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VPC Goes Vegas 2018.

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VPC Went Vegas Day 6: Oye Cómo Va.

The Flamingo poker room. A society on its own. Here’s an idea; go play poker there for a year and write a book about it. I’d buy it. No lack of characters to choose from that’s for sure. Everyone in the Flamingo poker room seems to know each other for years and years. There is something lovely but also tragic about the whole atmosphere. The old folks buying in for $ 40,- at 2/4 Limit tables hoping to get their Aces cracked. Players sitting out on ‘unlucky dealers’. The regulars constantly scouting Bravo to check the latest promotions / free rolls around town. The superficial conversations. The way too personal conversations. All of it makes the Flamingo poker room a pretty special place.


Your average opponent in Flamingo.

It’s hard to imagine any of the Flamingo poker room habitants are actually making a living there. The level of play and poker talk is so ridicule at times you think they are jerking your chain. On Wednesday morning I’m having one of those sessions where it just seems some force of evil is out to get you. I get in all sort of horrible spots without even wanting to be in the hands most of the time. We check in the BB with KTo when one maniac limped in from MP. We flop TT4 and villain limped in with…..T4. Players overcalling $ 22,- 3-bets with ~ $ 70,- stacks to flop baby sets when we finally flop a pair with AK. I make it $ 14,- with Kings after a limp and the T4 dude calls from the BB. He leads all streets – 886T2 - for $ 10,- with 85. Okay. I pick up Kings three times in the session and they all get cracked after just three cards. It’s a sh*t-show. Luckily the players are pretty bad and I manage to loose less than one buy-in in this ridiculous session. Some of that is due to me over pot controlling at times but it works out this session, I guess.

We have some nice plans lined up for this Wednesday. Group dinner at six, Carlos Santana at eight, TopGolf after and the Piano Bar in NYNY to top things off. Around 16:00 hours I decide to go chill for a bit before we head to Mandalay Bay. Hugo takes my seat in the game alongside Bozzie. Before I’m in my room Bozzie sends me a text: ‘I’m fairly sure Hugo’s body gives him an electrical shock if he folds a hand pre-flop’. Epic Hugo. The man sees nothing but opportunities at the poker table. Hugo spits in the face of reversed implied odds. I’ve been watching Hugo play poker for quite some years now and never seem him have a VPIP of less than 60%.

Having such a VPIP would suggest poker is a very expensive hobby for Hugo but that is hardly the case. Sure, his swings are hefty but since he also really rides the run good waves pretty hard I would assume he’s only a small loser in cash games overall. Combined with a pretty sweet tourney run and he’s more than likely up overall.


Folding is for quitters

I make my way down around six and meet Bozzie at the rail. We watch Hugo play some hands before we get a taxi towards Mandalay. UTG makes it $ 8 and UTG+1 raises to $ 24. Hugo is next to act with ATo. We get to witness the complete show; resting the head on the rail with disbelieve, leaning back in the chair and of course starring at the ceiling for a while. It takes him a full minute to finally let it go. In the taxi Bozzie and I sarcastically ask if it was a big fold on that last hand and Hugo – not knowing we railed the hand – responds the fold is still bothering him.

The eight of us have dinner at The House of Blues. Damvic, Baars, Hugo and I go see Santana here while the rest are going to watch the Las Vegas Rebels play ball. We order two 4-person plates of meat which are somewhat okay but the sides arrive 15 minutes later which kind of sucks. We bought the Santana tickets on the Strip today for like 60% of the original rate. Baars suggested we waited another hour or so to buy the tickets since price might drop even more. Baars. Of all people. Suggest we go hold our dicks on the Strip for an hour to save what? Eight bucks, maybe? Are you kidding me.



The Santana show is very good. It’s an exact copy of the show Baars and I saw in 2014 but it’s still a good time. After one horrendous can of Budweiser we switch to Vodka-Orange juice and Vodka-7-up. After the show all of us meet up in Mandalay and head for TopGolf. TopGolf advertises all around Vegas with having five bars. Well, seems like all five of them are closed as we pretty much have to beg to get one drink in during the entire hour. The golf is fun but we should have gotten two lanes as we all got to hit the ball like max 10 times. Which in the case of Damvic was still plenty.


After the golf it’s around midnight as we make our way towards the piano bar in NYNY. The bar was a huge hit with the VPC in 2016. It takes a few songs to get into the mood but after an hour or so we’re all screaming Sweet Caroline form the top of our longs. There is so much randomness going on in this bar it’s hard to keep track of it all. Behind us are a few military men trying to court a group of British ladies. One of the dudes really has game and is winding the ladies around his finger until he’s so drunk he’s basically bowling with these chicks and it all goes to sh*t.

