200 to $500. I buy in for $500 and case the opponents: the 7 seat is a wild cowboy, known, coincidentally as “Cowboy.” He’s a professional sports bettor, who tells me he has $40,000 on Indy+3, and he’ll bet New England for $40k on the other side on Sunday when the line goes to Even. We discuss this, since I’m wearing a Red Sox sweatshirt.

Cowboy has a tendency to move in with a “Cowboy up” at frequent and odd times – but after getting destacked twice, he settles down.

I play straightforward poker, winning several smaller pots ($100) and losing no big ones. I cannot find the monster hand to double up with, but you know it’s a good session when you see hands like A-K, A-Q 20 times, and are raising preflop with them, flopping an ace, betting $60 on the pot and getting called once, and then betting $140 on the turn and taking the pot down. That’s basically how my stack was built: get action with a $60 flop bet, and take down the pot with a larger turn bet.

I’m up to $1500, on fire, and still haven’t seen AA or KK, haven’t flopped a set or a straight, and really haven’t put my chips at risk.

I finally lose a big pot with AK: here’s the action:

2 limpers to me, I make it $25 to go from the button. BB cold calls, one limper calls.

Flop: K-8-8, two spades.

BB checks, limper checks. Ok. That’s a very good flop for me. I bet $100 – just about the pot.

BB thinks for a long time – he’s a young, less experienced player from the south, but he handles himself reasonably well, meaning his hands don’t shake like crazy when he moves his chips, and I don’t get any pure novice reads from him when I observe him as the cards come out.

So, this kid thinks for about 90 seconds, and finally moves all in for $240 - $140 more for me to call. Now, the limper goes into the tank… Jeez… if he calls, I can get away from this hand… He finally mucks.

Now, I’m faced with calling $140, getting almost 3-1 on my call. I can’t put my opponent on enough of an 8 for me to muck: a flush draw is certainly possible, as is AK, or K-Q….I call, and he shows me A-8, which holds up.

About this time I get the call from the Big Show, who sounds like death. He says he’ll be back to the Strip in about ½ hour. “What – where are you?” “I don’t know!” he replies. I find out later that he took the worst beat of the day by going back to Henderson with this chick, and not getting any action, but having to walk her dogs in the morning, AND get her car jumped 'cause she left the headlights on!!! AIYAAAAA!

This game is great – I’m just playing tight, aggressive poker: I can fold for 45 minutes, and then if I find QQ, and someone before me has raised to $15, I make it $45 and STILL get cold called twice…

There is a Serbian Soccer player two to my left who’s been there all day (it’s around 7pm now) – and he has a propensity for overbetting the pot: opening for $50. I frequently lay down what I think is the best hand, as I’m not interesting in getting into a pissing match with him, out of position. He’s relaxed, and partially drunk, and I don’t want to have to commit my stack on a whim if I come over the top and he plays back at me.

I will, however, call several opening overbets of $30 with small pairs, hoping to flop a set and bust someone.

This happens in the following hand: UTG limps. I limp next with 3-3. Serbian makes it $40 to go. All fold to UTG (weak older player) who calls. I call. This raises and eyebrow from the Serbian: “You called Brady?” (as in Tom Brady, patriot’s QB). I just wink at him. “That’s not good.” He laments. I shake my head.

Flop is 2-3-5, rainbow. UTG bets $30. I make it $100 to go. To my dismay, the Serbian folds… I figured he’d come over the top with an overpair for sure, but I guess he was just pulling another one of his preflop raises with K-J….

Back to the UTG guy, he calls, and has about $125 left. He says “I check in the dark.” And I say “I put you all in” before the turn card: 5 hits the table.

He says “thank you” and calls, showing me 6-6, and I take a nice pot.

Jay had previously commented about the check-in-the-dark trend: I saw a lot of it, and found it rather easy to take advantage of. Also, I’d say at least 80% of the players I played against made LIMIT raises in the NL game, which I consider the premium sign of ignorance (I know there is a time and a place for it, but by and large, when someone bets $20 on the flop, and the next guy makes it $40, he’s an idiot with top pair, not someone who just flopped a monster and wants action.)

