Jambasket in Vegas

Guest post trip report on Las Vegas from TBR member Jason “Jambasket” Burge today, with illustrations by Julie M., who appeared in Zoo episode 8.

Day 1: Travel Day

I started my trip off with a bang. I stopped by MGM Detroit to wire some money to Vegas, and while waiting for the elevator, I crossed paths with my favorite type of person at a casino: The Stupid Gambler. This man begins talking to me and says that he’s returned to the casino on this beautiful Monday morning at 11am to get back the money his daughter lost last night. As it turns out, he and his daughter were playing slots and he had slid down to a suspected “loose” machine and had his daughter hold the machine he left while it warms back up. He gave her a $2.18 ticket to put into the machine to hold it down. It must be some sort of slot etiquette. Anyway, he was spot on – the new machine was indeed hot as he had just hit some bonus entitling him to some free spins. While he waited to see what his fortune would be, his daughter decided to go ahead and play the machine she was seated at. Well, she totally fucked up and won $600. While this would typically be good news, the father was furious. You see, she didn’t bet the maximum bet – and had she done so, she would have won $4,000. So, the father didn’t view this as a $600 win, but a $3,400 loss. So, he returned to the casino to play slots and to get his money back. I wonder if he ended up getting that money back. While standing in line, I couldn’t help but think of the conversation they may have had on the ride home, probably reprimanding her for not betting the max bet. “We are a max-bet family! Have I taught you nothing?”

I arrive at the airport. I rarely check a bag, but today I have one. The luggage line is very long, and I’ll do anything to avoid a line. Luckily, I remembered the trick to beating this line: use the valet luggage service just outside the entrance. There is rarely a line there, and as long as you provide a decent tip to the attendant, not only will you skip the long line, but they’ll usually tag your bag Priority and it’ll come off the luggage belt first – allowing you to skip yet another line. $10 for a large bag seems to be the right amount.

I tend to think I’m some special breed and just happened to cross paths with all the weirdos at the airport. Although, I’ve come to realize the airport is filled with these weirdos, and I probably fit right in. I saw a lady carrying a cat on her shoulder (uncaged), a kid wearing a nice-looking suit with his muddy work boots (I wonder what the story is there), and unfortunately, I didn’t see a single hazmat suit.

Boarding the plane in Zone 3, which basically has no meaning other than you’re probably getting on last, putting those with carry-on bags at risk of having to check their bag. The woman in front gets flagged down and they tag her bag. As we’re waiting for the herd to put their shit into the bin and sit the fuck down, this woman says that she isn’t going to check her bag as it will fit under the seat. I’m very skeptical of this claim, but I’m interested to see if she can pull it off. Amazingly, she does manage to sneak this elephant of a bag onto the plane and make her way to her seat. But, she’s running bad early, as she’s finally spotted. The agent says there isn’t any more overhead storage and she’ll have to check the bag. The woman refuses, claiming it fits under the seat, though she still hasn’t gotten it under the seat and never will, but also lets the attendant know she’s getting married tomorrow as if that is an exception we should care about. After wasting 10-15 minutes, she finally allows her bag to be checked and we can take off. Hopefully her soon-to-be husband was taking notes and thinks better of his upcoming decision.

I finally arrive at the hotel after a bumpy plane ride and get to my room. As luck would have it, I was upgraded to a Junior Suite – two bathrooms, lots of space, just what I need to convince myself to stay in the room and play online poker. I don’t stay for long though, as I’m meeting P and Joel for dinner. We go to one of my favorite pizza spots in Vegas – The Sand Dollar. I get my usual, the cheese pizza, but it doesn’t taste as good without the live band blowing out my eardrums. I think it may have something to do with that thing they say happens when someone losses a sense, but another sense strengthens. Since I still had my hearing, my taste didn’t strengthen. Jokes aside, the pizza and whatever drink I had hit the spot.

Day 2 – The Welcoming

I’m still on Michigan time, so I wake up way too early at 5 a.m. and I’m looking for some coffee. Caesar’s Palace generously provides a Keurig machine, but no coffee. I don’t even bother to check the price of the coffee kit available at the minibar. So, I decide to get some grocery shopping done at the nearest Walgreens, which like everything on the strip is 80 miles away.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a special breed and attract some of the strangest people. While looking at the coffee options available at Walgreens, I hear the dreadful words: “Excuse me sir.” Without even looking, I can tell this voice isn’t from an employee looking to help me out, rather one of the homeless people in Vegas looking for some money. I tend to be a little too helpless in these scenarios; sticking around too long, listening too closely, giving up too much of my time, but I have a certain curiosity for these sales pitches. I’d like to think that if I were in this spot, I would have an amazing sales pitch (and this guy certainly does) as he approaches me, he does a spin move and introduces himself as R.O.C, which I think may have been his initials. 

