We got a lot packed in to two-and-a-half days out there. We arrived from Milwaukee Mitchell Airport around 1130 Thursday night. We enjoy checking the sites around town almost as much as playing, so we headed to Bellagio to see if anything was still going on with the WPT Championship. When we got there, there were still two tables going from the high-roller event. Chatted in passing with Gabe Kaplan, pretty much just long enough to let him know High Stakes Poker needed him back. He said he'd let the producers know we said that.
They ended play for the night shortly after we got there, so we headed over to Planet Hollywood for our first 1/2 session of the trip. I ended up a table with mostly tourists. I bought in for $200 (I usually do this instead of max to feel out the table for a bit, then add on if it makes sense). The table was pretty soft, and the villains pretty much might as well have been playing with their cards face up. Problem is I didn't have much to take advantage of the situation with, until I found AKo in the cutoff. A MP player (he might have me covered by a few bucks, I'm still right around $200) raised to $10, I made it $25 (right play? Should I make it more?) MP was the only caller, we saw a flop of A-7-2 rainbow. Checked to me, I bet $25 (yes, should have been more, but inconsequential for this hand). MP min-raised to $50, I pretty much insta-shoved $100 more. He himmed and hawed for a minute, then calls. In no time at all the dealer burns and turns 4th & 5th street, 8-9, Villian sheepishly rolls over A-8. Thank you very much, rebuy please.
Grinded for a couple hours more, usual stuff, top pair rivered by a flush, etc, and found myself down to about $40. I don't mind playing a short stack, but this was getting frustrating. Finally I find JJ, in MP. Now remember we're playing 1/2, but for some reason UTG opens the pot for $30. UTG +2 flat calls! Of course I stick my last $40 in, and two others call, so 5 to the flop! I yell out something to the affect of, "Well, I guess I'll need a set here..." and the dealer promptly flops K-J-2 rainbow. UTG bets something like $20 into a dry side pot, gets a couple to fold and another smaller stack to shove for something like $40 more. UTG had Q-9 for a gut-shot and the other QQ. Couple nice plays there boys. Somehow 4th street was a blank and the river was the case J, making me quads, good for the $50 bonus. That got me north of $250, then was able to make a couple more hands to get un-stuck and profit $30 or so, so I decided to call it a night. Can't complain, down to $40 of $400 in buy-ins, then cashed out for $430.
We decided to head back to Bally's, one went to get some rest, but me and other bud decided to visit the pit for some BJ. Not much to report, but my notes say I ended -$30 after a couple hours at the table.
Did some more bumming, grabbed a 8am Whopper at O'Sheas (whoppers taste pretty good at 8am.) then did some more bumming. Stopped in Flamingo for a while, didn't play cards but did play a little video poker and ended +$20.
Seeing as how we like sports and will bet on just about anything, we decided to hit the book and research some bets for the evening. I settled on parlaying the Thunder +5.5 and the over 199.5. Also thought the over on the Brewers/Dodgers (6.5) was a steal, so I threw $115 on that. Also did some random $20 4-teamer. I hit the baskeball one, but the Brewers game was a sweet 1-0 final, and think I got one of my 4-teamer right. That's sports for you, and to this day can't understand how someone can bet sports for a living...good for them though (Billy Baxter, Bill Walthers, etc...)
We had previously decided to play the Aria 7pm tourney. After dinner at Snack's in Bellagio (pretty much my favorite place to eat in town), we headed over. Nice comfortable room, but neither of us had any run-good in us; I lasted longest and was somewhere around 40th of 79, somewhere in level 5. Not sure I'd do many more tournaments besides one of the deepstack series or a WSOP event if I ever have the extra cash. Even though Aria is 8K and 30 minute levels it's imperative you pick up some hands to play back at people to build a stack, just didn't happen this time, and there was nothing I can do. Actually played pretty well for the first couple levels, taking advantage of a pretty tight table. Ultimately I was around 10 BB's, shoved MP with 5-5 and one a bigger stack in the SB woke up with J-J and I was done.
Did a little more bumming around, grabbed some souvenirs for the kids and headed back to Bally's, where the buddies had gotten into some more 1/2. I just didn't feel it after being up 45+ hours and decided to head up for my only rest of the trip.
Up around 8 Friday morning, we headed to Hash House for breakfast. The reviews all over rave about this place, and while it was pretty good I wouldn't consider it a must-go place. I would try it again though, as I saw a skillet delivered to a nearby table that was impressive.
Did a little more gambling on the way back south (Flamigo VP +$10), then hit some BJ at Bally's for a couple more hours. Actually surprisingly enough the pit boss opened a new table for us on the 3:2 side when we asked him (although first he said we'd be waiting for a while until his boss said the table could be opened). Ran well for quite a while and ended +$250. I like to vary my bets depending on how I'm doing, seems to work pretty well most of the time. While we were there a guy came to the table talking about how he's a nightclub owner in Phoenix, blah blah blah, and proceeded to dump a grand or so to the house betting $100+ most hands, then saw him go to another table and dig for more cash. Hope he had fun at least.
After BJ we decided to head back to Bellagio to check out the heads-up final of the high roller between Lindgren & Seidel. It was in the upper section of the poker room, roped off but we were able to stand in the upper section, about five feet from the players. Supposedly it's going to be televised, can't see how we won't be in the background if it is. Lasted less than an hour (Spoiler Alert: Seidel took him down after some decent action. One of the first hands we saw was Lindgren doubling through after he flopped Aces up and Seidel flopped a flush; E-Dog filled up on 4th street after they got it all in on the flop. Seidel battled back though and took it down). Interesting set up they had there, Seidel has been on a tear this year, something like $5.5 million in winnings so far this year alone.
Got in another shortish session of 1/2 at Bally's, didn't have many notable hands, ended up down roughly $90.
Bummed around for a while more, played some more VP at Flamingo and Casino Royale (-$25 or so total) then found our way back to Bally's for some more BJ. I ended up about $75 down after being down almost $300, kind of a moral victory in my book.
Time for dinner, had originally planned to cab it to In-N-Out as we don't have any in the midwest, but decided not to and go to PF Chaings. Man what a great meal there, we all had something different but sampled them all, which were fantastic.
After that we had some action on the Vancouver/San Jose game so we parked at P-Ho for the third period. Of course the action was SJ -1.5, which looked great until the Canucks scored two quick ones during a 5-minute major power play to only lose by 1.
Finished off the trip with about a six hour session at Bally's, ending up exactly $102. Not too many notable hands for a six hour session, but did make the nuts a couple times on the river, but probably didn't get as much value as I should have. Hard to figure out how to play for value, as checking a made hand doesn't build a pot but betting scares players out more times than not. That's poker I guess. Didn't want to leave but had a 7am plane to catch so no choice.
While I don't have exact numbers, I came home with about $250 less in my pocket, including eating, some transportation, buying a few drinks/snacks, and hotel. My estimation puts me at about $100 down on gambling, which I'll partly blame on the Aria tourney and partly on the dang Brewers getting shutout on Thursday night.
Great time as usual though, the poker sessions were pretty much exactly as expected, with pretty soft and exploitable tables with the right play. The dealers at Bally's and PHo were great and ran good games, and the supervisors were solid and friendly as well. Hopefully the next trip is sooner than later, thanks for reading!