Vegas March 2014 – Part IV

If you haven’t already read parts one, two and three, you might want to get caught up…

Rico and I woke up relatively early on Monday morning, and decided to hit Hash House for breakfast.    Lou and Big Show were still sleeping, so we checked out of our room, checked our bags at the Valet, and ambled over to The Quad where we were seated after a 20 minute wait.   Our waiter told us that they had two signature dishes, so Rico and I obliged by handling them:  Rico went with the sage fried chicken and waffles, while I went with the Man vs. Food famous sage fried chicken benedict.   This was probably the largest single meal I’ve ever had in terms of calorie content, but I was in the zone.    I was plodding my way through the pile of chicken, mashed potatoes, eggs and biscuit when the waiter walked by and asked me “are you going to finish that?”

“I probably could, but I’m not sure I want to,”  I replied honestly.

“I haven’t seen it done in a long time,”  he half-heartedly urged, as there was no prize or glory for finishing it.    He told me the story of a few guys who’d been in recently who had hit it hard at the casino: one of the guys put a $ 5k chip on the table for his buddy if he could finish the plate.   The guy couldn’t choke down the last few bites of mashed potatoes.  It’s the potatoes that get you: there were multiple pounds of mashed in the heap on my plate, and I was planning to leave the last of them as an offering to the spirits.

If the waiter had offered up a free t-shirt or some other sort of ever-lasting glory, I may have choked down the rest of it, but the way I looked at it, all he was offering me was the opportunity to have to use the airplane bathroom on my cross-country red-eye flight home later that night.  No thanks.

Lou and Big Show joined us as we were finishing up, and we waited for them to eat before ambling back to the Palazzo to attempt another assault on the negative EV pits before they had to catch their flights home.   Big Show and I took on the double deck blackjack game while Lou and Rico went with Pai Gow across the pit.

Things didn’t go well, and I was quickly felted and then almost all the way through a second buy-in before I managed to claw back.   After a few hours, we’d escaped the Abyss and were back to even.   Big Show and Lou cashed out and headed to the airport, while Rico and I decided to take a walk over to the Wynn and take on his super-soft Pai Gow game there.

Rico squeezed out a 4 card royal on his first hand, but nothing more came of it.   Although Wynn ($WYNN: no positions) has abandoned their assortment of fresh squeezed fruit juices that they used to offer, the waitress sold me on the idea of a carrot juice – one of the few she still had available.    I already wrote a post about the completely unacceptable oversight on the auto-faucets in the bathroom at the Wynn, and I’m sure that Steve will have it fixed by my next trip.

After a few hours, Rico had to take off for his flight, and I was left with about 6 hours to kill before I had to head to the airport for my red-eye.   There was only one logical option:  it was time for poker at the Venetian.

I sat in a new 1-2NL game which was mediocre.  In short order, two guys from Texas came to the table, and it was quickly apparent that things were going to be decent:  I was in the 6 seat, and one of the guys was in the 9 seat.   He was the “composed” one.   His buddy in the 2 seat was instigating Jaeger shots.   They’d come from their buddy’s wedding, and were probably buzzed when they arrived.   The problem was that the Jaeger shots were so big that they looked like glasses of red wine.   They must have been at least 4 ounces.    After 3 of those in the first hour, the 2 seat, a guy who was making subtle references to being a Mexican gangster, was blitzed.

He’d bet $70 into a $10 pot on the flop to “protect his hand,” and of course was always somehow heads up with his friend to my left.  The Mexican would slur “you know I’ve got you beat,” and try to talk his friend into folding.  Then he’d throw a few red chips back across the table to his buddy after he won the pot.   Now, Collusion 101 is when you and your friend raise everyone else out of the pot and then split the money, and although this didn’t really look great optically, I’m sure that wasn’t their motivation.   A few dealers didn’t like the way the guy was lofting the chips across the dealer’s face (from the 2 seat to the 9 seat), and chastised the guy.

