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
4: Richard Brodie
7: Kyle Ray
8: Eric Froehlich
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!
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[…] zal hem op straat niet herkennen. Limit fanboy Richard “Tzen1″ Veenman schreef ooit een blog over een ontmoeting aan tafel met hem, maar de rest van Nederland zal straal langs hem heen lopen. […]
[…] The various poker trips have definitely been a highlight in my poker career. This has been the first year since 2004 in which I haven’t visited Las Vegas and I already booked my trip for next year since I really missed Vegas this year. Vegas is just awesome, the vibe, poker and the parties! I had so many fantastic trips to Vegas and poker is of course one of the reasons to come back every year. I haven’t won big in Vegas although I have tried a couple of times. I already wrote about the WSOP Main Event in 2009 but I came back in 2011 to play the $10.000 Limit WSOP Championship. (Trip Report: http://www.tzen1.com/las-vegas-2011-it-was-a-blast-again/) […]