Monday, September 7, 2009

My Epic Vegas Trip - Day 4

Sunday July 5 – Bellagio Cash, Pool, O

I’m definitely not a morning person but it quickly became apparent that my friends were even less so. I was the first to awake on Sunday (despite being the last to bed the night before) and decided to tick off one thing on my Vegas to-do list while the others snoozed – play a cash game at the Bellagio.

Bellagio 10/20 Cash Game

So I headed downstairs and bought into the 10/20 game for $4000. As I sat down I noticed three things: the provision of really comfortable swivel chairs, Phil Laak grinding on the table next to me, and the use of orange $20 chips (which I found completely bizarre). I folded the first 15 hands and immediately knew that everyone would label me as a nit. I remember one of the first hands I played I squeezed utg+1 and two callers with KQo on the cutoff. They all folded and I patted myself on the back for using my image well. The man on my left who had just sat down then said “how can you fold that to him, such a good spot to squeeze” (or something to that effect). The utg+1 player then said “are you serious, have you seen him play so far?” and the two then conversed about the likelihood of me in fact being another one of those young, aggressive internet kids. By the end utg+1 seemed persuaded by his friend’s argument and said to me (with this twang in his accent that made it sound awesome): “right, I might’ve got you wrong the first time, but if you squeeze me again and I have AQs, you and I are playing a pot!”

This set the scene for the only really interesting hand I played. Bored out of my mind I raised 54h utg and got called by the suspicious player to my left, a player in MP and the player on the button. The flop came down 543 monotone in spades. I decided to check since I didn’t really want to get it in on this flop and a c-bet by me would basically force me to do so if I got raised. The flop checked through and my equity shot up when the turn brought the safe Kd. I led out for $220 into $270 and got raised to $600 by utg+1, the suspicious player. The others folded and I called, planning to re-evaluate on the river. The river brought the 7c and I checked. He thought for a brief moment and fired $1100. So the board was 5s4s3sKd7c and I had 54h. Hmmm!

My first thought was that his line made no sense. It’s ridiculously unlikely for him to check a flush on the flop and even more unlikely for him to raise 6x on the turn, especially if it was 6x with showdown value like 66 or 56. Literally the only hand I thought he might play like this was the flopped straight with 67 because like me he might’ve wanted to wait until his equity was a little less precarious before he put more money in. I also thought back to his suspicious perception of me and the fact that in my experience live players like to pull moves on internet kids when they come onto “their turf” to show them who’s boss. The final thing I considered was that my hand really looks like AK and it’d be a pretty safe assumption on his part to think that I’d fold one pair by the river on a four straight, three-flushed board so it’s a really good spot for him to bluff. So eventually I decided to make the call and his face immediately fell and he said “nice call”. I tabled my hand and he was shocked, saying “I didn’t expect you to have a hand as strong as that”, so it seemed that he was indeed trying to bluff me off a king and my third consideration was spot on. He had ace high in case you were wondering (not the As either).

Not long after this the others texted me to say that they were awake and beginning to get ready. Fraser went down to pick up the O tickets but then came down to inform me that the people at the O desk required me personally (since the payment was on my credit card). A little annoyed that my session was being ended prematurely, I got up, bid farewell to everyone, tipped the host $20 (I’m not sure if this was the right amount), and cashed out my $2500 profit – not bad for 1.5 hours work.


After we picked up the tickets we went to the breakfast buffet line to meet the others. They were meant to be reserving a spot for us but when we got to the line they had just reached the front and, evidently, had not. Julian came up to us to explain that they weren’t sure what we were doing and so didn’t reserve us a spot since we might have wanted to continue playing or something. I called BS on this explanation but appreciated the token effort. Meanwhile however, Pete, Rosie and Anna scuttled in quickly when they saw us arrive, too embarrassed to look me in the eye, and this was what really pissed me off to no end. I sent them all an expletive-laden text and may or may not have called them all c@#*s and I still don’t regret it. Wankers! I really wanted that breakfast!

So I moved to rip up their O tickets which we had generously set aside our time to get for them but Fraser stopped me, reminding me that they were in fact paid on my credit card. Lucky sobs.


Since it was already like 1PM by this time and our plan for the day was just to laze around by the pool, Fraser and I decided to head down to the pool early and just eat at the café down there. I had the tomato and mozzarella salad while Fraser had the turkey burger. Both were more delicious than anything available at the buffet. I found it amusing that Fraser’s burger was presented as an empty bun with an array of fillings on the side. I guess this is so that all the people who don’t like vegetables can simply chuck in the turkey paddy and go from there. Fraser certainly seemed to appreciate it, and I ended up having a nice dose of his avocado with my salad.

Eventually the others made their way down and spluttered their apologies. We went for a swim (which at Bellagio means standing in the pool wishing you were three times shorter or the pool was three times deeper and/or bigger), lay on the seats, had a few drinks (I had the most disgusting iced coffee ever) and generally just had a relaxing time.


The time went by incredibly quickly and before we knew it we had to go back to our rooms to get ready for ‘O’. I’d been really looking forward to seeing a Cirque du Soleil show ever since I decided to go to Vegas and one of my friend’s parents who had just visited Vegas in June recommended that we saw ‘O’ (the fact that it was at Bellagio where we were staying definitely didn’t hurt either). So expectations were running high and I have to say that I was very impressed. I didn’t have the faintest clue what the storyline was but the music was awesome and the use of the water setting was really impressive. The tricks they did were also awesome, especially those at a height, and although I admittedly haven’t seen any of the others I’d definitely recommend seeing ‘O’ if you get the chance.

(Photo not mine)

Table Games

After ‘O’ Fraser and I hit up the table games again while the others went to sleep (borrrrrrring!). I was keen to recoup my losses from the night before but got off to a bad start and found myself down a further $500 or so at Three Card Poker. Overall I was on a 1K downswing at it! Brutal!

I then decided to hit up video poker for the first time, explaining to Fraser that “apparently, you can actually have an edge at this if you include comps” – nevermind that I wasn’t getting comps and I didn’t even know the proper strategy… I ended up luck-boxing and won about $200. The annoying thing about video poker though is that you get a receipt when you cash out and you have to cash it in at the cage. This doesn’t require too much effort but overall it definitely made me less inclined to want to play it again in the future versus, say, three card poker or blackjack since in those you get your payout immediately. One funny thing that happened was that we heard these squeals of excitement from one of the machines behind us. There was this group of 4-5 people jumping around ecstatically and a man next to us went to check what had happened…naturally we all assumed that they’d won the jackpot. He returned with an unimpressed look on his face and said: “they won $200…”

To finish up the night we hit up blackjack again and I was martingaling myself to a nice profit. I know the theoretical failings of the system but man it seriously seemed like I couldn’t stop winning! We also ran into the dealer from Saturday who informed me that overnight she had had a vision of me on TV for the WSOP Main Event. It was this point that I realised that I had a $10,000 poker tournament the next day yet here I was betting $10 at a time at blackjack at 3AM in the morning…what was I doing here???

So with that I decided to head off to sleep, wondering whether the next day was the day my poker dream was about to come true…

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