Mar 1
by Don


Well it wasn’t quite like that, but getting back to Vegas always does feel like a homecoming of sorts.  I was watching Poker after Dark on NBC the other day and Gabe Kaplan was on and he reminds me how much I loved that show as a kid and how the overarching theme of struggle and survival is so apropos for any Vegas trip.  This one was no different in that there were some highs and some lows, but at the end everyone learned a lesson of some sort and we all had a great time.

So the particulars for this trip were that Lori and Mr. Cub were having birthdays that needed to be celebrated.  Pittsburgh Gil and War Eagle both were down and we had a crew.  5 is always a good number in that it’s small enough for one cab at all times and there are plenty of different things for everyone to enjoy.

Lori and I got out there a couple of days before everyone so we had planned on playing some tournament poker to start the festivities.  We love playing in the Deep Stack Extravaganza that the Venetian puts on 4 times a year.  It’s a well-run tournament that always attracts good players, but at the same time is something that could yield a nice payday if you run well.  The goals are always the same; cash first and then play for the final table.  Seems simple, right?

We play in event 24 which was a $350 buy-in that has a top prize of $18k, nice.  These events are always long and if you are playing at the final table it goes on the following day.  So basically if you can play for about 10 hours you will be in the money and if you can play a bit longer then you could end up at the final table.

Lori plays well and lasts about 7 hours which includes a lot various bad beats along with some great play, but in the end she just ran out of steam.   Personally I am very proud of her as she is always a tough out and as we have seen in previous posts she is no stranger to the top spot.

My run is much more bizarre in that I never really get anything going.  I am consistently under the chip average at about every break and when we get down to about 29 players I am constantly battling to not be the bubble boy in this thing.  So of course I find myself all in with A10 on my big blind for which I didn’t have to call and I could hope to survive, but honestly I don’t like doing that.  I would rather play it straight and if I bubble out then I bubble out.  The button pushes me with A9 and somehow I didn’t get sucked out on and survive in the money.  Step one accomplished.

Now on to the final table, right?  Well something happen when we were playing 6 handed that I like to call the fallacy of JJ.  Basically I tried to squeeze a raiser who had two min callers behind him.  I have JJ on big blind and I shove all in over the top for about $140k worth of chips.  Well he calls with a little less and flips over KK.  Awesome…  I don’t suck out and get bounced @ 19.  I was the bubble after all in that my ouster insures the remaining player that its now only down to two tables and then ultimately the final table.  12.5 hours equals 19th place and regret of what could have been if I didn’t get impatient.  What can you do?

Never fear though, we have only just begun and there are so many other stories to tell…

Jun 7
by Don

Well Lori did in fact soldier on, but was plagued by the same run of being card dead that I had earlier and was knocked out after the dinner break in 52nd place.  This was a great run by her that fell just 7 spots short of the money, so she was left feeling bummed.  I told her that this was just a tune up for her event on Sunday and that if she can duplicate the effort she would be rewarded handsomely.

So here are two things that were a little crazy and only could happen in Vegas.

The first is a very pregnant cocktail waitress actually started having contractions in the poker room.  The Paramedics came out of no where and there was an alarm that went off throughout all of the Venetian.  It was pretty crazy.  What’s even more bizarre is that it happened about 30 ft. away from where Lori was playing and she had no clue.  How she missed this is beyond me, but then again its Vegas and crazy is the norm.

The second oddity was how the Venetian handled the whirlwind that was Paris Hilton.  She was “hosting” the night at Tao and everything was nuts.  They closed off the escalators that are next to the poker room that lead from the casino floor to the Shoppes above.  I didn’t know that they could do this, but for about 40 minutes we were cut off from the outside.  Strange. 

So I am playing a little Black Jack and basically getting my skull kicked in when this paparazzi storm cloud blew through the main casino floor and right by my table.  Thankfully I am not someone who is all about celebs per say, so I was happy that Lori had the camera as everyone was scrambling to take a picture.  It was quite a mess.  I have never seen that many security people in one place, but just like that it was over.  I have to say she looked older than when I have seen her in the media, but seriously what the hell do I know?  I just want that 11 double down versus a dealer 6 to actually pan out.  Unfortunately for yours truly I get a 4 for a 15 and the dealer turns a 5 to go with the 16 that he is showing and well you know the rest.

I need a drink.

Jun 6
by Don

There is something that is hard to explain about Vegas, and it’s the 4 hour sleep cycle.  For whatever reason, I have the hardest time getting more than 4-5 hours of sleep at any one time.  We are in a beautiful suite at the Palazzo with an amazing King size bed.  Of course none of this matters.

So we mill around for a bit in the room until we go down for breakfast, which is always great because it is at the Grand Lux Café.  These are the same people who own the Cheesecake Factory, so you know the food is good and plentiful.

Now we head over to the Poker Room at the Venetian to start our Deep Stack Tourney.  What’s nice about this one is that they give you $15,000 in starting chips and 40 minute blinds so there is a lot of play for your money.

I am basically card dead for the first 3 hours with not much happening.  The blinds go up to $200/$400 with an ante and now things are moving.  I get involved with a short stack that flops a sneaky set.  When I get the King high flush and all of his chips are in I am more than pot committed at this point.  So seeing him turnover eights full, just makes my stomach turn.  I just look at my remaining $4,000 and think that my day is coming to an end.

Our table gets broken up and I sit down at a new one two from the big blind.  I fold a couple of times and get 55 in the big.  I call a minimum raise and now am in a 6 way pot.  Well I flop a nice little set of my own and I think that I might have life yet.  There are two diamonds on the board and the small blind looks down at his cards and then puts me all in with a sloppy throw of some chips.  Sure thing.  I am just hoping that my set holds up, but of course the small turns over 96 of diamonds and the river produces the 10 of diamonds; for the flush.

I am now out, but Lori is still soldiering on so hopefully she will make us proud!

More to come…