So where were we? Ah yes - I'd survived my liquidity crisis at the Venetian double deck blackjack table, and gone to see what the boys were up to before getting ready for dinner.
Let simplify Friday night down to two pieces of wisdom: 1) When you're going out for dinner in Vegas, especially with a large party - just suck it up and go to a quality place. If you try to save $30 a head by going to one of these places that has 300 seats and less than top notch food, you'll end up vastly OVERpaying for the dog food they serve you with attitude. 2) Do NOT, under any circumstances, try to roll 19 guys deep at a gentleman's club. Just don't.
So anyway, after a vicious series of clusterfucks Friday night, Saturday began in unusual Vegas fashion for me: at the pool! We had two cabanas at the Venetian pool - the only problems were a) it was 105 degrees outside, b) I will get skin cancer if I sit in the Vegas sun for more than 4 and a half minutes and c) IT WAS ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE FUCKING DEGREES OUTSIDE!
Still, I hid in the shade of the cabana long enough to down a burger for nourishment, and then head off to the poker room. (Warning: ACTUAL POKER CONTENT imminent!)
I sat in the 2-5NL game for 1 orbit while waiting for a seat in the 5-10NL game. After calling a raise with 88 and flopping top set on a draw heavy board (8-7-3 with two hearts), I raised the preflop raiser's flop bet and took down the pot. On the next hand, I again called a raise with 33, and saw a nearly identical flop: 8-6-5 with two hearts. I decided to get all fancy 2+2 style on the preflop raiser, and just call his flop bet, seeing what developed on the turn.
When the ultimate scare card - the 4 of hearts peeled off on the turn, the preflop raiser checked to me. I smiled on the inside, as I laughed at how easy this game was, and bet out $120. The preflop raiser promptly checkraised me all-in for about $250 more. Fahhhhhhk. I mucked, asking him innocently, "That card didn't scare you at all? Maybe just a little bit? I thought it was a pretty scary card."
He shrugged "I didn't think you had the flush," and now another doucheball piped in "Me neither." I laughed and racked up my chips - realizing I'd given my opponents too much credite - assuming they had brains - and heading for the 5-10NL game that I'd just been called for.
I rounded my stack up to $800 and surveyed the scene: There was a short stacked young gunner who was playing tight seated two to my left, with a Russian former NYC Cab Driver (Russian) between us. On the other side of the table was a Southern Card Rack (SCR), a Middle Eastern Putz (MEP), The Poor Man's Gary Busey (BUSEY), and an Eastern European Calling Station (EECS).
The first hand I played was my old nemesis A-Q. After 1 limper, I made it $50 to go and was called 3 times - I'd be third to act post flop. I kinda liked the flop of K-8-4 rainbow, as I thought the rest of the table viewed me as a tight aggro player, and would assume I had something like at least A-K when I fired out $150 after it was checked to me. It was folded back to Busey, who leaned around the dealer, asking "How much you got left?" I showed him that I had about $600 left. "That's it?" He asked - being a total dick. "That's it," I answered. He nodded and said "All in," just for emphasis - as he had about $4k in front of him.
I laughed and mucked - hey douchball - this isn't my first time at the table! The only question I was asking myself is if I'd make the call with AK there - I don't think so. I made a mental note that I'd be stacking this cockchugger imminently. As it turned out, I had to wait about an hour, until Busey's $20 straddle was called, and I made it $60 to go with TT. Busey called, as did the limper, and we saw a flop of 9-8-4 with two clubs. Busey and the limper checked to me, and I fired out $200. Busey nodded, and like the payoff wizard he was, called. The limper folded, and I watched as the dealer peeled off the 7 of clubs on the turn.
Busey looked up from his food and checked again. Although I couldn't really hate this card more, I thought that Busey would bet here with a made hand - hoping I wouldn't believe him - as he would be wrong to try to trap me - given the tight play I'd exhibited, even if he had proven that he was a calling station. "All-in - $450" I said, sliding my chips forward and counting them down. He nodded, and called - I cringed.
The river was an offsuit jack, and I quickly turned my hand up, declaring "I have a straight." Busey considered the board - eyed me annoyingly - and mucked his hand. I don't think the jack helped me - as he was the type to show his cards if he'd received a bad beat - he likely had something like A-9 or A-8 with the Ace of clubs.
I gave some chips back another hour later in this frigid deck: The Russian opened for $50, and I was next with KK. I made it $160 ($1400 stack), and it was mucked around to MEP - who was a total donkey and moved all in for $600. I began salivating. When the action came back to the Russian, he now moved all in for $790. I jumped out of my seat, not believing the action. "Wow, really?" I couldn't believe I could lay this hand down in this game, especially since I'd already labled MEP as a douche-royale, and these stacks were not deep enough. I took 30 seconds before saying "I call," and turning to the Russian: "You have aces?" "No - queens," he admitted. I turned to the MEP and stated: "YOU don't have aces." He nodded - he did. What? Faahhhhhhhhkkk. Frigid. At this point, the new young gunner to my left said "I guess this would be a bad time to tell you I folded a king," and I groaned.
We turned our hands up, and amidst the oooohs and ahhhhs there were suddenly 20 people standing around our table to see the flop of Q-Q-T. FAAAHHHHHKKKK!!! I couldn't even win the side pot!
Fortunately, Busey still had money left, and was kind enough to double me up again an hour later when I finally found AA. Again the Russian opened for $50, and again I made it $160. Busey cold called $160 from the $20 straddle, and the Russian called as well. The flop was 9-9-5, and Busey bet out $200. The Russian folded, and I instantly pushed in my last $450 - $250 more to him. He shrugged, called, and when I tabled my AA he mumbled something about needing a 4. The kid to my left thought he said he had 4 outs (7-6? 8-7 ??), but in any case, when the J and Q peeled off, he mucked his hand, and I was up again.
