Archive Apr 2009: Bond18

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Around the World in 150 Days, Day 18, A Different Game

April 24th, Las Vegas: I meet ‘Luckychewy’ in the hallway outside my hotel room. We’ve decided to have breakfast (at 2pm obviously) at the Bellagio café then go suit shopping for him and get him started in the pick up game.

I order my berry pancakes and orange juice and he opts for some very delicious looking French toast. Then I spend the next hour trying to go over every detail of pick up I can get into for him, stopping numerous times to address questions. Chewy is a very bright guy so I have no doubt it will all sink in very well and the questions he’s asking are the right ones. We get up to leave and continue our talks through the Bellagio and over into the ‘Forum Shops’ at ‘Caesars’ hotel.

We go into ‘Hugo Boss’ and find him a sweet ass three button soft pin stripe blue suit with a faded blue shirt and tie. They say they can get the alterations done for him before he leaves for Monte Carlo on Sunday. I am again tempted to buy a suit but refrain. Chewy is going to look slick as hell in Europe.

When we exit the store I tell him I’ll start demonstrating some approaches for him before I start throwing him into the fire. We walk down the halls and at the end of one find ourselves standing in front of some kind of water show. There are three girls standing next to us, all holding beers
“Holy shit! You’re allowed to just drink beer in the hallways?” I say to them. This is an example of a situational opener; basically I made an observation about them or a situation pertaining to them and commented on it. Normally during the day I go for the direct approach, which is just walking up to a girl and telling her you think she’s cute, but sometimes situational can be more appropriate, such as if you’re already standing next to them.
“Yea it’s totally cool” says one back “You can drink them in the hall or on the street or whatever!”
“Wow that’s awesome because I’m such a raging alcoholic”
They laugh.
“Which is apparently a trait we all share if you girls are drinking at 4pm in a hallway” I add. This is an example of using challenging humor, one of the things I went over with Chewy. It’s good to be funny, but even better to be funny and challenging at the same time, often executed by simply teasing them. Also note that I state that there is a ‘we’, a wording used to imply that we are familiar with each other.
“Well I’m starting to get thirsty just thinking about it, can I steal some of your beer?”
“Oh yea sure, you can just have the rest of it, though it’s all spit and backwash at the bottom.”
“Oh is it...turns out I don’t care”
We both laugh then I take her offered beer and finish it.

I continue chatting to them for a bit about why they’re here in Vegas, what I’m doing in Vegas, where they’re from, and then go to introduce Chewy but he has moved away from me
“Oh well, looks like I made a three for one trade, yea that worked out pretty well.”
I continue on with the conversation then say I should go find my friend. I tell them we should hang out while they’re in town and they agree. I get the number of the girl who seems most interested, but in a genius move I’ve forgotten her name, all of about 30 seconds after she gave it to me. After she types the number in I pretend like I am typing in her name then save it. I’ve really got to stop doing that. I hang out a bit longer, then tell them I should really get to finding my friend and that I’ll call later.

Chewy has moved so far away that I have to call him to find him again. We continue to move down the halls and after a bit I two cute dark haired girls standing around. I walk up to the taller of the two and go direct
“Hi, I know this is real forward of me but I saw you from across the mall and thought you were really cute so I wanted to come say Hi.”
Half way through my opener I realize the girl is making a call on her cell. It seems it hasn’t connected yet because her eyes go wide when I do this and she starts chatting and engages me. I’ve attempted to pick up a girl with headphones in before, but never a cell phone. First time for everything
“That’s not a boyfriend you’re calling is it?”
“No, no, just my other sister”
Asking about a boyfriend is a clear mistake. First of all, she might have one but was willing to pretend she didn’t if she found me interesting enough, particularly in a place like Vegas. Second, some girls measure their success in life by their love life, and reminding her that she hasn’t got anyone isn’t a great way to get her in the best mind set. Either way I said it, so I just keep running with it. I ask her what brings her to Vegas and she tells me that she and her sister are visiting from Mexico to attend the Britney Spears concert tomorrow. Her name is Diana and she says she hasn’t spent much time in Vegas and would be quite interested in meeting up tonight so I can show her around town. She takes out her phone and has me put my number in it, then I click call which I guess out of instinct makes her hold her phone up to hear head. I copy her and hold my phone up and say
“I’m going to have a whole conversation with you like this” and hold my phone up to my ear, and when she laughs add “Shh, I’m on the phone with someone here.”

