Jun 202011

I’m writing this blog from my PC at home in stead of my laptop at the Bellagio and it feels weird to be at home again. I woke up at 05:30 since I was stupid enough to sleep during the day yesterday after I landed at 08:20. Lesson #1 in beating jet-lags is to never sleep during the day, as you probably can’t sleep at night and it will be harder to get back into your normal rhythm. Still 05:30 isn’t that bad so I just hope I can catch some sleep tonight and my rhythm will be back to normal again tomorrow.

Now that’s also the thing which bothers me the most, I don’t want things to be back to normal! For two years I knew I was going to play this year’s WSOP. I skipped last year’s WSOP because of the World Cup soccer and now it’s already over. For me  in poker, there isn’t anything left to look forward to. I’m okay with getting back to the grind but it’s just a job and not really something you look forward doing. The Master Classics of Poker in November is probably the next Live tournament(s) I play but you can hardly compare that with the WSOP and Amsterdam isn’t really known for its sunny weather in November. Maybe, yeah maybe I’m going back next year during the WSOP but for now I’ll just have to do with another great memory which I will share with my dear readers 🙂

It’s Wednesday morning and maintenance already fixed the problem with the safe. I don’t want to sit to much in the sun, so no pool today. My main event starts today at 17:00 and as I’ve said many times already, I’m ready and look forward to it. I head over to the Rio a little after 15:00, I like to be early unlike most other poker players. I would never late reg for a $10k event, so I head over to registration where it’s pretty busy with people buying-in late for the NL 6-max event. I hand over my $10.000 and all I get back is my seat assignment and a $10 food voucher. I check out where I will be sitting all day, have a small chat with Remko and relax a bit on the benches in the Amazon room.

17:00 and it’s time to start rocking! One man already sits at my table, I don’t recognize him but he introduces himself as Richard Brodie, the name sounds familiar. A few seconds later he puts on his Full-Tilt patches which doesn’t really make a lot of difference but it says something. I’m in seat 2 myself and he is in seat 4. I just checked who he is on the internet and saw that he is the original programmer of Microsoft Word, damn do I hate that program! The next guy sits down at my table and he is wearing Full-Tilt patches as well. He sits down at seat 7 and after a couple of minutes I find out it’s Kyle Ray, also known as KPR16 online. I know that he is one of the best High-Limit cashgame players and finished 3rd in last year’s $10.000 LHE Championship event. Eric Froehlich sits down as well in seat 8, another Full-Tilt pro and winner of two Bracelets, one in Limit Hold’em. All other seats are open and the first hands are being dealt.

I’m not really comfortable playing 4-handed but we start with 30.000 chips and play 200/400 (100/200 blinds) so it’s all good. I start pretty aggressive and win the first pots after which the next Full-Tilt pro sits down. Richard, Eric and Kyle start laughing since it’s Matt Hawrilenko, Hoss_TBF on PokerStars. 2/3 years ago everybody would name Matt as the #1 LHE player in the world. Nowadays he plays other games as well and there are more people that could go up for the title but he still is one of the best LHE players in the world. He sits down directly to the right of me, in seat 1. The rest of the table fills up with an unkown in seat 3 and 5 and seat 6 and 9 stay empty so we have:

1: Matt Hawrilenko
2: Myself
3: Unknown
4: Richard Brodie
5: Unkown
6: –
7: Kyle Ray
8: Eric Froehlich
9: –

Now in the $10.000 event there are no soft tables. A lot of people call it the toughest tournament of the WSOP and every table has some really good LHE players. You can however get lucky with your seat, since having the better players on your left and the weaker and your right could help a lot. I on the other hand had two of the best players in the world on my right and the softer spots on my left. Seat 3 was clearly the softest spot on the table, Richard Brodie was one of the weaker players on the table as well but still knew what he was doing (he made the final table eventually) and seat 5 was probably the same level as Richard Brodie but played a different style. A pretty bad table/seat draw for sure but I knew this could happen and was ready to just rock it all day. I ran my stack up close to 35.000 in the first level which was pretty good considering the low stakes we were playing but it was still the first level so it wasn’t really big news. Since to get up to 35.000 I had been pretty active (but only showing good hands) the people on my left started to play back at me pretty light. Of course I was happy with that fact but unlucky with most flops. I had to win my chips from the better players and lost them back to the softer spots, unfortunate but there wasn’t much I could do about it. Seat 6 fills up with another well known pro, Alexander Kostritsyn and a little later seat 9 fills up as well with Ted Forrest. Ted was another soft spot at my table and at my right, Matt probably noticed the same. There was hardly an opportunity for me to 3-bet Ted and if the opportunity was there, I didn’t had a hand to do it with. Everybody knows how frustrating poker can be 😉

