Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard

By Pauly
Las Vegas. NV

Friday night. I sweated both losing NBA bets in the sports book at Mandalay Bay. The drunken masses were focused on the Lakers game. An influx of L.A. Douchebag flooded the Strip, particularly Mandalay Bay... since it was the closest Strip Casino from the City of Angels. 95% of the people in the sports book were watching the big screen. While everyone looked one way, I was looking the other, intensely focused on two smaller screens. Luckily, they were on top of each other and I could scan back and forth. My fate unfolded before my eyes.

I started the week 2-1 in my NBA picks, but I've been not-so-hot since I arrived in Las Vegas. I'm now 0-3, after I bet against two home dogs... and the dogs won. Lucky for me that I've been betting small on the NBA.

The San Antonio Spurs looked like a lock -7 at Madison Square Garden and the anemic NY Knicks. Except, the Knicks played like a playoff caliber team in the first half as they rushed out to an 18 point lead. I know enough about the Knicks (how they suck and don't play defense in the second half), that my bet still had life. Like clockwork, the Spurs made a run with a 4th quarter surge as they attacked teh Knicks swiss cheese defense. The Spurs forced an overtime, which was a miracle for me and the only way I had a chance to win the bet. Alas, the Spurs only one by six. I lost. Fuckmethatsuckeddonkeyballs.

I also bet the Celtics at Minnesota, even though KG was out with a stomach injury. The spread was -5.5. Minnesota led by a small margin for most of the first half, but I was waiting for a 4th quarter run by the Celtics. It happened like I planned it. They took the lead, but could not pull away. Just when it looked as though the game would also head into overtime, the Celtics scored a bucket at the buzzer to win the game by two points. Another loss.

I went back to my room and completed my bonus at Full Tilt. I did not play online poker for over a month while I was in Oz/NZ. I broke even trying to clear the bonus on 8/16 limit tables. I crashed early and woke up at 4am to play against the drunks. I grabbed a cab to the Bellagio and ate a Cliff bar along the way. I played 2/5 NL to almost 6am. I lost $10 during that time. Nothing exciting to report. There was one drunk guy, but he was playing pretty good. I got bluffed out of a big pot by a local when I folded top pair on a flush board. I won a race with Queens versus A-Q to felt a Russian chick who was short stacked.

I cashed out and walked down the Strip back to my hotel. I worked for a couple of hours. I put in my bets on college hoops... Texas and Wake Forrest. Then it was time for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. After I busted out, I left my hotel room and went directly to the sports book to sweat my games... Texas and Wake Forest. Both were in the second half. I was winning one and losing the other. The Texas/Iowa State game went into overtime and I had another chance to win that. Wake was way ahead during the closing minutes of that game. They won by 16 and covered. That put me at 4-0 for college hoops.

However, I was still sweating the OT game. Change100 just arrived in Las Vegas. She parked the car and needed to meet me at the room. I didn't want to leave the sports book. I stayed to the last possible second. Texas was up by four points with 20 seconds to go in OT. Then they called a time out. I had to make her wait. They hung on to win by six points. The spread was 6. Push. I'm content with my college picks so far... 4-0-1... with Yale, James Madison, UCLA, and Wake all coming up big.

FYI... For Sundays games, I like Rhode Island -4 at Fordham. RI is 18-4 while Fordham is 8-11 and only 5-4 at home. I'm conflicted on UCLA at UW. My gut tells me to bet it, but I think I'm gonna stay away from that game. I'll wait until game time to decide. The other two games I like are Richmond -3 at home against St. Louis. Go Spiders! They're a deeper team than St. Louis and should win. And Denver -2 at home against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Denver Pioneers are 7-1 at home this season.

I finally met Change100's best friend Bean, the Pittsburgh Fashionista, who was in town to attend a wedding, where the bride was a good eight months pregnant. Anyway, she was just as Change100 described... a beautiful quirky hysterical neurotic Jewish girl who looked like Marisa Tomeii. Derek and the Rooster would be drooling over her. We both clicked right away, so no drama, which was important since Change100 and I had been dating for almost two years, but I had yet to meet her best friend.

