Saturday, November 19, 2005

Vegas: Day Four

If you haven't already done so, read about Day One, Day Two, and Day Three.

On our final day in Vegas, Mrs. Dynamite and I wandered over to the Fashion Show Mall across from Wynn. We hit the food court for breakfast: I had an unimpressive omelet from the Philly Cheese Steak Company.

We roamed around the mall, which is actually pretty nice, despite it's unusually artsy, and thus confusing, layout. I was biding my time all morning, as the Wynn $300 + $30 NLHE tourney beckoned.

I returned to the Wynn, and bought into the tourney, which is known for it's great structure: blinds start at 25-50, with T3000 starting stacks and 45 minute levels! This beneficial structure attracts a much tougher field than the Mirage tourney.

My starting table was solid: a bunch of tight-aggressive players, with only 2 fish mixed in. I took my seat, and again asked the dealer if the TDA rules meant a 10 minute penalty for swearing. Unfortunately, he told me "yes," so I couldn't nail him with "Do you know who the fuck I am?"

I won a few small pots early, and then lost one, after raising preflop with AK, and following through with a flop bet. My opponent called me with second pair, and we checked it down. There was one noticeably fishy player at my table, and I met my ruthlessly efficient early demise when I entered a pot he initiated:

Fishcakes raises the 25-50 blinds to T175 from UTG. 3 folds to me, and I smooth call with A-J suited in hearts. A tight player behind me who has already doubled up with AA vs AK re-raises to T600. The fish folds, and it's back to me. I have about T3000 to start the hand.

After thinking for about 20 seconds, I decide to call and see the flop.

flop: 9-8-2 with 2 hearts. I have 2 overcards and the nut flush draw. I check, and my opponent bets out T800. With little hesitation, I come over the top all-in for my stack: about T2400 more. My opponent, with a similar lack of hesitation, calls me. He turns over KK, and I'm actually surprised he called so fast. I think if he hadn't already doubled up, this was the type of player who was capable of mucking kings here. The way I played the hand was also VERY consistent with a medium pair that had just spiked a set.

My live draw didn't get there, and I was evicted from the Wynn tourney in a brutally efficient 25 minutes. At first I was furious with myself for going down in flames so fast, but looking back at it, I'm not unhappy with the way I played the hand: I had solid fold equity, and plenty of outs when I got called. Yes, the tourney structure was such that I didn't need to push as hard I did on this pot, but at the same time, doubling up early would allow me more flexibility to take advantage of overly tight opponents. At least I'd have ample time to take advantage of the peach chip game! E-dub was left to languish in tourney hell for a few more hours before he was finally bumped from the tourney.

Over in 1-3 NL peach chip game, there was a pretty fishy crowd for a Tuesday. I was, as had been the case all weekend, clearly the best player at the table, and was pushing pots hard. Now, in NL cash games, I don't chop. Still, I'm not an idiot, and I don't sit down at the table and announce "I don't chop." It's not good for table image to start out confrontationally, but I'm always looking for a place to explain that fact, so that I can avoid a problem before one presents itself. After several orbits, two of my opponents finally chop a pot. I casually comment to the players on either side of me, "By the way, I don't chop."

Now, an older lady, local wannabe pro, 3 seats to my left mutters something under her breath to the player next to her about how "the house wins when players don't chop." She clearly wants me to hear, so I oblige and politely say, "What's that?"

"Not chopping is only good for the house. You're young. You'll learn." Holy Fuck! Does she know who the FUCK she's talking to? Obviously not. I smile, "Actually, the $2 doesn't really matter when we're playing for our whole stacks, and by the way, I've probably played more hands than you," perfectly friendly, yet patronizing. "I don't think so," she retorts, and I keep an ear to ear grin, while vowing to keep my cool until I can destack this lady.

I don't have to wait long to get my chance. After several limpers, I limp in late position with T-9 offsuit. The lady calls behind me.

I finally connect with a flop: 6-7-8 with two spades! I flopped the nut straight. UTG, a young guy who looks like a cross between John Kerry, Jay Leno and Cameron from Ferris Beuller's Day off, bets out $6. There's a call before me, and I raise to $36. Now the lady bumps it to $60, and I don't even realize that it's not a valid raise! Since my raise was $30, hers has to be $30 more, but I will later learn that at the Wynn, had I called the floor, she'd be required to complete the raise. Of course, I say nothing, and the UTG better and caller fold. I move all-in, and it's back to my nemesis. She only has about $120 left, and there's a little more than that in the pot: about $150, BEFORE my all-in.

She goes into the tank. At this point, Mrs. Dynamite and E-dub's wife return from their Venetian Spa appointments, and immediately start talking to me. I'm trying to fend them off, explaining that I'm in the middle of a hand, and have just put my entire stack into the pot.

My nemesis eventually calls, and I know she's got a set or two pair, not a flush draw. When the turn brings the 8 of clubs, I shake my hand and mutter "fuck" very quietly. I turn my straight face up, and she shows me her pocket 7's: she's filled up.

In fine form, the lady plays 3 more hands, and then racks up my chips and leaves. Ha. I'm untiltable though, appreciating the fact that I probably just made her month, and vow to screw down and extract my revenge on the rest of the table.

