Sunday, July 31, 2016

Zourah's Response

I recently did a couple of posts about a session I played at Harrah’s early in my last trip, which you can find here and here.  That was the session where I met Zourah2.  Of course Zourah himself had some comments and observations on my posts, and it was a bit too long for a comment, so I’m reprinting his emailed response below.  I love it when I get to do a post mostly written by someone else, because that gives me more time to make my own posts longer!

Here’s his email:

I did suspect the Aces versus Kings hand happened during our session because I remember you folding and then the guy having the Aces, but I didn't want to be presumptuous.  I meant to ask you what you laid down there during the session, but then I thought it would be more appropriate to wait until things were over, and we got talking about other things.

To address your next point, I always posted as Zourah but I added the 2 when I somehow rendered that name obsolete because I couldn't login!

I very much enjoyed our conversation about economics and your command of the history of thought is extremely impressive, Sadly I don't know if students still get that at UCLA or not!  I know that getting the type of education on that subject that I received at the University of Missouri is no longer an option.

Dealing with the hands themselves— I’m pretty sure on the first hand I had KQ suited so I was in trouble there from the get go.

As for the pocket Kings hand, as you know I was having a few cocktails so my memory may not be perfect.  First, my recollection was that under-the-gun had limped and I was UTG +1.  I take zero notes so I'm fine assuming your recollection is the correct one.  However, I almost never limp if I'm the first one in the pot, but I will overlimp a decent amount of the time with a wide variety of hands.  Maybe I thought I was over limping when I did it and I misread where the blinds were!   Given my poor vision and the fact I was sitting in the number one seat, that is a reasonable possibility.

I believe this had happened maybe just a few hands after I doubled up, which I did just as Scott was arriving to the table.  You can correct me if I'm wrong but I think the guy I got heads up with was the guy I just doubled through a few hands before. I can't say I pay the greatest attention but I try to watch people who look at their cards before I make a bet.

My recollection is, I believe I was pretty confident that guy was going to raise and he was gunning for me. He called off against me light just a few hands before and I felt like he was looking to get me back.  I know you are fairly conservative and aren't raising there terribly wide, but if I run into Aces there, that's just life.

I just never limp UTG so I think that was my reasoning but maybe it was the beer that created a crazy play on my part!

If I recall correctly I ended up making somewhere around $115 on the session and I was down a quick $35 before I even got to your table. So, not only was it great to meet you and to see Scott, it was a really cool day and a fun session.

I recently visited Andy who still has an active blog on AVP's new (and less active) home up and I played where he dealt in Des Moines— this turned out to be my most profitable cash game session ever. I guess the moral is I need to hang out more often with celebrity bloggers!  (Note: You can find Andy’s blog here).

Thanks, Zourah, really appreciate the “second opinion.”  I know whenever I write up hand histories, other parties who were in the hand might have different recollections or interpretations.  In fact, even other parties who just where at the table witnessing it might have different reactions.  And maybe I got it wrong!

I was actually curious if you had any thoughts as to why the guy showed me the one Ace?  Did you even see that?  Obviously you saw him flip over both when I folded, but did you notice when he discreetly showed me the Ace of spades?

So on that hand where I c-bet with AK, I could have gotten a fair amount of your money then if only a King had hit the flop?  Heh.

Regarding the big hand with the Kings….well I am pretty darn sure you were UTG.  My notes are very clear on that.  Plus it was the first hand I’d played in about 45-minutes.  Also, I know I made it $10.  If there had been two limpers in front of me, I would have made it $12, that’s pretty automatic for me.

But really, that’s a great read on the guy gunning for you and “knowing” he was gonna raise there.  Really well done.  Of course, if the guy had just doubled you, you would be more prone to be aware of him.

As you found out, I don’t just raise with Aces!  Though that would have been a pretty cool time to have them (but not for you).

I’m glad and surprised I impressed you with the little bit of economic history that I remember.  We could have had a really in depth discussion a few years back when I remembered more.  OK,. Maybe more than just a few years back.

Yes, Andy is one of the few still using the old AVP forums.  Good for him and damn shame so few others are.

Hope we can do it again soon!

Note:  I thought this picture of Maria Bartiromo, aka “The Money Honey,” would be preferable to my readers than a picture of John Maynard Keynes.  Also, reminds me that back in my 2/4 days I occasionally ran into a young woman who looked more than a little like Maria.  I told her that once and she didn’t know who Maria Bartiromo was.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Why I Played the Tournaments I Did

Sooner or later, I’m going to start talking about some of the individual tournaments I played while in Vegas last month.  I played in a bunch.

I thought as a way of introduction to this series of posts, I’d go over which tournaments I played, and also explain why I played in those particular ones.  After all, there were a near infinite number of poker tournaments being offered all around the city while I was there; how did I decide which ones to play?

Everyone probably has a different set of criteria to decide how to pick one tournament from another.  Some no doubt study the structures intensely to find the best value. I think there are even apps or spreadsheets that you can use to evaluate a structure.  Others look at the vig—some tournaments charge less juice than others.  Or they have some rooms they really like and some they really don’t like.  And of course there are guarantees.  Naturally, players tend to favor the tournaments with the biggest guarantees for their preferred price point.

I consider all of those things to some degree, but none of that is the most important thing to me.  Or to put it another way, there has to be one basic feature of a tournament for me to consider putting in the pile of tournaments that I would evaluate further for playability.

My own personal convenience. 

All those other things are nice, but if a tournament is inconvenient for me to play—by my standards of convenience of course—then I’m unlikely to be able to play my best.

What makes a tournament more or less convenient for me?  Well, as I explained at length in the post here, the two biggest things for me are starting time and dinner break.  If a tournament has a good starting time for me and offers a dinner break, then I’m likely to want to play in it,  assuming the buy-in is reasonable.  Of course, if the guarantee is low enough to suggest it might not have much of a turnout—or there is no guarantee at all—I might have to reject it.  But there are tournaments without guarantees that you just know (or at least, I just know, because it’s kind of my job) will get good turnouts.  Like pretty much any tournament at the Aria, for example.

An 11AM start is pretty much a non-starter for me, and Noon is only slightly better.  Noon on the strip is maybe doable for an exceptionally good tournament.  But 1PM would be so much better.

Since it’s my job to enter every single tournament held in Vegas into the PokerAtlas database, I got to see first hand what the tournaments were going to be like for the summer long before anyone else did.  Well maybe not that long before.  As I explained here, a fair number of rooms were pretty late with their schedules and their structures.  So I didn’t really have to time to study the tournaments as I entered them.  But before leaving for Vegas, I did take time to review them all, compare them, and I actually made my own personal spreadsheet of which tournaments running each day I would consider playing—and even ranked them in order of preference when there were several to choose from. 

