Las Vegas 2011 Trip Report “Winter”

Making my second visit to Las Vegas of 2011, although travelling alone I was sharing a room with Dom Mahoney over at Treasure Island and their were a bunch of Teesside boys and of course the charming Sarah Lawton (13 in total) in town staying over at Riviera. So some great company to kick it with whilst in town, moving on and I had a safe but long journey Newcastle > Amsterdam > Los Angelas > Las Vegas which got me into McCarran International Airport around 15:00 in the afternoon. I taxi to Treasure Island and after checking in head to my room to find Dom chilling after a day of golf with Colin Pearson, we have a bit of a catch up before freshening up and heading down to the casino floor for a drink. We meet the rest of the Teesside gang in C Bar, Stratosphere at around 18:00 ready for our 19:00 reservation at Top Of The World restaurant also at the Stratosphere. The food, wine, service, and view at TOTW restaurant were all first class if you ask me, and served as a great way to start an impressive night which included lots of poker (cash & tournament), drinks (vodka redbull & jaegerbombs), and gambling (roulette & blackjack). See below some photo's of the evening;

Left to right: Simon Bainbridge, Josh Saint, Mark, Adam Tuffin, Brett Angell, Colin Pearson, Noel Thomas, Ray Tuffin, Dan Trett, Dom Mahoney, and Ian Woods. The Photo unfortunately cuts Andy McGhee off from the right and Sarah Lawton off from the left which completed our party for the evening and duration of the trip.

I struggle to sleep that night as I'm full of energy compliments of the 10+ redbulls, so decided against playing the Venetian $350 DSE as originally planned. But so as to have something to interest me I take 10% of Dom, Brett, & Ian who all play as well as Sarah who played the 14:00 $240 NLH ladies, after eating at Shake N Burger (very disappointing) I head off to bed around 17:00 to catch up on some well overdue sleep. I wake up around 01:00 early Friday 11th morning and head over to sweat Dom who had made the final table of the evening Venetian $175 tournament, I don't remember exactly how things went down but know he bust like 7th for around $700. After this Dom treats me to a Chinese over at Ginseng3, which was OK I guess but by no means impressive we both agree. Dom turns in now (around 04:00) after a long day but I'm on the other hand wide awake, so go to kick it at a favourite of mine and grind the 100NL at Bills Gambling Hall & Saloon for a few hours. The table breaks around 08:00 after I'd been playing this arrogant (I'm god's gift to poker guy) for about an hour, he repeatedly says “I'm much better than you, you know that right?” to which I reply “I guess so, I mean I'm here playing the lowest stakes in Vegas just having fun”. Anyway I win small from him as the table breaks, after picking off one of his river bluffs with KJ high which leads him into another rant of how I'm so bad, he's so good blah blah. I always try my up most to treat every poker player (irrelevant of ability) in the same respectful manner, but I have to admit it felt good to take his money and of course I still said “Nice playing with you” (being a gentleman) as the table broke to which he replied “It wasn't with you, lucky fish” at which point I just laughed and said “I'd rather be lucky than good” as I leave.

I took a slow walk to TI and chilled in the room for a couple of hours whilst I waited for Dom to wake up, then we head to the fashion show mall as Dom is looking to pick up some clothes. This doesn't last long as he can't find anything he likes and we both start to feel hungry, so head over the Wynn buffet where we get a VIP champagne lunch buffet. Then we head back to TI and kick it in the poker room for a couple of hours playing 300NL, before going up to the room to get refreshed for the evening. We grab a cocktail from “Kahunaville Party Bar” before jumping in a taxi to “The Orleans Hotel & Casino” where we meet the rest of the Teesside crew inside at the Alligator Bar, this was around 19:00 giving us plenty time to register for the 20:00 $125 tournament.