In the VIP area there are some high-class escorts desperately looking to pay their rent while in the regular folk area there are some low-class escorts looking to pay for their next slice of pizza. Fascinating stuff. Meanwhile a fight breaks out which is always good. I see a girl spitting a man in the neck and throwing a glass at him. It takes security – a female shot-put athlete from Samoa – about 20 minutes to show up while the fight goes off and on. Can’t really put together what the fight is about but it looks like a typical case of #MeToo.


Then there’s this creepy dude. Bold like a cue ball, ring beard and butt ugly. This dude is in so much need for social contact it’s flat out scary. He walks around the joint solo and basically runs up to people that are laughing out loud and starts laughing along. It’s awkward beyond your wildest imagination. A day later I see this dude in the ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere bar’ on the Strip sidewalk. He walks up to guy who’s on his phone. The dude gives him the ‘can I help you?’ look and he just smiles funny. Serial killer material this one. That’s for sure.

Meanwhile our house is being sold back in the Netherlands. I’ve sold my house to some Chinese people who speak no foreign languages. I asked my girlfriend to keep me in the loop since I kind of expected things to not go very smoothly. I look at my phone at one point and see a message from her: ‘ONE FEKKING DRAMA!!!!!’ and I have a missed call from the bank. No Bueno. I call my girlfriend but she doesn’t answer for at least two hours. Good job keeping in the loop there, dear. I keep grinding Vodka-Orange juice because what else are you gonna do when thing turn sour back home? She eventually calls back when the duelling piano bar closes and we stumble into the pizza joint across the street. I find out most things have been sort off settled and I could potentially fire a few bullets at the Aria 10K high roller tomorrow.

Back in Flamingo I sit down at the 1/2 as per usual. Hoebol is at my table and Baars joins us as well. Having made a deep run at The Wynn and chopping the Binions daily Baars is now convinced he’s Gods next gift to poker. A fantastic hand takes place between Baars and a semi obnoxious dude that is between me and Hoebol. Baars bets like $ 50,- on the river and Phil Hellmuth insta snap calls the dudes $ 250,- shove with a set of nines to win the pot. Sounds standard but the board reads 8h 9d Jh 4h Qc. The dude is flabbergasted as is Baars when he is asked how he can call here. 5 AM. Time for bed.

bewerkt door Venlo
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VPC Went Vegas Day 7: Life In The Outback.

My hate for hangovers is starting to outgrow my passion for drinking. At least on mornings – read days! - after a night of serious boozing. I’ve had a sort of ‘dry’ January until this Vegas trip and felt better than I have in a long time. The problem is that if you’d ask me what my favourite activity is on this planet the answer would probably be; ‘drinking beer with my mates’. It’s not the alcohol itself. Sure, I thoroughly enjoy getting drunk once in a while but I don’t think I’ve had an alcoholic beverage in my life while flying solo. The thought of ‘grabbing a beer’ while I’m – say – home alone doesn’t even cross my mind. Put me in a bar with my mates though and I’m the happiest man alive.

Things aren’t too great this Friday morning. For starters, I forgot to put my phone on silent mode and a call from work woke me up around seven. It’s Ten in the morning now and Hugo asks if I’ll join Hoebol, Iebus & him to play a $ 240,- at Aria. No. Can’t do. The body is done with all the abuse these past days. It feels like there’s brick where I think my liver is supposed to be. Just touching that area hurts like hell. One day I’ll stop ignoring these abnormal signs. I think.

Baars and I are up and running around noon and go for brunch towards – who would have guessed – Earl of Sandwich in Planet Hollywood. Without giving it much thought I grab an OJ to go with my sandwich. No the best decision. Just the smell of orange juice reminds me of the ~ 20 Vodka/OJ’s from last night that are torturing me today. We roam the Miracle Mile Shops for a bit before heading towards Aria. Today the American Poker Masters or something along those lines start with a 10K high-roller. Aria has built some $ 240,- side-events around the thing for the railbirds.


After checking on the VPC tourney grinders Baars and I put ourselves on the 1/3 list. We take ourselves of the list when there has been zero movement on that list for some 40 minutes. I tell Hugo we are leaving when I hear the entire table say ‘what a time to get Aces’. Hugo just picked up the rockets against not one but two times AK. Looks like the sweet tourney run continues.