Wouldn’t you know it, lucky me, there was one particular tournament that jumped out at me that was being offered almost every day that seemed like it was designed with me in mind.  It was a $150 NLH tournament at Golden Nugget.  Start time 1PM, 45-minute dinner break, and a $20K guarantee on most days.  It was so perfect that I likely would have played it even if it had a bad structure.  Fortunately, the structure was fine, 30-minute levels, blinds starting at 25/50, and a reasonably slow progression. 

Honestly, it was so perfect for me, I didn’t really have to spend a lot of time considering most of the other daytime tourneys.  They either started at 11AM or Noon, or were too expensive for me.

But there was one “big” daytime tournament that I wanted to play in, in fact, to some degree, I had timed my trip for it, based on the dates it ran last year.  That would be the WPT 500 at the Aria, a $565 buy-in with a whole ton of starting flights and a huge guarantee.  I played in it last year when it had a $2MM guarantee and really liked the format and the structure.  You can read about it hereI definitely planned on a repeat try this year.  Now last year, I played in two events at that larger (for me) price point.  I also played in the first Colossus event (see here).  This year I only budgeted for one $500+ buy-in event, and definitely preferred the WPT 500 over the WSOP event.

Why?  I really liked the Aria format, and especially the fact that if you survived to Day 2, you were automatically in the money.  In fact, you could even bust out on Day 1, and if it was late enough, you could still be in the cash.  So no worry about having to go back there on another day with a short stack, only to bust out in the first orbit of Day 2 and have absolutely nothing to show for it.  And Colossus had been such a fustercluck last year, it had kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.  Then I looked at the new structure, which had been made a lot worse. 

Colossus was at the beginning of the summer and the Aria event was at the end.  Since I couldn’t stay in Vegas forever, I picked my time in Vegas based on the WPT event.  Before I made plans, the WPT announced the dates for the tournament (but not the details). As soon as they did, I booked my room to be there for it, and thus “officially” opted out of any chance of playing Colossus.

So imagine my surprise when, quite some time later, Aria sent me the official schedule for the entire summer series showing the starting times of all the Day 1’s for the WPT 500 as 10AM.  Note: the guarantee was “only” $1MM this year, but that didn’t mean much to me, I was sure it go way past that (and I was right).

Yes, that’s 10-freaking AM in the freaking morning.  Seriously?  I was quite upset, and initially assumed I would just not play in it, even though I did kind of have my heart set on it.  And by then it was too late to go to Vegas earlier for Colossus.  BTW, Colossus had 10AM starting flights too, but it also had 4PM starting flights, and I likely would have hit up one of those if I had played.

But I got to thinking and started trying to figure out if once—just once—I could be flexible enough to play that damn thing at 10 in the morning. In response to the post I linked to at the beginning of this one, I got some suggestions on how I could make playing some of these tournaments work.  I thought about that and realized that I could just bring a sandwich with me and have it on the first break—Noon.  I don’t usually have the “ingredients” to make a sandwich with me when I’m in Vegas, but you know, they sell bread and luncheon meat and mustard in Vegas. And I could also take some nuts and some Kind bars with me to make it work.  Fortunately, there was a 45-dinner break in the tournament, so I could have a somewhat decent dinner if I lasted that long.

Once I made the mental commitment to break with tradition and bring a sack lunch to a poker tournament, I decided to re-check the tournaments in town and see if maybe there were some 11AM or Noon events that were good enough to get me to show up for, lunch in hand, as I planned to do at the Aria.

And actually—there was.  It turned out that on a number of weekends while I was there, a certain poker room was offering an event that was similar to the Golden Nugget $150 I liked, but that started at 11AM.  The buy-in was only little more than GN’s, but it had a $50K guarantee and it was still a one day event.  So I checked the details for it that I entered on PokerAtlas—I made no mention of a dinner break.

I went to the structure sheet, maybe it was mistake on my part, as unlikely as that was.  Nope, the structure sheet they had sent me made no mention of a dinner break.  Then I remembered the back and forth I had with this particular room over getting the details for their series.  I had to start entering the series with, let’s call it “generic” info.  Nothing was said about dinner breaks on any of their events.  Before I got the real structure sheets, I asked them, “What about dinner breaks?”  They replied they weren’t sure but that they didn’t think there would be any.  So when they sent me the structure without dinner breaks, it made sense.  By the way, some of their other events did indeed have dinner breaks, so it made sense to me—dinner breaks for certain events only.

I actually went to this room early in my trip, and double checked the printed structure sheets they were handing out. And indeed, there was no dinner break listed in there.  So….no dinner break, right?

Well, I’m sorry.  I’m not going to wake up early for an 11AM start, bring a damn lunch to gulp down during a break, possibly play till 2-3 in the morning, and have to gulp some crummy dinner down during a break on top of that.  That’s too much to ask.  That’s unreasonable.  So I did not play in that tournament.

Tell me, am I the only person on the planet who would refuse to play in a poker tournament they would otherwise play in because of the lack of a dinner break?  Am I just that much of a freak?  Or do you think there are others out there like me?

There is a punch line to this little part of the story.  On one of the last days they were running this particular tournament, I saw the room tweeting out that they was a possibility they wouldn’t make the guarantee and an overlay was possible.  And they kept tweeting about it and then they were tweeting when registration ended.  And I looked at the time they had and it didn’t make sense, it didn’t agree with the time I had on PokerAtlas.  And I thought, they only way that time would work was if there was an hour dinner break before registration ended.  But I knew there was no dinner break.

So I contacted them and asked and sure enough, that very tournament had a dinner break the whole time.  Grrrr…..That rather annoyed me to say the least.  Not only did I have incorrect info on PokerAtlas the whole time, but of course, I would have played in that tournament once or twice myself if they had only supplied me with the correct information.

You will note I have not mentioned the name of this poker room.  I don’t want to embarrass them.

Now, someone, either on Twitter or on a blog comment, asked me if I had played any of the WSOP Deepstacks yet.  And the answer is no, I didn’t and never planned to.  A few years ago, I tried them once or twice, but this year they made a change that made it unplayable for me. 

The $235 Deepstack used to start at 3PM.  This year they moved it to 2PM.  That’s no big deal.  But they used to have a half hour dinner break in them.  This year, they took out the dinner break.  All the breaks were 10 minutes. Those things go at least 12 hours.  Without a dinner break?  Seriously?  The question for me is not, am the only one who wouldn’t play it without a dinner break.  The question is, why would anyone play a 12-hour tournament without such a break? The only food option (other than bringing your own) is the Pizza Kitchen, which sucks and would be crowded as hell at any break.  I don’t get it.  Frankly, the Rio is so big and so crowded, that 30-minutes isn’t enough, but the times I played in the past, I never lasted long enough to confirm that.

