I had one of my toughest months of work ever, which ended at 4:25pm Thursday when the project completed. That was good timing, because I needed to leave the office at 4:30 to catch my flight. I changed in my office, ran out the door and headed to Vegas. I read most of Harrington's book on the plane and loved it. With the layover, it was 9:30 by the time I got to the Bellagio. I dropped my stuff off and set out to find my friends. I decided on the plane ride that there would be no poker on Friday night. 1) I was too tired to play well and 2) I wanted to catch up with my friends. Unfortunately, I knew that would mean playing blackjack.
I called John and he, Glaze and Wilson were playing $25 blackjack. Great. We played and got beat up pretty bad as a group. I didn't care that much because I was the smallest loser of the 4 of us and I had a good time talking with the guys. We don't see Ferruzzo often, so I try to maximize time with him while I can. I manage to be the smallest loser my betting only the minimum and drinking less than they did. So, when they left, I did the only smart thing - I pounded a few beers and bet $100 hands. Once I lost, I just went to bed. There was no point in dumping my hard earned poker bankroll on this game.
Lesson learned: Dont throw good money after bad
I woke up early on Friday and after a quick bite with Ferruzzo, I went to the Alladin for $1-$2 NL $100 buy-in. This was always part of my plan. After much time away from the game, I needed to ease in. Also, while improbably, the $2-$5 Bellagio game could have depleted my funds, which would have been very bad before the big tournament. I played for 6.5 hours. I played for 65 minutes before I won my first hand (bet out AT with flopof Txx and won the pot). The play at the Alladin is horrible. Horrible. I won $65 in 6.5 hours without getting any good cards at all. I just managed to read they players like the open books they were and bully them out of pots when I read fear. At one point the table broke up because the 1st ever Friday noon $110 Freezeout started. While that was a mild annoyance, the good part is that our table filled up with the first players knocked out of the tournament - the very players you want at your table. I got my cookie at 3:30 (love those Alladin cookies) and cashed out.
Lesson learned: Alladin is full of fish. And the cookies are good.
"True hunting is over. "
Bigger fish to fry. I had an hour to kill before the big tournament. I went to the room to have some me time. I freshened up, made some poker promises and generally relaxed. I felt pretty pumped when I left the room, but to say the truth, I also started to feel the gravity of it all. Perhaps it was the BJ loss combined with the lack of serious winnings at the Alladin, but for the first time I considered bailing. However, 50% of my entry was paid by others and they were wanting me to play. I got there a little early, shot the sh1t with Junell, Morris and Camp - all of which were playing as well. There were app 152 entries, so they were going to pay out 13 places. Walking into the Fontana Room was pretty awesome - the view out the window, the onlookers from the Fontana Bar, the giant flat screens with tournament updates, and the sea of green felt. Paradise. I spotted Eric Lindgren, who recently made a splash on the WPT.
The Director told us that our $1060 bought us 3,000TCs and that blinds would be 25-50, doubling every 40 minutes. I sat down at table 40, seat 5 and crapped in my pants when I looked at my new best friends. One guy I recognized from TV was to my left and the rest looked like they were ready to eat me alive. Everytime I came into a pot, they would raise me - everytime. They smelled fear and knew that I would not be willing to risk my stack without the nuts. TV guy was knocked out quickly and I felt lucky to have 2/3 of my chips when they made us move. The next table had a bunch of goofy tourists that weren't very good. Two guys seemed decent enough, but there was some bad play going on. I sat there until 6:30, 1.5 hours after I crapped in my pants and got dealt 55. I had 1,000TCs left, was on the button, had one limper and knew I needed to something fast (blinds were 100-200). I went all in and got called by limper with A9. Not bad, close to a coin toss, but I slightly had the best of it. He got a 9 on the flop and that was that. I joined Morris and Junell on the rail and threw a quick little pity party.
Lesson learned: scared money is easily lost. Don't play at limits you aren't comfortable with.
"Shadows of the morning light the shadows of the evening sun till the shadows and the light were one... "
The party didnt last long and Ferruzzo took me to a video poker machine where he won $5,500 (it should be noted that he also lost $5,000 gross on BJ so far). Since the machine "couldn't lose" I invested $50 and lost it. Not a very luck trip so far. People were headed to eat, but after that tournament, eating was the last thing on my mind. I had a lot of hands to win to get back that entry fee, so I got a seat in the $2-$5 NL $200 buyin.
They put me at the same table as Morris and Ashley. On the very first hand, I got JT and called to see the flop with a lot of people. When the flop came JT2, I made a big bet which scared off everybody except one guy who raised all-in and had me covered. Now, the thought occurred to me that he just might have 22, but given what I had invested in the pot and given how many times I have seen a re-raise here with hands like AA, KK, QQ, AJ, I figured I would call him. He had 22. Back in the pocket for another $200. That must-move table broke pretty quickly and I ended up at another table where I promptly got my stack up to about $500 when they moved me to the main game.
