Poker Sessions in Vegas April 2017

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.

Proper Breakfast

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.




Vegas October 2015

Things have been pretty busy, so this is late, and forms part one of a 3 part travelogue, covering Vegas, Barcelona, and Versailles. Here we go.
On Saturday we travelled via Seattle, and enjoyed 2 on time flights and actually got to Vegas 30 mins early, which was nice as we were meeting my Brother In Law, who had come down from Canada for the week, for his first trip.

Quick dash to the rental lot to pick up my Dodge Charger (nice win) and we checked in, at what is now becoming our second home. Excalibur.

The Ride and Driver

Continue reading “Vegas October 2015”

Vegas June 2015 – pt 1

I have decided to split this TR up as there was some actual poker playing taking place, so i’ll come to that in pt 2. This is more the regular trip report with some photos and tips thrown in.

Day 1: We arrive via a direct VIrgin flight kindly covered by my Virgin Miles, which is always good. We also scored some Premium upgrades, so quite relaxed on landing. The easiest immigration run ever, gets us in the terminal in record time, and then 30 mins to wait for our bags.

We then headed off to pick up our car. I had ordered a focus, but for $96 got an upgrade to a Grand Cherokee. Seemed churlish not to take it , especially as the Focus became a Yaris on further discussion !

Quick checkin at the Excal, and we retire to the room ,and then head out for a gamble. Pretty average, but the Dos Equis are flowing, and life is good. We retire for an early night, and hopefully try and avoid the jet lag.

Day2: Awake at 5am ! what’s a man to do prior to going out shopping. Craps at 6am can be a lonely experience, so sacked it off in favour of some sorting of the Sat Nav for our various destinations for the week. Breakfast was taken at Mr Mamas (last seen here) . We had a bit of an experience which was a little unfortunate, but resulted in a free meal. I wont go into details, as they don’t deserve it. Hit the outlets for what was for us quite a quick shop, and we are back at the hotel for lunch  MrsMrBen had some friends coming into town, so I managed to get across to the MGM to play some pokers with @lightning36 and @robvegaspoker . +$17 later I headed back for some more gambols back at the Excal.

Day 3,  We start the day at IHop and a lazy morning. From there, I played in the TI 2pm poker tournament with lightning and although I lasted longer and made the final table, i ended up with zip payout. Shame. On the way back I went to our room, but no one was about. We were on the 27th floor, so i called the lift. The lift doors opened and I was greeted by a bemused couple and a slightly rotund, drunk ,tattooed Aussie girl, sitting on the floor, shouting out me, “You must be a VIP, the lift didn’t stop at our f***king floor” Well, thank you maam. Anyway the couple get out, and its me and Jabba. She is still shouting at me, and then gets up to leave when we do reach her floor. Her last words are “Are you Australian ?”. Now i am used to, although confused to being asked this by Americans, but you are an Aussie love. Really ? That night was pretty quiet, with a few quid changing hands between some table games.

Day 4 Today was take a drive day via Jamms for Breakfast, home of the pot o bread apparently, of which I had the banana and nutella version, which was very nice thanks. And we then headed out to the Red Rock Casino. Which if it was closer to the strip would be a firm favourite. The pool alone is worth it. We have a free night available there and will take it up on our next visit. Post a quick stop at Trader Joes (for peanut butter !) we head back via dropping off some fine English corn snacks and real Kit Kats to the lovely @LVA_Tweet  That afternoon I found a slot machine that liked me. Approximately 40 minutes on max credits did my comps with MGM no harm and netted me about $170. The evening was a grown up affair. We went to a show (for free). Namely LOVE at the Mirage, a Beatles homage delivered by Cirque Du Soleil. Fantastic is all I can say. If you like your Beatles post 68 and colourful, this is for you. Not a bad seat in the house either. Post the show, MrsMrben was v.tired so hit the hay. I stayed up and played Drunken Black Jack with p3 which was funny, for me at least !!

Day 5 was Saturday and saw breakfast at Claim Jumper at Town Square. Good but not worthy of a Steak and Eggs challenge. No macbooks in the Apple store, so no good for me. I played in the 11am poker tournament at the MGM, and made it just past the break. boooo.Had a very good gamboool in the afternoon (about bloody time). The evening was back at base post dinner at Rice and Co, and late on while I was winning hard on the craps table, a less wobbly P3 appeared and another night of BlackJacks commenced, while MrsMrBen was out on a ladies night out, with another profit for yours truly. We are back on track.

