The first time I went to Vegas, I didn’t play poker. In fact, I thought the friends who did were stupid for trying. We went as an enormous throng, old friends and new, and I ended up sharing a room with CJ, his brother, and a guy named “Carmine”. I hadn’t seen Carmine before. I haven’t seen him since. He did, however, have enough of a Vegas connection to rtp online guarantee that 25 drunken morons don’t pay cover at the areas “finest” adult establishemnts.
Meanwhile, I played blackjack and lost every dollar I took. I expected that, of course, you take to Vegas what you plan to lose.
Or so I thought.
Otis and CJ played poker that time. I have no idea how they did.
I assumed anyone who played poker in Vegas was an expert.
I’ve been back to Vegas several times since. There’s another trip coming on the first week of August. This time, I’m taking a test.
FIRST POKER TRIP TO VEGAS
The first time I played poker in a Las Vegas casino was in December of 2004. It was the silly blogger junket du jour, and I’d been a poker blogger for all of 3 weeks. Luckily, I was close friends with the other donkeys on this site, and I found my way into a cool circle of friends.
One thing it took me years to learn, blind internet airfares are usually not your friend. That December I stepped of the plane at about midnight Vegas time and caught the shuttle to “Excalibur”. Everyone else was already at a table.
At the time, the Excalibur room ran NLHE on $1/$2 games with a $100 max buyin. I felt fairly confident about my skills and bought in without thinking. Then, 8 minutes later, I bought in again. Ten minutes later I bought in a third time.
I got crushed on the trip.
I lost every dollar I took.
THE SECOND TRIP FOR VEGAS POKER
I learned a valuable lesson on that silly first trip. I sould avoid drinking one beer per hand. Honestly, that first night, I stayed up from my arrival…until after the blogger tournament the next afternoon. The bender on the following day was 10 times worse. I was there, ostensibly, to play cards. Still, I lacked focus and, eventually, lacked money.
The following summer we went back for a blogger doohickey at the Aladdin. Still not hip to the whole airfare thing, my wife and I checked into the Plaza at midnight and I dumped her in the room while I hit the MGM. This time, still smarting from December’s ass-whoooping, I sat down at a 2/4 HE game with a few bloggers and a coupla local retards. I cashed out for about half my stack after a guy (later named “Brownshirt”) sucked out a dozen times.
At least this time I had the smarts to not lose my entire bankroll in the first 3 hours. I paced myself somewhat. In fact, once I was down to my final $200 or so, I stormed back. On our final day in town, a Sunday ( we were booked on the damn redeye that night), I took 8 buyins from the dopey “Luxor” game and finished even-ish for the trip.
The tide began to turn.
THAT’S A DOUBLE BREAK-EVEN
I had very much the same experience when the great AlCan’tHang, BG, Otis, and I crashed the WPT in Nassau. That was in January of ’05. We stayed at the Atlantis Casino, where a cheeseburger costs roughly the GDP of Haiti, and I lost money in the first 3 sessions. I even dumped myself out of a $150SNG when my pocket kings hit pocket Aces on the third friggin’ hand.
On my last night there, I played $200NL and ran crazy over the game.
I cashed out with just enought to break even fort he trip.
VEGAS POKER…PLAYING FOR TRIPS
So, back again, blogger get-together in December of ’05. This time I really felt my game was staring to grow. Because I’m 100% results oriented, just like a good dokney, I left feeling much the same.
The first night was kinda lame actually. Guess why? That’s right…my flight arrived in the middle of the damn night. It’s like 3AM EST when these things touch down. You’d think a person with an IQ higher than 80 would make some sort of scheduling adjustment.
Actually perhaps that sort of person WOULD adjust. I, however, did not.
Here’s the tale of the tape by casino for that December voyage:
Imperial Palace +$125
I didn’t have a losing NL session during my stay. I felt like a shark. I’m not. But for a few days I felt like one.
A few months later, January or March I can’t remeber, Senor Blood and I drove to Tunica where we met Otis, CJ, and Iggy.
At least I had an excuse for showing up in the middle of the night. It’s a LOOONG drive from G-Vegas and Blood drives like a granny. When we got to the Grand Casino we found a few no-fold-em limit games and a $2/$5NL game with no max buy. I tried $300 and felt I played well. Then I busted and rebought.
I ran the next $300 up to $900 and closed the night a winner.
The next day was special.
Blood and I started the day at the Gold Strike/Tooth/Nugget/Fist and played some $1/$2NL with no max buy. We both bought in for $200 and by the time we stood up for dinner I had won more than $1000.
After the comp buffet we went back to the Grand and I played $2/$5 for $600. 5 hours and one $1000 hammer bluff later, I cashed with a profit of $1200. It felt pretty damn good and the $2200 was my most profitable single day so far.
The next day I donated about $1000 back to the good folks of Tunica. In part, I felt invincible and it’s nice of the game to remind me otherwise.
I play $200-max NLHE almost exclusively these days and it’s been a pretty sweet racket. I’m more confident in my play than ever and I’ve found that I can catch myself drifting away and losing focus. If I’m too tired or too bored to play good poker I’ve learned to walk away.
I’ve learned that I’m not at the poker table to have fun. I’m only there to win.
Winning is actually pretty fun.
Blood, CJ and I will head out West on August 2nd. I’m planning to play at LEAST 1 WSOP event, possibly 2. I’m planning to focus primarily on the $2/$5 games. My bankroll is in a pretty comfortable place and so is my game.
I think I can win, but now I want to PROVE IT.
I want to turn the corner, from worst player alive, to..I dunno 3rd or 4th worst. I want to prove to myself THIS YEAR, that I’m finally ready to take the next step.