I later raise UTG with A-J, to $15, and get called 3 times.

Flop is A-x-x, two diamonds. Two of my opponents in this hand are the Cowboy, and his buddy, the Car Dealer. Cowboy is down to about $180, and feel like if I bet this flop, he’s coming over the top of me with a flush draw (Although I had done well to establish myself at this table as one not to be fucked with – I proved quite capable of laying down preflop after limping, but no one wanted to challenge my post flop bets with big re-raises, as a result of my stack, and my lethal play. These douchebags had quickly realized that Kid Dynamite was not red-cheeked tourist.)

Thus, I check, intending to check-raise. It’s checked around. Ok.. Turn is an offsuit ace. Now I bet out $60. The Car Dealer calls me. Others fold. Hmmm.. ok… flush draw? What? Could this guy really smooth call an ace here after I checked the flop? I don’t think so…

River: another blank, no flush possible. I think for 20 seconds and bet out: $100. an underbet.

Car Dealer thinks, he has about $400 in front of him, and he starts to fiddle with his stacks. Uh oh… I don’t think I want to call if he comes over the top of me all in here… He could have hit his A-rag kicker for a full house…. He’s fiddling with his chips, and the Cowboy says “uh oh – here he comes.” I simply smile, and the Car Dealer opts for a raise to $200. Ok. Fine.. obviously, I call, and he shows me A-4: my hand is good. He seems utterly shocked that his hand actually could be a loser.

The table dynamic takes a swing when a very aggressive guy sits down to my immediate left with about $1000 in chips, coming from the must move game. This guy is a poker dealer at the rio, and thinks he’s way above everyone else. He’s raising pre-flop, firing pot-sized flop bets, and taking down pots with junk, showing the table, but warning “be careful, next time I’ll have a big pair”

This is very bad for me, as I have gone from controlling the table in a relatively passive way, to having an aggressive bully to my immediate left. This guy is cocky, but skilled, and not stupid, and I’m very much unhappy about this situation. Ms. Dynamite walks into the poker room to check in with me, and I’m telling her about my dilemma here, when all hell breaks lose:

The Bully is in a pot with a guy about my age wearing a backwards baseball hat, who has an accent like he’s from Texas. I don’t see the action, as I’m talking to Ms. Dynamite, but I think it involves the bully betting into a J-6-2 flop, the kid check-raising, and the bully calling quickly. Now, as I see these chips going back and forth – stacks being pushed in (it was like Bet 75, raise to $200, call) – and it all happened in the blink of an eye: I rejoin the hand.

Turn is a ten or something, and it’s check-check. Turn is a Q, and the Kid bets $200. Bully calls INSTANTLY, and the kid says sheepishly “all I have is J-9” the bully mutters “it’s good” and turn over a deuce.

Now, there are 4 young Norwegians at the table, and one of them says “I want to see the other card.” The Bully goes ballistic, berating the kids, telling them they should play more live poker, and that it’s unethical to request to see the cards.

I’m as shocked as anyone at the table that the pair of jacks is good, but I keep my mouth shut, nodding sympathetically, as the Bully looks to me for support, whining on my shoulder, as he clearly recognizes that Kid Dynamite is a seasoned player who would not make such a request. Eventually, he turns over the other card: an ace, but he is on BIG TIME TILT now…

Now the bully is left with about $600, and he’s fighting mad. In the same orbit, I pick up 2-2, and limp after one limper. The bully calls, and we see a 6 handed flop.

2-8-Q. rainbow. holy cow.. here we go… UTG bets out $20. I raise to $80. Bully cold calls. Initial bettor folds. I’m not sure what Bully is up to, but figure he’ll try to take the pot from me with a big turn move.

