Now that I’ve finally come to terms with my disappointing, it’s time to head back out to Vegas! My plan is to play a couple of tournaments, but hopefully I come to my senses before I arrive. There’s not much new to report since my last trip. I’ve still been playing and working out plenty. Since my previous trip, I’ve lost about fifteen more pounds and a few more body fat percent. I think I’m down to about 15% body fat, and definitely in the best shape of my life; which is nice since I’ll soon turn 40.
There’s always plenty to do before I head out to Las Vegas and this trip will be no different. There’s so much to do around the house before leaving for a week that it makes me wonder if I even want to bother leaving town. Plus, these trips disrupt my routine, which I really dislike these days.
Back when I played live poker, I always had plenty of cash on hand. However, now that I really only play online, getting my hands on cash is a pain in the ass. My bank doesn’t have a location within an hour of my house, so I usually make a withdrawal from my Bet MGM account and pick it up at Detroit MGM. However, this is no longer an option for some unknown reason and I’d like to know who managed to fuck up this nicety. I looked into obtaining casino credit, but there seem to be some odd rules around using the money to play poker. So, here I am heading to Vegas with about $2100 in my bag. My plan is to hit the bank in Vegas, and hopefully they don’t give me any shit about what my plans are for this money. My plans are absolutely none of their business.
My flight is set to depart at 9pm, and I have no idea why I chose this time. This is about as inconvenient as it gets for me as I’m usually in bed by 9pm. I’ll be sure to bring this to my secretary’s attention in their upcoming annual review.
When I arrive to the airport, there aren’t any curbside valet attendants on duty, so I have to check my bags inside like some schmuck. Oh well, I guess I save $10. As I make my way to the security line, I go to enter the maze, a TSA agent grabs their radio and jumps in front of me very quickly and tells me to hold up. Oh shit, it’s about to go down. They finally found me! He puts his radio up to his ear, and then tells me “Sir, do me a favor. Report to the security checkpoint on the second floor.” So, I head down to the second floor wondering why the hell I’ve been flagged for something. I still don’t have any idea what all of this was about. I didn’t have any special meeting downstairs. No media. Nothing. I breeze through security, and make my way to the gate. I’m glad I can always count on TSA to do something completely useless.
I’m staying at a hotel that I’ve never stayed at before; Horseshoe. When I initially booked this trip, I was surprised to see that I didn’t have any free nights. I had some discounted nights, but no freebies which is unusual. However, for seven nights, my total was only around $500, so I couldn’t be too disappointed. A few days after I booked the room, I saw that I indeed have some free nights; eight of them to be exact! So, I called the Reservation desk and asked how to best apply these to my current reservation. The agent said that they will apply the free nights to my reservation. After some time, they notify me that everything is taken care of and that my deposit will be refunded. They also mention to me that I’ll have to check in and out each day and ask if I’m okay with this. I tell them that I am absolutely not okay with this. They then said that they’ll make a note in the reservation about this but can’t guarantee that I won’t have to check in and out. Of course I’m very irritated about this and tell them that this isn’t a notable thing; there are absolutely zero people who want to be bothered to check in and out each day. The agent says there’s nothing that can be done about this. So, I tell them to revert my reservation back and I’ll just pay the $500.
After a few days I emailed Caesars customer support and explained the situation and how little sense this makes. They reply back with the same shit the agent I initially spoke with told me. So, I then reached out to VIP Services and thankfully they were able to take care of this issue for me. If you ever have this issue, just contact VIP Services right away. My understanding is that the free night coupon codes that I used are only good for one night at a time, and the agents are restricted by the system they use to avoid this.
While I wait for the boarding process to begin, I sit at a high-top table in a quiet area and scroll on my phone. I see a giant rat run underneath my table. It sits over by a door for a few minutes, and finally disappears.
The plane ride seems to take forever this time. I watch a couple TV shows, take a nap, and still have two and half more hours to go. I can’t seem to get comfortable as my leg and back have some moderate pain from sitting so long. Anyway, we finally land and begin taxiing to the gate. That is, until the plane stops and the pilot announces that we’re waiting for a gate to become available. He tells us that it’ll only be 10 to 15 minutes, but any sane person knows they’re full of shit. They only say this because if they were honest the herd would lose its mind. So, you have to slow boil them. Fifteen minutes means an hour in pilot-speak and sure enough, we sit there for nearly an hour before we finally pull up to the gate.
I grab my bag from the carousel and head out to the car rental shuttle line. The line is as long as I’ve ever seen it, and decide to just pay for a taxi ride over to the rental center instead. If I were a pilot and had to estimate how long it would take to get on the bus, I’d say about five minutes. Luckily, the taxi line is completely empty and I’m in a cab and into the car rental center very quickly.
