Guest post today from JamBasket, with illustrations by Julie
As a WSOP Main Event freeroll winner, there are certain appearance requirements that come along with the fame, at least that’s what I tell my wife. As it happens, the WSOP Freeroll Council is holding an important meeting in Las Vegas that I need to attend. I really need to teach her how to call these bluffs more often, but I don’t have time for that now since I’m heading to the airport today. I’ve really got this travel schedule down pretty good now. I can arrive to the airport such that I’m only sitting around for about 30 minutes before the flight boards, which is about as close as I want to cut it.
When I was in line to check my bag, an old couple in front of me were checking their bags, and had been asked for their boarding pass. The old man digs through his bag and pulls out a huge binder, and locates their boarding passes. Surely, this binder is full of hotel confirmations and Map Quest print outs. I wonder if in the future, I’ll be in this situation and pull up my boarding pass on my phone and have some 40-year-old punk write about it on an obscure website.
I board the Spirit Airlines flight, and make my way to the back of the plane. I’m getting used to this airline, and am happy to do so given how much cheaper this is than other airlines. I can deal with a lot of shit for 4.5 hours of pain. We take off and everything goes fairly smooth until we near Las Vegas. As usual, there’s some wind storm or something in town and it’s really creating a pretty rough landing. I don’t feel the greatest but somehow manage to not barf despite the woman next to me talking about how she once barfed on a plane.
We finally land and I make my way over to the baggage claim area. For some reason, baggage claim has been incredibly slow the last few trips. Also, Spirit doesn’t offer the curbside baggage valet service, so I can’t use my trick of providing a decent tip to gain a priority tag on my bag. Oh well, Spirit probably doesn’t have priority anyway. I grab my bag, catch the shuttle to the car rental center, grab a car, and make my way to my hotel. The Las Vegas strip is under construction for the upcoming F1 race, so you basically can’t drive down the strip. What a mess.
I’m staying at Planet Hollywood this time, and this is becoming my favorite hotel in Las Vegas. It has a nice central location and a nearby Chipotle in the mall. If you ever want to go to Chipotle on the strip, go to this location. The location across from The Mirage is in a wild area. Anyway, it’s time to check in. As I arrive to the hotel lobby, I see the regular line is 10 miles long. As you already know, I have a special line: The Diamond line. I’m looking forward to using this line today because I want to test out a trick that Jeff Boski recently mentioned on Twitter. The trick is to slip a $20 bill in between your ID and credit card in attempt to get the desk agent to give you an upgrade. I make my way over to the VIP area only to see that the damn thing is currently closed. So, now I have two options. I can use a kiosk to check in, but I can’t bribe the machine. Or, I can stand in the regular line. I decide that I’ll just use the kiosk and test out this trick at the next WSOP Freeroll Council meeting. As I stood in a short line for the kiosks, I noticed an agent walking through, so I flagged them down and ripped into them about how the Diamond line was closed. Not really, but they were surprised to see that it was closed and offered to check me in. They notified me that there isn’t a room ready for me for some reason, but not to worry as they are going to hook me up for the inconvenience. He upgrades me to a suite! I give me the $20 and go check in.
I don’t have long to check out this room since I need to make my way over to the Sahara. I’m meeting Jen and Persuadeo there to play some friendly 200NL, I mean 1-2. We arrive just in time as a game is getting ready to start. Pman, who is apparently everywhere, all the time, is dealing. I buy in for $300 and it’s go time. A player in Seat 1, who maintains a 99% VPIP this evening cools me off several times. Flush vs Flush, Straight vs Top Set, etc. Before you know it, I’m stuck $750 in a game where 5 of the players at the table can’t spell poker as Phil Hellmuth would say. I call it a night and head back to the hotel. Afterall, I’ve got a tournament to play tomorrow.