Turn: 5. I bet $100 (perfect! Ha, look how weak I am, you better take this pot from me!) bully moves in INSTANTLY. I call without even thinking about it. If not now, when? And turn over my set of deuces instantly. For a split second, I’m fearing he’s gonna hit me with the Matador’s “A set of deuces is like a mackerel in the moonlight – one minute it’s shiny and silvery, and the next minute it stinks” – but he can only shake his head, and show my Q-5: Kid Dynamite finds another victim for a LIQUIDATION SALE! This is the first really big pot i’ve won today, and it couldn’t come at a better time, as it also eliminates my table control problem, and allows me to coast along for another few hours.

I lose one more big pot when the following hand comes up: I limp on the button with K-T of diamonds, and see a flop of J-J-7, two diamonds. Kid who put the Bully on tilt checks to me, I check. Turn: 9 of diamonds, giving me the second nut flush on a paired board. He bets $40. I raise to $150. He thinks for 2 minutes, and calls.

River is a 7, putting 2 pair on the board, and he bets $200 into me. I fold, disgusted.

As I have my chips racked up to leave, I look down to find AA.. wow.. first time all day – I’ve seen more than my share of A-K, an managed to stay out of trouble with the hand, which is a great sign, but no AA, KK, QQ once, no JJ….

I raise to $15, get called by the Serbian, and now a tight old player makes it $85. I think he’s all in – I’m so out of it after an 11 hour session that I don’t see he has $60 left. In any case, I want to try to get the Serbian to make a play at me by looking desperate. I raise to $300. Serbian folds, and old guy folds, as I’m almost turning my hand up, thinking the action is complete. I’m shaking my head at my error as he folds, and second guessing myself for raising my other opponent out of the pot, but the Serbian had pocket 4’s, and I don’t think I’d have been able to get away from the hand if he flopped a set, given his past play – I would have paid him off, so I’m not entirely upset that I didn’t maximize my value here.

Ms. Dynamite and I go over to the Bellagio to meet a few of her friends at the Sports Bar next tot the poker room. It’s midnight, and I’m scouting the poker action. I’m dead tired, with no desire to play, but I’ve just taken $1800 profit out of the Mirage $2-$5 NL game, and I feel like I’m a stud: I mention this because just walking through the Bellagio room scared me. The action was I-N-S-A-N-E. they had several $10-$20 NL games going, and players had cash stacked on the table in giant horse-choking wads of 100’s… I’ve never seen so much cash in play as I saw there… players would just throw the bills back and forth – it was insane. They also have the odd $10 and $20 chips I’m not used to. Huck Seid was in the 10-20 NL game, looking like he hadn’t slept in AT LEAST two days.. a pure trainreck. They had a $80-$160 game where players had like $15k+ in front of them, and a 4 handed $50-$100 rotation game, where they were playing triple draw lowball as I watched!

The Bellagio $2-$5 NL game, strangely enough, has a $200 buy in.. no more, no less. I wonder if they do that to stimulate action: you almost HAVE to gamble to build a stack, as one pot sized bet practically makes you pot-committed.

In the $30-$60 game, I watch a player call a bet a raise, and a re-raise: 3 bets COLD on a 5-7-9 board, holding the K-4 of hearts. He has an overcard and a backdoor flush draw, and I’m simply in awe. I don’t understand.

We bail early, and head to bed by 2am, preparing for Saturday, which is sure to be a major night.


I sit in the $2-$5 NL game for 60 minutes as I wait for Ms. Dynamite to return from the gym, and play one big and interesting hand:

I’m in EP, and raise to $15 with 4-4. I get called once in late position, and by the BB. We each start the hand with about $500

Flop is a dream: K-6-4 with two hearts. BB bets out $30. I raise to $90. LP player folds. Button thinks for 20 seconds, and says “Make it $190.” Whoa… hold on… if he says “all-in” I may feel better calling… what’s with the $190? That’s a raise I’m forced to call. So, we evaluate: either this guy is another douchebag making limit-like raises in a NL game, or he know what he’s doing, and he has a set of sixes – which, considering the action, is a serious possibility.. I know almost nothing about this opponent. He seems like only a ½ douchebag, as opposed to an utter and complete douchebag. And his neck-pulse is beating out of control… earlier this week I was talking about the pulse in the neck tell with the Vortex, and he said “if you see the pulse, be careful calling without the nuts.”

