Monday, November 14, 2005

Vegas: Day Two

Somehow, in my excitement to get part one of my Vegas trip report published, I neglected to mention one of the nicer amenities at Wynn: In the urinals in the men's rooms, they have this thing from that's like 2 little pieces of astro-turf for you to pee on. This fantastic invention is apparently optimally designed for minimal splashback, and works swimmingly.

Anyway, back to the report:

Sunday, Mrs. Dynamite and I slept in, and met Big Show and his gal for a jaunt over to the Venetian for breakfast/brunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe. Grand Luxe is an old favorite, with big, oily buffalo chicken sandwiches and their patented Asian nachos that cure all that ails you.

Me and Big Show hit the Venetian sports book to catch the end of the early NFL games, and caught a doozy in KC-OAK. KC was a 3 1/2 point favorite. OAK took a 3 point lead with a few minutes remaining, but KC drove down the field, and ended up on the 1 yard line with no timeouts and 6 seconds remaining! They showed balls, and went for the touchdown, which they got with a Larry Johnson leap into the endzone. The sportsbook ERUPTED - people couldn't believe their good fortune: KC would win by 4 and cover the spread. There was no time left on the clock...KC didn't line up for the extra point... Suddenly, the mood in the sportsbook took a palpable shift from ecstasy to panic - would KC kick the extra point with no time left? After a delay of several minutes, they did indeed kick the PAT, and the book exploded again.

After the early games ended, we returned to the Wynn, where I dominated the 1-3 NL peach chip game again for two hours. There was a guy to my immediate left who WANTED to play well, and TRIED to play well, but he was simply no match for Kid Dynamite repeatedly flopping the nuts in his face. Lucky for him he kept executing short re-buys after I liquidated him.... THREE TIMES. He ties the Vortex on my personal best list for "most times liquidated in one session."

First, I called his EP raise holding 4-4 on the button. When I flopped a set and smooth called his pot-sized flop bet, he was toast on the turn when he bet out, I raised, and he came over the top of me.

He rebought for about $150, and called me when I raised with A-T suited in hearts. When the flop came ten high with two hearts, I bet, he raised, and I came over the top of him. He called and shrugged "I need help." "If you need help, you're fucked," I told him, and quickly tabled my nut flush when the turn completed my hand with the K of hearts.

After his 3rd rebuy, we played a limped pot where I had Ad5d in the BB. The flop came KdQdJd, and I BET THE NUTS! My $9 flop bet was tempting to him I guess, because he came over the top of me all-in for about $100. I quickly called, almost apologizing as I did, and he realized his 8d9d was drawing dead. Card Rack in the hizzz-ouse!

We had to head over to the Mirage to take care of business in their Sunday afternoon tourney. The Mirage has finished their renovation of the area near what used to be the baccarat bar - they installed a high roller room, and a few new pits. After buying in to the tourney, we had a few minutes to kill, so we hit the ATM that is the Mirage double deck blackjack game. Unfortunately, the Mirage, along with some other casinos, no longer deals the double deck game face down, since it's faster if they just deal the cards up and the players don't have to touch them. Nevertheless, I took 19 units out of the bj game, and turned my attention to the tournament.

The tourney is a $300+$30 which gets you T1500. Unlimited $200 rebuys for the first hour get you T1500, and an optional $200 add on gets you T2000, so the add-on is basically mandatory. The blinds start at 25-25, and go up ever 1/2 hour, to 25-50, then 50-100, 100-200, 200-400 with ante. The structure ends up being relatively fast.

I take my seat, and noting that the entry ticket says "TDA RULES OBSERVED" I decide I better find out if that means a 10 minute penalty for inadvertent F-bombs. I ask the dealer, "Is there a penalty for foul language?" She shrugs, and shakes her head, looking at me like I have 2 heads. "Good." I reply, "Do you know WHO THE FUCK I AM?" and I wink, getting a genuine smile out of her. "Dynamite Kid?" she asks, looking at my card capping chip. Oy Vey... It's Kid Dynamite... but you'll know soon enough...

