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.
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.