Eventually I excuse myself to find Chewy and go off to find him again. I must look really fucking slick to him right now, but the truth is I clearly ran above expectation in those interactions. Historically I’ve only gotten a number in about 40-50% of my day time approaches, and a decent percent of those flake. I tell Chewy it’s his turn and that I’m going to start sending him into the shit. I start sending him into set after set, and although he mostly gets blown out what’s important is that he’s approaching the second I tell him and without hesitation, which is extremely rare for someone on their first day out.

In total Chewy does about seven or eight attempts and winds up with no numbers. However, I consider his first day a huge success just because he was willing to try, and that’s more that can be said for most guys I’ve taken out who often need me to pull their teeth to approach.

In the evening a large group of us goes to ‘Naked Fish’ for dinner, which winds up being at around 11pm. The group decides it’d be an awesome idea to do several Saki-bombs, which leads to them chanting and slamming the table with increasing ferocity as they get more and more wasted. I opt not to partake because I am playing tomorrow, but I enjoy watching the mayhem ensue around me.

Around the World in 150 Days, Day 17, Nobody does it Worse

April 23rd, Las Vegas: I arrive at ‘The Venetian’ poker room about 10 minutes late for the tournament. I buy in with the $2500 in cash ‘Shaundeeb’ was nice enough to have hooked me up with and find my seat at a table of unknowns. We start 20,000 deep at 25/50 blinds with 90 minute levels. This is a very sick tournament, particularly since a quick glance around the room confirms it is almost entirely made up of value.

My table plays extremely loose-weak in the early goings, and a few of the guys are clearly huge targets post flop. The English gentleman on my right limps or calls a raise nearly every hand, and calls down like crazy post flop. I take every opportunity I can to get involved with him and it’s not long before we tangle in a large pot:
Effective stacks: ~20,000, blinds 25/50, I hold 4c7c in the SB.
Preflop: Folds to the CO, CO raises to 125, button calls, I call in the SB (clearly often bad, but I think given both players involved are really bad post and we’re 400 BB’s deep it’s probably fine) the BB calls as well.
Flop: 7d 2d 7h
I bet 400 (lead is debatable here given texture, and I’d never do it with no flush draw out), BB folds, CO folds, the button raises to 1100. This freaks me out pretty good, because he never seems to be putting in any aggression but he’s absolutely the kind of guy who could flat eights through jacks preflop then raise the flop to see where he’s at. I call and we go to the turn.
Turn: Ts
I check and he almost immediately checks behind. Guess he has a draw.
River: 8d
I check and he instantly and very confidently fires in 2000. I think it over and fold because this guy has no idea how to bluff or value bet thin and would be scared as hell of that card if he didn’t have it. He tables Kd9d then says he won’t show anymore.

