Las Vegas 2018 Trip Report

Another fantastic Vegas poker trip is in the books.  Even managed to bring home some more WSOP $$$ (...find out how in my report below)!  My guest and Poker Promo#20 winner Calvin Perez (PokerID:  Makalani) was going to meet me on Sunday June 24th early morning at the Rio (where all the World Series of Poker events are held) to play in his first World Series of Poker events.  There were several other friends who were also in Vegas playing with us in the WSOP Monster Stack and other events which made it a lot of fun.

There's a pretty funny situation in Chris' report below...I think you will find it worth the read...

Calvin’s Trip Report:

I just want to thank Chris for the opportunity he gave me to play in the WSOP and the hospitality he showed me when I got there.  Such a genuinely kind and awesome person.

 

I took an early 5:50 am Sunday flight and got to Vegas at 7:20 am and went to meet Chris and registered for the $1500 WSOP Monster Stack event right from the airport. This was my first WSOP tournament I ever played in and seeing over 5000 players playing poker was a bit intimidating at first, but I knew I had to go in there confident and I got to my seat right on time.  For about the first 10 hands there were only 4 players at my table including me that were playing, and for those 10 hands I won 6 out of the 10 and was actually able to win about $3k in chips (…we started with $15k in chips).  Winning those hands gave me confidence. After those 10 hands the rest of our table started filing in and soon our table had 9 players and at that point I didn't get any good playing hands for a very long time.  I maybe had a couple but didn't win any big pots. About 5 hours in I was at about $11k in chips when I look down at pocket 4's.  With two players behind me, I raised to about 1200 and both players call me.  The flop came J 6 4.  I was second in turn.  The first player checks then I decide to check, 3rd player bets $1500 then first player calls him then I raise to 4000, 3rd player calls and 1st player folds getting us head’s up.  The turn comes out a K. I move all-in and 3rd player takes over 5 min thinking if he wants to call or not, finally he decides to call and before I flip over my pocket 4's he says "ok let's see your pocket 4's" and right when I showed my 4's he said he knew I had it and he shouldn't have called. River comes out a 9 and I double up and have about 27k in chips. After I double up I again didn't get any good playing hands for awhile other than a few hands I decide to just play since I wasn't getting hands and doing that won a few little hands here and there. I did try and bluff a few hands unsuccessfully and lost some of my chips. At about 5:30 pm I was again down to about $12k in chips and I stare down at pocket 9's and only had one behind that called my raise of $1500. He was running hot so I was iffy going in the hand with him but the flop came out 9 7 2.  He checks and I check.  The turn comes out Q. He bets $2500 and I raise to $5k.  He calls.  The river is a 10, once again player bets $2500, I go all-in and he calls and flips over a AQ and I show my pocket 9's so again I double up to about $27k.  Again after I double up again I lose a few hands nothing big but still didn't win anything for awhile.  Then we had a dinner break.  The reason why I mentioned that I took a 5:50 am flight was because during the dinner break I felt like a zombie and me not getting hands for long periods of times made me get impatient and a bit frustrated.  After the dinner break we started up again.  A few hours later, I found myself back down to about $13k in chips and I stare down at QQ.  A player in front of me with about $6k in chips goes all-in before it gets to me.  I go all-in and a player behind me calls with a larger stack.  We all flip over and player1 has AK, I flip my pocket Q's and the 3rd player flips over pocket K's.  Nothing come out for player1 or me and player3 with pocket kings knocks both of us out!  I made it over 9 hours into Day1 and I only had 45 min and I would have made it to Day2.  All in all I had a great time and I’m just thankful for the opportunity Chris gave me. Thanks again Chris. Hopefully I will be your first back to back Promo winner!

 

Chris’ Trip Report:  (...bringing home some Vegas $$$)

I arrived on Saturday morning June 23rd taking the early flight to arrive in time for the Saturday 10am WSOP $1500 Monster Stack event.  That event has two starting days (...One on Saturday and one on Sunday).  My original thought was that I was going to play in the Saturday Day1 event.  Calvin was going to be playing in the Sunday Day1 event.  Anyone who made it through 10 hours of poker on Day1 from Saturday and Sunday would be merged together for Day2 on Monday.

