Saturday morning began reasonably early, as I raged solo for breakfast (a tasty apricot pastry and a cup of coffee had me rarin' to go) as I decided to take another walk to a portion of the Strip I'd yet to see before hooking up mid-afternoon with Don and Chad at the MGM.
This meant I took my time wandering about, taking the tram over to the Mandelay Bay, admiring its luxurious decor; zipping around the bustling New York, New York; and jetting through the Luxor & tacky Excalibur with alacrity before arriving at the MGM for a real lunch at the Stage Deli (a filling Reuben + soda) and a relaxed hour trading text messages with Don as I sat at the sports book.
Funny aside: Chad was the first to arrive and I spotted him at a 1/2 table with a big stack in front of him. I correctly deduced that there weren't two 250+ lb poker-playing Detroit Tigers jersey-wearing guys in the casino. So when Don got there a little after 3 o'clock (I had just gotten a seat at a 1/2 table elsewhere in the room) and introduced himself, I was proven correct in the Chad guessing game.
Don and I hit off instantly; he is a nice, gregarious guy who made me feel comfortable right away. I wish I could have torn myself away from the juicy 1/2 table I was at to sit down with him at the 2/5 game he was at. Instead, I fruitlessly attempted to get a table change over to Chad's game with no luck. So ultimately we all ended up going back over to the Stage Deli for an hour and talking sports during an impromptu dinner break. Don bailed soon afterwards as he couldn't get anything going at his 2/5 table.
I booked a nice winning session when I got up to leave at 9:30PM to go meet up with Mike, Karl, Jane, Johnny and Scott for late-night ice cream over at the Venetian. (My Belgian chocolate milkshake was divine.) On our way there, we sneered at the morass of people lined up at the Tao. Desperate to find a better spot for some drinks, we headed over to a ridiculously nice outdoor bar at the Wynn, which featured hourly light and music shows. I splurged on a superb dram of Caol Ila; Karl treated himself to a nice cigar.
Full of vim and vigor, Johnny & Scott and I accepted Eitan's invitation to go cruising around Vegas in his Mustang convertible. It was a blast; much more fun without the luggage in one's lap . . . we ended up of all places at a Sonic Burger for a snack at 3:30 AM, complete with roller-blading staff and an invasion of drunks from a nearby casino who harassed the manager.
I crawled into bed by 5 o'clock hoping to catch a few hours sleep before a big buffet breakfast that was planned for noon Sunday at the Planet Hollywood.
NB. A few poker highlights from the MGM: they had the nicest and most personable dealers that I encountered, by far.
My 1/2 table was very juicy. I was sitting in the 9 seat and quickly identified a target in seat 6 after he had taken down two decent-sized pots from me with 3-out suckouts. I came roaring back by somehow winning with AKs unimproved (I had jacked it up to $15 preflop in a straddled pot) against 3 other players when the seat 6 fish bluffed on the river betting $10 into a $65 pot and showed down J4o(!). I took down another nice pot off him with 87s in late position when I flopped a 4-flush in a four-way pot and was able to flat-call closing the action on the flop. I hit my flush on the turn and again just called when the PF raiser lead out and the seat 6 donkey called. Then on the river when a blank came he called my $50 value bet with one pair.
At this point I was clearly tilting this guy -- he had also had a premium pair cracked by a fellow donkey and was not playing his "A" game. I felted him by raising pocket threes to $9 on the button and got a beatiful A73 flop. He check-raised me allin and I beat him into the pot and he showed A5. He didn't get his miracle and he stood up.
By this point I'd built my stack up to nearly $500, but I gave most of it back when I flopped top two pair (AQ) and ran into a set of kings.
After the dinner break I probably played my favourite hand of the entire trip.
I picked up KK on the button and raised it up to $9 after a limper [Raise #1]. The small blind woke up and min-raised to $18 [Raise #2]. The limper flat-called and I jacked it up to $60 [Raise #3]. The SB flat-calls my raise and then the limper shoves for another $126 on top of that [Raise #4]. I go all-in over the top and the SB folds (AQ) and the limper shockingly shows KJo(!) [Raise #5]. He fails to get a miracle flop and I rake in a huge pot. I guess this victim didn't realize that the third raise = KK or AA? The fifth raise sure does!
I cashed out up $150 after I get JJ cracked and lose a couple of pots with AK unimproved. I easily could have walked out of the MGM with 1K or more in my pocket if I had been able to dodge a couple of bullets or seen one or more flops in the right spots. I can see why Chad and Don frequent this particular card room on a regular basis, that's for sure. It's a target-rich environment.
Overall it was a very fun day and I hope to get in more face-time with the poker blogging crowd in the summer.