It was December 11th, 2004 when about 30 bloggers gathered in Vegas for a seminal moment in the explosion of poker blogging. None of us really knew what to expect and none of us were disappointed by what we found.
Many of the experiences were hard to describe, yet we spent thousands and thousands of words on dozens of blogs telling our handful of readers what they missed. By the time the next poker blogger event rolled around, our numbers had surged past 70. It wasn't long before we'd reach a peak above 100.
So why am I thinking about that weekend now?More in this Poker Blog! -->
In 10 days, I'll be back in Vegas for the first time since the 2006 WSOP. And of those few dozen poker bloggers whom I first met that December weekend, I'll again get to spend time at the tables with Iggy, Pauly, Bad Blood, FTrain, Poker Prof and maybe even AlCantHang. Add in Otis and GRob, and we'll have nearly a third of that first group of bloggers back in Vegas together.
It was a long strange road that got us all there in the first place. A quick check of the archives shows these poker blogs started popping up in late 2003.
Pauly launched in August 2003:
Texas Hold'em poker is probably the most difficult, yet the most exhilirating card game out there. I know there are fanatics who share my same disposition and now there's a site for them to visit. Combined with the knowlegde that there are not too many poker blogs out there... I decided to start my own. 100% Poker speak... 100% of the time!
We opened here in September 2003:
Welcome to Up For Poker! Hopefully soon, there will be more contributors than just myself. This will also help my Up For Anything readers avoid a majority of my gambling rambling.
Iggy popped up a few weeks later:
Well, well, well. Figured I might as well start trying to document some of my experiences with God's nectar, Guinness, and the online Phenomena of Poker. I've been playing poker online for about six years. Drinking seriously for about twenty.
HDouble came next in October 2003 (where have ye gone?):
That's it for my introduction. Hopefully this journal will help me improve my game, as well as give me a chance to develop some thoughts worth developing. And if it gives some readers a few laughs or nods of recognition along the way, that would be nice too...
Update: BG also chimed in with his first poker post in October 2003:
I've been playing Texas Hold 'Em (no limit, $10 buy-in, winner take all) with the same group for about three months now. Normally, we're getting together six to ten strong on a weekend night, and playing until 1 or 2 AM. So far, so good. There's only two of us that can claim three victories during these games. I'm one of them.
Maudie jumped into the game in November 2003:
I hadn't played much hold-em previously - let alone no-limit - and so I was at sea with the jargon and had no clue as to strategy. Being the curious cat I am, I googled for poker reading material and was lead to my first poker publication purchase (nice alliteration, wouldn't you say?) Super System by Doyle Brunson.
Hammer-inventor Grubby joined a few days later:
I love playing poker. I love eating.
Hey, why not combine the two?
Mean Gene emerged in December 2003:
I'm going to write more stuff than just hand histories here, honest. I'm thinking maybe some poker fiction. I mean, you just KNOW that a flood of poker movies and books are flooding to market right now. Maybe I should jump on the bandwagon.
AlCantHang finally took the plunge in February 2004:
I've been hitting alot of poker blogs recently and they've been well written and very enjoyable. Probably not so for this one. Those who know me will tell you, I drink too much and play poker poorly. I mean really bad.
BadBlood hopped on the train in March 2004:
Ah yes, a community that I could understand. Poker.
Well, at this point in time, I'd played for a few years off-line. And about 9 months on-line, many that I'd like to forget...
And finally, PokerProf and Flipchipro in April 2004:
I decided to undertake this blog effort after considerable encouragement and harassment from various family and staff members. I will make every effort to be timely with my entries, offer content that is interesting and related to the Las Vegas poker scene and supplement the journal entries with photos.
I'm sure there are some I forgot or lost (
can anyone figure out BG's wacky archiving?), but these are the ones who I remember built the foundation. The number of new poker blogs really started to take off in the middle of 2004. By the end of the year, a few dozen of us had this crazy idea that we could get our own private tournament run in a live Vegas poker room, that we could get top pros to play, that we could get online poker rooms to give us free stuff, and that we could get other top pros to meet and talk with us before the tourney.
To this day, I'm not sure how much Guinness and SoCo it took for us to think any of this was possible. And yet, there we were. In the middle of an experience we would likely never experience again. From the insane limo ride to Sam's Town to doubling up on Max Pescatori to the depravity that Vegas drops on us, I'll never forget the first time I met the poker blogger community.
And now I can't wait to get back to Vegas.<-- Hide More
That's what I was when I arrived at the MGM Sunday night for the $125 buy-in tournament. To say I was discouraged would be an understatement. I was so bummed, I almost sat down at a NL table prepared to tilt off the rest of my Vegas bankroll.
But I waited. A few bloggers had already sat down, -EV, JoeSpeaker and Biggestron. I really wanted to join them, so I waited, hoping people would bust out fast enough that I would have a legitimate shot at this thing.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Halfway through the first level, my name was called. The structure was not ideal (T1500, 25/50 starting blinds and 20 minute levels), but I was used to it, thanks to my pool table poker experiences. Of course, missing half of the first level didn't help.
Aces on the Turn
My first two big pots were pretty lucky. The first hand I played was A9o. The table was tight enough that I thought I'd steal the blinds. The big blind, however, elected to call. In the short time I'd been playing, I didn't respect him. The flop came down J-high, and his check encouraged my continuation bet. He cold called, and I was worried. The Ace on the turn was all I needed to push. If he had me, he had me. I needed chips and needed them now. He called and flipped J9. He flopped top pair and checked it. I love bad players.
A few hands later, I got into a pot with a horrible foreign player who had sucked out once and tried to tip the dealer a T25 chip. He was upsetting my sensibilities. I made a play at his short stack after an uncoordinated flop missed my Ax. He called all in, and was ahead, but I hit my Ace on the turn. I suppose you could call that a suckout.
Asking for Help
Rule #14 of Sucking Out: Verbally request a card or help from the dealer. It greatly enhances your chances of success.
After those two busts, I was in pretty good shape. That made it a lot easier to play, especially with my timid table. I stole plenty of blinds.
I looked at pocket 5's in late position and hoped to limp to try to catch a set. A short stack in front of me raised, but not all in. I figured it was, at worst, a coin flip, and I was willing to race. I put him all in. That's when the BB screwed up my plans and announced a call. He tried to go all in, but had more chips than the call.
The flop was K-high and missed me completely. I checked and the other player tossed his final chip into the pot. I had to call, and did.
"Dealer, I need some help on the turn," I said, as I turned up my cards. Before the words were even out of my mouth, I got my wish. A five on the turn and a King on the river filled me up. I never saw what the 2nd caller had, but the initial shortstack was rather upset that his KQ went down in flames. This would definitely qualify as a suckout.
Two Tables Already?
I had hardly blinked and we were down to just 20 players. And I was delighted to see another blogger across from me. JoeSpeaker was in pretty good shape. Both of us had enough chips to do some damage. I wanted to make a deal, but I wasn't sure of the protocol. That's when I sought out the Princess to set up the 10% trade for me. It went off without a hitch.
