"What you know about taking care of something like that?"
"Not a damn thing. But I know that sweet science."
-Avon and Cutty, The Wire
I wake up in a bit of a fog, registering the clock: 10:00 in the AM. After the previous day's session, which somehow ballooned into a 19 hour monstrosity, I didn't make it back to the room until almost 6. I remember a couple of segments of SportsCenter before drifting off into unconsciousness. The TV is still on. Feeling more than a little hung over, despite having not a drop of alcohol in my system, I roll out of bed, type up the bad news for the thread, shower, shave, and head out to the Strip, not sure of my plan. For the first time, I feel compelled to note, I made it from my room to the exit without having to double back even once. I feel like I'm finally learning my way around a bit.
Scoping out the Venetian, which is nice but didn't feel right for poker or for food, I eventually find myself back at the Wynn. I'd say it's personal, after last night's loss, but it's not: it's a verified soft deep 2-5 game, which is about on par with my confidence level at the moment. After a $13 sub to fuel the system (it was good, not sure if it was worth the price) I scope the poker room. Only a couple of faces I recognized, inclusing the actress and her whatever, both easy players to play against (she's random and bad, he's way too ego-driven).
There's a waiting list for 2-5, and so I grab an open seat at 1-3 while waiting for it to open, see five flops in ten hands and wind up exactly even before I'm called to 2-5. My initial seat is #9, which I move to #4 at the first opportunity. I always laugh at the people who change seats in order to chase who's been running hot, but the 9 seat felt cramped, didn't have a good view of any of the TV's, and had the better players on my left. The change improved each of those scores.
I get stuck about $200 pretty quickly in uneventful pots - folding to 3bets, folding to cbets, folding to the occasional cr, but the table seems to be in a calling and bluffing mood as a whole so I just sit back and play fairly snug for a few hours. I catch a decent score that works me close to even when a player on my right, who was aggro preflop but bad post, undersized a $20 raise from the CO with 3 limpers. I called on the button with J
, as did one of the blinds and all three limpers. The flop comes 2
, it's checked to me, and I take down the $100 pot with a $30 bet.
The rest comes from a button raise to $25 with A
; the BB and a limper call, and the flop comes down K
. Checked to me, I fire $65. The BB checks his cards, thinks for a minute, calls. The limper folds, and the turn pairs me up with the T
. He checks, and I contemplate firing again, but unless I feel strongly that I can induce a cr bluff I think checking is considerably better, since it allows for almost perfect river play and gets equivalent value when he inevitably bluffs the river. It bricks out, a low offsuit card that I didn't note, and sure enough, villain bombs out for $100. I beat him into the pot, and he dejectedly shows A
From there, everything worked. It's been mentioned that barrelling success is often dependent upon a winning or losing image. I don't think it's quite that simple, though it certainly feels that way at times. My focus was just sharp, I wasn't missing much, and I was enjoying the game, joking around with the other players, having a good time. A stack of $1000 in reds was slowly but surely augmented by bills behind it, and I crept my way up to around $1500 within the next couple of hours.
After a couple of table departures and a few more bathroom/dinner breaks, we found the table three-handed, all on the same side of the table: myself, the #3 seat, and the #1. The dealer asked us if we wanted to continue, I said I would if they wanted to but didn't care. #3 didn't want to play, but #1 was getting on a plane in a few hours and didn't want to wait, so he asked if I wanted to play heads up. Not having played heads-up since black friday, I eagerly agreed, and as a reasonably experienced heads-up player felt like my edge had to be substantial, despite the fact that this guy was clearly semi-competent. My usual heads-up small-poke poker took over, and I took all six hands of heads-up play before the synchronized break-takers started finding their way back to the table. While we were still building up, and four-handed, I called that same guy's button raise from the BB and flopped top two pair on a K
flop. I led out and called his raise to $100, deciding whether or not I was going to commit to the whole meal with top two on this board. That meal was a large one, $1000, and I decided that I had a hero fold in me, that he wasn't taking AK to the felt here, which put me up against a few ****ty two pair combos and a depressingly large number of AJ's. The plan changed, though, when the turn came the K
giving my KQ the nuts. However I failed to extract any more value as the turn went check-check and he bricked his obvious draw, not paying off my $180 on the river.