Seat 3 manages to bust in the middle of the 3th level. He was the first to bust the tournament but considering how he played not that shocking. He obviously missed a lot of draws as well but I’ll give an example of how he played: One hand he shows me A5dd on a KT77dd board and the action is 3-way and is capped. He bricked the river and threw his cards to the dealer but he was already drawing dead on the turn and was probably the only player at the table who didn’t notice that. He also had opened himself with the A5dd UTG+1, not the best play. I wasn’t that happy he busted but luckily for the first 1,5 hour or so his seat remained empty and later got filled by on older man which was tight and bad, so not the worst kind of player to have on your left.

Most of the day I had been folding. Either because of the fact I didn’t get any good hands or by the fact that Matt already took away the spot to 3-bet, every time with hands I could impossibly 4-bet with. My stack went down to 15.000, back up to 20.000 and somewhere in Level 7 it was below 10.000. I lose another pot and we are playing 800/1600 (400/800 blinds) and I find 99. I open, seat 5 3-bets the BB 4-bets and I go all-in for a little less then 5 bets total. The flop comes AQJcc and I hold the 9c. The button bets, the BB folds and the button shows ATxx. With a lucky club on the river I triple up and I’m back in business. The last level of the day starts and making day 2 would be very welcome. I win a small pot and I’m at 18.000, half the stack of what we’ve started with but still enough chips to make a comeback! I open from the cut-off with 22 and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes A43 and I get raised by the BB. I consider this a good moment to get tricky and call to raise any turn. I tell myself that he doesn’t have an ace and is just trying to pick up the pot. He bets the turn and I raise, he calls….. Shit that wasn’t the plan! I brick the river and he shows A3, I throw away 5.000 points and with the other 3.000 I had already put into the pot my stack ain’t that big anymore. A little later the dealer announces that we play 3 more hands and then we are done for today. Matt opens UTG and I find KK, I think about how sweet it is to end the day like this (I had gotten AA one time and picked up the blinds) and that tomorrow anything can happen. I 3-bet and he calls. The flop comes 89Thh, I bet and he raises. I think about it and 3-bet, he calls. What is his range? AKh,AQh,AJh,ATs,KQh,KJh,QJs,JTs,AA,KK,QQ,JJ,TT,99,88 and a small chance he opens with 77. He knows I have never 3-bet him light and will never 3-bet him light now UTG+1 but I do have a very small stack. I don’t have a lot of chips which might make it look I’m going all-in no matter what and to be honest I wasn’t planning on folding the hand as soon as I saw it. The turn comes a T which means some of the hands I was still beating now also beat me. I still bet, he raises and with 3.400 points left I could either fold and still have 3.400 to play the next 2 hands or go all-in and hope I’m up against QQ, JJ or at best 77, AKh/AQh/AJh. He shows QJhh for a flopped straight and a flush draw leaving me with 3 outs (Only 1 K, since with the Kh he makes a straigh flush and 2 T’s). I brick and leave my chair disappointed.

It’s over and I do an interview with Remko for Pokernews NL. I want to sleep! The sooner I sleep the quicker this day is over and there are still two days left in Las Vegas to enjoy. In bed I think about this last hand a couple of times. I think about the hand with 22 and 1 other hand that I played bad. If…… I wake up, think about it for one last time and the day starts like most others. Subway then it’s time to hit the pool and the idea was to go out with some Dutchies. I watch Super 8 with RJ in the Brenden Theatre and I’m in the Rio at 21:00. Remko and Frank wanted to have fun tonight as well and also Pim de Goede and the de Meulder brothers (Matthias and Christophe) would like to join us. I haven’t met these guys before but it’s always fun to meet some new people and have a blast in Vegas. Unfortunately the clubs are really busy tonight and we have to be in before 23:00 to get a good table. Frank, Pim, Matthias and Christophe were still eating at The Naked Fish and when they got back they also still needed to change clothes. No clubbing tonight but there are still some other options in Vegas.