In the early goings I find a lot of small pairs and suited connectors with which to see the flop in what are almost always multi way pots. I pretty much blank off every time, or the times I hit a draw it whiffs and the opponent shows considerable strength on later streets so I give up. At some point JC Tran takes the seat on my left, and like the fucking idiot I am I decide to get in a big pot with him which I play horribly:
My stack: ~16,000, JC Tran: ~21,000, blinds 50/100, I hold As9h on the HJ.
Preflop: Folds to me on the HJ, I raise to 300, JC calls on the CO, the rest fold.
Flop: Kc 7c 5c
I normally check fold this kind of texture, but JC flats a ton pre so I fire out 500 (he also peels a ton, making this bet pretty bad.) I am leaning back in my chair and he is leaning forward, and he briefly checks his cards then calls.
Turn: Ad
I check (I should bet, there’s a ton of pair plus flush draw combinations he can have that will peel again and it’s difficult for him to get creative here) and he checks behind.
River: 6s
I think for a while and bet 1150. JC thinks for a while and raises to 4500. What the fuck? I feel pretty confident he wouldn’t play any two pair or sets like this because the board is such that he needs to fast play more. I doubt he plays small flushes like this since he knows he can get sucked out and he won’t get much value. It seems to me his range is big flushes, 66 with a club, or bluffs. I’m pretty sure he knows any pair he peeled the flop with isn’t good (except maybe a king, which I’m pretty sure he’d just call with) so I tank for a while and then decide to hero call. He quickly flips up AcQc and I start thinking about how embarrassed I’m going to be when I have to tell people about this hand. I need to get it out of my head that just because someone is a sick player that doesn’t mean they’re always pulling some kind of move on me.

A bit after the hand we go on break and I’m standing around chatting to ‘Kcannon’ and ‘Shaundeeb’. I tell them to “watch this, you’ll enjoy it” then whip out my phone and call the girl I met in the hot tub
“Hey XXXXXXXX I’m getting my ass kicked at the Venetian today, calling to see what you wanted to do about dinner later. By the way you should consider coming over here so we can bang during the next break (we haven’t had sex but she always jokes about ‘banging’ so I figure she’d appreciate the message.) Talk to you soon, bye!”

When we come back from break only five players have sat down, with the two really bad ones in the blinds. I am first to act and get involved:
My stack: ~9500, SB: ~25,000, BB: ~20,000, blinds 100/200, I hold Jc9d on what is essentially the HJ.
Preflop: I raise to 600, two folds, SB calls, BB calls.
Flop: Jd Js Td
SB checks, BB checks, I bet 1200, SB calls, BB folds.
Turn: Qs
The SB leads out 1800, I think for a bit and move in for about 8000 total and he quickly calls with TT. Aw shit.
River: 8
And with that I’ve managed to bust 400 BB’s playing pretty bad in a field of soft players after a night of being fully rested. I am pretty pissed with myself, but simply tap the table and wish everyone luck politely.

I head back to my room at the Bellagio and start doing some writing. While online the girl from the hot tub messages me and suggests we do some go-karting. I agree and she comes to pick me up from the Bellagio. We meet some friends at the track, including the Binger brothers, Mike and Nick. They make us watch a safety video and tell us not to just go full speed at all times. After that we jump into our cars and put the pedal into the floor.

About 30 seconds into the race our cars come to a stop and I look around to see what the holdup is. When I look across the track I see a car has smashed full speed into the wall and now a piece of it is lying on top of the kart and its occupant. Eventually Mike Binger gets out and is noticeably limping off the track. When the race is over Mike shows us the end result of his fight with the wall; his left arm and leg are torn up and bleeding and the bruises and cuts are several inches long. I ask him to pose for a few pictures (which I’ll hopefully have soon) and he is left moving slowly for the rest of the day.

At night a big group of us goes out to ‘McFaddens’ at the Rio, which is very much like a college party contained within a Vegas bar. There are people drinking hard and dancing everywhere, and the bartender runs around on top of the bar pouring shots down the throat of people who lean back to receive his bottle of liquor. It is just how a Thursday in Vegas is meant to be. Deeb’s brother and his friend are in town, and his brother runs around dancing with every 50 year old woman in the place. I’m drinking beer but taking it moderately easy because I don’t feel up for a big night. I tell people about the hands I played today and they confirm for me that I am indeed the worst of all time. I feel dumb around my group of friends sometimes.

Drinks at the bar naturally leads to a 2am Korean BBQ run. Everyone is fucking ecstatic, particularly when plate after plate of bulgoki is brought out. I should really go to Korea this year.