I quickly realized I was in a tough seat, with the two best players (besides me of course) to my immediate left: tough aggressive English cowboys who didn't take kindly to my own aggressive play. They also wanted nothing to do with me stealing their blinds. To my right were several butchers whose skill varied from little clue to absolutely no clue. I would have an opportunity to isolate them if the situation arose, but I'd need cards for that - these guys would not be bluffed.

I chip away early, and am up to about T1900, when I play this pot, which may be one of the best calls I've made in recent memory. with 25-5o blinds, I found KK UTG. I made it T225 to go, and was surprised to see 4 callers. I quickly decided that if an ace flopped, I was NOT going to get married to this hand. The flop came:

A-5-3 rainbow. Fuck me. I check. It's checked around!

turn: deuce. Again I check: I am likely way ahead or way behind here, and if it's bet and called before the action gets back to me, I can easily release this hand. Otherwise, I can re-evaluate. The aggressive Englishman to my immediate left fires out T850. All fold back to me. Hmmm... I think for 10 seconds and call.

River: 8. I check AGAIN. The Englishman goes to his stack and comes out with T1250. Basically enough to put me all-in. I shake my head, but then, I decide to think this over carefully. I don't think this opponent would check the ace high flop if he indeed had an ace: the pot was sizable already, and he'd want to claim it right there. No... this makes no sense... I take a look at him - his collar is open and I can see way down into his neckline - there's his pulse beating frantically! Now - is this the "I have a monster hand, PLEASE call me" excitement? NO! It's "Fuck - I hope I don't get caught bluffing" pure FEAR! I quickly call with confidence, and the opponent taps the table: "King high" he says, turning over King-seven! "King high no good" I reply, and scoop a very nice pot. I'm pumped. I'm psyched with my play and my read, and I AM going to win this tournament - I just proved it to myself and to the rest of the table. A solid player at the other end of my table comes over to me a few minutes later, during the break, and is in awe over the call I made. I want to tell him the Wolf's line: "Let's not start sucking each other's dicks just yet," as there's still a lot of work to be done. I meet with Big Show during the break, after executing the T2k add on, and update him on my T9500 stack, and my growing confidence. He was also in fine shape with about T6500, and we knuckled up, vowing to stay focused.

In the first two hands after the break, I lose about 1/3rd of my stack: on the first hand, I call a raise with K-J suited, and then get checkraised on a flop that doesn't hit me. On the next hand, I'm the open raiser with K-Q suited, and I again get check-raised by one of the aggressive Englishman in the BB. I bear down and patiently rebuild my chip stack, ending up all-in only once, when I raised to T300 in EP with A-T suited and got called twice. The flop came Ten high, and one of the blinds bet into me. I came over the top all-in, and he mucked.

Alas, as the blinds went to 100-200, and then 200-400, I went COMPLETELY card dead and got blinded to death. On occasion, I'd dodge and weave and steal some blinds, but then I'd get caught, and end up in the hole again. It was so vicious, I was blinded down from T9500 to T3500! Absolutely unreal - I've never run so cold, and with so little opportunity to salvage chips. Believe me, I'm looking for ANY opportunity to scoop some chips with low risk, but the makeup of the players at the table and the action just wasn't conducive to it. I resorted to twice stealing the blinds of the weakest player at the table from EARLY POSITION! Tragically, I was blinded down to T3500 at the 400-8000 level, when I woke up to the monster 7-9 offsuit in the BB. Everyone folded to the SB, who limped, and I moved all in. He beat me into the pot with A-K, and my tournament life was on the line.

I liked the 7 doorcard on the flop, but not the Ace that came next. I picked up a flush draw on the turn, but couldn't get there, and was sent to the rail in 17th place (out of 39 entrants or so) - quite disappointed in my result. It's not just "I didn't get cards so I couldn't win" - I'm quite convinced by now that the good NL tourney players are not merely card racks - there just seemed to be a series of six-sigma situations that prevented me from surviving in this tournament I was so bent on winning. Cards didn't come. I seemed to meet a lot of resistance every time I tried to steal blinds. When I found a reasonable stealing hand like J-T suited, there seemed to always be a raise to me already. All in all, a disappointing session.