There are other issues with the Deepstacks.  The fields are so damn large, it seems like a Herculean task to maneuver through it and get deep into the money.  Yes, a lot of people get paid, but I think the payscale is even more top heavy than the average Vegas tournament, I always hear about people getting the min-cash, or even more than the min-cash, and complaining about how small the payout is.

Also, the WSOP refuses to offer any assistance at all if players want to make a deal or chop once it gets down to a few players.  The players have to do all the calculating themselves, and then they will pay out based on the original pay scale, not based on the deal.  This could not only have tax implications but I’ve heard stories of players who agreed to a deal going to the pay window, taking a bigger prize than they agreed to with the other players, and then taking off without paying the players they made the deal with.  And since the WSOP didn’t sanction it, they will do nothing to stop the crook.

So no, I didn’t play in any Deepstacks, and was never tempted to do so.

I did find a couple of evening tournaments to play for when I worked all day and wanted a tourney during the evening.

The one I almost played was the $240 at Aria at 7PM.  I was real tempted, but I asked them what time the event was finishing up.  They told me it ran to like 5-6 AM.  Um…no thanks.  Work all day and then stay up all night playing a tourney (if I ran well, that is)?  And then my next day of work would be shot too.  I couldn’t see doing it.

But both Planet Hollywood and Golden Nugget ran $100 tourneys at 7PM that were very similar, decent structures for the price, 30-minute levels.  No prize pool guarantees.  I’d give each one a try.

So final count:  I played tournaments 6 days while up there.  I played the Golden Nugget $150 three different days, the WPT 500 at Aria once, the Golden Nugget 7PM once and the Planet Hollywood 7PM once.  How’d I do?  Well, one of these days, hopefully soon, I’ll get around to writing up the details for you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dear Rob: About that Guarantee

This is going to be somewhat of a different type of post.  I found an email in my inbox the other day from Charles Hall regarding a bad experience he had playing in a tournament during the big summer series they had at Planet Hollywood.  At first, I assumed he was one of my blog readers and that’s why he was telling me his story.  But then I noticed the email came to my work email, and I realized he was writing to me as the columnist for Ante Up magazine, not as the blogger.  I’m going to reprint his original letter and then post a few of Charles’s comments that came in follow up emails.  I knew that his report would not be appropriate for Ante Up, so I asked him if I could run his email and my response in my personal blog, which he agreed to.

Rob?     I would like to tell you a story if I may.  Well, I was in Vegas where I go every year (June). I was playing the tourney at Planet Hollywood, the Quantum $300,000 guarantee. Bought in the first day and lost so I came back for the second day and bought in again, and I did ask if I was buying into the Quantum $300,000 guarantee. He said yes.  So I paid my money and sat down and played one hand! And the guy next to me just then told me they cancelled the guarantee.

I got up and went over and asked the man in charge and he said they did (cancel the guarantee) so I asked for my money back. They said no, because I played one hand. Now what I would like to ask you (after I was there 15 more days and played downtown and Aria after that)—can you write something in you mag. on this for what they did because I believe they should have told people they cancelled the guarantee.  I was late to sign up and they still didn't have (a sign about the cancelled guarantee) up.     

Thank you, Charles Hall.

Now because of my assignments for both Ante Up and PokerAtlas, I know a little bit about this. Some of what Charles said made perfect sense to me, and some of it was a bit odd.  But I think I have an explanation for all of it, and it is really most unfortunate.  I guess I should add that what Charles is telling me is just his word, and thus not verified.  But I do tend to believe that most, if not all, of what Charles is saying is very likely accurate.

It is important to note that in a subsequent email, Charles said he called PH a week or so before tournament and asked about the starting chip stack and also asked if the guarantee was still on and was told that it was.  In another email, Charles said that when he arrived late for the second day to buy in again, “the guy didn't say anything when I said that only about 40 people signed up for this big of a guarantee—he just looked at me and didn't say (anything) and I was the only one there in line.”

When I read his first email, I was feeling a little guilty, and thinking perhaps Charles was blaming me for this mix-up.  You see in my Ante Up column about the series (see here), I did talk about both Quantum tournaments (one in early May, at the very beginning of the series, the other in mid-June) having guaranteed prize pools.  The Quantum type tournaments—a staple at the Bike here in the L.A. area—were coming to Vegas for the first time, that was one of the most noteworthy things about the Goliath series PH was running. The original schedule that was distributed—back in March, I believe—showed the guarantees that I referenced in my column.  .

However, by the time the Goliath series started, the guarantees for those events had been removed, and I knew that.  Well, there’s always a potential problem when you are writing something that will be printed and not distributed for about a month.  It happens all the time.  Events in a big series get changed, starting times, chip counts, the events themselves.  An Omaha tournament can become a NLH tournament.  It happens with room updates too.  I talk about a room offering a special cash game or a unique tournament or an interesting promo and by the time the magazine hits poker rooms, it’s completely different.  Can’t be helped.  Although Ante Up has a great website, it is still basically a printed magazine made for distribution in poker rooms. 

When I got the final schedule and structures for Goliath, long after my column with the out-dated info was in poker rooms, I noticed the guarantee was no longer there, and some details about the tournaments themselves had been changed. The guarantees that had appeared on the original schedule had been replaced with “estimated prize pools” (and with smaller amounts).  It was too late to do anything about the Ante Up column.  But for PokerAtlas, I had time to correct the info I had originally entered for the Quantum tournaments based on the original info I had received weeks earlier.   So if you looked at the series on PokerAtlas before the Goliath series started, you would have seen that neither of the Quantum events had guarantees.

I do know that when the original schedule was announced, PH distributed printed schedules that showed those tournaments with guarantees.  I also know that when they changed the schedule, they distributed new schedules, without the guarantees.  I should note that there the removal of the guarantees from the Quantum events was not the only change from the original schedule.  There were quite a few tournaments that were changed or replaced with different events.  This is not all that unusual.  Tournaments in a series often get changed before and even during a series.  This series had a few more changes than most, but it also had the most events of any summer series (outside of the WSOP itself) so it is somewhat understandable.  Also, some of the events were changed, cancelled or moved just a day or two before they were to occur, mostly due to how popular some of the other tournaments were.  They actually cancelled an entire tournament the day before it was to take place because the tournament they were running the day before had such a great turnout they didn’t have room (or dealers) for the next day’s event.

