Thursday: Golf at Paiote Golf Club 30 mins down the I-95. Very nice course and I shot my best round of the summer.
Friday: Main Event Day 1A. Went pretty meh but whatever.
Saturday: Jay-Z concert at the Palms. It was just awesome. Afterwards we went to XS at Encore which is just a ridiculous nightclub and had a great time. Only bad thing about the day was I got way too drunk.
Sunday: Write-off due to Saturday night. Saved $5-10K I would have lost playing online tourneys.
Monday: Golfed Wolf Creek in Mesquite. 90 minute drive north on I-15. Golfing in the desert is really an amazing thing. Once you leave Vegas there is just nothing but desert with mountains in the background. It actually is a pretty amazing view even though it's all completely desolate. Occasionally there is an exit with a name like "Sun Valley" or "Heat Canyon" which is basically just a gas station and convenience, as running out of gas in the middle of the desert in 110 degree heat is simply not a good idea. In the case of Paiote on Thursday as you approach the course there is a sign signaling the beginning of the Indian reservation it's on and then you can see some green in the distance. It's kind of like an oasis except instead of being overjoyed at the site of water you're cursing the man-made pond you're going to dump a couple balls in on the 12th. As you approach you see that green obviously has to be a fairway, and in fact there is not one, not two, but three gorgeous golf courses laid out there in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Wolf Creek was a bit different as it's actually located in a "proper" town, Mesquite, NV. Here is a conversation we had with the bartender after our round that should give you an idea of what a legitimate town in the middle of the desert is like:
Us: Is there anywhere decent to get a bite to eat around here?
Her: Well, are you staying in town? Where are you staying?
Us: No, we're staying back in Vegas.
Her: Go back. Really. Just go back.
Once you arrive in Mesquite you drive up this huge hill to get to the golf course which is a sign of what's in store for you. Wolf Creek is widely considered one of the top 50 public courses in the US. It is also one of the top 3 hardest or something like that. Teeing off at 12:30 in 110 degree heat doesn't make your life easier, nor does the wind. Fortunately, growing up in Newfoundland I have some experience playing in 2-3 club wind, but even that and the fact that the wind was at our back for more holes than not didn't save me from shooting a rather ugly number. That being said, the course really was amazing. Elevated tee boxes on most holes make for some spectacular views (and occasionally spectacular drives!). As much as I was exhausted by the heat and getting my ass kicked by the course I still really enjoyed the round. Anyways this is not Watts' Golf Blog so moving along....
Tuesday: Busto main event. Oh well. Went to a sweet Italian restaurant. It was all mafia-style with like the little slot in the door that opens up when you knock on it and they ask how many, then you hear a buzz and another door opens into the dining room. It's called Capo's on Tropicana/Jones. Great food and cool atmosphere, there are little flash lights on your menu so you can read them since it's so dark in the dining room.
Wednesday: Bellagio Cup $3K event. 180 runners so first is $185K. I run sick hot all day just making hands and always getting paid off. The field is actually way softer than even the $1500 events at the Rio. There are maybe 20 good players in the entire field and the fish at Bellagio are just on another level of bad. I nearly finish the day as chip leader except for losing QQ vs ATs near the end of the day. That was basically the only relevant pot I lost all day though so I'm still above average with 15 or so left.
Thursday: First fun hand I play: Russian guy shoves in the SB I call 44 in the BB. He has A8ss. Flop A54ss. Turn 3h. River 2c. Chop it up.
Hand 2: 3k/6k a1k I think we're at final table at this point. Same Russian guy as before opens in EP to 16k. I have 180K next to act and flat call AQs. Short stack next to me crams 40K, Russian insta-reships when it gets back to him. I just don't think he's good enough to realize how insanely strong my range is there and decide my hand should be doing ok against their ranges and call. Russian has 99, shorty has AJdd. I flop a queen but AJdd rivers a flush. I still win the big side pot though.
Hand 3: 4k/8k a1k I have 170k after losing 55 vs 77. Serbian donk limps UTG. I raise to 28K with AA he calls. Flop J86, he checks I bet 42K he crams I call and beat his KJs.
Hand 4: 4k/8k a1k I have 340K. Open AQo in the HJ to 21K. Other Russian guy on my left, Dmitry, reraises to 65k and he covers me. They announce last hand before break. Now I have all sorts of good reasons to cram here. I have AQ only 45 bets deep in late position. He's russian. He might think I'm stealing light last hand before break, though I didn't even notice the clock and I'm not sure he did either. He's been playing so solid as have I, I just don't think he's messing around with me here. Also worth considering that he is the only other competent player at the table so I decide it's not likely enough that he's light here for it to be worth gambling and fold. He shows me AKo. Ding ding ding!
