Day 1 - Friday 11/7
My flight for Las Vegas left Albany, NY around 2pm EST and touchdown at McCarren around 7pm PST after a delay while sitting on the runway due to supposed construction at LVS. I was traveling with one friend and planned to meet 3 others that night at the Stratosphere where the five of us would be spending the first three nights of our trip together. We were promised a balla suite when we booked but instead were given a very standard to two queen room with a view to the northwest (not the best view but it really doesn't matter much).
That night we started by signing up for the players cards at the Strat and spinning an enormous slot machine. Two of us won a free show ticket and a third guy wanted to see Bite so we split the cost for $17 a person and went to the show that night that started at 10pm. It was the first Vegas show I had seen (other than Sirens at TI, which is free and short) and I was very pleased. For those who don't know it is a Vampire show, with classically trained ballet dancers who spend most of the time topless. The show had a general story line about a Dark Lord who was looking for his soul mate after 300 years of loneliness. He commanded the five Angels of the Erotic. The dance moves were spectacular and the production value was good. The whole show is done to classic rock which is right up my alley. I would recommend this show because it is entertaining and at $50/ticket it is cheaper than the shows at the bigger hotels. At the discount ticket retailers along the strip we saw tickets going for about $30 each.
After the show the five of us united for a $3 blackjack tour. We started at the Strat and wound up walking to Slots of Fun. Only one of my friends plays any poker and he is mostly an NL guy so finding time at the tables became problematic. We returned to the Strat at about 2am and I was super tired as I would have typically been waking up at this time but instead of going to bed I decided to donk around in the 1/2 NL game going on at the Strat. About 30 minutes into the session the bad beat jackpot hit at the other table and everyone playing at the two tables was given a piece of the action. I ended up collecting $83 for the jackpot and also winning another $170 from the game as the players were generally clueless. I played until 4am when me and my friend retired for the evening.
Daily Results +250 from Poker, -200 from blackjack
Day 2 - Saturday 11/8
I woke up at 6:45am after an exhilarating 2.5 hour siesta. Everyone else seemed to enjoying a full nights sleep. I tried to sleep for another half hour or so but had no luck. Showered and headed out for some early morning poker. Last time I was in Vegas was 2006 and the TI and Venetian poker rooms were new and I didn't get a chance to visit them. So this morning I made my way downstrip to pay a visit. I found the TI room opened at 11am so I head to the Venetian to play until then. The only games going were once again NL (an all too common occurence this trip). I sat in a 1/2 game and played for about three hours waiting for TI to open up. In all honesty this was the toughest live table I have ever played at. There was one weak player who had an enormous +$1200 stack but he kept getting other people all in and then winning as an underdog. If not for him I would have gotten up after five minutes. I managed to break even after I cracked aces and had my kings cracked in return. I left with a $2 profit which I tipped at the cage.
Then I headed over to TI. I really enjoyed the feel of the room and as many on this site have said, management treats the players well. Once again there were no limit games going so I sat in a 1/3 NL game instead. I really like this structure as it appeared to produce more action; although I am sure coming from my previous game at the Venetian any action would seem great. I didn’t want to spend my whole time in Las Vegas playing NL so I left after a couple of hours to hit up the Mirage.
I was really disappointed when I got there because there was only one table of 10/20 going and a short interest list for 20/40. I waited for a while and got my 10/20 seat. The table was mostly tight passive older players and after about 3 hours of break even play I got a phone call from my friends. They were looking to get some dinner and I decided to meet up with them. When I met them they informed me they were interested in the Bellagio buffet. I declined due to the price tag of $35 and agreed to meet them back at our hotel afterwards for some more $3 blackjack. While my friends were all betting the minimum I eventually got up to $50/hand while constantly repeating, “The only way to get out is to bet more”. Of course I lost about $400 and nobody else had a swing of more than $30 one way or the other. I was exhausted and finally got to sleep around 1am.