I know when I finally personally visited PH, a few days after the second Quantum tournament was completed, I saw that they were distributing the correct printed schedule in the room.  But exactly when they started distributing the revised version, I can’t say.  It’s possible that the old version was distributed longer than it should have been.  And if you picked up a schedule in March when it was originally released and never went back to the room—or if you did, never thought to pick up another schedule—you would have the outdated info.

Also, when it was announced, PH posted the original schedule and tweeted out links to it.  They subsequently tweeted out links to the revised schedule. I noticed at least once they tweeted out either a link or an image of an incorrect schedule and brought it to their attention.  But the inaccuracies I noted were different tournaments, I didn’t notice if the guarantees for the Quantum events were still there or not.  I do know that after I pointed it out to them, they did tweet out only the current schedule, with all the revisions.

Now if a room takes away a guarantee at sort of the last minute, they are obligated to let players know before they buy-in.  A sign at the registration area saying, “The guarantee for today’s tournament has been cancelled.”   Or the cashier saying, “You know, there is no guarantee for that event,” when they buy the entry.  But I am thinking that PH didn’t feel the need to do that because they had removed the guarantee sometime back and had been distributing the updated information for quite some time. I can tell you that I knew about the guarantee being dropped at least a week before the Goliath series started, so that was almost a month before the event Charles played in took place.

During the second Quantum event, the one Charles played in, I do recall seeing tweets from other players expressing surprise that there was no guarantee, after they had bought in. So it wasn’t just Charles who was affected.

Sigh.  The problem is that a lot of third-party sources of poker information (like Ante Up magazine, for example) had the original info out there and probably never corrected it.  There are all kinds of places to find info on Vegas summer tournaments during this time, and it may very well be that the only sources that had the correct info were PH’s corrected links and PokerAtlas.  And Planet Hollywood is not responsible for incorrect info on third-party sites.

What about the phone call Charles made a week before asking about the guarantee?  Or the cashier apparently ignoring his mentioning the guarantee when he bought in?  Well, if it happened the way Charles said it did (and I am not questioning him, just trying to be fair to PH), I would have to say I’m not surprised. 

Rooms that run big tournament series have to bring in a lot of temporary dealers, floor people, cashiers, etc.  It is real easy for me to believe that inexperienced help didn’t have the right information—or the ability to process it—right at their finger tips.  Maybe the guy at the window when Charles bought in didn’t hear him say “guarantee.”  Maybe the guy on the phone confused the tournament with another one that had a guarantee.  Or maybe he didn’t even know what a guarantee was.

I can tell you, I call poker rooms all around the country (not just Vegas) for PokerAtlas and am amazed at what some poker room employees don’t know.  Seriously, I ask “how long are the levels?” and some go, “what?” (they might be used to calling them “rounds”). I recently tweeted about calling a room—definitely not in Vegas—to ask about new Omaha tournament they had started.  I couldn’t tell if it was a limit tournament, a pot limit tournament, or possibly a No Limit tournament.  Yes, I’ve heard of No Limit Omaha tournaments—usually run by rooms that never have spread the game and don’t realize it “should” be pot limit.  Anyway, the woman answering the phone didn’t understand my question!  I asked if she had a structure sheet she could look at. I was going to have her read it to me, until I could determine whether it was limit or what.  Fortunately, a fellow employee overheard her repeating my question and told her it was limit. 

So it is possible Charles ran into a couple of novice poker room temps who didn’t really understand about the guarantee. 

Now, I can understand why PH would think they didn’t have to put up a sign about the guarantee being taken away—in their mind they had been (recently) promoting the event as having an “estimated prize pool,” not a guaranteed one.  But since they did originally distribute information that showed a guarantee, I think it would have been a good idea to have a sign right at the registration desk.

So, I feel real bad for Charles, and I apologize for any part I played in the misunderstanding.  I suggested to him that he email the manager of the Planet Hollywood poker room and explain what happened.  I’m not sure what, if anything, will come of that, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

I am curious to hear what you folks think about how this was handled. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Buck Naked's Excellent Vegas Adventure (Guest Post)

Recently, I received an email from one of my readers.  It was a brief recap on his two visits to Vegas during the WSOP.  Unfortunately, the timing was such that we weren’t able to get together while he was in Vegas, his report will have to do.  He told me it was ok to publish his report as long as I didn’t identify him.

So this post is his report.  Now, it occurred to me if I just posted this and attributed it to “Anonymous,” people might think that it is my report, and due to the salacious nature of it, I was merely claiming that it happened to someone else because I didn’t want to own up to it.

But I assure you, this really was submitted by one of my readers.  You have to trust me, it’s not me.  This particular reader is someone I’ve met in Vegas in the past, and he is a really good guy, and he is very real—and definitely not me.  I think you’ll believe me because, if nothing else, you’ll see the writing style doesn’t resemble mine at all.  If I was capable of writing in a different style, I’d write in Raymond Chandler’s style, because man, he was a helluva writer.

But I still don’t want to credit this to “Anonymous.”  I have to give my reader a fake blog name.  Since the story is bit salacious, I was thinking of a salacious pseudonym.  And I remembered that on Seinfeld, George Costanza once (at least) said that he thought the perfect name for a porn star would be “Buck Naked.”  The name seems perfect for the story from my reader, so we are going to call him “Buck Naked.” However, I am pretty sure my guest blogger is not a porn star.  Here’s his story.

Sorry I missed you during both my trips to Vegas this summer.  Wanted to let you know I managed to cash in two deepstacks this year at the Rio.  First was a min cash, nothing interesting to relay about, but my second was a little more interesting.

My second trip was 6/19-6/23.  Had a direct flight on Spirit airlines XXX-LAS, and as you may know my hobbies are poker, cars, and beer.  So after one brewsky at the airport prior to boarding, and two on the plane, we landed @ 6:50 pm.

Picked up rental car and drove straight to Rio, no, I was not driving, left that to my buds. Got to Rio about 7:30 and jumped in the 7PM deepstack, a little late.

I tipped a red bird on my first beer at the table and the cocktail lady kept them coming.  I really hate to admit this, but about 14 beers and 7 hours later I made the final table and busted 8th, for a decent score.

So I was free-rolling the rest of my trip, which is always nice.  Sad part was, I felt so bad the next day, couldn't play any, and just recovered in my room, drinking plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, with my buds telling me what a pussy I was..  They are all at least 20 years younger than me, and time will sneak up on them as well.

The next day, we went to the Rhino—in the "daylight"—which usually means you have a problem with titty bars, but we had other plans for later, and had a 2-hour gap for lap dances.  We soon discovered that going during happy hour was + EV, we got there around 4pm.

