My bankroll at Ultimate Bet is $0.00. Over at Empire Poker, it’s $0.00. At little-used U Play slothoki it’s $0.28 (I’m not sure how to blow the rest of that).

Don’t worry. I didn’t go on the craziest tilt of my life. I actually made a withdraw of as much as I could before my move. The rest I squandered at the Omaha tables (fun game, wish I knew how to play it).

I’m going to start over…

First, I’ll have to decide where to play.

I personally love the set-up of Ultimate Bet. It has the best SNG and tournament formats. You can play up to 4 tables at once, and the mini-view option makes it easy to follow.

From what others say, Empire/Party is the place to go to make money. Of course, I’ve made money at Ultimate (in the end, it was about $1250 in less than a year), but it’s not like I’m raking in the big bucks.

That brings me to True Poker. Otis is already raking in the big bucks there, but he’s a good limit player. Limit is not my forte. I’ll certainly have to check out that site, but limit is just a change of pace game for me.

I’ll have to open an account at Planet Poker, just so I can participate in the Sunday night blogger tourneys. Can’t wait for that! Unfortunately this all has to wait until I get myself a new home computer. That might be a few weeks away.

The most appealing choice at this point is to try my hand at some old fashioned flesh and bone, brick and mortar poker. Down here in Cajun Country, I’m surrounded by live poker rooms. And the slow pace, and single-table necessity of real poker may help my limit game develop.

More than anything, I need to play again!!!! This time off is killing me, and I’m pretty sure my game has suffered because of it. That means giving money away before I start making it back. See ya at the tables!

With the BB about to hit me, and the action down to 6-handed, I was looking at being bubble boy. My buddies were all on the sidelines, cheering me on – the only peanut gallery there. I managed to double up playing A8 from early position, making it through another round of blinds, when I heard those two sweet words from the other table: “ALL IN”. Play stopped at our table as we watched the action, which was fine by me because it meant more time until I got nailed with the upcoming BB. Sure enough, another mid stack busted out, and I jumped out of my chair and hollered. Both me and the other chip midget had made the final table! My buddies went nuts and did their best European soccer impersonations.

We got over to the final table, and although I was still in the money, things were looking grave. The blinds were at 2000-4000. I was a close contender for chip midget with 8000 in chips; the woman had 6000. Nine of us were sitting at the final table, ready to start the action; the tenth, who happened to be chip lead, had run to the bathroom.

I was calculating the odds of me making 7th instead of 8th when one of the players at the table spoke up and asked if everybody just wanted to do a 10-way split. It would equate to $746 each, which was between 4th and 3rd in terms of prize money. I usually hate deals, but this was the sweetest one I had ever been offered! I did my best reluctant buyer impersonation, and to my amazement all the players agreed! I couldn’t believe it.

Well, almost all the players. Mr Big Stack was still in the bathroom. He came back and everyone was all smiles and speaking at once, getting him to agree to the deal. He said no, but one of the guys quickly said, “how about we all give you $20?” and he instantly agreed! I literally jumped out of my chair and screamed for joy. And then instantly realized that maybe I was acting too happy – which I evidently was, because the player to my right, who also had a large stack, said he didn’t want to do the deal and just wanted to play it out! I was mad at myself, and the dealer started dealing out the first hand of the final table. Some of the players called over the floorman, though, and he said the deal was made since everyone had agreed to it at the same time. Sweet poker mama in poker heaven giving me a poker payout I was happy! I had been looking at $200-300 for 8th-10th and instead walked away with $720. Awwww yeah.

Saturday night we celebrated with dinner at Shintaro in the Bellagio, my favorite restaurant in the world. If you have never been there, go there. They have a $75 tasting menu that is absolutely amazing. Also if you have the tasting menu they will seat you on the balcony, which has four small tables and the best view of the fountain show you can get. They have a new chef and the tasting menu wasn’t the best I’ve had, but one of the courses was mini deep fried shrimp in a chili sauce that we all agreed was the best shrimp we had ever had anywhere.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, which is my way of saying I was too hopped up on vodka-sodas to take notes. I played a drunken Saturday night of 2/4 NL at a very rocky table that was the polar opposite of Friday night and got sha-moked; I got reamed at pai gow poker, then won an assload in blackjack, then lost an assload in blackjack, then won an assload in pai gow poker, then lost half an assload in blackjack. I sat at a 30/60 table but after one round realized it was the scariest table I’ve ever played at in Vegas, including the table at the WSOP where I was sitting between Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, Cloutier and Allen Cunningham. The players all seemed to know each other and kept looking at me and licking their lips and trying to cover me with olive oil and barbecue sauce, so I decided to move back to 15/30. I played poker until 9:30am, and so Sunday was mainly spent in a state of extreme tiredness. We ate breakfast at America in NYNY, which I have an inexplicable affection for, I slept a few hours at my friend’s room in the Venetian.

My flight back Sunday night was not until midnight, so I hit the 15/30 tables again but immediately realized I was way too tired to play effectively. Instead, I frittered away the last few hours of my trip playing an assortment of pai gow poker, pai gow tiles, and blackjack, and getting somewhat smeared to the wall by all of them.

I made it back into Austin while the sun was rising, exhausted and ready to fall into the arms of my lady friend. And plan my next trip to Vegas 🙂

Celebrity sightings: there was a large 10/20 NLH game going at the Bellagio the whole time I was there. Chip Jett and Phil Gordon played in it. Chip Jett played through at least 18 hours straight, maybe more. Cris Carter (the wide receiver) was there, playing 20/40 omaha and getting killed, and then later I saw him jump into the 10/20 NLH game for a few hours. I actually put my name on the 10/20 list just to buy in for the minimum ($600) so I could make jokes to Cris Carter about catching cards, and to say I had played cards with him, but by the time I got called he and the other poker personalities I recognized were no longer in the gaqme. I also saw Phil Ivey, Mike Laing, Johnny Chan, and I think Can Kim Hua. Troy Aikman and Marshall Faulk were wandering around the casino but not the poker room. All in all, a great trip…