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eMarkM
05-25-2004, 02:00 PM
This is part one of multi part trip report to Las Vegas in my attempt to qualify for the WSOP.

Day One
I decided to go to Vegas during the WSOP to try and win a seat. I had heard davidross, my good online buddy, was going and so I booked a trip, too. My four day plan was basically this. Try to get into the WSOP main event by playing in the $225 rebuy tourneys and possibly one table satellites. Failing to get into the WSOP I would play in the Saturday $125 NL tournament at the Orleans and the $330 one on Sunday at the Mirage. All other time would be spent playing as much 10/20 and 20/40 HE as possible.

I arrived at the airport on Thursday around 10AM Vegas time and hopped a cab to the Plaza where both David and I were staying downtown. The Plaza, right on Main and Fremont, is an old and rundown hotel. But at around $160 for four nights I wasnít expecting much. Not like I would doing any sleeping on this trip or anything. Since David wasn't going to be in until later in the afternoon, I dropped my bag at the Plaza and headed right for the legendary Binion's to see what was up. Now, a piece of advice about going to the Shoe; you should breathe through your mouth when you go in there. Man, does that place reek. I hear theyíre going to move a lot of the WSOP events to conference rooms at the Rio next year. They certainly could use roomier and more pleasant facilities despite the legend and the history of the Shoe and all. That place is a hole.

It's been several years since I've been to Vegas, and never as a poker player. Last time I went I played blackjack and craps. Those casino games were the furthest from my mind as I walked over to Binion's. Back then I would only bring perhaps $1000 as I was really a small time player and never wanted to bleed too much to the casinos in games I knew I couldnít win in the long run. But for this trip I packed $5000 for tourney buy-ins and as a roll for 20/40. Needless to say, I was quite nervous to carry this amount of cash around with me especially since the cheap-ass hotel didnít provide a room safe. But let me give a recommendation for those visiting Vegas that assuaged my apprehension: bring a money belt. I put most of my credit cards and the majority of my cash in the belt worn on the inside of my pants. I would keep around $500 or so in my wallet for a given buy-in to a game. I never had to worry about getting picked or otherwise losing it at all.

Ten minutes upon walking into Binionís and Iím directed to $50 1-table tourneys to gain entry into the $225 rebuy tourney that I was planning on playing that night anyway. Hey, letís get right in and start playing! You get T200 staring chips, blinds start at 10/15 and increase every ten minutes with top 2 players getting the buyin. Ah, crapshoot tournament play at itís finest. Get a good hand and move-in. I was naturally pretty tight, lost some cash on a blind steal and flop bet when I had missed and my opponent moved in on me. Later I was forced to go all-in on a short stack and lost a coin flip and busted early. I played in another one a little later, flopped a set of sevens and doubled up when a top pair paid me off with his stack. After that I stole a couple blinds, but basically watched as one player built a monster stack early and proceeded to knock out every other player at the table, mostly on huge suckouts. I simply stayed out of this guyís way and took 2nd when down to three and he rivered a straight against a stack that had me covered. I played 3 hands total to get the seat, the set hand and two steals.

The $50 tourney director pointed me upstairs where I needed to register in order to play in the $225. So I waited in a line, signed away all my rights and got my badge. Then I wandered into the main room. There was the ESPN TV table with all its cameras and lights around it and in the rest of the room were two other events. The A5 lowball draw about midway through and the PLO 5K rebuy event down to the final two tables. I saw Jesus, Scotty Nguyen, Paul Phillips and a bunch of other faces I recognized playing the A5 event. I wandered off to watch a little of the final two tables of the PLO event and walk up to the rail and thereís Chris Moneymaker sitting at a table with Daniel Negreanu and a couple of other players I recognized. I also was standing next to and chatted with Chris' proud Papa who I recognized from his kibitzing on last yearís WSOP broadcast. The one hand I saw him involved in was when he called down a player with middle set QQ and was beat by top set KK. Later I found out that he finished 10th, just missing the final table. I think this placing and the 2nd place finish at the Shooting Stars tourney should show this guy can actually play cards and isnít a fluke flash in the pan.