Today, I’m playing the Wynn $400, some amount guarantee. This is really the reason I came into town. I plan to register late, or late reg’ing as I’ve learned the tourney pros call it. It appears I have until around 6pm, so I have quite a bit of time to kill before getting there. I check Bravo to see what games are running around town and see Aria and Bellagio have some 2-5 and 5-10 games running. I call and get on the lists and decide to head over to Aria first. I’m first up on both games, and sit around for 45 minutes only to see that my name has actually dropped down the list. I know this routine. I decide to head on over to Bellagio to see what the status is there. Luckily when I arrive, there’s a seat open at 5-10. The table isn’t looking all that great, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I recognize one player at the table from Detroit and online poker, but I know they don’t know me.
Nothing much happens for a few hours as I’m essentially dealt out of the game. Finally, I pick up a good hand in a bomb pot, and we get the money in on the turn. So, no way I’m winning that one. A short while later, I open QTo and get donked into on 789r. The turn 3 goes check-check. The river brings a J, giving me the nuts, and my opponent, who is the table mark, bets pot. I make a ridiculous jam and get snapped off, and fast rolled. Luckily, he only has the T, which is unfortunate for him. I play a little while longer before booking a $550 loss.
I grab some lunch and a nap, and head down to the Wynn to play this tourney. Honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to play this thing, but decided to tough it out anyway. I get a seat and start with about 30-40 big blinds. I mostly fold the first few orbits and defend 98s from the BB vs a CO open and BTN flat. The flop comes A98dd and the PFR cbets and I call. The turn is an 7d and it goes check check. The river brings a 9 and I bet. My opponent goes way into the tank, debating a fold……and then all of the sudden says “I’m all in.” I’m being laid great odds on a call, and have strong hand. However, this Hollywood job has scared the living shit out of me, and I ultimately decide to fold. Fuck you, don’t laugh. My opponent tables pocket aces, and I’m left with about 10bbs. A few hands later, there’s an open and several callers and I jam pocket 66’s. The PFR instantly goes all in, and everyone else folds. That’s decent news, I guess. They table jacks, which means I’m about to win a big pot, but somehow, they hold. After only one hour of play, I’m out. I decide that I’m too tired to rebuy and head back to the hotel.
I wake up and head over to the Bellagio to crack some skulls. I get a seat right away, and also find a double up soon after. I had 66, and flopped a set on 467hh. I check raised the PFR and they called. The turn brought an offsuit Q. I bet and the PFR jammed. I called and somehow held vs AQhh. After a short while later, I get moved to the main game and I’m seated next to a reg I recognize, and this guy is plastered. My first hand at the table, I 3 bet ATo vs his open. The flop comes AT6r. I bet and he check raises and tells me to fold my queens. I tell him it would be pretty silly to fly all the way out there and return home with a story about how I folded queens. I make the call. The turn brings a brick, and he bets. I decide to raise and he instantly calls. Well, not instantly, as his chips aren’t stacked, so it takes some time for him to get the count correct. The river brings a 6, and now he donks pretty big. I make the call and he tables AQ. This would be the biggest pot I’ve played in quite some time.
After that hand, this drunk player asked if I’ve ever had a massage in this poker room. I told him no, so he decided that he’s buying me a massage. I asked him what he’s drinking, and he’s doing shots of tequila. So, I agree to start drinking with him.
I only play one other hand of interest. I 4b AKcc and cbet on K96shh. The opponent, a Spanish pro, raises my bet in position. I consider my options and ultimately land on a fold. We were about 6k effective, lacking backdoor draws, and my general observation of players raising too strong of a range in reraised pots, especially in position all led to my decision. I won’t be losing any sleep over it. I rack up my chips and book a $4k win.
I head to the hotel to get some rest before Persuadeo’s game at Sahara. Surely, you know the game by now: 2/3, uncapped, SB game, straddles, etc. I arrive a bit tired, but looking forward to playing. The game looks good and about to break a lot of hearts.
First, I flat an open from Jen with 54s and flop a flushdraw on AJ7. I call a cbet and get a 5 on the turn. I call Jen’s barrel and brick the river. Jen checks the river, and I check to beat her K8o. I don’t recall how this pot got as big as it did, but I recall calling about $200 on the turn.