As soon as we entered, we were attacked by a bevy of hot ladies, and we couldn’t see for shit, took a while for eyes to adjust from the bright daylight, to very dim light in the club.  So the 3 of us had 2 girls each with table lap dances @ $20 each. Due to my superior negotiation skills, I had 2 for $20.  Beer was regularly priced @  $12 each, but $4 during happy hour, so we downed a few, while the girls kept trying to lure us to the VIP rooms for big $$ dances and more a touchy/feely experience; which consisted of them dry humping us while they were wearing g-strings only.

The girls were mostly unsuccessful, but one of our group did give in and dropped $300 only to be teased to the max.  I'm too old/frugal/cheap to make a purchase of "fantasy booty", so when our bud re-appeared from the VIP room, we made a hasty exit and headed to Pahrump for the "real deal".

Buck ended his tale with “more later” but he never got back to me with details of their visit to Pahrump.  In case anyone doesn’t know, Pahrump is a city about an hour outside of Vegas where prostitution is legal.  Actually, I’m not sure if the report from that part of Buck’s trip would be suitable for my blog’s family values.

Anyway, thanks for the report, Buck.  I trust you had a fine time in Pahrump.  


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Four Kings and a Bracelet Winner

Last post (here)I talked about a singular hand from a session.  I isolated that hand out of session at Harrah’s where I met one of my readers for the first time, after a few failed attempts in the past.  We will call said reader Zourah2 as that is the name he uses when he comments on the blog.  I believe that is also the name he used when he used to post on the old AVP forums back in the day.

That’s where we first met, and through Twitter and other social media, we’ve been trying to get together when he visits Vegas. Early in my trip last month, we finally managed meet up.

It turned out to be a pretty good session.  The poker was profitable, the conversation was great, and we even had a very special guest.

I’m just going to refer to him as “Z” from now on, purely out of laziness.

We meet at Harrah’s and ended up playing there, and it didn’t take us too long to get to the same table, and then we were actually able to sit next to each other.  So we had a chance to chat quite a bit.  Although we discussed poker and Vegas and sports and the all the usual stuff, we also had a great conversation about economics.  It seems that Z is an economics professor in the mid-west.  I knew that, but what he didn’t know is that I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Economics many years ago.

So for me at least, it was fun trying to remember economic theory and terminology that I hadn’t really used in years and years so I could impress Z with my knowledge.  I’m not sure I did, but it sure was a different experience playing poker while discussing John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman, not to mention monetary and trade policy.  It was one of the few times since I left college that I actually had a discussion of economics that was beyond the current events level of employment and inflation.  And I think Z was interested to hear my report on what the state of the UCLA Economics department was like when I was there.

Early on I raised to $8 with Ace-King of spades. Z was the only caller. The flop came 9-8-6 all hearts. I made a $12 c-bet and took it down.  I really only mention this hand so that Z will finally know what I had, in case it’s been haunting him.

I limped in from late position with King-8 of spades, then called a small raise.  I think it was around $7, maybe a little bit more.  I was too busy chatting to take timely notes.  There were 6 of us seeing the flop.  It came King-Jack-4.  The preflop raiser checked, but the next guy bet $16 and there were a bunch of callers, including me.  We were down to only five of us seeing the turn.  I wasn’t thinking my top pair, lousy kicker was likely any good.  The turn was a low card, a brick, and this time he bet $30 and it folded to me.  Well, a $30 bet into a $120 or so pot….I didn’t see how I could fold top pair even with my weak kicker.  Just the two of us saw the river, which paired the 4.

This time he bet $55, a pretty small bet for the size of the pot.  I tanked.  But the paired board made me consider the possibility that the Jack might play if he had a King.  I couldn’t see folding.  As soon as I did, he said, “good call…I’ve just got an Ace.”  That was a nice pot.

Unfortunately, I gave some money back to him on the next hand.  I raised to $12 with Ace-King of hearts and had three callers.  The flop came Jack-Jack-10, one heart.  I didn’t c-bet.  I figured a flop like that, three callers, I’m not taking it down with a c-bet.  It didn’t help that I was thinking too much about the heart, and totally missed the fact that I had a gut-shot.  I was too involved in my convo with Z to be concentrating like I should have been.

So, after it was checked around, I also missed the fact that the Queen of hearts on the turn gave me Broadway.  All I saw was not only the nut flush draw, but the gutshot Royal draw.  I was thinking I just needed the 10 of hearts, and missed that the 10 already on the board gave me a straight.  So stupid.  Again no one bet.  I did consider betting my great draw there, but I was kind of wanting to see if I could catch my first Royal in a live poker game, so I went for the free card.  Of course, if I recognized that I already had the straight, I would have bet.

The turn was a 9 of diamonds.  This time the guy whose bluff I called last time shoved his last $41.  It folded to me and of course I called.  He flipped over pocket 9’s.  Oh man, did I blow that one.  I didn’t bet, giving him infinite odds to catch his boat. 

Now, if I had just bet the turn, he’d probably have called with his open-ender.  But would he have  called a flop bet?  Well, maybe he would have, with his small stack.  But regardless, misplaying my hand like that, not seeing the straight, is inexcusable.

I opened to $8 with Ace-2 of diamonds, three callers.  Flop came Jack-8-2.  My $25 c-bet took it.

In the big blind, with pocket 5’s, I saw a flop of King-5-4, two hearts, with six others.  I bet $20 and a short stack shoved for $41.  It folded back to me and of course I called.  We didn’t show and I didn’t like it when a third heart hit the turn, but the board paired on the river giving me the boat. I didn’t need it, all he had was Ace-King, which he had not raised with preflop.

It was then that the hand I described last time, the Kings vs Aces, took place.

By now, our special visitor had joined us.

It turned out Z had invested in a top pro for the summer events.  That would be Scott Davies, owner of a WSOP bracelet, and former blogger at AVP.  I told the story of watching Scott win his bracelet here.  As I mentioned in that post, I had met Scott in person once, for barely a nanosecond. 

Scott had busted early out the event he was playing that day at the Rio, and told Z he would swing by Harrah’s to pick up his stake.  Scott and his wonderful wife Liezl arrived and sat behind us while we played.  This was my first real chance to get to know Scott, and it turns out he is really a great guy.  If I was distracted before he showed up, I was doubly so now, listening to his fascinating anecdotes from the poker world.

We relived that night we watched him win that bracelet down under.  And he told tales about other professional players and even one incredibly famous poker blogger which I am not at liberty to make public.  He also told us how he feels about poker tournaments that start at 10 AM (hint, it’s the same as I do).  And Liezl told the story of how she couldn’t get a flight to join Scott and see him win his bracelet in person.  I’m not sure how long they were sitting behind us, but the time breezed by and I paid scant attention to the poker from then on.  I was kind of lucky that I wasn’t getting anything to play for the most part

Until I did.  From under-the-gun, Z had limped in, and I made it $10 with Ace-Queen of hearts, right behind him. Another player made it $30.  Oh really?  It folded back to Z who thought for a bit and….he made it $80!  Huh?  The limp/re-raise trick?  Actually, it was a limp/4-bet, rarely seen.

