I apologize for the delay in the continuation of the Vegas epic, but a combination of this cold and a busy schedule has kept me from the keyboard. But I’m here now to give you, the faithful reader, the next installment. I’m halfway there now, just six posts to go.
When we arrived at the Excalibur, the first thing on my mind was getting some food. So Pablo and I stopped at the Sherwood Forest for a little grub. A few minutes later, we were joined by the blogfather himself, who, frankly, looked rather the worse for wear. But he was hoping that some food might keep him going. Dinner was the standard burger fare, but it was nice to relax for a bit and chat with Pablo and Iggy, even if Iggy was barely coherent. I decided to pay for dinner and would later reap the karmic rewards.
With the meal done, it was time to head to the poker room. Iggy was able to snag the last seat at a blogger infested table, but Pablo and I ended up playing beside each other at a 2/6 spread limit game. We may not have had many bloggers at the table to chat with, but that meant we had that many more people to win money from. And as most of the other players were rife with tells that Pablo and I analyzed all night, there were many opportunites to amass some chips.
My first opportunity came in a heads-up, capped pre-flop hand. I have KK and was pretty sure my opponent doesn’t have aces. Of course, I have a hard time being sure in these situations. I have the habit of assigning players bigger hands than they actually have, so I was trying to make a concious decision not to assume the worst. The flop comes T high and I feel pretty good about my chances. Unfortunately, my bet is raised and now I’m concerned about facing those aces. But, the pot is already pretty big, so I decide I have to call him down. No big cards on the turn or river and I discover that he has pocket tens and hit a set on the flop. Now, I liked getting a $50 pot built pre-flop with a 4-1 edge, but I just couldn’t see how I could get away from the hand with no ace and no straight or flush possibilities after the flop. So instead of winning a nice little pot, I’ve dug myself a nice little hole.
I win a few small pots, taking advantage of some good reads on a few players. The next big hand comes with JJ in the big blind. With six players in the pot ahead of me, I decide not to raise, wanting to see how the flop comes. It comes KKx and I’m not terrible happy with it. The man to my left bets out and it’s folded around to me. Somehow I convince myself that it may be a bluff attempt and I raise. He calls and I have to believe that he actually has a king, if a weak one. But the turn is a beautiful J and light-bulbs are going off in my head. I bet, he raises and I re-raise. He just calls. Can he really have matched his second card? The river was an ace, I believe, and I was a little concerned about AK. I check the river, he bets and I call. He did in fact have the king, but he also had the case jack to have a better full house. And another big pot is being pushed away from me. When he didn’t cap the turn, I was feeling pretty good about my hand but somehow on the river I could sense my impending doom. Of course, I shouldn’t have played the hand the way I did on the flop, but it still stung to view my depleted stacks.
But the card gods had not completely abandoned me. I limp into another hand with 99, hoping to hit a set and pull some money off the relatively juicy table. There are a few other limpers as well and I have my fingers crossed. The flop turns over in slow motion, 9, 8, 9. Bingo! My eyes do a full-on cartoon bulge and I subtly try to show Pablo my good fortune. Thankfully, the rest of the table is completely oblivious and there is actually a bet and a call in front of me. I call myself and hope for continued betting on the later streets. Of course, I’m panicking because I don’t know if it will count as a high hand if everyone else folds. So, I check on the turn and river because I may make another $20-30 from my opponents, but I stand to make more if I get to spin the wheel. I gleefully flip my cards over and pull in a small pot.
But now I am facing the wheel. Dollar signs are flashing in my head as I hope to follow up the success of two other bloggers who have already hit quads that night at the Excalibur. Most of the prizes are weighted towards the low end (20-40) but there are a few $100 and double and triple spots. I heaved the wheel around and watched it tick down to a lovely $100 payday. Suddenly my bad session has been erased and I can enjoy my table of easily read players. But first I needed to come down from my gambler’s high, which took about 5 minutes, when I suddenly remembered to tip the dealer, who not only dealt me the cards but helped me set up the spin. I tracked him down and slipped him a red chip.
Unfortunately, that was the last exciting moment of the night. I played for a few more hours, and had April and her friend John join our table towards the end, but I was only involved in a few pots and won only the small ones. Eventually most of the bloggers started filtering out and I joined a Pauly-led quest for Krispy Kreme. As the adreneliene from the quads had faded, the sugary goodness was a nice boost to help get me back to The Plaza.
next: the Main Event, a fellow Canadian, my first Vegas SoCo
Despite many things we do have to pay tax on, Canadians do not have to pay any taxes on our gambling winnings, unless they constitute our primary form of income. So that means we can make a few grand (or a few dozen grand) on the side playing poker and do not owe the government a single cent.
The Las Vegas series:
Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time (part 1)
Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time (part 2)
Day 1 – Sunrise at The Plaza
Day 2 – I … See … Famous People
Day 2 – Storming the Castle
Day 3 – The Main Event
Day 3 – A Bucket of Nickels and the Shrimp Sundae
Day 3 – Nugget Poker
Day 4 – Finally, A Win!
Day 4 – Komol O
Day 4 – A Night in ‘The Suite’
Day 5 – Goodbye Las Vegas