Day 2, – An Introduction to the Uncapped Button Straddle

As I awoke on Thursday morning, I could still hear thunder and knew it was going to be another rainy day on the Strip. Getting dressed, I overhear the news and they say that Las Vegas has had more rainfall in January of 2018 than all of 2017 combined – FML.

We decide to have brunch nearby at a Vegas classic, The PepperMill Lounge on the Strip. The food is good and plentiful; imagine an upscale Denny’s or IHOP that serves twice the volume of food per plate. The service is friendly but swift, in short excellent. The atmosphere is also good although they would not let us eat by the cool looking fires they had in the lounge (even after I courteously pointed out that the lounge was open but empty). WTF? After brunch, we make a quick run to the Palace Station to pick up some information for relatives that would be staying there in a few weeks. I swing by their small poker room and see two tables going but no CardPlayer magazines to be had. The day remained rainy and rather cold so we headed back to Planet Hollywood to walk through their Miracle Mile of shops. Most of the shops seemed to be selling stuff that no one was buying – either because it was crappy merchandise or because it was overpriced or both. I discover a microbrew distribution site within the mall called Sin City Brewing Co.. Never being one to pass up an opportunity to enjoy a good beer, I belly up to the bar and order a pint of their Amber ale. It is good but while I am enjoying it, the serving wench suggests I try their seasonal special IPA.

Day 2, - An Introduction to the Uncapped Button Straddle

Rarely needing an excuse for a second cold one after I have enjoyed a first one, I agree and order one of the IPAs. She was absolutely correct and the beer was excellent (and would prove to be the tastiest I would enjoy during the entire trip). I celebrate the moment and reward the Sin City Brewing Co. (for their outstanding brews) by purchasing one of their bowling shirts emblazoned with their trademark “devil woman”.
We mosey back into the casino and take our daily free spin (on a gigantic slot machine) as members of the Planet Hollywood A-List Players Club. We weren’t expecting to win anything but just for entertainment value we figured why not.
As expected, my wife, who swears she isn’t lucky, won a silly hat. I, on the other hand, who do consider myself at least a little lucky, won $100 in free slot play – Ship it! Of course, since I completely eschew slots, I promptly give it to her to enjoy while I am playing poker and she graciously accepts. Speaking of player’s club bonii, an additional value of joining was the coupon book they give you when you sign up. Most of the stuff in it is crap but there was an additional slot play give away and even better (IMO), a match play coupon in each book for $25.00.
I head over to a blackjack table to use my coupon (I used to play blackjack before I discovered poker but now I play exclusively poker). However, this was a justifiable excuse since the coupon made my wager +EV. I whip out my cash and present the dealer with the coupon. I am the only one at the table. He deals me a 5 and a 2. I take another card and get a 10, so I stop at 17. The dealer busts, I say “ship it”, and he cheerfully pays me. I tip him and leave the table immediately. Meanwhile, my wife asks me to explain what just happened. I do so and she then produces her coupon book and asks me if I can do it again. I playfully ask, are you serious? Then, before she can say anything, I confidently answer my own question – Of course, I can. So, we walk over to a different empty blackjack table. With aplomb, I whip out one of the green chips I just won along with her coupon and place them on the table. The dealer proceeds to deal me two face cards for 20. She has a face card and a 5 so she hits and busts. I smile and before I can say anything, my wife excitedly says, “Ship it!” I laugh, tip the dealer, and we walk away quite pleased since we just netted a quick $200 ($100 in free slot play and $100 in match play blackjack) for taking the time to join the A-List Players Club.

As we walk by the poker room, I look around for a magazine to read. Evidently CardPlayer magazine is not being disseminated via poker rooms anymore. What’s up with that? Meanwhile, we hear some shouting and look to see what it is. It is a young guy with his buddies walking through the casino shouting “Viva, Las Vegas” with a beer in each hand and a belt resembling an ammo belt full of more beer. It is not even 4pm, yet. You gotta love Las Vegas and clearly, the young guys were having a great time. Anyway, we decide to go to the MGM and see their CSI exhibit/attraction. The wife is a big fan. While I am not the follower of the show she is, I have seen it a few times and the one set in Las Vegas is pretty good.
The concept has merit but the delivery/execution of the thing was well below my expectations for a Las Vegas attraction. It was OK but appeared to be more about selling CSI merchandise than entertaining the public. The whole thing was better than it might otherwise have been since the friendly lady with the accent selling us the tickets winked/smiled and said, you two are in the military, right? – and proceeded to sell us tickets for the military discount of half price.
We eat at Planet Dailies, the Planet Hollywood “coffee shop” for dinner. It is way overpriced for anything resembling a coffee shop. My baked ham and cheese sandwich was so salty that I could not finish it (I like salt so if it was too salty for me, look out). Wife’s Kobe burger is decent but not great considering the price – we should have taken the time to go to In/Out Burger.
We decide it is time to get our gamble on. She heads over to a bank of slots and I head to the poker room.
Immediate seating is available (it’s approx. 10 pm) and as I am taking my seat, an announcement comes over the PA system regarding the Planet Hollywood poker room’s “Aces Cracked” promotion that runs from 10am-Noon, 2pm – 4pm, and 2am – 4am. If one has their pocket Aces cracked during the promo, they get $200. I overhear some nits talking about playing their Aces in a way to help get them cracked. My opinion is that it’s just a little insurance in case the hand goes sour but if I get Aces, I will play them for full value in the hand. As I am getting comfortable in my seat and observing the table, I notice the player to my left is hilarious. He is making humorous remarks, good naturedly needling his opponents, and generally having a good time. I like having fun people at the table because it enhances my own entertainment, as well as, usually loosens up the table. It turns out, the funny guy is an off duty dealer and well known in the room. At Planet Hollywood, one can straddle one’s own button. Here’s how it works. Either the UTG player or the button may straddle. If they both attempt to do so, the button has priority. What is weird is that the button gets to act last pre flop, too. When it is his turn to act and he has straddled, the action passes the dealer and the blinds have to act – and, then it comes back to the dealer to act. The straddle has to be $5.00 period. No other amounts are usually allowed.

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