Around the World in 150 Days, Day 16, Wednesday Night Miracle

April 22nd, Las Vegas: I awake with only a minor hang over. My water drinking attempt was clearly a great success. I call my friend and ask him if he plans on grinding today, as Wednesday is the second best tournament grinding day of the week. He tells me he’ll be grinding all afternoon and evening and I can stop by whenever.

The girl and I go over to the Bellagio so I can get changed. I take a shower and change into more casual wear, jeans with a dark button up French cuff shirt, an apt opportunity to try out the new cufflinks. They are difficult to insert. I consider cracking a joke to that affect when asking for her help with them, but decide it’s probably a bit early in the morning for that. We stroll down to the Bellagio café and order the standard Vegas 2pm breakfast. My pancakes have many berries on and in them.

Afterwards we return to Panorama tower to hit the pool and hot tub with friends. I go up to their room first and they are already grinding. They tell me the tournaments I want to play start at 4pm and not 5 like I thought, meaning that I’ve got about 20 minutes for the hot tub. I think things over and take a big hit off the piece. I ask if they don’t mind covering for me for the first 15 minutes or so. My friend agrees.

I join the girl and her friends for a quick afternoon dip in the hot tub. She says she’ll cook dinner for us tonight in their apartment while we’re grinding. I tell her that’s awesome, but then get paranoid about what time it is
“How long have we been in here guys?”
“I don’t know dude, like 10 minutes?” says the friend.
“God, feels like longer.”

I hang out for what feels like hours but is actually about 10 more minutes, then start rambling about how I’m going to be late and need to go up to the room and grind. I return upstairs in my wet suit, grab a towel from the bathroom and wrap it around myself, settle into the couch, thank my friend for covering, then get into my session by registering for everything I can.

We hang out for a few hours in mostly silence, occasionally discussing various spots and what we think the optimal range is for various preflop situations. Around seven the girl comes upstairs with pasta and starts cooking for us. It has seafood in it and is quite delicious, though difficult to eat while attempting to manage 14 tables on a laptop at the same time.

Near the end of the session the apartment starts clearing out as people bust tournaments. Some go to hang out with friends before we’re all to meet up at a club in ‘The Venetian’ for Lacey Jones’s birthday party. By the end of things it’s just me and the two guys living in the apartment hanging out while one of them finishes his session, obviously doing way better than I did again.

His tournaments finish up around 11 and we take his car over to ‘The Venetian’. We’re both playing the $2500 at the same casino tomorrow, so we agree to take it easy tonight. On our way up to the party we pass a cigar store, and decide that this event clearly warrants buying two.

Upstairs in the club the party is a who’s who of Las Vegas poker. There are even people like WSOP top man Jeffrey Pollack, who upon seeing I remark to my friend “Hey man Jeffrey Pollack is here, I should go introduce myself by telling him maybe if he steps it up next year he can be pokers best dressed man.” Seeing as he’s never met me before he would likely not realize that I was joking and I’d come off incredibly arrogant. My friend demands that I do it anyway if I wind up talking to him.

Because I’m a responsible young man the night before a tournament I don’t drink much at all. After my first vodka and orange juice I switch to straight orange juice, and then stand around chatting to the girl I’ve been hanging out with recently. At some point I suggest to my friend that we whip our cigars out, and after lighting then everyone at the party decides they want some too so we start passing them around. At one point two girls are puffing on them and one accidentally ashes down her dress
“AH! IT BURNS!” she yells and starts slapping all around her dress and fanning it trying to put it out. There’s a circle of people around her laughing their asses off. She crams some ice down her dress and tries to fan out the ash. Bringing the cigars was clearly a good decision.

Although I don’t drink much I still manage the occasional party foul, such as accidentally elbowing Maria Ho in the face while chatting to a friend, though I imply to her that her face moved forward much more than my elbow went back. She seems pretty cool about it, particularly as I’ve never met her before. Everyone at the party seems quite cool actually, though as is the case with any social circle there is quite a lot of people discussing each other in hushed tones, though because it’s in a club it’s actually yelling into each other’s ears.

