Friday, December 16, 2005

Joe's trip to Vegas

I spent the last weekend in Las Vegas with some friends and we had a great time milling about each casino playing a variety of games. Some of the games, including craps and Pai Gow I've never played before, while BlackJack, Slots, and Poker I've plenty of experience (good and bad). We didn't go to any of the big Las Vegas shows, maybe next time if/when the spouses come with us. I can't even tell you how much whiskey I drank, although I'd be willing to guess the casinos handed out well over $400 worth to me.

For those that don't know me all that well, Poker is one of my passions. If I could, I'd do it for a living. Some that know my level of play will tell you they think it's possible, but I don't think Karen would go for it ?. My most memorable moments during this trip were spent at the Belaggio.

I spent half the day on Saturday playing in their poker room. The place was bustling and I recognized some professional players, and among them, some of my favorite players. Gus Hansen and Phil Ivey were playing "heads up" no more than 10 feet from my table. I sat directly behind Marcel Luske (an entertaining gentleman, and extraordinary poker player) as he and several other pros were playing in a satellite tourney for an entry (and prize money) to the upcoming (next day) Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

I came back to the Bellagio Sunday afternoon to find a very long wait. As luck would have it, a $20-$40 Hold 'em table had just opened, so I decided to try that out. During the twenty-five minutes I played at that table, I played 4 hands and won them all. Shortly after my forth hand, my name was called for $8-$16 table and I decided to move (I feel more comfortable at that limit).

Grabbing my chips and filling nearly 2 racks (100 per rack, $10 chips), I headed to the cashier to get smaller valued chips and cash some in. I stepped away from the table started walking, while gazing down at my new fortune. As I made my way around the tables, I nearly bumped into someone. With a smile, he said something along the lines of "hey there partner, nice fresh chips you have there!". Looking up, I was surprised and in awe, that "guy" was Doyle Brunson, perhaps the most prolific poker player in the world. Next thing I know, I chatting with him and Johnny Chan (another famous Poker player) about Minnesota weather. Silly me.

While the entire trip was not only relaxing and entertaining, this little moment at the Bellagio is something that I will never forget.

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