Open the Door
Rule #6 of Sucking Out: Declare the number of outs you have, it encourages the deck to come through for you.
I'd been playing fairly tight since we got to 20. You may not believe this, but tight is my style in tourneys. It just seems like I play any two cards.
I finally saw a legitimate hand, pocket 9's, but the player right in front of me raised. He had a little more than half of my stack and I thought I could push him off the hand. I put all my chips in the middle and mentally crossed my fingers. He thought and thought, but called, and flipped pocket 10's. Ouch.
"Well, I have two outs," I said, and almost before I finished, the most beautiful door card I could imagine appeared. The 9 was there and the 10 never came. I was in really good shape now.
The Final Table
It seemed like it took forever to get to the final 10. But when we did, I was 2nd in chips, but still well behind the chip leader. Only 6 places of the 92 players paid, and first got about $3850. The big stack sugested he take 3 grand and the rest of us could split the remaining prize pool.
"I don't know... I get pretty lucky," I responded. And the cards were in play.
Actually Playing Poker
I know this may kill the reputation I've worked so hard to cultivate, but sometimes I actually play poker. It's rare, I know, but it happens. I set my sights on the arrogant chip leader.
Sitting in the small blind, I'm dealt A5o. The chip leader limps UTG and it's folded to me. I complete and the BB checks. The flop comes down A-high. I am positive my hand is good. And I check.
The SB checks also, but the chip leader, predictably, bets out. I immediately check raise him, tripling his bet. I had a stack that could hurt him and he knew it. He did his best to act like he was conflicted, to pretend as though he wanted to call, and he mumbled something about me being behind. Predictably, he folded.
The very next hand, I get AQ on the button. It's folded to me and I make my standard raise. The SB folds, but chip leader calls from the BB. The flop is Q-T-x, two spades. He checks, I pause a second and motion all in. He called as fast as I've ever seen a call and triumphantly flipped K9s.
He had a monster draw. In fact, he was favored (53%) despite being behind. Thankfully, the turn and the river both missed him. He was crippled and I was the chip leader. It felt GOOD. A few hands later, he was out, in 10th, with nothing to show for his time.
Saving a Little
When we got down to 8 players we agreed to save the buy in for the next two knocked out. We decided it would come out of 1st place. I thought it was a fair deal, but didn't realize it would cost me money.
Rule #10 of Sucking Out: When big stacked, calling a shortstack all in with any two cards is +EV.
"I defend my Big Blind with suckouts," I announced to the table as the cards were dealt.
"Well, if these are halfway decent, I'm all in," the short-stacked small blind responded.
And when the second card came down, he pushed his meager stack into the middle. It's folded around to me and I look down at 8-2 of spades. I had hoped it would be the HAMMER, but it wasn't nearly as strong. I called anyway, because I had to. He flipped ATo.
When the deuce flopped and he got no help, he was none too pleased with 7th place. Apparently he was a little pissed at me for calling with such a weak hand. Here's a memo to tournament players: Don't get so shortstacked that you get called by 8-2. And when you do, don't cry about it.
The Suckout to End All Suckouts
It wasn't long before we were down to 4 players. An Asian woman, a 30-something guy, JoeSpeaker and myself. I was really hoping to get heads up with JoeSpeaker, but it wasn't meant to be. He was pretty card dead and forced to push from the SB with T9o. The BB called with T3o and caught his 3 on the flop. Live poker is so rigged.
At three players, the 30-something guy proposed an three way chop. That sounded fine to me since we were all about even in chips. I think I was likely third at that point, and the blinds were pretty high. I thought the Asian woman was going to agree, until she said, "Well, I'm okay with third. Let's play poker."
Well, if that's the way she wanted it...
We only played 5 hands.
I folded the first two and then found naked Aces in the next two. I pushed both times and stole some signifcant blinds. Suddenly, I was the chips leader.
Then came THE HAND.
The Asian woman is on the button and pushes all in. The solid 30-something guy looks down at his card and also announces all in. He's got her slightly covered. That's when I look down at KQh.
What would you do?
Logic may dictate a fold here, but follow my thinking:
1) What hands do they have? If I was guessing, I figured one for a big ace and the other for a pocket pair below my KQ. That means I'm way behind any way you look at it.
2) If I call, I have a chance, albeit slight, of knocking them both out. But even if I lose, as big stack, there's a good chance I'll still have at least 2nd place.
3) I have a tendency to suckout.
I called, shocking both of my opponents. In fact, I believe I pissed off the Asian woman. She flipped her Big Slick and the other guy flipped pocket J's. Ouch.
I was about 25% before the flop. The J's were in the best shape, favored to win about 42% of the time. But I had them right where I wanted him. Do you know anyone who plays better from behind?
"Well, at least I have outs," I said.
The dealer laid out the flop and it was...
The rail full of bloggers erupted. I was so shocked, I'm not sure I even saw the Q on the turn. The Ace on the river put an extra knife in the back of the Asian woman. She would have won the hand had I folded. Instead, as the shortest stack, she got the third place she said she'd be happy with.
I won. Someway, somehow, I went for 18th alternate to 1st place and $3650.
More importantly, my fellow bloggers saw that it doesn't take a computer for me to suckout. I hope they remember that at the next WPBT!!!<-- Hide More
I can count the number of times I've been drunk on one hand. Some of you probably think that's rather sad, but it's not a big deal for me. I could drink if I wanted to. My family has a fine history of good drinkers (anyone who's bellied up to the bar with my Dad or brother would know that, right G-Vegas?). [Ed note: My sister can drink, too.]
The last time I was drunk it was my going away party before leaving for Lafayette, LA. The fine folks in Greenville decided I needed to drink... a lot. G-Rob was my personal bartender it seemed (which is never a good idea). If you don't know, I'm not a fan of shots. And I can't count how many shots of Goldschlager (don't ask) I did that night, but the bottle was empty and I figured I was done.
Until G-Rob approached me with a full shot glass of a dark liquid. It was Jager. I was too drunk to decline (despite screams of horror from my stomach), and when the liquid touched my tongue, my stomach had enough. Next stop: the bathroom. (If G-Rob decides to embellish I threaten to pull out the Champagne story.)
Oh, and someday I'll tell you about the fruit bowl of Vodka.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This all brings me to a magical morning in the Mandalay sports book. I didn't get a wink of sleep the night before and I hoped to get there in time to secure comfy seats. No luck. Eventually BG and On_THG met me. They had a prop bet going on number of bloggers who beat them there. BG had the over and lost. [Ed note: BG had the under and won.]
We snagged some seats in the horse racing area and BG began showing off his knowledge. Unfortunately, it didn't translate into much in the way of winnings for him. It's not that he didn't know (because his analysis was staggering at times), but the tickets always seemed to be just one off. It was a tough run for him, but I'd take his word on the ponies any day.
Of course, I ran up to the window with a $1 2-3-4 exacta box and it cashed for $90 when the 50-1 shot came in second. There was no analysis there.
And then it happened. The horse that changed my weekend.