Bowling in the Golden Coast for example. There is no reason for any person visiting Las Vegas to go to the Golden Coast. It’s next to the Rio(so not on the strip), looks horrible and smells horrible. The only reason to come over to the Golden Coast is if you want to go bowling and get cheap alcohol. Christophe isn’t really convinced we can have fun in such a place and really doesn’t want to bowl. After we’ve convinced him to go we head over to the bowling alley. 50+ lanes, Corona for $2 and $10 for the winner per game. Christophe starts with a strike and I feel hustled already. He throws some more and I finish dead last. Pim and Frank were both a little later but just in time for the second game. Frank tries to hustle me again, saying he is the worst bowler of all times. 10 throws later he wins the 2nd game and I’m dead last again and we are all done with this stupid sport! Next to bowling American’s love to get drunk while playing beer-pong. The best place to play beer-pong is in the O’Shea’s. Another terrible casino you should try to avoid unless you want to eat Subway. There are no beer-pong tables open so we decide to play “Let it ride”. The game is pretty easy, you need to make Tens or better according to the poker hand values. You start with 3 cards yourself and the dealer has the two closed community cards. Starting with 338 is a pretty bad hand as you have only 5 outs to improve your hand (33888) and the dealer could make a pair of tens or better herself which gives you a couple of extra outs. Pim on the other side loves his hand and after asking if anybody has a 3 in his hand (which was the case) he is even more certain he is going to hit his outs. This of course never happens and Pim proves why running a Casino and serve free alcohol is +ev 🙂 After an hour or so we are done with the game and everybody had played their last hand. I still have some change left and decide to play 1 more hand but I don’t have the $1 for the bonus (you need it in chips and I’m to lazy to change $1). I start with 227 which is really bad but of course hit a 2 and then a 7 to get my Full-House. Because I didn’t post the $1 I don’t get the $150 bonus, at least we had a good laugh 🙁

We then decide what we all already knew before this evening started, we are going to end it in the Spearmint Rhino. A legendary place among the Dutch poker players but I’ve never been there before. I’m a Rhino virgin and after 9 trips to Las Vegas this has to stop. Matthias and Christophe decide to do the smart thing so with the 4 of us we call a Limo and let the limo drive us to the Rhino’s! It’s around 03:30 and there is no line for men. There is however a line of woman who pay money to work in the Rhino’s, that probably says enough about how much money these girls make. The place was packed and there where plenty of gorgeous girls dancing in front of us. Girls drop by the give you a lap dance of one song (max 3min) for $20. For a semi-private(they take you to the back) lap dance of 3 songs you pay $100 and what you can get for more money I didn’t ask 🙂 Remko changes $100 dollar to 100 $1 bills, we want some girls to dance in front of us and waving with $1 bills helps… We get a lap dance, another one and drink some more. Pim and Remko go home a little earlier but Frank and I leave the place a little after 06:00. I’m no longer a Rhino virgin and have to say it was a lot better (but also a lot different) then I had expected!

It’s Friday and my last day in Vegas. I had a blast again and despite losing $13.000 in tournament buy-ins this trip was better then expected. This wasn’t my first trip with RJ but for sure not the last one as well. It was great hanging out together with him again for 12 days. We share our love for poker, teppanyakki, movies and the pool which is what we did most of the time during this trip. He doesn’t like to go out as much as I do but we had fun together in the Piano bar and he doesn’t mind me going out without him if I want to. Our trips to Vegas always have been profitable but unfortunate not this time. We have diner one last time in Musashi, our new favorite Japanese Steakhouse and then go see the Jabbowockeez in the Monte Carlo, known for winning America’s Best Dance Crew.

I liked the show but did hope for a little more. I would rate it a 7,5 but my expectations were really high due to their performance on America’s Best Dance Crew. On TV they can show you the little details and you miss those on stage, still I think it was worth the money and I would recommend it to anybody who likes to watch shows like ABDC. I get back to the Bellagio, play some Let it Ride again (which is way more fun when you are drunk) and do one last round thru the Bellagio. I love this city, I love this hotel, I love the buzz and I will be back!

 Posted by at 1:55 pm
Jun 152011

Yes I’m ready! Well actually, not completely ready as currently the $10.000 is in the safe and we can’t open the safe anymore. It’s not that we forgot the code or used a wrong one, I can’t even type in a code. I hope maintenance is here in a short while because I don’t want to deal with it tomorrow.

