Vegas Trip Report: Day 5
Monday (last day):
12pm-2pm: Binion's Horshoe and Casino - The horseshoe has only been re-opened for a few weeks since the new ownership took over. They're still holding tourney's to get into the World Series. Paul and I decide to buy in and give it a shot. At first, there was only one table and I decided to take a pass b/c I didn't want to play against my brother. That would suck. How could we play against each other for the same seat in this double shootout tourney? It was better to pass and wait for another table. I'd rather deal with the idea of playing my brother if we both make it to the final table. That would be a good problem to have in the future but not now. I wait while Paul plays until another table is opened. I buy in for $125 and play against 9 other WSoP wannabe's.
Seat 1: Old guy with glassesI played real tight. My first goal was to watch everyone play hands. I did not want to get knocked out first. I noticed quickly which players were the loose new comers and which players were the seasoned tourney players. The tourney newcomers were limping in in EP. You need to raise or fold in EP during no limit tourneys. These guys were seat 2, 6, and of course 9 (the Meatloaf looking guy in shorts). These fools had all their limps either raised out by LP bettors or they called and lost with crappy hands like J-2 offsuit. They all got bounced very quickly. I think I got the right table! The seasoned tourney players were not as good as they would lead you to believe. All they know is position raising. Position is critical but I picked up quick on their tells. I knew when they had something and I knew when they were just bluffing and position raising because there were only a few callers before them. Most fell for it everytime. The position raiser guys were in seats 1,5, 7, 8. The one thing they had in common was that they were all older than 60 yrs. Seat 1 was the only guy that was a good player and much better than the other position raisers. 10 and 4 were polar opposite players. 10 was a good player. He had all aspects of no limit tourney playing down. He was tight when he needed to be and loose and lucky when the time was appropriate. 4 was a wild man. Loose as hell. He called so many early preflop raises it wasn't funny. This redneck knew how to fish! He only survived later than the other EP limpers because he rivered a few hands and won some big pots he shouldn't have.
Seat 2: Arab looking guy
Seat 3: Me
Seat 4: Red neck
Seat 5: Old guy plaid shirt
Seat 6: Dark hair guy
Seat 7: Old farmer joe
Seat 8: Serial killer
Seat 9: Meatloaf
Seat 10: Bald guy with beard
I watched everyone's betting patterns and noticed some holes so I raised three times the BB in late position preflop with pocket 99s. Bold move but there was only the blinds left. I knew the SB blind had no hand because of the way he was twirling his tooth pick. It was different than what he did most of the other times. I also noticed he twirled it differently when he won with KK earlier. Plus it didn't hurt that I heard him mutter under his breath when he looked at his shitty down cards. As suspected, the red neck folded. The guy in the BB called. He limped in and didn't reraise me. He's one of the position raiser. Was he slow playing something good? Or was he limping in because he had something like A-J or J-10. I figured he had no pairs and had just overcards by the way he was squirmming after the flop hit. It was 10-7-2. He bet less than half his stack. Interesting move? Why not all-in with so few chips left? I raised him twice his bet to see how serious he was. He reraised me so he was all in. Everyone at the table looked right at me. This old guy came over the top of me. Was he slow playing me? I took my time before I made a move. Fold or call. He was all in. If I lose this hand, I'll be hurting bad. I'd be really short stacked. I realized that he wouldn't have limped in with shit and he would've raised with a pair since he's a big position raiser. I see him getting impatient at the amount of time I'm taking. he seems too anxious and antsy for an old guy. Maybe I was pulling a Phil Hellmuth on him and just pissing him off. I was counting my chips and stacking them while deciding on whether to fold or call. I believe he has K-Q or A-J right now. I decided to call this clown and hope that no more overcards come out. The 10 was scary enough but this guy stunk of no pairs. I say call and throw my chips in the pot. He says "shit" and I know without even looking that i'm in good shape. He has A-J offsuit. I got lucky and read him right. I just hope all low cards come out on the turn and river. Everyone is shocked at the balls I had to call with 99 and an overcard on the bord. Will this guy outdraw me? He doesn't even stay to watch. He walked away as soon as I flipped over the pocket pairs. A 7 and a 3 come out and I win.
I won some more pots as the levels kept increasing. I flopped a straight twice and also flopped a set of QQQ and JJJ. As soon as I took the chip lead at my table . . . I look up at the side rail and I see Paul. He just finished in 4th place he says and flashes the thumbs up sign to me. Now comes the hand that hurts. I folded a hand I wish I had played after the flop hit. I was in the chip lead but seat 10 and 8 were almost even with me. I had Q-10 d in the BB. Seat 8 never bet out the entire tourney. He was a position raiser. I felt like he had AA or KK. He was second to act and raised the blinds preflop all-in. Wow. Seat 10 looked at me with that look of I'm calling because I got some good shit. He raised all-in with slightly more chips than seat 8. Wow, what to do? Q-10 suited is good shorthanded but all I could think was Robert Varkonyi sucks!!! My tight ass came into play here when it shouldn't have and I folded. Where were my balls then? I was bullied out of this pot and knew it as soon as I folded. The flop hit Q-4-10. I would've flopped top two pair. Fuck, fuck, fuck! 6 and 3 come out next. Seat 10 knocks out seat 8. The winning hand was K-6 suited versus J-8 suited. A pair of 6's won. That sucks and that's the hand I still lose sleep over. That made the quad 5's I missed out on a few days ago disappear from my mind. I would have tripled up and had a huge lead on the remaining players. I could've bullied the others into submission. Unfortunately seat 10 did that and won. I finished in 3rd place. Red neck got 2nd (lucky guy - obviously likes to fish). I find out that the guy in seat 10 just checked into Binion's a few hours ago and decided to skip lunch and play in this tourney. Lucky him, huh! He got to advance in the WSoP satellite because I folded that Q-10d. I wish he was a little more hungry earlier so he wouldn't have played. Oh well. Maybe next time!
