Cleaning up in Vegas 5/31-6/4


I actually went on a trip to Vegas in March but never made a trip report cause I was so disappointed in my poker results. The problem was anytime my girlfriend and I were sitting together we didn't want to bother making table changes cause we were just happy to be near each other. But, this meant we would sit at bad tables and sometimes be in over our heads. It got to the point we were getting beat so bad we gave up on NL and stuck to limit for our last couple of days there.

That experience really bothered me for a while. I felt I would stick to limit cash games from then on. The only no-limit I would be doing would be tournaments because at least with those I was making decent money.

I got another shot at Vegas last week. This time I was going solo. I went because prices were so cheap and I wanted to be there during the WSOP. After seeing it on TV for so many years I really wanted to experience it- playing or railbirding. I tried to qualify for a $1500 event through Full Tilt's bracelet race but I never made it- so I was just going to watch, take some pictures, and get some autographs.

I got a real cheap flight through Allegiant ($90) and even cheaper room at Tuscany ($13.50 a night through Yahoo travel!). Tuscany was a great place to stay. Not only was it cheap but the rooms were HUGE, clean, and had a mini-kitchenette. Most people that stay at Tuscany are your middle-age casual crowd. It is located off-strip (behind Bally's) and can be a bit of walk to the strip but a cab ride is fairly cheap. (around $6 to Bally's or Harrah's) It's also located on a bus route that goes straight to the Rio.

Once I settled into my room there was only one place I wanted to be- The Rio! I was so excited as walked through the casino and made my way to the Amazon Room. When I finally entered I had to admit- I got a bit emotional. The combination of the roar of chips with the vastness of the room makes it a bit overwhelming. I was looking forward to watching two big events were going on that day - the Champions Invitational- where only Main Event winners were invited to- and the final table of the $40K event. It was so cool to see Hashem, Scotty, and Doyal sitting next to each other at one table and Chan and Hellmuth on the other. It was a perfect photo opportunity. The final table of the 40K event featured Greg Raymour. I got some great pics and might have gotten some tv time! We'll have to wait and see if my mug makes it on the tube or not.

After a while, even though it was late, I had to get my poker on. The Rio's wait lists were very long so I took the free shuttle down to the strip. I went to Bally's cause LasVegasMichael was twittering from there. Talked w LVM for a while but the wait list for Bally's 3/6 game was insane so I decided to walk over to Planet Hollywood and got immediate seating in a 4/8 limit game. (though the blinds were 1/2- never got a reason why). To my surprise, even though my table was fairly young, they were extremely passive. It was easy to get them off a hand with aggressive betting. I don't think I saw a three-bet all night! Unfortunately, I could not catch any big hands. I only stayed up due to outplaying the table. I played til about 4am and then called it a night.
cash game -> ($38)

Didn't sleep long- I never do in hotels- and got up around 10. Decided to head to Hard Rock for their 1pm tournament. You get additional chips if you play 1 hour of cash game so asked for a limit game. "Sorry, we only have 1/2 no-limit going." Gulp. Do I really want to do this again? I decided on giving it a go but I wouldn't stay if it was a bad table. Even if I was at a table for only five minutes- if I got a weird vibe I would get up and leave. So I decided to give it a go. I should mention that Hard Rock has a beautiful poker room. The decor is very cool and there is a nice lounge attached to the room.

I decided I was gonna try something out- wear sunglasses at the table. I know my eyes flutter a bit when I have a big hand or I'm bluffing. Maybe it wouldn't make a difference but if it would make me feel more confident then I would try it out. I told myself to take my time making a decision- even if I had the nuts- don't act or bet too quickly so I give anything away. The last thing was betting consistently- Aces or suited connectors- if I wanted to bet preflop I would keep it the same amount.

It wasn't long before I got involved in a big hand. I had AK in MP and popped it to $10. Button and SB call. The flop is AKx. I bet $20 and the button calls. Turn is a blank. I bet $30 and button moves all-in for his last $85. I think, 'God, please don't have trips.' and make the call and to my surprise the button shows... QJ? He doesn't hit the 10 and I'm golden. It wasn't long before the same guy shipped his rebuy stack to me when I hit the nut flush on river. Thanks for paying for my tournament, buddy. Too bad I didn't do as well in the tourney. Out just before the final table.
Tournament-> (-$50) cash game ($293)

Decided to hit the hot tub and pool before heading to the Venetian to play in a $80 satellite for the next day's $340 Deep Stack Tournament. The Venetian poker area (I say 'area' because it extended far beyond the normal poker room) was a complete zoo. The satellite gives you 1500 in chips, blinds at 25/50 and only 15 min rounds so I knew I had to get things going quickly. One thing to note before I tell what happened- the dealer and floor person were having an attitude with each other. I thought it was very unprofessional and made things rather uncomfortable. I folded the first hand that turned into an all-in situation between to other players. The very next hand I get TT on the button. I re-raise EP raiser and he goes all-in. Villain is the same guy who won the previous hand so I'm thinking he is just trying to push me over. I make the correct call and he turns over KQos. Sucker! However, a Q hits the turn and I'm gone- in the second hand! Man, I was steaming. I take a few minutes for phone calls and food and before getting into a cash game. Right away I could see it was a pissing contest. I sat for about 10 minutes before leaving.
satellite-> (-$80) cash game-> (-$20)

