Sunghee joined us for the annual trip to Vegas, along with her mom who was flying in from Korea for her first trip to the US.
Day 0 (12/24/05):
Sunghee and I drive to Albany to hit the Potterybarn and do the park, sleep, fly deal. At about 8pm we realized that we were hungry and that no place was open. We managed to find an Italian place about a mile down the road and I had an excellet Sinatra Chicken.
This is my first Christmas where I haven’t been at my mother’s house. We hop on our flight at 7am and the pilot had his foot to the floor so we arrived an hour early. We actually had to wait about 20 minutes on the ground for another plane to get out of our gate.
We grab a taxi and head over to The Rio and check in. Amazingly our room is ready. We grab some lunch at the American Grill, Chicken BLT for Sunghee and a Ceaser Wrap for me. I also make a bet with Sunghee that the waterfall in the backroom will change color from blue to orange. This is a safe bet as I watched it happen while she was at the bathroom. Later I play break even 4/8 for a couple of hours before we head back to the airport to pick up Sunghee’s Oh-ma.
She has a cell phone with an American SIM card or something so she’s been keeping Sunghee up to date on her travels so far. We get word that she has landed and is approaching the train to the baggage claim area so we wait and watch the escalator. One group comes down, nope don’t see her. Ten minutes later another group, nope, not there again. Ten more minutes. “Sunghee, maybe you should call her.” Oh, there she is! We head back to The Rio and the ladies go to bed. I go to play more poker.
I sit in the 2/5 NL game with $200 and go broke on the second hand. I’m in the CO with 89d. Four people limp, I limp. Flop comes 7d-6d-4c. Wow! Top end of a OE SF draw. It’s checked to me and I bet about 1/2 the pot. I get three callers. Turn comes Ts. Bingo! UTG+1 Bets out $25. MP folds, MP+1 calls. I move in. UTG+1 insta-calls, MP+1 folds. UTG flips over 74o for two pair, 7h comes on the river and I go broke to a rivered boat. I get up and walk around for a bit to keep my tilt under control and finally go back upstairs to get more money and by the time I get back my seat is gone and there’s a waiting list for the table. I hop onto the 4/8 and can’t get anything going and finally head to bed.
Day 2 (12/26/05):
I get up early to get over to Harrah’s to meet with the Fairfield people about our comped room. I forgot that the shuttle doesn’t start until 10 so I have an hour to kill. The 4/8 is running but looks like all local people who haven’t been up all night. I’ll pass, thanks. I sit down at a Hot-Hot-Pennies machine and hit the bonus game for 112 free spins on max credits for over $600. That’s nice. I get to Harrah’s finally and setup a tour of their condo thingy at 11am the next day and I hop back on the shuttle to The Rio. Mom and sis have arrived and I talk my sister into playing in the noon tourney about 10 minutes before it starts. I’m trying out the Kill Phil method for the tourney. About nine tables are going and I make it to the final two when my AJ get cracked by 66. Sis goes out in 4th for a $400 prize. I sit in on the 2/5 game again and realize that I am way out matched, but decide to try the Smash-a-roo strategy and manage to double through twice. Sunghee, Oh-ma and I hit the Korean Garden BBQ for dinner and walk around the strip watching the volcano at Mirage and the fountains at Bellagio.
+600 slot machine
Day 3 (12/27/05):
Sunghee and her mom head off to the Grand Cayon at 6am while I sleep. I get picked up at Rio at and shuttled over to the Desert Inn 10:30am to fight off timeshare pitches. I’m there for about 90 minutes including them leaving me sitting alone for 30 minutes. Good thing I brought my GBA. I decline the show tickets (I needed three) and take $120 cash instead. This is good because I left all my money in the safe at Rio. I get a shuttle to Harrah’s and head across the street to Ceaser’s to check out the new room. I get on the list for 1/2 and sit down with bunch of 20 somethings. This looks good. I’m a grizzled vetern with this crowd. An interesting hand comes up where I have QQ in one of the blinds, a EP player make it’s 15 to go, which was kind of large for the table. I call. Flop comes out all low rainbow. I check, EP bets 15, I raise to 45, he raises to 200. Well, I don’t really like my queens now, but can I lay them down? Since he has put me all-in I flip up my hand and I just see anger in his eyes, no fear, just anger and I fold. Shocked gasps from the table. He shows his Aces and I proceed to run the table down for the next two hours running my $120 up to $300.
