In our latest adventure, Jace and I head to the Las Vegas Strip to see flamingos and then to Town Square to play on the jungle gym.
From a pool party in Summerlin to sushi to Wynn, it was a great Father’s Day.
My latest poker adventure was to the Wynn Poker Room (which is actually in Encore) for a session of $1-3NL. The goal was simple: turn $220 into $1,000. The execution was awful.
The litany of reasons:
Not aggressive enough with A-K against a pre flop raiser on a K-Q-10 flop. Raiser bet into me on the flop and the turn, and I called both times. River was an Ace, which sucked for my hand. Raiser bet into me $100. I was hoping for him to have A-Q. Unfortunately, he had J-10 offsuit and rivered a straight.
Played too many hands, and a few suited hands out of position.
Got A-A twice in the small blind. Raised to $15 and only won $4 each time.
Missed set mining about five times with small pairs in raised pots.
I lost the original $220 in about two hours and rebought for $300 more. I dusted that off in about two more hours and went into my pocket for another $280. I am never in a game for $800 but I knew there were two or three poor players in the game and I had a shot to get my money back. In addition, I had started getting my money in good (A-Q vs 10-9 and J-J vs Q-10) and still lost. I knew if I kept getting my money in good I could get my money back.
The upswing started almost immediately after the third buy-in.
J-J vs. ??. I called a preflop raise of $12 with J-J in the small blind. Flop was 8-7-3 rainbow. I bet $20 into raiser. He called. Turn was 9. I bet $30. He called. River was 10. I bet $30. He called. When I showed J-J he said I was dominated all the way to the river. I shrugged and dragged the pot.
Q-Q vs. ??. I called a raise of $12 with Q-Q from the small blind against the tightest, slowest player at the table. Flop was 10-7-10. I bet $20 into raiser. He raised to $70. I called. Turn was a Q (full house!). I checked. He bet $92 of his remaining $200 into me. I Hollywooded for about 45 seconds and acted like I was just going to call the $92. I raised to $192 and he disgustedly mucked his hand.
8-9 spades vs. ??. Flop was A-J-2 with one spade. Check-Check. Turn was a 7 of spades. Bet of $25 into me. I called with a flush and straight draw. River was a rainbow 10. Unless the player was betting with K-Q into me (unlikely) I was in great shape. Player checked. I bet $55. No call. Another pot.
I ran my stack up to $733. It was not quite the $800 I was in the game for but I had to go. I had been playing for 8 1/2 hours and it was after 4AM. I had to pick up my son at 10AM for a full day of activities and I needed to get a little sleep.
It was a $67 loss — and losses always suck — but I was happy with my read of the table and my perseverance in the game.
I finally get a day off. Jace and I head to Summerlin for a pool party.
As a hinted to last week, I am making a move in the poker world.
Thursday was my final day at the Mandalay Bay poker room. After almost 3 1/2 years I needed a change.
Frankly, I grew tired of wearing a suit and tie four days per week and managing people. I have been a manager of people every year of my life since I was 24 years old. Most of that time I have worn suits to jobs in college athletics, professional hockey, television and the casino industry. My plan when I moved to Las Vegas seven years ago was to never wear a suit to work again. Yet, due to circumstances — typically better pay or better insurance for my young son — I took the suit and tie job and sucked it up. No more.
I am going to be a worker bee for a little while as I follow a plan to build and empire for Jace and myself.
I went out with some style. Jace and I stopped by a Krispy Kreme and picked up three dozen donuts for the staff. Since I was the only person on the staff to work all three shifts (day, swing and into graveyard) every week I thought it was important to thank the entire staff there. We dropped off the donuts around 10:30AM and then had the day to ourselves before I had to work at 6PM as a dealer.
The 3+years at Mandalay Bay were great. The room is rarely super busy so you have time to monitors the players and the dealers. It is a lot of standing (usually 7 1/2 hours out of each 8 hour shift), but I also cherished the interaction with the regular guests. There was a lot of time to talk about poker, sports gambling, horse racing or just what was going on around Las Vegas.
I won’t miss the paperwork. Nevada gaming and each individual casino requires a certain amount of paperwork and signatures each day. Mandalay Bay poker takes it to the extreme nth level. You have to be meticulous every single day, and there was no such thing as a day where you did it all correctly. That is what I grew tired of dealing with. I take quite a bit of pride in how hard I work and how much pride I have in doing my job correctly. Unfortunately, I loved Mandalay Bay a whole lot more than Mandalay Bay loved me. Nevertheless, it was a great experience and I am glad I spent time there.
Now its on to Caesar’s Palace, where I got a job as a temporary dealer during the busy summer months. Caesar’s has a new room they built three years ago. A good number of the locals I used to deal to have migrated there over the past three years. I am looking forward to the new challenge of dealing center Strip and seeing if I can prove myself worthy of a permanent position. The new job starts Sunday and I am ready to go.
I have spent much of my adult life making other people and other businesses money. And not small amounts of money, either.
In one of my first jobs I took over a department and slashed $550,000 in waste in my first year. In another job I was put in charge of a very small business that had lost more than $10,000 in the previous year and turned a $21,000 profit the year I took over.
I once took over a basketball tournament that had gone bankrupt the year before. My boss told me not to lose $20,000 doing putting the event on. After paying each team a small fee for participating, paying all the officials, paying for the venue and giving away several $1,000 scholarships, the basketball tournament made a few thousand dollars.
I’ve always worked hard to put the businesses I worked for first in my life. I’ve been proud of my work ethic. What I have failed to do all along that time is take care of myself. I’ve made a few dollars here and there. However, I have always been left to scratch out a middle-class living.
Recently my longtime business mentor visited Las Vegas. This is a man who DID make it big. He worked hard, made sure he had ownership/control over the ventures he worked for, sold stuff for a premium price and retired early.
We bonded again over a few hours at a poker table talking about my life in Las Vegas, my current job situation and the stuff I really wanted to do. A few days after he flew back to Kansas City I received this note in the mail.
It read, “Chad, Great to see you. Our time together was great fun. Your abilities are worth a lot. Cover all bases on your decisions ahead. Call if you in town (sic). Your friend, Jay.
It was an unexpected note that I have read at least once a day every day since I received it almost a month ago.
I realized after seven years in Las Vegas I am doing what I have always done — helping make a giant corporation as much money as I can, while not really looking out for myself.
That changes today.
I am tired of putting on a suit and tie daily. I’m tired of being told when I will come to work, when I can go to lunch and when I can go home. To corporations, people are fungible. They are easily replaced. I can say without a doubt that my previous employers didn’t miss me one single day after I left. The business simply replaced me with someone else, perhaps even someone cheaper, and moved on down the road.
Starting today, I am building an empire for me and for my son. I am going to be the CEO of my entire life. I am going to take the risk, because I understand how great the reward can be.
I believe in me.