Friday, November 12, 2004

Bellagio to Foxwoods

On Saturday, October 30th, we drove up to Vegas at about noon, even though our plane didn't leave until 10:45pm. I needed to get some things at the store for the trip to Foxwoods. I also knew the Bellagio Stud games would be juicy on a Saturday night, so I figured we'd play some poker before driving to the airport.

First we swung by the Aladdin to see the new poker room, and say hi to my friend Dave who works as a dealer there. The Aladdin is tougher to get inside than Fort Knox. It literally took us about 30+ minutes to get from the entrance of the parking garage to the entrance of the poker room. That place is huge. I can't imagine playing there every day. It would be such a -EV experience just parking and navigating the casino!

Right now Aladdin is only spreading Hold'em, and only at low limits. So we shrugged and headed off to the Bellagio, where we were promised 3-4 hours waiting time.

There were about four people or so in front of me on the 20/40 list, but none of them were budging. The 40/80 was playing a shorthanded must-move, which was pretty tough. The main game, however, looked softer. I decided to wait around.

I railbirded the 4000/8000 game for a while. Ted Forrest was in the one seat, but I never got to talk to him. Whenever he was taking a break, I was in the middle of a hand or in another conversation. Sam Farha, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein and some other high limit players were in the game.

The 20/40 game was juicy until the drunk guy left. The drunk guy didn't even play that badly, but he made everyone else tilt and play hands they would normally never play. Once the drunk guy left, players clamped down again. Three Asians got into the game, and made it even worse, trying to "outplay" each other like a bunch of hyenas.

Richard Ziskind kept telling me that the 40/80 was good, so when my name came up, I moved. I'd made only about $50 at the 20/40, treading water for a couple of hours.

The 40/80 was good, believe it or not. Just a few contributors, but they made all of the difference in the world. I made most of my money in one hand. I started with hidden tens and smooth called a tight player who completed. I caught another ten on fifth when he caught three sixes. I tried to get him to check-raise me three times, but he got scared on the river and simply called when I bet. I made about $400 in the 40/80 game. I was shocked that it was softer than 20/40. Miracles never cease.

We ended up leaving early due to an error on Glenn's part. He came rushing up to me telling me that the plane was leaving at 10pm, not 10:45 like I'd said. He showed me the print-out. Since I was busy at the time, I didn't really bother to look at it. Apparently, neither had he. It said BOARDING TIME 10pm. So we sat around the airport for a couple of hours.

About a half hour before boarding, John Cernuto walked up. I figured he was going to Foxwoods, too. We started chatting a bit. He told us he'd upgraded to first class, so we said our goodbyes at the gate, knowing we'd meet up again in Detroit.

Midnight came and went. Glenn said happy birthday, but it didn't feel like Halloween quite yet. The plane really sucked. The seats were cramped and I remembered why I hated flying so much. The pilot told us that we were going to have a massive layover in Detroit because daylight savings time was ending. That turned out to be a vast understatement. We were stuck in Detroit, in the middle of the night, with nothing open, for about 3 hours or more. Finally, some shops did start opening right before boarding. I bought Glenn a bagel with a stamp saying "freshly baked." It had mold growing on it in three different spots.

That sort of sums up Detroit in a nutshell. The employees were incredibly rude, and the airport was totally run down, with mold growing all over it, lol.

We upgraded to first class for the last leg of the trip, since it was only $35. The seats were much more comfortable, but the plane was still a mess. I can see why the flight was only $89! I got up to go to the bathroom and used the magazine rack to balance myself. The rim of the rack must not have been grounded, because I got a low level shock when I touched it. Hehe, lovely.

After about 24 hours of being awake, we finally landed in Providence, Rhode Island. Wow, what a nice airport they have! What a change from Detroit.

John asked us where we were staying, and I told him that we couldn't get rooms at Foxwoods, we had to stay at the Budget Inn on such short notice. He said FW had sent a limo to pick him up, and he would share it with us if we were going to FW.

John turned out to be a really great guy. I didn't get to know him well during the WPPA, but I did get to find out more about him when we were sharing these flights. Some day I hope to do a story on John. He surprised me at every turn, by his humble generosity and kindness.

I somehow screwed up on the car rental. When I booked it online, it asked me the date, so I said the 30th, since that is when our flight left. Duh, we wouldn't be arriving til the 31st, it was a red-eye. So Dollar canceled our reservation, and we ended up having to pay about $15 more per day. Bah. I was too tired to argue.

We found the Budget Inn after about 45 minutes of driving south on I-95 towards Foxwoods. It was only one exit before the FW exit, bonus. I'd heard it was a dump, but I didn't think it was bad at all. It was clean and quiet. The bed was comfortable and there was a microwave and coffee maker in the room. I've stayed in much worse "dumps" than the Budget Inn. The only thing I didn't like about the BI, is that it was owned and operated by Eastern Indians, and they didn't speak English. It was the funniest thing. Whenever we would call the lobby, the conversation went like this: "Hi, we'd like a wake-up call at 8am." Pause, pause..."No English." Hang up. "Hi, is there a problem with the telephone, our laptop won't dial up to the Internet?" Pause..."No English." Hang up. Jeez, you'd think people would learn how to speak English before opening a business in the United States, lol. It was actually so hilarious that we joked about it endlessly. The players at Foxwoods seemed to find our antics with the Budget Inn funny as well, and it broke the tension in some tourneys.

We checked into the hotel and collapsed. We were so tired, it was about 10am local Eastern time. We shut the shades and went to sleep for about six hours or so, exhausted and not yet ready to take on Foxwoods.