JamBasket: Interstate Traveller, Poker Athlete, Diamond Member

poker athlete jambasket

Guest post today from JamBasket, with illustrations by Julie

I want to play a few live tournaments before the WSOP Main Event, so I booked a trip to Las Vegas to play a few events in the Wynn Millions. During the week leading up to my departure date, I really wasn’t in the mood to head to Vegas. The day before my trip was to begin, I canceled, losing about $300 in the process. Despite being very confident in my decision and thinking it over carefully before canceling, I immediately regret the decision. So, I began searching for flights and hotels. Ultimately, I ended up traveling to Vegas one week later than I had originally planned.

Travel Day

I’m flying Spirit again since I had a $150 credit from my flight cancellation, and I’m still staying at Paris. I originally had a newly renovated room, but not anymore. I board the plane and I’m on my way. The Spirit flight crew was full of jokes on this flight. As we were taxiing to the runway, we hear someone ask over the intercom “Did anyone drop this? Is this yours?” Everyone looks up, and then “Now that we have your attention, we’re going to go over the safety instructions.” Nice play, you got me, but I’m not going to listen too carefully to this nonsense. When I’m finally in charge of things, there will be no more safety instructions.

As they are reminding everyone that we still can’t smoke on board a plane, you know, in the event that you haven’t been in a public space in thirty years. They inform us that if you do smoke, the fine is $2500, and if you have $2500 to spare, you should have bought a first-class ticket on Delta. Burn!

We had some very rough turbulence during the flight; probably the worst I’ve ever experienced, and I’m a seasoned flier. Sometimes I wonder what I’d do if the plane was actually going down. Maybe I’m just an odd duck, but I could see the humor in going out in a plane crash. What are the odds of a plane crash – less than 1% for something? Maybe that’s no different from anything else.

Diamond MemberWe land safely in Vegas; I get my car and head to the Paris hotel. The hotel registration area is a zoo, but luckily, I don’t have to deal with this shit. There’s a special line for us Diamond members, and that line is completely empty. I get in that line, and sure enough a few people are reminding me that the line is over there. I kindly remind them that I’m the most important person in this area, and society has determined that I can’t be bothered to wait in these lines with the commoners. The clerks seem to be moving people along at a decent pace, but all the people checking in are apparently those types that have never stayed at a hotel and therefore have a lot of questions. What time is the buffet open? What about the gym? Look, figure it out later you fucking idiots. There are 100 people waiting to get their room keys behind you.

There’s a guy trying to use the check in kiosk, but none of them are working this evening. He interrupts the clerk, as if he’s a Diamond member, and asks if she can help him. She notifies him that the kiosks are all down tonight and that he’ll have to get in line. He is very frustrated and apparently can’t handle the stresses of travel. “And where is that? he says, pointing to me. “Behind that guy? He’s been in line for 20 minutes and hasn’t moved. Is this some sort of joke?”

He gets in line behind me (I mean the balls on this guy) and makes some comment about the clerk. At this point, he’s crossed the line, so I ask him if he’s a Diamond member. I already know the answer since a Diamond member would never act like this in public. He confirms my suspicion, so I kindly educate him on the whereabouts of his line, which is over there. Fuck that guy.

When it’s finally my turn, I walk up to the desk and give the clerk my ID and credit card. I’m registered for a pet friendly room for some reason. However, she is extremely slow, and laughing way too hard at my comments that aren’t funny. “I saw you were in a pet friendly room, but I didn’t see a pet with you!” I reply, “None that I know of.” She laughs way too hard as she clears that up; maybe she’s on drugs. Anyway, I get my key and report to my room and go to bed. Hopefully the people behind me took notes on how to check into a hotel room. As Constanza told Jerry while at the car dealership: “Alright, remember: no rust-proofing. Commit to nothing. If you have to speak – mumble.”

Challenge Day

I wake up early, which is good because I have important things to do today. I need to work on my endurance to prepare for the hopefully long days of poker at the WSOP Main Event. However, I need to do this without actually playing a tournament. So, I plan to play at every poker room on the strip for at least one hour!