Back to the small raise: even dumb players usually don’t make little raises on BIG bets… there’s a big difference between taking a $20 bet and making it $40, and taking a $90 bet and RE-raising to make it $190… I’m in a bind here. I decide my best play is to call, and re-evaluate on the turn.

Turn: Ace, no flush possible yet. BB bets out $50 into the $430 pot…. I quickly raise to $200 – committing myself. If he has AK, we’ll get all the money in now.. if he has 66, we will also…

He mucks K-Q face up… telling me “your ace is good.”

I guess I was wrong – he IS a complete douchebag!

Banned at the IP?

Ms. Dynamite returns in short order and we go to hit the Panda Express in the Venetian food court, and meet Big Show, Dirty Dave, and Craig at the Grand Luxe Café after. Ms. Dynamite leaves to find her friends, and we wander over to the Imperial Palace for a HIGHLY entertaining double deck blackjack session.

Now, we enjoy double deck BJ because it’s kind poker-esque, in that the cards get dealt face down, and you pick them up with one hand only and look at them. We always squeeeeeeze our cards like we’re looking at a poker hand, and joke about the big draws we have. If you find an ace, the standard play is to offer the house insurance….Or, when the house has an ace, always say “I’ll take even money” when you don’t have blackjack… Guaranteed Dealer Tilt Inducers.

The other favorite past time in double deck is slow-rolling the dealers – when you have blackjack, you’re supposed to turn it over right away, as opposed to tucking the cards underneath your bet, which is what you do if you don’t want another card. However, we gain great pleasure from feigning ignorance and tucking our blackjacks face down, and watching the dealers TILT reaction when they realize…

So, I make it a habit to slow-roll each dealer at least once… that’s my rule… and we’re in the “champagne pit”, where you also get a cheap mardi-gras style beaded necklace for each BJ. I decide for some reason NOT to slowroll a blackjack on our dealer, a nice Hispanic woman, but she neglects to give me a necklace, so I slowroll her on the next one, and put her on TILT. Big Show is loving it, and we get a new dealer, Beto, a Dominican flamer who’s razzing us.

Big show has a 19, and the dealer has a king showing. Big Show says “I think I’m in trouble” and Beto actually looks at his hole card and lisps “oh man, you’re dead.” Big Show looks at me : “he must be kidding right?” “absolutely” - the dealers have nothing to gain by tilting the players…

Beto rolls a queen for 20, and we immediately commit to putting him over the edge. We are steaming, YEARNING for a blackjack to slow-roll him with, but CANNOT catch one.

Big Show is “kinda” counting, and varying his bets a little, but in the double deck game, Beto is shuffling on us every time we push our bets up.
We counter “what’s with the 2 hand penetration?”
Beto says “I can shuffle anytime I want”
and we retort “but the count was like plus 9!”
(we are joking of course) laughing out loud, and changing our $75 bets into $5 bets, laughing some more, and getting Beto steaming.

Finally, 45 minutes later, one of the funniest BJ moments of our distinguished playing careers occurs. Big show and I each non-chalantly tuck our cards under our bets – not showing each other our hands as we usually do. I have A-J suited.. BLACKJACK!! Boo yah! Suck it Beto.. .i can’t wait until you see this one. Beto makes a 4 card-19, and is eager to sweep our bets.

He turns over my blackjack, and I make a surprised/shocked face. He is practically YELLING at me in his partially broken English: “You not allowed to do that!” and I’m like “why not!??!?!” and he’s FURIOUS… but now Big Show mutters under his breath: “uh oh.” And Beto rolls over Big Show’s own black jack!!!! We high five and are doubled over laughing… Tears streaming down our faces. Beto is ripped, and I don’t want to fight the bad karma, I color up my chips, but Big Show goes for the kill with one of the best blackjack TILT moves in history:
he has a $60 bet down, all in red $5’s.. He wins and gets paid in 2 red $5 chips, and 2 green $25 chips. He says “check change” and throws Beto the two greens, which Beto changes into two small stacks of red. Big Show takes the red chips and stacks them into a tower on top of his existing bet, as I collapse behind him laughing. A truly EXPERT maneuver. Beto is beside himself, but gains some revenge when he sucks out on Big Show’s hand. Big Show has the last laugh, leaving a 25cent tip on the table.