Daily Results +$15 from Poker, -$400 from blackjack
Day 3 – Sunday 11/9
I again woke up early (7am) and found nobody else had any problems with sleep. I headed down strip again and this time wound up sitting in O’Sheas and waiting for a game to start. We chose to play 1-5 spread limit instead of NL. By 10:30am I was intoxicated and had lost any semblance of reasonable play. I got a call at about 1:30pm from my friends about getting lunch so I stumbled back up the strip, licking my wounds from a $200 loss at typical limit game where a sober me would have fared far better.
When I arrived everyone had already eaten because the walk from O’Sheas to the Strat took me almost an hour. Not wanting to lose my buzz I convinced two of my friends that since this was to be their last night in town that we should go downtown and do more drinking and play $3 blackjack. I took them to the El Cortez as none of them had ever been downtown and I wanted to show them some real class. After we got past the initial smell of vomit and cigarettes we found ourselves a $3 table and proceeded to imbibe alternating rounds of tequila and coronas. My memory gets kind of faded after this but I know I made my friends get 48oz frozen drinks from The Bayou on Fremont St. Then there was some fighting, some bus riding, some sickness, and then I woke up the next day and had lost about five hours of memory completely.
Daily Results -$200 from poker, -$200 from blackjack
Day 4 Monday 11/10
Fortunately for me others were in much worse shape than I was so I felt better by comparison after the night of mixing too many types of alcohol. We decided buffet would be a good way to feel better but two of us didn’t make it through one plate before we had to visit the porcelain God. After the buffet we all played one more session of $3 blackjack in which I managed to keep my bets smaller and only lose $100 (I run good at BJ). Meanwhile each one of my friends managed to turn a small profit while mostly ignoring basic strategy during the trip. When they all piled into a taxi for the airport I grabbed my own cab and headed for my new home for the next five nights, The Tuscany.
To celebrate my one and only solo night of this trip I decided to play mid-limit poker all night long at the Wynn. Tomorrow my best friend from San Diego would be flying in with his wife and I wasn’t expecting to get much table time while they were in town. When I got to the Wynn there was only 4/8 but an interest list six names long for 10/20 with a half kill. I signed up and about 20 minutes later a game started. It started with five players and for the next 5 hours we managed to keep the table afloat with 3-6 players before it finally broke. During that time I ran extremely poorly and lost $500. The players at my table were either too tight for shorthanded play or too passive yet they always managed to flop some two pair hand after limping J6 UTG. It was frustrating. The Wynn management was helpful in keeping the game going but the players weren’t showing up. We played rake free with 4 players or less and only paid $1 when it was five or six handed. It was 8pm when the game broke and at this point in the trip I had become pretty upset because the Wynn was my favorite room in Vegas and it looked like limit there was dying. The situation at the Mirage wasn’t much better with only one 10/20 running and no seats. It was then that I decided to break down and go to the Bellagio even though management there had been somewhat rude to me on my previous visits.
The Bellagio was as crowded as I remembered. I put my name on the 8/16, and 15/30 lists. There was no 8/16 going and after about ½ an hour I got called for 15/30. My table was filled with mostly solid players. There were two noticeable weak spots but other than that it wouldn’t have been worth sitting in. I played until I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I cashed out with a modest profit of $160. At about 2am I started my long walk back to the Tuscany. When I got to the Tuscany I decided to blow $100 on BJ before heading to bed. Smart move.
Daily Results -$340 from Poker, -$200 from BJ
Day 5 Tuesday 11/11
I woke up around 10am after getting my first decent night of sleep. Even though I had booked a room with two queen beds to accommodate my friend/wife and myself they had given me a room with one king and a short couch that didn’t pull out. Alas, I knew I would be sleeping on the short couch the rest of the week so I really relished the king bed for this one night. I decided to spend the entire day at the Tuscany because really liked the poker room management on my last trip and I didn’t know what time my friends would be arriving. I got on a waiting list at 11am for a 3/6 game that would start once enough people busted out of the tournament. We started when we had six players and that game lasted all the way through to their 7pm tournament. I left my chips on the table as the game temporarily broke so that everyone could play the tournament. I ended up finishing 10th out of 44 runners but the structure was terrible and anyone that made it that far was just lucky. The blinds doubled every 15 minutes and by the 4th level the average stack was 3BB. After the tournament I got back into the cash game and played there until it broke at about midnight. I cashed out just as my friend arrived (finally) for a $75 profit which was just enough to cover my tournament fees. Neither of my new guests had the energy do anything after their trip so after about 15 minutes at a BJ table we hit the hay.