He’s a 60-year-old black man, wearing a fairly clean sports coat which he lets me know he stole from the Salvation Army store. He’s tough to understand, but he has a mission: to sell a show to Tyler Perry. Buddy, you’ve got my attention – how much can I invest right now? He goes through all the characters that would be in his show, though I only remember or could understand one of them. Each character would have ROC in their name. The homeless character would go by ROC Bottom. Not bad. Anyway, Tyler Perry won’t be buying the show, and he finally gets around to asking for some money. I only have a pocket full of hundreds, and I’m not giving him one of those, so I offer to buy him some food. He says he wants some oatmeal as he tosses a container of grape jelly into this “shopping bag.” He picks out the oatmeal, and then tries to add four more smaller containers of oatmeal to the order to which I decline. He looks upset and tosses the four containers into his bag. I head to the counter to pay and tell him to meet me by the door and I’ll give him the box. Well, he never does get to the door and I’m out $7.49. Oh well, I’ll eat the oatmeal, I guess. Actually, I can’t since it’s microwavable and I don’t have a microwave. I wonder if he has access to a microwave? 

Anyway, I decide to walk back to the hotel. I see him come out, a little fast probably – too fast to have paid for the items he put into his bag. I probably should have said something to the clerk, but I suspect they see this guy all the time, and I’m not looking to be on security duty today. The excuses I make to not be a Good Samaritan. Lesson learned; I’ll correct this going forward.

Now that I have my groceries and handled some financial transactions, I’m ready to play some poker. It’s been a while since I’ve played live poker, so I’m looking for a small game to break the ice. I’ve been wanting to play in a real shitty game to get the full live poker experience. High rake, complaining, rules issues, seat changing, etc. I want all of it, and all at once. I’m ready. I decided on the $500 GTD Daily tourney at Bally’s. The poker room has the right look – dated, disorganized, and the Keno game right in the poker room is a nice touch. Is this place really the home of the WSOP? Anyway, I’ll never be able to take this tourney seriously, so I make a ridiculous rule to play by: I have to see the turn card on every hand, no matter what. This means, I’m never folding pre-flop. No matter what. I’m never folding the flop. No matter what. I accomplish this goal – eliminating myself after cold calling a 3b with J5ss from the SB, flopping Qs 2s 3d, calling a flop bet and check jamming the brick turn only to be snapped off by top set. I brick the river, and I was left with a single $100 chip – the lowest value in play. My K6 doesn’t hold vs AK, and I’m out. It was a good run, finishing 18th. Who cares if there were only 20 entrants? I was close to the final table. I play a little 1-2 for an hour, book a win in an incredibly easy lineup and head back to the hotel for a nap.

Later in the day, I meet up with Persuadeo at Wynn to play again, but I don’t last long. I squeeze from the small blind with AAsd, face a four bet from the UTG opener, and I call. The flop comes Ks Ts 3d and I check call half pot. I check call $700 into the $1100 pot on the turn Qx and get the bad news – my opponent has a set of queens. I did tank for a while prior to calling and felt that the call was probably decent. I played around with the equity calculator later in the evening and I believe I confirmed my suspicions. Giving my opponent a generous range of QQ+, AK, the price laid to me is more than fine. If I tune this range a bit more to exclude some AK, the price is still more than fine. Not great, but good enough. This is what happens when you aren’t a Good Samaritan.

I don’t rebuy as I’m exhausted from the one hour grind, and Persuadeo and I head over to Resorts World. I have a bread and mustard sandwich with a small amount of fake bratwurst somewhere inside this thing and get a seat in the game. I book a small win in a weird game, and we decide to head to dinner. We go to an Asian restaurant inside Sahara with Jen – that lady that crushed the WSOP tournament. The food was excellent, the company was nice – what more could you ask for? We head over to the Sahara poker room for a short session.

