In Las Vegas again for the second time this year, I was visiting with a friend of mine and NPF affiliate Craig “simpa” Simpson. We in a roundabout way travelled together, but he mistakenly booked his Newcastle > Heathrow flight for 07:45 whilst mine was at 12:15. So he ended up being in Heathrow almost seven hours, until our 15:40 flight to Las Vegas. I saw him for a quick pint in Heathrow then I was flying in club world and he was in economy, so I wasn't even sitting next to him. We arrived safely as scheduled around 18:20PST in the evening (Wednesday 22nd), before collecting our luggage and catching a cab to Rio All-Suite Hotel Casino where we were staying. I had reserved a deluxe suite, which I guess it met all suite requirements but in reality it was just an oversized room. The view was predictably great, over looking Las Vegas boulevard. Everything appeared to be a little dated including curtains, carpets, televisions, and bathroom accessories amongst other stuff, but I mean whatever I got a reasonable rate so no complaints. Below our suite and view;
We freshened up and had a quick vodka redbull in the suite, before heading downstairs to meet my friend Monette in iBar. She had brought a work friend along, who was a nice friendly lad called Ron. After we got all the formal introductions out the way, we headed towards M Resort which is a relatively new casino/hotel which has just opened about 30 miles off the strip. The four of us had a brilliant night going to the various bars/lounges in M Resort, before heading to PT's gold pub for some more drinks and a pizza to share. It was around 01:00 and as Monette and Ron turned in for the night, Craig and I headed back to the strip to play some poker at MGM Grand. Check out a few photo's from the evening below;
Brilliant first night, I've wanted to get out to M Resort for a while now but it's like 30+ miles off Las Vegas boulevard so was reluctant to pay the cab ride. Also managed to turn $200 into $1,800 over at the 200NL in MGM Grand, as you can see by the photo above. Getting around $400 of this from Craig, as I found a straight flush on the river which also gave him a full house.
I've been to Las Vegas ten times now, this was my eleventh visit. During these visits I've played in almost every card room in Las Vegas, which was a lot of fun but now I want to start to receive some rewards for the hours I'm on the felt. I done some research and found MGM to have the best rake in town, as of February 8th 2012 it was 10% with a $4+$0 maximum. The +$0 indicates that they don't charge an additional rake to put towards promotion jackpots, like for example bad bead and high hand. This identical rake structure is also found at Bellagio, Venetian, Aria, and Wynn, so with that in mind I finally decided on the MGM Grand because it spreads the most 200NL games and I already have a few FPP accumulated through previous visits and some very long cash sessions.
So with all that in mind, I will now play my cash in Las Vegas although not exclusively but predominantly at the MGM Grand. We stayed until around 05:30, before heading back to Rio to retire for the night. We slept reasonably well I guess until like 09:30, then began getting ready for the $240 Caesars Palace Winter Poker Classic (abbreviated as CPWPC for any future reference in this report) side event, this was a 12:00 noon start. Before hitting the tables we decided to have brunch at Munchbar, which is a really good diner in Caesars Palace. We both had a hot dog and a fries, which was fine I guess. I never really got going on the felt, busting relatively early as I played a 55,000 chip leader pot at 100/200 level with QTd vs. KK getting all in on the turn with board reading 286T including two diamonds. This was also SB vs. BB, I defended out the BB after it was folded around. So it kind of sucks, but M'EH whatever. With the full afternoon ahead of me I decided to jump in a cab down town, this was because I was interested in doing the zip-line through Fremont street. It was a good laugh and great value at $15, however they make their money through the sale of photo's which is $20 for the first and $5 for any additional. I'm a sucker for photo's, so bought four in total which you can check out below;
I then headed back to Caesars Palace to see how Craig was getting on in the CPWPC, I caught up with him for 10 minutes on a break before wishing him luck and heading back to Rio to freshen up for the evening. After a quick shower I headed back over to MGM Grand to play some 200NL at approximately 20:00, Craig later joined me where we played until a little after midnight before turning in for the evening. The following morning I had a reserved a tandem jump skydive for 11:00 through Sin City Skydiving, which I was really excited and admittedly a little nervous about. I arrived at Bally's for 10:45, which was good timing for my stretched limousine collection. It's a short twenty minute journey to Jean Sport Aviation Center, where they take you through some basic training and prepare you for your jump. From here I'll let the photo's do the talking, which I'm sure will say more than I can put into words.
