I knew this was going to be one long, eventful, fun-filled day.
I was so right.
First of all, I was extremely enthusiastic and excited about my ticket to the 7:30 PM showing of "O" at the Bellagio. Quite a few years ago now I had seen one of Cirque du Soleil's traveling shows in Vancouver, which I had quite enjoyed, and I could only imagine that this one would blow it away.
Secondly, today was going to be Venetian day! Mike and I were both determined to actually play in the nicest poker room we'd seen on the Strip. And if we were lucky, we'd try our luck at an Omaha game to boot.
Before all of that, though, it was more than time to eat a huge breakfast buffet with everyone, which we all proceeded to do at the Planet Hollywood. Overall I made some wise choices and I quite enjoyed a variety of items on their menu. I mostly stuck to breakfast dishes even though we didn't get seated until about 12:45PM.
Once the meal was over, Mike and I took the much-needed walk out in the sunlight to work off some of the meal and fully wake up on the trek to the Venetian.
Upon our arrival we both found seats at a NL 1/2 table, as they didn't yet have an Omaha game going. Bad beat!
Milly doubled up on like the third hand of the session when his QQ held up vs. an overplayed top pair. I started salivating because yes, this was a donkey-filled table.
Then about 25 minutes into the session I looked down at AA in MP and raised it up to $10. I winced as four players called the raise. The flop was an innocuous 457 rainbow and the SB led out for $12 and the one good player I'd observed smooth called in the 4s. I raised it up to $47 total and the SB called and the 4s jacked it up with a 3-bet to $147. I tanked for about 45 seconds and correctly deduced that I'd been outflopped (he flashed top set).
The very next hand I had AKs UTG and raised to $12. The BB called and flopped a straight with 98o and I paid him off on two streets with my 4-flush and inside Broadway straight draw.
All of a sudden I was relatively short-stacked with less than $100 in front of me.
The next hand I played was AJs from MP. I made the standard open-raise to $10 and a semi-competent gambooooler called from the BB as three players saw the flop of JTx. He led out for $12, I jammed to $65, he said "I am making a bad call here" and called with KQ and spiked an A on the river for a straight. Rebuy!
(At this point I was still cheerful, still really enjoying the venue, taking the free drinks, people-watching, and so forth. The Venetian really is a remarkable place.)
I was then able to make my hammer play of the trip to general acclaim!
I made a preflop raise with the suited hammer in diamonds. An older fellow had just shifted seats to my immediate right (s5) and I was ready to play a nice pot with him in position. Sure enough we saw a 975 flop with two clubs. I bet the flop and he check-raised me, feeding me some fishy line about saying he knew he had the best hand unless I was holding JJ or better. This got my radar going that he was bluffing, so I called. We checked the turn, which was an offsuit Q. Then when the river came the Qc to complete a club flush he fired out a $50 bet. I tanked for a couple of minutes and went with my read and he flipped over a red AK and my 3rd pair was good.
Mike gave me the thumbs up for the hammer play and a few of the players at the table exclaimed at my call and tapped the table.
Unfortunately, as my chipstack grew up to $250 (still $150 down for the session) and the afternoon wore on as I contemplated my imminent departure for the Bellagio, I had the worst possible event happen to me:
I flopped the nut straight in a limped pot. Holding KT in late position, I saw a beautiful QJ9 rainbow board on the flop. The SB (same guy who led out when I had AA earlier) led out with a bet for $8 into the $12 pot. I smooth called with a plan to put in a huge raise on the turn and hopefully get more dead money from other players in on this incredible flop. Sure enough, someone else stuck around as the turn was a non-threatening 4s.
SB led out again for $15 and I jacked it up to $85. SB tanked for a while and called. The river was a 2s. SB led out for $70, I pushed my last $150 in, he called ... with QTs for the backdoor flush.
I stood up, politely congratulated him on his hand, nodded to Mike, and began an early walk over to the Bellagio as I grimaced to myself over my misfortune.
My grumpiness quickly vanished, though, as I walked up to wander around the Bellagio poker room just after 6 o'clock with an hour to kill before Karl & Jane and three more of our party were to meet up and collect our tickets to the show.
I was able to discreetly geek out at the Big Game which was just getting started (I was abel to see Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra and his wife, and David Benyamine at the table eating dinner prior to playing). I was also able to watch a juicy NL 10/20 game in the alternative high stakes room off in the other corner. I suddenly wished I had a stake to play in that game from some of the action I saw there -- some of those players were remarkably transparent!
And then ... time passed, my friends arrived, and we excitedly proceeded into the theater for the show. It was everything I'd hoped for and more. I was enthralled from beginning to end with the spectacle and clapped my hands off.
Giddy with adrenalin, we all cabbed over to our new favourite bar at the Wynn after the show for drinks and buzzed to each other about our favourit parts of the show (mine was the incredible display by a female acrobat who balanced on her head on a miniscule stand mounted on a thin trapeze wire as she went up and down and sideways over a hundred feet over the water).
I finally got back to my room at 1AM where I quickly freshened up and headed back over to the trusty PH poker room to play with the rest of the gang in a transplanted home game. I ended up a paltry $14 but had a blast, powering through a few beers and laughing at some of the silly hands that were played.
I dragged myself to bed at about 5AM.
This was, simply put, check out and shopping day. I dragged myself out of bed and collected all my belongings by 10:30 AM. Mike and I walked over to Ghirardelli's and purchased some souvenir chocolate at his recommendation (my sister later endorsed his good taste). We got over to the Caesar's forum and I decided breakfast would be decadent double-scoop of gelato; I chose wisely there as well (creme de menthe and bananas foster). I was then determined to get my parents some Cirque souvenirs for their new Beatles-themed show "Love" which was playing over at the Mirage, and since I'd seen some "Love" programs and CD-DVD packages for sale back at the Bellagio gift shop when I'd been browsing there the previous night, it was off to the Bellagio again for me where I scooped up those items.
At that point, it was time for a taxi to the airport and a tired flight home. I failed in my mission to freeroll all my trip expenses with poker profits -- ending up roughly even for the trip, but quite pleased at my overall performance despite the lackluster results -- but thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to Las Vegas.
I can't wait to go back.