Monday, January 3, 2011

Trip Report 4: The #WPBT Winter Classic Aria featureing a Group Photo

Saturday morning had arrived in Las Vegas. Back in Minnesota, my wife was struggling through one of the worst snow storms we've had in a very long time. The furnace intake pipe had gotten plugged with snow, twice. She was so snowed in, a neighbor in a 4 wheel drive had to take her to work. I honestly had no words for her. I felt terrible sitting in a hotel room, in Las Vegas, enjoying the mid 60's for highs. What could I do? Funny thing, I couldn't even fly home if I wanted to. The airports were all closed.

I pretty much just spent the morning hanging out in my room, watching some cable news and playing some online poker. Stupid I know, but there comes a time when a guy just wants to enjoy the quiet.

The tournament was scheduled to start at noon at Aria. I was really excited to see this place. It opened the day after I left in 2009. Some of the local bloggers had really good things to say and Phil Ivey's Room was there. How cool is that?

Aria and City Center aren't really all that hard to find. They basically define huge. The walk there from MGM isn't too bad. I was hoping to get there early enough for the poker lesson, but that didn't happen. Kinda bummed about that. I did swing by the Louis Vuitton shop for a little motivation. Not that I'd ever want anything there, but I told my wife that if I won the tourney, I'd stop by there on my way out to get her a little something. She just laughed.

The walk into Aria isn't completely finished from the Bellagio side. You are walking around The Cosmopolitan which I believe open THE DAY AFTER I LEFT (I smell conspiracy). When I finally found something with Aria on it, I also ran into CK which was good. She gave me directions to the card room. Aimless wandering could end.

The night before had pretty much decimated my cash supplies. I learned a valuable lesson about modern casinos. The ATM's are label "Coupon" something. I guess it makes sense they want you thinking about cashing out rather then getting more cash.

The card room really is beautiful. It's not quite as secluded as Caesar's but it's not sitting next to a live band. Whew.

Lot's of bloggers were already there. Here's Dawn.

Joe Speaker relaxing the day after golf. Like the zen :)

On the left, you can see my bounty, a photograph I shot when Kat was in town circling the lakes with her hubby. I think I actually took this photo when we were down to two tables. I have a habit of keeping my bounty in my bag until someone asks.

My starting table, to the best of my memory, had CaityCaity, VinNay, Avoque, PokerGnome, ThisIsNotApril, PokerVixen and I know I'm forgetting people and some of these might have moved to our table. Very sorry about that. I had a notebook.I failed to use it.Sigh.

I felt really good going into the tournament. Structure seemed excellent, the staff of the Aria Poker Room were outstanding. I had an excellent mix of players. Team Skol (Drizz, Mattazuma and myself) were all wearing our purple with pride.

Gnome was on my left. He was schooling the table in tight/aggressive. I was trying to stay in that range. I seemed to keep an average to slightly short stack all day. Which is better then no stack. There weren't many memorable hands. I remember the first time I took my bounty out was for CK. I was shortish and moved in. I was definitely in a could be stealing position. I think I had KK, so I wanted a call. She folded, the bounty not quite enough to get her to do it. Maybe next year I frame something bigger.

I had a lot of fun with every dealer. As soon as someone new would sit down, I'd apologize for the table. Just in case. I didn't want to forget to do it. You never know with this bunch.

My big lucky moment came when I shipped it in with QQ. Special K called with AJo. He had been on a rush for a while, accumulating chips. When the flop came ace high, I grabbed my camera bag and started standing up. I hate that feeling when you see the flop hit that ace. Ugh. Now you are on a two outer. Vindication in the form of a resuck filled me with much joy when the third queen came on the river. I got the queen and didn't even use my "ONE TIME!" yell. Gotta save that for the final table to the Main Event.

There was only a few hands I really regret. One had BuddyDank raising and this old guy next to me (he was someone's dad. Don't remember who) moving all in. I looked down and found 44. Not a great hand, but I was in the little blind and it was starting to get really expensive. Buddy had been his usual nit/aggressive and the old guy had a really bad habit of show me his cards. I did see this one, but every time he'd shoved before, he showed me his ace. I was at best in coin flip. Of course, I would have flopped a full house and busted both of them. I don't know if it was right to fold.

Something that was weighing on my mind about then was the Luckbox Last Longer Challenge. Drizz and I were both still in it. Matt had busted 70th and we were still in the running. Ugh. Metagames. Drizz also had to be two to my left at that time. Double Ugh.

My run would end in 13 place. I think I had J9o in early position. The blinds were just about to put me in the too short to do anything range so I had hoped to get one more steal in before the jump. Shelly was also short and found AJ. Why did it have to be AJ. AQ would have been so much better. As it turns out, not only did she get my photo, but she also got the little bottle of Wild Turkey from ebhizzle, got from me, that I got from VinNay and he got from Dr. Pauly. Very glad it went to someone that loves a good tradition! See ya next year! (Maybe we need to talk about getting it mounted. Just a thought)

With my demise, Team Skol was still in it. Our champion, Drizz just need to go a little deeper. I know I probably should have stayed, but I had tickets for the Sin City Roller Girls with Kat and PokerVixen. I had just enough time to get to the Riviera to catch most of it. With modern technology, Matt stayed behind and kept me posted with Twitter. Now, going into the tournament, I was already stuck $250. This tournament added $135 to this. Uff.

The #WPBT hashtag was filling with people talking about the chop. It was a big one. Drizz negotiated it well and Team Skol ended up 3rd in the last longer challenge! $58 dollars in cold hard cash and $200 in PokerStars money! That makes me slightly less stuck! Woot! Woot!

I know there's stuff I'm forgetting from the day. I got a feeling there's gonna be an odds and ends posts filled with all the crap I've forgotten.

I'll share the pics and stories from the roller derby in my next post. Now, it's time for something I know a few of you have been waiting patiently for. Before the tournament April was kind enough to get the poker room manager to delay the tournament a few minutes and take a group photo! You won't see this many bloggers together in one photo all that often. We had 97 paid entrants in the tournament. Several photos were taken. Large group shots are much like herding cats. You just never get everyone together, smiling and looking shart at the same time. The two pictures seemed the best.

If you would like a copy of one of these without the watermark and with better resolution, just drop me an email at the link above. Up on top where it says "Contact Information". If you click through them, you will see a larger version. Normally, I hope people send me an email requesting permission to use my photographs in their blogs. I don't think I've ever declined a request. I just like the courtesy of being asked. You don't need to do that for these two photos. They are for you. You can still drop me an email to say hi :) These should be on Flickr in the next day or two.

WPBT Winter Classic 2010

Still to come, Roller Derby, Lagasse Sport Stadium and a photowalk I won't soon forget. Stay tuned!


April said...

The photos are awesome! Thank you!!

Shelly said...

Awesome photos!! Yay! (And your bounty photo is awesome too - goes perfectly with a couple art pieces I have hanging in the same room!) I was thinking about the Wild Turkey - we should definitely get it mounted in a frame-box. How feasible do you think it would be that all previous winners would make the Winter Classic in 2011? (I'm there!) Or I was thinking we could mail the signature plate around to everybody to sign and ship to the next person...

The NL Wife said...

I love the picture - amazing that we got us all in there!

I just want to go back!

Unknown said...

Love it.


KenP said...

Cold night and the Salvation Army had a sleep over?

Memphis MOJO said...

great shot!

David Westbay said...

Thanks for posting these, I've been hoping they would surface!