I’ll start where I left of and that was Saturday I believe. You really lose count of what day it is as it doesn’t really matter here in Las Vegas. Everything is open 24/7 and the only difference between a weekday and the weekend is a little more crowd. I picked up that the Bellagio was completely full during the weekend and just heard downstairs that even during the week the Bellagio is almost 100% full, they only had rooms with 1 king-size bed left (so no 2 queen-size beds) and two guys didn’t really like that fact, I can imagine 😉 I don’t really have a lot to tell about the past days, I just did my routine every day and that was about it. But well, the blog would be very short if I would end it just there so I won’t.

The first cashgame session of this trip was pretty good but I must say I haven’t really won any money since then. I’m really happy with my play during this whole trip and I hope I can take some of it home so I can use it when I’m playing online again. Playing live always opens up my mind again as I can think more about situations which have become standard routine in my online grind. Sometimes these standard routines are not good, but you don’t really notice them because you are just clicking. Playing live makes you think more about certain situations and that’s always a good thing. Still I consider online to be much tougher then the live cashgames so you can’t always compare the two.

If I play the same way as I’ve played over the last week and just have a little more luck with the hands I get dealt I’m certain I can do good in the $10.000 event. I can’t really say if I have an edge but I think I have two things that will most certainly help. I’m 28, which makes me a very old guy online but a very young guy live. Most people see me as an “internet” kid and to most older people all these internet kids play really loose. I might play aggressive, but my pre-flop hand selection is probably too tight and not too loose. In combination with my aggression most people will 3-bet and/or call me down to light. This most certainly will give me some edge. During the $3k I’ve seen very decent players but even they got tilt or sometimes just bored. I’ve played so many hands online that losing a hand in Limit can’t really tilt me at all. Now I’m of course not 100% sure if the fact I’m playing a $10.000 tournament will affect me but I doubt it will. During the $3.000 event I didn’t really feel the pressure of the fact it was a tournament with a $3.000 buy-in and I think I can do exactly the same tomorrow. Now I’m probably not the best Limit player of the field but if I’m average and can use my image and the fact I can play my A-game all day long to my advantage I hope I can do some damage. Everybody knows you will always need a big chunk of luck to win a tournament and since it’s just a really small sample it could go any way but a man must have its dream. If I would win a big No-Limit tournament I would have to say that I’m not that good and just had a whole bunch of luck. If I win a Limit tournament I can confidentially say I’m good at the game and was lucky enough to win it.

Yesterday RJ and I went over to the palms again to watch X-men: First Class. Another good Marvel movie, I should do a marathon of all Marvel movies somewhere in the winter! Afterwards we went over to the Rio to rail Remko Rinkema (Pokernews NL reporter) who was playing the $2.500 8-Game Tournament. Unfortunately he couldn’t really get anything going and busted in the last level of the day with a cooler in Stud (His set on 5th street vs a full house). We agreed to go out for Sushi the next day so today we did. We went to Sushi Fever, somewhere far away from the strip and again I loved it. Rob Hollink joined us as well (his favorite Sushi place) and together with Frank and RJ we just let Remko order whatever he thought was good and it worked out really good again. I’ve really no clue what he ordered so whenever I go eat Sushi I’ll just have to take Remko with me 😉 Now I’m aware of the fact that the Sushi hype started years ago already and it seems to be trendy to brag about eating Sushi but if I would have had diner at a really nice Steakhouse I would have written about it as well. Which reminds me of the fact I didn’t go to a steakhouse yet this trip! I’ll definitely have to try a new one this trip but I can only do that if I bust the $10.000 event before the Final Table. If all goes well I’m playing tournament poker the coming 3 days and I only have the diner break to get some food which isn’t enough to try one of the many good steakhouses Las Vegas has to offer.

Next to playing poker and going out for diner I’ve seen the pool a lot and did some more shopping. Today I’ve finally bought something (besides a watch) for myself. I walked into a store since I saw a nice looking shirt and spent about an hour trying all sorts of cloths. I had a very helpful girl and she was Russian. Now I’m a sucker for girls with a Russian accent so I just had to say yes every time she brought me something to try on. Luckily I didn’t had too much money with me since I was only planning to get some breakfast but I still bought 2 shirts and some new jeans. I got my complete outfit for the coming 3 days ready and a perfect outfit starts with perfect underwear:

It’s more than an hour later and I still haven’t seen the maintenance guy. I’m ready, I’m looking forward to it but I need my “stack of high society” to play tomorrows event.