I almost forgot to mention how I got knocked out. Well, there was a lot of battling going on when there was 4 players left. But soon there was three of us left. Seat 10, 4, and me were left. I'm shocked that seat 4 is still playing. He was not that good. I guess everyone is shocked to see me still playing since I just sat back the first few levels and waited until the right time to strike. I was second in chips at this point. I lost a big hand when my straight lost to a higher one on the river. I was now shortstacked and in 3rd place barely hanging on. I knew it was time to start doubling up. I raised two hands preflop and stole some blinds but then I got crap the next few hands and the blinds started to eat me away. I had to go all-in on the next hand. It was 8-9 offsuit in the BB. I could think of better starting hands! The button (seat 4) calls and limps in while seat 10 folds his SB. I decided to check my BB even though i should've just gone all-in. I have no clue why. I messed up but it didn't matter. The flop was Q-A-Q. I raised all-in (finally) and the red neck pauses for a few seconds and says call. He soon follows with a coy "I'm sorry to do this to ya" in his red neckese drawl . . . he flips over AA. He flopped A's full. Fuck. I lost and I'm done. 3rd place and nothing to show. it was a winner takes all and advances to the final table of the double shootout. So I missed out on a bigger shot at the WSoP. that does suck but I had fun playing at Binion's. It was my first time there and I had a blast even though I made a few mistakes. Stacking chips from winning pots at Binion's was a great feeling. It was an awesome experience but it was time to head over to the Bellagio to check out the WPT Championships and meet the NYC Poker Babe who was covering the event. By the way, Paul remembered to get some souveniers from Binnons. We got a few $1 poker chips to take home.
2:20pm-5pm The Bellagio and the WPT. Where's Shana Hiatt when I need her???? The WPT event was cool. I never get excited when I see famous people. Riding the subways in NYC gives me the opportunity to see some famous athletes and actors, as well as others. I never get excited or ask for an autograph because who cares. They are regular people. I don't need to inflate their egos more than it already is, right? Fuck them. So iIusually ignore them and say, "Hi!" at best. But that's it. Nothing else. Paul and I walked over to the poker room and saw every poker pro you could think of. I've seen them on TV but in person was unbelieveable. I was in awe for once. Doyle Brunson was there, so was Scotty Nguyen, Jen Harmon, Jesus, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Devilfish, Mel Judah, TJ Cloutier, Phil Laak (aka the Unabomber), Hoyt Corkins, Sam Grizzle, Ron Rose, Howard Lederer, Gus Hanson, Meng the Master, Clonie Gowan, Dan Harrington, and everyone else you've seen or heard of (I know I'm leaving out a ton of people). Hollywood notables were Gabe Kaplan, Ben Affleck, and James Woods. There were others but they are not worth mentioning. I was truly excited. I was waiting for Vince Van Patten to fall down drunk somewhere, anywhere, as long as shana was nearby but no luck. Not even a Mike Sexton sighting. I guess they're just getting loaded somewhere waiting for the final table.
The highlight of the WPT event was getting to meet Scotty Nguyen. He was playing in the actual poker room because the tourney was over flowing so they had to use real game tables. I was leaning over the wall looking into the room and sitting a foot away from me was Scotty Nguyen. Someone asked him for a picture while he was playing a hand. He politely said one minute and folded his hand. He got up and looked at me and I said, "What's up Scotty?"
He gave me a hi five and said, "What's up guy?!"
He had a huge smile and then shook my hand and said, "How's it going big man!?"
I said, "Great! How bout you?"
"Awesome, baby!" he said and then he went over to the tourists and took a photo with them. How crappy is this? I lug my digital camcorder all the way out to Vgas and I leave it in my room. I could have close up footage of the pros and a Scotty Nguyen conversation. I blew it. Anyway, I run over and tell my brother what just happened. I was pumped. I've never been so excited to meet someone. I went back to the same area and was smoking a cigarette thinking about how I should have brought my camera to the Bellagio and then all of a sudden I get this slap on my shoulder and it's Scotty Nguyen again. He's got his cell phone in hand and says, "What's up?" to me again and gives me a thumbs up! Paul comes over shortly and Scotty Nguyen comes over again. I guess he was more interested in taking breaks than playing hands early on in day 1 of the tourney. He says hi to Paul. We formally introduce each other and he shakes both our hands with a huge smile. He says, "Just win baby!!"
We say the same thing back. It was all we could think of to say. How dorky? Oh well. He was genuinally excited to meet us. Scotty is a crazy man. I figured if Scotty touched me several times today . . . it's time to hit the tables. He had to bring some luck, right?
6-9:30pm: Last hands of poker. Will Scotty bring me and Paul luck? Will Scotty meeting us bring him any luck? The answer is no for everyone not named Paul. My brother was the only one who played well after this historic meeting of great poker players. I almost lost my shirt. I lost half my buy in. Paul kicked ass and Scotty Nguyen got bounced from the WPT farely early. Gabe Kaplan and Ben Affleck played better than Scotty. Who jinxed who? Me or Scotty? Regardless, I had a great time, I really can not wait until I go back to vegas. Foxwoods and AC just doesn't compare. A poker dealer at the Excalibur asked me why I quit smoking and started up again as soon as I landed in Vegas. She thought I was dumb as shit. She might be right. Well, she is right. My response was as cheesy as my Scotty Nguyen comeback. I asked her if she watched TV at all? She said of course I do. I told her that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Time to go to the airport and go back to NYC. Think monster pots!