Thursday, May 30, 2013

Old Friends

It’s always nice to run into old friends, right?  Well, if the friend is a nice person and a great poker player you haven’t seen in over a year, then yes, of course it is.  If the old “friend” is your own personal kryptonite hand….well, not so much.

A couple of nights ago I ran into Alicia at the MGM.  Alicia is the absolutely terrific tournament poker player I ran into at the Aria a bit over a year ago.  Of course, in my initial post, I gave her a phony name—as I tend to do—and called her “Veronica.”  You can read that post here.  That was one of the most popular posts I did last year.  A few months after that post, Alicia played in her very first Main Event at the WSOP, and I not only tweeted updates about her run but mentioned it at the beginning of a couple of current posts, (see here and here).  And as I publish this post, Alicia is starting play in her first WSOP bracelet event, a $1K NL event.  Let's all wish her luck.  (Edited to add: I can now report that Alicia did indeed cash in Event #3 of the WSOP!)
Alicia was running great in the ME last year until she had her pocket Kings run into pocket Aces.  Gee, that doesn’t sound too familiar, does it?
Actually, that was the second time I’d run into her in three days.  Two days before, I saw her for the first time since the two Aria tournaments we played in last year at Bally’s.  It was kind of a fluke since neither one of us play at Bally’s very much.  The poker world is a small one indeed.
Alicia was there to play in their HORSE tournament, and sadly, that didn’t end well for her.  So she ended up playing some 1/2 NL while waiting for her boyfriend, who was still alive in the tournament.  And she sat right next to me….on my left.  As much as it was great to see her again, I have to say having such an outstanding player have position on me was not ideal, even if she is much more of a tournament player than a cash player.
But it gave her a great view to see my latest encounter with another old friend of mine, this one I was a lot less eager to renew my acquaintance with.  Yes, it was the dreaded pocket Kings.
This was at the end of a particular brutal session.  How brutal?  Well even flopping quad three’s—and getting paid for it—didn’t save it.  If I was doing the kind of posts that all my readers love—you know, the exceptionally lengthy ones—I would talk about that and also describe the fun of having flopped a set of Jacks lose to a turned set of Queens.  But I guess I can save that for when I have more time. (The explanation of why I'm not doing longer posts is here).
I was pretty close to wrapping things up when I got the dreaded hand in late position, with about $110 or so left after an extra re-buy or two. 
One player had already limped and I raised to $10.  Two behind me called, as well as the limper.  At least Alicia, the player I was most concerned with, folded. I should mention that this was quite the action table.  Lots of three-betting, raises and re-raises on the later streets, some wild bluffs and semi-bluffs.  There was money to be made if you caught a hand, but whenever I did, someone caught a better one (see above: set of Jacks losing to set of Queens).
The flop looked good for my hand, 9-6-3 rainbow.  The first player to act bet, I think $25, and the next player made it $55.  Now, despite this action, I still thought my hand was good.  There had been plenty of bets at this table and from these players with weak holdings or naked draws.  I knew I could be facing a set, and if so, so be it, but I thought two pair wasn’t too likely.
With my last remaining $100 or so, I shoved.  The last to act was a particularly aggro player—he had a British accent though he hardly ever spoke—and had three-bet a lot preflop.  He had also hit more than his share of suck outs.  I guess I should mention that all the players had me covered.  He thought long and hard, but that wasn’t unusual, he always took his time when the action was on him.
He eventually called and the other two folded.  I was right, they were both betting light.

(Edited to add:  OK, honestly, when I recalled the hand, I wasn't 100% sure whether the Brit called or raised.  I actually thought he might have shoved.  Since my action was over, I wasn't that concerned with whether it was a call or a raise, only that he didn't fold.  I have conferred with Alicia and she recalls that he did raise my shove to isolate.  He had both the other players covered, which help explains their folds).
I had been playing with this Brit for three hours, and if I knew his game, he should have known mine.  He’d seen a few of my tough beats, and also had been the victim of my flopped quads.  And he had seen me play very few hands all night.  It should have really stood out at this action table that I was not the player supplying any of the action.
He never showed his hand when there was an all in, prefering to show it only at the end if he won.  He never showed if he lost, and would never respond when asked what he had.  So I didn’t flip over my cards either.
The turn was a 10 and the river was another 9.  I showed my Kings and he flipped over…..Queen-9 offsuit.
Queen-9 offsuit.
So he called my preflop raise with Queen-9 offsuit—before he knew anyone else was going to call.  Then he called my shove with top pair, mediocre kicker.  From playing with me for all that time, he had to know that his hand was behind there, that top pair was no good.  But he called anyway.
And hit his damn trips on the freakin’ river.
Pocket Kings.  What else would I expect?
I said goodbye to Alicia, and headed for my car.  I tried to repeat, over and over again, the poker sayings, “You want them to call there,” and, “I got it in good.”
It was nice to see Alicia again.  My old friends, pocket Kings?  Not so much.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let's Compare $1-$2 vs. $1-$3 No-limit Hold'em

My latest column for Ante Up Magazine is online and you can read it here. 

Should be appearing in a poker room near you soon.  Or now, even.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bare Backs, Sore Backs, Perfect Racks, Pocket Kings & Pocket Jacks

As I post this, I’m back in Vegas, having arrived Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.  And I find things very frustrating.