Well, as cool as the WSOP was to see all these famous players, I didnít come here to watch poker, I came to play. The lists at the Shoe were ridiculous so I headed across the street to the newly opened room at the Golden Nugget. Now, this was a nice room. Despite being hastily put together in time for the WSOP under a tent next to the pool, it was a real nice facility. It didnít take me long to see in the corner the high roller table. It was just your average $4000/8000 game with Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan. A couple others I didnít recognize, but at least one of them was undoubtly ďThe WhaleĒ they were currently decimating. I played in 1-table cash satellite for $125 where the winner gets +$1000. I got busted when I limped on the button after other limpers with A5 and the flop came A45. The guy who limped ahead of me had 32 and flopped a straight. Hey, at least he was suited.

So now was about the time David should be arriving in town and after a couple of attempts to reach his cell phone I finally arranged to meet him in the lobby of the Plaza (he was also staying there). Let me just say one thing about Vegas and cell phones. This invention seems to have been made for this town. I would say at any given time one of five people you would see was talking on a cell phone. David and I would have had an awfully difficult time coordinating things and figuring out where each other was and when and where to meet if we couldnít be in touch by cell at all times. So after a couple of years of playing together online, chatting and corresponding through email and PMs I finally get to meet the man, the legend that is David Ross in the flesh. Tall and pretty thin with the white Team Canada cap he told me to look for when meeting, David has a voice that would be really good for radio if it werenít for the way he talked funny (ďhe had 6 oots on the turn, ehĒ). We finally got to shake hands and set out upon our four day journey into Vegas and the WSOP.

I hung with David while he registered for the WSOP and eventually we got out of that line to get into another line for registration for the evening $225 satellite. I recognized a couple of other WPT final tablers also registering behind us. That evening we played in the tourney which had $200 rebuys. I consistently got my money in with the best hand, but kept getting outdrawn. KQ down in flames to T4 when middle pair called my top pair all-in and turned a 4. My AK was outdrawn by QJ. I ended up rebuying once and doing the add-on. I was finally moved and as luck would have it I was moved in the seat right next to David just as the rebuy period was over. David had a decent stack having had his AA get paid off. But I wasnít there long as I pushed my stack in with AK and QT out drawed me. Oh well, there was always another satellite tomorrow.

David busted shortly after that and we headed over to the Nugget and got seats pretty quickly at a 10/20 table where I would attempt to recover the tourney buy-ins I just lost. It was a nice table with an international flavor as we had a lot of players flying in from all over the world to compete in the World Series. For the most part the table played soft and I had a very good night of winning 20 big bets as we played until sunrise. I wandered off to my room to get a few hours sleep. Tomorrow would be a big day as it was Super Satellite Friday the day before the big one. I'd get a couple more chances to qualify to the Big Dance.

Next: The absolute insanity of Super Satellite Friday.

scotnt73
05-25-2004, 03:16 PM
very cool. entertaining read! keep them coming.

DougBrennan
05-25-2004, 03:58 PM
Like your others have been, eMark, a very nice trip report. I look forward to reading the rest of your excellent adventure.

For some reason I am a big fan of all trip reports. Might have something to do with residing in a very rural area, a couple of hundred miles from any real cardrooms.

Doug

davidross
05-25-2004, 05:47 PM
Nice report, I almost feel like I was there myself.

Just for clarification, I'm not tall (5'10 on a good day), I need to lose 20 pounds, and I'm so glad you said I had a voice for radio, and not a face for radio.

I hope to have my report by tomorrow.

Pencil me in for next year!!

unome
05-25-2004, 06:44 PM
I was at staying at the Nugget a few weeks back and sure enough, in the back right corner, there's the 4000/8000 game with Ivey, Doyle and Co. (My friend is good friends with Ivey... /images/graemlins/cool.gif Knowing first hand what that guy is about is funny.)

Sounds like you guys had a blast up to this point.