Headed over to the TI and decided to play some cash before the 10pm tournament. They had a short handed 1/3 NL game going that looked tough so I decided to sit in a 2/4 limit game instead. Basically went up and down- nothing major happen. The tournament had 38 runners. I was getting a bit low at 11000 until I hit a monster hand just before the final table. Blinds are 500/1000. I wake up with AA UTG and pop it to 2500. Cutoff makes it 7000 and the SB goes all-in for for his last 12000. Wow, I couldn't ask for a better situation! I go all-in and the CO insta-calls. Its my AA verses QQ and TT. My hand holds up and I become chip leader in one hand. I basically cruise through the final table and the final three decide to chop as per chip percentage. I have 45% of the chips and take away a nice profit.
cash game-> ($20) tournament-> ($730)

I then head down to Harrah's to meet up w LVM and play some cash. I got seated right away in a 1/2 game- right next to LVM's table. Very first hand I get a AQs and call a raise of the guy on my right. The flop is A high and he bets out on every street. I have no read on the guy so I just call him down, table my hand, he mucks his A6, and I take down a $120 pot. Hmm, thanks! But this was the best- and most profitable hand: I wake up w AA in MP and make it $10 (just like every other raise). Guy two seats over calls. BB calls. The flop is AK6 rainbow. Bingo! Rather then raise suspicion of the strength of my hand with a check-raise I decided to bet $20. Villain calls. Turn is a low card. Check- check. River is 9 leaving no possible flush or straight draws- I got da nuts. I bet $30. He raises it to $75. I'm 90% sure he has AK- that's the kind of bet that's just begging for a call. I take my time before I fire out $200. "Really??", he says. I just stare at the felt, and inside dying for a call. He spends the next two minutes pondering and asking me questions. He finally does call and I take down a pot worth over $540! Boo-ya! I cruised the rest of the time til I called it a night at 5am.
cash game-> ($830)

Woke up at 11am (another solid nights sleep- yawn!) and decided to play in the $340 Deep Stack after all. Why not- I had more then enough $$. I signed up at 11:30 with a very short line. Great structure but I am just going up and down. We started w 12K but I only have 10800 at the break. The blinds are 100/200 w 25 ante. It's only about the 4th or 5th hand in when disaster strikes. I have QQ in late position and make it 700. Both blinds call. Flop is J high and both check to me. I am more then happy to take down this pot and bet 1500. But the small blind surprises me when he re-raises it to 4K. Hmm, this is the second time he has done it to me. I can't figure out if he is on a draw, is thinking I'm bluffing, or that he is really that strong. I can't just call here otherwise I'm pot committed. I decide to shove and he insta-calls with bottom set. Ouch.
tournament-> (-$340)

I decide head over to TI for their 7pm tournament. This time it is only 2 tables. I can never catch any hands and I'm out just before the final table.
tournament-> (-$65)

TI had zero cash games going (at 8:30 pm??) so I decide to head over to the Wynn- mostly because I've never been there before and it's known as one of the nicer card rooms. I thought Bellagio and Venetian were fancy- this place reeked of wealth. Strolling through the casino I glanced at some of the stacks- some were massive- in colors that I had never seen. The 1/3 list was long but I got into a 4/8 limit game right away. The poker room reminded me of the Bellagio- very elegant but cramped. The cocktail waitresses were all drop-dead gorgeous and the drinks and service was excellent. I can see why it gets such high remarks from reviewers. I was doing ok until this Indian guy showed up and gave everyone a lesson on how to play. His skill combined with my lack of focus hurt me. It didn't take long before I had to go.
cash game-> (-$80)

Boy, what a roll-reversal from the night before! Could I turn it around? I went to Bally's for (hopefully) an easier game. It was just what the doctor ordered. I covered those Wynn loses in my first three hands! Then I hit a biggie- Kc8c in the BB. Four limpers and I check. Flop is all clubs! Sweet... now, will I get paid off? UTG bets $15, button calls, I call. On the turn UTG bets $50, button folds, I min raise to $100. To my delight he goes all-in with his last $200- I insta-call. "You have a flush?" he says as he flips over his JT of clubs. "Indeed I do". Ahh, yes. It's good to be me. I hit the hay at 5.
cash game-> ($370)

I wake around 12. I feel like a wreck from the lack of sleep but don't wanna be in bed all day on my last day. I was going play in the Binion's Poker Classic but I am too wiped to grind out a 12 hour tourney so I decide to head back to the Rio for some more pics and autographs. I saw the final 5 tables of 2-7 lowball. OMG, what a field. It was a who's who in poker. And right in front of me were Hellmuth and The Mouth- entertaining as always. When Phil showed up late (as always) Mikey greets him with a loud, "HELLO, FISHYCAKES!" which gets a good laugh from the railbirds. All the pros were great about giving autographs and I got a lot of good pics, too.

