Flew into McCarren Friday night and checked into the MGM grand at the airport with NO line. I was only staying at the MGM because the WPT Cash Game Bootcamp was being help there and I was not going to wake up one minute earlier than necessary just to stay Center Strip (even though the MGM might as well be in Texas its so far south). That said, the quick check-in was a big selling point of the MGM.
I played about 4 hours of 2/5 NL and managed to get stacked on the 4th hand I played. Did you know that sometimes and OESD doesn't get there? How is that possible? Anyway, I rebuy and manage to not loose anymore and ended up down the original stack. Not an auspicious beginning.
Saturday morning, I headed over to the MGM Convention Center (which is a trek all the way to East Texas) to kick-off my 3 days of Cash Camp. My goal was to learn how to become a winning NLHE player. Time will tell whether I have the discipline, but the quality of the curriculum and instruction was way beyond what I expected. My instuctors were scheduled to be Kenna James, Rick Fuller, Nick Brancato, and John Frieberg. But as an added bonus we got Nick Binger and Linda Johnson. Kenna was the most nicest guy ever--really accessible with a whole unexpected spiritual thing going on. With only 60 students in the class the instructor/student ratio was great.
Before discussing the Camp at legnth, I feel the need to admit that I was probably one of the lesser skilled players in attendance. Accordingly, I may have gotten more out of it than already winning players--but I'm certain everyone took away valuable information.
They spent a lot of time on Day one discussing table selection and money bankroll management--all of which was helpful but for me not the best sections. That information translates better in books than some of the strategy modules which were great.
Day One was a mix of classroom instruction (mostly on the business of poker and pre-flop play) and some labs. The labs were the highlight of the camp with instructors dealing cards at a poker table and critiquing student play. They take the role of teacher seriously and at one point I called a EP raise from MP with QKo and Rick Fuller explained very directly (and at length) how stupid that was. When I did it later with J10o, he was a little less gentle with the criticism. All of which works well for me because I respond to being shamed--but people with huge egos may have a hard time.
I played 2/5 at MGM again for about three hours that night an ended up within $20 (up) of even.
Day Two was classroom instruction on Post Flop, Turn, and River play. This was followed with labs to see how the information should be used practically at the table. This instruction was great and they also had an online poker assessment tool where all the student whose score most closely resembled to the pros won a free trip to the Dominican Republic for the Battle for the Season Pass event. I did not win. Or come close.
Now, the strategy discussions, classroom instructions, and labs are fundamentally all about math and probability. Yes, they discuss how to interpret the math--but its math. Of course the explanations of the math are brilliant. They do a great job of explaining why you need to know certain pieces of information (when contemplating a call you need to know what % of your stack or of your opponent's stack it represents) and providing shortcuts to figuring that out.
Nick Brancato does a great job explaining all the numbers in detail and illustrating them with examples. Plus he is from NJ and really frickin loud; which helps keep you awake after lunch.
Sunday Night I headed over to the IP after class to check out the mixed game and got waitlisted for over 2.5 hours before sitting down for a little less than an hour. Still it was totally wort it, I met a few very cool AVPers and got to say high to Mike; plus I went on a sick run of beginners luck during the Double Hand Omaha round and scooped a couple hundred books. Very fun, and I'll definitely do it again. I would have stayed longer but I had to be up by 8am for DAY 3.
A couple of days before the camp I got an email that there would be an optional 3rd day offered which was all labs. I had absolutely no intention of doing it, but once I saw the benefit of the labs I signed up--and it was great. The labs were a little more advanced and there was also live online play by the instructors projected for the class to watch. The 3rd day was by far the best day and for anyone who is taking the camp I'd auto sign-up for it if your schedule permits.
I'm planning to try and play 15 -20 hours per week for next 3-4 weeks, just to try and cement the changes I want to make in my game. I'll post the ongoing results in the strategy session if they are surprising.