Reports & Blogs by MichMadDog Posted

Arrived late 6/27, went straight to bed, and was up at 3:00 a.m. Vegas time (6:00 Detroit). The Plaza had a 1/2 NL game going. Seemed to be mostly locals, no collusion, pretty good players, some a bit drunk. They have a good hand jackpot and a complimentary Continental breakfast for players. Won about $100, primarily on a hand where I raised with KH-KS and was called by 6H-5H. He flopped a straight (8S-7D-4S), smooth called bets on the flop and turn, and I caught running spades for a flush. The game broke up about an hour after I arrived. I think the Plaza's 1-2 NL just runs during the evening, as I didn't see it during the daytime.

I then caught the Nugget's 11:00 a.m. tourney, made the final table, and got the chip lead. We then decided to chop it up (I had plans to meet a friend), and I got the biggest chunk, netting about $400 profit. Nice room, well run tourney. One fun part is the $5 bounty on every player you knock out.

That afternoon my wife and I went to check out the WSOP. We watched as bit at the final table (Ivey, Hellmuth, Williamson), picked up some souvenirs and returned downtown for some other gaming. I played briefly at the Nugget's 1/2NL and picked up $30.

The next day I went back out to the Strip and played at Harrah's $1/2 NL, 60-120 buy-in. I ended up losing $220, primarily on two hands. On one, I flopped top pair, moderate kicker and the river made two pair. Unfortunately, it also made someone's straight (she started with top pair better kicker, so I was always behind). On the second, a lady called an $80 bet with a double gutshot straight draw and hit. All told, the contestants were tourists who generally knew what they were doing, but not the toughest field in Vegas. The poker room has a "best hand of the day" promotion, and the winner gets a HArrah's jacket. The lady who took down my two pair pocked that up when she rivered a royal (I was just a spectator, fortunately). I then played the 11;00 Harrah's tournament (about 60 participants) and made it to about the last 20 before getting knocked out.

Later that afternoon I played in the Nugget 1/2 NL game. Unlike the Strip 1/2NL games, the downtown games don't have a maximum buy-in. The average buy-in seems to be about $200 (funny story; at Binion's once this guy had a huge stack of abuot $2,000 in five dollar chips. I got to the tqble after he left and everyone was talking about how sorry they were to see him go. It seems that the $2,000 was the remainder of a $6,000 buy-in and the guy was a moron, calling a $200 bet on the flop with pocket 7s and three overcards on the board). Anyhow, when I sat down at the Nugget, I bought in for $200. Shortly afterwards, a guy from England sits down to my right with his eye candy wife cheering him on. It seems that he has been in town for the entire Series and has hit the overalls in a limit event. The guy on my left reminisced about the first ten Main Events he played in and lamented the bad beat he had recently taken. It seems he was dealt wired Js, flopped quads, then lost $6,000 when his opponent made a straight flush on the river. The rest of the contestants seemed to be a mixture of locals and visitors who knew what they were doing. It wasn't intimidating (I consider myself a pretty experienced low limit/no limit player), but I wasn't tqaking anone lightly. As luck would have it, a few hands after the guy from England sat down, he limped in on the button with 6-9. The flop was 7-8-10. Unfortunately for him, I had J-9. By the time the fireworks were over, I had tripled up (another player with K-10 came along for the ride). I played very tight, caught some hands, and ended up $700 to the good.

The next day I played in two tournaments, the Nugget 11:00 nad Binion's 2:00, made it to about the final two tables, but got knocked out without making any money. That evening I palyed in the 1/2 NL game at Binion's. Again it seemed to be a mix of capable visitors and locals. I finished up $200, basically on one hand. I was dealt A-A and raised to $10 in early position. A lady in middle position re-raised to $30, everyone folded around to me and I re-raised to $100, When she called, I thought she had to have A-A, K-K, or Q-Q, with A-Ks or J-J as outside possibilities. When then flop was 10-8-7 rainbow, I "knew" she had missed, so I went all-in (another $100) and she called in a nanosecond, turning over 10-10 (OOPS!), Justice prevailed when I spiked an A at the river.

The morning we were to leave. I played at Binion's again, with another good session. There was one low level local pro at the table, and the rest of us were fairly experienced locals and visitors. I got my money in when I was ahead, and my hands held up, so I left up about $500 more.

All told it was a great time. I imagine the competition will be a little softer when the WSOP is over. 1-2 NL without a buy-in maximum is noy for the inexperienced, but I recommend it to anyone who is a consistent winner at 4-8 limit or higher

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