There’s an open seat, but P and Jen being such nice hosts, they give me the seat. I’m tired, but I decide to showcase my talents anyway. Well, I last only three hands. I had AA my very first hand and lost to a flopped flush. I don’t top off my stack and fold my BB. The next hand the dealer reminds me that I’m the BB, and being tired I go ahead and post it. It’s not until there’s some action that I realize the mistake, but it’s too late. I defend the 32hh and XR all in on the Ah 5h Qs flop. The turn 8d caught my attention for second being red and all, but let’s be real – I’m not hitting this flush. The river brings the Jh – oh, well how about that? Unfortunately, my opponent turns over the K8hh and the nuts are good. I’m out.

We head to the bar for a few drinks. Once we tired, it was time to hit the road. As we approached the car, I notice the rear tire was a bit low, as in flat. Joel tells me it’s just the low-profile tires that P has on his car, but this tire is indeed flat. Joel catches a ride with Jen and I also leave P to handle the tire on his own. I had to use the restroom stat: I know, how convenient. However, I’m not one to run away when there’s work to be done, especially when this car is my ride home. I return and help with the tire. The parking garage is 400 degrees, P is dressed for a cold winter day, and the lugs are apparently welded on. P finally breaks them loose, we get the tire on and we’re off. But, we don’t make it far before P hears some noises coming from the tire. Evidently, we didn’t tighten it very well, but luckily for us, it didn’t fall off. We made it back to Caesars, and I’m hoping P made it home.

Day 3 – The Struggle

I rarely sleep well in a hotel room, but today I woke up after only 2 hours of sleep and had a terrible headache. Maybe it’s because of the poker loss? The manual labor of assisting with a tire change? There’s no way it was the two drinks I had. Or was it 3? I take some Excedrin, shower, get a coffee and decide to take a walk to Walgreens to get some more supplies. Hopefully I don’t run into any weirdos along the way.

I head down to the pool to relax a bit. Unfortunately, they don’t serve coffee at the pool, and I don’t feel like alcohol – maybe because a High Noon is $15. I do some reading, scroll the internet, and finally reach my limit at the pool. I need to get some rest since today is game day at the Sahara. I head back to the room and fall asleep, but sleep only 30 minutes and still have a headache.

I had a moment of excitement when I found $200 in my bag – in a pocket that I never use, folded in an unusual way. After recounting my cash and coming to my senses, I get the bad news.

I decide to head back down to the pool and scroll through some poker chat groups. I find anything related to solvers pretty interesting, so I usually check the PIO and Zenith Solver Discord groups first. If you scroll through these, you’ll see that there is a large group of people who are more interested in making their solver run faster, rather than actually using it. They’re talking RAM, CPU speed, etc., but not too often much about the inputs or interpreting the solver results. A part of me fits right into this group having just ordered a beast of a machine. Do I need it? No! I rarely run a solve, as I mostly rely on GTO Wizard for this sort of thing. Most of the solves I run are for the turn and river, and my cell phone could probably handle that. If you ever want to do such a thing, just copy and paste the ranges from GTO Wizard for the street you want to start on, enter the board, pot and stack sizes, and enter the betting options and you’re all set.

I decide to splurge and get a High Noon at the pool. The waitress never comes around, which may be a sign. I walk to the bar and I’m reminded of being in college at a bar. I’m at the bar, no question it’s my turn, but beautiful women are served first. Worst yet, none of them offer to buy me a drink. It’s like they don’t even know about my successful YouTube channel. Once all of them clear and I’m the best-looking person at the bar, I finally get to give this jackass my $15 plus tip for a drink that should be colder. I know better than to complain knowing I’ve already pushed my luck by simply being served.

I sit around the pool for a bit to people watch. This guy who is walking laps around the pool is a bit loud. Not from talking, but in his appearance. Lots of accessories. He’s got the fancy watch, necklace, bracelet, cool sunglasses, etc. I have trouble remembering my wallet and keys. I wonder how he manages to remember to put all of this shit on. Maybe these double as floatation devices?

It’s nearing 7pm and I still feel like shit, but I’m trying to rally to support the Sahara game. I take a shower, get something to eat, take some more Excedrin, but it’s not working. The headache feels a bit better, but I feel exhausted. Am I really going to miss this game? I decide I’m not in good enough shape to play and notify the group that I won’t be making it. Hopefully I made room for a whale. I watch some TV for a bit and fall asleep around 9pm. That’s a pretty sad bed time in Las Vegas – I’m not certain it’s even legal.