I recently signed up for a perk that Caesars Diamond members get at National car rental; Executive status. However my membership still hasn’t been verified; as the approval process takes two week. I had called them earlier this day to check on the status and they said they would expedite the process, and that it should be ready within 48 hours. Of course, this turn-around time is of little use to me, and I have to rent from the Emerald Isle instead. I walk past a few Mercedes and a BMW to get into my shitty ride. I head to my hotel and check-in and go to bed.
I’m up early as usual and head down to play some poker before the bank opens. I jump into a 1-3 game at Horseshow to kill some time. I book a small win in an uneventful session, and managed to stir the pot a little bit before heading out. The players on each side of me were playing a pot, and on the flop, a player bets, the other raises, and the other reraises. While deciding what to do, the player facing the raise mumbles something, which sounded a lot like “all in” before calling. The other player asks if they said all in and for some reason, this player losses his mind. He’s very adamant that he didn’t say all-in and seems be extremely irritated over the allegation even though the player asking isn’t being rude or anything. They eventually move on and the player apologizes for asking the question. So, a few hands later, I’m in a pot with the mumbler and I decide to ask him if he just said all-in vs me. He can’t handle this, which I knew. It’s time for me to head to the bank.
I haven’t been to a bank in a very long time, but this bank is very strange. The entire town of Las Vegas is here. I didn’t think people still went inside of banks, but I suppose people still have things to do in here. I get my money and manage to not get robbed in the parking lot before heading over to Target to pick up a few things. I packed all sorts of food and brought my own coffee, but hadn’t considered an important thing: I need access to hot water. I was going to rely on the coffee maker for this, but when I checked in, I didn’t bother trying to get a room upgrade and my room doesn’t have a coffee maker. So, I need to purchase an electric kettle. Also, just so you know, it’s forbidden to bring such devices into a hotel. Hopefully I avoid detection.
You know you’re in a good part of town when the Target parking lot is patrolled by multiple security guards and some mobile camera unit. As I walk to the entrance, I hear some yelling and people heading out of the store stop. Apparently, someone said “Why is he pointing a gun at me?”. It turns out that a kid had a toy gun and was pointing it at people walking in the parking lot. I mean, how is this even possible? I head into the store and grab my stuff quickly as my center console is stuffed with cash. Very smart move, I know.
It’s time to play some poker. I head back to my hotel and log onto WSOP.com. I get into a bunch of 500nl games and instantly get crushed. Just a bunch of the usual stuff: losing side of several preflop all ins, over-pairs into sets in reraised pots, etc. Really, nothing much of interest or importance. I think I lost about $2000 before calling it a night and heading to bed.
I head over to Bellagio and get a seat in the 5-10 game. When I sit down, I’m asked if I’m okay playing 5-10-20, and I agree. Recently, Bellagio changed the max buy-in amounts for many of its games. The 5-10 game is now a 2500 cap. If there’s one thing you can count on poker players for it’s this: demand deeper stacked games, turn the game into a forced straddle, but never start a list for a similar staked game. Evidently, the 10-20 no longer runs at Bellagio. I understand there are reasons for doing this, but I still find it funny.
Nothing much of interest happens until a very tight player opens to 100 and a fish calls. I squeeze AA from the blinds to a small sizing given the tight player has a fairly short stack. They both call and the flop is JT3r. I check, the tight player checks, and the fish rips in 2.5k. I call and the tight player is in the tank for a very long time before finally folding and showing 88. I somehow manage to hold vs T5 or something of the like.
There’s a younger guy at the table who may be friends with Jeremiah Williams. The reason I have this suspicion is because he mentioned Jeremiah every other sentence. I guess we’re all supposed to be impressed by someone who is friends with a guinea pig farmer poker player and trust me we are. If I had the energy or desire to engage into a conversation with this nerd, I would have asked “Who’s Jeremiah?” Anyway finally tire of listening, and the kid next to me smells like pure urine, so I decide it’s time to rack up. I win about $1500 and head over to a quiet area of Bellagio to relax for a bit.
I head over to the hallway near the pool, where there are several tables looking out at the pool. It’s busier than I expected, but manage to find a table. I set my bag on the table and begin scrolling my phone. It isn’t long before something really strange happens. Out of nowhere, a guy appears to be going for my bag, by placing his hands around the bag in pretty quick fashion. I leap up right away and grab him, but he doesn’t try to run or anything. He seems shocked that he’s being grabbed and tells me that he’s just really drunk and had stumbled and was using the table as a brace. He had a heavy smell of alcohol on his breathe, so I don’t think he was trying to steal my bag, but hard to know for sure. I offer him the open seat at my table and he sits down. We end up talking for about 30 minutes. He tells me that he lost a bunch of money in the poker room playing “$1,000 a hand”. I don’t tell him that I play poker, but I’m curious where he found such a table. Anyway, he seemed like a good enough guy, but it’s time for me to go.