I hope he comes in a couple of minutes, else I will probably have to deal with it tomorrow. I will post updates on twitter as much as I can, the tournament starts at 17:00 (02:00 CEST) so most of you are probably sleeping but who knows? If you don’t have twitter you can read the updates on this website at the twitter column at the right. I’m not sure when I’ll write my next blog, that really depends on the outcome of the coming 3 days. I’m flying home on Saturday and I’m back in the Netherlands on Sunday so if I don’t write a blog before that I’ll probably do it somewhere next week.

 Posted by at 8:38 am
Jun 112011

I really want to try to blog as often as possible but on the other side there are so many things to do over here and after all, I’m on vacation so I think once every 3 days is more than fine 🙂 Let’s start by saying that I’m enjoying myself and Rj isn’t complaining either. Most of you probably already know I busted the $3k pretty early yesterday but that didn’t ruin my mood at all. I’ll just start from the beginning, which is of course day 1. I’m doubting between being very detailed about what happened (i.e. I had 78s on a K94 board) or keep it very high level (i.e. I played super but got unlucky). The first might be fun to read for the poker players among the readers but in the end the only hands I want to tell are beats 😉 I always just start typing and see where it goes, I’m even curious myself.

I’ll add some pictures to not only tell but also make it visible what is happening over here. My daily routine in Las Vegas almost always starts with going to the Subway and the next thing is going to the Pool. Rj can’t sit still for very long but I gave him a book (he never read books): ‘The Professor, The Banker and the Suicide King’, the well known story about Andy Beal vs the Corporation. I’m reading a book myself as well: ‘Fooled by randomness’ and it’s really a nice read. I could go on vacation and spent every day at the pool or beach but that’s of course not the reason I went to Las Vegas but it’s an option and just as comfortable (not in July/August when it’s too hot) then doing it in Spain or Greece. Many people don’t see Las Vegas that way, but I see it as the town with the perfect mix of things I love to do.

After I did my daily routine I went over to the Rio. I’ve seen it before but it still looks awesome when you walk into the poker room. There are 2 big rooms and it’s just packed with people.

Now they’ve also changed the stage where the final tables are held. It really looks amazing, unfortunately poker isn’t really a stadium sport so it’s not like there are hundreds of people that go watch the final table of these preliminary events but it’s still a nice view.

At 17:00 the $3.000 Limit Hold’em event started. I walked over to my table and didn’t recognize anybody, that’s normally a good sign but since I’ve hardly played any live tournaments outside the Netherlands so it doesn’t really mean much. More people sat down and they all knew each other. When the table was full there where 7 people who knew each other which can happen of course and isn’t particular special. The funny thing was however that most of these people knew each other because they all played LHE cashgames in California, in other words they were are LHE Poker pro’s. Now I thought LHE was a dying game, since most people play NL, PLO or maybe Mixed games but these players often didn’t even like the other games. I didn’t know this at the start of the day but it was already pretty obvious early on. Nobody limped during the first 4 levels and the first guy who limped, limped KK UTG which made perfect sense at that time. Everybody was so shocked that he limped and tried to isolate him, so he got a lot of value out of his hand that way. I wasn’t sure if I would like playing a LHE Live tournament but I loved it. It plays so much faster than NL and the action goes so fast that there is never a boring moment. In NL people often need 2 minutes pre-flop to decide to play their hand or not which is ridiculous. Sure it makes perfect sense post-flop or when you are 3-betting or 3-betted but in LHE everything goes within split seconds and that’s the way I like it. Everybody played as they looked so the young Asian guys played to loose, the two old men played tight and the loud American tilted every time he got rivered. The people who played too loose where all behind me so unfortunately I couldn’t profit to much of them. I had 2 tight players to my right so that wasn’t really great but I still think I had an edge on this table. Maybe not a big one and others at my table might think the opposite but at least it felt a lot different than the PCA and WSOP ME (NL events) in which I had a pretty unlucky table draw as well and didn’t really feel like I had an edge. Being confident about your play is something you need to play good and if you think you have an edge it helps a lot to feel confident.

