Monday, June 10, 2019

Viva Las Vegas Part 2

Ahh, feel much better today. Big bowl of chicken noodle soup laced with copious amounts of black pepper took the sore throat away and loosened up the sinuses!

I got over to the Rio at 9:30am, a full 90 minutes before start time. I wasn't nervous or anxious or anything, I was just ready to play some poker. Walked to the pit to see if I could get some hands of Ultimate Texas Hold'em in, but the table was full (freaking degens!) so I settled on buying a WSOP 50th water bottle, and a large Life Water to store in it.
Sat in front of the closed Brasilia doors until a friendly guy asked if he could join me. So we started to chat and he told me how he was a part-time nurse from Chicago, he flew in the day before and this was his first WSOP in a few years because he had been volunteering in Africa during the summer and while he didn't think he would enjoy it at first, he fell in love with it.
So yeah, didn't really have much a story to share with him on that front but he seemed nice enough and he told me he was a veteran as well. Eventually I wished him good luck as I headed off for a last second RR visit.

About 10:45am Brasilia's doors opened and in poured all those in the HORSE 1500 as well as I think a few other events. It was freezing.... Was about to find blue table 413 easy enough and sat at seat #5. I was the first to the table and was greeted by the dealer Joe, and older gentleman who also seemed very nice. Slowly but surely some of the other players showed up to the table. We had a short table for a LONG time after the event started, but here are the first 8 to sit.
Seat 1: The Swede. He would become my nemesis and friend by the end of the day, get into a little more detail later on
Seat 2: Rules and Table Boss. Did not take long for this guy to become the ire of the dealers and players at the table.
Seat 3: A guy who looked like the spitting image of Joe Maddon (manager of the baseball Chicago Cubs) Def more on this guy later.
Seat 4: Guy wearing a "Politically Incorrect" shirt. Not much else to say
Seat 5: Your hero, started out wearing headphones, ended up putting them away before the end of the first level.
Seat 6: Showed up mid-level 1, def from Texas
Seat 7: Showed up before level 1 to check in, then left until Level 3
Seat 8: Seat was empty until at some point in  Level 2, also filled by clearly a Texan guy

So that was the original 8, but we played with a table of 5 for a bit. Levels were 60 mins, break every 2 levels, and game would rotate every 8 hands played.
For some ungodly reason WSOP started the tournament off in Razz. I hadn't actually played a live hand of Razz in basically 10 years, and a solid 8 since I played in a cash online game. But Razz is easy, man. Straightforward you might even say. The cards showing tell you if you should bet, raise, or even call.
I won the first hand without even getting to 6th street. Just like 10 years ago, win the very first hand of the tournament.
Nothing else notable except, Joe our dealer, seemed easy to be confused and made a few mistakes. Seat 2, pointed every single one out, initiated a floor call, and was generally being a dick (although, he had valid reasons I guess). Dealer change mercifully came, and Joe moved on to the next table. Unfortunately, the next dealer was only marginally better. Joe had warned the next dealer about Seat 2 in a joking manner, but yeah she got the full brunt of Seat 2 as well.
The next notable hand for me came on the very first hand of Hold'em, pocket JJ UTG, and I raised. Picked up a caller in Seat 2. Flop was a big beautiful J on a J high flop. Bet the rest of the way, Seat 2 called all the way down and I showed my set for the win. Being up, fairly early was a good way to start.
My stack was up and down for most of the first few levels. The dealers didn't really get better until about the 4th one, which is when Seat 3 and Seat 6 showed up and we were a mostly full table except for the missing seat 7, and the unoccupied seat 8.
Eventually Seat 8 found a home and not too longer after that...someone with a ticket for our table Seat 1 showed up. This put the dealer into a panic as the Swede was there for a long time, did they read his ticket wrong? Turns out NOPE. Someone was given an occupied seat. Swede got to stay, lady with duplicate seat was taken away by floor to get a new seat.

Next notable hand I hand is where I won Razz with a 10-9. I guess its not THAT bad, but its still a 10-9.
At some point during level 3, seat 4, had gotten down low enough to be all-in. He wasn't playing great so it wasn't shocking, but he did win a few pots all-in to get him back up...for awhile and then he was busted, just as I was texting Liss "it takes real dedication to get knocked out this early".

This bust out would turn out to be huge for me during 4th another strongly accented Texan man sat next to me and was very friendly with Seat 3. Seat 8 also knew him and was chatting him up. At some point, when he mentioned he  busted out of the deuce to seven tourney earlier today and said he wrote the book on it and he can't use his tricks on anyone anymore I found out that sitting next to me was none other than Larry Wright.
Honestly, I had never heard of him before this, but obviously I quick google searched his name (nailing the spelling of his last name by the way!) and was immediately like "oh shit". Then following this revelation, I learned Seat 3 was also none other than Barry Shulman.
Now HIM, I did know. But I guess I never saw him with a beard before (and he totally looks like Joe Maddon!). I put 2 and 2 together when he was mentioning his wife and son and the bracelets they won. I had been involved in a few pots with him and even sucked out in Stud Hi with 2 pair on the river...before I knew who he was. (This picture was taken at my table, table boss is to his left, "politically incorrect" still to his right).