Day 6 Breakfast at the buffet at the Aria. Always nice. But as it was comped I had to produce ID. No driving licence. What!!!. Anyone who has been to the states knows you need this all the time, if not more. Its always ID this, and ID that. Panic sets it as i munch through my brekkie. Where did I last use it. Town Square. So we head off back to mall and draw a blank. Bugger. We then try Rice and Co. They are closed but tell us that all lost stuff is handed onto Casino Security. We go down to the floor, and eventually I strike gold and am reunited with my new best friend from the DVLA. That afternoon we head off to Primm for a nose around. Don’t bother is the best review you will ever get for this place. Dead, dead, dead. But we did go on the rollercoaster at Buffalo Bills. On the way home we went to the SLS and sampled the fayre at the Northside Cafe . Great grub and a great price. PRO TIP. Every Sunday, one of the restaurants in the SLS is half price for players card holders (free). We were lucky, but will phone ahead next time !.

Day 7 Lost most of winnings in the morning, so rested up for the afternoon. Early even we took in some fine Filipino fast food at Chow King in Seafood City. From there we went our for a strip cocktail wander. First stop Double Barrel in the Monte Carlo, then onto the Aria. Things started to get a little messy, as the old fashioneds kept coming and fun was had. We then met up with a group of bods from BMW Canada, who plied us with more beer. Also met one of the senior guys from this set up who is a scouser. Odd !.

Day 8 was a comped breakfast at the Bellagio buffet, which was quality as usual, but customer service was a little lacking. Not in numbers, we had a guy in our area, but he thought chatting up the two girls on their own was way more preferable than doing his job. For the whole time we were there. Back to the MGM and the poker tables with P3 for what will become the famous Aces folded session (more next time). We had more friends come in that evening so we had another adult night with more cocktails in the Aria and dinner at Julien Serranos. After dinner, I hit the Vegas wall. Hard. More than Hard. I went straight home and bed, pre 10pm. Hard.

Our last day was quite relaxed, with some more poker (solo) in the Excalibur and a decent profit, and then back into the comfy premium seats for the 10 hr flight home. Only one slight issue , was the call over the plane intercom of “Is there a doctor on board?” Luckily there was , and even luckier it wasn’t for the pilot. One of the Flight Attendants had taken a turn and was out cold in the galley. As we didn’t land in the States and ploughed on to Gatwick I’ll assume alls well, that ends well.

Enjoy the photos…

Cashing the Aria 1pm

Warning: This post is pure poker. If you are looking for West Ham , Travel stuff and or photos, please click the links at the top of the page.

During our recent trips to Vegas , I have one day to play the Aria free from the distractions that being a tourist (am I still a tourist ?) brings. This means A) Have a good breakfast, B) No Drinking, C) Get your game head on.

This was my 4th attempt at this tournament, and was one that I had not cashed at yet. This is not too much of a surprise, as it normally has 130+ runners and is of a decent standard (146 this day), and if I’m honest is a bit of a step up from what I’m used to. And I don’t play many tournies these days, or much poker to be honest.

So bearing in mind points B and C (post A) I drove down to the Aria and was ready, with ticket for 12.45. Table 2 was my starting place, and was a nice spot out of the way on the upper level, in seat 1.

This did actually prove to be a bit of a pain as due to comfy seats, you tend to relax a bit and not being over endowed in the height department, I found I couldn’t really see if seats 9 and 10 (8 and 9?) had acted. This appeared to annoy my first dealer, and so I asked him if the players down the other end could push their cards out a bit and we could move on. On the 3rd request the players got the idea and life was great.

Because of the decent blind structure, you can ease into this game and bide your time. What became apparent was that the 3 guys to my left were regulars, and one of the 3, 3 bet me with nearly every raise I did. OK fine, we lock down and wait for premium hands. There was a guy at seat 6 or 7, who seem to go in with weird hands and sucked out a couple of times and then took a bit of a beating to get back to his opening stack. I had him targeted as someone I could win off of as he didn’t seem to like laying down. So I had chipped up to about 14k after a couple of small wins and looked down at QQ. This guy had raised the 50/100 blinds to about 500 and my 3 amigos had already folded and I was on the button. Nice. I reraised to about 2100. He insta went all in for about 6 k. I called and he turned over j9 unsuited. Thanks. The board blanked both of us and I am at 20k and change. This and the fact I wasn’t playing many hands got me a tight image, and I had 22k at the first break with an average of 12.

Post the break we got 2 ladies at our table. one was OK, and the other was noisy as hell. She had some interior design business in SF, and found out that one of the guys worked for google in SF ,and was just bugging him for leads and work. Then she started talking about cars. She had a BMW Mini. As does my wife. This was a fatal mistake for me to mention as she then went on this chatter about how rare they were. Really? I can look out of my front door and see 3 (not all ours !). And I’ve seen enough in the US to know they are not “that” rare. If she said she had a Hillman Hunter fair enough. Anyway as well as talking she liked to be involved in every hand and that suited me. She was also talking about meeting someone, so I smelled someone who wanted out. AK was enough when she pushed all in preflop, without really taking too much notice of her cards. She had AQ, and I win the race to go to 43k. Another interesting character joins the fray. A (I think) young Mexican guy (YMG), who when faced with a diamond diamond flop and a bet from his opponent, just grabbed a pile of chips and put out a crazy raise (about 12k into a 3k pot). He then said while collecting his chips “I never like someone trying to hit their flush, so I have to block”.  I manage to chip up to the second break to about 53k with the tournament average being 19k. This was after knocking out a short stack with 10 10 to their AJ os. I got a 10, they got one jack. Better than the day before where my 3 10’s got unlocked by a straight !

