Monday, April 19, 2004

Our WPT and Binion's Trip Report

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Glenn and I arrived in Vegas about 7pm on Friday evening. The roads were packed. Lots of kids were going to the Phish concert at Thomas & Mack. We were staying at the Monte Carlo (MC), so we were right off of Tropicana, too! Ugh.

We checked into the hotel with no hassle, and ran off to the Excalibur to get on the tram to Mandalay Bay. I was supposed to stop by and say hi to someone from the WPDG at MB. He was there, we chatted for a while, then decided to walk back to the Excal to see if any of our old friends were playing.

The place was packed, all twelve tables full. It is right in the middle of the casino, since they are moving the poker room to the old Keno area, and have moved the Keno area to the old poker room.

I talked to some people I knew. I was surprised to see Carl and Linda playing there. Carl and Linda are from the Belle. They came up to Vegas solely to support Little Gene at the WPT. Very nice! There are some truly wonderful people from the Belle.

Linda was upset over my banning. She said that the reason she leaves the Belle for weeks at a time is because of Glen and his constant inappropriate behavior as a floorman. She says she can take it for a couple of weeks, and then, she just can't take it anymore, and has to leave for a while. She has complained about his behavior many times, but nothing is ever done (surprise, surprise). She was also not at all shocked that April felt if she'd reported the sexual harassment she would have been fired. She believes that April would have been fired on some trumped up charge. They would have found a way to get rid of April, for reporting sexual harassment, while keeping Glen, because he'd been there so many years, and because he is a man. Ugh! For every step we take forward as a gender, we are reduced to taking two steps back due to Neanderthal, overbearing, harassing men!

Glenn and I went back to MC to play some poker. I recognized one of the dealers who remembers my Mom. I also talked to one of my Mom's best friends from the room, a player named Evelyn. I waited for the NLHE game to get going, but it didn't, so I was forced to play 4/8 with 1/2 kill. I was by far the most aggressive player at the table, and won two large pots uncontested.

We decided to hightail it to the Bellagio, because Little Gene saw us at MC and warned us that the tourney team at Bellagio had already announced that some of the participants might get shut out of playing on Saturday, if they didn't sign in, and would have to play in a second satellite on Sunday instead. So we signed in, and saw a lot of WCP milling around the Bellagio. I pointed out several to Glenn, since he doesn't remember faces as well as I do, and then we decided to call it a night.

We woke up early on Saturday morning. Glenn was a little nervous and didn't think he'd be able to eat, but somehow managed to wolf down a big breakfast (lol) and felt a lot better.

We were surprised to find out that with almost 50 tables in the satellite, Glenn and Little Gene had been seated at the same table! Amazing. But we love Gene, so it was great to be able to root for him, as well.

The other Belle winners were Betty, Karl K. and Doc. Betty got seated at a table with a couple of WCP, and as I had predicted for months, was the first to be eliminated. I always said she didn't stand a chance. 7k down the drain for Betty (the amount she spent on tournaments in order to win the $2500 lamer). Just playing tight doesn't cut it when you are up against WCP. Not only that, but Betty plays her good hands so passively, that it is easy to get her to lay down if she doesn't hit solidly on the flop. I'm sure she was outplayed, outclassed and outdrawn. Poor Betty.

Karl got crippled early when he want all-in with a set of tens, only to be called by a flush draw, who got there on the river. He was left with only 1600 after the break, but doubled up quickly with AK. He managed to hang on to the top 150 or so, we were told.

Doc had about 7200 at the first break. I heard he made it to the top 80 or so, but didn't win the 25k seat.

Little Gene made it the farthest. I heard he was 57th. I believe the top 45 or 46 got seats. Poor Gene. Don't feel too bad for him, though. He won the $2500 lamer over at the Riverside, playing in a $40 satellite, which he parlayed into a 2nd tier, which he won with ease (on his first try). Then, on Friday, he skipped over to Binion's and won a satellite for the series, giving him two more lamers, each for $500. When we saw him at MC on Friday night, he was up about $400 in the 4/8 game, lol. Go Gene!