Daily Results Breakeven in both poker and BJ - HOOOORAY!!!!!
Day 6 Wednesday 11/12
We woke up and got breakfast at the Tuscany café and then hit the strip. Both friends were Vegas virgins so I showed them all the famous sights, possible shows, the Sirens at TI, the MGM lion habitat, the inactive Mirage Volcano, and the fountain show at Bellagio. I didn’t play any poker the whole day. I also avoided the BJ table until about 10pm when I dropped $60 over a couple hours before getting another night of sleep on the couch.
Daily Results -$60 from BJ
Day 7 Thursday 11/13
My back was sore as I heaved myself off of the couch and off to breakfast. I left my friends behind as I wanted to play a little poker while they used the pool and shopped a little. I stayed at the Tuscany and played some more 3/6 until about 3pm when I took my friend (sans wife) downtown for the evening. I showed him the El Cortez too and we took in the Fremont St experience before heading to Glitter Gulch for some sight seeing. I don’t enjoy strip clubs very but my friend is a big fan. Wasted the rest of the night there trying to buy my friend enough lap dances so we could leave. The entire ride home I got to hear his ranking of which ladies had the best dance moves.
Daily Results +$40 from poker, -$250 from Glitter Gulch, $-200 BJ
Day 8 Friday 11/14
This being my last day, I left my friend and his wife mostly too themselves to explore Vegas. It turns out someone conned them in to taking a tour of a condo in exchange for ½ price tickets to see Ka (Cirque show at MGM). Oh well, they live and they learn. I on the other hand spent the day playing at various casinos up and down the strip including MGM (3/6 limit, -$100), IP (2/4 limit, -$100), and Binions (2/4, +$80) before moving on to my final destination of the evening The Mirage for 10/20. When I sat in the game I had two younger guys to my left, one from Sweden and one local. It turns out that the local was AllVegasPoker’s very own, JCC37000. It came up that he had blogged about limit poker and I asked what site and told him I had been using AVP since 2005. Both JCC and the Swede were great fun to play next to. We had an older lady at the other end of the table who would constantly complain and berate other players as she was raking in the pots so that was less fun. Also, the Swede (who happened to be a competitive Table Tennis player, along with JCC) was drinking a lot and managed to crack aces with 64s after calling 3 cold in the SB preflop. This led to the guy with aces getting quite angry to everyone’s enjoyment. In the end the biggest winner at the table was an older Asian man who ran like a God. It was overall a great table to play at and I managed to break even while the Swede stacked up the chips between JCC and I.
Daily Results -$120 Poker
Day 9 Saturday 11/15 – No gambling as I got up, bid my friends farewell, and headed to the airport.
Trip Results -$350 from poker, -$250 from strippers (a form of gambling in my book), and an astounding -$1200 from blackjack (clearly I have a leak).
- Don’t play blackjack… ever…. Just don’t it is stupid… seriously
- Limit poker is all but dead in Las Vegas. The only consistently running games bigger than 4/8 are at the Bellagio and one 10/20 at the Mirage
- If you go to Las Vegas with friends who don’t play poker, don’t expect that you will see the felt very often.
- Las Vegas shows worth a look, I will plan on seeing at least one each trip from now on.
- Strippers in Las Vegas are not any better looking than strippers elsewhere.
- The El Cortez is by far the best experience downtown
- Don’t play blackjack…. sigh