I found out there is a free roll in Flamingo on Friday morning for players that have played 13+ hours there that week. I’m told I need another 90 minutes or so to qualify so I put in the effort. Hoebol comes back from Aria not much later. On absolute fire tilt. His kings got cracked by deuces which happens now and then but when someone calls a 40bb shove on a rainbow flop that doesn’t contain any deuces you can see why he’s a tad bitter.


We agree on an 8 o’clock group dinner at the Outback Steak House. Hugo reports back to Flamingo after making yet another deal at Aria. This time pocking ~ $ 700,- for his trouble. Tourney crusher Hugo. My man. After everyone has enough hours to qualify for the free roll Bozzie, Hugo & I make our way over towards Mirage. We stayed here during the 2014 trip and I haven’t seen their new poker room just yet. There is a $ 50,- splash pot promo going on for every goal the Vegas Knights score during their game in Toronto. Highlight of the session is Hugo almost mucking KK on a 22897 board when villain shows 89. We all win a few $ before we cross the street towards Casino Royale.

No need to look at the menu here. Prime Centre Cut Filet all the way. Fantastic steak. We over order on the blooming unions as always. I look across the table for a bit and really wonder if other groups of mates would have as much fun as we do while having one of these dinners. It’s tears rolling down the face for like 65% of the time. Especially when Baars is on one of his trip saving tries to negotiate some sort of $ 2,- discount with a yellow bus pass he found on the street. A strange bunch of characters this VPC. Most of the guys at this table don’t see each other more than 2/3 times a year if at all. Yet, here we are giving each other stick like we all grew up together.


The steak is too good to not finish but I already regret that while still stuffing it in the back of my throat. After dinner most go back to Flamingo but I join Hugo towards Caesars. Hugo sits down in a game but I’m so full I don’t think it’s physically possible to even sit in a chair. I tap out and waddle towards Flamingo. It’s 21:55 and registration for tomorrow’s free roll starts at ten. I can’t bring myself to wait the necessary five minutes. That’s how bloated I feel. Back in the room I’m surprised to find Baars bulging in his bed. Apparently he can’t move either after the mother of all steaks.

I set my alarm for midnight since it feels like it’s a waste of our last night in Vegas to just lay in bed. At midnight I slap the sh*t out of that alarm and continue sleeping like a baby. When Baars gets back at two in the morning is consider going back down again but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Feck it. We have a whole day of Vegas shenanigans ahead of us tomorrow anyway.

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VPC Went Vegas Day 8: Leaving Las Vegas.

It’s always a bit depressing leaving Las Vegas on a Friday. The city starts filling up with all the weekend worriers and you basically hang around waiting for it all to be over. This time it hurts even more because it’s Super Bowl weekend. For the past few days we saw Vegas filling up for what Americans consider to be the biggest sporting event in the world.

It sucks to be packing the suitcase this morning. Has it really been seven days since I hang my party blazers in that closet? Feels like the day before yesterday. As the Free-roll starts at ten in the morning I got up early. I checked out and dropped of my suitcase at the bell desk. Good thing I checked the invoice because Flamingo added about ~ $ 60,- for internet charges when those are included in the ludicrous $ 34.01 a night resort fee. When I register for the free-roll I see that I’m alternate number 29. Whut now? Apparently 129 players signed up for this nonsense already. Couldn’t wait the freaking 5 minutes yesterday, hey? Iebus, Bozzie, Oppie & I head for Earl and say our goodbyes to Bozzie when we get back. Since Bozzie booked separately he has other flights than the rest of us and is scheduled to fly out of Vegas at noon.


Mandatory shoe pic.

Now, the free-roll is underway but one look at the field and I know it will take a while before alternate nr. 29 will be giving his masterclass. I sit down in a cash game while waiting for a seat when at one point the blinds are 400/800 and no one is busting from this thing. The average stack is 5k. How? During the 600/1200 level I get a seat on the same table as Hugo who sat down minutes before me. I look down at QJ and jam. All folds. Next hand Hugo busts. On my right side is 160 year woman in the BB. Someone goes all-in for 1800 total and I just know it’s coming. She looks at the cards, shakes her head and mucks. Couldn’t find the ol’ 13% equity she needed. Of course, I’m the only one that looks like he has just seen a ghost. Next hand I’m in the BB with my 6.8k stack. Button shoves and we call KJo and have to hold against 68h. Flop comes 248. Two hearts. Busto.

The rest of the lads are at the Venetian. Iebus and I decide it’s time to smack around some bowling balls. We all meet halfway at Harrah’s and get a taxi towards Orleans. The True Amateur Bowling Tour is going on at Orleans and the place is completely full. Great. Taxi towards Gold Coast it is. I bowl a decent 177 in the first game to win by a landslide but in the second game we decide to award a few points to who’s head resembles a bowling ball the most so Hoebol wins that one.


