Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vegas Trip Report - Part 1

Within less than 24 hours after coming up with the thought of going out to Vegas I was sitting in the baggage claim waiting to grab my bag and make a run for the tables.

Non-Poker Rant

When I was booking my car for the trip ( I decided to get the free room at Residence Inn Hughes Center) I looked at Orbitz to see what the cheapest rental car company would be. It always seems to change every trip. This time it was Budget and it would be $67.93 for two days including all of the taxes and fuck you in the ass fees that go along with the actual $22/day rate. That equals a 54% effective tax rate on the car. I would rather them not even mention how much the standard rate per day it is. Just tell me including taxes how much per day it is. That way I don't feel as bad. Event that said it was still a cheaper route to go this way than staying on the strip and taking cabs.

While waiting in line I see a sign that says "If your total rental is less than 75 mikes we will automatically add a $15 fuel charge unless you provide us a receipt". Now the only reason I saw this sign was because I was waiting in a line that was 15 people deep. They did have 4-5 agents working but the line still was not moving fast. I could overhear the agent's say your car will be in space H1. It's going through the wash right now and should be there in 10-15 minutes. Here is where my rant REALLY starts. You know you are the cheapest one going at the time, you have all of these reservations, why are there no cars available. It reminds me of the old Seinfeld episode, "You know hot to take the reservation, but you don't know how to keep the reservation."

After waiting in line for close to 30 minutes I make it up to the counter. I was one of the faster ones to get done with the agent at a touch over five minutes. They now require three forms of identification there. Why, I have no fucking clue. If someone stole my wallet I imagine they would keep all forms of identification in it. I was given a space number that already had a car in it, hooray! I think total there were four cars in their lot. WTF are you people doing? I got a Crown Vic at the price of a compact. Score one for me. This thing had a big enough trunk to fit multiple bodies in it. I was able to place my large roller suitcase in it standing up and still shut the trunk. After waiting in line for another 15 minutes or so to get out of the lot, with one lane open to get people out, I was off. I guess if you don't have cars there is no reason to have more than one open right?

Gambling Content (mostly)

A couple thing I really wanted to do this trip was to check out City Center (see photo at beginning) and Encore. More about that in a bit. After checking into my hotel and getting my Insanity workout in for the day I was ready to play. I drove to Harrahs and took the short walk over to the Venetian to play some single table satellites. They had a $340 event the next day and I wanted to take two shots to get in via the $80 two winner satellites. Fail. I never lasted longer than the 75/150 level in either. I chased a couple draws and was crippled both times. Just like that I was already stuck $160 on the trip.

After the satellites losses I wanted to try and find the softest 1/2 game that I could find. I mentally started to go through where I have had my biggest wins of the past. After a quick stop at the Caesars food court I was off to the Monte Carlo. When I got there they had one 2/4 game going and one 1/2 game going. They were just starting the 6pm tournament. Unfortunately nobody from the 1/2 game got up and after 15 minutes I decided to move on. Next stop was Hooters. Poker Grump mentioned recently that the play is always bad there. Why not give it a shot. When I arrived there was one 1/2 game running with a small list. While waiting I signed-up for their frequent player card since you need it for their aces cracked and bad beat bonuses. After waiting for 30 minutes I gave up and went looking for something else.

Next stop was to check out the Luxor. I made a quick detour to the Tropicana along the way and signed up for a card and got $10 free play. I made about $8 out of it. At the Luxor like most other played I hit they had only one table going which was 1/2. I waited for 30 minutes and gave up there as well. Next stop would be the Excalibur where they had three 1/2 tables going and I was able to get into a game right away.

I sat with $100 and started to take in the table a bit. Pretty quickly I was able to recognize the two rocks pretty quickly and the rest of the table was full of a variety of loose passive other clueless tourists. At the beginning the standard table raise was around $10-12. there was a big stack to my immediate left of around $600 but he got up about 1/2 hour into the session. The rest of the stacks were in the $100-300 range. I was able to slowly build my stack up to around $200 without anything exciting happening until this.

I am in middle position and limp QJcc after an ep limper, sb completes and bb checks. Flop comes KJJ rainbow. Checked to me last to act and I bet $10. Sb throws in a check raise to $30 and has another $80 behind. He was a mid-20's kid who had a bit of gamble in him. He certainly wasn't a great player. I decided to put him in right there thinking 100% of the time he has a weak J from the blind. He snap calls with the K10. I turn the case J for fun and win the pot. If you hit quads or better in the room even with one card in your hand you get to spin a wheel for free cash. I spun and got an extra $25.

A little later in the night two 20 somethings who know each other sit next to each other. Shortly after that three of their friends were standing behind chatting and having a good time. UTG I limped 1010 and we went to the flop 5-6 handed. Flop comes 8,6,2 rainbow and I lead into the field for $10 and one of the 20 something calls. Turn is a Q. I check and he fires $25. I really didn't feel that hit him and I called. River pairs the 5 on board. I check and he fairly quickly bets $50 and starts chatting up his buddies not paying attention to the game. I know my hand is good and I call. He flips over 10,8 and I scoop the pot. The way he was acting sure seemed like he was betting a worse hand or air. I just got the feeling that he wanted to show his buddies that he could bluff.

Now sitting on a little over $400 I was able to play a bunch of different hands. Having a good feel for the table I was able to tell where I was in hands. I was playing any suited cards with one face card and any 1 and 2 gappers. Plus the raises in the game shrunk to 3x or so. The other 20 something raised UTG to $7 and I was the only caller with J7ss. If I hit I can take a ton and if I miss I am just losing $7. Flop Comes J54ss. Good flop. Kid cbets $15 and I opt to call. turn is the K. He hesitated for just a second and bets $25. I think I may just have the best hand right now and have a decent showdown hand and I min-raise to $50. Since the hand has some showdown value I want to be able to see the river as cheap as possible. I didn't hit the flush but paired the 7 on the river. He checked and I went for a bit of thin value and bet $50. He thought for a good bit and finally called with QQ. That had his buddies talking a bit. I'm pretty sure they didn't even see the flush draw in my hand. They just had no idea what my thought process was on the turn. Loved it.

After the hand I was sitting on a little over $500. I ended up playing for about 30 minutes longer and and left after about 4 1/2 hours of play with $525 in front of me. I will definitely try and get back here on the next trip. On the half hour-ish walk back to the car at Harrahs I walked through the Crystals at City Center. A mall is a mall but this was impressive. A ton of open space and the place just seemed massive. I saved walking through Aria for the next day.

Not quite ready to go to sleep I stopped in Flamingo and found my new non-poker love, multi-hand video poker. They had a total of three machines, two 50 line machines and 1 100 line machine. You could play it in $0.01, $0.05 or $0.25. I opted to play 25 lines of $0.01. I ended up playing on $5 for around an hour, never down more than $4 and I ended up with a massive profit of $0.11. After that I hopped in my car and made it back to my room by 2am and was out around 3am.

Part 2 and wrap-up coming soon.

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