The Young Gunner scooped a big pot with A-Q unimproved when he raised preflop, bet the K-8-4 two club flop, and moved in for about 2 times the pot when the turn bricked off. The Russian took the chips he'd gotten with his flopped quad queens and called after some deliberation. It seemed that the Young Gunner had to have at least AK, but when the river bricked off, he said "I missed." The Russian nodded "Me too," and finally the Gunner turned over his AQ. The Russian turned over Ac9c, and the Gunner scooped about 3 dimes - much to his surprise.
Later, SFCEO (Southern Former CEO) sat down in the one seat, and asked the waitress what kind of white wine they served. She began to consult a list of ONE in her head... "Ummm.. Chardonnnay...... ummmm..." The CEO interrupted her "Please bring me the driest white you have," and a look of horror came over the waitress's face. Seeing this, I tried to stifle a laugh, which ended up erupting like a snort. She looked at me for help, and I laughed "Just ask the bartender - he'll know," as the CEO looked at me with wide eyes - shocked by her ignorance.
"Come on," I told him, "To be fair, what kind of doofus orders a dry white wine in the poker room?"
Well, I'll tell you what kind of doofus - the kind of doofus who thinks like this: Busey is clearly on tilt - MEGA-tilt. He has had aces 5 times - and cannot get away from them - each time paying off $1k plus in turn and river bets -and his stack has dwindled. YoungGun opens a pot for $60, and Busey in the SB steams "TWO HUNDRED." Now the CEO thinks for 45 seconds, and mucks reluctantly. The YoungGun mucks too, and I look at CEO, inquiring, "Ace jack?" cause that's the kind of hand this idiot would really like to play here stuck between two raisers. "Nooooo - I'd play Ace Jack there - I had pocket jacks." The Young Gun practically knocks over his chips in disbelief - and I stare with my mouth open, as JJ, aka FridayInVegas is practically the nuts right there against the steaming Busey. CEO explains "You see, if I had Ace Jack it makes it less likely that he has aces there," and my brain immediately shut down as he proceeded to have a discussion about it with the Russian - WHO AGREED!!!
When the Russian and the MEP finally left, I got up to cash out, logging a $687 profit for the four hours, and decided to abuse the Venetian's Pai Gow pit a bit. I sat for an hour, pounding 6 vodka-grapefruits and taking $300 out of the game before I went upstairs to freshen up for our big Saturday night at Tao. We pre-partied in Dave's room, with ample booze and appetizers, before heading down to Tao - preying there would be no more clusterfucks. No matter how carefully you plan, nothing is certain when you have a 19 man party in Vegas. We'd been set up with a booth and a six bottle minimum, and had only to endure the last minute plug job the hostess laid on us, telling us we'd have to get 7 bottles, since it was "a big night." No shit - it's Saturday - it's ALWAYS a big night on Saturday - nice bait & switch you filthy bottle whore - but what could we do - Dave handed over his credit card, and we were led to a quality box above the main dance floor.
I couldn't help thinking it was an error when we ordered Jack Daniels for one of our bottles, and of course I was right, as it was the only thing left at the end of the night. Several bottles into the evening, on our way to 10 bottles, Brian somehow escaped eviction when, in an attempt to "slap an icecube out of Brendan's hand," he instead slapped a full vodka tonic over the ledge of the skybox onto the floor below. I don't know how he talked his way out of that one, but several hours later, we were in a real jam when Brian was down on the dance floor and his little brother Mikey, sloshed out of his mind, attempted to lob a drink to him. I watched from 8 feet away in slow motion as this train wreck unfolded, springing to life screaming "NOOOOOOO," almost exactly like Apollo Creed's trainer in Rocky IV when Drago knocks Apollo out (killing him) and Apollo's head slams against the mat - you KNOW the scene I'm talking about.
Too slow to stop him, I winced as Mikey tossed the drink over, and security suddenly swarmed us like wasps. After tense deliberations which lasted a full 20 minutes, Dave managed to negotiate our continued occupation of the skybox, offering to let the bouncer throttle him if anything else went wrong.
Dirty Dave would never believe that the boys brought back a group of legitimate bona fide KCSH's to our booth - Kansas City Sweat Hogs!!! The girls were probably surprised with the ferocity with which we guarded our booze - Andy whispered to me "If she even LOOKS at our vodka, I'm throwing her the FUCK out of here." See, us happily married men have different priorities - booze over flooze.
We eventually staggered out of Tao after 4am, where I decided to drop a buy-in at the PaiGow pit before retiring to bed for the night.
Sunday morning, I woke up and beat up the double deck blackjack pit for a few hours, doubting that Mikey would awake from his coma in time for our 1pm flight. As I stacked green chips into a tower, Mikey finally called me and stumbled down to the casino floor lugging his two athletic bags, and sweating a mixture of vodka and tequila.
As we headed off to the airport, I realized he was still trashed, and he managed to get himself subjected to a full search at security when he left his sunblock in his bag. The young Irish TSA worker swabbed Mikey's bag with a pad, as I prayed Mikey didn't have any illicit substances. "It's gonna screen high for alcohol and stupidity," I joked to the agent, who replied honestly, "that's ok, if that was illegal they'd fire ME." We ultimately made it through security, and back to NYC in one piece, where I began plotting our next trip...
until next time.