Now let me be clear: The Mexican was going to spew money.  It was only a matter of time.   He was talking trash in a friendly way, and I’ve been in enough poker games with maniacs that it didn’t bother me: I was practically drooling.   An old nit to the Mexican’s direct left, however, couldn’t take the heat.  He almost started yelling at the kid, who then slurred: “Are you KGB?”  The Mexican then tried to pull down his shirt to show his gang tats, and the old man just got up and left!  I couldn’t believe it: this is the kind of guy you build a poker game around, and the old nit couldn’t take the heat.

The Mexican had his chips in a sloppy pile, and had a few $100 bills on the table.  When he got up to take a walk, he put the hundreds in his pocket.  He returned shortly thereafter asking “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY TWO HUNDREDS?”

“They’re in your pocket,” replied 4 people at once, and it was clear I wasn’t the only one drooling.    The old nit had been replaced by another older pro who could clearly handle the heat and was catering to The Mexican, who would spray money into the pot, explaining, “we don’t care about the money – we RICH,” which made me laugh.

The cocktail waitress told the Mexican she couldn’t bring him another round of shots and offered him a water instead.   We tried to get him to drink the water, but it was too late: suddenly the floor manager was behind the guy, asking him for a word away from the table.   The floor manager was explaining to The Mexican that he would have to leave the poker room, and I was boiling into a state of bajungi tilt.   The guy was drunk but not abusive, and was the centerpiece of the game.  I think he was even winning.   Despite the floor manager not making a big scene about it, the Mexican obviously felt like his manhood was being challenged, and got loud, asking for the floor manager’s name and telling him he’d deal with him later.   The guy backed down after the floor manager asked if he was threatening him.    The Mexican was staying at the hotel, and his friend walked him upstairs for a nap.

Fully tilted at the Floor having kicked the pigeon out of the game, I grabbed an immediate table change, and ended up out of position in a pretty decent game with some Eastern Europeans and Israelis.    One guy, who I think was Bulgarian, had my number.   Every time I relinquished the lead in a hand by checking to him after I’d been the original bettor or raiser, he’d fire massive bets at scary boards and I’d lay down big hands (ie: AA on a Q-T-3-8-Q board when the river paired the Q on the flop).   I managed to get it back from a solid player two to my left when I button limped with K-8 and turned two pair.   He’d flopped two smaller pair, I think, and I bet it all the way, getting paid off on a pot sized river bet.

I finally had the Bulgarian where I wanted him, but I completely butchered this hand and won the minimum.   Here’s how it went:  I was in the big blind with 5-5 and about $300.   The Bulgarian bumped it to $17, and there were 2 callers to me.  I called and needless to say I liked the 5-2-2 2 club flop.  I checked, the Bulgarian bet out $40, and a solid Spaniard in late position called.   I decided to smooth call.   It’s possible that this was my second mistake on this street already:  I could have bet out and taken the lead which I could happily relinquish later as a trap, or I could have check-raised.   I did neither.  Anyway: the turn was the 8 of clubs, completing the flush.  I was hoping that the Spaniard was on a flush draw.  I checked again, the Bulgarian bet $65, and the Spaniard tanked before mucking.   Now I smooth called again.   Again, it’s possible that I’ve screwed up every action so far post flop, but anyway.

The river was an offsuit 6, and now I decided to jam for my remaining $160 or so.   The Bulgarian went into the tank, and I thought he was actually going to call for a second before he mucked.  I shook my head and marveled at how it was possible I screwed up every single opportunity I had to act in this entire hand.   I’d waited for the perfect spot to trap this guy and then completely failed to spring the trap when I had the perfect opportunity.    I’ll write it off to ring-rust:  I haven’t played any poker since my last Vegas trip 2 years ago.

I bided my time for a few more hours before cashing out, up about $400, and heading to the airport.   I’d eaten nothing for more than 12 hours since the Hash House breakfast, but fortunately I didn’t have to end up using the facilities on the plane.

I arrived back at Logan to single digit temperatures, and had to drive home, where I crashed for a few hours before my nap was disturbed by – I kid you not – Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on my door.   My I-just-got-home-from-3-nights-in-Vegas-and-I’m-a-walking-zombie look as I answered the door in my boxers with world class bed-head did the job, and they retreated post-haste as I wondered if it had all been a dream.

until next time…




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