I then head down to Harrah's for some HORSE action. Mixed games are not my strong point but since I rarely get a chance to play them back home I figure it'll be fun to give it a go. I get seated right away in a 4/8 ROSE game which is fine by me cause I could use a break from Hold'em. It isn't long before LVM shows up and is sitting at a new HORSE game that is next to my table. I'm glad he was there that way I can get the heads-up on any player I should watch out for. I play solid and tight and by the end of my session I double my buy-in.
cash game-> ($107)

I'm hungry for dinner but don't know what I want so I figure I'll stroll down the strip until I see a place that catches my eye. I end up walking to Smith & Wollensky (near MGM- long walk!) for some surf and turf. Spendy but excellent. I'm in a happy place and head to MGM for some cash game action.

It didn't take long to get seated at a table. I didn't like my first table. Too tough. So I put in for a table change and got switched right away. I was seated right next to a total drunkass (DA) who is loud and obnoxious. He would shout phrases like "SHIP IT!" and "PASS THE SUGAR!" whenever he won a pot. Across the table was a pretentious douche (PD) who voice sounded annoyed anytime he said "check" or "raise" and was way too cocky for his own good. To add to my frustration DA and PD had to constantly wage war with each other- either verbally or with chips. My breaking point was when DA spilled some of his drink on the table padding and began slurping it up. That's right- he actually had his mouth... on the padding... making slurping sounds... DONE!
cash game-> (-$80)

Back down to Bally's I go (this time by cab) and get seated right away. VERY first hand I get AA and dude keeps betting into me w 88. Uh, thanks! There was this funny guy sitting next to me. I think he was a complete closet case (CC) because he was very flamboyant but kept mentioning his girlfriend. I was thinking, 'Suuuure you have a girlfriend...'. He was also a very loose-aggressive player and would constantly bluff with nothing and show it too. It seemed he just wanted to have fun so no one at the table was getting upset with him. I just wish when CC got a real hand it wasn't against me. I had JTs in MP and made it $10. He says, "Really? Oh lets make it $25". Everyone folds back to me. $15 more to call you? I'm in. Flop is J high. I bet $30. "Really? Oh what the heck!", CC says while he puts in his last $70. I call and he flips over JJ for trips. Jeez. Why me? Against a lot of other players I might have folded pre-flop- or at least on the flop but that hand I was playing the player... and that time got burned. The rest of time I was going up and down but maintained a small profit.
cash game-> ($40)
total profit-> ($1713)

This trip did more then make me money- it restored confidence back in me so I can take on NL games and not be timid. As the great Chan says, "You have to be a loser before you become a winner." Maybe this means I have turned the corner. We'll see.
Another good tip for some of you. Before you go on your trip join twitter and get as many AVP contacts as you can. It's a great way to get information about what's happening- fast. Not only does your contacts give you great info but provide you with support as you twitter your action from felt. (Thanks LVM, AlaskaGal, Cashewz, and Minton!) Also, I got all the WSOP news as it was happening- in real time. It's a great tool and it's free- so use it. (Just make sure you have enough text on your phone's text plan.)

One more thing, I'll be sure to add to this thread when I finally get my pics downloaded and provide a link.

I love Vegas!!

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  1. @bleka

    Moments like these make Vegas poker a uniquely entertaining experience! Love it! Great report, sounds like a fun time.

  2. What day did you play at the Hard Rock? I was there on the 31st to play the 1/2 NL table for the one hour, before the 1 pm tourney.

  3. @tator2k
    I just missed ya! I was there the following day.

    Speaking of Hard Rock... Here is an update from their twitter page that AVPers should take advantage of: Play 1 hour in a cash game between 5am & 11am to qualify for the daily $1,000 freeroll. Everyday in the month of June.

  4. Enjoyed your report. I am going to Vegas in mid-July, will use your report as research. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

  5. glad to see you had a profitable trip to restore your confidence. I sometimes have the same issues when travelling with the wife. We find a table together and take too long to move when it gets tough. We both made a point to move tables earlier next time.

    take care!!

  6. Great report, and congrats on a very profitable trip. I railbirded last year's WSOP ... final days of the Main Event playing down to the November Nine. Still have the ESPN clips on TiVo with our 15 seconds of fame! Also, sounds like Hard Rock is getting some traffic since it is such a nice room ... I was there in November and it was pretty quiet, but will check it out again when I'm back in Vegas later this summer.

  7. Nice report. I know you beat the NL games this time around, but I think I know why you havent had success with them in the past. Your $10 preflop raise is to small. Im not saying raising $10 sometimes to "sweeten" the pot is an absolute no no, but in general its not a big enough raise in a live 1/2 NL to thin the field and help your big hands hold up. Try raising around $15 preflop, I can almost guarantee your results will improve.