Day 1 – Sunrise at the Plaza

I just set up a second fan in my apartment and I’ve managed to find a bareable spot in the crosswinds to get a little bit of work done. At the moment, that means continuing my Vegas series of posts.

On our return to The Plaza, I finally stopped a second to take in the ambience. Mmm…smells like downtown. The odor of a thousand stale cigarettes overrides any attempts by the filtration system to clean the air. Everything in the casino from the decor to the staff to the players is just a bit more rundown than their strip counterparts. But hey, for four nights I’m paying what I might have payed for one night at a strip hotel. We headed upstairs to meet up with those that got out of the MGM before us. This was my first exposure in ‘the suite’, where Pauly, Derek and the Can’t Hangs were staying. I managed to chat with a few bloggers that I hadn’t met yet, but frankly, I didn’t write down their names and I can’t recall now. I’d feel more guilty about it, but they were reintroducing themselves the next day, having completely forgotten meeting me. But after recharging with some booze and “other substances” everyone was anxious to get back down to the poker room.

I sat down at the 2/4 limit table. Again the table was full mostly of bloggers but there were few that would survive in my memory. I was already approaching the 24 hour mark and I still had another 4-5 hours to go before bed. I do know that Maudie was at the table and honestly, she was a bit intimidating. It didn’t stop me from raising her off a hand and being rewarded with a dirty look. I was finally starting to get comfortable playing live poker in Vegas but I think that comfort level may have been a bad idea because when the limit game broke up, I decided that I would take a shot at the 1/2 NL blogger game.

Immediately upon sitting down I was questioning my judgment. At the table were Eva, Heather, Al, Scott, Derek, G-Rob, Iggy and Bobby ‘Bracelet’. It was already into the wee hours of the morning and everyone was hassling Bob about getting some rest before his event the next day. The table was rocking and I think we scared the one non-blogger at the table. Actually, when someone explained that we were all poker bloggers he said that he had a site on angelfire or something. That got him laughed off the table. Poor guy.

Of course, I was getting a lot of grief myself every time anyone could detect a touch of a Canadian accent in my speech. This would be a running theme for the weekend but thankfully it was still relatively amusing on the first night. My cards were not nearly as entertaining as I just couldn’t find anything remotely playable. And with straddles and blind raises coming fast and furious, I was feeling a bit out of my depth. I was just praying for a hand.

Unfortunately, my heavenly pleas should have been more specific. I finally look down at pocket rockets but for the first time in five hands, there is no straddle, and it’s actually folded around to me in late position. A limp would be far too suspicious, so I raise it to ten, hoping to get at least one call. I mean, Al was in the big blind, so I thought my chances were decent. It’s folded to Al and after a minute of deliberation, he mucks his cards. I toss my cards in face-up, disgusted at the tiny pot. This just earns more derision for the table. But by this point I’m starting to get a feel, for the banter, if not the cards, and start dishing a little abuse of my own.

An hour later I’ve still not seen a hand and decide that I’ve earned a little fold equity. Iggy makes a small raise from early position and I pop it up again. Unfortunately, Scott decides he likes the hand and re-raises from behind me. I decide that Scott is pretty committed at this point and toss my T4o face up after Iggy folds. It’s no hammer, but I thought that I’d done enough folding to earn a little respect. Well, Iggy might have folded.

It’s around this time that Hank shows up. He’s a bit pissed after not being able to get a seat in the next day’s WSOP event, but decides he can work it off that aggression at the craps table. Al busts out and joins him. Eventually Hank wanders back to take Al’s seat. Great, the table just got even tougher. At least Hank was distracted by his visits to the craps table in between hands.

I’m really starting to feel the long day that started 24+ hours ago a few thousand miles away. In fact, the point was driven home even more strongly when I looked up and realized that the sun was coming up over Fremont Street. I tried to shake it off and focus on the cards. The cardroom manager brought out donuts and fresh coffee for the early morning players soon afterwards. They were no Krispy Kremes, but since I hadn’t had anything to eat since Canada, they were very welcome. They’d keep me going for another hour or two.

At least until I found my second pocket pair of the night. The hooks looked like money and I decided that one way or the other, this would be my last hand for the night. I made it ten to go, actually hoping for a little action. I got some from Al, who had sat back down to play Hank’s chips. He re-raised to $20. Ok, I’ll just push all-in and that will be the end of it… “I raise.” …wait, who’s that? Derek decides he wants to play and bumps the bet to $40. Ok, I just want to go to bed, but I better take a second to decide whether either of these guys have a higher pair. Ah, what the hell, it’s only another $25 to call, so I push all my chips into the middle. Al calls as well, so it’s not time to flip yet.

The flop comes seven high and I’m actually liking my chances. Al check-folds to Derek’s large bet and it’s heads-up. I reveal my jacks and Derek flips over AK. Hmmm…I might just have a chance to make some of my money back. Al mentions that he folded AK, so I am facing a four-outer and looking to recover $110 of my $160 buy-in. The turn is a blank and I am starting to rub my hands together in anticipation. But the cruel, cruel river is one of the two aces and I stagger from the table, wishing everyone a good night while inwardly cursing Derek for the suck-out.

Of course, I knew that losing my buy-in was the likely outcome as soon as I sat down at the table. But it was a price I was willing to pay to play cards with a table full of denegerate poker writers. At least I got some drinks out of the deal. And donuts. And, oh god, it’s 9:30am Vegas time, where’s my room?

Next: what time is it?, Ng-credible, AK vs. TT?

O, Canada
Another simple fact this time. Canada’s Prime Minister is currently Paul Martin, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. No presidents here.

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

3 Responses to “Day 1 – Sunrise at the Plaza”

  1. Pauly says:

    Awesome to finally meet you. I’m digging your posts so far! Keep it up.

  2. gracie says:

    Ahem. More updates please!

  3. tp says:

    This from the person who is still working on the post she originally promised on Saturday night.

    I am back in work catching up, but I hope that I will have the time (and energy) to do at least one more entry tonight. I have been fleshing out my notes for some of them, but haven’t had the energy to write them out completely. I should have gone the easy way and done things bullet form.