Day 4 – Recovered

I finally slept better last night. As I pack my survival kit to take a walk around town, I notice the zipper on my bag is unzipped. Worst yet, I’m missing a small notebook. I can’t believe this fell out without me or anyone else noticing. Oh well, luckily, I didn’t drop any cash. I get some food and head back to the hotel. It’s time to see what’s happening at the pool.

Finding a seat at the pool can be tough. I noticed some groups maintain two seats – one in the sun, and another in the shade. Don’t worry folks, it’s not like the pool is busy. I find a shitty seat, without much of a view, and wait to see if a waitress will come take my order. Nobody ever comes, so I have to go fetch this reasonably priced drink myself. The bartender is named Jason too, and once he sees my ID for the room charge, he’s a bit too excited about our shared name. Relax guy, I will tip you.

Back to my pool seat and I see the cool pool guy is back. He has such an exaggerated cool guy walk, and even added a vape pen to the ensemble. Of course, as he takes a hit, it looks some he’s been practicing the move in the mirror for a year to get it right. Reminds me of the Cedric the Entertainer bit in The Kings of Comedy. Keeping all of this up must be exhausting.

Lots of black smoke begins to pour from what may be the mall area of Caesars Palace. This can’t be good. Soon it appears to be under control before reappearing. I managed to not panic and trample everyone at the pool. Never did find out what caused that.

I decided that my headphones are no longer satisfying me. I need some with a noise-canceling feature. I did some research and settled on the Apple Airpod Pro model. I decided to head over to the Apple store in the mall to pick up a pair. I asked one of the attendants if I could try them on and she puts in a request to have a pair brought out. As I waited, I asked her how much these are. She says $249. Well, that’s odd. They’re only $179 at Target and Best Buy. I wonder why that is. Maybe the attendant will know? Her facial expression doesn’t give me confidence that her answer is going to make any sense. Has nobody asked this question before? Oh well, let’s hear it. Why are these more expensive here? First answer: “I think it’s because you’re buying directly from us, so there’s less shipping.” I’m sorry what? Shouldn’t this make the price even less? Second Answer: “It could be that we offer you the option to buy AppleCare.” Oh, so it costs me more money to have the option of spending even more money. I’m already losing faith in the current generation, and this person isn’t helping. Sadly, as stupid as the world can be, there’s a chance her answers are absolutely correct. I tell her to cancel the fitting and I’ll buy them elsewhere.

I head back to the room to play some more poker. I lose 350 bigs, mainly from the types of hands that make you wonder if online poker is rigged. Couple of 4 bet pots with AA, another with KK. That’s all it takes. Thank god it’s time for dinner. We’re headed to the Calabash African Kitchen. We certainly don’t have this type of restaurant where I come from, and it will definitely be one of those places where I don’t recognize a single thing on the menu. I’ll be heavily relying on P for some recommendations. He orders the group some appetizers – plantains and empanadas.  Good choices. Then we order some food – I don’t recall what the name of the dish was that I ate, but rice, vegetables, and what I understood to be a dinner roll turned out to be very good. Maybe I need to be more adventurous with food. Who knows? Maybe we do have a Calabash restaurant in my town and never noticed.

We headed to Garagiste for some wine. I enjoy wine, but I’m not into the science of it. The bartenders are very knowledgeable and usually tell me a few facts about the wine I ordered. I essentially have no idea what they’re talking about. After a couple of glasses, it’s time to head back to the hotel. No more poker tonight, it’s time for bed.

Day 5 – Back in the Wild

I sleep well once again and decide to head over to Bellagio. As luck would have it, they just opened a 5-10 game and there’s a seat open. In fact, there are several seats open. Shockingly two players have started the game heads up – and I would have bet money these two guys would never do such a thing. Two fairly weak regs, one of them going by The Crustiest on DGAF’s podcast. I’m sure he has a name for the other guy too – it might have been The Asian Assassin. Anyway, I’m happy to play 3 handed against these guys all day long.