I’ll get to the frustrating part later.  But I need to cover a number of topics in this post, and I want to do it in very brief fashion.
(Pause for laughter)
I can now confirm what I mentioned in the Slut Parade post, that the MGM poker room has moved away from its long time area, away from the chaos of said Slut Parade, and back into its long time temporary location.  Rumor—and that’s all it is, at this point—has it that it will stay there and that after the WSOP is over, they will have a new temporary location while they turn the area they are now at into more of a “real poker room” with an extensive remodel.
However, the current location still provides opportunity for prime Slut Parade viewing, as you can see the sluts, I mean girls, I mean ladies, walk by as they come to and fro between the parking area and Hakkasan.  So depending on where you’re sitting, there’s still a boatload of distractions walking by.  And getting to and from the Men’s rooms is also distracting for this reason (plus all the traffic).  And if you just walk anywhere around the casino when the SP is in full bloom, there’s eye candy galore.
In my original post about this phenomenon, I mentioned that it seemed like exposed cleavage was in third place regarding what these prim and proper ladies were emphasizing with their uniforms, trailing behind ridiculously short and ridiculously tight dresses.  Based on last night, perhaps I was mistaken.
Last night, bosoms were all over the place.  Cleavage definitely made a roaring comeback (not that it ever went away). And some of those ladies exposing said cleavage had very large breasts.  I wondered if at least one or two of them had perhaps been to a plastic surgeon. 
Additionally, there were a lot of bare backs exposed, and it appeared that a lot of the ladies had forgotten to put on a bra before going out for the night.  Side boobage was all over the place. In the front, the cut was down almost to the navel in some cases. But despite the loose fitting tops and lack of support garments, no nipples were on display this time, at least that I saw.
But the ladies dressed like this put on quite a show as they hurriedly walked to and from the club.  At least a few of the barebacked, braless ladies did indeed still have their own natural endowments, and they were thus giving a scientific demonstration of the effect of gravity.  It was a shocking sight.
Frankly, all the exposed flesh and inappropriate display of the female form was totally unacceptable in a public place.  I tried to find someone to complain to, but there just wasn’t anyone around who listen to my concerns.  

As to why I’m frustrated, well I don’t mean it in the sense that an MGM dealer meant last month, when I commented on all the interesting scenery parading throughout the room back when it was still next to Hakkasan.  I was enjoying the view, but he said, “Well it’s distracting.  And frustrating.  I go home with blue balls every Friday night.”  He said this only to me, but several of the players heard it and one asked to repeat it, which he did, loudly enough for everyone at the table, including a lady with orange colored hair, to hear.  The orange haired girl did not appear to be offended.
No, I’m frustrated because here I am in Vegas again and I have barely made in a dent in all the tales I have to tell from my previous two visits to Vegas.  And sadly, this time I came to town with no posts “in the bank” \that I have ready to post, as I have in the past.  The reason is that, while I was in L.A., I was struck with a recurrence of a chronic bad back (which I mentioned here), and I spent the better part of four days flat on my back, unable to work, and unable to type blog posts.  I should have at least half a dozen pre-written posts ready to go, but because of the bad back, I have zero.
Thus, in order to keep providing new content for the blog while in Vegas this time—for Memorial Day Weekend, for the start of the WSOP and for the next AVP Meet & Greet--I will have to change things a bit.  Instead of posting the detailed, meaty, takes-four-hours-to-read posts that I usually do and my readers all crave and beg for, I will have to do much shorter posts, concentrating on just a couple of things that are currently going on, and save the more desired posts for when I have time when I get home.  In the meantime, I’ll be collecting more meaty stories, so the odds of me catching up are getting shorter.  I hope these shorter posts don’t cost me readers.  Hang in there folks.
So, I barely have time to mention that yesterday, while playing at the Binion’s Classic, the lovely and vivacious Denise announced to the entire table she was dealing to that “My rack is perfect.”
To be clear here, she was not referring to a rack of poker chips.  No, she was referring to the part of the female anatomy that I have been unjustly accused of being obsessed with. There were two female players at the table when she announced this—neither of whom were lacking in the rack department, btw.  She actually nodded at me and winked in my direction when she said that, although I cannot say for sure if she signaled me out because she knows exactly who I am and why that comment might especially catch my interest, or if it was a coincidence because I happened to be sitting directly across from her.  Of course, I am always on my best behavior around Denise these days, so I said nothing, sitting there stone faced, and making a mental note of the comment.
I know that none of my readers really care about scantily clad females or their breasts, so let me get to the important part of this post: poker.  Yesterday in the tournament I was dealt pocket Jacks twice within 10 hands of each other.  The first time I flopped a set on a scary board, AKJ.  I made a flop bet and was called.  A harmless 6 hit the turn and my bet there was not called.
The second time I again flopped a set!  Not bad, huh?  Two sets of Jacks in less than 30 minutes.  My bet was again called.  The turn was the case Jack.  Pretty sure that this was the first time I’d ever caught quads in a tournament before.  The other guy checked and of course I checked behind.
Queen on the river, the guy bets out $1K (probably about half the pot).  Glory be, he bet into my quads!  I thought a bit and raised to $2.5K, praying, just praying, that he would repop it (which, with his chip stack, would have had to have been a shove).  But no, he only called.  OK, good enough, getting paid off on the river with quad Jacks.
“Just quads” I said as I flipped over my cards.  The guy was totally classy about it.  He said he had two pair (with the Jacks on the board) so I think he kind of played it badly, but he was very nice and said it was the second time in his life he’d lost to quads in a tournament.  But the first time he at least had a boat.
Despite this, I failed to cash in the tournament, a story for another day.
But this blog is famous, above all for two topics.  Bosoms and pocket Kings.  Bosoms have already been covered (so-to-speak), so let’s talk about my favorite dreaded hand.  In the first hour of my very first session back in Vegas Friday night, I was dealt this hand three times.  The funny thing is that this was the only hand I got in that time that was playable.  Seriously.  I know I’m a tight player but only the wildest aggro would have found anything I received during this period playable other than the cowboys.
And I won all three times with them!  Yes all freaking three times I won.  Not big pots mind you.  But frankly, any time I get KK these days, I consider it a major victory if I don’t get stacked (and that is not a reference the first topic of this blog post, get your minds out of the gutter).
First time, only one caller to my raise, low flop, he doesn’t call my flop bet.
Second time, there were a bunch of limpers, so I raised to $14 and caught my set of Kings.  Two hearts on the board and both my kings were black.  I bet out $20, folds to a guy who raises to $45, yippee!