Anyway, we then move table for the next session , and I end up again with our new friend YMG. I get a hand, suited connectors 9 10d, but I have a pile of chips, so I put out a min raise in a late position. He calls, and 2 of us see the flop. I have him covered about 2/1. The board whiffs massive for me, but there are 2 clubs out there and an Ace and a 10. So I have a mid pair, but there is a potential for a flush draw (if I had clubs). YMG checks, I put out a 3/4 pot bet. He instantly pops about 22k in 500’s on the table. That’s about pot *5. I have nearly 50k behind to his now 14k. Remembering his earlier statement I shove. This puts him over the edge. He starts figeting  and telling me i don’t have a hand yet. Normally I adopt a completely neutral stance in this position, but just to get at him even more, I just stare at him with a huge smile on my face. After about 40 secs he bought my “I Have Aces, not a flush” look, and folded. He was gutted as hell, and I have 63k. Things are going well. YMG in a fit of pique went all in with crap and left the table shortly after. Who would do that? Push all your chips in with rubbish? Madness ! Hehe.

After all this good luck comes bad, and I got a little carried away, called a 5k opener with Jacks, and then 3 bet him 15 K over his 5k cbet post flop. He then went all in. The board was high and I had to fold. Silly boy but I made uncharted territory and the 3rd break with 30k. There were at this point 30 people left and the money began at 15. Time to work.

Basically, working meant making some serious all-ins after another table change. They didn’t know me, and I have a small stack, but not small enough to make rash calls against. Chip , chip chip up to about 40k. Another table change, another shove this time AJ into KQ. Hit the A to go to 83k. Happy Mrben. Its time to float to the cash. But the blinds are 2/4k with 500 Antes . There are over 1m chips in play, so I am actually below average. Not floating available ! It doesn’t take long to be at 58k but there are only 19 people left. A couple of very small stacks leave and we get to the bubble.

Now I have an admission to make here. Everybody was asked if they wanted to donate $10 to the bubble fund. I have no issues with this at all, but the question was “Does anyone have an issue with donating 10 bucks to the bubble fund ?” So I, correctly said No. Someone on the other table heard me say no and started a commotion to his dealer (I pieced this all together later). This meant no bubble payment. Our table complained a bit and eventually, they got out the vote cards. We got 8 yes’s as did the other table and off we go. But I’m sure I created that mess. Apologies !

Anyway I get moved again and make break 4 with about 26 k. I now have a cowboy to my right who has bundles of chips (5k chips ? Not on my stack sir) and the blinds are 3k/6k/500. I manage to bluff (literally) my way along until the min cashes have gone. There are 12 left and the next payment is 240 odd. not quite what I expected for being in this long but better than a poke with a sharp stick. I have to move again and we are at 4k 8k 1k and I have about 30k in chips. This table has the world and his dog of big stacks, so its go hard or go home. I went home about 5 minutes later when my K9 all in gets beat by 99. Boooooo.

So that took about 7 hours, to not even double my money. I believe someone else has a better Aria story from a couple of days later, but we are to to see it Rob

So once I got over the initial disappointment of my ROI, I actually realised that I can read people reasonably well, and can play real poker (again) and will be back for this one later in the year.

If only I folded.
If only I folded.


Vegas NYE 2015 Trip

Work commitments mean this one is a little late, but is a 3 parter. This part will cover the main trip, the other two will cover my day at the Aria tournament and the final part will be a small write up of the SLS vs the Sahara.

Flights over on Xmas day were very agreeable as BA gave us a free upgrade to business, which is always a good start to any trip. Changing at Chicago was not quite as painful as we expected and AA delivered us to Vegas early evening. We went to pick up our car and I then understood why car hire prices had gone through the roof. The car park was practically empty. Vegas was going to be busy this year. But it was cold, and for Vegas I mean cold…..

Continue reading “Vegas NYE 2015 Trip”

Back to Vegas – The poker tour.

Due to having some more time on my hands, I managed to organise a solo tour back to Vegas, to see if I could still play poker. I used to play online a lot, but that has died off over the years, and in order to play sometimes you need long sessions, which is not fair if you are travelling with someone else. So off I went last week.

Warning: This is full of poker content so maybe not for everyone. Feel free to move on.

