I wish I had stuck with poker only on this trip but…
Three friends and I were on our semiannual trip to Vegas for some poker, gambling, drinking and cigar smoking. We stayed 4 nights at Bally’s which we booked for a very good price. After a quick $20 at the front desk we were upgraded to Deluxe rooms in the North Tower. Good news is that these are nicer and larger rooms, bad news is that one of them (not mine) was a handicap room so everything was lower than normal and the shower was less than inviting. Oh well, at least we were in Vegas.
We normally stay at MGM because we like that room so much but this time we thought we would stay mid-Strip to try some other rooms. The first we went to was Planet Hollywood. We have played here before but only once. On Thursday we arrived at the poker room at about 9:30 am and it was dead. We sat down at a table and played $1/$2 NL three handed with no rake until more people arrived. While playing I saw Photoc (sorry for asking you about AVP) at the table. Our table filled fairly quickly as some rolled in for the 10:00 am tourney and before we knew it we had a full table. This is the way all four days began for our small group.
In general we played 6 separate sessions at PH (4 morning/afternoon and 2 evening). I really like this room and would highly recommend it to anyone that likes NL and wants to have fun as well. The dealers are very good and if you engage them they are quite funny. Because we played there all 4 days by the second day we were well known by the dealers because of the constant ball-busting we did on one another during our games. I should also point out that there are a few rather attractive dealers at PH which can make the grinding process go by a little nicer. In addition to the great dealers I also like this room for the lighting, music (during the day) and the waitresses were not to bad either. My only drawback was the racetrack on the tables but that is really not that big a deal all things considered.
In addition to PH we also played a session at Caesar’s, Venetian and Bally’s. Bally’s is a dump. Even though we stayed at Bally’s we really didn’t play there much. The one session I played was on Saturday night. The tables suck, the chairs really suck and the dealers lack any charisma. As for the talent it was pretty weak. I would say that our table had three strong players, three good players and the rest were weak. If you don’t mind the occasional bad beat you can make money here (although I did not). There were a few odd hands of note…one had 2 of the same suit on the board at the flop and an LAG player bet $20 into a $30 pot and got one call. Next card was a blank so she make a pot sized bet of about $60 and got called again. River was the third of the suit and she bet $50 and the other player went all-in. The LAG had trips on the flop and complained to the caller that he should have folded, who replied that she didn’t bet enough to push him out. The LAG said she made a pot sized bet on the flop and asked how much she would have had to bet to push this guy out, his reply I don’t know maybe $100. Now you can see what kind of Donks play Bally’s. Another hand with the same LAG and my friend went $10 bet (friend), raise to $30 by LAG, all in by friend pre-flop. LAG thinks for about 5 seconds and calls. She has pushed hard to about $15 on every flop she sees and often folds post flop or on the turn. In this instance she flips AK os to my friend’s pair of 10s. She is bailed out on the turn and takes the pot. I liked his move against her and didn’t like hers but that’s poker.
At Caesar’s we played $4/$8 LMT late Friday night. The room is huge and I like it a lot but it was dead. They had one $4/$8 going and we opened another. We couldn’t keep it going so some folded into the other table and we left. I would like to play this room again perhaps for NL to give it another try. My only real complaint is that it is too quiet. It is way off on its own and it is like playing in a convention hall.
We played at Venetian on Friday afternoon and early evening before dinner (Delmonico’s) and I like the room but not as much as everyone else seems to. I have played here before and the room definitely gets a lot of players and at $1/$2 NL I found the competition to be only slightly better than PH. I think at V you will typically find 3 strong players, 4 good players and 1-2 weak players. I like this mix because it generally gives you less bad beats. Typically there were only about 3 to a flop on $10-$15 pre-flop bets and an aggressive player would usually take the pot by the turn if they bet consistently. I do not find the staff at V to be very enjoyable at all. The floor is efficient but not welcoming and the dealers always seemed stressed to me. I will always play the V when I am in town but more for the competition than the room.
My most memorable session was Thursday night at PH. Within about 30 minutes I was down $300 on two bad beats by some clown that seemed to win every hand he was in. This guy hit every flush, straight or trip he needed too. You could not push him off a hand and he was way more lucky than good. Anyway, I dig out my last rebuy of that session and I am now $500 into this table. I know there is money to be made but I need to watch out for Mr. Lucky. Within about the next 90 minutes and am sitting with $600 in front of me and happy I made that last rebuy. My path to glory included two quad hands Aces and Sevens. During my session that night my table had 3 quad hands and two straight flushes. There were also another 4-5 high hands in the room at that time. I have never seen such a run of high hands.
Anyway, I my total poker play for the four days resulted in about $1,000 of profit and only 1 losing session. Unfortunately for my friends they were responsible for about half my winnings.
While I was very successful at poker I crashed and burned at every other game I played. I played two sessions of BJ and lost $600. One session was at the Pleasure Pit at PH where the dealers were gorgeous and scantily clad with go go dancers behind the table. While the scenery was good the play was not. I sat at one table with some moron at third base that would hit his 15 against a dealer 6 or double down on a 7 with a dealer 9. I should have run for the hills but I was caught up in all the hot women. I also played three card poker. The game has terrible odds but historically I have done very well. I lost $450 on three card poker, $200 on Pai Gow and broke even on craps. Next time I am sticking with poker.
Odds and Ends
I again spent a couple of hours at Casa de Fuente for a cigar and cocktails. This is a great place to buy a cigar and hang out. I particularly like to get Opus X because my selection in Chicago is limited. One warning though is that this is not cheap. I bought one corona for $24 and two double coronas for $40/each.
As for our one big dinner we ate at Delmonico’s at Venetion. It was excellent but expensive. If you are looking for a place to be pampered and have a good meal I highly recommend it.
Finally, while at Venetion I checked out Palazzo. I thought that was a great but small casino. I was surprised to see the lower min bets given the luxury of the hotel. I highly recommend you give it a try on your next trip.