3 games since David Moyes took over and the shoots of recovery were there to see against Man City last week. But we lost and still found ourselves adrift at the wrong end of the table. This game is usually tough, but maybe we could just improve again and realise the potential in the team.
Everyone has mate like this. They are a good friend to you and always say the right things, and help you out at the drop of a hat. But put them in front of the rest of your mates and they just turn into a plank. Saying the wrong things, being inappropriate and basically embarrassing you.
First post of the season and there has been a reason. I wanted to get a tell for the team this year, before I committed anything to record.
We didn’t finish fantastic last year and this year has been more of the same. Two 3 2 losses mask the fact that we were at least 2-0 down in both. A hiding off of Man U can be washed away by the fact they seem to be scoring for fun against everyone.
But in reality we are possibly 2points off where I expected us to be. So not so bad ? Wrong.
OK, So I’ve been wanting to do some course reviews for ages and seem to have the writing bug again so why not. Lets also get one thing straight, I’m not a pro by any stretch. Anything below 110 makes me happy, although with practice I need to be sub 100 80% of the time and as football is starting to take a back seat I need to push on with the sticks and balls.
My latest round was at Bali Hai in Vegas, just off the back of the Mandalay Bay near the Fabulous Las Vegas sign (visible through the trees on the back 9) . Not a usual venue for me but I had an invite from @Onechiquita and @VegasDWP while I was on vacation so time to step up my game. Unfortunately DWP couldn’t make it in the end due to back issues, so myself and Alysia soldiered on.
Prior to the game, we hit the driving range and although very short and netted , there was a pyramid of Callaway balls freely available in each bay to smash down the track, which is a nice touch.
At 7000 yrds its a long one, and I imagine in the heat a killer as it is all open with no shade. Stuffed in between Las Vegas Boulevard and the I15, you would think it’s pretty noisy but I found it very relaxing even with the planes from McCarran passing over regularly. Buggies are essential.
The 1st hole has a long gravel trap to the left for about 200 yrds and I found it easily with my tee shot. Not a great start.
Being in the desert, sand was plentiful, and I found many bunkers, but with a South Pacific theme to the course, I suppose more sand than usual is standard. But with the sand came water and there was plenty of that as well, as I discovered on the back 9 with 2 visits to the pond in front of the green.
The course itself despite being man made has a good undulation and sometime you are firing off into the unknown. It has the feel of a wider links course in places, but without the killer rough.
The clubs supplied were Callaway XR’s which didn’t feel too different to my Callaway Big Berthas. But the hybrids were fantastic and may be a future purchase.
Overall worth the $160 including club hire and buggy. We did try to scam local rates for me but that didn’t quite pan out due to their very on the ball identification policies !
16pts Stableford and 117 says i didn’t play well. With the exception of a few holes I thought I played OK. The course is huge. 3 of the 5 par 3’s are near 200 or over. The others are over water and round other hazards. There are a few +450 yrd par 4’s as well. So all in all I got what my golf deserved.
I’ll give the course 5/5 for location, and 3/5 for the actual course. Its a bit long in places and suits the better player.
I have just returned from my latest trip. Rather than do the usual full blown trip report, saying I went here and won this on craps and blew this on blackjack, I thought I would concentrate more on the poker side of things. So if you are looking for restaurant reviews and pictures of the conservatory in the Bellagio then you are on the wrong place, please feel free to move on. That said breakfast in RiRa at Mandalay Bay was stunning if you enjoy a fry up.
For the record, the week was more or less even, with some decent wins and unfortunately losses. Add in my free rooms and bundles of resort credit and it was an easy week in all reality.
So there were 3 tournaments, and 2 cash sessions.
First cash session was in the Excalibur. It ended up $22, after a couple of hours, so nothing that exciting but there were 2 hands of note.
One was with a guy who wanted to be the table bully. There was 3 spades on the flop (which had been seen by 4 players – 7 dollars in the pot) and I had top pair no spades. He leads out for 5 dollars (?) 2 folds and i call. Another spade on the turn, He puts out another 5. Now he has the flush obviously but I now have 2 pair, which could be interesting if the board pairs on the river. So I call.
The river comes a blank, he puts out another 5. I think about re raising but then decline the offer and fold. He loses it. He asks me very loudly if I would have called if he went all in. I just laugh. This really upsets him, and he asks again with a more raised voice. I tell him that if he hadn’t noticed there were 4 spades on the board and he must be f****ng mad. This seems to to really annoy him, and he huffed and puffed and went on tilt. I took the next hand off of him down the river for about 24 and he was still banging on about the previous hand. Obviously had the ace of spades. But the reaction was just great. He then started spewing chips to everyone (except me, boo), and left promptly. Bye.