Day 1 Wednesday. Landed from London, after a long old flight, as we had to come on a different approach to vegas to normal. This added about 30 mins to an already 10+ flight. First win of the day was picking up my car. My order for a focus, had turned into a Mustang. Result.

A quick 350 profit a the black tables, funded some shopping for MrsMrBen so i headed of to Caesars to pick up some bits and pieces. This was a fail, as they didn’t have what I (she) wanted .Never mind I got my first taste of In N Out of the way back. I will be back, put it that way. I also dropped in Planet Hollywood to see what they had in place for tournaments, but to be honest I was too tired so I headed back home but managed to book a $215 craps profit pre bedtime.

Day 2: Jet lag ensured i was up early ( I actually went for a run on the strip at 545am !), so while waiting for shops to open I managed to book a 420 profit on a craps table but put 100 back into the casino coffers via the BJ table. Shopping over, I played the 1pm at the Aria. It has been said before by many but this is the best run tournament in town bar none. I lasted out with average chips post the second break (my longest in this tournament). I then got a quick double with my AQ turning a full house against KK (in which he had hit a straight). AQ was going to become an important hand for me during the week. Anyway, soon after, I had QQ up against AK, and lost to a A on the river. Grrr. Out in about 30th (about 130 runners). Not bad but no money. For reference, the five 50 slice counter is very handy for the poker room during a break.

The rest of the day was spent throwing money away playing craps.

Day 3: This was the day of the weigh in for the Mayweather Molina fight and I fully intended to get over to the MGM. I played the Excalibur 9am crap shoot and bombed bady. I was over in the MGM in time for weigh in but, the Q was about 3 miles long so i sacked it off for the MGM poker room instead. Good move on my part as I made $579 profit (which to be fair covered some bad craps and BJ play earlier in the day). Bought in with 200. First hand was AA which i managed to knock out to a 70 buck profit. Great start. Later on I got back to back trips (8’s and 4’s), which took me up to about 460. The 8’s were the biggest of the two wins, and i really hollywooded it out to get the call on the river (huffa and puffs, dont really want to be in this hand looks, etc). This really pissed the other player off, but outside of nasty stares that’s as far as it went. I could of got him all in, as he had the case 8 to also have trips, but i had the better kicker, but to be honest i played the river badly, as i thought he had checked, so i bet 50, which it turned out was out of turn, so he just called rather than pushing which he was going to do. Never mind.

This sums up the luck i got in the session for me. I managed to win a $50 pot with AK, against nothing. The guy was just putting in 10s and 15s with air. Thanks bud. My last hand was a6d. The flop was 68K against 4 players with 15$ each in the pot (75). There was a check around to me and i left it (as someone must have the king). Up pops an A on the turn giving me a nice disguised 2 pair. I reraised a 15$ bet to 45, and got one caller. The river was a 2, and he bet 45. Thanks mate, another 200 in the pot..

Day 4 was back to MGM on fight day to see if the ATM was still open for business. Lucky for me it was. It was quiet for 45 minutes and then this happen. A guy to my right wanted to bet all the time, and was more interested in the boxing and drinking with his mate. My kind of player. Anyway i get dealt K10s, 4 players to the flop ($40). Flop is a6s and 8h. So far so good. I pop 20 UTG, and get 2 callers. The turn give me a lovely 3s for the nut flush. my 25 dollar opener gets re-raised by the gambler to 75. Flat call from me. He pushes his remaining 45 on the blank river. I call, and he has……………………nothing at all. Thx bud, ship it (just over $400).

Next up I get 89c. I open with $7, 3 callers. K83 rainbow flop. I push in a 20 continuation bet, 1 caller. 8 on the turn gives me trips (again).I check he bets 40. I call with a huff (this is standard pattern for 888 !). Blank river. I Hollywood a 35 dollar opener on the river . He buys the huff and pushes 105. I call he mucks. Thanks.

So i cash in $271 up for this session. But on the way to the cash office in the poker room from my table my Oakleys had fallen from my shorts. BOOO. I went back the table, and there was already a guy in my seat that I’m convinced had picked them up, but with no proof I have to move on. Bad beat.

That evening i managed to book another craps profit, which put me back ahead for the trip.

Day 5.