Because I don’t slow play sets, and because of the heart draw, I didn’t smooth call.  I think that was probably a mistake, but I just have this thing now about not slow playing sets, so I made it $100.  He thought for a bit and folded.  He said he had KQ.
Third time a couple of callers and the flop came 5-5-5.  Wow.  I “accidentally” checked.  I was asking if the first guy had checked and the dealer thought I was checking.  Before I could correct him, the last guy bet $10, so I just check raised (to $25) instead.  The raiser folded.
Three for three in Pocket Kings.  At least this trip was getting off to a good (and shocking) start. 

Back to tables now to collect more stories I won’t have time to blog about!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


One of the advantages of working for AVP is that I get advance notice of special tournament series.  Sometimes that gives me an early heads up about tournaments I want to play in when I come to town.

As such, while still in L.A., I learned about the “PHamous Poker Series on the Mezz” that Planet Hollywood was having to coincide with March Madness.  As I was entering the tournaments into th e AVP system, it struck me that I might want to play in one or two of the events.  The one on Friday at noon caught my interest.  It was $100 buy in for $15K in chips with two guarantees.  The total prize pool was guaranteed at $6K and first place was guaranteed to be $3K.
So I got moving early that Friday (a noon tournament is a challenge for me when I’m in Vegas) and headed over to Planet Ho.  As you can infer from the name of the event, the series was not held in the regular Planet Ho poker room (where this infamous event took place) but on the mezzanine, basically a convention area for the hotel.  This was both good and bad.
The good was that it was quite roomy and comfortable.  The bad was that it was literally a two mile walk to the rest rooms.
Ok, not literally.  I know you hate it when “literally” is misused like that.  It was only virtually two miles to the rest rooms.  But I’m pretty sure there was a change in zip codes between the poker tables and the facilities.
When I got to the table the guy to my right was someone I recognized.  I didn’t know his name but he was one of those guys who I’d known I’d played with a bunch of times.  I had a strong feeling he was a tournament player, not a cash player and tried to figure out where I knew him from.
To my surprise, he recognized me (I’m usually surprised when that happens, I’m so used to blending in with the scenery).  But he nodded to me and said, “How ya doing?”  We finally introduced ourselves and I’m going to call him Len because I think he may become a recurring character on the blog and I hope that one day he’ll do something so embarrassing that it’ll make good fodder for the blog.  At the moment though, all that my memory could come up with was that he was a good player and I had be careful against him. Fortunately he was directly to my right.  When we exchanged names, I asked where I knew him from and he mentioned a bunch of rooms where I’ve been known to play tournaments, as I suspected.
I started out rather card dead and won my first pot when I was able to check from the big blind with Ace-5 offsuit and flopped two pair.  No one called my flop bet.
A bit later I was dealt the dreaded pocket Kings.  The blinds were $100/$200 and someone raised to $700.  I made it $2000 and he just called.  Low flop, but 2 spades, I bet $4K and he called.  Turn was scary, it paired 8’s and was the third spade.  But I bet $6K and he called again.  The river looked harmless but when he checked, I checked behind him.  I thought I had put enough in the pot for just an overpair.  Before I flipped my cards, he asked, “You got Kings?” And then he saw them and said, “Yeah, I thought so.  But I had to keep calling” and he showed his pocket Queens. 
The right before the break I got pocket Aces.  Hmm, Kings and Aces before the first break.  Not bad.  A new player to the table limped and Len raised to $700.  I made it $2,000.  Limper called.  He was short stacked.  And just from the way he was acting, he didn’t give the impression he really knew what he was doing.
Len looked at me for a few seconds and folded. After the hand he told me he had a medium Ace.  The flop was low and I put out a pot sized bet.  Limper shoved.  His shove wasn’t all that much more than I had put out.  Turns out he had Ace-7 and there was a 7 on the board.  Yeah, that’s it, medium pair.  Who am I complained?  My Aces held and I got a nice chip up.  Always nice to be playing against clueless players, right?
I caught a nice break when I raised on the button with Jack-10 and a short stacked player shoved.  It wasn’t that much to call so I did.  He had pocket 10’s.  But the board ended up being a low, 5 card straight so we chopped it.  Ironically, just a little while before, the same guy had gotten it all in way ahead against another player, and when the board double paired he chopped that too.  Not his day.
At one point, as I was making some notes, a guy wearing a Bluetooth earpiece commented, “You’re taking notes on us.  You’re referring to your notes as to how to play.”  I laughed and said, “No, this is static information.  You’re using that Bluetooth in your eat to get real time info.  Someone’s speaking into it, ‘He’s got Aces, fold.’”  Later, as we crossed paths going to and from the Men’s room (and we were now at different tables), he said, “Keep taking those notes, man.”
Despite these hands, it didn’t take all that long for me to get into shove-or-fold mode.  As I’ve explained, I usually go into that mode a little earlier than most players.  That’s either because I think it’s the best way to recover and actually have a chance of getting a decent cash, or because I don’t trust my post flop game.  In this case, despite the lack of antes, it seemed to me after a few levels the blinds really progressed rapidly.  As I started shoving, I wasn’t getting called and some of the players were commenting on that.  So when I shoved with pocket Queens and no one called, I showed my hand to show I wasn’t stealing.  But it didn’t fool anyone. “Sure you show your big pairs, but don’t show the other hands.”
By that time I was at my third table.  When our table broke, I was sent to the next table to break, so I didn’t stay there long.  So when I moved again, I was sent to what was going to be the final table, even though it wasn’t the final table yet.
But that was a good thing.  This was the table right next to the one I had started out.  And from the beginning of the tournament, it was clear that this table was the fun table.  There was laughter, shouting (good-natured) and loud talk coming from that table seemingly every minute.  And the players who were fun were still there when I made it over there.
I sat immediate to the right of the main instigator, an Aussie.  He never shut up, but he had a certain charm about him that made it more than tolerable.  He was constantly cracking jokes, and braggin. His main foil was a British woman in the center of the table (we were at seats 2 and 3) whose name I eventually learned was Lydia.  Yes, that’s her real name.  I doubt I’ll ever run into her again or that she’ll ever see the blog, and because I like the name Lydia, I’m going to use it.  And unlike the Lydia in the song featured below, she had no tattoos.  None visible, anyway (she was modestly dressed). 