I either won small pots at showdown or without showdown and lost all big pots with Kings, set of Aces and a set of Fives. Unfortunate but not really bad beats as my opponents always had valid hands so typically Limit. We played 8 levels with a starting stack of 9.000 and the 8th level we played 300/500 blinds which means betting 500 postflop/flop and 1.000 turn/river. People starting busting pretty fast and I was almost out but run my stack up till 15k to finish the day with a just below average stack. I think I didn’t miss a single spot in which I could have opened or 3-bet and might have cost myself 3 unnecessary bets all early game when the stakes where still low.

Day 2 started at 15:00 and it was clear to everybody that you needed some good hands to advance since we played 600/1.200 (300/600 blinds) which means the shorties can only play hands in which they are almost always showdown bound. I had Patrick Renkers (Shevmouse) behind me and that was the only player I knew at my table. I picked up the blinds with AQ, the next hand I 3-bet and win the pot after my opponent folded the river (so nobody saw my hand) and then find Kings, how good can you start? I 3-bet again and obviously I look really aggressive to the table but unfortunately I lose the minimum on an ace high board. Bleh! My image is set so that means I’ll have to adjust my play a little. I keep getting good hands and 3-bet again with AK a little later and Patrick 4-bets. We see a 234 flop 3-way and it goes check/check/bet/call/call. The turn is a 3 and it goes check/check/bet/call/call again and the river is an A, sweet! The 3th player donkbets, I call and Patrick folds and I obviously lose against fives, we both got screwed. Patrick got 1.800 left and opens a little later and I find ATs to put him all-in. I lose AT vs AK and I’m suddenly down to 4/5k, ouch. I open 3’s, flop a set and get maximum value by check/raising the turn. I win another pot and I’m back at 13k or so. Patrick busts and I keep getting good hands to open. Most people probably were thinking I was playing way to aggressive but I wasn’t really. I open K8 at the button and the small blind 3-bets. The flop comes K high and I decide to play call/call/call. I like my flop/turn call but I definitely should have raised the river. That was probably my only mistake of Day 2 but I ended up losing the pot vs a set of kings so I can’t say I didn’t like my error 🙂 The next hand I get TT, how good can it get? I open, the button (the SB from the previous hand) cold calls and the big blind 3-bets. I 4-bet and we see a 984hh flop. I bet, the button raises the bb folds, I 3-bet and the button 4-bets, wowie. The turn is a 3, it goes check/call and the river a Th. I got less than 2 bets left, I check/raise all-in and expect to win the hand, lucky river! He says straight flush and I say goodbye to the table. I was really happy with my play of both days, especially day 2. I enjoyed every second of the tournament but wasn’t lucky enough to cash or win, that’s poker. I did an interview with Remko (It’s in Dutch and you can find it here) and could only think about playing the $10.000 event next week. I’m really looking forward to it already, especially because since we are deeper you can take a little more beats before you bust.

Rj just busted before me when he hit a queen on the flop and gets it in vs 7’s and loses. We agreed to go to the Naked Fish later on with Remko and Frank (For the non-Dutchies, the Pokernews NL Reporters) and go over to the Palms to watch Thor, one of the newest Marvel Movies. I would highly recommend it to anybody as it was a great movie and Nathalie Portman was again the cutest girl in the world! So, Naked Fish it is…. I read many stories about it but I don’t have many friends who like Sushi so this was my 4th or 5th time I eat Sushi and my first time in Las Vegas. We had a group of 8 people since RJ and I actually tagged along with the diner arrangements Frank and Remko made earlier with Pascal. I knew Pascal from the day I busted the WSOP 2009 Main Event and it was really a coincidence that we met again. Pascal was with his girlfriend and two others guys (Alje and Dirk) which both were in Vegas for the first time. The Sushi mania could start and I asked Remko what I was eating just so I knew that if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t stick it in my mouth the next time. I think we had 9 different rolls and there wasn’t one I didn’t like, I loved most of them but couldn’t tell you anymore which I liked the most. I just tag along with Remko and Frank next time again since they don’t even have to look at the menu anymore to order. Later on Rob, Remco and his girlfriend joined us as well and Remko and Frank had to go back to the Rio to do some work again.