Hand 4: 6k/12k a2k I have a bit over 300K. I open AKo to 32k, Dmitry calls, donk in SB calls, Serb shoves for like 220K in BB. He's such a nit that I definitely am not fist pumping as much as I normally would be here but I obv reshove. The donk in the SB calls off his last 100k or so with 22 (actually) and Serb has JJ. I flop a king and win the pot to get to 740K and take the chip lead.
After this we decide to chop. We do a chip count deal and given stack sizes that is really good for me. I lock up 115K which is more than 2nd place and we play it out for the 25K WPT Championship seat and a really nice Swiss watch.
Hand 5: I raise in the SB to 36K with 55, Dmitry calls in the BB. Flop 933, I bet 48K he calls. Turn T I check and call 75k. River 9 I check and he bets 100K. I really felt like I had the best hand on the flop and unless he floated the flop and paired his ten I don't see that much else he plays this way that beats me. That being said the way he'd been playing I couldn't see him taking this line as a bluff either since he probably doesn't necessarily expect me to fold A-hi to such a small bet. The fact that I have slightly better than A-hi isn't all that relevant and I think I should have folded but I paid off and he had KTo.
Hand 6: Now Dmitry has a big chip lead but they put the watch on the table and it's really cool so I decide I need to bear down and win this. I bust one guy with AKs vs AQ and then 3-handed I bust the other guy:
8k/16k a2k Italian donk ships 145k on the button. I flat call A3o in the SB and Dmitry tanks in the BB. Oh crap he has a better hand than me but I think hes afraid that I'm trapping since I only called. He eventually folds AJ face up and Italian has 89o. Flop JT8. Oh well. Turn 3, River 3. When stuff like that starts happening no matter how rational you are you start thinking "This is just meant to be". At this point I look up and see that rapper "Nelly" has stopped by the Fontana lounge and is having a look at my final table.
We are now heads up roughly even in chips. At first we are playing conservative. Both of us are raising most buttons and neither of us is defending out of position much. When we do it's always by calling never 3-betting. I win the first pot of interest by turning top pair and getting two streets of value. Finally I break the 3-bet-less streak by repopping A5o which gets a fold.
Again not much happens for a bit until I open AKo to 40K on the button. He 3-bets for the first time to 121K, and I make it 301K. He folds and my image is getting is more aggressive even though I had it. Right after that he opens button, I 3-bet ATs and he folds.
Then shortly after that he opens button again to 38K, I make it 118K with 55. This has been standard bet sizing. He has roughly 800K so I'm definitely calling if he moves in as I expect him to do so pretty wide since I've 3-bet/4-bet him so many times recently. Of course I'm not thrilled if he shoves since it will usually be a coin flip but it's worth 3-betting here to keep pushing him around as it will induce him into overreacting and making a mistake at some point. He shoves though and I call, he has A7o. Flop A33 is not so good, but maybe it really was "meant to be" as 5 turns. River 7 and I ship a Bellagio Cup event for the 2nd consecutive summer.
Afterwards we ate at Cut, a steakhouse at Palazzo that was really good and then head to the PokerStars party at the club Rain at the palms. Stars really throws the best parties and it did not disappoint. Nelly played at the end of the night which was pretty cool.
Friday: Play Bellagio Cup $5K event. Make the money but short stacked heading into Day 2.
Saturday: Bust 12th shoving 15xBB with ATo over Eric Froelich's HJ open. He had KK and the back-to-back run was not "meant to be". I register for that day's $5K but bust early losing a big flip for most of my chips and then stationing off the rest with TT running into JJ in a pretty marginal way. I was going to go play some cash games in Bobby's Room but by the time it looked like I might get a seat in the 100/200 PLO game the game wasn't very good so I decided to just go bet a bunch if money on the UFC fights instead. I've made small bets on a bunch of fights before online and tend to do well, mostly just following the advice of people who are really good handicappers (as long as I agree with their picks, but if we like opposite sides I usually just stay away), but never made any big bets before. The lines at Bellagio were really good though and I won all 3 of my bets to make back the buy-in I lost in that day's tournament. Hooray! Also, the fights were really good so it was a fun night.
Sunday: Doing nothing, writing a blog at last.
Monday: Day 1A of Bellagio Cup 15K WPT main event. Going to begin the quest to defend my title from last summer.