Too Drunk to Call
I'm not sure who saw the name first, but I think it might have been Donkeypuncher. But with a name like Too Drunk to Call, I think AlCantHang would have kicked our ass for not playing it. [Ed note: The Princess spied Too Drunk to Call, which means Donkeypuncher spotted Mr. Otis, the 40-1 shot we all lost money on.]
I decided on another exacta box. I put Too Drunk with the two favorites. They're loading the gates and dozens of bloggers are waiting in breathless anticipation. Suddenly, we see the 1 horse running around without a jockey and then we hear the 2 horse busted through the starting gate. Both would be late scratches. The 2 was the favorite, and on my ticket.
I ran up to the window and replaced the 2 on my ticket with the 5 horse. I had no good reason, but I also didn't have a lot of time.
Soon, they were off, and miraculously, Too Drunk went wire-to-wire and the 5 horse finished placed. It was a $189 exacta. My gambling weekend was turned on a dime.
The Second-Half Bets
The NFL betting wasn't going as well. I played a few early game parlays and put some money on the Jags to upset the Colts. I knew the Jags would cover, but I put some cash on the money line. Unfortunately, the early games were not good to me.
I did, however, bet four second half lines and I won three of them. I think the 2nd half lines are one of the best bets in Vegas.
When the late games rolled around, I hit one of my three parlays and won 5 out of 6 second half bets. Had my Eagles pulled off the upset in overtime, I would have won two more money line bets there, too. Instead, it was a tidy sports gambling profit for me.
Shouldn't I Be Playing Poker?
Thus far in the trip, I'd played very little poker. I mean, I sat at lots of tables, but that's different. There was a $125 tourney at the MGM Sunday night, and I wanted to give it a shot. I ran back to the hotel to change and headed to the monorail for the MGM
That's when the call from Otis came and I found out the tourney was full. I was really disappointed. He said the alternate list was full, too, but he could get me on an alternate-alternate list (whatever that means). Dejected, I told him to go ahead, but that I'd likely find a NL game when I got there.
When I finally arrived, I found out I was the 18th alternate. Not a good way to start. The finish, however, was a thing of magic...<-- Hide More
The lovely bride had a look of deep concern. We'd opened all the presents under the tree and, without me even noticing, I'd never unwrapped her gift to me. She looked under the Frasier Fir. She crawled behind the couch. She lifted the chair, and had that moment of discovery. I knew the present rocked.
The last time I was this excited about a present, I'd just opened Michael Jackson's "Thriller". I stopped opening the rest of my stuff and sprinted up to the turntable in my room. I called my best friend, also named Michael, and he'd gotten the record too.
I came (THIS) close to calling Otis about my I-Pod NANO. It's damn cool folks. Damn. Cool.More in this Poker Blog! -->
THIS JUST IN
I was just that excited on my last night in Vegas. I'd won at every no limit sesson and had huge nights on Friday and Saturday. I walked away from a massive win streak eager to tell everyone, at great length, about my play....but people who are running bad aren't always eager to hear about someone else's luck. That's what it was, after all, I'm the worst player in the world.
The first NL session was right after I arrived. I came straight to the Excalibur from the airport. The last shuttle, at least the last for some time, was just about to pull away and was totally full. I remembered some great advice from Dr. Pauly and gave the driver a $20 to let me stand...and hit the Excalibur first. He was happy to play along, though I almost fell out the damn door on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Excalibur, if you've never been there, has a poker room wedged between the bathrooms and the Star Wars slots. It smells like a million burning Marlboros, with the smokers rail just inches from the outer tables and the room itself has that dirty dust covered effect with a threadbare maroon carpet and dealers aged well past perfection. It makes the whole "Middle Ages" motiff that much more real. Think Tower of London.
I suppose the folks had done that whole "Storming the Castle" thing. They were all there en masse. I sat with a few folks at a 2-6 spread game and lost about half my stack. As bad as I am at all forms of poker....I am far worse at limit hold-em. At the lowest limits it negates my agressive style. I then sat at a $200NL game right along the rail closest to the bathrooms. After 2 hours of play, I was up $40. Then The Mark passed out on the felt and I had to head back to the IP. That was my worst NL session of the trip.
THE G-VEGAS GAME
I've played in 3 games since we got back home. I've lost every time. At the Monday night "big game" I lost 1.5 buyins. Both times I went in with the better hand.
On Wednesday, during a $40 tourney, I managed to bluff my entire stack into the second nuts. I had 3 pair. It lost.
On Thursday, I fell back 3 buyins before catching back up to even. Then I played 3 handed until the wee hours with BadBlood and Teddy Ballgame. Teddy crushed us both. I went home broke.
As I told BadBlood last night, yes we talked about poker on Christmas Day, I'm really struggling with those losses. I made much more than enough in Vegas to cover the money and I'm not worried about that. I'm also happy to contribute to anything that cements my reputation as a horrible player. That can only pay off....eventually. (For now, I still DO suck at poker). What bothers me most is I've been losing because I've played poor poker. I've bluffed too often. I've misread opponents and applied the worng strategy in the wrong places.
For the past month or so BadBlood's been losing too. But he's MOSTLY played well during that time. He can write it off to variance. I have only myself to blame. That sucks.
HANGING OUT! AT THE MGM (ALSO ON THE WAY)
Let me just say : I can't post one of the most embarrasing stories from the Vegas trip. Catch me online sometime and I'll fill you in. Even the porn slappers were shocked by my...um....hanging out.
We'd played at the Aladdin for hours. Several bloggers joined me in a $100 tourney there which, as the worst player ever, I busted out of rather quickly. I found a seat at a no-limit game with Otis, CJ, Gamecock, and Dr. Jeff and we tilted the universe. Actually, I tilted the universe. They played pretty good poker. I took a few bad beats. Still, I finished up about a half a buyin.
The real magic was at MGM.
It's easily my favorite room. The dealers are good for the most part and the beer babes are well appointed. Plus, the players are easily the worst on the planet.
At my first table, I sat to Russ Fox's left. There was one VERY aggressive player to his right and another loose agressive in the 9 seat. At one point, with 2 seats open two cowboys, who obviously knew each other, sat down. The game was $1/$2 NL. One cowboy bought in for $60, the other for $80. Both went all-in on the first hand they saw. Both went broke...got up...and walked away.
FOR THE A.D.D. READER
I was sitting at the airport bar in Atlanta with a guy who worked for an international engineering group that has a lot of federal business. He said he was just returning from Alaska.
"Why Alaska?" I asked.
"Because they said I could work on systems in Iraq for 3 months, or a remote missle base in Alaska for 6," he answered, "I chose Alaska"
Life is all about choices.
NOW BACK TO THE SHOW
I stood up from that first table, said goodbye to Russ (an excellent player by the way, who took a buyin from me at the Aladdin in July), and went to the mixed game with Joaquin. I cashed out up about $250.
After losing about $100 of that, playing ever hand to the end in Razz and Stud, I went back to NL.