I'm already pretty pissed before the tournament even starts as I've been on it since early afternoon, get drawn on same table as Ian Woods and a couple of sound American boys so the table banter is good and manages to keep me out of trouble for a while. I make a reasonable deep run eventually busting around 90/200+ after a kind of unnecessary bluff but whatever, I just head to the bar to cheer myself up. Brett Angell is also bust so after a couple of drinks and sweating the rest of Teesside boys, we decide to hit Haze nightclub over at Aria. Here the night gets really messy, see the photo's below;

After this it's around 04:00 and I suggest we head over Hooters to play some 200NL, unfortunately there is no game running so we go over the road to MGM Grand. We both sit at the 200NL and temporarily are on the same table, before being broke onto separate tables. I get cut off from alcohol as CRM feels I'm too drunk, which I guess I'm kind of cool with because been on it for best part of 15 hours by this point. I eventually leave as the drink begins to wear off and I start to feel slightly ill, completely forgetting I was even with Brett and taxi back alone around 07:00 to retire to bed. After a few hours sleep Dom and I arrange to meet Ian, Sarah, and Abraham for lunch over at Aria, however after seeing the buffet queue we decided against it Abraham suggests we try “In-N-Out Burger” just off the strip on Dean Martin Dr.

This was the first time I'd met Abraham and he was an absolute gentleman, he was a regular at Gala Teesside before business forced him to relocated California. He kindly picked up the bill for our burger and fries, before dropping us off at Riviera where he was checking in for the night. That evening we arrange to play the $125 19:00 tournament over at Aria, but unfortunately it's cancelled so we head to Caesars Palace for their $100 19:00 tournament instead. Dom, Ian, Sarah, Brett, Noel, and I all play and Abraham joins us later after he finishes his business meeting, as far as I know nobody cashed and I headed to bed around midnight as I had an early start meeting Monette (a friend of mine from Las Vegas) for breakfast. After a long overdue sleep I meet Monette outside Macy's (shopping store) opposite TI just a short walk over the bridge at 07:30, before heading to her home to meet up with Ott, Brian, & Connor. I'm a bit surprised as it's like a home from “The Jetsons” first of all using a PIN to open the door then upon leaving have roller shutters to cover the entire first floor of their house, I mean they live in a really nice neighbourhood so unlikely they'll get burgled but you can never be too careful I guess.

We head to “South Point Hotel.Casino.Spa” where we have breakfast at the coronado café, before heading to the arena and equestrian center for a gun show. After looking around here for a couple of hours I pick up an Osama Bin Laden shooting target, which I plan on putting some holes in when we hit the range later in the day. So yeah after a couple of hours we head for “Clark County Shooting Range” around half an hour drive from Las Vegas Blvd, so at first it was a little overwhelming watching all these guys just shooting guns not to mention really noisy. But once I got over the initial shock I was really keen to give it a go, at first I was way off target but towards the end I killed Osama with a few accurate head shots. Ott, Brian, and Mark (another guy we met at the range) were all kind enough to let me try their guns, so I shot handguns, pistols, and even an assault rifle. After this we grab a hot dog, fries, and onion rings for lunch at the diner on the range, before packing up and heading back to the strip around 16:00 in the afternoon where they drop me off at TI. I had planned to meet Dom Davidson for a few drinks this evening but I can't get in touch with him (I later find out he's having trouble with his mobile over the USA), so instead head down-town to Binions, Fremont Street to meet the rest of the Teesside gang who are also with Danny Hernon and his boys from Manchester who were in town for the Pacquiao vs. Marquez fight. I only hang around for about an hour before I read a facebook message on my mobile from Dom, saying they will be around the bars in NYNY so as to stick with my word I taxi on down to NYNY looking for them. After checking Nine Fine Irishmen, Bar at Times Square, and Coyote Ugly I have no luck so give up and by now it's around 20:00, so still restless I get in touch with my Henry Lau who lives in Las Vegas who say's him and his boys are off over Mirage to get involved in their evening $500 Poker Showdown event. That sounds perfect to me, it's just next door to me at Treasure Island so I take a walk over and find the boys in the card room. There are only 29 runners which is kind of disappointing, but I had no complaints as nine hours later I closed it out for $8,000. I was delighted with my performance and it was great preparation for the VDSE $300 event the following day.

After a few hours sleep I meet Ian for breakfast over the fashion show mall, who is looking to do a spot of shopping to pick up some gifts. I join him in a quick look around the shops before heading over to the Venetian for noon, joining the 300+ runners all looking for a slice of the pie. After 12 hours of running really well in some important all in spots, I make it through to day two with 224,000 and only 19 players remaining. It's like 02:00 the following morning when play finishes for the day, so decide best to head straight to bed and hopefully sleep well ready for day two. The following morning (Tuesday) I meet Monette for lunch, she takes me to one of her favourite restaurants called Thai BBQ.