The Asian Assassin straddles the BTN and I limp 64cc from the BB. I’ve been adding more of this into my game in this formation – which is effectively SB vs BB in a 6-max game. This is something the solver does, especially in non-raked games. For human play, once the BB checks their option, we enter a very strange and likely misunderstood scenario. The ranges become very weird, as it’s difficult for the BB to have many good hands after checking. However, the SB can have many good hands. Anyway, the flop comes A65r, and I check call 2/3 pot. The turn brings a 6h, creating a back-door flush draw. I lead 50% pot, which should be a common play for anyone who doesn’t auto check. Now, I hear some chips go into the pot – and it sounds like two chips, which means I’ve been raised. Son of a bitch. He raised 4x, or $200. Trips is a very strong hand, but not so much once this particular guy raises. After all, what worse hand is he raising here? No way he c-bet this large with just a 6. He’s a small bet c-bettor, and given the chip denominations in this game, with a pot of $45 on the flop, his small bet would either be $10 or $20. Would he raise a straight draw? Possibly – though he isn’t particularly aggressive, so while I should count on seeing him raise these occasionally, it isn’t too likely. What about full houses? Maybe he would tend to call these more, especially with a few draws available, maybe he would rather give me a shot at making my hand. Now I would need to reduce the likelihood of those hands too. Anyway, as you can see, hand-reading like this can be nearly a waste of time sometimes. Maybe best to fall back on something a little more concrete. Trips is a strong hand. While this guy is fairly tight, he’s also a 5-10 regular, and it’s not as if I haven’t seen him run some bluffs. There’s just no way to raise or fold this hand. I call. The river brings an offsuit K, and I check. Now, he bets $470 into $500. Well, the fact that he bet isn’t great news, but hey – if he did manage to have a naked 6, I now chop with many of them. I call and get some unusual news. No stupid, he wasn’t bluffing. He had pocket aces. Sometimes when a player plays a hand so poorly, it actually works out perfectly.

A live 5-10 game plays way differently from an online game. Of course, we all know that, but it’s wild just how differently the game plays. I suppose adding in some much weaker players will create a ripple effect for strategy considerations. And, I’m not talking about opening sizes. The typical opening size in this game is $30. This would be considered a bit large for online play as players will be in the 2x to -2.5x range. But in live games, the chip denominations matter and in this game $10 is the smallest chip, aside from a few straggler $5 chips that were needed to make change for the rake payment. Now, I’ve seen players open to $25 in this game – and it’s a huge pain in the ass. You’d never guess from which part of the world these guys were from. Anyway, the pre-flop sizings are mostly reasonable, that is until you get to the 4b sizings. There tends to be some very large sizings used – 5x or more, but who cares. The biggest difference for pre-flop play is the number of cold callers – for both facing an open and a 3b. Some online players may laugh at this and say “that isn’t a thing”, but it is a thing, deal with it. There’s also some odd limping – I’m a fan of limping from EP, even in 6-max games, but I’d like to think I’m pretty strategic about it. But, I saw two very odd limps, one from The Asian Assassin. A tight player, who has back raised a few times, limps UTG, and The Asian Assassin limps next to act. This hand goes to showdown, and he has T9o. Why would he do this? Of course, I can think of some reasons, but I completely disagree with their merits. Another player limp calls 97o, flops trips and stacks AA. This is 5-10, considered one of the toughest games in Vegas. Of course there are tough players in the game, but there are also enough very weak players such that the game won’t be too tough. Anyway, there’s a laundry list of differences between this game and an online one, but I won’t bore you with it.

I get check-raised on AA5K9 holding A6dd, which is trips and turned FD. I bet the flop IP 3 ways, and The Asian Assassin calls. I check the turn, and bet $100 into $150 on the river. He raises to $300, and I know I lose, but call anyway. He went for some very thin value here with A9 – maybe he’s on tilt?

I get wrecked for a while, stuck around $4k, but I’m playing well and not really phased by the amount. I hang in there and battle back. This hand was probably the biggest pot I won: there’s a loose open and I 3b with KTdd. I get a cold call from the BB, with the opener folding. The flop comes KT7tt, and I cbet about half pot. On the turn 5, giving me a FD, the BB leads for half pot, and I jam for his $800 total. I’m quickly called and we turn over our hands. I’m in terrible shape. He has A7o, and I’m drawing to two outs – at least it feels that way. By the grace of God, the river bricks and I win. So, this is what it’s like to run hot.