I had to figure my lousy Ace-Queen was pretty worthless and folded quickly.  The guy who had three-bet me shoved, and Z snap-called.  They both flipped over their cards and then laughed, because they both had the same hand.  No, it wasn’t pocket Aces.  They both had the dreaded pocket Kings!

Of course, there was an Ace on the flop, and had I stayed in I would have won a huge pot.  See, even when I don’t have pocket Kings I lose with them!

But I didn’t feel bad about the result, it would have been a terrible call to put my stack in play with Ace-Queen after a three-bet and a limp/4-bet.  Z had been playing pretty tightly and I was actually kind of surprised he “only” had Kings there.  Anyway, there was no four-card flush so they chopped the pot.

Of course, we were all going “wow” when we saw the exposed cards, including Scott who was watching from the rail.  Then I recalled that Z had actually limped in…with Kings!  I said, “Z, you limped in with Kings?”  He replied, “Yeah….I was trying to impress Scott.”  Scott said, “Oh believe me, I was impressed.”  Kind of think Scott was maybe humoring Z there.

So I put it all together and said, “What a hand….two pairs of pocket Kings, a limp/re-raise, a WSOP bracelet winner….man, do I have a story for the blog!”  That got us all laughing and now I’m finally telling the story.

I don’t remember if I pressed Z more about limping in there.  This was not the kind of table where there was all that much raising.  He could have easily not been given the opportunity to re-raise.  It was a pretty risky play.  As it turns out, it made no difference, the hand was going to play out the way it did anyway.

I went back to being card and enjoying the conversation.  When we all decided to move on, I had cleared a small $55 profit, not bad for not paying attention.  I had a lot more fun than that, for sure.  It was great meeting Z, Scott and Liezl, all great people.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why Didn't He Want to Take My Money?

This is from a session very early in my trip from last month.  I’m going to talk about this session more in a future post, but I felt this particular hand was so unusual that it deserved it’s very own post.

It was a 1/2 NL game and I had worked my $200 buy-in up to around $300.  The action at the game wasn’t great, but I’d caught a few cards and had won a decent pot catching a guy’s bluff.  At the other end of the table there was this Asian man with a lot of chips.  He was totally not the stereotypical Asian player.  He was one of the tightest players at the table—maybe the tightest.  I really couldn’t remember a lot of pots he’d played, and when he did play, he was content to limp in or call a raise.  Couldn’t remember him ever raising himself preflop more than once or twice—if that.

For most of the time, he had about the same average-sized stack, he didn’t really do anything that could have changed his stack much.  But by the time this hand started, he had a really big stack, way more than my measly $300.  Listening to my voice notes now, I didn’t make any note about how he had gotten his big stack and suspected he may have won it while I was taking a restroom break.  It is possible that I did see the hand and didn’t recall it by the next day when I made my notes.

Anyway, on this particular hand, I found myself with the dreaded pocket Kings.  Pretty sure it was the first time that I had seen them for the trip.  But before it got to me, the Asian fellow had opened for $15. That was an unusually large opening raise for this table, $8 to $10 was the typical opening.  And as I said, I was hard pressed to recall this guy making a preflop raise of any size. 

The next guy shoved—but only for a total of $16.  It folded to me.

Now, pretty much 100% of the time in that situation, I’m going to re-raise. That was certainly my inclination.  But then I gave it some more thought.   You don’t have to three-bet there.  I’ve seen plenty of players just flat with Kings preflop.  I just don’t do it myself.  And I’ve had so much success with Kings, you know.  And I was looking at this guy’s huge stack and my little $100 profit and thinking—do I want to risk that with my ultimate jinx hand?  And I really thought that there was really a very high probability that the tightest player at the table had the one hand that beat me.

You could say I was experimenting with how to play Kings.  Or you could say I was scared of those damn Kings.  But I ended up just calling the $16.  The Asian man of course threw in another buck and the three of us saw a flop.

It was all lowish cards, two spades.  I did have the King of spades.  He led out for  $35.  Pretty good flop for me, unless he had the one hand I was worried about pre-flop.  I just called, hoping I guess that he was c-betting with an Ace-King type hand and would not continue on the turn.

The turn was a medium rank card—and another spade.  So now I had a draw to the second nut flush.  He didn’t check.  Instead he put out $75 and I went into the tank.

Sure, he could have had Jacks or Queens.  He could have also had Ace-Queen or Ace-Jack of spades and I’d be drawing dead.  I was still thinking he mostly like had two Aces—but did he have the Ace of spades?  I took quite a long time to think it over. 

And then, while I was still thinking, from across the table, I saw the guy, ever so subtly, lift up one of his two hole cards and flash it to me.  It was Ace of spades!

Well, I think I was leaning towards folding anyway, but that clinched it.  I folded.  Note:  Yes, it’s entirely possible his other card was an offsuit King or Queen and he did that to get me to fold a hand that was behind his.  But nothing I had seen from this guy all day gave me any real reason to think that.

Since there was still a showdown to come—against the guy who was all in for $16 preflop—the guy flipped over both his cards. He had a red Ace to go with his Ace of spades.  So he had exactly what I had put him on the whole time.

I was relieved. The guy had possibly saved me some money by showing me his card. And honestly, I cannot figure out why he did it.  Why did he not want to take my money?

Is there a thought-process that showing me the Ace makes me more likely to call?  Like I would assume he was doing it because he did have Ace-King or Ace-Queen off and I should call (or raise) with my pocket pair?  Is that what he was thinking?

Otherwise, he’s just showing to get me to fold. But why?  What is he afraid of?  If I already have a flush—if I have King-Queen of spades—am I ever folding there?  Knowing he has the draw to a better flush (or maybe he already has a better flush) am I ever folding?  He would love for me to call if he had Ace-Jack of spades, right?

Am I folding a set?  He only showed me one card so I don’t know he has a flush.  He has a draw to it, at the least.  But if I have a set, I have a draw to a boat.  Am I ever folding a set on the turn there?

It seems to me his showing me the Ace of spades was designed to get me to fold the exact hand I had—pocket Kings with the King of spades. 

So my question is….why didn’t he want to take my money?  We had had no conversation at all.  So it wasn’t like we had become fast friends and he was doing me a solid out of friendship.

Any thoughts you might have on why he didn’t want my money will be appreciated.  I’m grateful of course.  But baffled.

