Las Vegas Trip Report -- Sept 1-5, 2008
I wish I could report that I really just killed it in Las Vegas, but that was not the case this trip. A run of bad cards and a lot of bad luck made this a trip to forget.
The first two days of the trip were mostly spent playing at MGM since that was where we were staying. I had never stayed at MGM before, and I liked the room and the whole experience. It sure was nice just being able to go up an elevator to my room after a long night at the table.
The play at MGM was typical -- some good play, some bad. For the most part, I was card dead. I played few hands, but made the good ones count. As best as I can remember, I ended up ahead around $100.
I also played in an MGM tournament for the first time. I got no cards the first hour, so I had to play short stack poker to survive. I saw some truly amazing lucksack plays, but the play overall was not bad. I finally petered out in 13th place out of about 60 when I was forced to go all in with A-6. I was up against 10-10 and Q-J, so at least I had live cards. However, a 10 on the flop and a 10 on the turn ended any hope I had of vaulting to the final table.
Yes, I can now report on the electronic Pokertek Pokerpro tables being used at Excalibur. Unequivocally, I hated them! To tell the truth, I am not the biggest fan of online poker. I really prefer to be in a game in person, watching the dealer shuffle and deal the cards, flinging chips with my own hands, reading other players in person. The Pokerpro tables seemed to me to be sort of a hybrid of b&m and online poker. It seemed funny shielding your electronic hole cards with your hands. Unfortunately, I played some $2/$4 limit, so it was time for total donkdom with guys chasing to the river ... and hitting; playing crap hands ... and hitting; staying in hands they had no business being in ... and hitting. Very frustrating.
So no -- do not count me among the people who liked playing at the Pokerpro tables. If I am going to be playing poker electronically, I would prefer to be laying in my bed with my laptop. I am so sad to see that Excalibur has gone this route. So many of us broke our Las Vegas poker cherry at Excalibur. Now I have no reason to return.
I decided on a whim to play at Mandalay Bay. I had not played there for several years. There is nothing distinctive nor remarkable about this room. It was okay -- nothing too good, nothing too bad. I don't think I will go back there for some time again.
Ah ... the Imperial Palace. The last time I played there, the players were donkerific and the management was rude. I was lectured on what a dummy I was since I did not know how they monitored playing time. After such rudeness, I vowed not to play there again. However, after reading so many good things about IP poker in blogs and chat rooms, I decided to give it another chance. I was not disappointed.
I was fortunate to be seated with some folks from the UK. They were good poker players and made for an enjoyable evening. I was later moved to a table with a bunch of young guys from Finland. Once again, I had a great time. I decided to go back the next day -- an unfortunate decision for me.
The next day, I was at a table with a guy who had a little too much to drink -- and was sucking out against everyone. I made a error in playing a big hand and let him grab a chunk of my stack -- which he donked away, of course. Then came the big hand against another player. I was in the big blind, and a seeming tight player raised. Several others called, so pot odds dictated a call with 7-6os. The flop: 8-10-9 with two clubs. The original raiser raised to $50 and the other players bailed. Figuring that he was protecting a big pocket pair against a flush or straight draw. I re-raised to $100. He then went all in and I called. Son of a gun -- he had the only hand that he might have raised with that could beat me: J-Q. He took my stack, and I decided to lick my wounds somewhere else.
But ... gee, I had a great time at the IP. The players were all having fun, and the fun included a round or two of group shots. I will definitely go back on my next trip to Las Vegas.
For a few years, Ballys has been my number one spot in Las Vegas. The atmosphere is usually relaxed, the dealers are okay, the bar is only a few feet away, and there are enough donkeys playing to make for some big nights if the cards fall your way.
In short, the cards didn't fall my way. I was card dead much of the time there, and the poker actually got quite boring. My last night, I decided to pack it in a little early (around 2:00 am). I went to the nickle slots to unwind, and suddenly turned $5 into $365! I bailed out when the total dropped to $300, and yes, I decided to go one more round of poker.
I sat at a table with a handful of pretty good players. I couldn't make a set with my pocket pairs, and my high cards rarely seemed to get smacked by the flop. A few people left and we joined a new table. This one woman had been kicking my butt on a few hands, and I was looking for the chance to grab her stack. It finally happened.
I was dealt 9-9 in the big blind. My nemesis raised, and got a few callers. I called. The flop was 8-9-rag. I knew the woman would bet her hand, so I checked. She led out for $25. One person called, and I re-raised to $100. Much to my surprise, she called (the other player folded). I guess she wasn't giving me much credit for having a big hand. The turn was a 10, and I went all in with my remaining stack. She called. The river was a rag. I turned over my cards to reveal my set of 9's. She turned over hers to reveal a set of 10's. I yelled out a juicy profanity, and she said "I called your raise because I had an over pair." I said "Nice hand -- I was just angry at the result" and went to bed.
And that was how I rolled this trip.
I went back home, and my first night back I made $500 on Full Tilt's $1/$2 NL tables. Is this a wacky game or what?