I had a few other fun hands, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include a hand against Tom, The Crustiest. There’s a loose UTG open, and I 3b TT next to act. The Crustiest asks how much, despite me having a single $100 chip in front of me, and makes the call. The opener folds, and Tom check calls on the Qs 9s 3d flop. The turn 8x, he leads for $250, a common line from him, but he seems to do this mostly as a blocking action. I make the call and now he checks on the river 8. I think for a while, thinking I can actually bet here. I ultimately decide against it. He rolls over A9s, and I show my tens. For some reason, he thought he won, but the dealer resolves this and gives me the pot. I win a few more medium pots, and I finally cash out, losing $80.

I don’t do much the rest of the day. I grab some lunch, watch some golf, and head down to the pool for another very reasonably priced drink. While there, I decide to investigate why it is that the Apple Air Pods are cheaper at Target vs Apple, and I think I found a reasonable answer. Target sells them at or near cost, in hopes of you buying other things while in the store. Apple products are popular and will draw in customers, but eating $70 of profit seems steep. I’d have to buy a lot of shit to make up for that money. Whatever, I’m buying them at Target, and I’ll guarantee I walk out with only this item.

Day 6 – The Final Day

I go through the same phases every time I come to Vegas. Upon arrival, I’m excited. Next is the boredom stage where I wonder how I can possibly fill the remaining days. I’m not a high-volume poker player, so I can’t fill the days with poker, and I can only drink so much. Maybe I’m just getting old? Anyway, once my final day arrives, I always wish I had just one more day. Especially when I’m set to fly out at 6am on Sunday morning. Who the hell booked this return flight? I’ll have to talk to my secretary when I get back home.

Anyway, I’m ready to play some poker. I call ahead for the Bellagio 5-10 game and walk over. I check in and I’m 3rd on the list. This is not great news since the table is filled with players that won’t be going anywhere soon. So, I head over to Aria to wire some money back to MGM Detroit. This process seems very clumsy to me. It’s always different and I don’t understand why. Today the clerk gave me a hand-written receipt – never got one of these before. Hopefully I didn’t fall into some scam.

As I walk back over to Bellagio, I realize that people really do suck at walking. I treat walking as I do driving – there are lanes, intersections, etc. You don’t drive the wrong way, you don’t stop in traffic, and you don’t blow through an intersection without looking. Yet, people do all of these things while walking. If I was in charge of the Las Vegas Raiders football team, I would scout the Vegas strip for defensive players. I wonder if they realize that they could take the typical family that is visiting Vegas and put them on the field, and without even knowing it, they would manage to put themselves right in the way of the opposing team. Sure, they couldn’t tackle anyone, but they could slow them down enough for the other players to tackle. Imagine that, a family out on the field, taking pictures, and walking as slowly and as widely as possible. They would be a brick wall.

Anyway, I finally get to Bellagio and nobody has moved. There are 4 people on the list and I’m still 3rd. I decide to head back to the hotel to play online instead. Right when I get into the Caesar’s elevator, I get the text from Bellagio letting me know my seat is ready. Of course. I’m not walking back over there. I login and take a seat.

I win a few hands out of the gate and could use one of those really easy sessions. QQ vs JJ. Holds. Couple other seemingly noneventful hands and I’m up 300 bigs. 10 seconds later, I’m down. All in with AK vs QQ, flop the ace, they turn the Q. Whiff an open ended straight flush draw in a bloated pot. 3b QQ, catch an OOP cold caller and the opener call. Flop 666, I cbet fairly large, and only cold caller calls. Turn A. This card shouldn’t be a big problem as what naked ace calls a large cbet OOP here? Well, A8o does. What can you do? Flop a set of jacks in a 4b pot, but on JT3Q, I’m in bad shape. There goes 150 bigs. KK on K542, and the river 3 seals my fate. Ouch. 88 in a 3-way, 3 bet pot. Flop looks promising of 876ss, but the turn 9s wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. SB vs BB with AA on QT4tt. We end up all in on the turn, and they have QT. But you know what? It’s my turn to win. Que up that 4, and ship me the pot. These guys are fucked now, and they were. I end up winning about 400 bigs.

It’s time to head to P’s place for a BBQ event, where P’s friend Joel will be preparing food. He’s a talented chef, or cook as he tells me. I’m sure I would offend Joel and the entire cooking community by attempting to describe the dishes. Seasoned carrots, seasoned cabbage, an apple and kale salad, pork, a tomato and cucumber dish, and my favorite: some mushrooms. Obviously, he won’t be hiring me to write descriptions of the food for the menu, but each of these are seasoned with different things, and are excellent. If you’re in town when he hosts one of these events, don’t miss it. Maybe even ask him to do one, I’m sure he’ll say yes. We sit around eating, drinking, and talking – a nice way to end my trip.