Next, I 3b AA from the CO and the BTN cold calls. The flop comes KK4dd and it checks through. The turn brings an 8d and I check call a bet from the BTN. The river brings an A, and I check. My opponent bets pretty big and I jam. My opponent snap calls and fast rolls me and I break the bad news to him.
Next, I river the nut flush with QQ and face a triple barrel. I jam the river and my opponent calls. Ship it.
Next, I play a 4b pot with KK and check on a low board. The turn brings 4 to a straight and it checks through again. The river brings a K, and I place a small bet and get called by JJ. Ship it.
There were several other hands I won which I can’t recall, and ended up winning a little over $3k. We all rack up and head over to El Dorado, a Mexican restaurant off strip. I decide to pick up the tab for Jen and Persuadeo. I figured it’s the least I could do given this big winning day.
It’s my last day in Vegas, and I don’t really feel like playing poker today. I feel like playing all of the casino games. I head down to Café Hollywood to grab a coffee and make my way over to a slot machine. This machine is one of those that has a few counters at the top which accumulate points as you play. Once these counters accumulate a certain number of points, you win a jackpot. I slide about $500 into this machine and have all the counters filled to the brim. Now it’s just time to collect. Well, I run out of cash and have to head back to the room to get some more. When I return, some old man is playing my machine, and he hits the big jackpot counter. He didn’t win much since he only bet the minimum. He leaves and I sit back in. I end up hitting the two smaller jackpots, essentially breaking me even on this slot venture. I would later realize that these accumulator or counter themed machines are just a trick, and a damn good one at that. They are completely random, but make it appear as though they are on the verge of getting hit. I feel like an idiot for having not realized that, but it’s not really important. I’m purely gambling today, not trying to find an edge at slots.
My next stop is the blackjack table. I was up a bit before accidentally hitting a 16 vs a 6. I was talking with another player at the table and just didn’t realize the situation. Typically, the dealers will confirm that you want to make such a play, given it’s so uncommon, and likely a mistake, but this one just gave me the hit, which broke my hand, and ultimately caused everyone at the table to lose. To make matters worse, we all lose the next several hands and everyone leaves.
I head over to Three Card Poker and get a little winning streak. I make a few straights and flushes to claw back some of the blackjack losses. It isn’t long before I recall what some players were talking about at the poker table: Ultimate Texas Hold’em. This is the table game version of Texas Hold’em. Apparently, this game is known around town for being one that dealers aren’t fully aware of the rules and make a lot of mistakes that are favorable to the player. Luckily, there’s a table opening and I head over. I don’t last long before I decide to take my remaining gambling funds back over to blackjack for one final Hail Mary. I lose and decide it’s time to grab something to eat.
I head over to the Bellagio Buffet, which seems like a great bargain for Vegas. As I enter the buffet line, a couple asks if I’m going to eat and if I’m paying. They have a free coupon given to them by their employer and they’re looking to sell it for $30. I think the cost of the Bellagio Buffet is $50-60, so this is a nice savings. I purchase it from them and they say that they’ll meet me by the entrance to ensure it works. I don’t have any trouble with the coupon, and they were indeed waiting by the entrance. I give them the nod and thank them. I scarf down a bunch of food and head back to the hotel.
Time to Go
My flight is scheduled to leave at 7am. I receive a text stating that the airport is expected to be very busy and to arrive at least 3 hours early. I know they’re being somewhat conservative, and decide that two hours early should be plenty. After I drop off the rental car, I notice that the shuttle line is the longest I’ve ever seen it. When I arrive to the airport, the line to check bags is the longest I’ve ever seen it. As I’m standing in the baggage line, I was actually getting concerned that I may not make my flight. I finally get through only to see that the security line is the longest I’ve ever seen it. After security, I see that the gate is absolutely full, but at least I’m on time. I board the plane and find a near empty plane. Where’s everyone at? Who the hell knows. Until next time.