It turned out that Lydia was on holiday and was in the British military.  So was her husband, who was around but not playing in the tournament.  Lydia was a Captain.  She’d be serving for six years and was now “facing my majority.”  The Aussie asked what that meant, but before she answered, he said, “I face my majority every morning.”  It was clear what he meant.  This was neither the first nor the last time he referred to his dick.  In fact he mentioned several times that he had the biggest dick ever.
Unfazed, Lydia explained that she in the process of being promoted to Major, same rank as her husband.  The Aussie asked Lydia if she faced her majority every morning, but she didn’t respond.  She was very classy in the face of all the sexual innuendo, but she never appeared to be in the least bit offended.
So I asked who wore the pants in their family.  “Well, he thinks he does” was her response. 
Lydia was an absolute delight.  Funny and friendly, it was really a pleasure to play with her.  She was having a good time with all the guys at the table, most notably the Aussie, who was one of those guys who was always claiming to be the best at everything he ever tried.  And if there was something he hadn’t tried, he would tell you that if he did try it, he would immediately be the best at it.  I know this sound obnoxious, but trust me, there was something totally charming about it.  Maybe it was the accent.  Or the fact that he said it with a wink and was clearly just having a good time.

It was the class and charm that Lydia exhibited dealing with the Aussie that was so much fun. She didn't say anything outrageously funny, but there was something about the way she was reacting to all the brags and teasing from the Aussie that was just a total delight.
I guess you could say there was some flirtation going on between Lydia and the Aussie, even though the Aussie was talking about his wife a lot.  He asked if her husband, the Major, was a big guy.  He wanted to know if he could beat him up.  No, actually he was rather short….but he was a former bantam weight boxer, so he did need to be careful.  Her husband did eventually stop by to see how Lydia was doing, and was indeed short, but he met the Aussie and they had a good laugh.
There was a guy over on the opposite side of the table who was also pretty chatty and pretty braggadocio.  But perhaps because he was American he wasn’t nearly as charming as the Aussie.  His act almost wore thin, but he and the Aussie were almost in a competition as to who could brag the most.  And they practically had a dick measuring contest right there at the poker table.  At one point the Aussie asked him how old he was when he reached puberty.  The guy replied, “I haven’t yet.  I just have a big penis.”
As she did with any risqué comment she heard, Lydia reacted with class. “Being in the military, I’m used to talk like that. It doesn’t shock me.”
At one point, based on a poker move, the Aussie told Lydia, “You’ve got the most balls of anyone at the table, even though you’re the only one without balls.” Lydia thanked him for the compliment.
It was both the Aussie and the other chatty guy at the other side of the table that were giving me a hard time for all my shoving (which met with no resistance, I was never called—which meant I stayed alive but never doubled up).  At one point, the Aussie said to me, after a shove, “Would you stop shoving?  You’re sitting there with your girlie drinks and shoving.  Cut it out.”  But again, the way he said it, it wasn’t offensive at all.  And I suppose a diet Coke could considered girlie.
Lydia was not only fun but she was a good poker player and also a bit lucky.  I don’t think she had the biggest stack at the table when I first got there, but she soon did.  And she was fairly aggressive.  However, the luckiest hand that helped her out might have had more to do with a questionable ruling by the dealer than the cards.  As I mentioned, the tournament was a long way from the restrooms.  To make matter worse, the break schedule for this event was weird, and after the first break, the second break was for something like two and a half hours after play resumed.   It was weird, especially with those restrooms being so far away.