Some wise investment in a Texas Dice slot (!) pay for the Mandalay Bay 10am. This is the first time I’ve played in the room. The room itself is nice, with comfy chairs. There are 18 runners. One local that i can see, and some tourists. Good enough so far. BUT the room is a shambles, We start 2 hands before the other table (the other dealer didn’t even know where to put the button so he asked ours). The blind raises were not announced, so we were up another 3 hands prior to the other table. Anyway, post the break they posted the payout structure. Top 2. What ? When I play online even a 10 hander pays 3 spots. Joke. Especially for a low buy in tourist tournament. First out is the local, which means the dealer can get on with dealing rather than him chatting incessantly to the local about helping him move house the next day. So where did i end up. 3 of course with no bubble deal. My A10 all in beat by an AK from the chip leader. No issues there, he was a nice guy (as were most of the other players). I hope the running of the tournament was a one off, as currently I have no issues with not recommending this room to anyone. Might of had to do with all the dealers wanting on the one playing cash table, which had at least 3 stacks of over 2k (playing 1-2), after a long all night session.
I gamble it up rest if day. Not good. Booked a small win at the end of the day to start last day

Day 6

I play the noon tournament at Caesars, also off the back (mostly) of a slots win. This could of not been anymore different from a professional perspective. The room is nice, although a bit sterile, but the staff are top draw. I was average just before the break (you start with 10k), but 2 consecutive allin ‘s with AK prior to the break got me to 16k. First hand afterwards was qq which i went against an all in on a less than Q rainbow flop, to get up to 38k and the chip lead. I should of then stepped away from any marginal hands then but if i’m honest i felt a bit indestructible. There was a young french guy at the table who was racking up chips with very marginal hands. We were first and second, with about 12 left. I got AQ suited, UTG I raised to 2.5k (blinds were 300-600 i think). French guy goes allin. My thoughts are if i go with him i have a chip lead by miles and will cash. Bearing in mind his previous wins, I call. He has AK unsuited and wins. I go down to hardly any chips, so i leave soon after. Did i do the right thing ? No. Would i do it again? Maybe.

I play the Excalibur 5pm. and last one hour until i go allin with a slight chip lead with AQ, and come up against AK as well. Now the blinds of this structure are so quick, that you have to shove to be able to play after the break. But if nothing else it will make me play better with AQ in the future !

As it was my last night, i hit the craps tables with my new craps buddy, Rob from somewhere America. We book wins in Excal, NY NY (twice) and Monte Carlo which negates our initial losses in the Excal from earlier, which brings me up for the trip including all the shopping and other expenses. So another profitable trips ends.

Home the next day, and I sleep all the way back to London. As its not poker related I have one more food based post, which i will put up tomorrow.


My new TV !
Stack em up. There are actually some $100 bills under that lot.
Captain America drives a 3 wheeler. Who’d of thought !
My ride
Well well well
The new addition at the Excalibur.
Early doors at the pool
Yes. That is all
From stadium filling tours, to the car park lift at Caesars.
Front end of the ride.

Vegas in the Spring Time

The dice of life had rolled and I (we) had some spare time on our hands, so we took ourselves off for an unscheduled trip to Vegas (not a lot of poker content, some near the end, sorry Rob !).

Getting a car on landing is the only way to do it now, makes life so easy. So I picked up my MKZ from the airport and we were on our way. By the way, for speed and ease, Avis > Hertz (based on sample of 2 !).

We were in our nice hosted room in no time and were straight back out for dinner. The venue was to be Max’s Filipino Food on Flamingo. Max’s. Fastish food, but the crispy Pata ? Well, we will be back, put it that way.

A couple of decent table wins and our beds were calling.

Day 2 started with breakfast at the world famous Peppermill. Make sure you have a large appetite before you go, you will need it. Yes its tacky and neon, with multi coloured sugar in the dispensers, but the food is just………..mmmmm. So a big breakfast needs a big walk, so it was off to the outlets for a stroll and shop. I managed to get back in time to catch West Ham Sunderland in the MGM sports book. Learned that a dollar tip doesn’t get you too far for a beer in here!  SO 8 dollars down but 3 points up it was back home for a gamble up. Another decent night at the tables gave me 5 straights wins at my table visits. The weekend was going well, roll on the week. That night we ate at Rice and Co in the Luxor. This place for sushi, etc is well underrated.  BUT, don’t sit at the back, the aircon will kill you. But they will prepare Cali Maki’s if asked (not on the menu) and have a foursquare special to take a little off the bill (always useful in this town !).

Then the crash happened at the tables but was controlled and I was still ahead !!

Thanks to myvegas the next days breakfast at the Mandalay Bay was free, and another large feed at the buffet We took a drive around town, bought some sneakers in Caesars and then took off to the Town Square Shops. This place is more locals based than tourists and to be fair, wasn’t really for me. Until i found the cheapest A&F in Vegas. This place was a revelation, and will be on this list now for many visits in the future (car allowing !). That afternoon, i smashed the craps table for a few hundred so was good to go for the evenings festivities in KGB Burger in Harrahs. Another freebie thanks to MrsBen and Total Rewards.

Next day was the ever impressive Aria buffet (free !) and a gamble up on the strip. The gamble up did not work out for either of us, so we scuttled off home early after taking in the Bellagio conservatory. No penguins as spring is in the air, but good all the same. When were in the Bellagio, we saw 2 girls who had, what I can only describe as Arse Implants. This was the first time I have seen this, and I was taken aback (no pun intended – no photos either. I had one but it was blurry, I will see if MrsBen has any).