I still have quite a bit of time to kill before dinner, so I decide to head downstairs and hop into a game at Horseshoe. I think the biggest game they usually get is 2-3 with a $500 cap. I get a seat right away and soon find myself wanting to choke slam a player. Trust me, I have a good reason. This player raises over a limp on the button, the SB calls, and I 3b from the BB with AQs. The button calls and we see a flop of QT8r. I check and the button bets 90 into a pot of 140 or so. I jam for about 350 effective and this player goes into the tank. They take so long, that somebody calls the clock. The floor comes over and gives them the speech, and when the count gets to 5, the player finally calls. The dealer puts out the turn and river which are a 5 and an 8. My opponent is shaking his head while I go to turn over my cards, and then he turns over KK. See what I mean? Anyway, he made it up to me when I later racked up by fist bumping me and telling me that I played “very solidly”.
I take a quick nap and then log onto WSOP.com to play some more before it’s time to head to dinner. I run pretty hot, winning a quick $3000 or so. Again, nothing of much interest or importance. I hop into the shower and head over to Noodle at Bellagio for dinner.
I arrive a little early and decide to play some slots while I wait for the other to arrive. I never have any luck playing video poker, and certainly don’t have any on this night. I drop a quick forty before spotting Persuadeo and Ritty. We’re soon joined by a few other friends: Kent and his wife, SDJen, and a surprise guest, Derdonker. We load up on food, which was pretty good, and shoot the shit for a while. They are looking to play poker, but not me. I’m still on Michigan time, and it’s getting pretty late, so I’m going to bed!
I wake up early as usual. I make a coffee and take a walk around town. I find myself at Planet Hollywood playing slots. A Wheel of Fortune machine catches my attention so I slide $100 into the machine. I get a couple of the big wheel spins, but am quickly down $50 before a great opportunity arises. Any slot player worth their weight knows that when a player leaves a machine, that machine is about to be hot. So, I try to act cool as I take the open seat as to not tip anyone off to the scheme. After a few spins, I hit the big wheel spin, which I expected. Unlike the other big wheel spins this morning, this one pays off. I hit a Minor Jackpot for $177. My work here is done, so I go and cash out my ticket. I use the automated ticket redemption machine, which has the option, perhaps it’s mandatory, to donate your change. You get to pick from a list of charities, so I guess that’s cool. Although, I don’t see why customers should be forced to make a donation to this list of charities. Anyway, I won’t sweat the 19 cents.
It’s time to head over to the gym. The gym at Horseshoe is pretty decent for a hotel gym. One thing that is interesting to me is the type of people you see at the hotel gyms. I would never give anyone trouble for making their way to any gym, especially when they’re likely on vacation, but I would expect a certain caliber of person; the type of person who is dedicated to the gym. For example, there’s always an Asian guy wearing Dockers, a golf shirt and tennis shoes lifting weights. This guy is always doing a full body workout, using every machine in the place. Their form and technique are always poor. Now, to be fair, this guy probably is dedicated to the gym. There’s also the out of shape guy, which again good on them for showing up, but they are usually here to try to get a pump before heading down to the pool. They’re typically lifting too heavy of weight with poor form. Today, this guy and his wife are in the gym, and they are doing dumbbell chest presses. To be honest, they were concerning me because they were both using far too much weight, and their hands and arms were shaking from the very first rep and they weren’t spotting each other. The danger here is that their hands give out and they drop the weight directly onto their face. Luckily, they manage to not get hurt.
I take a quick shower and grab a snack before heading over to Bellagio. I get a seat in a 5-10 game, and it looks absolutely miserable. We wouldn’t hear a spoken word for quite some time. Our first spoken word was “Pass”, when one of Euros was notified that their table change is ready. They get up and walk over to the new table to give it a final review, before coming back and letting the floor know that they “Pass”. I’ve never been great at game selection, and can probably count on a single hand how many times I’ve asked for a table or seat change. Of course, there’s nothing wrong table selection, and I probably need to get better at it, but the way most of these guys handle it seems to be very poor form. I think the rule should be that if you request a table change, you must take it. The crazy part about this guy passing is that I can’t imagine that the other table was worse than the one we’re at. Maybe my 5-bet fold convinced him to stay?
Despite the strong Euro presence at this table, who are typically very strong players, I witness several punts. Perhaps their scarfs were wrapped too tight, or maybe these guys were anomalies. First, we see a Euro 3b the SB vs a BTN open, and an older lady in the BB (she just sat down) cold 4b. The Euro SB jams all in, and the lady quickly calls and tables AA, while our Euro star has KJo. Somebody check the charts please. Next, we have a straddled pot where the flop goes 6 ways after the UTG open. The SB fish player donks for pot into the field and another Euro star on the BTN makes the call on K62r. The turn brings in a 5, and the SB jams all in for nearly 3x pot. The Euro star quickly makes the one-chip call and the river brings in a J. The SB turns over K6 and the Euro slides his cards into the muck. I wish I could see this hand. Lastly, I can’t even remember this punt, but you’ll just have to take my word that it was terrible. I rack up, booking a loss of about $500, without encountering any interesting hands.