Ten poker rooms, ten hours, plus travel time, plus wait time, plus whatever else.

I check Bravo to try to map out my day. I know that Sahara and Mandalay Bay will be the slowest rooms, so I’ll probably have to visit those last. Luckily, I have a car, so travel should be relatively easy.

Aria has a few games running, so I call ahead and get on the list and head over. I’m seated at a 1/3 game, and the game looks good. There’s a player in the nine seat wearing a nice jacket, nice teeth, sipping on whiskey and tipping the dealer $1 every time he eventually folds. He’s got around $1k. Before I even get my coffee, I double up. I have A8 in a 25-way limped pot in the BB. The 883r flop is something I’ve come to expect, and the action somehow checks around. The turn 8 is a little uncalled for, but this is something I’ve come accustomed to. I’m sure you’re thinking, “That’s great JamBasket, enjoy your $4 pot.” Well, hold on. This hand history isn’t over yet. The river brings a 2, and I bet $5 into around $10. A player in late position raises to $20. What a sucker. I raise to $50, and they jam for $300. I double check my cards and find the call. The player turned over his hand so quickly that I thought we were going to chop via a deck issue. However, he just had the 3. He tells me “I just couldn’t get away.” I can’t get over just how great that comment is. After I win the WSOP Main Event this year, I’ll be pulling this same stunt.

I head over to MGM, and get called for a seat at 1-2, which is uncapped. There’s a player moving to another table, and I have to wait for him to gather his stuff. When the floor told him he could move, he asked the floor “Is that game any good?” The floor reminded him that he should already know the answer to that question given he’s the person who asked to move over there. He scopes out the scene and decides that it’ll be worth his efforts to relocate. I take my seat, and the guy returns to get his phone, and says “I shouldn’t have taken this seat, nobody has over $500 over there.” Some poker players are completely helpless. Also, for anyone living in fear that poker players will notice all of your flaws and instantly exploit them, this guy didn’t even notice that nobody at my table has over $500 either. In fact, nobody has over $300. Nothing much happens during this session and I’m off to the next stop.

Challenge Day

Mandalay Bay has a 1-2 game running so I head over there, which is nice since I’m on this side of town. I’ve never been to this room, and in fact didn’t even know they had a room until very recently. The room is very nice, and the dealer Dustin is great. He’s a very social dealer, does well to explain all of the promotions that are running, and keeps the game running very smoothly. The lineup is basically what you’d expect for a low stakes live game, but nothing much of note happens at the table. Although, I did play in this room for two hours, largely because of Dustin. I may regret this decision later when I’m in full grind mode to complete this challenge. I did manage to really screw up a few spots revolving around the high hand promotion. I had 3 hands where I had a straight flush draw, and made a bet vs a very short stack and they folded. I would have been much better off to just try to hit the high hand since the payoff was $500. I book a small win and head out.

I head over to Bellagio and park. My plan is to walk to Caesars, then to Horseshoe. I wait for about ten minutes at Bellagio, which will be the longest I have waited all day. I get a seat at a 2-5, which turned out to be a very good game. This is the difficulty of my challenge: leaving a good game for the sake of completing the challenge. However, the point of this challenge isn’t to necessarily max out my winnings. Nothing much of note happens here. I book another small win, and head over to Caesars.

On my way to Caesars, I notice a commotion on the strip. Apparently, there was a guy swinging a brick on a rope from the walkway and he hit a car that was driving beneath. Later I would find out that the driver lost an arm and was arrested. I’ll let you think about why that may have been and tell you why later. Anyway, I get a seat at a 2-5 game. Another nice lineup, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to stay long. A new player sits down, and I do a double take as I’ve never encountered one of these folks up close in the wild. They’re wearing the full virtue signaling outfit. The blue hair, the pronoun pin, the BLM bracelet, some pride flag shirt. In fact, the only thing I noted to be missing was the Ukrainian flag, but I know it’s there somewhere. I’m winning a little bit but do a few things that I’m unbelievably good at: losing a preflop all in and losing a big pot for my last hand of the session. Funny how that works. I book a small loss and head out.