We agree on a 5 o’clock Holstein dinner and have the taxi drop us off at Cosmo to make the reservation. I plan on playing poker at Bellagio but it’s Super Bowl weekend and there are like 32 names on the list with every table in the room occupied. Bravo says Caesars and Mirage should be doable waitlist wise so we head over there. I play some 3/6 limit till I get my NL seat ate Mirage while the other boys play a Caesars. We can’t get any traction during our last short session of the trip. Having started the trip with a very good hand I kind of want to go out with one but it garbage galore the entire session.


On my way towards Holstein I find Baars exactly where you expect to find Baars at the end of a Vegas trip; on the bridge between Caesars and Bellagio. Luckily he’s not selling cold water of holding any carton signs. Holstein has been on my to do list for a while. It’s a bit tilting that they won’t let you in the damn joint until your party is complete. I pass the time we have to wait for the regular 15 minute late boys watching Baars go into a sneaker store at least five time trying to convince the clerk to sell him some shoes that don’t get released until tomorrow. The burgers, fries and especially the onion rings are very good. Walking back towards Flamingo I take in the scenery one last time knowing it will be a long two years until we touch down in this city again.


I have trouble finding anything in the Flamingo gift shop that I would like to have for free. As per usual Baars had to check his comps when everyone is ready to depart. Turns out I have about twenty bucks on my card as well and I end buying some sore of Caribbean themed Flamingo hat. God knows why. While we roam the gift shop Oppie is losing his shit. Oppie is the most anti relaxed traveller in the world and had it been up to Oppie we would have gotten a cab at noon to make our 21:00 London Red-Eye flight.

We end up getting an airport shuttle and proceed to check in quickly. Turns out the flight is overbooked and Iebus, Damvic & Baars don’t have seats just yet. I can only imagine the scenes had this happened to Oppie. Eventually we all get to board this BA sardines can and Baars scores the seat right next to me. Note to self; START CHECKING IN ONLINE. I’m convinced I have the worst seat in the entire plane. I have a middle seat but there are only two seats in front of me. Sounds good but for some reason these BA cunts have made some partition between me and seat A. I order Baars to get up at least 10 times during the flight to get some blood flowing in my left leg. Narcos season three is the only thing keeping me remotely sane for these gruelling 9,5 hours.

In London I see Iebus and Hoebol make a terrible mistake. They rely on Damvic while making their food order. Damvic has an Asian girlfriend and visits her on the regular in Seoul. You’d expect someone like that to be able to pick a decent meal in some Asian joint, right? Wrong. I’m highly amused seeing the three guys struggle with the least sexy looking bowl of hot water I’ve ever seen.

Since we only have like 5 hours or so left till boarding commences Oppie is stressed out as f*ck. All this nervousness doesn’t go down to well with the zen travel state Baars is in and with 98,5% of our time together surpassed we finally get the first b*tch fight of the trip.


During the short flight towards Dusseldorf it’s time to reflect on this edition of VPC Went Vegas. I was one hell of a trip. I would definitely rate it Top 3 but thinking about that I never had a Vegas trip that I wouldn’t rate Top 3 so that doesn’t make any sense. Financially it wasn’t the best trip. Poker was so so. We bricked all tourney’s but managed to book a decent plus in the cash games. Vegas usually lets me run a little hotter but we can’t expect that to happen every trip. Happy to report I ended my tourney bricking tour last Monday chopping up the local casino donkament 4-way to get myself back to being the happy break-even player that I am. 

As you may have noticed we do live a little in Vegas so I used the ATM a bit more than I would have liked but definitely stayed within a reasonable amount and only ran up a very small tap with the mutual savings account. I really liked Flamingo and can definitely see us heading back there in 2020. Can’t beat the location and the action-packed poker room is a huge plus. Highlight of the trip was obviously Saturday nights events and its aftermath on Sunday. Memories that will last a lifetime.

Back in Dusseldorf in my mother and sister are waiting for us and we say our goodbye’s. Baars says ‘722’. It’s the number of days till we go at it once again. My sister drops me off at my in-laws place and the being homeless saga commences. It’s been real and it’s been great fun typing it all up. Really appreciated the comments on our trip report and we’ll talk to you guys again in 2020.


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Wauw @Venlo! Ik had nog weinig zin om weer richting Vegas te gaan, voornamelijk vanwege de lange vlucht, maar dit trip report is de ultieme manier van voorpret! Ga zo door, en wat een epic avonturen maken jullie toch altijd mee!

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