September 2022
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Last hand

I’d already decided the next hand would be my last.

It’s KK, as I almost knew it would be. I raise under the gun and end up losing a tiny pot to 97o. She hits 2 pair, bets the flop but decides that’s enough money when I raise the flop, and I get a very cheap showdown with an ace on board. And with that final reminder of just how great the $2/$4 games are, I’m done.

The air was almost cool as I walked back to the car. Almost. The strip traffic looked bearable so I took the slow way home, listening to Frank Sinatra having the world on a string as the last of the great neon signs wished me to please come again.

I’m sure I will. ūüôā

Finally proof that I am great :)

Four way chop – $467 to me in the Caesars 11pm $70 tournament.

I’d actually planned only to play this tournament if I’d been eliminated from the 7pm ($220) instead, but Claire mentioned the word “curry” and so we ran off to Tamba in the Hawaiian Marketplace for a taste of England’s favourite food. My vindaloo was cracking, although like a little girl I asked for it medium hot. I’m sure that’s allowed in the Curry Code, if you can’t have any beer when you’re driving…

Finally everything fell into place at the right time. Every time I had the best hand it held up, and once I won with the worst hand too, calling a short stack’s TT with my 88. I found a few good spots to take down chips that should not have been mine. There was one situation that I had to play rather bizarrely though: I began by stealing the blinds with two players still to act when it looked like nobody was interested in playing. I had complete garbage, but I went with my instinct (which is the major improvement I feel I’ve made this trip – although I know there are still many more opportunities out there). The next hand it’s folded to me with KQs and I make the same raise and get the same result. The next hand I have a slightly better hand and slightly worse position – AJo. I just couldn’t bring myself to raise three hands straight without the third hand being a monster. The other players don’t have to be paying a great deal of attention to notice my sudden rush of aggression, and I didn’t want to be facing a reraise that looked like someone taking a stand with this hand. I’d probably have to call in that spot. So I just limp in and fold to a raise from the small blind. Weak, and I may as well have not played the hand at all.

At the start of the final table someone brought up the idea of a 9-way split for $250 each, but one player said no and nobody seemed bothered after that depite my usual calls of “7 way chop?”, “6 way chop?” as each player fell. With first prize standing at $900, I asked out loud what payout would trigger a W2 tax form (of course I already knew the answer was $600). I made sure to point out that if we kept playing and lost one more, a three way split would result in everyone getting just over $600. The other three immediately wanted to work something out to avoid paying any tax and based on chip count I got $467 of the $2070 remaining in the prize pool. Somewhat conveniently, the chip leader received $599.

So I’ve broken my streak finally. I don’t have to stay an extra week now!

Running out of time

I hate small blind vs big blind situations. That’s how I managed to bust out last night at Binions, after playing solidly enough to keep up with the pack the whole way through, and recovering from two crippling beats where I had the other guy dominated with my AK. In fact I thought it was going to happen again, as I moved all-in with AT for a little more than a standard raise. One guy goes to call but only calls the blind. Pay attention dude – your call is binding. But I survive against his A6s and I’m back in it.

Then I’m on the BB for 1200, and only the small blind calls. I check my Q7o and catch top pair on the flop – QT5, all different suits. When he checks to me I bet 1500 and he agonises and calls. I don’t believe he’s acting, and is weak but thinks I’m full of it. He checks the offsuit Jack on the turn and I know that if I check behind here I’m pretty much giving up the hand, with top pair. That’s kinda weak, and I don’t have enough chips to do anything else so I have to move all in.

There’s a lot of popular limping hands that beat me now, QK, QJ, QT, JT have me crushed but my pot sized all in bet will be big enough that KJ, J9, T9, A9 would be making a mistake by calling with their draws, but might consider doing so anyway. Will I only be called if beaten? No – even AJ or AT might think they are winning. Can I call a river bet if I check here? Probably not. Am I likely to be winning? Yes, so giving a free card is terrible. It’s a horrible horrible situation because it’s so marginal and I have almost no information about my opponent’s hand to help make a better decision. I don’t like the all-in move, and just wish I was never in the hand to start with, but I can’t see a better option.