Thursday was the first day without the car so it was back to me in the pit and MrsBen at the pool. I don’t know who was more surprised, when i met her out at the pool, clutching 900 in chips from a 100 buyin on a Blackjack Table. Anyway, all donations gratefully received.

Buca de Beppo for dinner, courtesy of our pit boss and a few beers in the evening was a good start to our weekend preparations. I say preparations, we actually didn’t do a lot, apart from pool and tables. I hit another heater on the craps table to ensure went went home well in profit, and MrsBen was no slouch on the slots either and made quite a few bob for herself. We had our last evening meal in Camelot Steak House, which was quality as usual (and free !).

We left on sunday, well ahead cash wise of where we were to begin with, and with full bellies ! I also got the see WHU vs Liverpool, but least said the better. Apart for the American Liverpool fan in his Gerrard shirt, who I swear had never seen a game of football (soccer) in his life. The glory hunters have started and they haven’t even won the damn league yet !

SO POKER !………….

I got to play in the 9am crapshoot at the Excal twice and the 10.30 variant at the Luxor once. I could give you tales of bad beats, etc, and you know what, I will.

1. Made the break and went out pushing A9 (the best hand in poker) into 2 random diamonds, who made the flush on a A93 flopped board.In the final table.

2. Luxor, tried a couple of moves, got no hands, and ended pushing a lucky draw to get out early, and succeeded !

3. And this annoyed me. I have made the break, just about to final table but i am low in chips and blinds are coming round fast. I have an M of about 2 (!), so i push Q3 clubs. Not a great hand but I’m in a bind. As my chips were low I get 4 callers. Great. Flop is Q35. Even better. This will put me on the final table and in about 6th place, so something to work with. One guys goes in heavy. Everyone drops out. The guy next to me offers his condolences. I say, with more than rye grin “I might be in here”. I turn over my Q3, and get to see raise guy turn over……………………..33. No Q for me so I’m out. But he was a nice guy who also had a chip and a chair earlier, and had turned it around the be chip leader. So fair play says I.

One strange thing in the last tournament was one guy I will call Texas Pete. This guy was drunk but communicative and seemed to have an understanding of life at this point in time. He re raised a pot early on to about 3K (you start with 4). He had 300 left. Another guy went all in and had him covered. He asked how many chips the guy had left. He asked about 8 times. He ummed, he arred, then folded ? LOL WAT? REALLY? You have taken 1/2 a blind interval, to Fxxxing Fold. REALLLLLLYYYY???

Enjoy the photos (from the phone this time).



Vegas. NYE 2014

Little bit later than expected, but heres the 3rd consecutive NYE report from me in Vegas. First off, it was a lot warmer than last year, which was great. Looking at the states now, looks like we timed it well.

We flew from London in premium with Virgin, which was a great experience thats needs to be repeated. Good service, good food and a bit of space. Arriving in Vegas refreshed we picked up a 2013 Impala which we had for the first 4 days. This made a massive difference in getting about and visiting places we usually wouldn’t of bothered with and saved a fortune in Taxis. First point of note. In and out isn’t open Xmas day (or at leased the one between the strip and the Orleans isn’t !). That night was pretty quite outside a trip to Palms ( not in a rush to get back !)

After another good night kip we hit the sales at the North Outlet Centre where i got all my xmas pressies and Mrs Mrben got some nice goodies as well. The trip back was interesting, as the ramp on to the I15 was shut and we had to take a detour into the bits of vegas people don’t see on the Travel channel. Driving down streets where everyone is sitting on the kerb, and the people standing up are nearly all pushing shopping trolleys and you don’t know where you are, sharpens the senses somewhat.

Anyway we popped in to the Hardrock Hotel ( on the way back and it looks good enough to visit again. The layout is good and the music was fantastic, just a shame it was empty. More of a summer venue from what i understand.

