Friday, May 11, 2018

Vegas, Vegas, Vegas, Vegas and the 2 best words in the history of the world

A few years ago was my first trip over to the west coast of the US – I needed to be in LA for a few days to meet a potential client and wanted to have a few days off whilst I was over there. Mrs AC has family in LA so it was a no brainer to combine business with pleasure.

My trip almost never got off the ground – for various reasons I had to be in Europe the day before heading to LA so needed to get from Brussels for a flight to London for an onward flight to LA (meeting Mrs AC in London along the way). Rail delays from the centre of Brussels screwed up the line to the airport so I was forced to tell a cab driver to put his foot down on the drive to the airport – made check in with about 10 mins to spare. Mrs AC wanted to do some shopping in the US so I was forced to check a virtually empty bag which I was prepared to dump in the event of not making the check in time but that proved unnecessary. Flight to London was uneventful given it’s about an hour in the air and before long I’m in the lounge with Mrs AC enjoying a couple of drinks before the flight.

Now fast forward to the end of the week and I now know I’ve got the next week free – on Saturday Mrs AC’s family have booked us into the Rio from Sunday till Friday and we’ll set off for the drive on Sunday morning (Mrs AC and I are scheduled to fly back LAS-LAX-LHR on Friday whilst Mrs AC’s family will drive back to LA mid week).

Saturday night and I can’t sleep like a kid before Christmas – dear god I’m excited!! Early Sunday morning and after a few coffees and loading up the car we’re ready to go. “Vegas, vegas, vegas, vegas” I sing (I really did this) until Mrs AC tells me to STFU before she belts me! Pitstop for coffee halfway there (maybe Barstow?) and I can’t believe there’s actually a casino 2 feet after crossing the state line from California into Nevada. Once in sight of Vegas there’s miles and miles of queues coming the other way and we’re at the Rio around 2pm. After waiting for an inordinate amount of time to check in (Queues are one of my pet hates – I respect the queue and would never cut the line but there always seems to be someone in front of me taking longer than the known age of the universe to do something fairly simple, whether that’s at an ATM, a ticket machine, airport etc but anyway I digress) we’re all set and head off to the buffet. Now I’m not a big fan of buffets – in the UK they’re usually filled with low quality or cheap food and it encourages over eating as in an economic sense the food is free and everyone loves free food right. Maybe I should flag up a pending obesity crisis given their popularity in the US – oh hang on. But the food is remarkably good and I resist the temptation to eat my own bodyweight in roast beef – just.

Once we’re all fed and watered I scope out the poker tournaments and decide on the MGM Grand at 7pm for $80 (if I knew then what I know now I’d have chosen the same time at Venetian for $125 for the better structure). Mrs AC et al don’t want to partake but we all head over to the strip on the shuttle bus before I head off.

It’s whilst sitting at the table waiting for the tournament to begin that I hear the 2 best words in the history of the world – free drinks I ask the dealer what a beer costs and he looks at me like I’m some sort of cretin - In the UK casinos don’t offer free alcohol and I had no idea that US casinos were any different. So I obviously order a beer and tip generously hoping that the waitress will come by again quickly. She does and it sets my expectations high but probably not as high as my blood alcohol level is going to get tonight.

Now to the poker – I played my standard game and was shocked at how bad some people were. Calling on the river with a busted draw or with an obviously beaten hand was pretty standard but everyone seemed to be having fun. Especially me once I’d got a few more free drinks in me. 2 hours in and half the table are still limping in to pots, I raise from the button holding KK and the SB reraises, I jam and he announces that he’s probably ahead before calling and tabling A6 off! Well done sir – if you’re calling a 4 bet shove holding A6 you are most definitely, obviously, ahead not just probably. Before I can even start to shake my head there’s an ace on the flop and I’m crippled. Managed to scoop one more beer from the waitress before getting my chips in with AJ and getting 4 callers – oh joy as someone with 8-4 flops 2 pair and I’m toast.

Headed off to meet Mrs AC and we head back to the Rio in a cab for a few hours of more drinking at a cash game – although she’s not a regular player Mrs AC can hold her own at a low stakes game but her cousin and husband had barely played before. It was a fun table with everyone drinking (which I now know is a rarity even at low stakes) so no one was really noticing them just paying the blinds and folding nearly every time (this must be the best way to drink in Vegas as the drinks at the Rio come pretty thick and fast – a drinks service every round of poker was the norm that night).

I got into a pot with Mrs AC (although I rarely played against Mrs AC we always had an agreement not to soft play each other) when I was holding KK – I raised UTG pre and she called from the BB with 1 other in MP, low rainbow board and I bet again, 3rd person folds and Mrs AC check-calls. Turn is an Ace which I’m sure Mrs AC is holding and she bets about half pot. Now Mrs AC is the last person I want to lose a pot to – if she’s bluffing she’ll wind me up about it and if I make a bad call she’ll bust my balls for it so the official order is Rock-AC-Hard place. I call thinking she won’t barrel the river unless she actually has an ace. River is a blank and she again bets about half the pot – this just screams that she’s holding an ace. So I ask her if she has an ace – this obviously telegraphs my hand but there’s no way my life will be worth living if I raise her with anything other than the stone cold nuts. She asks me if she’s calling my UTG raise with rags given she knows how I play. I’m thinking more about this than I’ve thought about any other hand all night – she knows my UTG range and knows I won’t usually C-bet a flop with air unless I’m heads up. I know she’s likely to have caught some part of the flop – quite possibly a straight draw but that doesn’t explain her pre flop call so I can only think she has something like A4 with the board reading 2-3-8-A-10. She’s unlikely to have called pre with 4-5 and even if she has got that she’d have told me that she doesn’t have an ace. So I fold – I really don’t want to see her cards but she’s going to show anyway. J-10. FML!!!! She scoops and proudly tells the table that she knew I had KK and was afraid of the Ace. Well played young lady

About 3am we all stumble away from the poker table for some rest – not a bad 1st day in Vegas but we’ve got all week for some more fun

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