 

When I got to Las Vegas at about 8:30am Saturday a “better” plan popped into my head…  Instead of playing in the Monster Stack event Day1 on Saturday, I should wait until Sunday and play with Calvin.  That would also allow me to be more rested for the Sunday Day1 start as I had to get up before 5am to catch the flight on Saturday morning.  Sooo….I had to find another tournament to play in on Saturday to fill my day.  I knew there was a good deepstack event over at the Venetian that started at noon with a $600 buy-in (and a guaranteed $500k prize pool) and I decided to head over to give it a shot.  We arrived at the Venetian an hour early.  What to do….what to do…. I know, I’ll jump into a $1-$3 no limit cash game to kill some time.  :-)     45 minutes later I was up over $600….WooHoo!  I just won my buy-in for the Venetian event!  So we (my Dad was along for some poker fun) walked over to the registration area to sign up for the event and it was only then that I noticed it was a 2-Day event and if I made it through the Venetian Saturday Day1, Day2 would be on Monday (….the same day as the Monster Stack event Day2 if I was lucky enough to make it through the Monster Stack Day1).  My Dad was with me and I knew he wanted to play in the Venetian event so I thought, “What the heck, let’s do it…what are the odds that I would make it to Day2 in either of the events, let alone Day2 in both events???”  Well….~12hrs later I was still in and I bagged up my chips.  I made it to Day2 in the Venetian event!  The starting stack was $20k.  The average stack at the end of Day1 was $95k.  I bagged $66k which was about 25 big blinds starting Day2.  Interesting side note:  During the entire Day1 I never had a very large stack but I never once was all-in.  I would have to be back at the Venetian for a noon Monday Day2 start.  So far, a great start to the poker weekend.  Off to bed late Saturday night…

I woke up Sunday morning to meet with Calvin at about 8am.  We went and got him registered for the Monster Stack $1500 event.  There was over 6200 players in this event!  I wasn’t sure yet if I was going to play, because if I was fortunate enough to make it to Day2 of the Monster Stack I was going to have a problem because the Monster Stack Day2 event was on Monday starting at 11am and I was already in a Day2 over at the Venetian that restarted on Monday at noon!  We went and grabbed some breakfast to talk poker and fuel up for the day.  I knew it probably wasn’t a great idea to play in the Monster Stack because of my self-created dilemma, but I had been REALLY looking forward to playing in the Monster Stack event for months.  I talked with a couple of poker friends who were also in Vegas with us.  One friend asked me a simple question, “Why did you come to Vegas?”  My quick answer was, “To play in the Monster Stack!”  Another friend commented, “You have to play Chris…the epic story of making it into two different Day2 events at two different casinos on the same day would be worth the price of admission!”  Their egging on was successful and I decided I’d play in the Monster Stack event to “See if I can create yet another fun ‘problem’ for myself”.    Well…it seems the poker gods have a wicked sense of humor…  After another 12hrs of WSOP poker and breaks I had made it successfully through Day1 of the Monster Stack!  It was an interesting day.  We started with $15k in chips.  For the first 8 levels (8 hours of poker) I never went above $26k and never below $14k.  I wasn’t once all-in, which looking back I found quite interesting (especially since my stack wasn’t particularly large most of the day).   I played lots of hands but kept things small whenever possible.  I did crack someone’s Aces early in the day (I flopped a flush draw, turned an open ended straight draw, and then hit the straight on the river).  During the last 2 levels of Day1 (last 2 hours) I decided I needed to make a push.  I knew that in my Venetian tournament I had a below average stack starting Day2.  I didn’t want to have a below average stack also in the Monster Stack if I made it to Day2.  So I started playing a little more aggressive.  After the 9th hour my stack had grown to $41k.  Then $60k.  Then $100k!  I took a decent size hit towards the end of Day1 in the Monster Stack and I ended the day at $76k.  The average stack for those remaining in the Monster Stack was about $49k…I was in good shape.  Except for the fact that tomorrow (Monday) I was in two Day2 events in two different casinos!!!  LOL…