Well anyway, Larry was a talkative guy and the table started waking up when he arrived. Not long after he joined, I got involved in a few stud 8 hands with him and he was getting in my head. Telling me what I had (was I really so fucking obvious or was it just stud? Probably Yes to both) and folding.
We got around to hold'em again and Larry did his thing UTG by raising. I look down to see KK and call. Larry says, and I quote (will never forget this as long as I live) "Quick call there huh?". I'm not the only caller, 2 more people follow suit.
Flop comes J high, 2 spades. Larry bets, I raise. Folds to Larry. Turns to me and says "did you just raise me?" In my bravest voice I could muster while trying not to give any info away, I said "yes sir I did". He calls. Turn is a blank, he checks, I bet, he calls. River is a K. He checks, I bet, he calls. He says "turn up your set" and I turn up the KK. Whole table is kinda shocked. Seat 2 says "well thats the set you thought he had, but not the cards you expected".
Im taking this as a win. I was pretty sure by the turn call he had AA, and I was checking the river until the K came. He told Barry he had AA and regretted not playing back to me on the Flop and Turn. Seat 2 again interjects and says "there's no way he was folding". I'm pretty sure that was NOT a compliment, but I just raked in the chips and thanked my lucky stars.

At some point they high carded to see who would get moved from our table, and the winner was the sleepy seat 7 who really hadn't done anything since he showed up. Eventually Seat 7 was replaced with an annoying NJ kid who was super negative, guess he had some beats before getting moved.

 So I'm slowly chipping up, but the table talk got really, uh, interesting? It turns out Larry, Seat 6, Seat 8, and even Seat 2 all live in Texas.
- Larry brought up "the killings on the Texas border the national media isn't talking about". When pressed on what he meant he would only say "cartel".
- The Texans, minus seat 2 discussed hunting various animals. Including, but not limited to, hunting animals from helicopters.
- Specifically the topic of Javelinas were brought up and discussed. Especially the fact you can hunt them in various parts of Texas without a permit because there are so many of them. (Sidenote, AZ has these as well in the Phoenix area). Somehow this lead to discussion of which animals the various Texans liked to eat, and finally to the discussion of Javelina blood tasting disgusting.
NJ dude had never heard of this animal and didn't think it was anything to be afraid of, so Larry and Seat 8 (with an assist from me!) tried to explain how ornery these things were and how they liked to ram you with their tusks. NJ was not impressed.
- At some point in time it was made evident that NJ didn't know who Larry or Barry were. Barry offered up a "Im in the business". NJ needed clarification that it meant poker. So for most of the day, until 15 mins of the last level, he had no idea who Barry was. When he found out, that he was the owner of Cardplayer magazine (in addition to his other accomplishments) he excitedly blurted out that he had won some tournament when he was a kid where Barry signed his one of his books, made it out to his name, and mailed it to him. Barry took it all in stride, the whole while looking like he had no idea what this kid was talking about.

Back to the poker, the next notable hand I had was in Stud Hi where I had the bring in showing a 2, and I had a 2 underneath. I called a completed bet from seat along with 2 others. 4th street was a 2, so I bet. Only Seat 2 called again. This happened again on 4th, 5th and 6th street. I hadn't paired up another card yet so my naked 3 of a kind was in danger. Then 7th street brought the 4th deuce. I bet, he called, and I turned up my Quad deuces. BIG fucking pot.Catapulted me up the stack count.
Fire alarms then went off, and...nobody moved or did anything. The floor was calling out information for another event while the fire alarms were going off, so I guess it was NOT an emergency. Not long after that, it was dinner break. I put my chip count into "My Stack" when I looked at the chip leader board, this is what I saw:

Holy shit, I was in 4th? I waited a bit and checked the PokerNews website chip count, and yup, there I was again in 4th.
My 75 mins of dinner included:
- Driving from the Rio to the Linq
- Walking from the farthest ass backwards part of the parking lot to In N Out to get a burger, fries, and drink
- Walking back to my car
- Driving back to the Rio and getting a semi-decent parking spot.
- Eating quickly in 15 minutes so I still had time to walk back to the table.

When we got back, there were 4 levels left. It didn't start off great, fell down to 23kish, then got back up to 33kish after the last break. That's when the wheels fell off... Deck went cold and all of my draws never materialized. Slowly was chipping down until I was hugging the 20k border. Between those last 4 levels, Larry got busted. Seat 2 was all-in but survived and started chipping up (with my help of course). NJ finally figured out how to play Razz and became super aggressive in all hands, but it also helped he was hitting as well.
Seat 8 busted, Seat 6 busted. Seat 8's replacement busted. Seat 4's replacement busted. Im watching the clock slowly move and my chip stack just getting eviscerated.