This time, I had the perfect table and, for some reason, I couldn't make a bad decision. I sat in the 3s and a pretty cool guy from Michigan (there aren't many) sat to my right. To my left was a very loose aggressive player with a similar player next to him. They colluded all night, but I made $400 of the pair of them. The rest of the table was a revolving cast of horrible...folks I do mean HORRIBLE..players.
I built my stack to about $700 and then took a break for booze.
I sat back down, and in about 3 hours, I was up to $1,400.
I made reads like I never could before and, finally learning a lesson from Badblood, once I made a solid read....I trusted it and played accordingly. A player making good reads should never second guess.
I cashed out with enough money to cover the trip, all my spending money, and have a little left over.
The next night was all profit. Signifigant profit. With a blogger tournament in between.
BUT THAT'LL HAVE TO WAIT
You know, here's the real post...buried like the left bower. I've had writer's block lately (can't you tell??) and its affecting my whole life. Really its my job to write, every day at work, and I've lost my mojo there. I still care about the reporting, as much as if not more than before, but the new ideas just aren't there.
You may have noticed my posts here have gotten fewer in number, and I wonder if that's to blame. It was the best Vegas trip I've ever taken and for some reason I spent so much time trying to remember the details that I can't even remember the plot.
I did drink too much. What else is new?
I also cut back on sleep. But who sleeps in Vegas?
I think the problem is, I spent so much time playing good..solid...poker, that I neglected almost everything else. Everything else, of course, is the stuff worth remembering.
Usually I pity those poor retired jocks who can remember in sickening detail ever bead of sweat on an opponents play durning that big game one night. They remember al the statistics and they remember final scores. Of course, we all remember that. If we don't we can find it online. What was really exclusive to him was the way it felt to play and the way he interacted with the other players. That's the story the fans REALLY want to hear.
Sports is a soap opera. Really, so is life.
I played the fool in Vegas, so focused on making money that I neglected my friends. At one point, I saw Badblood that night at the MGM. The tables, and a lifetime of bad luck were eating him alive. He was standing near the rail, heavy coat draped across his arms, chatting with the Mark and CJ. After the day he'd had, BadBlood wasn't interested in more MGM poker.
Of course, I was running well. I couldn't leave a table where the maximum buyin was $200 and I had at least 7 times that many chips. So I let them go to the nice restaurant, for time together and a great meal. I sat alone, with 9 strangers, at the damn table 'till 4AM. I walked home by myself.
I finished 14th out of roughtly 100 in the blogger tournament. The top 10 places payed and there were added prizes for the next 3. I played for 4 and a half hours to make the ultimate tourney bubble. It was fun. C'est la vie.
So we hooked up with a big group, me and Blood..and Brad and CJ..and Wil (sorry about the Trekkie jokes....not because they're lame...but because they're so damn uncreative. I bust the chops of everyone I actually like. I can do better)...and gamcock..plus an old friend from Boston named Jay. After a long seach for the monorail, and a few drunken prop bets, we again stormed the castle.
This time, after donking another $100 at another $2-$6 spread game with my friends, I found another $1/2 NL game.
Again...I cashed out big. Up about $900.
You know, the more I describe the big wins...and goddammit I ENJOY BIG WINS...the more the stories bore me. I think I made some wrong choices there.
I'm glad to have won a lot of money. I needed to come home in the black, but I should have had dinner with my friends.
I should have been willing to actually try at $2-$6 just because its the game my friends wanted to play.
I should have called Otis about that I-Pod. I love my friends. Life is better when we share.<-- Hide More
A great dinner and a good night's sleep didn't exactly accomplish what I had hoped. I woke up with a pounding headache the morning of the WPBT Holiday Classic. I told everyone I ran into and (thank the Poker Gods) April H. had some migraine medicine.
That would only be the start of my pain. The rest would come when cards went into the air.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Playing Poorly and Paying For It
I really, really, really, really hated my play in the main event. And I feel really bad about it. I'm not sure why I played the way I did, but it was really out of character. You can see my starting table in my picture post. My tourney came down to just a few hands.
Limped with ATs, called a raise by Joanne, flopped nut flush draw and rivered a pair of T's, but lost to QQ and was crippled. Poorly played on all streets. I got lucky enough to triple up when my pocket 6's held up, but I donked it away a few hands later. FellKnight raises to T500 and Performify calls. I push all in with T1500 holding AJs. I was really hoping for some folds because I thought maybe Performify's call showed weakness. FellKnight did lay his hand down (he would have flopped the winning set), but Performify said, "Do I really want to race here?" It was obvious to me that he had AK at that point, putting me on another small pair. I really wish I had taken the opportunity to imply BIG pair, but I didn't. I flopped a gutshot, but my Q never came. Out in 98th out of 107.
I decided the best way to hide my disappointment was to get to work. So I kept track of the bust outs the best way I could from there on out. There was some serious cash on the three-player last longer bet so I had to make sure the right team got paid (Congrats, Team Loo).
Eventually, it got down to the final table and Jaxia, Pauly and I conducted final table bust out interviews. Congrats to Gracie for 2nd and, of course, to StudioGlyphic for the win.
Never Play From Ahead
The Shootout in the Desert was next, and it was even more disappointing. When FactGirl, Biggestron, -EV, Spaceman, Royal and I finally sat down, we found out this thing was a crap shoot. It was T1000, 25/50 starting blinds and 10 minute levels.
The first hand I flopped top pair with QJ and won a pot. The second hand I called -EV's all in with KQ and bettered his KJ to knock him out. A few hands later, my pocket 7's lost to Spaceman's A5. A few hands later, my A4 lost to Royal's KT. And finally, my pocket 4's lost to Royal's AKo and I was out. That's 5 hands, getting my money in the pot ahead every time, and finishing next to last. Spaceman and Royal chopped.
The Fabled "wil list"
Apparently, it's not the place to be. I didn't even know it existed until an ill-fated monorail ride.
We're on our way to Storm the Castle and just got off the monorail when wil started a story about how he once got stuck in a monorail for 30 minutes and joked he almost ran out of air. I, quietly, remarked, "Good thing someone had a phaser." Whoops.
"You're on the list!" wil said, pulling out a notepad with an actual list.
Thankfully, G-Rob came to my rescue, "No wil, it's like this," pantomiming his best Star Trek communicator, he tapped his chest, "Beep, Beep... put CJ on the list... Beep, Beep."
That put G-Rob higher on the list than me. Yeah, me!
The Castle, Need I Say More.
Storming the Castle was the highlight of the trip for me (well, I suppose the little tourney win was cool, too, but we'll get to that). I arrived and sat down at the first $2-$6 spread blogger game I could find. That meant a game with StB, Shep, Alan, Dr. Jeff and Dimebag Dave. That worked for me. We dropped Hammers with impunity and straddled like we were rodeo cowboys. It was a blast.
Then things got even better when the lovely Change100 decided to join us for some donkey poker. She took the seat to my left, and with a little prodding, straddled me the first chance she got. That lasted about 4 or 5 orbits before we decided perhaps straddling was a bad idea. As it became clear we weren't really playing poker, the straddling returned late in the evening. I didn't have a better table-mate all weekend long. Oh, and we both lost. In fact, I had to rebuy (there's no shame in rebuying!!!).