Strawberry Julis rating: 8 (taste 10, texture 5)
Next stop, Mecca, er, Bellagio. I check with the floor to see what games were open “We have 15/30, 40/80, 100/200”. I must look like a higher roller than I actually am. I sheepishly ask for 4/8 and get a seat. The table has a bunch of interesting people including two LA type girls. One of which looks smart and the other is a major donator hanging with her friend. I play until they leave. I’m up to $450 now. The Big Game was going in Bobby’s room at the time. I saw Doyle, Gus and David Gray (I think) three other I didn’t recognize. Ming Ly was talking to the brush but not playing.
Strawberry Julis rating: 7 (taste 6 (too much syrup), texture 9)
Onto the MGM. I was thinking about hitting Luxor/Excalibur but they were too far once I got walking. MGM it is. I get on the 1/2NL list and wait for about 20 mintues before sitting down at a very fun table. “Doyle B.” sits next to me. Not THE Doyle, but another poker playing one. I’m in 4 and down the table in 7&8 is a father and son. The son is totally blitzed and made the following play: The board reads Kd-6d-x-8d on the turn. The father bets, the son raises, the father calls. As the river is being delt the father shows the son his hand and tables it. Everyone is like “uhhhh…” the father quickly picks up his hand and says he thought the hand was over and checks. The son, who had seen his opponents hand, looks back at his own hand shrugs, and goes all-in. The father calls and shows A3d for the nuts. I have no idea what was going on, but I like it. I manage to go through three buy-ins where I got my money in very good each time. At 8pm I’m down $300 and by 8:45 when I leave I’m up $100. That’s how the game was going.
Sunghee and her mom are late getting back from the Grand Canyon so I grab some sloppy joe at the American Grill thing at Rio with my mom.
Strawberry Julis rating: NA (only orange available. taste 7, texture 5).
Day 4 (12/28/05):
We pack up and move to Harrah’s, and head over to The Wynn.
What a lovely place! We all get Wynn cards and sis, Sunghee and I head over to the poker room. 4/8 is full and 8/16 is a bit too daunting right now so sis and I settle into 1/3NL. Sunghee is not ready to move up from 2/4 so she goes to play the machines. I don’t do much for 15 minutes at 1/3 before my 4/8 seat opens. AT one point a 4/8 the Dealer called for the floor after and hand and whispered something in a low tone. The floor nodded and the dealer got up and bolted. WTF? Oh, potty break. The floor then takes off his jacket and deals a few hands, two of which I win. I had to do a double take when I went to toke as I normally tip the floor $10 or $20 not $1, but whatever. Not much else happens at my 4/8 and I eaked out a small profit (+28) before we have to head downtown.
Strawberry Julis rating: 10 (taste 10, texture 10, waitress 10)
We arrive at about 4:30 and goto Binions (sans “Horseshoe”) to see if we can exchange some of Sunghee Oh-ma’s Korean money. They give us what seems like a insulting exchange rate so we run over to the Bank of America just before they close to exchange there. We find out that Binions was giving us the exchange rate for 1 Korean unit of money which does not really exist instead of the the exchange rate for the bill which is 10,000 units. That’s why it was so messed up. The rate at the bank is a couple of percent higher anyways. We head back to Fitzgeralds to find my mom and sister and on the way back past Four Queens we see a sign for Sushi and Noodle bar. That looks like a good place for dinner! We gather up my mom and sister and once outside the Fremont Street Experience starts up, and goes on for like 20 minutes. We were wondering what was going on as it shouldn’t be this long, then they start the new years countdown for 2006?! Have we been standing here that long? Oh, they’re just doing some testing. Well, at least we could see it without all the people crush. We head into Four Queens for some Noodle action and wander around for a bit with out finding anything so we ask a floor person and they say that the Noodle/Sushi place closed a year ago! Well the sign is still out front. “I’ll let marketing know.” Ok, thanks. We’re still hungry. They point us to the California. We end up in a Hawian place that actually has Kimchee so all is good. My mom and sister order a “small” soup that comes in a gallon sized bowl.