Remco is a big fan of the piano bar in the New York, New York. He only goes there 5 times a week and sings along with every song. That sounded like a great idea to everybody so it was time for some fun. Now the Piano bar isn’t the kind of place where you get a table and do bottled service but I prefer pouring my own drinks over going to the bar every time in a packed place and wait 5 minutes for your drink. The price for a bottle of wodka wasn’t really shocking either and since we ordered a bottle we also got the best seats in the house so it was actually a great deal where normally you could say you need to be a baller (or want to pretend to be a baller) to do this. 2 guys at 2 pianos and the more you pay, the quicker they play your song. Now the place was filled with people who loved country songs, ouch! 1 song is fun, 2 songs is doable but after 5 songs you wish you were dead! In Las Vegas there is nothing money can’t fix and luckily we were not the only ones he wanted some different music. I didn’t request a song the whole evening but the average amount that was given for a song was about $20, not bad for playing a song for 3/4 minutes. Everybody was enjoying themselves, we got a bit tipsy, a bit louder and eventually a bit drunk. Luckily the place closes at 2:00 since I have the nasty habit to always keep drinking and by then I already had enough. Just a diner which turned out to be not only a nice diner but a fun evening out!

Of course this morning I was hungover. Still the routine started with a Subway, RJ needed some jeans so we did some shopping and the rest of the day we chilled at the pool. Lovely! I’m now going to hit the shower, get a big steak and probably play some poker unless somebody comes with a better plan (I know many but I need some money to fund the next trip to Las Vegas!) Wednesday I play the $10.000 LHE, I’ll probably blog again on Monday/Tuesday depending on what goes on during the weekend.

 Posted by at 4:52 am
Jun 082011

It’s Monday the 6th of June and I wake up at 05:15 and know it’s that time again, Vegas baby! My girlfriend brings me to the airport after picking up my best buddy, Robbertjan(RJ). A 15min delay and we only have 2 hours, hmmm let’s just wait and see but that doesn’t look to good. The plane is half empty and we both have 2 seats for ourselves, not bad at all for this 11 hour flight to Houston. The Captain tells us that we will arrive early on schedule despite the 15 minute delay, maybe we are not running that bad after all. Too bad we don’t have the normal 200+ movies to pick from, we probably ended up in one of the older planes of the Continental fleet, instead of watching movies I’m reading a book, now that’s something new!

The landing is pretty bumpy but we arrive early on schedule so it should be no problem to make our connecting flight but first we have to go through customs. You never know how long the row is at customs and this time we have to wait over an hour till we finally can get our fingerprints and photo taken. Luckily there is still plenty of time left and we know for sure we are not going to miss the flight so everything looks good to make it early to Las Vegas! Suddenly it starts raining really hard, the whole runway is flooded and we’ve already boarded the plane and have to wait a bit before we can take off. With a 30min delay we finally take off and Vegas is getting really close now. Monday, the 6th of June at 17:30 we land at McCarran International Airport. We are back, back in Vegas the town we both love so much!

It’s my 9th trip to Las Vegas and I will never forget any one of them. The Bellagio is the hotel we love the most and that’s where we are staying again this year. I won’t say it’s the best hotel there is, it’s a matter of taste but for me the Bellagio has everything I need. The hotel rooms are okay (I’ve seen better), the pool is really relaxed, the casino is just how I like it, buzzing and crowded with people during the evening. Most people don’t like the poker pit since it’s really messy and noisy but I just love it. I’ll have to love it anyways, because it’s the only place in Vegas where they still have decent Limit Hold’em Cashgame action 🙁

After we land I find my bag already going round on the baggage carousel, RJ’s bag is nowhere to be found. We hear his naming getting called by the speaker and unfortunately his bag didn’t make the flight (strange cause mine did). Oh well, they’ll bring it to the Bellagio a couple of hours later, nothing we can do really. We check-in and take a shower, we have diner at Cafe Bellagio and we decide to go over to see the Cosmopolitan and Aria, two of the newest casinos in Las Vegas. We are really just killing time since we try to go to bed as late as possible to beat the jetlag. So far that’s what worked every year and it seems to be working fine this year as well. It’s 21:30 and we are both really tired, time to go to bed. RJ promises not to wake me up before 07:00, yeah right, RJ always wakes up early.