So I don’t think there was a single player who played the entire time between those two breaks who didn’t have to get up to run—literally—to the restroom during the actual play.  Lydia was one of those who did and as she returned, the dealer had already dealt her hand.  She got to the table—but was not sitting down—when the second card was dealt to her.  I believe that a strict interpretation of the rules would call for her hand to be mucked since she wasn’t actually seated.  A couple of the players questioned that.  Even Lydia did, she wasn’t sure if her hand was in play and would have been perfectly fine with having her hand killed.  But the dealer, without checking with the floor, said it was fine as she was at the table, even if she hadn’t had quite enough time to have taken her seat.
Well, she raised and another guy shoved.  He was one of the guys who had questioned whether her hand was dead, but he was only too happy about her being alive when she called his shove and she showed King-Queen.  He had two Queens.  Of course, a King on the turn gave the hand to Lydia, who admitted feeling a little guilty because of the question about her hand being alive.  And the guy did grumble about losing to a hand that should have been dead.  Of course, he was initially delighted that her hand was allowed when he saw it was only King-Queen.
When I was moved to this table, it was one of the final three.  Now, the prize pool was really weird if you ask me, and if I had realized that beforehand I might not have played this tournament.  Although there were about 100 or so runners, they were paying 18.  So between that and the fact that the tournament guaranteed a first prize of $3000 (a terrible idea, I realized), the first few min cashers were only going to get $113.  This for a $100 buy in.  The prize pool was ridiculously top heavy, even second place wasn’t that good compared to first (I don’t recall what it was, but I remember at the time it seemed weak). 
So when we got down 10 two tables and it was suggest that we pay the bubble, we found out we couldn’t.  Because of the guarantee for 1st, they would not adjust the prize pool at all.  Only way to pay the bubble would be to pay it out of our own pockets.  And since the min cash was $113, there was really no way to do it.  It was just dumb.  The right thing to do was take $113 off the first place money, which still would have been too much for the size of the prize pool and all, and given that to the bubble.  But we were not allowed to do that because of the 1st place guarantee.
So we had to play hand-for-hand, an excruciating experience.  But I survived and we were down to 9 at each table, and I was guaranteed at least a $13 profit for the day!
Just a few hands later, I get pocket Aces.  Couldn’t ask for anything better than that, right?  And before it got to me, a guy with long blonde hair that I’m calling “Surfer Dude” raised.  He had nearly double my stack.  So of course I shoved.  He didn’t think too long about calling, kind of surprising since I could do real damage to his stack.  He said, “you’re probably ahead of me.”  I said “I think so,” even before I saw his Ace-9 offsuit.  The flop came 5-6-x, and when a 7 hit the turn, Len, who had since joined the table, said, “straight draw!”  And sure enough, the river was an 8 giving Surfer Dude a straight and me the lowest possible min cash.  $13.  Be still my heart.
After I collected my winnings, I had to say goodbye to Lydia, who was still riding high.  She had been so much fun.  I wished her well and it was only then that I learned her name.  I told her she was an absolute delight and that she was one of the most fun people I’ve ever encountered at a poker table. I wanted to tell her about the blog, but I chickened out, I guess because of all the other players around her.  The Aussie had actually busted out before me, failing to cash.  Guess he wasn’t the best at everything.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Slut Parade

This post is about what’s been happening in the MGM Grand poker room lately.