A bit before 2am I tell her that we need to head out because I have to play tomorrow. The night is truly a success, because I have stayed sober and left early from a party with free booze. It’s a Wednesday night miracle.

Around the World in 150 Days, Day 15, Wake and Bake

April 21st, Las Vegas: I wake up in a haze, slowly putting the pieces of last night back together. I stop by a friends place and find him packing a bowl
“You gonna hit this with me Bond?”
“Nah dude, I just woke up, can’t see how that’d be a good idea.”
“What are you talking about? It’s a wake and bake, it’s a great way to start your day.”
“Wake and bake you say?”
Hmm, am I really going to start a day date by getting blazed?

I head over to the apartment of the girl from last night totally blazed. I am attempting to act normal, but I can tell that my speech has taken on its standard nonsensical rambling pattern that it falls into whenever I’ve been smoking. I figure I’ll just come off charmingly eccentric.

We go to the Bellagio for breakfast, which I turn into lunch by ordering a burger. After breakfast we go shopping over at Caesars because I need cufflinks and jeans plus I want to look at suits, which I don’t need but am always tempted to buy. I find one I like at Hugo Boss, but manage to refrain from buying it and find a tasteful pair of steel cufflinks that can go with pretty much any shirt (versatility is key in my opinion.)

We return to the Bellagio and drop the stuff off then discuss what we should do next. I suggest we go to dinner and then Mix at the top of Mandalay Bay. On the cab ride over she announces to the driver that she can rap and asks if he wants to hear it. He says sure. She immediately launches into an enthusiastic r word for word recital of ‘Baby Got Back’ for a few verses. At the end the cab driver dryly says “I don’t like rap.”
“Well then what do you want me to sing?” she asks
“Hmm…Mariah Carey.”
Somehow the conversation gets crazier from there and the cabbie starts telling us random stories about ex-girlfriends. He asks about our being a couple
“No we just met last night” she says “We haven’t banged yet, I save that for the second date, which is today” she adds jokingly.
I hold up my crossed fingers and say “One time dealer.”
This prompts the cab driver to start intimately discussing his past sex life, particularly a story about an ex who was apparently in porn and how took him forever to get her to finish.
“Did you remember to work the clit?” I ask
“Of course dude!” he then elaborates in considerable detail precisely what he did to her, including slapping and strangulation.

We arrive at the hotel and thank the driver for the strange ride. Inside the casino we walk past a cigar store and go pick a few out to smoke upstairs. We take the elevator to the top floor, and then enter Mix, which has an incredible view over the entire strip from the South most point. We lounge around on a couch smoking and drinking red wine. A mutual friend calls her and suggests we go to ‘The Artisan’ for cocktails. When slightly drunk more drinking seems like a brilliant idea, so I immediately agree.

‘The Artisan’ turns out to be a small Vegas casino slightly off the strip that I have never seen before. It doesn’t look like much, but inside everything is covered in art, almost every foot of wall and article of furniture is pure swank. We meet Matt G and some girl he knows inside. The bar happens to be having it’s karaoke night. I demand that Matt comes up and sings ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling’ with me. After some prodding he agrees. I am yelling song lyrics into a microphone in my left hand, and quickly downing a ‘Blue Moon’ beer in my right.

After much singing and drinking more friends arrive and they suggest going to ‘The Rhino’. Surprisingly, she agrees to this. Sweet. We take a cab over and get in line. At the door they tell her it is a $50 entry fee. She refuses on the count that she is a girl and paying that to see fake tits is outrageous. I happen to agree with her, but she’s laying into the bouncer good enough for the both of us so I just let her do the talking. The other guys go in and we decide to leave instead. Fake breasts bore me anyway.

