Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vegas Winter 08 Trip Report

This time I am going to recap the Winter Blogger Gathering in a single report. I rolled into town Thursday evening and checked into the Palms. I headed over to the IP at around 9PM. There was a huge turnout at the IP Thursday night with all of the A-listers. Rather than play a bunch of –EV games like normal, I hung out more at the bar, and eventually sat down at the 3/6 blogger mixed game table. I can hold my own playing HORSE, but this was mixed with no Holdem, and other games like Badugi and triple draw thrown in. Things did not go well. I bled all the way through the Omaha 8 and Stud 8 orbits without winning a pot. A few mistakes preflop, but mostly just getting nowhere with any of my hands, and getting pushed off other hands by overaggressive donks. Then came Badugi and although it looked like an interesting game, my lack of ever playing it was a big disadvantage. When I got near the bottom of my buy-in, I got up and walked, down $95 without ever winning a single pot.

I hung out at the bar for a while, and after noticing that it had thinned out a bit, I figured some bloggers had made the trek down to Casino Royal for Craps. I wondered over there to play, but no bloggers. So I ended up playing $3 craps from about 2:30-4AM winning a nice $115 to help me forget about my mixed game troubles, and then called it a night.

You need to be careful not to blow your wad by partying to hard the first night in Vegas. The last thing you want to do is do all of you partying on Thursday night, and be destroyed for Friday/Saturday. I never learn this lesson. I went on a 14 hour recovery plan Friday that included sleeping into noon, getting up and grabbing some lunch, then going back to sleep until 5-6PM. With the 14 hours of recovery behind me, I headed over to the MGM for some NL Poker. I would go on quite a rush.

I sat down at the first table, and was waiting for my chips, when I posted the BB (without chips). I had a junk hand, and it was 5-way and checked through the flop. On the turn I made a hidden straight, and bet $5 into the pot. (again no chips yet). The guy on my left jams all-in for about $45, and I call. As I am calling they called me for a table change to a blogger table. I picked up my winnings without ever having chips at the table and moved to the other table that had Jordan and CJ. I won a pot off CJ and then picked up AA and was able to re-raise preflop to $22 and got 2 callers including Jordan. I would flop an Ace and checked to trap, getting another $25 off Jordan before he was able to fold to my $50 River bet. The table got short handed, and I was moved to a very juicy table with a bunch of kids who thought they were much better than they actually were. I made some more cash there, and eventually Kat joined the table. I would get called for the blogger mixed game, and had the tough decision of going to where I had lost $95 the night before, or staying where I was up $170 in less than 45 minutes. I went to the mixed game.

The mixed game was dealer’s choice, but only games that I had played before. I tried to play my best, and tightened up a bit preflop. As a result I went a few more orbits without winning a pot. This was starting to get crazy, and the entire table was aware that I had not broken my mixed game cherry in two nights now. We would eventually play Razz which is my favorite mixed game, and I am actually good at it. Finally, I would win my first pot, but it was close. I had a 7642A, and it took a minute to realize that I had beaten a slightly worse 76 hand. I jumped up in celebration of the win, which drew a bit of a crowd. Sorry, just excited to get my first win. I would scoop a pretty big stud 8 hand where I made a low and straight 5 cards in, and was able to build a pretty big pot. Eventually I walked ahead about $25. I hung out with at the Sports book bar until around 2AM and called it a night.

I slept in again until noon, had some lunch, and played a small amount of blackjack winning $5 before heading over to the Venetian for the Tournament. I love the structure of the Venetian tournament, and this time we even started with 10k in chips. This would be my forth MTT at the Venetian, and I had made the final two tables every time. I settled in for what would be an expected marathon.

I have not been playing a ton of poker lately, but my game was on. I played pretty aggressive at the first table, but hovered around the 10-11k area until the first break. After the first break at level 4 there were already antes which I was not happy about. I ended up on a mini rush right after the break, and moved up to about 14k in chips. I would hold around there through the second break. I would eventually get moved to Smokkee’s table and arrive a bit short of average. I would finally win a big pot with KQs when I flopped top pair and a flush draw, and was able to reraise jam the turn when my flush hit and get the call from the Keno pro Neil who had a big stack. Finally I had some chips to work with. I picked up KK and chose to smooth call a T2500 open. The flop was AJx, and I decided to stab at it for 5K. I was reraised all-in by emptyman, and had to release my KK. He had JJ for a set. I would then lose a coin flip to Pirate Lawyer, and get back down to around 11k. I was playing the short stack well. I would look for +EV situations and Jam preflop, and was not getting called. I was doing this at least once an orbit so I was holding my own against the blinds. I would slowly work my way back up to 18k, before being moved off of the table. First hand at the new table, and Heather opened, and I smooth called with AA. The flop was all low, and I checked, and called Heather’s bet which put me all-in. She would flip up KK, and I would get my second double up of the MTT. The hand crippled Heather’s stack, but she would rally right back, and eventually win the whole thing. I would not see anther big starting hand, and was forced to get back into short stack mode. Eventually it was folded to my SB and I jammed K2o into Smokkee’s BB. This time he had A3o and made the call. I whiffed the flop, but a nice deuce fell on the turn. An Ace on the river sent me packing though in 15th out of 82 runners. I have no problem with that hand. K2o is close to 50/50 against ATC, and there was a ton of dead money with the blinds and antes. I can’t just call because Smokkee would likely push preflop on me, so I have to Jam or fold. Jamming is much higher EV than folding, and I was pretty short relative to the blinds so easy decision.

The timing structure of the MTT is a bit difficult. It starts at 3PM and you only get a 10 minute break every 1 ½ hours. That is barely enough time to use the bathroom, but no time to get any food. Last year when I cashed, I went without food until after midnight and was pretty much destroyed. This year, I literally had to run to the food court, and inhale a sandwich and run back to not miss a hand. The other issue is drinking. I like to drink beer when playing live poker. Since I normally do not play more than 2-3 hours straight it is not an issue, but in 6+ hours of MTT play, I ended up pounding quite a few beers. Pounding beers all day long is not a good way to prepare for a raging Saturday Night in Vegas. By the time I was knocked out, it was late, so I headed back to the Palms to change and get ready for some more MGM action. I did not have the energy, so I called it quits for the night at around midnight. Pathetic!

Sunday AM I had the usual work to do at FSL prior to the start of the early football games. I wrapped that up and headed to the IP sports book, where a huge crowd of bloggers had gathered. I was only able to stay till about noon, because I had tickets for a huge concert back in L.A. Sunday night, and needed to head home. It was a great trip, and tons of fun as usual, but I still need to work on pacing myself when in Vegas. My nights ended progressively earlier each night, and that’s a bit of a bad beat I would say. Overall, I booked a decent profit covering most of my expenses, and was profitable at all games that I played. Not too shabby.



At 4:45 PM, Blogger Shrike said...

Nice to meet you sir! Your T6o shove when we were both short-stacked in the blogger tourney caused me grief when I somehow found a fold with Q3o. What was I thinking.



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