Alert readers will likely recall that I’ve never really mentioned the MGM poker room here on the blog before.  Even more alert readers will recall that in the past, people have asked me, here and in the Twitterverse, if BSC (which stands for “Big Strip Casino”) is actually the MGM poker room.
I have never officially and publicly, here on the blog or on Twitter, confirmed that.
And that’s all I have to say about that subject.  ;)
Anyway, I like the MGM poker room and something happened right about the time I arrived in Vegas last month that changed the playing conditions there quite a bit.  It has made it rather, um, challenging to play there and concentrate on the poker during certain hours.
It all has to do with a nightclub that opened there last month.  It is called Hakkasan and is supposedly the largest nightclub in the world.  It is five stories and also has a restaurant as part of its complex (the restaurant didn’t open until the tail end of my recent visit). 
The construction of this club, which replaced Studio 54, has wrecked havoc with the poker room.  For more than a year, the poker room kept moving back and forth between its old location, right near the club, and a temporary location just a bit down the way that almost no one seemed to like.  Business in the room took a hit, presumably from the constant moving and the fact that most of the time it was in the less preferred location. 
The room moved back to its old location at the beginning of the year, and that was supposed to be permanent—a “fact” I noted in my Ante Up column (here).  But then they moved back to the temporary location, just to make a liar out of me.  Then they moved back to the regular location again just before the club opened. 
That’s where they were last time I was in the room.  However, recent reports indicate that  they are soon to move back to that “temporary” location and that it may not be so “temporary” any more.  Now, as this post “goes to press,” I don’t believe it is yet 100% finalized where the poker room will end up. But I believe that this post will go a long way towards explaining why it is unlikely they will return to the original location—the location I am talking about in this post.
Because of the club, they had made a few changes to the room.  First of all, they took out a number of tables in order to make room for more foot traffic.  Because of all the people coming to the club, there are tons of people—non-poker players— traipsing through the poker room whenever the club is open (or close to opening).  So during the evenings, on days the club is open (Thursday through Sunday), there is a constant stream of people just using the poker room as a way to get from point A to point B.  This can be a bit distracting to those of us who possess a y-chromosome, as I will explain shortly.
Also, they put 4 blackjack tables right in the poker room, presumably because they want people who are leaving the club or waiting to get into it to have a way to lose money that is more profitable to the casino than poker is.
So picture this.  On nights when the club operates, people start lining up for it an hour or two before the opening.  Because the club is so big, they line up on both sides of the poker room.  And also, as I said, customers (mostly club-goers but really anybody in the MGM casino—a pretty big place, you know) are walking right through the poker room.
And because the club is the newest and biggest in Vegas, it is attracting huge crowds .  It has instantly become the “in” place for the club-going crowd, and will likely remain that way until the next big thing opens. 
So during these hours, if you are playing poker in the room, and you are in deep thought trying to figure out if you should bet or try for that check-raise, you can look up and will likely be distracted by all the people around you.  You can see one of the two lines, on either side of the room, from pretty much any table in the room, not to mention those actually walking through the room.
Do you know who mostly goes to nightclubs in Vegas (and elsewhere, I would imagine)?  Young people.  Twenty-somethings.  Maybe even under twenty-somethings.  A player mentioned that there’s likely a very good market for fake I.D.’s in a town like Vegas, with all the sins it has to offer, and that some of the patrons for the club looked under-age to him.
Furthermore, the gender-split among their customers is approximately 1000 to 1 female to male.  OK, I may be a bit off in that estimate.  I think that y-chromosome I was born with could be affecting my perception.  Just a bit.
Seriously, it’s not quite like that.  But there are at least 3 to 5 times more girls going to this club than guys.  Presumably this has to do with the fact that the cost to get into the club is totally discriminatory.  It costs something like $75 for the guys, and $30, I think, for the girls.
I thought such discrimination was against the law?  Why isn’t Gloria Allred suing this club on behalf of all the guys who are paying a penalty merely because they were born with the ability to urinate standing up?
Oh well, I don’t discuss politics on this blog.  It is what it is, and as a result, the crowd for this club is three-to-one (at least) female.    The point being that, there are just a ridiculous number of girls in their 20’s in and around the MGM poker room these days.
And do you know what girls these days wear to go to these clubs?
OK, not exactly nothing. 
Next to nothing.  As close to nothing as they can get away with without getting arrested.
I’m not exactly a club-going kind of guy, so I dunno what the girls wear when they go to clubs in other cities.  Maybe the same thing?  Beats me.
But if you’ve ever been to Vegas and have seen the crowd lined up for a hot nightclub, you surely know what I mean.
I’ve noticed this phenomenon for many years, happily so.  Every year, it seems the less and less material is actually used to make the outfits these girls wear.
It was Prudence who told me the name of the standard issue dress they almost all wear.  It’s called the “bandage dress.”  It seems to be the required uniform of the twenty-something female club goer.
Its properties consist of at least two (and frequently all three) of the following, which I will list in order of seeming importance:
1.  It is extremely, and obscenely, short.
2.  It is incredibly tight.
3.  It is low cut, revealing abundant cleavage.
Oddly enough (to me, anyway), the first two are almost equally omnipresent, whereas the cleavage is not nearly as universal.  Which is not to say there isn’t a helluva lot of cleavage on display on a club nite.  There is, but there’s a lot more upper thigh on display.
Believe it or not, the pictures below were the best I could find on the internet to give you an idea of what the average Vegas club-goer looks like (no, I didn’t take any pictures myself, preferring not to be banned from the MGM).   Trust me, these pictures don’t really do justice to reality.  The outfits the girls at the MGM are wearing are much, much shorter, much, much tighter, and reveal much, much more cleavage (when revealed) than these pics show.

