Saturday, June 09, 2007


Warning: Ludicrously long post ahead. I will try to not bore you to tears but no guarantees.

Las Vegas by its very nature is overwhelming to the senses. Everything, and I mean everything is over the top. The architecture, the atmosphere, the hookers, the partiers, the food…

My trip was uneventful. I arrived at my hotel, upgraded my room, dropped my stuff off and headed to Ceasar’s to meet up with Chicago Mike, aka Schoon, aka THE MAN WHO LIMPED UNDER THE WITH AA WHEN I HAD KK IN THE BB AND FOUND MYSELF PRICED INTO A CALL OF HIS ALL IN – but I digress.

Imagine Laurel and Hardy wandering around the 3 fountains near Ceasar’s guest arrival area with cells phones trying to find one another.

Schoon: Where are you?

Zooks: I’m right out front looking at the fountain.

Schoon: Me, too.

Zooks: I don’t see you.

Schoon: You are right out front of registration, right.

Zooks: Yeah. I see this huge fountain with horses and naked people.

It continues in this vein for 2-3 calls and gets downright silly but we did manage to find one another without having to resort to GPS.

A quick stop inside Caesar’s to get my player’s card – I wanted to avoid any possible lines at the Rio after all that I have read on the intertubes.

We arrive at the Rio and walk the equivalent to the Trail of Tears to arrive in the WSOP area. We casually glanced at the merchandise and then we walked through the doors in the Amazon room.

Nanoseconds later I asked Schoon, “HOMYGAWD, is that Mark Vos?!?!?”

*I apologize for the craptastic photos and yet more photos. The lighting in the Amazon room is subdued and only non-flash photography is allowed.

Schoon replied, “Yeah, and there’s Barry Greenstein right over there!” Barry, of course, had two copies of his book under his chair.

We were like the worst red carpet stargazers ever. As we wondered around we saw in no particular order: Chris Ferguson, David “Devilfish” Ulliot, Shawn Sheikan - who was waiting to be called as an alternate for the 6 handed event, Gavin Griffin, Robert Williamson III registering for an event, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Helmuth and Scott Fischman playing day two of an event. All of these people and surely a few more than I can’t recall at this moment in were in the main room.

We did see one hand that BG played. BG raised gets one caller. Flop Qxx. Barry check raises the guy and the guy pushes, BG folds, pusher shows his AA.

We then went to visit the kiddie room or what is being referred to as “the fashion day tent’ housing the overflow tables. We had to ask where it was as Schoon had registered for his event and was assigned to table 83 which was no where to be found among the sea of tables in the Amazon room; we suspected that it was located in the tent. Sure enough it was. Luckily the weather was delightful and it was pleasant in the tent. However, the weather is going to get hotter the next few days.

We did see some notable players out in the tent: Andy Bloch, Cliff Josephy aka JohnnyBax, Paul Wolfe, Layne Flack, and last - perhaps least – the woman at the WPT Ladies event that chanted to herself “It’s my destiny” at the final table during the show. She must have gone out shortly after I saw her because she wasn’t there on our way out.

The reason I noticed Layne Flack was not because he was Layne Flack – as a matter of fact it was Schoon who made the identification - but because he had on this suhwheat pink Full Tilt hat that I covet. Yes, I realize that I could order one from the store but as I told Schoon, “I WANT THE ONE THAT WAS ON HIS HEAD, DAMNIT!” A girl can dream can’t she?

I asked just about anyone that looked official about the poker peek cards but so far no success. Pretty much nobody knew anything about what was going to happen with them. We visited the merchandise stores, where we did find the basic version of the poker peek cards – nty – and all manner of clothing and hats. They have some nice sweatshirt & t-shirt and t-shirt & hat combos that will I will have a tough time choosing between but rest assured I will come home with something.