Ali supposedly won a satellite at the Riverside, too. I don't believe he came even close to getting a 25k seat. A legend in his own mind...

Glenn made it past the first break (two hours into the tourney). The blinds rose to 200/400, with a 25 ante. Glenn only had about 5200. He got KK, went over the top of a raiser, and was called. The raiser had slightly more chips than Glenn, maybe about 1000 more. He held AQs, and no miracle occurred. Glenn doubled up.

Not long afterwards, however, Glenn's set of nines was dominated by a set of tens, and he was out. There were about 350 participants left at this time. Read Glenn's entire tourney account yourself.

Pauly and his brother had been sweating Glenn for almost the entire tourney. They were there to see the doubling up, and the demise. It was nice to have that kind of support. I wish I had been able to talk to Pauly more, and to play some poker with him, but Glenn was burning up after getting eliminated, and I was scared for his blood pressure. I wanted him to calm down.

Glenn said the only thing that would calm him down would be to jump into a game right away. I agreed to it, but the Bellagio was packed. For whatever reason, the Bellagio always gives me a huge headache. It isn't the crowd, the number of people in the poker room, it is something else. I think it is the acoustics. I don't feel that way at Mirage, the Trop, Taj, etc. It is like there is a high pitched whine at the Bellagio. Maybe feedback from the speakers in an almost inaudible pitch. It makes my head throb and ache.

So I convinced Glenn to leave and go to Binion's instead. I figured that if the decent players from all over the world were at Bellagio, Binion's might be full of fish.

Boy, was that an understatement! Things are very good when half of the table asks the dealer how the blinds work in HE, lol.

Binion's had two NLHE cash games working. One was a 1/2 blind game, the other was a 2/5 blind game. The 2/5 blind game had a seat open, but the average player age was about 65 and rockish tight. The average age of the 1/2 blind game was about 25, and most were seeing every flop. Unfortunately, that game had a list, so Glenn had to wait for a transfer.

In the meantime, I went over to the satellite area and decided to play a NLHE one table sat for two lammers plus my buy-in back. I figured I could use the lamners to buy into other events, as I wasn't interested in moving on to the second tier of the satellite, in order to get a 10k seat. I just wanted the lammers and the money.

My table was like a play money table online. Half of the players didn't understand how the blinds and raises worked. They had to ask three times before they got it right. When the blinds were 100/200, someone tried to raise to 300, lol. They just didn't understand poker, they were new. I was in heaven.

I was in the three seat (bonus), and was dealt AKs the very first hand, in the BB. UTG raised it to 200. LP flat called. Lucky me, having last chance to act. Even if I didn't believe one player had a group one, I had to believe the other did. So I smooth called from the BB. Had I been one of the first to act, I would have shoved in. So I saved myself from being eliminated on the first hand.

The flop came QJx, with one heart. I had a backdoor flush and a gutshot for the ten. I wisely checked. The first raiser went all-in. The LP caller didn't hesitate much, and called. The EP raiser had KK, the LP caller had JJ and flopped a set. EP was out the first hand, by not protecting her kings BTF enough. I was down to 800 of my original 1k.

The second hand brought me QQ. Several limpers came in before my all-in move. They all folded and I got about 100 chips back from my previous loss.

Someone at my table said, "Wow, you're aggressive!" Like he'd never seen an aggressive player before. Like there is any other way to play a one table satellite (??). This same guy astonished me by telling someone at the table he was "running bad." He said he'd flown into Vegas three days ago. He went on to say he'd won a satellite that first day, but in the three days since, he'd played tons of satellites and not won ONE. Gawd, was I in heaven or what?

Just a couple of hands later I was dealt KK. An EP player who hadn't played a hand made a minimal raise. I went all-in in LP. He hemmed and hawed, then called my raise. He had KTs!!! He got no help, and was crippled to about 100 chips.

