The "Mirage Poker Showdown" is currently going on at the Mirage, culminating in a $10,000 buyin World Poker Tour event, which started a couple days ago. I've seen Dan Harrington, Antonio Esfandiari, the golden palace guy, David Williams, John Juanda, Darrell Dicken (aka Gigabet, his online name), and WSOP bracelet winner Anthony Reategui (see below for why I recognized him). For some reason, there have also been extremely drunk people playing poker this week. In only one case could I directly link a player's drunkenness to the "poker showdown." The rest of the drunkenness seems unrelated.
Just like anybody else, drunk people like attention; the difference is that most sober people won't sacrifice their dignity to get it. For instance, after making a joke and getting a few laughs, a sober person will usually leave it at that, whereas a drunk person will repeat it over and over. The shorter the attention-getting comment, the better. In the case of three people on Friday and Monday nights, they developed their own catch phrases that they used over and over in order to keep attention on them.
Both nights had a few drunken supporting characters and a main character who started out sober and friendly and progressively got drunker and drunker until he or she had become incoherent and vulgar, with personalities changing so much that they were nearly unrecognizable as the people next to whom I had initially sat down. The hero of Friday night was Luke, a "pro" in his late twenties who moved to Las Vegas in August. It was a 2-5NL game and I sat to his left. He recognized me from some previous poker room meeting, and asked my name. At this point he was completely coherent; the only evidence that he had already started drinking was the bottle of Corona in front of him. I told him my name, and he told me his name was Luke. We had a friendly conversation about living in Las Vegas. He told me he spent most of his time smoking weed and playing video games (he just got XBox 360, which I haven't played yet) with his roommates, one of whom was sitting across the table from us, and that they were both playing poker for a living.
For the next hour or so Luke alternately pounded Yaeger shots and Coronas. As he did, he got louder and more loose and aggressive. His favorite catch-phrase was "You assholes might not find me funny, but I am. I'm very funny." My friend Dan showed up during this time and sat in our game. Dan is a very solid, winning player (he is a teacher in the Teach for America program). He had built his stack up from $200 to about $250 I think. Meanwhile, Luke and re-bought several times, but now had over $700 in front of him. On a recent hand he had drawn out on a mediocre and ridiculously conceited player who had been playing in the $1500 "poker showdown" event. He said he placed fourth, so maybe it was Ray Fliano, I dunno. Anyway, he couldn't stand the terribleness of losing to AQ all-in pre-flop to beat his JJ, so he left in a huff. Anyway, with Luke on the button, Dan picked up AT. I can't remember exacly how it played out since it was a few days ago, but to the best of my recollection, Dan raised to $20, and Luke raised to $50 (which meant very little since he had been raising more than half the time). Dan called and they saw a flop of T 7 4, no flush draw. Dan checked since he knew Luke would bet for him. When Luke bet only $30, Dan became suspicious by the small bet and just called (I would have raised). The turn was another ten, and all the money went in... Luke had a full house, 4's over 10's, beating Dan.... wow. Against a player playing random cards three of a kind with an ace kicker is a huge hand. Anyway, Dan left and later told me he won all his money back at craps.
A little after 3 am another guy showed up, overweight and already about as drunk as Luke was. His catch phrase was "I don't like it, I llllove it!" which he first used to describe how he felt about Luke's poker style and later used to describe many other things as well. He was also playing extremely aggressively, and doing quite well. Whenever he won he would rake all his chips in and sift his fingers through them while shouting "I llllove gold!" He told me that earlier that day he had lost a $200,000 pot. "A $200 pot?" I asked. "No, $200,000." He showed me his wrist, where he was wearing a WSOP bracelet. He told me he had just come in 3rd place in the Mirage Heads-up event, and David Singer had drawn out on him; that's why he got drunk and came to play 2-5 NL. Later a friend of his came to play too, and I learned the bracelet holder was Anthony Reategui. Once Anthony had finally gotten around to stacking all his chips, his friend started flicking chips across the table to knock them over, something I wouldn't expect would ever be tolerated, but this was 4:30 am and the dealers had long since given up trying to maintain order.
Amidst this chaos, Luke was nearly thrown out for excessive use of profanities. For most of the night nobody complained about it, but then we got a dealer who was clearly uncomfortable about Luke's profanity and asked him to stop... when the floorperson came over, Luke still didn't stop, and the floorperson asked "do we need to cut off your drinks?" Luke's response was "if you cut off my drinks, I'll cut off your fucking titties." Somehow Luke wasn't thrown out, but his drinks were immediately cut off. According to his roommate Joe, "The thing about Luke is... he's an idiot." Supposedly, Luke isn't allowed to drink in their apartment.
On Monday night I sat down at the 1-2 NL game at the Mirage, partly because I didn't have a lot of cash on me, and partly because I noticed that 8 of the other 9 players had alcoholic beverages in front of them. For the next five hours no fewer than five of my opponents were drinking alcohol at any time. The girl next to me was a very attractive blond girl named Anne who had just turned 21, and her boyfriend was at a neighboring table. A 33 year old guy named Rafael was also at the table. He had arrived with another woman who he later found out was married and her husband was also in the poker room. Despite the boyfriend, after his first woman had left, Rafael decided to hit on Anne. Admittedly, she econouraged him by telling him that her relationship "wasn't serious," and she was pretty receptive to his flirting. Really, though she was just being friendly to everyone. She was talking to me a lot since I was sitting next to her, and Rafael was none too pleased about that. For the next four hours Rafael tried to get her number so he could go visit her in Guadalahara, where she was vacationing at some later time (with her boyfriend, I suspect). Anyway, Anne is the drunkard from this particular night, getting friendlier and more talkative, spilling beer on herself, and later catching her tipping beer bottle between her breasts so it wouldn't fall. Her catch phrase was "what does that mean??" which she liked to say after the flop came out, but she didn't really need to have a catch phrase to attract attention. A new player sat down across from us and asked her to lift her shirt up because it was "too distracting." "Sorry, I guess they're kind of falling out, " replied Anne bashfully. Rafael left with only her email address (and $900).
Interstingly, Anthony and Anne probably won about $100 each, while Luke lost about $1000.