I broke the news to Big Show, who was still focused, and sat in the 1-2NL game ($200 max buy-in). I played exactly ONE hand, where I posted, found 9-9, and raised to $12. A youngish kid behind me made it $30 to go, and got called by an older guy. I debated coming over the top, but figured calling was a better option.

The flop came K-T-x and we checked it around. When the turn blanked off, I bet $60 into this pot, and the initial pre-flop re-raiser quickly came over the top of me all in. At this time, they were calling me for the 2-5NL game, and I'm staring at the board, at my opponent, wondering how the fuck I ended up in this mess, while at the same time yelling for the floorman to lock up my 2-5NL seat. I eventually mucked the 9-9, and got up, going to the cage to re-load for the 2-5NL game ($500 max buy-in).

Barney Boatman was in the game, and I was psyched for the opportunity to put some beats on a member of the Hendon Mob, but Barney went to the main game when I took his must-move seat. There was a WICKED annoying big drunk guy to my right who looked like Meatloaf, and a wild big fat black guy to my right, who really liked to overbet and play junk. The guy wasn't incompetent, but I knew I could take his stack by lulling him into thinking he could run me over.

I didn't play any big pots - I stole some medium pots by putting off the aura of solid play, and had some fun when a wild little Asian chick sat down to my right. She was all amped up, a local pro who could play, and on one hand, after she mucked, I bumped it to $25 with A-T suited, and pushed my cards in front of her so she could look at them. On a raggedy flop, I led out, and one opponent folded, while the other, who looked EXACTLY like Milton the "he stole my stapler" guy from Office Space, acted perplexed: "It looked like those chips came from your stack," he said. "Oh. sorry. yeah - they're my chips. It's my hand," I explained, realizing that my cards were out in front, between me and the Asian chick. He mucked, and she laughed, blurting out in very quick, accented English: "I can't believe he flop two pair! Incredible!" while kicking me under the table as she laughed. I was a little worried that when I played a pot with her I'd get called out for staring at her chest: I tend to stare right at a player's chest to look for pulse or breathing tells, and her boyfriend was standing right behind her and me. Also, this tends to be the time when Mrs. Dynamite will wander by and concluded that I'm not really playing poker, but rather checking out T&A. Seriously, I was just looking for a tell...

Big Show busts out of the tourney out of the money, and our ladies arrive at the Mirage, so I play a final hand before cashing out - my chips are actually IN the rack, and I'm just taking my free hands before my big blind comes around: UTG, I raise to $25 with A-J in EP and get called by 2 players, including the button, a local Omaha High-low pro.

The flop is J-8-3 with 2 clubs, and I bet out $75. My opponent calls, leaving himself with only $25.

The turn is a club, and I bet his last $25, knowing I'm cooked. He calls, and shows me the DEUCE-FIVE of clubs! Fucking A. What a way to end the session.

We grab dinner at Mirage's California Pizza Kitchen, where I put Mrs. Dynamite on tilt by ordering the chipotle chicken pizza that ends up being hot as balls. Then we walk through Harrah's, stopping briefly to see the dueling pianists, before ending up at the gambling icon that is the Imperial Palace. I think Harrah's just bought the IP, and I hope they don't tear it down. It's dirty, and old, but they have a fun face down double deck bj game in the "Champagne Pit," where you also get colored Mardi-Gras beads for every blackjack. They also have the dealer-tainers: musical impersonaters who deal cards, and occasionally get up to perform on a small stage. However, they lack the urinal technology.

Now, if you missed my previous trip reports detailing our exploits in this IP double deck game, go back and read them right now. Our nemesis, Beto, is fading our action, pussying out on the day shift apparently, so we're left to slow roll other dealers like the polite and friendly Gloria. After finding an ace, I show it to her and politely offer her insurance. She declines, so I squeeeeze the other card and find big slick! Boo yah! Blackjack! Of course, you're supposed to turn it face up in the double deck game, but I smoothly tuck it under my bet, as I do with any other hand I don't wish to hit.