I’m up early again, which I like, and make some coffee and walk around. I don’t play any slots today, locking up my profits. I come back to the room and log into WSOP.com to play for a bit. I’m quickly up $1500, and then quickly not as I’m simultaneously stacked twice. The first was just a nothing hand where I was all in preflop with QQ vs KK. The second was me opening the BTN with A2hh and getting flat by the SB. The flop comes KJ9hh and we both check. The turn brings a 3c, and we both check again. The river brings the Th, and the SB makes a small bet. I put in a sizable raise and the SB jams. Certainly, a strange spot with the K, J and T of hearts all on board. Which flush exactly would want to jam over my large raise? Their strongest flush that I beat is 98, and I don’t think this hand can jam and be called by worse. Still though, I don’t like the situation, but ultimately call. I get the bad news. I play for a bit longer, and book a small win of about $300.
I take a break and grab some lunch. I haven’t eaten out much on this trip, mainly because I’ve been on a serious health kick, and eating out is difficult. So, I make a tuna sandwich with Sweet Thai Chili sauce, which is one of my favorites. The only ingredient I’m missing is avocado, but I’ll survive. I head over to Bellagio and quickly get a seat. When I sit down, I’m notified that this is playing 5-10-20, to which I agree to. As luck would have it, I’m seated right next to the head Guinea Pig on Jeremiah’s farm, and he has chirping chips.
I play a marathon session of four hours. Nothing much of importance happened until the end of the session. I flop a set in a 3-bet-pot, and get jammed on by a flush draw. The turn completes the flush. The final hand I defend A9o black from the straddle vs a BTN open. The flop comes 998hh. I XR a small cbet and the turn brings in the Qc. I bet about 2/3 pot, and the BTN calls. I suspect that I should be mainly checking this turn with this hand, but too late now. The river brings in the 3h. I was torn between betting and checking here. This is certainly on the thin side, but ultimately decided to bet about half pot, which I think would be my only sizing in this spot given this situation seems fairly neutral. The BTN jams all in, for what is slightly more than pot. I don’t think I have much of a decision here holding my worst value bet. I think for my opponent to threaten me with over-bluffing this spot that they would need to be incredibly creative, so I fold. I end up losing $1800, and head back to the hotel.
I feel a cold coming on and don’t feel the greatest today. I don’t have any plans of playing today, so I decide to take a drive around town. On my way back to the hotel, heading North on Las Vegas Blvd, I noticed there’s a police officer laying on the ground and an ambulance on the scene. It looked as if they were riding a bicycle or a perhaps a motorcycle (I don’t recall which), and they somehow took a spill. He was moving around, so I assume he’s okay. As I approach Tropicana, I see that there are police officers closing Las Vegas Blvd. I notice one of the police cars says “Capitol Police”, and I recall that America’s dementia patient is schedule to visit this week. Although, I do recall that this isn’t until Friday. So, I bang-a-uey and try to get on the expressway, however the entrance to this is also closed. I have no idea what’s going on, but take a few back roads to get back to my hotel. Later, I would discover that the reasoning for these road closures is because of a shooting at UNLV. I was curious why some of these roads were closed, since they aren’t really all that close to the school. From my 60 second investigation, it seems that it’s common practice to close roads leading to a hospital during emergencies so that quick transit can be made if necessary.
I can tell the cold is getting worse, and a friend had mentioned that a recent cold that was going around knocked them out of commission for about 5 days. I’m scheduled to leave on Friday, but the combination of the incoming cold and presidential visit makes me want to leave town a little early. I find a flight leaving early Thursday morning and make the change.
I board the 6am flight and I’m very tired having not slept very well. I fall asleep on the flight, but soon I’m awakened in a startling manner; I’ve recently developed strong flinches in my sleep, that are sometimes punches, that wake me up. Unfortunately, I just threw a punch. Fortunately, I didn’t hit the woman next to me. She’s startled and I’m hoping her husband doesn’t decide to just kick my ass. I ask if she’s okay and apologize and try my best to not fall back asleep. However, I’m far too tired, so I tuck my hand inside my hoodie and hold it with my other hand in hopes that I don’t wake up swinging again. The strange thing is that I don’t think I’m having any violent dreams. Anyway, we finally land and I manage to not punch the woman in the face. I’m back at home, until I get the Vegas urge again. Also, no I didn’t play a single tournament, so the trip was a smashing success.