Around the World in 150 Days, Day 14, Beaten by the Best

April 20th, Las Vegas: I wake up well before the tournament feeling refreshed, though having eaten the Korean BBQ so late at night is wreaking a little havoc in my stomach. Hopefully it holds over for a full day of poker, lasting for which is a hope in it of itself. I take a shower, throw on a suit, and walk down to the Bellagio convenience store and grab my regular meal replacement bars.

When I make my way to the table there is a Full Tilt advertisement waiting for me. The table contains Jennifer Harman, Erik Seidel, and Phil Ivey, and everyone else is a known competent player except for a woman in roughly her mid 30’s sitting two on my left. My 28,000 in chips is still a totally reasonable starting at the 400/800 blind level.

For the first few rounds I do absolutely nothing. I open a single pot and get three bet by Phil Ivey and fold my KJs. After a few rounds of folding there’s a spot where online player ‘CrazyMarco’ raises in mid position to 2200 and two of the players who flat a bit looser both call. I cram 21,000 and change on the button with T7hh, feeling pretty damn confident about the spot and my image. It folds back to Marco who thinks it over and folds, as do both flat callers.

A few hands later I find 66 in MP and open. Lee Markholt flats next to act and everyone else folds. I get a fairly draw flop with a 6 and lead out. He calls and the turn is a card that puts more draw possibilities out and I fire again, leading to his tank folding. The next hand I raise 67dd and the unknown woman flats. The flop is 636 with a flush draw and I fire out, getting a call from her. The turn is a T and I bet again, leading to a fold. The next hand I raise 87dd and the same woman flats. The flop brings me a gut shot so I bet and she snap folds.

My stack moves up to around 40k, and after roughly another round of play I find myself in a spot against Phil Ivey:
My stack: ~40,000, Ivey’s stack: ~60,000, blinds 400/800 with 100 ante, I hold AKo in the BB
Preflop: Folds to Ivey in MP1, Ivey raises to 2200, folds to me in the BB, I reraise to 7200, Ivey calls.
Flop: T J 5 rainbow
I check, Ivey checks behind.
Turn: Q full rainbow
I bet 10,500, Ivey thinks briefly and calls.
River: 4
I think for a moment then shove the river and without a word or touch of a chip instantly flips AKo up in a style only a true balla could posses.
“Chop it up” I say.
Phil says nothing, he only stares into the distance, disinterested yet fully engaged.

Half an orbit later we all get involved again:
My stack: ~42,000, Phil: ~70,000, CO: ~80,000, blinds 400/800 with 100 ante. I hold As9s in MP2.
Preflop: Folds to me in MP2, I raise to 2200, folds to the loose lady on the CO, she calls, Ivey on the button raises to 8200, both blinds fold, I think that he knows the lady is flatting super wide and I have an image of never putting in a lot of chips pre without a big hand so I shove for 42,000 total, the lady folds, Phil thinks for a while and says “Well I guess I’m calling” and calls with JJ.
Flop: K J 5
Turn: 7
“Good game guys” I say then walk away. Ivey seems like a poor target for fancy play syndrome.

I go to get some food then hang out at Panorama towers with some friends. We chill up in the room for a while getting blazed and discussing our various days of play in the 25k. After a while we decide to hit the community hot tub and meet some other friends down there. There’s about 10 of us perhaps, pretty much everyone is a serious professional player. There’s a couple girls in the hot tub, one of which I’d chatted up the other night when she showed up down here a bit tipsy. After a bit of chat she somehow ends up sitting on my lap, so I put my arm around her. She’s got a glass of wine and I grab it and say
“I’m gonna be needing a drink” then take a large swig of what turns out to be red wine, merlot in fact. She grabs the other girl and drags her onto my lap as well
“Have you met Tony?” she asks her
“Uh yea we met…” I blurt
“We certainly have now” interrupts the other. I don’t quite know how this happened, I am pretty blazed here.

I keep taking swigs of her glass and eventually the other moves off my lap but she remains.
“Oh! Let’s go to lunch or go shopping tomorrow!” She says.
“Yea sure, that’d be cool if I’m not busy or anything. I doubt I will be.”
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