The poker was just one part of the night, however. The prop bets were flying. I got into a rhythm with Dave and Marty every time the wheel was spun. I was Blue, Dave was Yellow and Marty was Green. Dave took the early lead, hitting a few times, but then Yellow went cold (just ask G-Rob). In the end, I think I finsihed down a few bucks. I did, however, win a big prop bet when Otis, Gamecock and I battled over the next commercial break on ESPN. I said a car commercial would come next, Otis a fast food commercial, and Gamecock a beer commercial. Thank you, Toyota.
I Should Have Gone to Bed
The donkey poker finally broke up, and I went in search of a Craps table. I really wanted to throw some dice while in Vegas. I was visited briefly by Change100 and Drizz, but there was no brining me luck there. I quickly dropped $300.
I took two black chips and headed back to the poke room. I did not know why. I found Otis at a NL table and decided that was the best place for my $200. About 10 minutes later, that was someone else's $200. I think I bluffed after a busted flush draw. Whatever.
Then I dropped into a seat at the TV table for some Vegas Hold 'Em with wil wheaton. About 5 blind hands later (yeah, I decided not to look much), I was out another $80. What was I doing?
It was very early in the morning by then so I ran back to the room, took the contacts out for a bit, changed clothes and cleaned up. I decided I wouldn't sleep before heading to the sports book.
Ah... the sports book. Now that's where the money is!<-- Hide More
I don't like exclamation points. I'm not sure why the forefathers of punctuation decided to include a mark that indicates decibels. They would've been much better of to create a mark denoting sarcasm. Or, better yet, a punctuation mark that is indicative of flirting. That way, when G-Rob writes, "Otis is balding~" I would know that actually means, "You wanna sleep with my wife?" Who knew the tilde could be so hot?
My disdain for the exclamation point often translates into a rather reserved demeanor. While I can be a bit bouncey, smiley, and silly after several drinks, I rarely yell.
Of course, if you'd been with me in Vegas on the recent WPBT trip, you would never know that, for it seemed I took every opportunity to scream at the top of my lungs.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Being reserved was easy in Thursday's early hours. Aside from an exciting trip to Fat Burger with Dr. Jeff, BadBlood, and the Brothers Smith (where we ran into Chilly), Thursday afternoon and evening were pretty laid back. I assumed the role of a rock in a no-limit game at the MGM. I played in the MGM $125, final tabled, but didn't make the money. Then, while waiting for something better to do, got hopped up on goofballs while playing the biggest limit game running at the MGM that night (a whopping $4/$8 half-kill game) where I proceeded to cut a bankroll artery and spew bloody chips all over the felt. In limit, it's all about pushing the edges and I pushed every edge over the edge. The guy to my right couldn't believe how bad I played. I think he might have called his financial consultant and asked him to figure a new swimming pool into the 2006 budget.
Even when I sneaked over to the Excalibur and played even worse poker (and had my only winning session of the trip), I sat quietly. At one moment, while sitting at a $2-$6 spread game, I played worse than I thought possible. On one hand, I cracked a guy's set of kings with 25 suited in diamonds after rivering a flush (In my defense, the guy let himself get runner-runner beat by refusing to raise with top set). There were a couple bloggers around who wanted to hoot and holler. I shushed them. I felt bad for the guy. And I vowed to not do it to anybody again. But then my A6o looked really good on a board that flopped a six. When the turn fell, I was heads up with a gentleman who didn't speak a great deal of English, but had seen me runner-runner the guy a few hands earlier. With one card to come, there were two flush draws on the board. The man stood from his chair, took his entire chip stack, and moved it into the middle of the table. While his exact words escape me, it was something to the effect of, "Alright, you and me, you suck out artist. Put it all in right now." I responded with something like, "I think I'll just call for six dollars." Imagine my surprise when an ace fell on the river to give me aces up against...his pair of kings.
And somehow, perhaps to keep from getting killed in a language I didn't understand, I didn't yell. I sat sheepishly and stacked the poor guy's chips. The dealer was well compensated.
Finally, I decided to move to a No-Limit blogger game where I met a guy I can only remember as "Lima, Ohio." I recall a brief conversation where he schooled me in the pronunciation of Lima. As I recall, it's like the bean, not the city in Peru. I only recall one hand at that table. I raised pre-flop with pocket tens and Joe Speaker popped me back. I simply called and we saw an ace-high flop. Sensing there was only one way to win the pot, I bet the pot. Speaker thought for a few seconds before folding pocket queens face-up. Hubris overtook me and I rolled my tens. Speaker was non-plussed, but I didn't yell.
Later we moved to a new table where Rose was happy to deal us a little PL O8. When a British guy sat down, I wanted to yell to the rafters that, "Hey, this dude is from England! He plays this game for real! Run! Flee! Retreat!" Instead, I said much the same thing in a calm, if increasingly inebriated, voice.
So, when did I yell? Well, right after that.
Heather conscripted me and a few others to hit the Pai Gow tables where I could really strut my stuff. And before I knew it, I was yelling about everything. Included below are the things I recall yelling. Others who were there can fill in the blanks.
1. Who's winning over there (while pointing at a craps table)??!!!! Cuz we're winning over here!
2. Cocktails! (with a hard emphasis on the first syllable)
3. Boy, some steak and eggs would taste really good right now! (While eying the stingy pit boss)
4. Where's Marty?! (A man who had vowed to play Pai Gow with me, but instead did the patented Iggy Bender--frankly, a better decision)
5. Pai Gow! (in concert with my fellow players, which at one point moved the stingy pit boss to dryly remark to the dealer, 'I think you might have a Pai Gow there.')
The ensuing hangover turned Friday into what I've come to think of as a "Quiet Day." And then Saturday hit. That day is a post in itself if I can ever steel myself to write it. However, there are two things I remember yelling too many times.
1. Checks!!!!! (Which after a couple yells, apparently summoned the floor, who asked me to keep it down. I, again apparently, responded with something like, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to have so much fun.")
2. Cocktails!! (See above)
All in all, my yelling makes me ashamed.
And yet, for some reason, as I prepare to post this, I'm smiling.<-- Hide More
If Thursday was a blur, Friday wasn't much better.
I know my plan was to get up early enough to get to the Aladdin noon tourney, but my body wasn't cooperating. Going to bed at 6am that morning probably didn't help.
When I finally staggered into the poker room (running on no sleep and less food is a bad idea), the tourney was seated and it was full. There were enough of us stragglers, however, that they opened a new table.
I was happy to see fhwrdh sitting to my left, but, unfortunately, he wouldn't last long.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Cracking Cowboys and Busting Out
A few hands in, fhwrdh plays his Hiltons hard, as he should, especially with a J-high, no straight, rainbow flop. Apparently, his opponent thought his pair-draw was solid and he called with AKo. An ace on the turn and fhwrdh was tilted out of the tourney. I'm not sure I'd have taken as well as he did.