Eventually, E-dub ends up at my table, and we duel a little. I grind back up, and then have to make an "I can dodge bullets laydown:"

I'm in the BB, and check my A-7 behind 5 limpers. The flop comes A-T-7, with 2 hearts, and a very old lady in the SB checks to me. I bet $15, and 2 call along with her. The turn is a blank and she checks to me. I bet $60. Only the old lady calls. The river is a 3rd heart, and now the old lady freezes. She finally moves her final $35 into the pot, and I laugh. I muck my A-7 faceup with very little hesitation, and shake my head, in awe of this crappy turn of events. There are "ooohs" and "aaahhhhhhs" from the table at how I could lay this down. Even E-dub couldn't remind me to bang out "I can dodge bullets baby!" I walk over to the rail to stretch and maintain my composure, and as I return, she shows me her J-5 of hearts. I smile and rap the table. E-dub later commented on my remarkable composure during that kick in the junk.

Suddenly, the texture of the table changes in a hurry - from several painfully slow fish, to a table full of capable players, and we're playing at light speed: the game is flying, and the fast pace results in some action, as the illusion of fast play and fast chips cause some of the tighter players to open up. There is a French Omaha hi-low pro between E-Dub and myself, and another pro to my left. I'm getting ready to leave, when I call a $9 UTG raise from E-dub after the French Omaha pro calls. I'm holding 5-6 of spades, looking to put a vicious beat on E-dub.

The flop came with two spades, I think it was K-Q-3. Both E-dub and the Frenchman checked to me. I checked behind them.

The turn brought an offsuit 6, and now E-dub came out firing with $30. The Frenchman folded, and I beat E-dub into the pot, announcing to him, "I'm taking this pot from you on the river. I just want you to know this," "Really? ok." He replies. "I'm completely serious. To the felt. I'm taking this pot." I enforce the point.

The river doesn't help me: I can't remember what it was, but it wasn't a spade, and it wasn't a big card. E-dub thought hard about betting, but checked to me. I bet $45, and he sheepishly folded the hammer faceup. Holy fuck! E-dub tried to drop the fucking hammer on me! I was bluffing with the best hand again! He laughs out loud, and I now know he was trying to checkraise me on the flop. I can't believe he went for such a bold, TILT-a-riffic play against me - sonofa... The Vortex would have had the stones to follow through with the pure-bluff-raise on the river!

After 6 hours, I've fought back to even, and then back down to -$215.

I showered up, and met E-dub and his wife for dinner across the street at Maggione's, a wannabe Little Italy ripoff with big portions of mediocre food. The calamari was actually quite good, but the chicken marsala annihilated my digestive track.

We hit the Treasure Island, and found a single deck BJ game right near the door. Me and E-dub were grinding it out, but as a few other players joined us, it quickly became boring: single deck with 4 players sucks, as you see a maximum of 2 rounds. I was forced to use the crapper near the high-limit slots pit, as the chicken marsala had me double over in agony. I consider the bathroom near the Mirage poker room to be like my Vegas home court crapper, and I was hoping the TI's would be just as friendly, since it's a sister casino to the Mirage. Although the crapper lacked the luxury of the Mirage's (and the luxuries of the Wynn), I was in no position to be choosy, and later had to visit the bathroom on the OTHER side of the casino floor, near the gift shop. In the end, I dropped a DOUBLE-DOUBLE deuce at the TI: $200 in the single deck bj game, and 2 deuces in the bathrooms! On the way out, I tried to leave our Maggione's leftovers as a tip to our friendly dealer, but he was forbidden from accepting such gratuities. I told him to just stuff it in the drop box, but again, no go.

We moved to the Frontier, in search of some face down double deck, and were treated to a fantastic game. The Frontier had a $25 face down double deck game where they dealt what must have been 80% penetration - it was fantastic. There was a drunk kid from the South in the 1 seat, who, whenever we all won a big hand, would shout "EVERYONE WINS AT THE SAHARA... OR WHEREVER THE HECK WE ARE," and he'd change it to Binions, Stratosphere, etc. Great stuff.

I took some vicious beats, and was down to the felt, when I executed a rebuy in what seemed to be an opportune situation. The deck was juicy, and I feigned TILT, quadrupling my bet with my newly purchased stack. I was promptly dealt a bj, which I chose NOT to slowroll, and on the next hand, every player had a bigger bet out, with a count around +8! E-dub finds Q-J offsuit, and SPLITS 'em against the dealer's 5. I find pocket 9's, and split them, drawing two nineteens. The Asian guy @ 3rd base splits his pocket 3's, and gets another unit out by doubling one of them.

We are ready to reap our rewards when... the dealer flips her hole card: Six in the hole (opportunity for another blackjack pun here)... "NOOOO" we scream in unison, and the dealer pauses for just a second before snapping off the next card: TEN! Aiyahhh! What a way to go out!

I pick up from the Frontier down $520 and head back to the Wynn for a few hours of rest before our 9:30 am flight to San Francisco, where'd we'd then be driving to Napa. This is when the Wynn fucked up my 7:30am wakeup call and hit me at 5:30am instead. A final kick in the junk from the City in the Desert.

Final Tallies:

Poker Cash games:
+$666 Wynn Peach Chip: Saturday
+$270 Wynn Peach Chip: Sunday
-$101 Mirage $1-$2 NL and $2-5NL
+$108 Wynn $2-5 NL: Monday
-$215 Wynn Peach Chip: Tuesday
Net: +$728

Poker Tourneys:
-$530 Mirage Sunday NL
-$330 Wynn Tuesday NL
Net: -$860

+$480 Mirage Sunday
+$407 IP Sunday
-$720 Frontier Tuesday
Net: $+167

NL opponents stacked: 6
BJ dealers tilted: 4
Cabbies hard selling the Spearmint Rhino completely unsolicited: 2
Hours of NL cash games played: 17
Casino crappers utilized: 2
WSOP World Champions spotted: 1
Lap Dances: 0
Fights with Mrs. Dynamite: 0

Grand Total P&L: +$35 Boo Yah.

until next time,

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