We laugh our way out onto the strip, and return to our respective rooms to change for dinner at Postrio in the Venetian. Now, a great side story, one of Ms. Dynamite’s sorority sisters is Eve Phillips – this means nothing to any of you of course. A few weeks before we leave for Vegas, Ms. Dynamite says “Do you know who Paul Phillips is?” “Of course.” “That’s Eve’s brother.” Holy shit! You must be kidding me! And he’s coming to dinner with his wife. Cool. It’s like meeting Rafe Furst, only better! (I hope you’ve read this far Rafe!).

DotCom is impressed when I throw out Rafe’s name as having played in my homegame (don’t worry Rafe, I didn’t tell him how I whooped you in RoShamBo, or how the reality was that you set me up by letting me win the first one, and the beating me for dinner when it counted), as they are pals, and E-dub (Double-Double), Big Show and I enjoy a phenomal poker-oriented dinner discussion with Paul, as our women can only look on in despair.

He points out that in the WPT show they aired where he beat Dewey Tomko, Dewey did NOT move all in every hand, as they WPT cameras made it appear (if you ever want to put Phillips on tilt, just say you think he played like a pussy by constantly folding to Dewey’s all in raises every hand – he’ll either be on tilt, or think you’re a complete idiot).

When asked who the best NL tourney players are, Paul tells us Phil Ivey and John Juanda– and says there’s a big drop off after that. He also says he doesn’t play many cash games in town, even though they are so juicy – he enjoys tourneys more. However, he’s got a baby on the way (Congrats Paul and Kathleen!), and has been focusing on Scrabble! Seems like he’s really reducing his poker play, I guess with the kid coming, he doesn’t want to be on the road. He’s a very nice guy, very intellectual, smart, and eager to talk poker.

DotCom shows us his custom “I put a bad beat on Paul Phillips” chips, but they are all earned, so I can’t get one, even after tempting him with the black Kid Dynamite custom chips. I try to earn a chip by doing the dine & dash and sticking Paul with the check – I need to see if it worked. Actually, he was very gracious, and picked up the check for the group – thanks a bunch Paul, very nice of you.

Big Show and I head over to the Hard Rock to rock our table at their club – Body English. The place is hopping, but with KD and the Big Show, we walk right to the front of the line, throw out the “do you know who the FUCK I am?” and are escorted, no cover charge, to our VIP table above the dance floor.

Another brutal beat occurs when the table adjacent to ours is occupied by, as Dirty Dave quotes Ravishing Rick Rude: “A bunch of Kansas City sweat hogs.” Rough bunch of gals… ouch.

We proceed to get demolished… College drunk… 3 liters of vodka amongst the 4 of us, with minimal outside help, and stagger out at 4:30, going home to pass out… or so I thought.

I find out the next day that Big Show proceeded to the Barbary Coast, where he was staying, and got BARRED from the blackjack tables! Now, I can assure you, Big Show was too drunk to count a taxi cab meter, never mind a double deck game, and the pit boss barred him – but not for being a drunken ass, since he was invited to play “craps or roulette”! CONGRATULATIONS BIG SHOW!

Sunday – NFL time! Are you ready for some FOOOOOTBALLLLLL?

I score the play of the day as I arrive in the Mirage Sports Book with a few minutes left in the Philly-Minny game, and spy a table of Philly fans. I ask them if they are staying for the AFC game, and they are not – I claim their table. Hardest play of the weekend was holding down this PRIME 4-top by myself for 45 minutes, as Big Show, Dirty Dave, and Craig were slow getting over to the Mirage. They are forgiven when they show up with some much needed Panda Express.

I was decked out in my VINTAGE Steve Grogan #14 Patriots jersey, which garnered much respect amongst the Patriots cognoscenti. When the TV coverage switched to Foxboro, where the snow was already falling heavily, the sports book ERUPTED, in anticipation of another massive Peyton Manning collapse, which, over the next 3 hours promptly happened, as the Pats DOMINATED the game.

