Over on MD-Poker.com, I started a thread entitled Trav’s In Vegas for the Summer. In it, some of my friends suggested I hit up the games at the Excalibur. It was then brought to my attention that they rarely run any game higher than $1/$2 NL. My response:

I didn’t drive over 2,000 miles to play $1/$2 NL.

So what did I do upon arriving in Vegas? Sheena [FB] was scheduled to meet up with friends at the Palms, so I dropped her off there and went across the street to the Rio to take care of a few of my own matters. After wandering around aimlessly, I found my way to the Blackjack pit. In the back of my mind, all I could hear was a voice saying, “Do you really want this trip to last just a few minutes?”

I see a $25 minimum table, decide to sit. How great were my perception and awareness skills at the time? I meant to play Blackjack, sat at a Pai Gow Tiles table.

Yeah, go do something smart with that lump o’ money in your pocket before this gets ugly.

It was a little after 1800. The boys at Casino Credit had gone home for the day. I went up to the main cage, I was familiar with its location due to Keenan and I acquiring the services of The Devil during the 2007 WSOP at the very same casino.

The Devil (n.) – A machine provided by gaming establishments which allows a person to place a cash advance on one’s credit card, in return, they get money, out of thin air, for a not-so-small fee.

I spoke with the uber cooperative and accommodating woman behind the bars named Kathy. She made sure every i was dotted and t was crossed. She was genuinely concerned about the $8,800 cash I was leaving in her care. We went through a procedure where I put up what they call “Front Money.” In the future, I can draw markers against said monies. This prevents me from needing to carry around copious amounts of cash, which is always a good thing. Especially when my newfound place to live is owned by a woman I’d never met before, and barely spent more than eight minutes on the phone with. I was in no rush to show up at my new abode with a pocket full of benjis, just ready to get jumped like a sucker.

Instead, I only showed up with about $600 on me. Pittance for Ballas like you and I, but a nice score for a tweeked-out speed freak.

Speed freak, she is not. I was very fortunate to luck into this situation. Just wonder how long it’s going to last.

Somewhere between leaving just under $9K safely at the Rio and arriving at my new summer home, I accidentally stumbled upon the Rio’s poker room. They do a much better job running the WSOP out of the Amazon Ballroom than they do pimping out and running their own little room during the off-season. There were two $1/$3 NL games going, no list, but no open seats.

Fuck it. Maybe I can cover some gas $$ before I go. The $1/$3 NL is $60 to $300, I bought in for the max, spent a year [Read: more than one orbit] folding, then loosened up a bit.

Everything was going fine until I was dealt KK in the BB. Bunch of limpers, I laise, frop has ace, I c-bet, only caller pre-flop insta-calls on frop, I surrender on turn to his $45 bet (into $150 ish).

Good thing I wasn’t waiting for a hand, all I could do is steal pots to make money. After the last big one, I decided it was time to cut and run before this Vegas trip started off on the wrong foot. In 79 minutes, I was up $285. Can only go downhill from here. I played until the dealer changed, then once I was UTG, stood up. Noteworthy that the 79 mins includes me waiting for all that, and cashing out, and taking the time to make a note of it.

Once again, safe to say I’ve learned something in the past couple of years.

Guess I did drive over 2,000 miles to play $1/$23 NL.