Sunday, July 09, 2006

I think I was in Vegas (or I shouldn't have anchovy pizza right before bed)

Whew! What a trip (figuratively and literally)! It is now 8:35 P.M. and I am back in Casa de Hoff in lovely San Diego. Gotta get all this out while I still remember some of it. So much cool stuff, I'm not sure where to really start. Hanging with Miami Don, Hoyazo and Iakaris...three of the funniest, coolest people I've ever met. Absolutely had a blast with those characters. Pauly being so cool as to actually take the time and introduce me to a bunch of the old school bloggers Saturday night, and then show me around the room during the Ladies event on Sunday (go Facty!! go Maudie!! rah rah rah!!). The Blogfather himself buying me a drink Saturday night while we were all laughing at the Kid Rock impersonator. Jen Leo even gave me a piece of pizza during the tournament because I asked where she'd gotten it. I'd (ironically enough) had a piece of cold pizza while driving in that morning, and I was jonesing for some grub (not that grub!) The best moment, though, was when I first roared up to Caesars. While waiting for the speakers to start, I was looking around to see if I recognized anybody from assorted blog photodumps. I saw a few across the room (Pauly, Derek, Gracie), and then this gorgeous redhead walked past me. "Carmen?" "Yes." "I am Hoff." "Hoff!!! Oh my God we've been waiting for you! C'mon! Don, Iakaris and Hoyazo are all over there." Waiting for little old me?!? No way! That moment absolutely made the weekend for me. Now, on to the trip.

4 a.m. I understand that a bunch of the bloggers were still drinking at that point. Me, I just woke up after 2 hours of sleep. Shower, get dressed, finish packing, and walk the dog. I finally get on the road, 20 minutes later than planned. This almost became a factor, but all was good. Hit a couple of stretches of contruction that slowed me down, but by and large I just hauled ass. For some reason (liability, I suppose) Nissan programmed the computer in my old Pathfinder to not allow the cruise control to be engaged at any speed over 90 mph. Not so with the Jeep. Cruise set at 105 mph thru the desert, 90-plus in all other areas. Wound up averaging 74 for the whole trip out, including construction detours, panic braking for Nevada State Troopers, and Vegas surface streets.

Nice to see I wasn't the only one who showed up late. Heather came out and informed everyone that we needed the total rewards card for the tournament, and that she would take care of it during the speaker portion of the tournament. Michael Craig, Howard Lederer and Phil Gordon all gave great talks...Howard in particular as he related his version of Mr. Smith goes to Washington, to try and kill the online gambling bill(s) percolating thru congress right now.

Then Roshambo!
We lined up and went for it! Best of 3, it took me and my opponent (who ironically would be the one to cripple me during the tournament) 9 separate throws to get a winner. We tied our first three throws and wound up going all the way to the 3rd throw. I went out when my scissors got pummeled by his rock. So it goes. After all that, though, let's play some poker!!

We go to our seats, and I'm at a very evil table. I'm in seat 9. F-Train is to my immediate right, with Hoyazo next to him. Chad from Pokerama-rama is next to Hoy. A couple of seats down was Jen Leo, and a few hands into things, Human Head sat down at the number 10 seat. Quite a table! First hand (should've seen this as a bad sign), I get AJ s0000ted. I think I was first to act, which explains why I limped with that hand. Normally I'd raise it, but I don't think my mind had fully gotten into gear yet, so I limped. A couple of callers around and Hoyazo did his typical raise to 4x. I called and the flop came down with zero help. I knew if I bet out, Hoy would reraise me...that's just how he rolls. So I checked it. I had nothing more than ace-high and no other cards to my flush or straight. He did a half pot or so bet and I folded. Second hand was AQo. Called a preflop raise and again saw a flop that came nowhere near my cards. Someone at the other end of the table bet and I folded. Then I went dead for probably 10 or so hands. I woke up to AK s000000ted UTG and popped a 5x raise. One caller, and the flop came down K-high. I let out with a pot bet and villain folded. Then came the evil hand, against the guy who busted me out of the roshambo tournament. Several people limped, including villain, which let me check my 54o. Flop came down A5x rainbow. It checked around. A 2nd five fell on the turn. I bet the pot and villain called. A ten (I think) on the river and I bet the pot again. Villain reraised me. I'd put him on a high ace, and thought I was right with an AT when he reraised me on the river. I call for about 3/4 of my stack, and he flips over pocket aces for a boat! Goddamn slowplaying ass-munches, just waiting to take my chips! What could I do? He played it correctly and I got punished. Das poker. A few hands later, I picked up another round of blinds. Then I got 99 in MP. Hoy made it his usual 4x (we were at 50/100), so I shoved with my remaining 900. Hoy actually thought about it for a while, and I had this slim hope that he would fold. He calls and flips over QTc. Queen on the flop and ten on the river, and I bust out just after an hour or so into it. Then I wandered around the room and shot some pics.

It's now 11:50. GF and doggie have been attended to, and I can finally finish this post, and go to sleep in blissful anticipation of the job interview that might put an end to my unemployedness (is that a real word? if not, who cares?). After I shot my pics and railed for a while, I bailed on Caesars and drove to the Excal to check in, dropping Iak off at the MGM on the way. That done, I crashed for about an hour. Down to the pool for some cool water and hot scenery, and then another nap. Downstairs to see if any bloggers are staggering in, but no joy. Nobody's answering the phones, either. Later I found out that the tournament was still going on after 7. So I played some craps and then had some dinner. Back upstairs for a nap (no, I'm really not that lame, just tired), and then downstairs to meet up with everybody.