My first big hand is pocket deuces. I limp to see a flop and it's raised after me, a standard raise. Since I'm already in the pot, I decide to see if I can get lucky and call. The flop is 9-3-2. I check (because I'm tricky like that) and my opponent makes a pot sized bet. I push, he calls, and flips his cracked Kings. Sorry pal.
And that's the last hand I remember. When our table broke, I took up a seat to Michael Craig's right. He was an exceedingly nice man. And I don't know what happened, but I think I played a total of three hands at that table before busting.
Getting Rich in NL
I hate doing anything that boosts G-Rob's self-image, because he can be a tad bit insufferable at times. I doubt I'm giving a news flash here. Nonetheless, any time I have a chance to sit at a poker table with him, I'm going to do it.
I played pretty well, doubling up when Dr. Jeff's Hiltons ran into my Cowboys. I'm not sure I would have played it any different than him. The money went in pre-flop, but a rainbow flop of undercards wouldn't have helped him lay it down.
Other than that, I can't remember a single hand of my own. Maybe I should start taking notes.
What I can remember is the most brutal suckout I've ever seen live (G-Rob tilted) and the Gamecock dropping quads on Otis to close the session. Perhaps I'll let them tell those stories. And I can also remember laughing, hard, every couple of minutes. G-Rob was in fine form, especially when an Aladdin dealer sat down to play.
All I know is that G-Rob took this dealers money when the dealer had about 35 outs after the flop. The dealer was a little steamed and was surprised at G-Rob's call. G-Rob explained he liked his hand an even had outs if he was behind. The dealer then described each of the 450 different ways he should have won the hand. To which G-Rob responded:
"To be fair, I didn't put you on that."
Maybe you had to be there, and hopefully the rest of the G-Vegas crew will back me up on this, but we couldn't stop laughing. The timing, the delivery, the tilt-inducing words... it was pure poker humor magic.
The Lion Roars
If it's the MGM, it means one thing: PHORSE... or HORPSE... or whatever you want to call it. The Rooster got the mix game set up, and the bloggers turned out in force.
I think I was there for maybe an orbit and a half before realizing I hated this table. It wasn't the company of the bloggers, because they were a lot of fun. It was the play. We had two or three non-bloggers who seemed to pull the right river at the right time, time and time again. I'm pretty sure Dr. Jeff suffered most of the hits.
That's when I got up and joined the even more -EV HORSE game. Naturally, we added a P for Pineapple because that's what we do.
My tablemates were: Drizz, Daddy, BG, Performify, Gamecock, Biggestron, TeamScottSmith and more (someone help fill in the blanks). I'm not sure I ever folded a hand, but, amazingly, I didn't lose that much money. Yet again, I remember almost no hands, except one.
We're playing Pineapple and I look down at the underwhelming 872o. Needless to say, I raised it up. After all, after dropping the 8, I'm sitting on the HAMMER. And really, who wouldn't drop connectors to keep the HAMMER?
The flop was A7x (I think), and I lead out and got called. Was I scared? Of course I was, but I trusted the HAMMER. The turn was a blank and I bet out again. And got called. Worry crept up. Could I really avoid an Ace in little limit Pineapple. The river was another blank, but the HAMMER compelled a bet. And this time, my persistent oponent folded. Dropping the HAMMER in Pineapple is a beautiful thing.
$80 for Dinner is +EV
The mix games were still going strong (with a waitlist twice as long as any other game), but I was dying of hunger and we had a 10:30pm reservation at N9ne. Dumb name. Great food.
I jumped into a car with April and her friend Eric. The drive reminded me why I would never have a car in Vegas. Traffic sucks. We finally arrived and I sat down with BG, Bad Blood, PokerProf, Biggestron, April, Heather, Shep, TeamScottSmith, THE Mark and Eric (I hope I got everyone).
My dinner consisted of an iceburg lettuce wedge with blue cheese and bacon, a 12 oz. filet mignon, a lobster tail, and steak fries. Mmmmmmmmmmmm... The steak was amazing. The lobster was fabulous. And the fries were good enough that I was sorry I couldn't finish them. It's the most I've ever spent on a meal, and I wasn't disappointed in the least. I must do more nice dinners next time I'm in Vegas.
With a stomach more than full, the next thing on my mind was sleep. It was about 3am when I got back to the IP and I was ready for bed. After all, I had to be sharp to defend my luckbox status in the WPBT Holiday Classic!<-- Hide More
I arrived in Vegas more than 3 hours after I should have. My 8:14pm touchdown quickly changed to close to midnight. You'd think flying from Lafayette, LA to Atlanta, GA to Las Vegas, NV would help me avoid the snow delays. Of course I was wrong.
In fact, I didn't even get out of Lafayette on time. I arrived in Atlanta after my connection was supposed to leave and since it was seemingly the only plane in the Delta fleet to get off on time, I was stuck on a later flight. Not a lucky way to start the weekend. But I shook it off.More in this Poker Blog! -->
When I finally got to the Imperial Palace, I just wanted to dump my stuff and find the rest of you wherever you were. I wasn't thinking too clearly, which explains this conversation:
"Would you like a room with a view which will be noisy, or a quiet room with no view?"
"Of the strip."
"Sure, I'll take a view."
Loud Karaoke bar 1, CJ 0.
I dropped off my stuff, hopped on the monorail, wound my way through the MGM and approached the Excalibur. That's when I got my first genuine smile. Walking towards me was none other than my old friend Reilly and his friend Boston Jay. A bear hug and hellos exchanged, I knew I was going to have a great time.
How do you play this game of poker?
For some strange reason, much of Thursday night/Friday morning was a blur. Maybe it was the vanilla and diet Coke I hammered when I got there. Okay, I'm lying. The waitress mixed up my Coke with the Princess's vanilla and diet and one sip was all I could take.
I do remember announcing a suckout on Dimebag Dave (St. Loo Crew) preflop with my offsuit JackHammer. He caught K-high on the flop, but I did have bottom pair. His check-raise on the turn certainly couldn't push me off the pot. And, naturally, the Jack on the river was a winner. That would be one of the last appearances of the Luckbox for quite a while.
Eventually I moved to the NL table because I decided I wanted to actually make money (the 2-6 spread was killing me). Falstaff was already there and seemed to be enjoying it.
Just a few hands in, I picked up A2 on the button and called the BB. Four of us saw a flop of A-7-2. The SB lead out for more than was in the pot. I re-raised him and he insta-pushed. Huh?
I tanked. I just sat down. I was nursing wounds from the blogger spread game and I couldn't believe I was unlucky enough to run into A7 or 77. I mean, is this how the weekend would go?
The guy had just moved to our table, so I had no read, and simply had to go on instinct. I had to have the better hand. I called, he flipped A6 and I exhaled. The deuce on the turn was a nice touch. That's a good way to make back my money!
Pot Limit O/8? Sure, why not?