And ... that's pretty much what constituted an interesting hand for the session. I floated an over-aggro female player with a gutshot, intending to check-shove the turn, but she checked behind and I decided she had top pair after all, and was playing pot control. However the gutshot hit and she paid off $125 on the river. I completed the SB with A
after a sea of limpers and was rewarded with a 2
flop. I led out and was raised by a poor player in MP. Thinking about my options, I couldn't really put him on a hand but looking at him it looked like he was willing to go to the felt. He shoved over the top of my 3bet, I snapcall, and the board runs out the impossibly awful 3
, but somehow I still scoop.
Not much to say, really. Sometimes poker gives you interesting hands to talk about, sometimes it doesn't. I found the right side of variance once again, but never felt like I was really running like a god, the way I did at 5-10 on Day 1. Past a couple of spots where I flopped what seemed to be coolers in my favor, I felt like I just took advantage of solid, positionally aware poker, stayed out of trouble spots, and put people on more or less what it was they actually had.
The table broke at 11:00 after several players left in succession. There was another 2-5 table going, but it just had the one seat open, so we drew for it and I lost (I kept drawing until I hit 19, then stayed. The dealer jokingly drew three cards and busted.) I decided that was a good thing. After the marathon of the previous day and only a couple hours' sleep, I was running out of gas and the relaxation of the lack of poker decisions caused my body to say "We're done." I told them to take my name off the list and cashed out.
I wasn't quite ready for sleep, though, and this was the first chance I've had to experience the strip around prime time, around midnight. So I wandered a bit, noting the partiers, the people just here for a good time. It's not my crowd, I finally decided. At some point I wouldn't mind heading back here with a crowd to party with, to pretend to be someone that can kick back, have a drink or twelve, bounce to the throbbing of techno at a club somewhere, but by and large I'm more observer than participant. Always have been. I did overhear what I know is the brewing of an argument between a young couple; she wanted to go see the Bellagio fountains, thought she knew where to find them, he didn't want to wander the strip for an hour if she didn't know where they were. I make eye contact, and say "Just keep walking this way, they're on the right. Can't miss 'em." They thank me. That's where I was heading myself, I realize.
The fountains are the fountains, but I'm an electrical engineer, so what I'm actually thinking about is the dual-axis servos, the pump control, the section of the program for lights. I decide that there's a bit much going on for a standard PLC. I'd go with SoftLogix on a badass blade server somewhere. I wonder what they use for remote I/O
, I think. The thought is immediately followed by I'm such an awful ****ing tourist. I wonder how they test out new programs. There's probably a bad ass simulation program somewhere back at the lab. Christ you're a god damn nerd.
They are pretty. I'll give 'em that. Dropping my guard for a few moments, forgetting the situational awareness that comes instinctively from being in a large crowd and having enough money in my left front pocket to make me a great target for any would-be thief, I bask in the soothing rhythm of the waltz over the speaker, in the fountains that are dancing to them, and relax.
I read somewhere that the average tourist drops $300 in a weekend in Vegas. It's Monday night in a week of no particular significance, and I'm gauging the size of the crowd. Back when I started playing poker, and was talking to my coworkers about the trip to Vegas that I hoped for but that never materialized until now, I laughed off the warnings of the one more puritanical member of my team. "How do you think they pay for the lights?" he asked, in the age old line every gambler has heard a million times. I do the calculation. Three hundred a head, times all the heads that are present in the sea of human known as the Vegas Strip. That's a lot of kw-h.
Vegas is profiting as much off of me as they are off of any of them. More, even. But it's different, I note to myself. The $5000 plus in my wallet is not for gambling, it's for playing a game where gambling is a factor. I might be a bad partier. I might be a bad tourist. I don't know a thing about Vegas, know where to go (beyond directing people to the Bellagio fountains), what to see, what to do, but I'm at home on the felt, and I know that sweet science. After a couple of songs it's back to the room, and collapsing right to sleep.
Day 3 Total: +$1221
Trip Total: +$1027