Can I really fear a straight here? The board shows TJQ, but AK would probably not have wanted to give me a free play. 89 or K9 might be around, but would be making a very questionable call on the flop, getting less than 3:1 and poor implied odds with my remaining stack size. But that’s exactly what happened – K9 made the gutshot straight and I was busted playing a hand that I wanted to give up preflop. Someone please raise me next time! Anyone!

And of course, once again I survived just long enough to be too late to get in any of the 11pm tournaments. Three days left. Three tournaments at most… I think I need to stay another week!

Played like a demon

I played like a bleeding demon tonight, and look where it got me. Up to 12k chips (three times starting stack) by the first break, finding plenty of opportunities to gather small pots and maintain. And then this happens. With blinds at 300/600 and a 50 ante I’m dealth JTo in the small blind. There’s one limper and I complete the bet. Big blind checked. The flop comes down a fantastic 89Q with two hearts. I have the Th so I have the nut straight and I know nobody else can have a straight with a flush redraw. I check and the BB kindly bets 1400. The other player raises to 4000 and so I move in.

The big blind calls in a flash, but the other player goes into the tank for a while and eventually folds and shows his top pair, top kicker AQ. The big blind shows J9 hearts for middle pair, an inside straight draw and the second best flush draw. He had about 5000 left so the pot was so juicy he had to call. The Kh fell on the river and I was crippled.

Later I agonise over whether calling here is better, but either calling two raises or putting in a third raise screams “monster” and I probably won’t get any more action from the other player, plus if a heart comes on the turn or the board pairs, do I back off now? I don’t think there’s any reason to get tricky here, I made sure I got my chips in with the best of it and there was plenty of money to pick up even if I don’t get any action. I was at least a 2:1 favourite against any hand to not go broke at least (a hand with a J or T will split the pot about 10% of the time.).

So left with only 5000, the blinds jumped up to 400/800/75 and I had to move all in with any two cards when it was folded to me in the cutoff. 5h6h was plenty good enough, but not against JJ. The flop couldn’t have been any kinder, bringing two hearts and a 6 so it’s essentially 50/50 at this point. I reminded myself to get it quietly when one of my 14 cards came, but it never did and I was out just before 11pm. Which is a crap time to go out of any tournament because it was too late to run up the strip to Caesars or down to Sahara for their late night efforts.

This was so frustrating. This tournament seemed like it was going to be the one. The conditions were perfect for getting a win under my belt – a small field (49 players in total), a fairly slow structure (30 minute levels is about as good as you’ll get here really, although the Mirage during the day has 45 minute levels) and the chance to gather a decent sized stack early on. We were down to two tables before I’d broken a sweat, I hit the nuts and watched lots of chips work their way to the pot without me even having to do anything. Then went home in 13th place.

Seriously, I can’t play any better than this. ūüôā

Red Rock Resort

The signs for Red Rock Casino label it as Red Rock Resort. Which I suppose it is, but it’s location in Summerlin makes it somewhat more utilised as a locals casino than a resort hotel. In fact, it looked like the hotel wasn’t quite finished yet when we went.

The feel of this place is a bit wierd and the vibe is somewhat mixed. The decor puts i somewhere between in-yer-face and over-the-top. It’s feels intensely modern and cool, to appeal to a young locals crowd. But it’s also seems to be trying to compete with the Bellagio or Wynn for elegance. There are some quite horribly excessive chandelier structures over part of the casino, and then you move through to a new section and they’re all gone. So the kids get to gamble over here, whilst the rich folk have this part to feel at home in…

Didn’t stay long, given that one of the reasons for visiting was because it had a cinema, but Superman Returns wasn’t showing and however good Snakes on a Plane might be, it’s title doesn’t do make it sound like making any effort to watch. Claire said there’s a reason Speed wasn’t called “Bomb on a Bus”, and I tend to agree.

Weekends in Vegas suck. Fact.

During the week I¬†had become fairly¬†impressed at just how quickly I was¬†managing to get around town.¬† When the lights are with me, I can make it from our driveway in Green Valley, five blocks from the Beltway,¬†to pretty much anywhere on the strip or downtown in under 20 minutes.¬† I caught a break and made it into Caesars, dumped the car in the Colosseum Valet (which is deathly quiet when there are no shows on, and not far from the Poker Room) in not much more than 15, which is pretty damn cool.¬† Even having to negotiate the World’s Busiest Intersection (it would be, wouldn’t it) I can fly into the Tropicana and walk over the bridge to the MGM or Excalibur (I’m starting to much prefer the latter, on account of the wheel you spin with any four-of-a-kind, or aces cracked.) in next to no time.