After the game, I play 20 hands of 2-5 NL before I have to head to Mesa Grill @ Caesar’s for dinner, as Big Show stays to play the Mirage Sunday night $200 tourney.

Now, a running joke with Caesars is that once you go in, it’s impossible to get out. It’s like a rat trap – the doors are like the black covered doors of a strip club – unmarked, and hidden.. you kinda have to feel your way around the perimeter of Caesars until you stumble out onto the street. Brutal. So, I enter in the Forum Shops entrance, and take the nice new spiral escalator up to the second floor – where I’m dumped into this MASSIVELY TILT INDUCING nautilus – you have to walk a giant spiral past EVERY store to get where you’re going.. holy cow – I’m on big time tilt by the time I make it the 2 ½ miles through the Caesar’s maze to Mesa Grill.

Dinner is fine, and afterwards me and Double Double drop the hammer on a couple of shoes of blackjack – but not without DblDBl managing to TILT the dealer as follows:

First he tries to make small talk with the dealer, asking her if she heard about the second place finish of one Kid Dynamite in the late August Thursday night Mirage NLHE tourney… she’s not amused.

Then, E-dub puts up a bet, and a buck for the dealer. He ends up splitting his pair, and putting up a second wager. In the end, he wins one hand, and loses one hand. So, the dealer takes the chips from the first bet, and pays the second bet with them… all is fine so far… until E-dub tries to take back what is now the $2 in dealer tips.
The dealer goes nuts: “What are you doing?”
“Didn’t you bet those for me?”
E-dub “yeah – but it was a push – you don’t make money on a push.”
E-dub is no blackjack rookie, and technically he’s right, and so is she in practice, but she’s such a bitch about it – I mean seriously….Eric is certainly not trying to stiff the dealer out of $2, but she is nuts, so we give her the $2, and get up to find another table.

We find another pit, where everyone with us proceeds to get carded. E-dub and KidDynamite are spared, due to our celebrity I guess. I stake the house to a “surrender” on the first hand, letting the dealer know “I like to stake you to a ½ unit edge” and we proceed to DOMINATE the shoe – winning about 16 BB.

I leave Caesars to return to the Mirage to throw down a deuce in the hospitable home court shitter near the poker room, and find Big Show on the Bubble of the tourney!

Big Show’s boy, Mike, is also there: they are 10 handed, and top 9 get paid. Mike gets all in with 77 vs A-4 of spades, and is crushed by the 2-5-Q two spade flop which makes him very close to an underdog… a spade hits the rio, and Mike is decimated – turns out he has about 700 left, with blinds at 1000-2000. Ouch. Suddenly, another player goes all in, and Mike is in the money with the Big Show! Sweet!. Another duded gets elminated and Mike is suddenly guaranteed $2300 minimum for 8th place – what a nice swing.

Check out this play – the most ASTOUNDINGLY UNACCEPTABLE tourney play I’ve ever seen: Mike is in trouble, with not enough to cover the big blind, but the UTG player is short too, and moves all in for T2100, 1000-2000 blinds. Folded around to the button who calls. Now, Big Show turns to me and whispers “I hope these two have the sense to check it down.” But wait – the big blind FOLDS! Go back and read that again… he has to call T100… he’s getting 62-1…. The only way this play can ever be even argued is if it’s his last T100, which it was not. Un-B-Leavable…. The button’s hand holds up, and mike climbs another spot with his mini-stack. I’ll let the Big Show summarize the rest of the final table in his trip report!

Over all, a successful trip, lots of blackjack fun, great poker action, and some vegas inevitables: hard rockin’ Club action, and entertaining cabbies.

Final tally: Blackjack P/L: +$700
Poker P/L : +$2145
Casinos evicted from: 1
Players liquidated at the NL table: 3
Blackjack dealers put on TILT: 2 ½

Until next time, may all your flops be monsters,
Kid Dynamite.

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