I arrive to the Horseshoe and get a seat in the 2-3 game. While waiting at the counter, there were four workers behind the counter, only one of them doing work while the other were discussing a suit. Finally, the guy actually working asked if one of them could help me. I was kind of upset that he did this as I wanted to see how long it would take. I get involved in a big pot early, with AJs. I can’t recall the preflop action exactly, but it involved a cold call, back raise and we went to the flop like 75 ways. I flopped a flush draw on K84 and faced a check-raise from an EP limp caller. This isn’t my favorite spot, as most players may check-raise at a decent frequency but end up with a range composition that is far too strong. However, the stack to pot and my domination over some other draws means I can’t fold. I jam and get snapped off by K8. The dealer humors me by running out the turn and river, but they could have just gathered the cards and shuffled for the next hand and saved everyone the time and me the disappointment. I win a few pots before racking up and booking my biggest loss of the challenge so far, but it’s only about 100bbs.

I make my way down to Venetian and get seated in the 2-4 game. I’m exhausted at this point, but still have four rooms to go. This session was mainly a blur, but one hand stood out. A player opens the BTN to like $400 million, and I call, holding TT in the BB. The flop comes 678r and I check-call another $400 million. The turn brings a Q and the action checks through. The river 2 and the action checks again. I turn over my TT assuming I win, but my opponent turned over AQ. Sometimes, top pair top kicker just can’t bet, you know? I book a very small win and I’m out of there.

I head over to the Wynn and get a seat at the 2-5 table nobody wants to play at. Everyone has cool hair, so you know we’re about to see some sets being tabled. I get into the action early, three-betting an UTG open with 54s on the BTN. The SB, with really fancy hair, asks how much I’m playing, and he lands on the 5x four-bet. Unfortunately, I had to fold to this price, but probably for my own good. A short while later, I get AA UTG in a straddled pot. This isn’t a spot I’ll raise from, so I limp in. A weak player to my left also limps, and a player isolates pretty large. I make the call and the weak player folds. The action checks on the flop and turn, and I make a small bet on the river. The opponent mumbles something and calls. I don’t have time to stick around, so I hit the road.

I arrive at Resorts World and get a seat at 2-5. I’m seated next to the World-Famous Tony Big Charles. I’ve never met Tony, but I know a lot about him. He’s even left me a very kind comment on one of my Vegas trip blogs. However, I won’t tell him who I am until it’s time to go. In the meantime, I get stacked trying to bluff what turned out to be a whale. That’s my bad. Unfortunately, Tony didn’t notify me of this player until my chips were already gone. I win a few pots before it’s time to go, booking a small loss. I tell Tony who I am and he does remember my previous blogs. I convince him to head to Sahara with me, to finish up my challenge. He and his friend Set-Call-McGee join me and we’re on our way.

I arrive at Sahara, and there’s a 1-2 game opening. SDJen, Persuadeo, TBC, Set-Call-McGee, and a few other players start the game. I win a few hands early, and run fairly well during this last stop of the challenge. I end up playing here for a couple of hours and finish up with a couple of margaritas to celebrate the completion of the challenge.

Overall, I ended up losing about $300 during this challenge. I started at 8am and finished up at 230am. At the end, I was completely exhausted, but felt some satisfaction having completed what I set out to do, no matter how pointless the task was. I cancel my dinner plans with SDJen and Persuadeo and head back to the hotel to get some rest.

Fine Dining

I wake up early on Tuesday and play for a few hours on WSOP.com. I win a few hundred big blinds and decide to head over to Bellagio to eat at the buffet. I eat $7500 worth of eggs, along with some other stuff and can barely move. I head back to the hotel and go to sleep. I wake up after a few hours, take a walk outside and then get ready for dinner with Jody, Marcel, Ritty, and Persuadeo at Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio.

