Vegas 2012

7th visit to Vegas but 1st visit without Mrs with me. She decided she didn’t fancy it which is rather understandable as a lot of the time Im playing poker and shes filling in time and theres only so much shopping and sun bathing you can do.
Travelled across with Knerrard29 from the NPF, the 10th best online poker player from Newcastle apparently as published by pocket fives and as his pennies could manage it we travelled British Airways World Economy which is equivalent to Virgin Premium Economy. Darren only agreed to this extravagance as we did get an unreal cheap deal at Ballys which basically cost us only £20 per night each for a very good quality room. Darren gives a new meaning to conservative which proves handy when calculating restaurant bills as he has a built in running total calculator obviously brought on from his multi table ability he has built up over the years.

Travel got off to a bad start as our flight from Newcastle to Heathrow was over an hour late which meant our connection to Vegas was very tight and ended up us being the last 2 passengers to get on plane. My doubts as to our cases being on the plane were soon realised on landing as they were still back in London and didn’t arrive till the following day. Being a smelly tramp for a day or 2 didn’t bother me although the wiff from my socks did start to come through after the 2nd day.

Met up with Mr & Mrs Stumpy and played the 7.00 Aria game. Standard stuff trying to maintain a certain BB level which I achieved until I pick up AA and get nice double up at crucial stage of game. Sitting pretty comfy now and close to the cash I pick up AA again in the BB. Russian guy limps in and I put a decent raise in which he calls. Flop comes K high which I lead quite strong into and he jams his rather large stack all in which I happily call and he flips over KJ. The board pairs on turn to block his 2 pair chance but the case K comes on river to take me out for what would have been a chip leader pot with 18 left and 15 paid

Following day is the 1st of our main games and myself Stumpy and Knerrard take in the Binnions Classic series $1000 Main event. Im expecting a not too difficult field tbh but am shocked when 75 of the 95 runners are well known pros and online wiz kids. Tournie ends up being probably the toughest field Ive ever played in with every pot entered being totally tested with by some top quality poker players. Get myself into a decent position mid way by turning the nut straight and getting fully paid then getting trapped by AA guy when I jam over his re raise when Im holding the nut flush draw with AJ hearts to get there on the river for a very nice pot. Get 3 bet a lot out of pots which is the norm with these type of guys and dribble chips before busting out 28th with a re shove holding 2nd pair and flush draw which was probably a mistake considering my stack size at time and guy made a good tank call with rag Ace which held. Knerrard bust just short of money but Stumpy made final table which was great achievement in this quality field but got desperately unlucky 8 left when guy decided his Ace 10 to Stumpys 4 bet jam was good and proceeded to make quad tens against Stumpys AK for chip leader pot. Don’t normally see the little fella too disappointed in any poker beat he takes but knew from his reactions this one hurt more than most with him being so close to a very nice top prize of over 30k. Few coronas later and we soon had him back smiling again.
WSOP Seniors Event next up for me and a new world record set here with over 4000 runners. Pretty aggressive starting table for me and with a 3000 stack theres not much room for error especially with people making open raises to 250 and 450 with blinds at 25/25. My Seniors lasted for the total of 70 minutes after losing with 10 10, AK twice on K high boards, KQ on K high board and killer hand KK v AJ which smashed the flop. Wasn’t too disappointed tbh as not a lot I could do or avoid and moved onto the following day with the Golden Nugget Seniors Event.

Just short of 500 runners in this and a decent stack to start with and 40 min blind levels. Built my stack very nicely and found some great spots so moved along at nice pace and never in any trouble whatsoever. Field whittled down nicely as we moved through the levels and before long we were down to only 100 runners and Im nicely placed with just above average stack and feeling very confident when our table breaks to go to 10 tables and 1st hand on new table Im straight into the BB looking down at K2.  Guy in pos 2 limps in and everyone else folds to me and we see a flop of K 10 2. I check and he fires ¾ pot and I jam all in which he snaps me off with KQ. Looking good to go twice average here at great time of game. My hand looks even better when turn brings the case King to give me house with Kings & twos but this is short lived when the river brings a killer Queen to give him a bigger house and Im out feeling pretty gutted and sorry for myself.
Caesars Seniors is next on the agenda and not really in the mood for the long haul past over 700 runners which is made even worse with a horrible table draw. Table is full of very aggressive and capable players which is pretty unusual in Seniors Events as you do normally get lots of positions and good situations to pick up easy chips but this table was totally different to the norm. Although the starting stack is good the 30 min levels soon fly by and this game plays likes a turbo event with big jumps in the blind levels and a very aggressive ante structure. Cant remember my exit hand but sure it was pretty standard stuff although must admit the Canadian guy on my left basically owned my arse in several pots and consistently damaged my stack as I tried to stay in touch.