We get down to under 20ish minutes remaining and I made the dumbest mistake I have ever made in a major poker tournament, and probably in my poker career...
I can tell you why I did what I did, but it doesn't excuse it. Game is Stud. Im showing an A with a 3, 7 underneath. Seat 8 is the bring in, Seat 1 limps, everyone folds to me. I decide Im going to raise and rep AA. I do, bring in folds, Seat 1 calls.
Over the course of 4th and 5th street... I forgot what game we were on. Seat 1 bet 4th and 5th and I just called, making a low on 5th. On 6th I got a second A. Seat 1 checks, I bet, he calls. 7th was a blank but Im just thinking how we are chopping this pot. He bets, I call confused why he would bet.
He flips up a straight, I flip up my informs me this is Stud Hi. NJ and new seat 6 have a good old time laughing at my mistake. Seat 6 makes a comment about "how hes done that before but not this late in a tournament!"
Seat 1, The Swede who I clashed with in a bunch of hands and gotten the best of him in almost every hand was super apologetic to me, I told him straight up, nothing to be sorry about I made the mistake and I owned it.
It was very dumb. And I went from an easy Day 2 glide to a "hey I have 5k chips left with under 10 minutes to go."
At around 5 minutes remaining, floor announces 5 hands left. Dealer said he had already cut the deck so 5 hands starts after the current hand. I look down to see K(7,7). NJ is the bring in and wants to know if he can raise as the bring in because he hadnt seen anyone do this and wasnt sure it was allowed. Dealer says he can so he completes to 1k. folds around to me, I raise to 2k figuring just bust me right before the end so I dont have to do Day 2 for nothing (pretty dejected by this point). Surprisingly, NJ folds and says "I just wanted to see if it would work". OK.
Next hand I look down at AAx, The Swede completes, folds to me and I raise. Swede re-raises, I cap. At this point more than half my stack is in. So we get it all in on 4th street. I show my AA, he shows JJ and I proceed to nail A,10,10 for a boat. That puts me just over 16k. After a few antes, the end finally comes and I made Day 2 with stack of 16k.

I was elated to make Day 2, even though I was just trying to end it a few hands earlier. I bagged up and ended up walking out with The Swede and we chatted the whole way out the Rio. He again apologized for my dumb hand and I again said he did nothing wrong. We talked about where he was from (outside Stockholm) and I was from Phoenix. He said his friend moved to Phoenix to test car equipment that helps cars stay cool in extreme heat.
We parted ways and I headed back to the Linq tired, but in good spirits. I survived 12+ hours of poker which is a new personal best. I was in a tough spot because of the blinds and antes, but not out by any means.

Next day, i woke up later, got in a good Harrah's buffet for breakfast and headed over an hour before the noon start time to check out what was going on.I ended up railbirding Allen Cunningham in Day 3 of the Big Fofty
Also as I was walking in, The Swede found me again and we chatted for the better of the hour till the event started.
I learned all about how in Sweden the government controls the casinos. That there are "poker clubs" but the rules are strict about owning one, and if you own one you can't play in it. They are not allowed to sell drinks or food. And he said the worst part is, while the poker clubs are legal, the application process requires a sizable fee and that its well known that applications get rejected because the fee needs to be paid every time you apply.
I also found out about how most Swedish people go to Estonia for poker. And that a popular tournament game in Sweden is "5 Card Draw" but its waaaaay more complex.
My understanding based on his explanation is:
- There are 3 blinds
- If the blinds dont raise, nobody else can raise either
- If there is a check round, the cards get mucked and the hand is restarted.
I have no idea if any of that is accurate, and Im leaving off way more that he told me about the game but it sounds rough.

Anyway, its finally 15 of and we sit down at our Day 2 seats. The only name I kinda sorta recognized was Jimmy Fricke, who was on my immediate right. No idea what he looked like. Turns he is Gobboboy, which is why the dude looked familiar to me but I could not place him.
Not really much to tell about Day 2. They started us off in Razz again...which is not great since the ante was 200, bring in was 1k, limits were 2k/4k.

I ended up playing 3 hands in total, 2 in razz.

First hand I had 8 (3,5) and I bricked 4th and 5th
Second hand I was the bring in with a J but an A2 under. I was drawing to a good 8, and my opponent had 2 pair showing, but made a 6 on the river which crippled me down to 6ish k.
Game changed to Stud Hi, seat 4 was the bring in, seat 6 completed, I look down to see KK, but Gobbo also had a K showing before he folded. I decided to raise, seat 6 called.
We ended up getting me all in on 5th and I was ahead of his 7s. River for him was a J which gave him a straight and I was railed...22 mins in to Day 2 lol.

I had fun, would have loved to cash but luck was not with me for the last 3 rounds I played. Def gives me something to look forward to.

Thursday night we went to downtown Vegas which I had never been to before and collected a $1 chip from each casino for my collection.
Had the Flamingo buffet, then started the trek home. I got REALLY REALLY tired on the drive home but hung it out, not after being home for an hour my throat started hurting bad...the WSOP plague, begun it had!

Back to normal poker posts, thanks for reading

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