As the hand plays out, Gloria rolls over my bj and goes on a moderate TILT, chiding me "You're supposed to turn it over!" I feign innocence, "What? Why? I like the suspense!" and make her give me a necklace. We declare, "We are NOT leaving here until we have so many cheap beaded necklaces that we can't lift our heads!" And I'm sure they are happy to fade our ass-clown action.

I order a red bull & vodka from the cocktail waitress.
She informs me "I'm forbidden to serve Red Bull."
"Like, forbidden by law?" I don't understand.
"Yes." She tells me.
"Red Bull is against the law?" I'm really confused.
"Yes." she's not laughing... So I prove my versatility by calling an audible and going with Captain & Coke.

Gloria is replaced by a relatively humorless Asian lady, who I promptly slowroll a bj on. She starts chirping at me, and I look at her with a completely shocked look. Big Show is rolling, and we're picking up steam. The Pit Boss actually seems to gain some measure of pleasure from our antics, as we good-naturedly torment each dealer who comes into the box.

Grigor from Armenia comes in to deal, and within 1 deck I greet him with a slow-rolled blackjack. He doesn't even flinch! I look at Big Show... Big Show looks back - eyes wide... We shrug. Big Show slowrolls Grigor... I slowroll Grigor... Big Show's lady slowrolls Grigor! Grigor is fucking UN-TILTABLE! It's amazing: Grigor's completely doesn't care that we don't turn our blackjacks faceup, and we're at a loss of what do to about it. As long as we keep feeding him the tips, Grigor is happy as a clam.

Grigor leaves, and our other arch-rival, Mike from Massachusetts comes in to deal. We are psyched to see him - he's a fun dealer, and a good guy, but he's in a bad state. Mike is dead tired, and trying to get out early. It's 2am, and I feel sorry for Mike, so I don't slow-roll him, but we do reminisce about the beating he put on us during our last trip. He actually remembers the horrible run of cards he hit us with, and I tell him, "Yeah Mike. It was two dimes to be exact. I was going to retire, but instead I've had to sell my blood and sperm to make ends meet. Thanks a fucking lot." Finally, the pit boss comes over and tells Mike he'll be going home early. As if on cue, Mike announces "This is my last hand," and deals me a blackjack. I tuck it facedown, and jump up to high five the Big Show and pump my fists at Mike when he rolls it over. He can only laugh, and appreciate the fact that we're probably more fun than the average douchebag.

When I return from the bathroom, which is now a longer trip, as the IP has moved the Champagne Pit to the front of the casino floor, Big Show tells me that some chubby chick was doing handsprings on the casino floor. I get him to demonstrate, and Big Show actually does a few cartwheels on the floor of the IP at about 2:30 am

The IP fights back, but I sill finish the session up 16 units, and we head back to the Wynn. Of course, the cabbie on the way home tries to sell us on the Spearmint Rhino. I shit you not! It must be part of the fucking training. Incredible.

We walk into the Wynn around 3:30 am, and the lobby and casino floor are sparsely populated, but I spot The Champ, Joseph Hachem walking through the floor. "That's Joseph Hachem!" I excitedly tell Big Show. "Who?" he has no idea. "The WSOP Champ!"

Hachem realizes I have spotted him, which probably isn't such a common occurrence outside of the poker room, as the episodes haven't aired yet, and he's not exactly a celebrity. He looks at me, and I tell him "Congrats," and he smiles and says thanks. I still think he needs to shave that terrible little flava-sava goatee thing he's got going, but he seems like a nice guy.

Net tally for the day:
Wynn Peach Chip game: +270
Mirage Double Deck: +$480
Mirage NLHE Tourney: -$530
Mirage $1-$2 NL: -$90
Mirage $2-$5 NL: -$11
IP Double Deck: +407

until next time,

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