Tuesday, the 7th of June and at after waking up several times already I really can’t sleep any longer at 06:30. RJ is already behind the laptop, watching the stock market as always. Downstairs we pick up his bag, since it didn’t arrive before we went to bed the day before. After putting on some short pants we can go for some breakfast. The closest Subway is a 10min walk to the always lovely O’Sheas Casino. O’Sheas smells like beer 24/7 and has 6 tables of beer pong! Tummies are filled and we go over to the Forum Shops to buy an adapter for my Laptop. It’s 09:00 and I walk thru the front door of the Forum Shops and see 15 girls all dressed up on the escalator waiving to the camera. They have to do it over and over again, they go up and down the escalator and keep waving and smiling to the camera, I didn’t mind of course 😉 Girls in dresses and high heels, I really can’t get enough of it. I do know that’s not nice to say since I have a girlfriend but I just can’t lie about it. Vegas is the best spot on earth to enjoy the view of beautiful women. Too bad for all your readers that I didn’t have my phone with me to take some pictures 🙁

It’s 10:00 and we are back at the Bellagio. It’s pool time! I actually didn’t think we could enjoy the pool this year, since in June it can be really hot already. Vegas still is a city in the middle of the desert so during summer it’s often way too hot to be in the open sun. Luckily at the moment it’s not too hot to enjoy the pool. I get my book and go downstairs, the pool is as lovely as always. We don’t want to stay to long in the sun for the first day, just to be sure not to get sunburned. Every 20 minutes or so I jump into to water to cool my body, I read some and then repeat the same thing till 12:30. Now that’s how I want to start my day, every day!

13:00 and we go downstairs again and hit the poker tables. They’ve changed the buy-in structures since the beginning of this year. They normally offered 8/16, 15/30, 30/60 but nowadays they offer 10/20, 20/40, 40/80. I normally played 15/30 but was already considering playing 30/60 this year so 20/40 it is. We both put our names on the list and we are lucky, a new table will start. We prefer to play on the same table since it’s more fun but also because we can comment on each other’s game (of course not during the session, but after). We always try to sit on opposite sides to minimize the amount of times we are in the same hand but if it happens RJ knows that he always beats me Heads-Up anyway 😉 The second hand that is dealt I get KK, 5 bets (cap) go in pre-flop. On a Kxx board I play my kings pretty fast, 3-betting them. On the Q river I can tell by my opponents face (a she) that she has trips. I of course bet as planned anyway, she raises and I happily 3-bet the nuts, a nice start of the day! I’ve missed the interaction in live games, seeing people’s faces, watching how some people take beats or just chatting to people you don’t know which sometimes turn out to be pretty good conversations.

After winning that hand I lose about every hand I play. To RJ basically the same happens and I think after 1,5/2 hours we are both down about $800-$1.000. The game isn’t that soft actually, plenty of okay/good regulars which you can already notice by the fact that they don’t chop the blinds. Luckily I win some back and we get some fresh blood at the table. I get my groove going and without premiums I manage to flop decent, play aggressive and just crush the table for a couple of hours. I’m already happy that I’m back to break-even but I’m not finished yet. Poker is easy when you are winning but I’m playing some decent poker by isolating the fish and try to go for the easy money. Of course I just always have it when they go to showdown and I’m 2/3 barreling as aggressor with nothing every time they fold. I love variance coming my way and around 17:30 I’m up about $1k. RJ is still doing pretty bad but the table got even worse. We both win some (more) money and at 19:30 I decide to quit for the day. Up $1.350, playing 6,5 hours of live poker without missing a single hand. RJ manages to get back from -$1.600 to break-even, so he is pretty happy with the end result as well.

It was a good idea to play some hands today already, just so we are used to playing live again. It’s something we’ve both always did so it’s nothing new but you have to adjust your game a bit since it just plays different compared to online. The last 3/4 hours I really crushed the table and I had a really good image something that really helps my style of play, I can only hope I do as good tomorrow! We decide to try out Musashi for some great Teppanyaki, the place was pretty empty (which normally isn’t the case) but as we got seated next to two other poker players we had plenty conversation during our diner. It’s now time to go to bed since it’s 01:00 and we are both getting pretty tired. Waking up around 09:00 would be nice but I could always take an afternoon nap if needed. Our tournament starts at 17:00 and we are both really looking forward to it. After reading many people’s tweets I can say I do not feel tired, I do not feel jetlagged, I don’t feel sick and I don’t have a cold. I’ll just have to crush “Mount Variance” the coming 3 days so I can take that bracelet home, no excuses!

 Posted by at 9:13 am