I'll give you lots of reasons:
Any guesses on whether this game was +EV for me? I think we were a few hands in when I thought I had a pretty good hand. Of course, I'm rather clueless about this game so I have no idea what a good hand is. What I do remember is that I missed everything for the high and was hoping my 2nd nut low would hold up.
I didn't want to spend much on the hand, but TheMark decided to pot it. Dammit. I went into the tank before finally calling. I've learned to detest the word "quartered."
I avoided most hands from that point forward before the big hand. It was a massive showdown between TheMark and
Dr. Chako some British dude Dr. Chako for hundreds of dollars in the pot. Had I stuck around with my two pair (isn't two pair gold????) I'd have crushed for the high and they would have quartered with the nut low. However, better O/8 players than I seem to think two pair is a bit weak. That's the last time I fold that hand!!!
Pai Gow with Otis and the Princess
Of course it was a bad idea, but I couldn't take anymore PLO8 for obvious reasons and Pai Gow actually seemed to be +EV by comparison.
It didn't take long for me to get up about $50. I love this game! The dealer was missing and I was seeing cards. Who doesn't love Pai Gow? Especially with pros like Otis and Heather at the table.
Then something happened. I was following Heather's rule that you double your bet every time you lose. Ten became 20 became 40 became 80. That's right, $80 on a Pai Gow hand. It was only after I lost this hand that Heather mentioned she'd never bet $80 on Pai Gow. I suppose I should have bought in for $160 and tried again, but I wasn't that supid.
I was stupid enough, however, to rebuy for $100 (no shame in rebuying) and proceeded to quickly lose that as well. CJ is a donkey when it comes to Pai Gow.
Amazingly, Otis finished up at the table but the rest of us were ready to go and I needed some sleep. From the table to the cab stand, we lost Otis. Is anyone shocked?
I settled into my bed at about 6am hoping I would get up in time for the Noon tourney at the Aladdin. I was down $190 at the poker tables and $200 at the Pai Gow tables. How's that for a start to the weekend? Thankfully I was up 1,487,300 in fun points and there was much more to come.<-- Hide More
I had pieces of roast beef sandwich in my teeth and wondered if the Vegas lights were so bright that the midnight walking crowd could see my sloppiness. I passed the Bellagio, the Aladdin, and countless rocking nightclubs as I walked the length of The Strip alone. No one could see the roast beef. I wasn't smiling.
Porn slappers looked at me and backed away. They could see I was in no condition to consider the $69 two-girl special. They could see I was ill-equipped to do much of anything in bed.
They were so wrong. Twenty minutes later I was under the covers watching the National Finals Rodeo on a flickering Imperial Palace TV set.More in this Poker Blog! -->
There are times in life when you we all reach a point at which we say, "What am I doing with my life? What am I doing to myself?" Less than one week before this moment I had turned 32. All in all, I didn't consider it a bad age, as many of my friends are approaching 40 and still rolling along well. Still, on this night, I felt old and used up. A decade earlier, a 36-hour bender would've been easy. Now, it was cause for concern. I felt terminal.
It was Friday night and I had forced myself, in an act of personal punishment, to walk once again from the MGM to the IP. There would be no cab ride for a guy who had once again treated his body like a playground and lived through an ugly, hungover day with little more to show for it than yet another Otis Got Drunk story.
Indeed, I knew there was a problem when I asked myself why I even bothered going to Vegas, playing poker, and hanging with the Bloggerati. As I walked by the Barbary Coast and shielded my eyes from the roaming cowboys' belt-buckle reflections, I didn't like myself very much. It was one of those moments where you ask yourself, "What do I contribute, anyway?" and hear nothing but piped-in Muzak in response.
And so it was as I studied the intricacies of bull riding scoring and color commentary that I found myself wondering if maybe I had reached the end. Unlike a year earlier when I had lain in bed and wondered if I might die, now I wondered if I might forever survive in the personal purgatory I had created for myself. It was, in fact, an unpleasant internal debate.
And then I woke up and it was all better.
It's age, I suppose, and the growing pains that go along with it that makes a broken down half-writer wonder if he's got the stuff to continue. I attacked last December's WPBT event with the intention of partying. I attacked June's gathering with the intention of playing serious poker. In both cases, despite what I consider a lackluster performance in June, I think I succeeded. Last weekend, I figured I would try to do both. I'd try to mix a bender with serious poker. I never really achieved either. I futher hoped I'd come away with some good writing fodder. That still remains to be seen.
I purposefully did not write anything on Monday, afraid I wasn't quite in the right mind-spot to do anything justice. I also hoped I could avoid rampant introspection and self-loathing. On the latter, it seems I might have failed.
So, I thought maybe I would give up on the trip reports and let the other writers out there tell the stories. There were so many tales I saw happening or heard about in passing. They were the tales that make the WPBT trips worth the week's worth of fatigue. And then I thought back and remembered how many times I laughed over my four days with the bloggers--the hard, belly laughs that make the liver pain seem minor in comparison.
There was one moment as we killed time at the Aladdin that I sat at a table with Dr. Jeff, Gamecock, G-Rob, and CJ. Our antics had drawn a crowd of players and dealers who wanted to get in on the action. Gamecock came into a pot for a raise and I found pocket kings. I popped him back and he smooth called. The flop came out Qxx. He checked it to me and I bet at him. Again, he smooth called. The turn was a jack This time, Gamecock bet into me. I thought for a few minutes and couldn't decide what I was going to do. Sensing my indecision, an older man sitting in the one-seat looked at me and said, "Don't let him make a punk out of you!" The table couldn't help but laugh. I couldn't help but laugh. Apparently, I couldn't help but push in the rest of my stack either. Cue the insta-call and Gamecock's turned set of jacks. Oh, and for a little extra laughter, cue the fourth jack on the river to give Gamecock quads.
Talk about making a punk out of me. I'm still laughing.
And that's the thing. That moment was stone-cold sober poker where I got a little unlucky but made a far worse decision on the turn. And frankly, I don't care, because I will forever remember the one-seat waking up and goading me into a call. And I'll remember my friends laughing, which I can't help but enjoy.
To be sure, I was unhappy with my performance--both the Party Otis and Poker Otis--over the weekend. And to be sure, I'll make some corrections in the future (let me hear a collective "Yeah, right!). However, I can't regret this past weekend for one reason.
Over the course of four days, I saw the eyes of the people who had never done this before. Sure, they'd played poker. Sure, they'd drank. But never had they done both with such a large and perfect group of people. From Gamecock, to Mean Gene, to Joanne, to Wil Wheaton, I saw people having a whole new brand of fun.
And then there was this: After once again walking the length of The Strip, I walked into Mandalay Bay's sports book to throw down my one sports bet of the weekend (Chiefs push--go figure). The early crew was already there and everyone was holding a horse racing ticket. I figured BG had finally pulled everyone into his realm. And then someone told me it was the only race that meant anything. After all, Mr. Otis was the fourth horse in the ninth race at Hawthorne. Suddenly, thanks to CJ, I had a ticket, as well. Over the course of the next hour I watched the odds move from 20-1, to 45-1, to 55-1. And everyone was cheering for Mr. Otis to fall out of the gate. And again, I was laughing.