The food here is really authentic and as it's off the strip (kind of a rough neighbourhood actually, but whatever) it's really reasonable. So yeah that was nice to have a bite to eat and laugh with Monette before heading back to the Venetian for 14:00, unfortunately things didn't quite go my way as I was chip leader (470,000) with 15 left. Before losing 120,000 with JJ vs. AK AIPF then 230,000 with J9h vs. TT (QTx with two hearts flop) before getting my remaining 120,000 in out the SB with QT and BB showed up with A9, to bust me in 11th place for $1,782. I left a little disappointed but I mean nobody deserves anything from the brutal variance of tournament poker, so all I can do is pick myself up and move onto the next tournament. I will say this much though, in the past whilst in Vegas I've been reluctant to play tournaments as I don't like to commit myself to playing over a prolonged amount of time. I've always been of the opinion Vegas has too much to see and do, so have opted to play more cash with the flexibility to choose my hours. However after finishing my ninth visit I've got all most everything I personally want out of Vegas and found making that deep run at the DSE very enjoyable, so yeah I guess what I'm saying is in future visits I intend to make more of an effort to play some big tournaments and aim for the big money.

I bust around 16:00 which leaves me with more than enough time to join a few of the Teesside lads to watch Penn & Tellar over at the Rio, I arrange to meet Adam & Ray Tuffin, Noel Thomas, and Andy McGhee at the Riviera for 18:00. We then take a limousine over to the Rio, joined by Brett Angell just as we head to the 51st floor to have dinner at the “VooDoo Steak & Lounge”, which as with the TOTW was really impressive including service, food, and view. This leads us nicely to our 21:00 showing of Penn & Tellar, I thought it was pretty good but because I had a long day found myself falling asleep a little during the performance. But still impressive and very funny either way, check out photo's below of Andy and I with Penn Jillette;

It's like midnight now and only 4 hours before I'm scheduled to fly out, but not wanting to leave without catching up with Dom Davidson I head over to the Venetian to see him. Shortly after Martin Amer busts the $350 DSE so we go on a casino bar crawl for my last few hours, having a few drinks in the Palazzo, Casino Royale, before spending the last hour or so playing 200NL at MGM Mirage. Although not the messy drunken night we had planned to have, was still nice to see them and have bit banter since were 5,000 miles from home. After quickly packing and freshening myself up, I get to the airport in good time around 04:00 for my 06:05 flight where Monette (who works at the airport) comes by to say hi and wave me off. Another long journey from Las Vegas > Detroit > Amsterdam > Newcastle which was made even more difficult as for the Detroit > Amsterdam leg I was sat next to a two year old, who by all means was nice enough but you try colouring in Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck for eight hours without saying FML FML FML over and over again in your head. In conclusion I had an absolute fantastic week with all the Teesside crew making me feel very welcome, particularly Dom Mahoney who was just a first class room mate and Ian Woods who kept me up to date with all arrangements ahead of the trip. I'm back over again in June staying at the Aria for between 7/10 nights with Mark, so I'm well looking forward to that and also talking to Monette about possibly incorporating a short trip to either Hawaii or California into this visit whilst over the west coast. Then if the Teesside lot are planning a Las Vegas 2012 trip it would be rude not to join them ;-), so minimum of one trip next year and maybe two.

Thanks for reading guys.


  1. Great write-up Dan. The amount you managed to pack into your week is amazing. Interesting you should talk about playing tourneys vs cash. When (note when, not if !) I go back again, I think I need to play fewer tourneys so I have time to take in some of the other things that Vegas has to offer.
    Take care + see you around
    PS. Loving the "charming" :)

  2. Hey Sarah, thanks for stopping by and I'm pleased you enjoyed it. Yeah their really is so much to see and do, I here time and time again people who first visit regret they amount of time they spend at the felt (I myself made that mistake). You guys were all great company, so when (not if) you go back be sure to send me an invite. See you around, good luck. ;-) x


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