On the fifth hand, the guy to my right who said I was aggressive and complained about losing so many satellites over the last three days, made a horrible play. He called an EP raiser for about 1/3 of his stack. The flop was raggedy and the EP raiser bet. He smooth called. The turn and the river were equally blanks. The EP raiser checked the turn and made a small bet on the river. The caller thought about it a minute, and then reraised all-in. The EP guy was in a quandary. The whole hand just made no sense to him (nor to me). What could the guy have??? An overpair? Low cards? It was baffling. He was obviously as confused as I was. He pondered it out loud for a few moments, but then realized he was way too pot committed to fold (it would have left him with only about 300 chips), so he reluctantly called. He had a pair of tens from the go. The reraiser had nothing! Not even a pair. He bluffed all-in with ATo!

No wonder he hadn't won any satellites in three days!

Not long after this, the crippled player who called my all-in with KTs went all-in himself in EP. He had stolen a few pots, and was back up to about 300 by this time. I looked down in the BB to find myself with AA and gladly called. He had 77, and got no help. Now we were down to seven.

Things slowed down after that. It was about an hour or more until we lost our next participant. I kept adding to my lead, by stealing pots no one seemed to want, and by my frequent all-in's.

I never lost my lead during this tournament. I think my lowest point was when I had maybe 1800, 1900 chips, and even then I was clearly leading.

The best players at the table were in the five seat and the eight seat. The five was a middle aged guy, who knew how to play, but talked too much about his hands, and the way he played. I basically just stayed out of his way, unless I wanted to steal his blind or had a premium hand. He made an amazing comeback when his group one hand got outdrawn on the river. He was crippled to about 200 in chips, mid tourney, and managed to come back to over 1500. In the end, though, he could never make a full recovery, and was out at fourth place, I believe.

The eight seat was an older man. Unfortunately, he played too tightly, and didn't protect his big hands enough. He had pocket aces once, only raised 3x the BB, and let a limper in cheaply with 99. The nines flopped a set, and the aces thought it was all over for him. But then it came runner-runner hearts, and the aces resucked with the ace of hearts. Did he learn his lesson after that? No. He kept making raises that were too small, and getting outdrawn. He was the shortest stack for most of the tournament, and kept having to go all-in when he played a hand. Since he was so tight, he usually had the best of it. Then I was dealt AKs in the BB, and he went all-in yet again with 33. This time I was able to call. I got a king, and he went packing.

Soon I was head's up against another woman. She was too loose, nervous and new. She and I had about the exact same amount of chips. She always let me read her by looking at her cards before me. No matter what, I knew what to do against her.

In one of our early HU hands, I was dealt AK. She had KQ and we both got a king. She thought she was out, and kept saying, "She has me covered, she has me covered." She kept trying to walk away, but I wouldn't let her, because I knew were virtually even. Sure enough, she had 600 more than me, and I cautioned her to never walk away when something like that happened.

The very next hand she went all-in with Q7o. I had J8o and called. We got no help and she doubled up.

The hand after that, we both went all-in again. I think she had KQ and I had AK. We neither got any help, and I took it down.

I won two lammers and $120 in cash.

I'd like to say that I'm a great player and just outplayed everyone at the table. The fact of the matter is, however, I got some great cards, most of which held up, and I was also against new, horrible players. So I was blessed.

Even though I was tired, I was going to play in another one. I was bright enough, however, to realize that the next satellite was populated by a couple of solid players. I recognized two of them from my previous play in Vegas over the last ten years. They both had lammers, as well, and that is never a good sign (to see players paying with lammers they have won). So I bowed out of that satellite, and told Glenn things were slowing down in the satellite area, getting tight, and it was probably a good time to take off.

As we were leaving, a woman won the second tier satellite and got her 10k certificate for the main event. She seemed happy. So was I. I didn't want a certificate, I just wanted lammers to use in a future tournament. I'm small potatoes and have no interest in entering the main event.

We're planning on returning to Binion's on Friday. If the satellites are still soft, I might enter a few more. If not, I'll use my lammers to buy into the Stud event starting on Saturday. I'm hoping this small event will not attract many WCP, and most of them will still be over at the Bellagio finishing up the WPT, then recovering for a few days. Maybe I can sneak into a field that is less than expert.

We had a great trip! Hope you enjoyed the tale.