The following day, was the big day out, with a trip to the Hoover Dam. First time i’d been there, and it was amazing. We did the full tour, and it was worth every penny. We went 60 stories down(!) in a lift and through some rough hewn tunnels to see the turbine room which is just massive. One of the many intersting things regarding the Dam was the fact it straddles the state line between Arizona and Nevada which also has a one hour time difference, which must be a pain if you live on one side and work on the other, which you can get to in 10 minutes due to the recent addition of the memorial bridge which speeds up the crossing no end for the non tourists. I’ve tried to get the scale of both in the photos but they are just huge, trust me. Having spend all day there we had a quiet night but on the way home visited the Pinball hall of fame. Now this is my type of place. One massive room full of pinball tables and old school arcade games. We spent a great 2 hours and a whole $5 and had a great time. A must do on any gamers Vegas visit. A quick visit my first IHOP for pancakes and we headed off. That evening we visited the Orleans, which had been on my list of off strip casinos to visit for many years. This place is as good as most strip casinos and was very busy as they also (for now) host the Vegas Ice Hockey Team. We also went that evening to another first for me, The Boiling Crab Restaurant. The food was good, but that was not the most memorable part of the journey, if fact the journey itself was. The states and the UK drive on different sides of the road, and that usually isn’t an issue . Unless the sat nav tells you to turn left and see a gap in the reservation of the 8 lane road. And you go for it, and then see the 2 lanes you are in both have arrows on pointing in the opposite direction to my direction of travel. Anyway, death averted as nobody came the other way, and i sped off back to the right side of the road.

Next day we had to give the car back, so we visited one more place, post lunch at the ever impressive Lemongrass, the National Atomic testing museum. As you may know, Nevada played a big role in the development of the Nuclear Arms race and this place covered all the history really well, with real bombs, etc on display.

With the car back at the airport, the gambling and fun began. That evening I had a nice craps run and put $500 back in the kitty. Next day I undertook my one and only Poker session, at the MGM.  met up with Rob who I knew from allvegaspoker and his great blog. This was very appropriate as I got broken twice when holding the dreaded pocket kings. These are a staple of his blog, take a look. Dinner was back in the Aria for Five 50, their new pizza place. Massive pizzas, massive taste, terrible service, 4/5.

We were expecting friends on the Sunday, but due to a no show we headed down the strip to the shops at Caesars. They have the worlds biggest quality watch shop, and how I got out of there without spending all my pension was a miracle.

Monday was a food day, with the buffet at Mandalay Bay for breakfast and Buppo Di Beppo for lunch. Full. Full stop !

Next up was NYE. Nice day in the Casino with a $750 small jackpot from a wheel of Fortune machine. Good start to 2014 ! NYE on the strip was probably our best ever with a great position for the fireworks. Not as busy as usual (335k people on the strip down from 350k!).

Home next day, and a well earned kip on the plane nearly all the way home. For the record, Mrs Mrben came home with a whole 8 bucks less than she went with. All the more for next time. Enjoy the photos !

Las Vegas Sep 2013

This was our first trip to Vegas this year and was long awaited as our first trip away since Easter. As usual we were flying Virgin, and they have reconfigured their planes a little. Due to their ultra expensive pricing for Upper Class, I imagine there has been a downturn in uptake, so they have taken Upper Class out of the top deck and replaced it with Prem Econ and Econ. However the Econ has more space than downstairs which is much appreciated by me !

So we settled down for our 10 hour flight, and it was noticeable we were being flanked by some Weekend Millionaires. This was borne out as the flight went on, as they got pissed, started arguing and if not for some very direct words from a stewardess might of got the flight prematurely landed. That aside, flight was great and we landed on time, and due to our position on the plane, were whisked through security in record time. Bags collected it was off to our usual haunt, The Excalibur, where once again we are graciously looked after by our host. We had a nice hamper of choccies etc in the room as we arrived ,which were just as graciously devoured!

Part of our deal was $100 in freeplay. Between the two of use we spun this around to nearly $200 cash, so good start to the week. Unlike previous trips, night one was a quiet one, and early bed. This is an unusual tactic for us but seem to handle the jet lag, so will be tried again.

Saturday was upon us in the morning. Quick trip to the pool for Mrs mrben09, quick trip to the poker table for me. 77 doesn’t beat jj, so that was me early doors. We retired to Tacos and Tequilas in the Luxor for lunch, and had some great Mexican grub which kept me going for the rest of the day. That afternoon , my wife’s cousin was coming in from Seattle,  so we decided for evening we should go upstrip, as Floyd Mayweather was doing his thing across the road, and it was going to be crazy down our end of the strip. So for the evening we met in Javier’s for cocktails and then went to the Mandarin Oriental Sky bar just outside for some more cocktails. This bar is on the 23rd floor and has floor to ceiling windows covering the whole strip as a view. Post drinks we hit the ever favourite Lemongrass in the Aria for dinner. Fantastic as always and remarkably cheap considering the surroundings. We left just as telecasts for the fight were finishing and the casino floor was packed to the gills. I had already paid for my Poker Tournament the next day so we retreated to the Bellagio and the YellowTail restaurant for a few drinks and a catch up. Suitably refreshed we headed across the road and a bit of a gamble up in Harrahs. We have never spent a lot of time here, but will be doing in the future. It may not match Aria and Bellagio for swank but the staff more than made up for it. Quick waitress service and friendly dealers made for a top night (and winning a few quid always helps). We also took a quick trip through the Quad (previously the Imperial Palace). This is still a work in progress but definitely an improvement on the old dark IP.