Once in the air all the nerves seem to disappear, it's kind of euphoric as the air blows through your face. I would highly recommended anybody who hasn't already to do a skydive, especially if your a thrill seeker it just kicks ass. A great morning/afternoon and after a free can of Coors beer in the limousine got me back to Bally's around 14:00. I met some sound boys called Tom and Matt whilst doing the skydive, they were locals studying at UNLV. I'm now friends with them on facebook, so maybe in future visits I'll kick it with those again. From here I headed over Caesars Palace to late register for the $130 CPWPC side event, three buy-in's ($390) later I had built a 70,000 chip stack. This was short lived as I played a flush draw aggressively which missed, then the rest went in when I had top pair vs. a flush draw which completed on the river. It was approximately 18:00 now so Craig and I went back to the Rio, to get ready for the evening. We had a few vodka redbulls (I say a few, I pretty much had a litre of vodka) and corona's in the room, whilst getting ready before heading out around 21:00. First we hit Heart Bar, Planet Hollywood then onto Liquidity, Luxor from here we had planned to go to Foundation Room, Mandalay Bay but I was way too pissed so just headed for bed around 02:00. Check out some photos from the evening;
After the drink initially knocked me out, I woke up at like 04:00 wired with the copious amount of redbull I had drank hours earlier. This was rather frustrating as I tossed and turned all night with a bad head and an upset stomach, it got to around 10:00 and I decided not to play the $560 CPWPC main event. It wouldn't be wise after no sleep and feeling terrible, so I instead planned to play the $1,070 Wynn Classic (abbreviated as WC for any future reference in this report) side event the following day (Sunday 26th). I still headed over the strip with Craig and we had brunch at the Victorian Café Steakhouse at Bills Gambling Saloon, I had a prime rib dinner which I guess was my best meal so far this trip but by no means brilliant. After wishing Craig good luck, keeping with the thrill seeking theme I headed down to the Stratosphere to do the skyjump. This is 855ft above Las Vegas boulevard at the top of the Stratosphere, then you just find the balls to jump off. I couldn't get a spot until 14:30 so went for an aromatherapy massage at the Stratosphere spa/salon, this felt great and very relaxing. Still another hour or so to waste before my skyjump slot, so I sat at the 200NL for a bit and although I wasn't too interested in the poker I was fascinated by the dealer who had worked in Las Vegas since the late 1960's. He worked at the Stardust during the era the film Casino was based (Casino is based on the original Stardust), so he had some tales to tell about Frank Rosenthal, Nicky Santoro, Benny Binion, Anthony Spilotro, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and many more. The skyjump although not as good as the skydive, was still pretty cool and shit scary. Check out the photo's and my certificate below;
From here I went to sweat Craig in the $560 CPWPC main event, but by the time I arrived he had gone bust. I had been on my feet all day, so decided to just play 300NL at Caesars Palace as I couldn't be arsed with the journey to MGM Grand. I stayed from like 17:00 until 01:00, before taking a cab back to Rio to retire to bed. I slept pretty well waking up around 08:00, then headed to Sau Paulo café for breakfast. As planned we headed over Wynn as I was playing the $1,070 WC side event, before this started I joined Craig as he bought a few presents from the fashion show mall. We both had good days as Craig split both the $120 noon and $180 evening tournaments at the Wynn, for approximately $2,200. Whilst I survived day one of the $1,070 albeit with a short 35,600 stack, for some reason they decided to end the day on the bubble with six remaining and five paid which sucked. I was a little disappointed as I played a 320,000 chip leader pot with KK AIPF vs. A6h, losing as a heart flush hit the turn. Then to make things even more difficult I had Annette Obrestad to my left, making it very difficult to get any raises through without resistance.
Away from the felt we had dinner at Stratta also in the Wynn, this was really good as we shared spaghetti meatballs and a sausage pizza. So yeah we left the Wynn around 00:30, heading back to the Rio back to bed after a long day on the felt. The following morning we took the complimentary shuttle to Harrahs, and headed to the Public House at Venetian for some brunch. From here we headed over Wynn and Craig played the $120 noon tournament, meanwhile I sat at the 300NL waiting until 14:00 when day two of the $1,070 began. I managed to build my short stack 35,600 up to approximately 50,000 with a couple of third bet shoves, before getting it AIPF with TT vs. A7o to bust me on the bubble as the board ran Axxxx. Kind of sucks, but that's the way it goes sometimes. After this we decided to pick up some Vegas Lights tickets through Maverick Tours, this is basically a helicopter tour over Las Vegas boulevard and Fremont street. The package included hotel collection and glass of champagne, it was really cool and a nice way to spend my final evening in Las Vegas. Our collection time was 20:00, so at first we kicked it over at iBar and had a couple of Budweiser’s. After the flight we had a couple of drinks over at Tabu ultra lounge over at the MGM Grand, before heading back to the Rio around 01:00 to bed. See photo's of the evening below;
I couldn't really sleep so went down to the casino floor, hitting the 200NL for a graveyard shift. After freshening up I had arrangements to meet Monette for lunch at 12:30, she picked me up outside the Rio entrance and we headed to Archi's for some authentic Thai cuisine. We were joined by her friends Ron and Caryn, but Craig was tired so decided to have an afternoon nap. Monette dropped me off back at the Rio around 15:00, and after saying my goodbyes I went to chill at the RIO 300NL for the remaining few hours before my 20:20 flight. I was sat to the left of a young guy called Alex Jacob, he was a nice lad with a very decorated tournament background. As usual I left it until the last minute before leaving the table around 18:30, then quickly freshening up and jumping in cab to the airport. Craig was staying an extra night as he had screwed up his booking, so I dropped him off at the Aria for the 19:00 $120 tournament on route. Another very relaxing flight home in club world as I slept over eight hours of the nine hour flight, only awake as I enjoyed a champagne lobster dinner before sleeping and hot tea with a bacon roll when I woke up.
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