After dinner, I let the girls frolic and I went back to the room. I thought I was going to write. No inspiration. Instead, I felt the spastic urge to play poker. I wandered down to the Excalibur poker room and sat in a 1/2 NL game filled with a bunch of mediocre tourists and a couple of angry locals. The big stack had about $650 in front of him. I bought in for $300 (the max) and I was the second biggest stack. I won $30 in an hour, most of it was on a bluff with 8d-5d. I had bottom pair and a gut shot straight flush draw.

I got bored and quit when I found Change100 sitting at a Pai Gow table. I sat down, played an hour, and lost $150. I was betting $25 a hand at a $10 table and got cold decked by the fast dealing stone-cold-face elderly Asian woman that didn't speak much English. I know, she sounds like 90% of the Pai Gow dealers on the planet.

On the last hand, I had trip tens as my high hand, and Q-8 as my second highest hand. The dealer? Trip Jacks and... Q-9. So fuckin' rigged. I walked away and vowed never to return to a Pai Gow table for the rest of eternity this trip.

Change100 and Bean got on the list to LAX, the latest trendy club in Las Vegas. I didn't go. I'm not a club kinda guy. I skipped and went to Mandalay Bay instead. Falstaff called. He was at the Venetian playing poker with Mary and CK. Hmm... center Strip on a Saturday night? A cab from Luxor would have taken forever and I was too lazy to walk to the Monorail. I had to take a raincheck and gambled at Mandalay Bay.

I played Pai Gow for fifteen minutes even though I said I quit. I played while I waited for a seat in the poker room to open up. I lost $25 and swore to myself that I wouldn't play Pai Gow for the rest of the trip.

I was seated at a 1/2 NL and got pocket Aces three times in one hour. I played them different every time. They went 2-1 for me.

#1... One player limped in early position. I raised to $6 with Ah-Ac. The big blind called as did the original raiser. Three way. The flop was J-7-x. Big blind fired out $10. Other guy folded. I raised to $30 and he called. The turn was another Jack. I put the guy on K-J or A-J and figured that I was toast, especially when he led out for $15. I knew he had me, but I couldn't lay down Aces. I called. The river was another blank. He bet $20. It was such a low bet that I insta-called and said, "Show me your Jack."

He said, "Sevens full."

He tabled a pair of sevens. He flopped a set and turned a boat. Aces.... cracked.

#2... About ten minutes after I had my Aces cracked, I had about $100 left. I was in big blind and a player from early position raised to $10. I just called with As-Ac. Heads up. The flop was Qs-7s-3s. I fired out $30 and had only $62 left. He tanked then said he put me all in. I quickly called. I tabled As-Ac for a nut flush draw. He showed 5s-4s for a flush and a gutshot straight flush draw. The turn was another Queen. I picked up a couple of more outs. The river.... a Queen. Ouch. Runner-runner boat. I almost got my Aces snapped off a second time in one orbit. I got saved by a little river luck. That hand tilted my opponent and he had to get up and walk away.

#3... Maybe a half hour after I got even with Aces, I looked down and found As-Ad. Unreal. Two players limped. I bumped it up to $12. I got three callers. Four way pot. The flop was Qs-8s-2s. Here we go again. The big blind fired out $25. Everyone folded to me and I raised to put him all in. He called. He had Ks-8h. I was ahead with my Aces and had a better flush draw. The river was the 5s and I busted a short stack with Aces.

I ended up -$9 for the session. An intoxicated Change100 and Bean had stumbled over to the poker room. They wanted to drink and play "Spot the Hooker or Ho" at the Hooker Bar in the Mandalay Bay. I knew my luck had run out for the session, so I cashed out. Aces three times in an hour? In a live game? Only happened to me once before...

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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