Seven donks from the Falstaff home game ventured out to Vegas this past weekend to help Sir Brian the Red (SBR) celebrate the end of his 40th year on this earth (he turned 40 on Sunday). Falstaff, T, Jim the Knife, Big Nick, Blackjack Carl and myself made to trip to honor SBR. It was to be a weekend of much eating, some drinking and maybe one or two things that will stay in Vegas until those parties out themselves. (Note to Dr. K: None of that would get me in any trouble).
For me, it was a great week of poker. It was actually the most productive week of poker in my life. I booked 3 losing sessions. One was for about $10, another for $35, and my final session was a loss of $200. I had winning sessions at the Venetian, Harrah's, Imperial Palace, Caesar's Palace, Mirage, and Hard Rock. The net was way positive. That makes up for the week a little over a year ago when it seemed that I could not win a significant hand and lost almost the exact same amount.
The breaks just went my way this time. On my first night, I went head-to-head with a very aggressive player who had bet to put me all in on the turn. I tanked for a few seconds. There was a club flush possible on the board. He had been bluffing quite a bit and I knew that, even if he did have a made flush, I had a few outs as I had the Qc and a draw to a boat. I said "I call" and flip my cards over. I didn't think I needed to move chips. The dealer dealt another Q as the last card and the other player mucked. He goes a little nuts when the dealer starts counting out his chips and pushing the big stack my way. He thought I had folded and he apparently held the winning flush. I don't like slow-rolling jerks and this was caused by his penchant for slow-rolling and not showing when he should, so I felt that it was justice.
I played in two tournaments while in Vegas. Both were the 11 o'clock at Sahara, one Friday and one Saturday. I got OK cards and a few good lay-downs to get to the final table in both. I got 5th on Friday and 7th for a $50 save on Saturday. In both, I bubbled on our group's last-longer bet. Congrats to SBR and T for cashing and taking the last-longers. I think both when out directly after me (4th and 6th).
The Hard Rock has a new poker room, so we went to check it out before dinner on Saturday. The crowd was much younger than the other casinos that we had seen. The staff was especially good looking. I found out later that hiring practices at the Hard Rock means that you only get hired if you are "smokin' hot" or you know the right person. Most didn't know the right person. The Hard Rock also has the coolest looking players cards of the 3 dozen that I hold.
There was one notable hand at the Rock. I was holding 99 on a J high board. I'd been playing TAG poker. I got heads up with a LAG. We had a big pot going and he bet out $50 on the turn. I had $98 in front of me so I said that I had about a hundred and pushed it in. He made a short speech about respecting me and folded his AA face up. He had gotten confused and thought the raise was for $100 and not less than a raise of his bet. He felt kinda stupid, but took it well.
My biggest donk move of the week was also my funniest story. The player on my right was playing very tight. He was on the button for this hand. I had QhTh under-the-gun, so I raise to $7. The player on the small blind tries to give me a little grief by asking "What's with only $7." That amount was small in this game (1-2 NLH), but I reply with a grin as we get 5 or 6 callers, "it's called a raise and it designed to keep weaker hands out of the hand." About this time the action gets to the big blind (immediately on my right) and he bumps it up $20 more. I'm about even at this point and my mouth is already in gear, so I lean over to him and say, "I don't have your aces or kings beat yet, but I'll know after the flop." With that, I call. Two other players call the $20. The flop comes down QQ4. He bets $25 and I smooth call. The others fold. The turn was a 6. He bets $30 and I push. He insta-calls and turns over KK. The river was not a K so I scooped a big pot.
The dinner for SBR's birthday was held at David Burke in the Venetian. I think everyone had a good time going to a really nice place for a change. Falstaff and I had the "oh my god" steak. It was actually the filet, but everyone who tried it exclaimed "Oh my god." It was that good. I did play around a bit when SBR and I made the reservation in person. The chief's name was on the menu in front of the restaurant. I acted like I knew him, thinking that we might get a nicer table out of it. The girl taking our reservation was sorry, but Chief T would not be working that night and did I want to leave a message for him. I said no, that I would just call him later. We did get a good table, but I have no idea if the story had any effect.
My final session on Sunday night was a good olde-fashioned kick in the teeth that brought me back to earth. No cards. No good decisions on my part and no desire to risk any more. The trip home had me and SBR on the same flights and in first class. That trip went off without a hitch. It was a good trip. I hope SBR has a great 41st year. It is shaping up a lot better than 39 and 40 for sure.