What a funny problem I had created for myself….  What to do….what to do….   The Monster Stack was about 5 hours away from the money and 1st place was over $1,000,000.  The Venetian tournament was about 4 hours away from the money and 1st place was just over $100,000.  The WSOP Monster Stack restarted on Monday at 11am and would have a 15 minute break every two hours.  The Venetian Day2 event restarted Monday at noon and would have a 15 minute break every two hours.  So I came up with my strategy…  I restarted in the Monster Stack Day2 at 11am.  Just before the 1pm 15-minute break my stack had grown from $76k to $82k…time for some craziness!  I left the Monster Stack event and headed straight for the taxi line and raced over to the Venetian (during the first Monster Stack break)!  My Venetian stack had been blinded off for 1 hour and 15 minutes and was down to about 15 big blinds (from $61k down to $40k) as I had projected.  My plan was to spend 15-20 minutes playing hyper-crazy-aggressive to see if I could quadruple my stack so that I could simply allow myself to be blinded into the Venetian $$$ when I left to go back to the Rio WSOP Monster Stack.  As I sat down at my table at the Venetian everyone was looking at me, wondering....  I had just showed up an hour and 15 minutes late for Day2 in a pretty big event.  Someone asked me where I was and my comment was, “Man…I overslept!”   I didn’t want them to know I was playing in Day2 of the WSOP Monster Stack at the same time (as they would then know something might be up with my play).  The blinds were $1200-$2400.  On the very first hand, a player under the gun raised to $6000.  It folds around to me in late position.  I look down at 3,5 offsuit.  I pause for a minute.  Then I announce “All-in!”  I was sort of expecting that everyone would fold and I would collect a small pot.  But the original raiser calls me!  He turns over AJ suited.  I turn over my 3,5 unsuited.  Dead silence at the table.  The flop comes 2,8,10.  The turn is a 3.  The river is a 7.  I double up and now have $80,000!  The guy with the AJ suited sat there shaking his head….  The very next hand I get dealt KQ suited.  It folds around to me and I make it $7500.  I get one caller.  The flop came Q, 10, 3 with two to a flush.  The other player checks to me, I go all-in, and the other player folds.  I was then up to about $90k.  On the next hand I lost about $10k and was back to $80k.  Two hands later I get pocket 9s.  I make it $7500 preflop.  The button re-raises to $18k.  I announce “All-in” and the button calls me.  He turns over AK unsuited.  I flopped a set and doubled up to ~$170,000!  The average stack at this point was about $140k so I was slightly above average.  We were about 30 from the money and about 140 left in the tournament (there was over 1000 that started in Day1).  Everyone at the table was saying how “Sleeping in really looks like it helped me!”.  I had been over at the Venetian now for only about 15 minutes.  I was stacking my chips and was planning on heading back to the Rio Monster Stack.  With this Venetian stack I could probably be blinded into the money.  The next hand was dealt while I was finishing stacking my chips so I gave a look.  J,10 of clubs.  There was a min raise from a large stack and I made the call.  The flop came 9, 6, 3 with two clubs (giving me a flush draw and two over cards).  The original better bets $25k into a pot of about $12k.  Seemed like an obvious overbet.  I paused for a minute or two and gave this next move deep thought.  I could fold, leave the Venetian, and there was a decent chance I could be blinded into the money even if I wasn’t there (min cash was about $1100).  I could call and see what the turn brings.  Or I could push all-in and have a great chance of winning the pot right there, and even if the other player called me I assumed I had at least 9 outs for the flush and perhaps even 10s and Jacks could be good if he was holding something like AK.  I decided that if I won that hand (and especially if I doubled up) I would actually be in very good shape to make it pretty deep into the money (and maybe even be able to come back again from the Rio WSOP Monster Stack during the next break 2 hours later and continue playing at the Venetian).  I decide to push all-in!  The other player called and was holding 9,6 (two pair).  That was strange.  The turn and the river didn’t bring me the flush and I was eliminated from the Venetian tournament!  So close!!!  As I was quickly leaving the table (to get back to the Rio WSOP Monster Stack) I let everyone at the table know the real reason I was playing the way that I was playing.  They laughed, congratulated me, and wished me luck in the Monster Stack.  I quickly hailed an Uber and was back at the Rio Monster Stack event 10 minutes later.  In all I had missed about 40 minutes of play in the Monster Stack and it cost me about $10k in chips (which is what I had calculated).  Everyone at my Monster Stack table asked “Where were you???”  My comment was something like, “Man, the line at the bathroom was soooo long!”