Around 2:00pm they started the ESPN final table of the $1000 rebuy event. The only players we had heard of were Shane Shleger (he was short stacked), Amir Vahedi (he was the chip leader at the start) and Michael Grazc (2nd in chips). We hung around up there watching that for a while and saw even more notables: Annie Duke getting her picture taken at the non-stadium final table, Jeff Madsen (my main horse in the CCN Fantasy Pool!) strolling around with a birthday balloon tied to his shorts that were barely hanging on to his hips while he huggled his girlfriend – some Real World white trash bimbo named Trishelle(?), Kristy Gazes sat to watch and cheer for Grazc, Todd Arnold (NSXT2),

Zerb finally made it to the hotel and met up with Mr. & Mrs. Sly who had agreed to meet up with Schoon and I at the Rio. After some shuttle bus confusion they decided to take a taxi to the Rio. It was no surprise that I was starving since I had nothing but a breakfast bar and a Starbuck’s Frappuccino and it was now 4:00 local time.

I gave them no choice, we had to eat at the American Grill. The first time I ate there was in February 2005 – we stayed at the Rio for my brother’s wedding – I was shocked to see the $12 steak salad on the menu – WHERE WAS ALL THE CHEAP FOOD I KEPT HEARING ABOUT? - I ordered it anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to get a WHOLE NY STRIP STEAK with my salad. Now it had become a bargain. The steak was cooked to perfection. We have already scheduled another lunch there so others can enjoy this amazing meal.

So about now you are probably asking yourself, “DID THESE PEOPLE PLAY ANY POKER, DOH?”


We agreed to go to the Caesar’s Poker Room. Khanwoman and I made it there about 8:00. I sat at a 3/6 limit table while Khanwoman snagged some dinner. It does without saying that live poker is so different from online poker but this time I was more prepared. I finally had some live play experience and I wasn’t nervous. I bought in for 200 since all I had was $100 bills and I really wanted to buyin for more than 18 BB but it seemed like overkill when most people bought in for $100 or even $40 or $60.

My table started off shorthanded but filled pretty quickly. A few hands in I picked up JJ and raised it up. I got two callers one of which was this young guy. Flop was all unders with two clubs. He check called. Turn a blank, again he check called. River was a club and I was pretty sure he had me when he led out but I wanted to see his hand for future reference. Sure enough he had Q3c. Sigh.

A few hands later I get JJ again and raise it up. Flop QJT, oh joy. I bet, raise, I call. Turn a blank check, bet, call. River check check. I show the set of Js and he folds.

By far the weirdest live hand I have ever played was from the BB. Limped pot. Ragged flop. Turn gives me an OESD so I bet it and get one caller. River pairs the board and I check and this guy MUCKS THE POT TO ME. Can you believe it!?!? I couldn’t either. I guess he just didn’t want to show his cards.

We left Caesar’s for the IP poker room since we were getting tired and wanted to be closer to our room. We had an entertaining dealer but he kept pitching me the crappiest cards. I finally gave him a hard time when he dealt me 23d UTG. He looked at my cards and bet me that they would be the winning hand. I threw two chips at him and said double or nothing. Flop comes out JT3 all black. We see a black turn card and the hand is over. He gives me a hard time and I said, “There’s no way bottom pair was good there.” So he tosses me his $1 chip.

The next UTG hand he dealt me was 24c. Again I give him a hard time – he was very friendly and we were just yanking each other’s chains. We made the same bet again. This time the flop comes K35 rainbow. We don’t see a turn but he rabbits after telling me I had outs and he said I would have gotten there but returns me bet since we didn’t see the turn.

After losing most of my winnings from Caesar’s at IP it was bed time. Any day that I come out on top is a good day in my book. Now I have two days worth of buyins that I can play with.

Day 2

Khanwoman and I both woke up early, about 6:15 local time. We decided to go ahead and get up, eat, and then try to take a nap before meeting everybody at noon to head over to Binion’s. Several people we going to play the $250 HORSE event there.

After enjoying a nice relaxed meal with Amish and ELM from Atlanta it’s time for a nap. While closing the drape to the sliding door Khan noticed this sign. He he he. Only in Vegas.

Apparently somebody didn't have that same sign on their sliding door because Lynx and I both here what sounded like the making of a porno movie going on either on a balcony or in the pool area at around 9:00pm tonight.

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