3rd Vegas trip: decent play - varying but overall poor result


We arrived at MCarren from Belgium after an 18-hour flight on Friday 20th for a poker-filled trip with ups and downs.

We took a cab, specifically asking not to be tunneled, and checked into Bally's. The 20-dollar note inside the passport got us upgraded from a standard to luxury room on the North wing 16th floor.

We immediately hit the 1-2 tables at Bally's and found ourselves in a 1/2 game that played like a 2/5 game. That looked promising for the rest of the trip. Despite a big loss all in postflop with a set of 9s against a rivered straight, I managed to cash out +100. Our table saw a hearts royal that got paid 2250 high hand bonus, and ran off 2 hands later without dealer tip.

On the second day, my traveling companion was looking for a tourney. As we only got up around 1:30pm, the first available in the neighbourhood was the 3pm PH 70 dollar buy in. I bust out pretty early with a 2 pair AJ against a flopped bottom set. My buddy lasted a couple of rounds more to bust with Queens vs AK.

We then sat down at the 1-2 table to play some cash, which we intended to do all other days. A five hour session at the PH brought a small profit of +70 without any notable hands.

After dinner, we went back to Bally's, to play for another 3 hours, and cashed out +125 without any really interesting hands.

The third day brought us to the Rio (free shuttle service from Bally's), where the games were a lot tighter. We grinded our way in, and I ended a 7hour session 75 dollars down, but qualified for the next day 1000 dollar freeroll, which, according to the locals, always ends up with a chop. Which it did, but only when less than 20 remained. So I folded myself into the chop
with the exception of the one or two premium hands, which didn't get paid off.

I played an early session at Bally's on day 4, got my aces cracked once, slowplaying them, only to make a net 35 dollars after paying off the 2 pair that beat me.
I chose another table and decided to play LAG for a change. The regulars licked their lips in anticipation for my inevitable bust, which occurred when I hit a set of sixes and got dominated by a set of jacks. (I posted this hand during the trip on the live cash game section)

From then on I reverted back to TAG play.
I couldn't make any more money from then onwards:
- got my aces cracked with all the money going in preflop by AK rivering a straight
- A set of aces on the flop got beaten by V holding K10 on the flopped AQJ, again all the money was in the pot
- I managed to lose an all-in bet preflop with JJ against AK without the board showing neither King nor Ace (also posted on the live cash game section )

All in all a fun trip, but I failed to reach my objective of earning back the trip, ending up about 900 short of break-even. I somehow hardly ever seemed to be able to get a decent hand against the less decent players, and always ended up against decent players. So I never made any real money off a hand. One thing that surprised me is that I didn't manage to make any 8 or 9 outer draw I took a shot at, if given proper odds, dropping a little bit on all of those.

Summary of the rooms I played at:
- Bally's : small room with great action and profitable play during the weekends, but slow grind outside weekends.
- PH : less action, still relatively easy game but too much noise coming from the pleasure pit.
- Venetian : undoubtably the best room, but filled with too many good players. Generally a vast majority of sharks against a few fish. I consider myself decent, but ended up feeling like a fish on a string when the other tourists had bust out.
(I cashed out, 60 bucks down as soon as I had that feeling). E.g.: there was one player at my table who held 78suited and told me off the top of his head he had 23,4 odds against aces, and that he would call, considering he had near pot odds. I laughed at him telling him he was BS-ing, but that I'd stove it when I came back. I just did and it turns out he was only half a percent off the Poker stove results. Now I know I'm just outclassed by that kind of player.
- MGM : a good mix of tourists and sharks, creating decent money making opportunity for the patient player.
- Bellagio : A lot of sharks fishing up deep pocketed wannabe's
- Rio : small room, slow grind, but with the excellent daily freeroll almost guaranteeing at least 50 bucks. (only played during weekdays)

I must have leaks, but couldn't figure them out, apart from the fact that I should have 3-bet preflop on the button a few more times.

All in all, I think I adapted reasonably well to Vegas, and managed to spot both sharks and fish at the tables. I learned to pick up one or two more tells you won't find in any book, which enabled me to make a few extra excellent laydowns against all odds. I nearly always went in with what I thought to be the best hand, but didn't get paid.

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  1. sounds like typical vegas play....and typical poker. The luck factor just wasn't with you this time....had it been, you very well could have been +$900 instead of negative. Nice trip report.....enjoyed reading it and envious. Looking forward to my annual trip next June.

  2. good trip report, sorry for your luck, sounds like you played solid poker and tried a few things to get the ball rolling but it wasn't in the cards. good luck next time.