Play another Aria 7.00 game with no luck then we return downtown to Binnions to take in another of their series games and go deep in that without cash but Dan Trett makes final table and at one stage with 8 left had over ½ the chips in play before getting very unlucky twice when holding QQ to shorter stack shoves which got there. He eventually went out 4th place after being the only player it seemed there not content to ladder and went totally for the win.

Return downtown again the following day as to be honest the games were great value, probably just the right length of time and reasonably softish fields compared to others. Took in the Golden Nugget Series this time and a field of nearly 300 runners in the great surroundings of their Grand Hall. Anyone who hasn’t played here then it’s a must thing to do when visiting over the WSOP period.
Never really got going at all early levels but hung in and it wasn’t until about level 6 or 7 when things turned for me. Cant remember much about crucial hands but by 3 tables out I had a decent stack to play with and then had great table move alongside Mark Trett. We had about the same stacks and Mark used his excellent negotiation skills to swop 10% in each other which we then upped to 20%. Mrs Stumpy then was moved to our table and we were all sat next to each which was very nice and cosy until they moved me to another table. My 20% in Mark soon disappeared as he missed me that much he donked out soon as I moved. Blind on blind he raised A9 for guy to shove on him which he snapped off. Guys 9 10 looked proppa sick until he binked a river 10 and mark was left to rail me and his 20% investment. Last couple of tables I was picking up chips pretty easy tbh and final table went very smoothly as we soon got down to 6. Refused plenty requests for deals as I wasn’t interested in chopping with certain players left and eventually got heads up with one of only 2 people I would of chopped with. He had 4/1 chip lead so we played on as the woman who went out 3rd took ages to leave the table and hands were dealt as she dithered on before we could discuss any possible chop. I pick up A7 in BB and jam over his limp which he snaps off with 99 and holds. Just short of $3500 not too bad and freerolls me for the trip although the $5500 for 1st would have been nicer. Had to laugh at Mark Tretts comment leaving when he turns around to me and says “ You need to work on your heads up play Davey” Stumpy replies “ We havnt got to that page yet”!
Mrs Stumpy went out for a min cash around the 20 mark getting it in with 77 v AA. She flopped a 7 but oppo rivered the Ace

Played one more Aria and one more Golden Nugget after that but had had enough by then. Final game at Aria late on Phil Helmuth and a Chinese couple were given a table in the tournament area where we were and they were playing a private game of Chinese Poker. I resisted the urge and provocation from Knerrad as he wanted me to stand behind with a board saying WANKET so he could get a picture. I just didn’t fancy being ejected and barred from one of my favourite hotels and cardrooms in Las Vegas.
Great crowd of people this year with Dan & Mark Trett, Mr & Mrs Stumpy, Juicey Oranges and my room mate and butler Knerrard who without fail brought me a cup of coffee in bed every morning and made sure I took my tablets last thing at night and 1st thing in the morning. We finished the trip off nicely with a cruise and meal on a paddle boat across Lake Meade.

Favourite eating place ended up being Changs Chinese Restaurant in Planet Hollywood where we ate 3 times. Great atmosphere with great food at value prices. Interesting meal on 2nd visit when we all went and Juicey Oranges tried to pick up the tab paying on his card. After lots of objections and with $130 lying on the table it was decided as juicey wouldn’t take the cash to go for spin up on roulette and blackjack. $70 was given to Dan Trett the Blackjack Master and boom one hit was doubled to $140. I took charge of the remaining $60 for roulette and after getting some numbers off people we hit $10 on 4, 6, 8, 24, 28, 29. Booom in came Mrs Stumpys 6 and after cashing in Juicey got his meal bill refunded and we all got a free night from the proceeds.
We tried this once more at the Nugget when having $20 excess from the kitty after breakfast and I suggested putting the $20 on lucky number 6 at the 1st break of the tournament we were playing. I eventually added $5 to this and decided to hit 4,6,8,24,29. Headed over to the nearest roulette table at the break but the ball was already in motion so unable to get 5 numbers placed and as always number 6 popped in. Moved onto another table and got our bet on for the ball to pop into the slot between 24 & 29. Fun while it lasted and would have been surreal to have stuck with $20 on number 6 and to see it come in.

Bit of breakfast taking Darren to Gran Lux Café in Palazzo followed by a spot of shopping and bit of cash before we made the long journey home arriving at a chaotic Heathrow with seemingly massive customs problems before eventually sneaking under some barriers and getting through quicker than we should of to UK Connections weighed down by the bags of presents Mark Trett was carrying for his family.
Great trip with great people and roll on next year