After dinner we were ready to play. On to Binions! I get on the 4/8 list (the highest game going!) and Sunghee and Sue get into the 2/4 game. I goto get chips and the cage girl won’t give me $200 in chips. She says $100 is enough for 4/8. Not the way I play I tell her. There’s an open seat at Sue and Sunghee’s table so I sit down and play two hands and my 4 seat on 4/8 opens up. 4/8 was pretty bad, and by bad I mean good for me. There was a local to my right who looked like the editor of Car and Driver but talked like he had a electronic voice box. He got really upset when the SB posted from the 1 seat, then asked if he could move to the newly opened up 7 seat. He actually called the floor, but play didn’t stop so all was good. He proceeded to bitch about it for 20 minutes to the 80 year old fossilized local to his right. The fossil proceeded to whine back about how much of an asshole he thought Bob Chiffone was, but at least he made some good house rules for poker. This went on for 15 more minutes. Then River Dan showed up and took the 1 seat. River Dan is another local and a is very animated unlike the other two so far. He listens to the whole SB moving story and then tells his own story about how he won’t play at the Orleans anymore because he watched the same floor person flip flop on a ruling within one hour depending on who the ruling was for. River Dan said that he let them know that it was bullshit and then he walked out. “With a escort?” I asked. “Well, they carried me kicking and screaming to the front door, but I walked out on my own and let them know that I would NOT be coming back ever again.” Ahh, River Dan. River Dan then goes into Super Donkey mode and wins me a huge pot when he caps pf with me and two other people when I have KK. Another K comes on the flop and it’s cappachino all the way around. I fill up on the river and a small part is wondering if River Dan has quads on me. Nope, I drag a HUGE pot. Sunghee’s mom comes over to tell me something about “mommy”. I check with Sunghee and I guess my mom is waiting out front, bored of playing the slots here. I rack up +220ish and we grab a cab back to the strip.
Strawberry Julis rating: NA (like I’m ordering one downtown. I’d get shot).
Once on the strip mom and sis head back to Rio, Sunghee’s Oh-ma heads to bed and Sunghee and I head to The Mirage. I get seat 3 on a 6/12 table (the highest going at one point when the 40/80 broke) and see the guy in the 2 seat is blitzed. “Diamonds!” he says as he taps the table. This is going to be fun. It’s mostly college kids. I run pretty good with Sunghee sweating me, which is a first. I trap one kid good when I have AJd in the BB and the flop comes A-A-x rainbow. I check call the flop. Check – raise the turn and am concerned when I am reraised. Fine, I’ll cap this. River brings my lovely J and it’s bet, raise, re-raised, call. I win. The game is pretty weak/tight even with the drunk kids. People come and go and we play SH for a bit. At around 11:30pm this total donkey who walks around like he’s god takes the seat to my left. He goes to get chips and someone at the table says “You want loose action? That’s your guy. I played with him at Rio a couple of days ago he was capping everything with middle pair.” Craporz. I’m the LAG around here, I can’t have that guy cutting in on my action, especially if he’s on my direct left. I hang around for an orbit and the game gets up to 7 handed so it won’t break when I leave. I wanted to get in on the juicy 1/2NL action at Bally’s anyways. I rack up (4 racks! holy crap!) and head to the cage. There’s some girl in front of me who knows enough english to ask the cashier for a phone, but doesn’t know enough to understand that he’s telling her that it’s “over there”. Once I hand over my chips, I look over my shoulder and donkeyboy is there with is chips. I look past him and the table has broken. Stupid fucker. “You left that game too?” I asked. “Yeah, I don’t like playing short handed.” Freaking donkey.
Strawberry Julis rating: 9 (taste 9, texture 9)
Off to Bally’s we go. We walked up LVB to Ceasers, crossed over to Barbury Coast, then over to Bally’s. In front of us the whole way were two guys and a girl sharing a joint. One of the guys was really paranoid and kept looking over his shoulder. He didn’t slow down taking hits or anything mind you, just looked around a lot. Bally’s 1/2NL was really soft, too soft actually. I ran through five $50 buy-ins getting my money in good on the turn each time only to be nailed by a 2 or 4 outter on the river. “Well played, sir!”. Sunghee did ok on her 2/4 table and after two hours or so we headed back to the room.