By the way, the river card was a total brick—not a King, not a spade.  My Kings would have lost to his Aces.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wrong Car Park? Sorry, I Left My Buick in My Other Pants

This is the second part of my reaction to experiencing MGM’s new “enhanced parking” for the first time.  You can find part 1 here, and we pick up right where we left off.  

The next night I went directly to the MGM garage, first time under the new system.  And except for the lines (because one gate in each direction was broken), it worked smoothly.  Furthermore, the MGM garage is so freaking big that the gates to get in and out are not at the top of big inclines.  They are located on flat driveways.  This makes the MGM garage much easier to deal with than either Mirage or NYNY.  The MGM garage thus becomes the first “robvegaspoker-approved” enhanced parking garage in the MGM chain.  In fact, things went so smoothly that I thought to myself….I know now why they went to this gate system. It’s because when it works properly and you get in easily, you feel like you’ve won something.

Exiting went smoothly too.  They had two of the three exit gates open, and when I approached them, and noticed that no one was following me, I stopped before entering either of the open lanes, waiting to see lane would empty first. That way, I was assured I wouldn’t get stuck behind someone who couldn’t open the gate, for whatever reason.

I parked at MGM a few more times before trying one more MGM property’s garage.  That would be the Monte Carlo.  I actually parked there on consecutive days.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I park at Monte Carlo whenever I go to Aria.  The reason is that I can get to the Monte Carlo garage without driving on the Strip, but (as far as I know), you have to drive on the Strip to get to Aria self-parking.  I hate driving on the Strip and will do (almost) anything to avoid it.  You can take a fairly short walk from the Monte Carlo garage to the Aria poker room and stay indoors approximately 99.27% of the walk, so I do that. 

Monte Carlo is the second “robvegaspoker-approved” MGM property garage.  It’s not as big as MGM, but the layout of it allows for the gates to be on flat driveways, not inclines.  So it’s easier to get in and out of.  Now, in order to get to the MC without driving on the Strip, you actually have to take the entrance to NYNY on Tropicana. You then drive past NYNY and past the new T-Mobile arena to get to the MC garage.  Note, for accuracy sake, I should mention that you can also get to the MC garage from the aforementioned Frank Sinatra Drive, too.  But that has nothing to do with this blog post.

I only mention this to point out that, as I drove past the entrance to the NYNY garage on a late Monday afternoon/early evening, the backup of cars trying to get into the NYNY was considerable, It was almost backed up to Tropicana, in fact. I assume one of the gates wasn’t working, and who knows if maybe some people were having other issues entering.  But if it backs up like that on a quiet Monday evening, you can see the potential for trouble.

No such issues at MC and I entered and exited without any issues.  Again….made me feel like a winner.

The very next day I returned to MC (to head to the Aria) and again had no issues entering.  I left many, many hours later.  Now, for some reason—I can’t remember why—I didn’t have to put my card in the machine to open the gate.  It was already opened.  I want to say that the gate was opened for me by the attendant who happened to be there, but am not sure. Maybe was just open when I got there.  Whatever, I just seem to recall that I left without inserting my card.

The next time I went to an MGM property to park wasn’t for a few days.  The MGM Grand was hosting a charity tournament for comedian Brad Garrett.  Through my connections with Ante Up, I was offered a free entry to it.  You might remember my last column led with a piece on the tournament (see here).  The magazine itself had also offered them a special deal on advertising (as they tend to do with charity events).  So I was on the VIP list to play in the tournament. 

I had mentally circled the day and time of the tournament.  All the time I was in Vegas, I was thinking it was the last Saturday I was in town, and that it started at 12:30PM.  I wanted to get there early to make sure I had time to meet Brad’s assistant, who had arranged the whole thing.  I’d never been freerolled into a charity event like this before, and didn’t really know how it worked, but her email said she was looking forward to meeting me, so I assumed I had to find her to get my free entry.   My aim was to be there no later than Noon.

I was ahead of schedule and then went to look at my email to make sure I had the lady’s name right.  When I read that email, I saw that it said the tournament started at 12 Noon, not 12.30!  WTF?  I was so sure it was 12:30!  I checked my column and damn if I didn’t have it starting at Noon there as well.  How embarrassing to have gotten the time wrong when I even put it in my column!  Now, suddenly, I was rushing, and my plan of getting there half an hour early was shot. 

I rushed out, and fortunately, there was little traffic between me and the MGM.  There were just a few cars in line getting into the lot.  There were no attendants to be seen, though. When I pulled up, I inserted my MLIfe Gold card and it ejected it without opening the gate. Huh?  I tried again.  I believe there was some message about what was wrong on the little screen, but it was pretty hard to read as the bright sunshine was beating down on it.  I did notice that the rectangular light around the slot for the card was red as it kicked out my card for the second time. I seemed to recall that when it worked previously, that rectangular light had turned green as the gate opened. I was worried about being late and so after the second rejection, I gave up and did what I “knew” would get the gate open—I pushed the button and pulled a ticket.

That worked and I made a mental note to be sure and check with someone in the poker room before trying to leave to see if they could figure out what the issue with my card suddenly not working was all about.  Now I guess my experience in the tournament itself will be a separate blog post down the road (hint: it didn’t end well and the dreaded hand was involved).  The tournament was held in a different area of the casino from the poker room, so when I was done there, I went over to the poker room and presented my card to see if they could tell me what the issue was.

The person helping me at the poker room was a relatively new guy who didn’t know me.  But he checked my card and said my account was still gold and he couldn’t see what the problem was.  “Must have been a glitch.”  Sure. The all-purpose "glitch."  He checked my card not by swiping it but by punching in the numbers into the computer.  I felt I should have asked him to swipe it just in case the coding on the card’s electronic strip had worn out.  That seemed unlikely though, since the card was just a couple of weeks old. 

Well, I went back to the car and didn’t know what to expect.  Fortunately, when I approached the exit gate, it wasn’t very crowded, but again, there were no attendants around.  I inserted my card, which ejected, and the lighted rectangle around the slot was red.  This time I was able to see the message on the little screen.  It said, “Wrong Car Park.”

What the hell?  I had parked the wrong car?  Sorry, MGM, this is the only car I’ve got.  And it was most assuredly my car.  I guess by now there was a car or two behind me waiting to exit behind me, no doubt getting anxious.  As I said there was no attendant to call over but there was an intercom, so I “called” for help.  It took close to a minute for someone to answer.  I told him what the problem was.  He said he was going to look something up in their system.  He put me on hold.  When he came back, he asked, “Did you pull a ticket to get in?”  I told him I had.  “Ok, put the ticket in the slot, then put your card in.”  I put the ticket it and the message said I owed them $7.  Yeah, good luck collecting.  Anyway, I then put my card in, the rectangular light around the slot turned green and the gate opened!  I had my escape route.  As I left, my main concern was that the guy stuck behind me was thinking, “Dumb California driver couldn’t figure out the new parking system.”