Obviously there’s more traffic at weekends.¬† I’m in the minority of visitors that stay in Vegas for more than 2 days at a time.¬† During the week, the casinos wish you "enjoy your evening".¬† As soon as Friday is here, that becomes "enjoy your weekend".¬† I wish I could, but getting anywhere and doing anything is just a complete nightmare.

Last Saturday I went home early because I failed to park anywhere. I started with the Tropicana, but valet was full and I was decieved by the fact its parking garage has only one level so I wasted too long here looking for a space and ended up back on the crawling strip. From there I tried the MGM but their valet was full, and the only way out after seeing the sign that tells you the bad news is back into the horribly slow queueing traffic. There’s no way to even try to self-park, even if you assume there will still be spaces, once you find out that Valet is full. This week it took a good hour to get as far as being rejected by the Valet parking at Caesars on Friday night, because I’m not a Harrah’s Diamond VIP member.¬† To get this honour, you have a full year to earn 10,000 Total Reward points, equivalent to¬†total stakes of¬†$50,000 on slot machines or $100,000 on video poker.¬† Even being this reckless (best case: it costs a theoretical $1000) for the sake of priority parking wouldn’t make the strip traffic move any faster, although I’m sure many Diamond VIPs expect it to.

About half an hour was spent in a queue to turn off Flamingo Road, which has the World’s Longest Intersection Signal Sequence (as determined by me, but unofficial), and only allows two cars to turn left onto the Strip every ten minutes.¬† This also gave me plenty of time to fume about the unnecessary punctuation on the road sign indicating "Caesar’s Palace" for a new dropoff only zone, clearly no use to me when driving on my own.¬† The missing apostrophe has been the World’s Most Famous Grammar Error for 40 years – why¬†change it now?

So having to actually park my own car (god forbid) I fight my way up to the top floor of the garage and finally get in a space.¬† Then it’s down four floors in one elevator, and three more in another.¬† This makes no sense.¬† Plus, the second one is full of people leaving the Celine Dion show, and I wait for ten minutes without seeing a single down elevator with room for a person in it.¬† Parking my own car, and having to use the stairs – what on earth is this town coming to?

Some old bird

A lady sat down next to me at a $2/$4 game the Treasure Island. I could see the name on her player’s card was Jennifer Wrenn and she was clearly with a man who was playing in the same game a few seats away.

I really wanted to ask if they were married and he insisted she take his name, or if her parents had just been exceptionally cruel.

I didn’t dare ask though. Sorry.

My hump. My hump my hump. Check it out.

I have to get over this hump of coming close and not cashing. Tonight I’m out 18th in the Caesars 11pm tourney. There’s 84 in and 10 get paid. I lose with KK all in preflop against AJ. A few nights ago in the same tournament I finished 14th. I was 3 places off at the Strat, and 5th in a stupidly fast sit-and-go, if that counts. I’ve decided to avoid SNGs for the sake of sanity for the rest of this trip.

Seems I’m constantly coming close but not quite getting there and one pot would usually make the difference. I figure that means I’m doing OK, just not doing great. I’m surviving long enough and progressing deep enough that I have some decent equity in the tournament just before things start to go random. When the crapshoots start going my way I’ll be smiling, but it always seems to come down to me either having to make a move with a mediocre hand or falling victim to someone else who has to play non-premium cards and gamble.

I need the confidence boost of a money finish though now, plus it would help me justify buying into the tournaments I want to play at the Mirage and Wynn…

Is he English?

Michael Binger raises to $1,100,000 from the cutoff, Jamie Gold calls from the button and Allen Cunningham moves all in for $6,500,000 from the big blind. Binger folds an Gold makes the call. Cunningham shows 1010 and Gold turns over KJ. The board comes AK873 and Allen Cunningham has been eliminated in 4th place.

I heard this in the car just now driving home, and it made me think of England. Aww..

Don’t be bringing small children into my casino…

… or I will make sure they can’t sleep tonight, says Harrah’s Entertainment.

How freaking scary is this thing, at the Rio’s Masquerade in the Sky show? You have to see the eyes move for the full horror, but it’s still pretty grotesque in this snapshot.