Next up was red jacket guy. Some Vegas regulars may have had the pleasure previously. Personally I never had. RJG was a regular, as evidenced by getting a hello from 3 dealers. He was nearly 70 and had a bald head and this bright red suit jacket with matching shoes. He came to the table with pockets full of chips, over the 300 max buy in , but they let him pop them all on the table. Maybe he had been playing earlier, I don’t know, but what I do know was he had been drinking, and drinking hard, and was on my immediate right. Good news, except for the whisky breath.
It was very evident that he was playing every hand. Calling every pre flop raise and wanting to lead each street. Consequently he won a few pots by scaring people off. I’ll be honest i thought he was a bad player and there could be some fun afoot. He also seemed to have a pattern of play I wanted to exploit. I was about 60 down at this point. I had A4 os.
Pre flop there are 3 of us in. Flop is 4 9 2. RJG goes in for 10, other guy folds. I call. Turn is a J. 20 in from RJK I call. River is another 2. He goes in for 50. I call with effectively with bottom pair as anyone with a 2 has a set. He sees my pair of 4’s and mucks. The table just looks at me like I’m mad. Now to be fair this is not a line I would usually take. But what I had noticed was , if he had nothing he would always lead out. If he had a hand he would check and check raise any action. It was an experiment that paid off. No more no less, but I was up. Was it bad play by me? Maybe, but sometimes gut feel is worth following. It all went a little quiet after that and I left.
The next day I played a cash game at the aria. 1-3 buyin 300. I left this session about 50 down but it was quiet as hell but not without a story or 2. There was a guy in who had just moved to Vegas but apparently had never lived in any one place for more than 3 years and I would pitch at 50 +. So you would think plenty of street smarts and awareness….. He seemed a little jumpy and mentioned a couple of times, he had had a bit of day. No one took him up on the lead. Eventually he couldn’t help himself despite no one asking. And then this story. That morning he had parked at the Aria and was walking towards the casino when 2 girls stopped him and asked him if he wanted a drink. So he took them up on the offer (really ?). When they got to the bar they ask him to pay (and he stayed, remember they asked him?). I don’t know how the next bit went down but he ended up back at his car, with them, and they robbed him of his phone and wallet and roll. Shocker. Anyway he managed to alert someone and next thing there are sheriffs ( I imagine actually metro) and Aria security. He got his gear back, and was held for questioning for a bit, but I actually think he thought he was unlucky. This broke out the conversation into several people telling similar stories about friends and one guy about himself (not guilty personally – but I do remember an Aussie getting fully fleeced in his room after being roofied for the lot, passport, cash, everything, one new year). This guy was still convinced it wasn’t that type of thing and he was just unlucky. However his poker “skills” were balancing out his thickness as he was taking down pots left and right with top pair, and made about 800. I was also told by another reg the $500 max buyin 1-3 at the new Wynn room is good, but never made it down there.
Tournament 1 was the 10:30 at the Luxor. We had about 22 entries and top spot was $379. I was pretty quiet until a late entrant turned up. She was local and on staycation with her husband. First hand she laughed at me for taking down a pot with 8 8 in my hand on a board containing J,Q and K. Sort of understandable but she did flog it a bit. Anyway next hand i look down at 8 8. Lol. Flop comes A 10 8. double LOL. Me and her in the pot, she goes in large. I call. Turn is the case 8. LOLLLLLSSSS. She goes in again large, I call. River is 10. Quads against quads will be a pain, but unlikely. she goes all in . If the 10 was in the flop i might have folded (like hell I would). So I ask her if 8 8 is still funny, and I slow roll the cards. She flips out a little, the table have a laugh and the next hand I take her remaining 300 chips (7.5 starting stack). I get to the final table with about the 3rd highest stack , but there is a young middle eastern lad with a bundle of chips. way out in the lead. He had been on my starting table and was over betting and getting there a lot. But he seemed to calm down against me. Anyway early on we got in to hand where I took him to the river with AK, on a board of A, 10, 6, 7, 2. I ended up all in for about 18k. He tanked for ever and asked me if I had the A. I told him I had whatever he thought I had, or maybe not. I also pointed out he had the chips so surely he must be a better player than me. I was trying to induce the call, but fair play to him eventually he laid down. I was chip leader. Touch.
