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Off to Vegas


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made it back...

So I went with my cousin, his girlfriend and my cousin's friend from college. Shitty part was my girlfriend (of a month) already had family plans in Tahoe so no vegas debauchery for me...other than the casinos.

Stayed at the Flamingo...which is cheap but much crappier than I expected. The bathroom was tiny and they didn't give us enough towels.

But I digress. Basically all I did was play poker. No, didn't really win or lose much. My purpose was to deepen my poker skills at low limit before moving up to a bigger level of limit poker. So I played only the $2-$4 and $3-$6 tables at The Aladdin, Flamingo and Ballys.

Aladdin is cool because if you hit 4-of-a-kind or a Straight-Flush you get a jackpot bonus. The bonus starts at $50, and if no one gets a particular hand that day the bonus ticks up each day until it peaks at $599. Given how much people play, the 4ofakind hands get hit a lot...the straightflushes not as much. Friday afternoon at Aladdin the guy in the seat next to me hits a Royal Straight Flush. FUCKING CRAZY! He won a nice $599 bonus. I played ok that session...not great, but okay.

After more drinking we went to Margaritaville in The Flamingo for dinner. Think about it: it is an entire restaurant geared around a Jimmy Buffet song. It was cheap for Vegas, but the food was shitty. After my cousin and his gf decided to head back to the room for "a nap" I decided to play more cards...so went to Flamingo's poker room. Didn't really win or lose much there and it was really boring...so later just ended up in crashing.

Next day I played all my poker at Bally's which was much more interesting. First session during the day was another blah session. Was up and down...lots of people (except me) seemed to be hitting 4 of a kind hands. Bally's doesn't pay big hand jackpots, so wasn't that thrilling but still it was very educational. Left that session and got ghetto Thai food at Ocha's right across from Stratosphere. From there we walked to Sahara's to play Blackjack at the $3 dollar tables. Although the wind was blowing really hard outside and we were freezing walking that 1/3 mile, it was worth it. In about $30 minutes I doubled the money I sat down with at the table before we decided to bail.

Finally I ended up back at Bally's for my final poker session. And let me tell you this time I started playing at a new level. I started pulling off bluffs and reading people much much better than before. Sure, I still made a few mistakes so I didn't win much money, but that's all part of the process of learning to play poker. You have to go through a lot of down or mediocre sessions before you really start getting good at it. Anyway, overall I feel like I made good progress through the "paying your poker dues" stage.

Otherwise I ended up not drinking nearly as much as I had expected to, which is honestly a good thing because I still had fun.

Anyway, nothing else too exciting to report...now it's just back to work on Monday after a long holiday weekend....zzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

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my advice on gambling:

1) have a limit of how much you are willing to lose. if you hit that, get up and walk away. Don't tell yourself "i just need to gamble a little more and i'll win it all back." That is how you do serious damage.

2) Don't gamble with money you cannot afford to lose.

3) If you are up, and then you start feeling like it is all going to shit, get up and walk away.

4) In poker (mainly Texas Hold'em) you will often get dealt to 2 shitty hole cards. You will fold, and then on the flop you will see 3 cards that would have made you a great hand. Don't worry about those situations. Example:

Saturday night at Bally's i was sitting one seat left of the Big Blind so I wasn't in the pot already. I got dealt a Queen-Duece of clubs. I folded it. Flop comes K-J-9 all of clubs. Turn comes 10 of clubs. So that would have left me with a King High straight flush of clubs, a completely unbeatable hand. And what happened? two other players were betting it up like crazy, reraising each other to the max each round of betting. By the end there was well over $100 in the pot (in a 2-4 limit table, mind you). I'm sitting there thinking "good job...you folded the nuts." At end one guy had the 8 of clubs and antoher guy had the Ace. Think how sweet it would have been to have kept calling all their raises and at the end having him show the Ace, the other guy the 8, and then watching the guy with the Ace thinking he was about to rake a huge pit and THEN i show the Queen? But no, I folded it. Shit happens. But I went on and kept playing and didn't let it get to me.

Later that round I had an 8-3 offsuit...and I ended up bluffing out a guy on the river who made 2 pair. It was a big pot and I even showed my bluff and it was a fun moment at the table.

5) Never play with your emotions. Only play with your wits and your intuition. Your emotions will impair your ability to make the best decisions, especially in Poker.

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