Now I was back at the Monster Stack and it was time to get serious!  I was still about 2-3 hours from making the money.  About 3 hands later I was on the button and was dealt Q9 suited.  It folded to me and I made a 3x raise hoping to steal the blinds.  The small blind folded but the big blind thought for a minute and then made the call.  The flop came Q,9,5 rainbow.  The big blind checks and I decide to throw out what would look like a continuation bet.  The big blind goes all-in (he was short stacked) and I call.  He turns over AA but my two pair hold.  My stack was up to $101k.   45 minutes later I was up to $125k.  We were getting close to the money and I was trying to play conservative and wait to get into the money before making any moves (as were most players).  In late position I look down and see A,10 suited and make a 3x raise to see if I can steal the blinds.  The big blind who was a REALLY tight player makes the call.  I immediately put them on a high pair (not Aces or Kings otherwise he would have raised me) or a hand like KQ suited or AK or AQ.  The flop came K,Q, J rainbow…I flopped a straight.  I immediately felt that he either had flopped a set or two pair.  He checked.  I threw out a teaser bet to look like I probably missed the flop inviting him to raise me.  He bit and raised half his stack.  I went all-in and he called with K,Q (two pair).  My straight held up and I was now up to $225k in chips (about double the average stack)!  About an hour later we were in the $$$.  My stack had dropped down to about $147k in chips.  At this point there were about 970 players left.  My stack went up and down for about the next 3 hours as about 400 more people got knocked out.  I had about $135k in chips which was slightly below average.  I was on the big blind and I looked down at 6,7 suited.  There was a 2.5x raise from someone in early position.  Player near the button makes the call.  I’m getting about 6:1 on my money so I decide to make the call.  The flop comes 9,6,5 with two of my suit.  So I had a pair, a flush draw, and a gut-shot straight draw.  I figured one of them likely had an over pair and the other player probably didn’t hit that board.  It might be tough for either of them to call me if I were to push all-in (my bet of about $100k would be large enough to allow them to fold).   I was first to act and decided it was a good place for me to gamble and I shoved all-in.   The first player thought for a long time and then made just a call.  My read was that was bad news for me (but I had lots of outs).  Now the 2nd player was in deep thought for several minutes.  While I was waiting, and knowing I was already behind and would need to catch the flush or straight, I was hoping he would make the call (…if I hit I would triple up).  I didn’t put him on a flush draw.  Well he finally made the call.  The first player had flopped a set of 9s.  The other player had pocket kings.  I was hoping for the flush or straight but it didn’t come.  I was eliminated in 594th place out of over 6200 for a payday of $2973.  It’s always fun to cash in the WSOP events but it’s always tough getting eliminated!  What a crazy day…..

Well, the Tahoe WSOP circuit event dates have been released.  Looks like we’ll be able to put together another Simone Team Poker Promo event to send one of you along with us to Tahoe.  I haven’t finalized the online monthly tourney dates yet for this next promo but if you are interested you can go ahead now and register HERE.  The first 50 players to register will receive 25 bonus points in the Standings.  Hope you can join us for this next promo….Good luck!  -Chris