Strawberry Julis rating: NA (“We don’t have that”)
Day 5 (12/29/05):
We slept in until 2pm or so after the late night the day before. Once everyone was up and ready we headed over to the Venetian shops for shopping. First though we had our picture taken with a wax Whoopie Goldberg and Micheal Jordan. Brookstone was our first shop and Sunghee’s Oh-ma got to relax in one of those massaging chairs. Next we hit up Banana Republic and I got a couple of shirts and some pants. Then we hit Burburry as Sunghee needed a new wallet. She settled on a pink tartan one that came with a fleece bag that was perfect for her camera. We were due to meet my mom and sister at Excalibur for some play and dinner but Sunghee wanted to keep shopping so I let them know where to meet us and I hiked back to Harrah’s to get a cab to Excalibur.
Excalibur is really bizzare and there’s too many kids running around. Sue and I sat down at the biggest poker game they had going 2-6 spread. Whew! I played most of my hands blind including one where the board was A-4-6-K on the turn and I got in a raising war with Sue and some other guy. I was pretending I was on an Ace but I started to think someone had one for real. The river brought a 3 and I figured that I’d better look before betting anymore and I was quite happy to find 5-2o for my rivered wheel+1. My sister had AK and the other guy had a set of sixes. Ouch! I ended up donating about $40 mostly to my sister and it was time for The Tournament of Kings to start. Now I have been to a Medievil Times before and this was pretty much the same thing. We were seated in the heel section again and I think we won the cheering contest. Everything is a little hazy as Sunghee and I were drinking the very strong, authentic, Strawberry Margaritias. After dinner we somehow found our way to Luxor and I sat down in the 1-2-2NL game with it’s $50 (no more, no less) buy-in. I donked through my first buy-in playing the total fish (“This is no limit! Like they play on TV!”), but I think my value betting and pot manipulation gave me away a little into the second hour as I had build my second $50 buyin into about $250. It was a little hard to count because I just kept everything in a big pile. When I would raise pf, I just grabbed a handful and said “I raise, *toss* however much that is”. This and Excalibur was some of the most fun I’ve had playing live poker. I played a few hands blind including one where I put some guy who just sat down all in. I was surprised when he called me, and I was even more surprised when I looked at my cards and found out that I had flopped top set with Jacks and he had flopped a set of Tens.
Strawberry Julis rating: NA (I was drinking beer)
The ride back to Harrah’s was insane as we ended up with a drunk cab driver who claimed to be part of the roll-out for New Years Eve, therefor wasn’t driving his own car. We jumped over speedbumps, layed on the horn to “jack-off’s”, ran stop signs then drove 2mph though the intersection infront of the people we cut off. If I wasn’t buzzed it would’ve been terrifing, but I had a grand old time. The guy even ran the meter at 1/2 fare for us.
Day 6 (12/30/05):
We got up at 5:30am to drive Sunghee’s Oh-ma to the airport and say our goodbyes. We got back to the hotel and Sunghee went back to bed and I headed across the street to The Mirage to get one last session in. They only had 3/6 and 40/80 running so I started up a 6/12 list and hopped into the 3/6 game. There were a few people still there from the night before and I picked up on a huge tell on an older gentleman and stole every pot we were in together from him. Finally the 6/12 got started and I was surprised that three people from my 3/6 table came along including the old guy. I was up 200 or so when it was time to check out. So I waited for a fresh dealer, ran across the street to wake up Sunghee, pack, then we ran back. In the 30 minutes I was gone that table had changed quite a bit. To my left and right were a husband and a wife, and two minutes after I got back a 45ish guy sat down at the other end of the table. The husband and wife said that they knew the new guy, but didn’t know from where. They finally figured out that he was dealer from Tunica, and they remembered his name, and he remembered them. Uh oh. What have I gotten myself into? Ok I seem to be at a table of locals and semi-pros now. The drunk kids are gone and so are the old rocks. Oh well, I’m up for the trip so I can spew some chips for some lessons. And what expensive lessons they were! I ended up giving back the $200 I was up plus $150 more in the next four hours before I called it quits and headed to the airport to fly back home.