He then went on tilt and a funny thing happened. He was down to his last 2k and got into a hand with a loud know it all local. He was all in in the small blind, and the big blind raised to 10. The other limper got out of the pot, so there was 10k in the pot. The cards were put out and the young guy won. The dealer pushed all the chips and mucked the cards. He pushed to the know it all. The young guy made a fuss rightly and everyone agreed the other guy won, so the dealer make the know it all give 6k to the young guy. He went out a few hands later. Then know it all, waited until he left and called him a dick and all sorts and said he only handed the chips over to keep the peace. I took this up and told him if anyone is being a dick sir its only one person. As you can imagine this went down well. Anyway 2 hands later matey was out as my flush took his top pair down, despite him being all in and telling me I had a flush. You’d think that if you were a know it all and knew all the hands in play, you would play better. Obviously not and we are down to 2. I offered the chip and the other guy wanted to play, so play we did. 3 hands later its my AK against 10 10 and I win. Job done and $379 – 20 tip.
Being a reigning champion of a tournament has responsibilities (lol) so I played the same one the next day. This was a struggle to get going and we needed a shill from the room, but soon we had 15 entries including lates and a top spot of 279. This game was easier for me and I managed to chip along quite nicely. 3 of the late entries were 3 russians, 2 girls and one guy. I had two of them to my immediate left and one to my right. The girl on the right was the only one who spoke good english. This was a bit of problem as they spoke across me several time in Russian. I did gently suggest this was against the rules. Anyway nothing was done but the girl to my left went out. They carried on chatting and then the dealer pulled them up, by now i was past caring as they were not colluding from what I saw and there was only the 3 of us left. The girl had about a blind in chips and lost it to her fella and then there was 2. I asked if he wanted to chop as we were about even. As he had no idea what I was asking i had to ask the girl back to translate. He wanted to play. This was a bit of a pain as we had lots of chips each and if we just go back and forth it could take forever. The 1pm had started and this isn’t great for the room. The dealer on the other tournament caught my eye and gave me a double thumbs up after she saw matey wanted to play on. Anyway, I like heads up and any paint pre flop is an instant raise and he didn’t play back and soon I had 3/4 of the chips in play. Blinds are 2k/4k. He then shoved when I had the “dreaded KK” and we have a 2 time back to back champion !!! It even came with a “well played Ben” from the dealer at the other table! So another 279 – 20 for tips and we move on.
I wanted to parlay this win into something, so i noticed The Bellagio had a 2pm $200 tournie, so i hopped a cab up there and tried to buy in. There were four of us at the desk and couple in seats. There was 5 mins to go and a TD (I assume) came out and said it tournament was to be cancelled. Having just left one that needed a shill and then got more than enough to cover themselves, I was bloody annoyed. not to mention dow a cab fare. Also knowing how lazy most local players are there would have definitely been some late shows. Also I’m sure some in the room would have joined in seeing it being pretty low in numbers. Anyway that was that, whether i agree or not. I will say that no wanted wanted to discuss it, and the customer service was completely the opposite of what I had experienced in the Luxor earlier that day.
On a separate note, i was there earlier in the week and they made me wait 15 minutes to get into a 1-3 game to set up a 2-5 so I left. Don’t think I’ll be back soon.
I got some lunch and reconsulted the schedules. There was a $65 happening at 3 in Harrahs. I made my way across the road a got in. To be fair i wasn’t really feeling it. There were locals who didn’t make you too welcome. I was stuck in the corner against a wall with a TV right over my head and had a girl next door to me who in the first hour went through 4 coffees and 4 waters and was constantly getting up to go to the loo. Because of my position I had to keep moving about. So once i took the opportunity to do the same and by the time I came back she had shoved a drinks stand between our seats as well, giving me even less space. I was happy to get out pre the first break with no hand at all trying to run a bluff if i’m honest.
So that’s the poker info from the last trip. Nothing ground breaking but proof my old online sit and go skillz are still sharp !
If you stuck with this and don’t like poker , here’s the Bellagio Conservatory.
We came into this hoping to extend our much needed unbeaten run to 3 games and possibly secure our premier league status with a win, if other results go the right way. Everton are chasing down Man U for a place in Europe, so we have a game both sides need to win.
First off, I know its been a while. Work and other things have been taking up most of my time and I just haven’t had the opportunity to put fingers to keyboard. Even my twitter posting is down 61% for April (@mrben09) .
Anyway yesterday was a beautiful day, and we welcomed Swansea to Corp HQ. The Swans are usually 3 points for us, but currently we are slipping down the table like a drunk octopus and although Swansea let go a winning position late on Wednesday night, generally Paul Clement seems to have turned the corner for them.