Sunday was my day. I have been a member of for some time but due to living some distance away, I’ve never been in any of their sponsored tournaments. Today changed that and I entered into AVP XIX at the Aria Poker room. Post registration and picking up my freebie t-shirt and other goodies I met some people that i have conversed with online for some time. There are photos of me at their facebook page from here, but i wont be linking them. As usual with the Aria the tournie was well run, and I got to the first break without to many dramas. I shared my table with 2 AVP employees, and was quite amused to watch the CTO completely suck out on the Marketing Manager to much abuse and incredulity. The first price for just over 8k, so i needed to get some hands and post break the antes were biting and I needed to make a move. The move turned out to be a disaster. I was dealt 10 10 in mid position. I called a raise, and two of us saw the flop. the flop was 9 jq so i shoved with the chance of a open ended straight. My opponent tabled a jq and won the hand. So out in about 2 hours but a decent time non the less. Before i met the girls (who were in the middle of a  4hr (!)  buffet in the Cosmopolitan, I hit the Blackjack table for a quick $200 win. Although everyone at the table was nice, i noticed they thought i was a little odd. Why was confirmed once I left the table and realised i still had my AVP name badge on while playing. Oops.

We ended up the evening at Harrahs again and won a few quid.

Monday was a 9.00 start at the Excal crap shoot poker tournie with Michael from Australia who i had met the day before at the Aria. He bombed early just before leaving to start his 2 day trip home and I held on, to finished 3rd and triple+  my buy in . Good start to the day. We then did our usual pilgramage ti the North Outlet stores and hit the shops. Some good golf gear was picked up a new suit amongst other things. In a non holiday move we had a Genius appointment with Apple in the Fashion show mall early evening . Using the usual “it’s only up the street” approach we set off on our walk. 1 hr 20 minutes later in 99 deg heat we were at our destination and knackered! But we got a replacement Iphone 5, so all good. Dinner was in ZoozaCrackers in the Wynn. I didn’t have the burger but it look amazing, but the nachos did well enough for me.

Tuesday we cashed in the first of our myvegas (facebook promotion) and had a free brekkie at the MGM buffet. Not as big a selection as I thought the worlds biggest hotel would have, but all good nonetheless. Being in the MGM meant I had to play the 11.00 am tournament at the MGM poker room. The current location for the room is shocking and no wonder takings are down. However the staff are professional as ever. Unlike my poker, I was out quite early, having got no hands or worth, and losing a straight on straight (10 vs J) pushed me passed caring and I shoved until i could leave ! We had a late lunch in our secret hideaway off the strip, Kapit Bahay. This simple Filipino restaurant never fails and once again the beef steak and pancit were tasty as ever. So much so we went Friday as well.

Wednesday was a long day. Lunch was in Buca di Beppo in the Excalibur. The large portions kept us going until the evening, where we used another voucher for a large saving in Plant Dailies in Plant Hollywood. This is just by the escalators up to some other restaurants and the nightclubs. This meant we were delayed by about a million people trying to get photos of Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck who were there promoting their new film Runner Runner. From there we went to see Vegas the Show . This is a variety show charting the history of Vegas as a resort destination from the mobsters up to current day featuring hits from Sinatra, Tom jones, Elvis and Elton John. Well worth the price.

Post show we headed home and hit the tables. We lost a few quid but that was on the cards as we had hardly spend anything in the previous 4 days. Thats when we met Betty, Rita and Biscuit (false names, as you may of guessed). 2 50’s style ladies and one completely normal lad, all hailing from Essex. They were great fun, and we stayed at the roulette table until 6 in the morning. Everyone won and the crack was great. Biscuit could not lose and ended the evening with a $25 drop on the 00. This comes in to great cheers and $875 to Biscuit. During this early morning gambling session we also met Alan from the Hangover (maybe). I say maybe as he hardly said 2 words for the hour or two he was with us but the photos show he could of been.

Thursday was a late start as you could imagine, so we cashed in another myvegas token for the Aria Buffet. Way better than the MGM and definitely one to be done again. This led us the relaxing part of the holiday and we stayed pretty local for the rest of the week. I played the Luxor tournie Friday morning to no avail, but got a few decent runs on the craps tables to get the money flowing back my way for the trip home. We ended our trip on Friday evening in Michael Minas pub 1842 in the MGM for a really nice meal with some local beers. I lodged the Dirty Dog (not nice, had it last trip) in favour of the Anchor Steam from Cali. not bad for a American beer, and a vast improvement on the DD.

Our flight was delayed on Saturday but at least Virgin let me know via text, so fair play. We had a very late checkout from the Excal, so it was like another days holiday, and the craps table was good to me again.

All photos taken by me on this trip were with the Nokia 925, and for a mobile they came out well. The others are from a 4S.