In the main game, the stacks were bigger, action was bigger pre-flop and the skill was generally higher. (Remember this). We spotted Evelyn Ng a few tables over, which was very nice. I also got the word the Camp just got knocked out of the tournament in 28th place. Well done, Camp. My stack dwindled to about $300 when I got KT vs K2 and a flop of KT2. I won a $630 pot and was very happy. At some point later, a turned a nut flush and a guy bet into me with the Q high flush. When it was all said and done, all my chips were in the middle of the table, forming part of a pile of $1,120 which I won. Now the thing that I remember most about this hand was that I was absolutely trembling when I raked in my chips. This is unlike me. I remain extremely calm during these pots because quite honestly, I have quite a stomach for risk. Futhermore, since I had the nuts, there really was no risk. I think the trembling was just a real release of emotion that was like "I have been getting kicked around and I am finally getting my due" It was nice. I ran the stack up to just over $1,400, which was very nice. It stayed at that level for a long time and now it was quite late. The new players in the game were now young drunk idiots, which made me change my mind about cashing in. What an opportunity to have - a table full of drunks with short stacks! Well, they beat me up. I think the worst of it was one hand where I made an all in bet with top pair top kicker to get called by a chick with nothing. Nothing. I bet like 2x the pot and she called all in with nothing. She took part of my stack and then I decided that I really needed to start drinking. That was really smart because I then pissed away my stack.
Lesson learned: Dont drink and play poker
"Without game, men prey on each other."
I switched tables and bought another $200, which I ran up to $500. My stack stayed around that level for many hours and Patrick McAndrew and I had a blast. We were pretty delirious from our lack of sleep. The buzz had worn off and I was playing well. Even though I was playing well, it was really stupid to continue playing. All the fish had busted out and I was left at a table full of rocks. But we were having a ball and the whole table was laughing at our stupid jokes, such as my belting out "what is wrong with you people? it is light outside and you're still playing cards! get a life!" Boredom gave way to screwdrivers and my stack got knocked down. The killer hand was one where I felt certain I was being bluffed, but I just couldnt muster the strenght to re-raise all in (my only hope with my sorry hand) Staring at $150, I told Patrick it was time for bed.
Lesson learned: don't drink and play poker
"I am proud man anyway... "
That ended 25 hours of poker. My friends were just gettin on with their day and I was just ending mine. Had I gone to be when they did, I would have been a wealthier man
Lesson learned: my friends are wusses.
"My head, it landed. To the sounds of cricket bows... "
After a 2 hour power nap, I hit the tables again. I played for another 6 hours and pretty much broke even. Then it was time for dinner. Junell made it clear that there was exactly one expectation of us - go to Champsteak at MGM at 9:00 on Saturday. I left the Bellagio at 8:30 and walked to the MGM. I walked past the poker room and can confirm Junell's post that the room is pretty dang cool. I got to the hostess at Chapsteak to find out the reservations were cancelled. I called Ferruzzo and he confirmed this, but told me "We are at the Palm...dude I am so drunk....come to the Palm....cough cough...." I took the monorail to the Flamingo, walked to Ceasar's Forum shops, got to the Palm restaurant and couldn't find them. I called John. After 5 minutes of trying to communicate with an intoxicated Ferruzzo (which is as easy as trying to speak to a deaf mute retarded person from Mars), I ascertain that they went to the Palms Casino, not the Palm restaurant. They were leaving in 15 minutes. I gave up. I went home, had a glass of Cab with Glaze and tucked in.
Lesson learned: I was a sucker to think for a second that something so difficult as a dinner could have been pulled off with 20+ drunk dudes in Vegas
"Covered now by three days... "
I wasn't planing on playing Sunday, but I was checked out of the room and had 2 hours to kill. I was up about $300, mainly from another nut flush when they moved me to the main game. I lost most of my profit, picked up my chips and headed to the airport.
Unfortunately, the airport was a circus and when I got through security, there was about 15 minutes to go. I made the decision to get some french fries, since I would not be home until after 9pm. That got me to the gate at 9 minutes before my flight. SWA gave my seat away (even though I had a boarding pass) and I was stuck. I spent 8.5 hours at the airport before I got a flight to Lubbock, TX, where I got 4 hours sleep, woke up early, flew to Dallas and got to work a mere 5 minutes late. I was so tired I thought I was going to die.
Lesson learned: skip the fries
"My focus three days old. "
Although from late Saturday till I got home Monday night kinda sucked, the trip was well worth it. It was good seeing old friends and making one new one. I gained some valuable experience and yes, I learned some lessons. Although I made some bad decisions, I think that all told, I made many more good ones. I didnt get dealt particularly good hands and I survived some bad beats. I came back with money in my pocket and a desire to come back. Next time, I win. Oh, and in case you didn't know, it's Jane's Addiction.
Great post. You forgot to mention that for a good 7 hours, you were the commanding chip leader at the main game at the Bellagio. You ran over everyone. It wasn't until the 23rd-25th hour of play that you gave it back.
Also, I think you were supposed to be on my flight because they called your name on the intercom. I figured you had caught an earlier one. Oh well...