For four days, I surrounded myself with people who I have come to respect and love as friends. They are the reason I bother to write. They are the reason I am honest with myself.
I'm still collecting my thoughts from the past four days and am interested to see what pops out of my head. I just wanted to thank everyone for a great weekend, for putting up with my shenanigans, and for making this weekend another I won't forget...
especially the crew that played $2-$6 spread limit with a half-kill, Vegas poker style, with two celebrities, dealers who loved us, floor men who hated us, and a cocktail waitress that brought me an entire glass of olives.
See, that's why I go.<-- Hide More
I don't have the time or the concentration to effectively communicate what a great time I had, but here are some random thoughts that should help me tell the full story later...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Poker bloggers are some of the best people in the world, new and old friends alike. I already miss you all and can't wait for next time!<-- Hide More
Back now, alive again, with a new spirit and a much larger bankroll. I won more at poker in the last 2 days than in the previous 6 months combined and I doubled the money I took to Vegas. I want to do a good bit of blathering about the poker action, but first things first.
This was my best trip to Vegas. The rest of the reports are great. I just had to burp this out. It's good to vent.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I had a bad feeling about the trip but only because I'd been warned so often. I left for the GSP Jetport at 5:00 in a cold mist and strong wind. Just after pulling into the ultra extended stay lot, the good people at American Airlines sent me a text update on the cell, "Flight Originally scheduled for 5:55 will now depart at 7:10." That would still let me make my connection to Vegas.
So I walked, with only a carry-on bag, to the main terminal and found an unusual crowd. At each counter, long lines of twisted, angry faces spitting and fuming at the poor saps in airline issued grey. Here's where karma intervened on my behalf. I stood at the back of the line at the AA counter and waited my turn, appaently the only person who found that necessary. Two business types cut right past me and heard me mumble about it. "Hey, sorry, we're in a hurry," on on them said, which clearly, the rest of the people in line at the AIRPORT couldn't claim.
Those two dopes were in line to catch the same flight to O'Hare that I'd been alerted to earlier. I told the taller one about the delay and he thanked me saying, "How do you like that, we cut line and he's still nice."
"Sothern Hospitality," I replied.
So, armed with this new information, my two new friends decided thay didn't need to wait in line at all. Then as they moved aside, ANOTHER COUPLE, this time a short middle aged woman with extremely tight curls and an extremely angry scowl, actually pushed me out of the way while her tall unhappy husband simply followed along. She said, and I think this is the unversal mantra of the selfish, "I'm in a hurry!"
I stepped aside and let the bitch have a rant. She seemed to think the snowstorm in Chicago was all caused by Larry from American. I think that was probably true, but nothing a new shampoo couldn't fix. He needed to brush his shoulders though. Several times I heard him ask the woman if there was anything he could do to help, but she didn't want help as much as she wanted to vent.
So during her rant, the other ticked agent cleared and called me to the front. I showed him my cheap Hotwire ticket and asked about the connection to Vegas. "You'll never make it," he said, "and I think your flight will be cancelled altogether." Then he smiled and added, "Let's see if we can get you to Vegas tonight."
Sure enough, he found a seat on Delta through Cincinnati that would get me to Vegas 90 minutes before the original flight from O'Hare. I took it. The woman next to me stopped screaming long enough to hear that, but to her dismay, there was only 1 seat left. Both she AND her husband could have gone if she wasn't such a bitch. The original line cutting men would be on that flight if I hadn't been nice.
So, after 3 trips between the American and Delta counters, I was booked on a 7PM flight to Cincinnati where I would catch an 8:20 to Vegas. The airline change upgraded my fare and sent me to a higher class of passenger, which subjected me to the in depth search at the airport. After careful examination, the guy from TSA found my lighter.
Upstairs I waited for that damn Delta flight and by 7:30 it hadn't arrived. In fact, there was still no attendant at the gate. At 8:00, I had one of my many conversations with my travel planning friend Ted who suggested I make another plan. I found a flight to Atlanta which was delayed an hour itself.
In Atlanta my 9:30 flight to Vegas was delayed by another 3 hours and I had to find something to do. I'll give just a few minutes to guess what I did...
...got it yet?
That's right, I went to the bar.
I'd ordered a double SoCo and a Sam Adams when a very pretty young girl asked, "Is this seat taken?" about a chair two spaces away from me at the bar. I said no, but she took the chair next to me anyway. Up close she wasn't so young and was still clutching to the haircut of a 15 year old cheerleader... how 'bout those bangs. She ordered a budweiser and a tequila, then proceeded to talk, without interuption for an hour.
"I'm from Orlando," she said, "and I'm off to Denver to meet my new boyfriend."
I'd noticed she'd shown a Massachusetts ID to the bartender, but she acted suprised when I asked her about Boston. "Never been there," she said.
"I left my mom's house this morning so I could go meet Greg, and I haven't seen him in 12 years, since my ex-husband moved in with him."
"He and my ex- are still best friends, but I talk to Greg on the phone sometimes, so now I'm moving in with him to see if that works out," she explained.
I was starting to feel the buzz, but was damn sure this would be my best bet of the trip. I had doubts about this relationship.
Minutes later, I paid my tab and struggled back to the gate. I cracked open a Scientific American and some a-hole kept reading passages aloud over my shoulder. It was my buddy Ted from G-Vegas. He was delayed on a flight back home.
At 12:45, delayed by 3 hours, I left Atlanta for G-Vegas.
INBOUND TRIP TOTALS
FLIGHTS BOOKED :
Las Vegas (delayed)
Drinks Consumed (6)
Life Stories Heard (1)
BACK HOME FROM McCARREN
I stood up from the Excalibur table at 4:00AM, up about 4 buy-ins at the time, and cabbed it back to the IP. I grabbed my bag, and a sweatshirt and said goodbye to Mr. Blood.
Ted, old friend and travel expert, called me to say my flight was overbooked, and I could probably catch something later. I had high hopes. So I caught a cab downstairs, had a long chat about income inequality with the cabbie, and waited for my jet.
The flight was full, but not overbooked, and with a strong tailwind we made it to Dallas 10 minutes early. Everything in Vegas went as planned or better, everthing else is shit.
Somehow there was still a plane parked at our gate. Somehow all other gates were full too. Somehow it never occured to the good folks at American to just wheel a ladder to our jet. I spent a full hour PARKED on the runway in Dallas and now my flight was 45 minutes late.
So when I got to my G-Vegas connection the door was already closed. There were actually 9 people from my Vegas flight hoping to connect here, and all of us were screwed. The only other direct flight was 6 hours later, and there were only 2 seats available. The surly gate attendante offered to get me home through O'Hare, but I'd had enough of THAT bag. I called the airline myself.
3 hours later I found a flight to Charlotte. It left on time. That got me on a flight to G-Vegas, that was delayed for 3 hours by mechanical trouble. I got home at 10PM.
Why I won so much money in Las Vegas.<-- Hide More