As it happened, I ended up going back to MGM to play that evening.  I think I would have played there that night anyway, but I was damn curious to see if I still was going to have a parking issue.  And yes…I did.  Put my card in and it came back with the red lighted rectangle.  This time I was able to read the message.  I wish I had written down the exact wording, as I managed to forget it soon after, but it was something like “Already entered,” or “already parked,” or “already in system.”  The first word was definitely “already,” I’m at least sure of that.

I gave it one more try and got the same result.  Again, no attendant around but there still were no cars behind me.  So I figured I’d use the intercom and try to get to the bottom of this.  A guy came on and I told him what the issue was.  He didn’t seem like he was looking anything up like the last guy. He told me to push the button, take a ticket, and then, “when you get in the casino, just throw away the ticket.”  Yep, that’s what he said, just throw away the ticket.

Well, I pushed the button, took the ticket, drove through the now-opened gate, but there was no way I was throwing away that ticket! Remembering that I had to insert the ticket before inserting my card to exit earlier that very day, I sure as hell kept that damn ticket.

Hours later, my session over, I headed back to my car to see what it would take to exit.  Well, it was pretty quiet then, no one behind me, and again, no attendant.  Twice I got the same, “wrong car park” message.  Was it telling me I was in the wrong parking garage?  We don’t refer to them as “car parks” on the West Coast.  Anyway, I used the intercom again, and explained to the guy what happened, including the guy earlier telling me to throw away my ticket.  He sounded a little panicked.  “Do you still have your ticket?”  I said, “You mean the one the other parking genius told me to throw away?  Why would I have kept it?  I threw it away like the guy told me to!”

Actually I didn’t say that.  I told him that I did indeed have the ticket.  He told me to stick it in and then put my card in.  After it read my ticket, it told me I owed them $10.  But after putting my card in, the green light came on, all was forgiven, the gate opened and I was on my way. A part of me is wondering if I’d still be stuck at that gate if I had followed the other guy’s instructions and thrown away my ticket.

My trip was winding down, but I knew I had to give it one more shot at an MGM property to see if I could decipher what was going on with my parking issue.  I drove back to the MGM late in the afternoon on July 4th, hoping that perhaps the issued had resolved itself over time.

No such luck.  Red light, no gate opening, and a message that read “Already entered” (or parked, or whatever the second word was).  It was still bright daylight out so the sun made it hard to read.  But the second time I tried it, I strained and was able to read a little more of the message. And it looked like after “already whatever” it had a date.  And that date was 6/28/16.  Hmm….I had to remember that.  In the meantime, there were cars backing up behind me, so rather than hit the intercom, I just pulled a ticket because I knew that would work.

As I started to walk to the poker room, a light bulb went off.  It seemed like the system was telling me that my car was still parked from 6/28, that’s why it wouldn’t let me enter again. It thought I was already in the garage, or one of their garages.  I stopped and tried to figure out where the hell I was on 6/28.  Fortunately, I keep records of this stuff and I didn’t even need my cell phone.  One of the few things I still keep track of on my notepad is where I played when (and how I did).  I took a look at the notebook and I saw that I had played a big tournament at Aria on the 28th.  Which meant I parked at Monte Carlo….which meant—Ding, Ding, Ding!  That was the time I exited the Monte Carlo without having to put my card in the gate!  It let me out without using my card, as I mentioned earlier.

Now it made perfect sense.  The damn parking system hadn’t checked my car out of Monte Carlo a week ago.  It wouldn’t let me in another parking garage until I was out of the Monte Carlo garage.  Except that I was actually already in the MGM garage.

I felt like Sherlock Holmes having solved a great mystery. “The Case of the Wrong Car Park.”  Now, how to fix it?  I mean aside from going to Monte Carlo for the sole purpose of exiting their garage to get me out of their damn system.  As far as I could tell there was no parking department inside the casino to go to.  The only thing I could think of was, maybe the place where they give out Player’s Cards could help me.  Fortunately, it was right on the way to the poker room.  Unfortunately, there was a huge line for it, and since I had no idea if that was even the right place to take the issue up, I didn’t bother to get in line to find out.

I wondered if the poker room supervisor could either help or direct me to the right department.  So when I got there, I went over to the regular swing shift manager, who knows me well, and explained what my issue was, and asked if he knew what department could help.  He said he didn’t know, other than asking the attendants or the perhaps the guys on the other end of those intercoms. Well that’s what I’d be doing and though I was never trapped, it wasn’t getting the issued resolved.

I thought of one more thing to try….tweeting to MGM corporate. They’d actually seen some of my tweets earlier about the parking (mostly smartass jokes) and responded seriously, so I figured they would respond to a serious inquiry.  I did a two part tweet to them that said, “Your ‘enhanced parking’ apparently thinks I'm still at Monte Carlo since Tue, how can I convince it I'm not? As a result I have issues entering and exiting your other properties with my Gold Mlife card.”  But they totally ignored me. No response at all.

While I was playing poker, I thought of a little flaw in my supposition.  I recalled that leaving MC wasn’t the only time I exited one of their properties without using my MLife card.  I remembered (as should you, back in part 1) that my second night in town, I exited at the newly created exit from NYNY…..and the gate had magically opened for me without a card.  Yet, I had no issues entering or exiting MGM several times after that.  It was only after I exited Monte Carlo without using the card that the issue developed.  Perhaps because the night at NYNY was so early in the whole “enhanced parking” scheme’s roll out, all the computers weren’t quite fully speaking to each other yet?  Who knows? I still think my theory of the system still having me in the MC garage is valid.

After my session, I walked past the Player’s Card booth just after they closed for the nite, so no help there.  But when I got to the gate, there was actually an attendant there, so I waved him over. Perhaps I could finally get this resolved.  I explained the problem.  I started to tell him that I had to keep pulling a ticket and that the system thought I’d been in the MC garage for a week.  He didn’t say anything.  When he saw my gold card, he took some kind of magic card he had hanging around his neck, stuck it up against the machine where you normally put the card in, and, just pressed it against said machine, without inserting anything.  It opened the gate like magic!  The ultimate “get out of jail free” card, I guess.

Well, I was out, but I don’t think it really solved my issue.  I never returned to another MGM property the rest of the trip, so when I eventually return to Vegas and try to enter an MGM garage, they’re probably going to want to charge me a few hundred bucks for long-term parking.  We’ll just have to see.

Imagine how much more fun I would have had if I had been one of those poor schlubs who actually had to pay for parking?