Vegas: Monday Night – Tuesday Morning
After our day out in the Nevada and Arizona Mojave Desert, we dropped the hire car off at McCarran Airport and got a cab back to the Strip. As Chris and Jen had missed our earlier visit to the Nine Fine Irishmen bar, we hopped out of the cab at the New York New York Hotel & Casino and headed in for a few pints of Guinness. The second watering hole we visited was the Hard Rock Café, not for food, just for cocktails. My favourite cocktail is a Bloody Mary and I rank the mixologist by whether they ask me “how spicy?” and then by how good they make it. The first one at HRC was not as spicy as I like, so we suggested adding some Sriracha sauce for number two and I had to ask for a larger dose in number three! We headed back up the Strip and stopped off for a burger at Bobby’s Burger Palace, which was hosting a wedding reception…only in Vegas! Then we popped over to a bar area outside Chili’s Grill & Bar for a swift one before hitting The Mirage for some gambling.
We started off on the Craps table. The game we joined was lively and we had a number of guys around us providing tips and advice. The basic Craps strategy is betting the Pass Line every Come Out roll and then always taking the odds by adding a second bet placed behind the first one. Then, the advice is to utilise either Place bets on 6 and/or 8 (moving to 5 and/or 9 if the point is set to 6 or 8) or using the Come bets with odds strategy. We learnt a lot and had a great run for our money.
Fuelled by the beers received at the Craps table, we ventured into the poker room to see if seats were available. It was around 2230 on Monday evening. We both joined the same table, a No-Limit Texas Hold’em ring game with $1-2 blinds and a minimum buy-in of $100. Two tables were running with 10-12 other players when we joined in the fun. We certainly aren’t poker novices, but neither are we in the class of the likes of Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey! The best way to describe my game is a blend of simple ABC strategy, with added aggressiveness based on the size of my chip stack and the amount of alcohol in my system. Having played the opening hands ultra-tight whilst observing the others around the table and how they were playing, I look down at my hole cards to see a pair of queens smiling back at me. Sitting in late position, I raised up the pot pre-flop and when another queen hit on the flop I made the regulation continuation bet to test the resolve of those still in the pot. I lost all but one of the other players, which was okay, but now the question was how to milk him for the rest of his stack given that I was sat on top set. Wow…it got even better as the case queen hit the felt, making quads. I will never know if a different bet size would have kept my fish on the hook, but he didn’t fancy the bet I made and quickly folded. I decided to show my cards, which proved fortunate as it earned me another $100 from the casino as quads qualified for a high hand bonus.
Amanda was sat two places to my right and playing typically solid. To her right was a young guy called Bryan who clearly was a decent player and quite chatty. On Amanda’s big blind, there was no pre-flop action and Bryan suggested chopping the blinds. We’d never heard of this before, probably because this was our very first ring game in a casino environment. Apparently, if everyone folds to leave just the blinds to play, an agreement can be made to chop the blinds, taking back your chips. A debate started about the technicalities of the agreement, which escalated to the point where the room supervisor was summoned. The query was whether this decision can be made each time it occurs or whether once agreed it has to be applied consistently, no matter what hole cards each player is holding. After a long debate and clarification of the rules (well etiquette really), the game continued…a point to remember for future sessions.
The great thing about Vegas casinos is the provision of free alcohol to active gamblers. Well, free from a casino viewpoint, but you are expected to tip the waitress with a minimum of $1 per drink. However, when you consider a bottle of Samuel Adams was costing $9 per bottle, outside of the Happy Hour period, we were saving a huge amount of money whilst playing. The rake at The Mirage is 10% up to $4 per flop, so even if we were regularly all-in and lost each time we were still not paying for our beers via the backdoor route…happy days.
Eventually, two tables became one and ultimately, at some point in the early hours of the morning, we became a three-handed table, with just Bryan (and the dealer) to keep us company. The beer was still flowing and the chips were pretty much being shared by the three of us. It was a great fun game, not that serious, with lots of chat and banter. Then, all of a sudden, we had to leave and look for another poker room to play in!
As mentioned earlier, my game loosens up with alcohol and after taking down a pot after showing Bryan a blatant bluff, one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen happened…Bryan involuntarily and spontaneously puked onto the table! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a massive volume of vomit, more beer than chunks, but the trajectory was such that it reached the dealers hands and chip box. Bryan was very apologetic, Amanda and I were trying not to laugh too much as the dealer and room supervisor were both getting stressed about the incident. After the clean-up, a discussion about health checks and much more stifled sniggering, they decided to shut down the table for the night and we left in search of another poker room.
We headed to The Venetian, which was just over the Strip, as they reportedly had an active poker room running 24/7. When we got there, we were told that there weren’t any $1-2 ring games ongoing and that they couldn’t open up another table for just the three of us. So, we wandered down to The Linq Hotel & Casino, which was known as the Imperial Palace when we visited Vegas in 2012. Although no games were in progress, the casino agreed to provide a table and a dealer for the three of us, so the all-night game restarted after a short and very funny intermission.
The table we were given was positioned just inside the main entrance and attracted a number of new players as the sun started to rise outside and punters started a new day of gambling. The new players were great. They were not that proficient and a little bemused at gate-crashing what must have appeared to be our private drunken party. No matter, the game and beer drinking continued relentlessly. When I say beer drinking, to be honest it was just Amanda and I, as we’d insisted Bryan switched to water as he was supposed to be driving home to Utah later in the day and we really didn’t want any encore performances!
At 0930, Amanda and I decided to call it a day. We’d been awake for over 24 hours and been playing poker for 11 hours if you ignore the location change. I cannot tell you how much up or down we were as individuals, but I think we pretty much broke even as a couple. Money was not important to be honest. We’d had a cracking night, plenty of ultra-cheap beer, made a new Facebook friend, had lots of laughs, ticked a box on the bucket list and had a stack of memories to add to the pile.
The last stop before bed was breakfast at Hash House A Go Go, which was very nice and much needed after a long night of drinking and gambling. With full bellies, we staggered back to The Mirage and finally flopped into bed. Oh, it’s Tuesday 10th November…Happy Anniversary darling…3 fabulous, fun and entertaining years. I love you more and more each and every day x x x