I mean, the dresses are so short that the girls have to keep pulling them down, on the average of once every two minutes, in order not to reveal what Hustler magazine is famous for.  They are so tight that you have to wonder how they managed to get into them (in some cases, I’d pay to watch this).  You also have to wonder how they can bend.  And if they were ever to eat even a single saltine, you’d be able to tell by instantly seeing their stomach expand.  The outfits are especially tight across the butt.  I swear, following some of these gals, you’d be able to tell if they had hemorrhoids.  
As for the cleavage, well, you know, it’s cleavage.  It all depends on how well-endowed the gal is (or how big the implants she ordered were) and then how much she wants to show.  Some show plenty.  A common outfit I saw among the girls not wearing the bandage dress was a very low-cut look with the cleavage covered with a transparent mesh.  I guess this gives the impression that the dress isn’t as revealing as it is.  Or perhaps the mesh helps keep the ta-ta’s from falling out.
So I guess maybe the girl whose nipple I clearly saw needed that mesh top.  She wasn’t wearing the bandage dress.  She had a wide open top that was very lose fitting.  We were walking in opposite directions and as we drew up even, a quick glance to the side revealed that her nipple was right there in clear view for all the world to see.  This was no nip-slip.  It was just right there for the looking.
Which brings me to the title of this post.  The "Slut Parade” refers to the girls who dress like this and march through the poker room (or the rest of the casino), or line up to get into this hot nightclub.
Is that too harsh?  Is that unfair?  Am I being judgmental?  As it happens, one of my friends didn’t think it was a good idea to call this post “The Slut Parade.”  He said “slut sounds dirty and negative.”
However, these days, I’m not sure how negative “slut” is.  Last year, fellow blogger grrouchie  did a post about some female friends visiting him from out of town (see here).  One of them was debating if an outfit she was thinking of wearing out wasn’t a bit too slutty, before deciding (quoting grrouchie, quoting her) "I didn't f***ing come to Vegas to NOT dress like a slut." 
I don’t think this woman thinks of herself as a slut, and I don’t think she’d like it if, back in her home town, someone called her that.  But dammit, she came to Vegas to dress like a slut, and that’s what she did.
So, I think these girls know, whether or not they actually are sluts (and how one would objectively determine that, I have no clue) that they are indeed dressing like sluts when they go to these clubs, and they actually enjoy doing that.
I have no idea what these girls do in these clubs, or after.  For all I know they just enjoy the music, dance, and have an adult beverage or two.  And go back to their hotel room alone, and get up early the next day and go to church.
But they sure as hell dress like sluts, and they know it.  Whether or not they would admit to being sluts—or be offended by being called that—I think they would all cop to “dressing sluttily” and on purpose.  So I’m calling them “The Slut Parade.”
Thus, between say 9:00 PM and long past midnight, on a night when the club is open, there is quite the Slut Parade omnipresent in the MGM everywhere.  The sluttily dressed girls are everywhere—lined up outside the poker room, and constantly coming through it.
If you are a heterosexual male (and I plead guilty to that) it is a bit distracting to say the least.
OK, more than just a bit.
Now every guy in there has seen women wearing even less clothing. And every guy in there has seen better looking women.  But I doubt than anyone in the room has ever seen the sheer overwhelming quantity of sluttily dressed women in one place before.  It really is a sight to behold.
Truth be told, not all the girls are all that hot, of course.  Law of averages, you know.  Some of those girls are wearing dresses (particularly the bandage dress) they have no business wearing.  I mean, those dresses are so damn tight that if a gal is even half a pound overweight, you can tell.  And some of them, sadly are a lot more overweight than that.  Some of those bare legs don’t look all that sexy.  And some of those boob jobs….well.
But it doesn’t matter.  No matter what your taste, no matter what your preference, there are plenty, I do mean plenty, of your “type” on display.  Tall girls, short girls, skinny girls, voluptuous girls, blondes, brunettes, redheads, etc.  If one girl didn’t catch your fancy, chances are one of her girlfriends would.  Or two from the next group.
If only 5% of these girls could be considered “9’s” and “10’s”—that’s still a helluva lot of 9’s and 10’s in one place.  More than you’re likely to see anywhere else.
So it’s not that we’ve never seen sexy, slutty, nearly-naked girls before.  It’s just that we’ve never seen so many in one place at one time before.  Nobody has.  Hugh Heffner hasn’t.
And the truth is, no man in the history of mankind has ever seen "enough" scantily clad, hot women. Yes, that includes the aforementioned Mr. Heffner too.
Just try calculating whether or not you’re getting the right odds to call with your flush draw when you can look up and see at least 50 pairs of sexy legs, 50 barely covered asses, and enough bare boobage to satisfy….well, me.
My first two nights in town, I enjoyed this parade from different seats in the room.  Good seats for the eye candy, but not great seats.  During these sessions, when the Slut Parade (or “SP”, for short) was in full throttle, I had one male dealer whisper to me that for his entire down, he was following the game only peripherally.  He claimed to never have actually looked directly at the actual cards or chips.  I think he was exaggerating.  At least a little.
Another male dealer was relieved his patience had been rewarded.  Months and months of the room being moved back and forth, nothing much to see all that time, no club to attract the hot chicks.  Now he was been compensated in spades with the show.  He also wondered why it was that they just can’t make dresses long enough so that the girls didn’t have to spend every other minute pulling them down.  I wondered back why the dresses had to be made so tight that the girls could barely breathe.  And we agreed that sometimes the desire to wear the appropriate uniform overcame good sense and yes, some of those otherwise hot girls were wearing dresses way too tight for their figures, and it ruined the overall effect.  
One of those nights a group of four of these girls walked right by our table, I only saw three of them and they were all quite appealing.  I didn’t see the fourth one because she fell right behind the poker table.  This wasn’t that unusual, because a lot of these girls had trouble with the other requirement of the uniform that I haven’t mentioned, the ultra high-heel shoes.  So it wasn’t unusual to see the girls falling as they tried to figure out how to keep their balance in those shoes.