I show up in my usual outfit: jeans, shirt and hat. I’ll definitely be the only person wearing a hat in this establishment, but I checked the restaurant rules ahead of time and shouldn’t have any trouble. We’re taken to our seats and nobody asks me to take off my hat. Persuadeo is a bit more polished than I am, and he takes off his hat like an adult.

I order the salmon and tomato soup, which was pretty good. The sauce that accompanied the salmon wasn’t very good, which is strange since Jean George is a master of sauces. Anyway, the meal was good, and got even better when Ritty agreed to pick up the tab. What a nice guy! We’re all too tired to do any gambling afterwards so we all decide to head home, which is fine with me as I’m still very tired.

Game Day

Today is game day at the Sahara. 2-3 uncapped, SB game, straddles, bomb pots, “all the good things.” I pick up Ritty and head over to the Sahara. Bizzy is working tonight, and he cleans up nicely in a suit. He gets me some chips and I’m ready to play. The lineup is fun, and I’m looking forward to the first PLO double board bomb pot.

Sahara Game

In the first one, I flop a set on one board and an opener on the other. Fold turn. Next, I flop a set on one board and a flush draw on another. Fold turn. Nothing much of note happens during the standard NL hands. After 5 hours, I decide it’s time to quit and play one last bomb pot. This time I flop a set on both boards: KK44 on A42r and K97r. There’s a small bet and call, and I call. The turns are 2/J, giving me a full house on one board. There’s another small bet and call. This time I decide to raise, which probably isn’t a great idea on these particular boards. Both players call. The rivers are 2/T, and this time the first to act jams all in for about half pot. The other player also calls. I decide to fold, despite having a decent boat on one board. The first player has A223, and the other player had QJXX. Good thing I stayed to play one last hand.

I lose a few hundred blinds and head back to the hotel.

Final Day

I wake up and prepare to play one final online session before heading home. Do you ever have the feeling that you are about to run terrible? I had this feeling, but know better than to be scared by such a thing. Right away, I lose three flips, KK to AK, QQ to AK, and TT to AK. Of course, this isn’t as awful as it seems, but still a rough start and nothing I’m not prepared for. I hang in there and play for a few hours, but I maintained the punching bag role for the entire session, losing about 400 big blinds. These sessions aren’t exactly fun, but these are what separate the haves from the have-nots. I pack up my bags and head to the airport. The good news is that I will arrive home with just enough time to dodge an incoming snow storm!

After another very rough flight, I finally arrived in Detroit around 5:30 a.m. Naturally, the luggage staff are taking their sweet time, so I have to stand around the baggage claim for nearly an hour. They’ve replaced the coffee place in this area with a coffee machine. Let me tell you: this thing is a piece of shit. You select your order and a cup drops down and the coffee begins brewing. When it’s complete, you are supposed to open the door and grab your cup. The trick is getting the cup loose from the tight grip of the cup holder, without spilling the boiling hot coffee all over your hands. This is made more difficult since they fill the cup right up to the top of the rim. I spill a good chunk of this coffee inside the machine, which I would come to be quite happy about. The cup is also the cheapest cup in the world. It’s very flimsy and does a poor job protecting your hand from the heat. I take one sip and toss it into the trash can, which is right where it belongs. My bags finally arrive and I hit the road. I plan to make one more Vegas trip before the Main Event. Perhaps next time, I’ll play a tournament!

Now that you’ve had time to think about why the driver of the car near Caesars was arrested despite losing his arm to a swinging brick, I can tell you why: Armed Robbery. This was a joke told by a dealer at Caesars. This joke is so bad that it just had to make my blog. Feel free to use it at your next party.

JB, Future MTT Legend

One thought on “JamBasket: Interstate Traveller, Poker Athlete, Diamond Member

  1. Nice blog but I’m still bitter you promised me food and bailed after the challenge. I’ll put that in the “you owe me” column. Sdjen

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