After a while of talking about various topics, I guess we finally bore ourselves, or I wore everyone out and decide to head to Sahara. Everyone is looking to play poker, except me. I’m looking to have a few drinks before heading back to my hotel room. Three drinks later, plus the four or five at P and Joel’s place, and I’m stumbling back to my room. I should be able to catch 5 hours of sleep before it’s time to head to the airport.

My flight begins boarding at 5:20 a.m. I’m pretty conservative when it comes to scheduling, and always end up early. I figure thirty minutes to catch a taxi and ride to the airport. Another thirty minutes to check a bag. Finally one hour for security. Two hours total, which means I can leave the hotel at 3:30am. I head to the cab stand and there’s a long line. There’s some sort of limo service looking to collect beautiful women to go somewhere – are people still heading to the club at 3:30 a.m.? The four girls in front of me head to the limo, but change their minds after a little bit and return to their spot in line. They were gone long enough such that people should assume they’re cutting, but nobody says a word. Maybe everyone saw them leave the line – they are beautiful after all. Maybe nobody cares if they cut the line.  They really do operate under a different set of rules. Anyway, I arrive to the airport – where are the curbside valet for Delta? It’s the only airline closed. So, I stand in another long and slow line. Then head to security where I’m met with another long line. I take the tram and walk to the gate – and it’s only 4:30am. Despite all of these long lines, I’m still an hour early. I need to revise my estimates next time. Until next time Vegas.

7 thoughts on “Jambasket in Vegas

  1. first off, this is one of the best blogs ive read in a long time. second, what is a TBR member? it would be nice if u could play poker as well as u can blog. also online poker sucks and is worthless, the very reason no one can make any money is people are doing the same thing u are doing, setting up solvers, using others hand histories and stuff, all of which should be banned and illegal and is destroying online poker. no causal losers like in live poker. if u have money to give out to those who need it, go into the rental business and rent RVs for a month to poker players and park them near a good room like in oklahoma or florida. not some black guy off the street out to scam everyone. and if 2 guys start a $5-10 heads up and have known screen names, believe me they are pros and u wont beat them except thru sheer luck. being good at poker doesnt even help i found that out horribly today and yesterday morning. theres far better poker in detroit than in vegas. better off playing there. at least the PLO is wild there. holdem is a sucker game and difficult to beat. im getting really sick of it being the only options in reno and tahoe. also dont be surprised by the screen name, i created it once years ago to post something without people knowing its me and now the website auto logs me in under this ID.

  2. Enjoyable read Jason. I also posted my Vegas trip July and that too included a visit to Sahara.
    Advice from a non-pro:
    – Don’t be a travel fish. Get Global entry, TSA pre and all the other shit they sell. Then you get to skip security lines.
    – Sleep and eat well while in Vegas playing poker. Sleep deprivation and decision making don’t combine well.
    – Advice to myself: don’t stay at Caesar’s. I’ll keep that in mind for summer ’23.
    – Don’t walk, use Uber. I walked over a mile to Walgreens in 115 degree heat only to discover that Google maps sent me to the S Las Vegas Blvd address instead of the Las Vegas Blvd South address.

    1. Back in my corporate days, I had all the travel luxuries but they have recently expired and I haven’t renewed them. PreCheck doesn’t do much good when leaving Vegas since the PreCheck line is rarely open anyway, and when it is, you still get mixed in with GenPop. But you’re right, I should renew it since it’s nice.

      What’s wrong with Caesar’s? I find the location to be pretty nice, and the rooms are also nice.

      I still need to sort out the sleeping thing, but the time change, hotel mattress, and possibly me generally being drunk around bed time make it tough. I’ll figure it out eventually!

      1. Aha! I guess precheck utility depends on the terminal because in July it did come in handy for me.
        As for Caesar’s, I concluded from stories of the hotel bar and pool that it’s not a great establishment. And if you weren’t happy with the mattress, would you come back?
        I did like their small poker room and 3/5 game with no jackpot drop. Also because I was able to get all in there with AA v AK which didn’t happen anywhere else including the main event!

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