But when this gal was helped up by her girlfriends, I noticed another reason she might have fallen over.  She had enormous breasts, quite liberally exposed. She was pulled up right in front of me giving all the guys on my side of the table quite an eyeful as she straightened up.  Ahem.  As she moved on, I turned to the player on my left and said, “Well, no wonder she fell over.”
Although there were only guys around, he was very restrained with his response.  “I’m not saying anything.”
But on my third night there, a Sunday night, I got the absolute primo seat to enjoy the scenery.  I was at the table closest to the Slut Parade line, facing said line.  The dealers chair was practically up against the rail that separated the poker room from the rest of the casino.  This was the absolute best table to sit at if you wanted to see the greatest number of sluttily dressed women you’ll ever see in the flesh in your life.
There was some good poker played by yours truly before the SP started forming, and that story will eventually be told in a future blog post.  But for now, I can say that once the girls started lining up, no one at our table was really playing poker.
For a brief time the table thinned, we were six-handed and I wanted to see if we could a rake-reduction until more players showed up.  So, choosing my words carefully and purposefully, I said to the (male) dealer, “Can we get a rack-reduction….I mean a rake reduction?”
One guy came to the table and sat with his back to the line up, right next to the dealer.  He was distracted by the scenery behind him, so much so that he spent pretty much his entire time with his chair and head turned, only occasional facing the table to check his cards.  “I’ve got the wrong seat” was one of the first things he said.
He had started with $100 and hadn’t played a hand when, facing a raise, he just shoved his entire stack across the betting line, saying, “This is the first hand I’ve played, I’ve been here for awhile, I can’t concentrate on the poker, so I’ll just shove.  And then get out of here.”
But nobody called and he stayed.
Not long after, the seat next to me opened up.  I tried to get this guy’s attention to tell him he could move next to me and have a better view, without having to have his head turned the whole time.  But somehow, I was unable to get his attention before a woman took his seat—kind of a waste of a prime girl-watching seat.  And actually, another woman took a seat on the other side of the dealer.  One hand, I limped into a pot.  I have no idea what I had, but it must have been worth a limp.  The woman to my left limped as well, and it folded to the other woman at the table.  She raised to $10.  Folded back to me and I folded.  The other woman called.
I don’t remember the hand but when it was over, I explained to the dealer, “I wasn’t about to play in a raised pot against the only two people at the table who are actually paying attention to the poker."
But the woman to my left disputed that.  “We’re distracted too.  There are some good looking guys there too.”
I said, “There are guys there?
“Yes, of course there are guys there.  They’re looking to get laid.”
She had misinterpreted my comment.  I wasn’t disputing that guys would be going to the club and I understand the reasoning.  I knew this was not a lesbian night club.  I was merely trying to point out that it was impossible for me to even notice anything but the hot girls.  If the five most famous men in the world stood right in front of me, I would have been incapable of noticing them.
The other woman pointed out that not only were there good looking guys distracting them, but some of the girls were actually distracting to them too.
One guy at the table noted that this was the tightest NL table he’d ever seen.  No one was raising, no one was even calling.  He likened it to a 2/4 game.  Another guy said that he had absolutely no read on anyone at the table—he had not followed a single hand since he had gotten there.
I told one of the male dealers that they should really have made this particular table a 2/4 table so it would be less dangerous.  I kind of wished I was back playing 2/4 right then.  I commented to a couple of the male dealers as they took their seats, with their back to SP behind them, that it was too bad they didn’t have eyes in the back of the head.  One said, no need, he’d just strain his neck turning around constantly to check out the action.
Meanwhile, the guy who had made the $100 shove explained, with his back to us as he checked out the girls, “I’m 33 years old and I know I’m acting like I’m 21.  But I’m from Portland.  You don’t see anything like this in Portland.”
I said, “You know, right now, we’re all 17.  Check that, right now, we’re all 13.”  Everyone agreed.
This guy was commenting on the women he was seeing.  I couldn’t hear much of what he said, but he was apparently saying things like, “the girl in red is hot,” and “the girl in black is awesome.”  Apparently he was revealing his predilections, which included a strong preference for large derrieres.   The dealer at one point said, “All I hear out of this guy is incoherent grunts and colors. ‘Uh….red….oh…blue.”  I did hear him say, when he noticed a woman who was especially top heavy, “Oh, I wish what was going on with her on top was also going on with her in back.”  When the player next to me saw me taking notes (about the poker), he asked if I was keeping track of this guy’s tastes in women.  I assured him I was not.
A topic of discussion was the guys trying to figure out how some people—women mostly—were being sent to the front of the line while others stayed in the same place in line for a long time. 
“Is it decided by how hot the girls are?  Hottest girls get sent straight to the front?  Maybe they have a scale there and weigh them?”
One guy said, “Oh my god, they actually let one gal go to the front with flats.”
I said, “You’re looking at the feet?
“Well, I’m looking at the whole outfit.”
That’s about all the comments I can remember from this evening.  As I said, poker from this session will be discussed later.  And as I tell additional stories from this particular trip, more vignettes about the Slut Parade will be sprinkled throughout the posts I do about this Vegas trip.  Consider this your introduction to The Slut Parade.

((For more on the Slut Parade, see the follow up post here.  And for an idea about what the Slut Parade is like on Halloween, see the post here.  And if you want to know what it was like on New Year's Eve, see here.  AND....added 4/16/15, a review of the "new" Slut Parade at Caesars Palace can be found here.))