First of all, super mega congrats to F-Train for winning the whole damn thing. I sat next to the winner! Do I get something for that? And sympathetic shoulder shrugs to this season's Gigli, Spaceman!! Then it was time to drink and meet people. Speaker, Gracie, Change, the guys from Lord Admiral, Derek, Kat, Jules, Poison, Sox, StB, Al, Eva, Bobby Bracelet, Smokkee, Grubby, Falstaff, Shane, Spaceman, Absinthe, and the list went on and on. I'm frankly amazed that I remembered this many people. I know I'm leaving people out, but I blame it on the's a convenient target, so why not. I didn't get to meet Waffles, and I was really disappointed because everybody kept saying "he was just here" and that he was going to be back soon. Someday Sir-F we shall meet...until then, it's the girlie chat for you. Still, had a fan-damn-tastic time with everybody. Can't wait for the next one. But it was after 3 a.m. and I needed to get some sleep. I had to drive back to San Diego and I still wanted to go to the Rio to check out Fact Girl and Maudie in the Ladies Event, as well as soak up some gen-u-wine WSOP vibe and shwag.

So I wake up 3 times, finally at 9:45 it finally holds and I get up. Shower, pack, check out and abandon the castle. Drive around looking for the one Union Bank of California branch supposedly in Vegas that was listed in the phone book. After going to the address and not finding a damn thing, I call the bank ATM locator line. Nope, no branches within 99 miles of Las Vegas. Stupid out of date phone books. So I say flock it, grab lunch (nobody but casino buffets are still serving breakfast) and break for the Rio. After the 2 mile walk thru the casino out to the convention area (I wonder if the other conventions that were happening scheduled their conventions on purpose, so as to allow easy access to the WSOP. Anyway, then came the hospitality suites. PokerStars was first, and they got kudos for having XXL beer-drinker size shirts. Full Tilt came next, with a swankier looking setup, but a need to sign up for something (hell if I can remember) to get a free t-shirt, hat, or whatever. Bodog had a nice setup with a nice comp bar. Jim Beam, baby! Absolute, UB, Card Player, they were all there. Walked into the room and was overwhelmed by the scale of everything. So much poker, all in one place!
Sorry about the quality of that pic. I was trying to shoot across the whole room, to give an idea of the scale, and caught the hanging lights and they screwed up my lighting. Sigh. Minor moment of panic when I couldn't remember what table Fact Girl said she'd be at, due to the many adult beverages I'd consumed over the evening. Let's see, who do I know that would defintely have some insight as to what's going on at the WSOP? Pauly! He was even crazy enough to answer his phone to an area code that he's probably never even seen! I asked if he knew what table Facty was on, and he said he'd be right over. He pointed out Maudie, Facty, and a couple of other poker hotties that he knew, and then proceeded to show me around the room. Very cool. And I guess because I'd sort of sobered up, I actually had the presence of mind to get a pic of me and Pauly.
Somehow I missed getting those pics of Iak, Don, Carmen, Hoy, Kat, Poison, etc. Sigh. Must plan better for next time.

So that was the trip. It was a shame that I had to make it a short trip, but that was the hand I was dealt. Still, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I had such a blast getting to meet and know everybody. Can't wait for the next blogger tourney I get to play in. Maybe a Mookie? We shall see. GF starts teaching again this week, so I might get to play some more poker. Woo hoo! Monday morning I've got that interview with an environmental consulting firm. Think good thoughts...if I get this job, then maybe I can afford to go back to Vegas again. Now, you know you want me back in Vegas, don't you. That's what I thought...Vegas!


CarmenSinCity said...

Hoff - it was so cool meeting you!!!!!! I wish I didn't have to run off work cause it would have been great to hang out with you and I also missed getting pictures of you (and lots of other people) - we will plan better in December!!

Donkeypuncher said...

While you were searching for Waffles, I was asking which one of the ubergeigh bloggers was Hoff. Perhaps next time sir. Great writeup. I'm looking forward to all the trip reports. Work? Bah!

Matt Silverthorn said...

So jealous. Good luck with your job interview!

smokkee said...

good seeing ya there. sorry i didn't come over to talk. i wuz neck deep in drunken bloggers at the cash game and didn't want to miss a hand. next time.

SirFWALGMan said...

Soon man soon..

Miami Don said...

Enjoyed the short time we spent together Hoff.

Carmen and I will see you down in San Diego sometime soon.

Mr Subliminal said...

A few points of clarification are in order:

(1) I am the villain that "slow-played" the aces. In early position, with Hoyazo and F-Train (both of whom had been raising and reraising nearly every pre-flop orbit) behind me, I decided to limp with my AA with the intention of reraising all-in and taking down a nice pot pre-flop. Sadly, for you, everyone limped - a rarity at our table.

(2) I did not enter the roshambo contest, so it wasn't me that eliminated you.

(3) I'm not trying to be a nit, but I think "ass-munching slow-player" would be a more accurate description of me (rather than "slow-playing ass-munch").

Good luck with your job interview.

Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Great wrapup Hoff. And great meeting ya brotha - thanks again for the ride back to MGM, the walk would have done me in! You and our entire crew did not disappoint in the least. Keep us posted on how things are working out, we're all pulling for you.

Dr. Pauly said...

Awesome to meet the HOFF! See ya soon.

Raveen said...

nice recap wish i could have been there sounded like blast good luck on getting the job im sure u will...

Veneno said...

Enjoyed your recap. It was an incredible weekend. Glad to meet you in person!