This report is really long. Grab a beverage before reading.
Came out to Vegas from St Louis with one of my best friends for another poker only trip in mid-December. Some non-poker notes to start off:
I have never been to Vegas and got my luggage, got a taxi, and whisked to the hotel this fast. The airport was DEAD on an early Sunday morning. Ultimately it was eerie as it is always packed when I come in June for the WSOP, but man it was nice to breeze through there and get the trip started!
For you food junkies, I was a fixture at both \’Fix\’ for dinner and \’Snacks\’ for lunch at the Bellagio. Fix has a great vibe, and really good food. The filet was top notch there. Snacks has GREAT blackened salmon and it is 2 feet from the B poker room which is very convenient. The buffet is worth the big bucks at the B if you are a crab leg fan. Tons of huge legs–all you can eat. Outstanding.
Also tried KGB burgers and the Oyster Bar at Harrahs. KGB was without a doubt one of the best burgers I\’ve had with a great waiter staff as well. The Oyster Bar had dried out (and small) lobster tails but really good seafood risotto.
As far as the hotel this time, I had a free week from Harrahs and the room was ok. Not a place I would normally stay–but free is free right? The only other note about Harrahs is the poker room moved from the enclosed area by the sportsbook up to an open air area by the front doors. I only played there 30 minutes after landing the first day and did not think much of it either way. They had a splash pot promotion while I sat there during the NFL games which made people both very excited and very dumb in those particular hands. I saw two splash pots and people were more than eager to put in $300 pre-flop to win the $50 promotion at a 1/2 game…Not my style, not my game.
After getting my room Sunday I hit the Venetian for some 8/16 Omaha which had 2 tables full and a list. Extremely aggressive game with some of the same faces I played with 6 months ago. Tons of action at this game and it plays deep. Not much to report on hands as I played uber-tight. Up $145. Although I rarely play tourneys, there was a 7pm $125? buyin which I entered as the field was getting pretty big which helped make my decision. Ultimately 69 runners and we eventualy got down to 16 at the final two tables. I have a mid size stack with no real concerns at my table or with my chip count at that point.
That is when the first of my two \”limp in with aces\” under the gun decisions on this trip came into play. This one turned out quite different from one at the Bellagio later in the week!
The reason for my decision to limp with them in this spot, was that the table I was at was brutally bad about someone min-raising (why?), and then usually two people would just flat call the min-raise(why again?). I figured I would wait for that in then push pre-flop. In this case, NO ONE FRIGGIN RAISED as I think some noticed me limp under the gun which I never did the whole tourney. 4 limpers in the pot as a result including me. I\’m second to act. Flop 4/5/6 rainbow. I watch the reaction and see nothing from anyone. First guy checks. I push all-in. I want the pot now. Guy to my left goes in tank forever. No one at that table is calling with 2/3 or 7/8. If they hit a set–so be it. He calls. I think he hit a set. We have identical stacks–again neither of us are short stacked–and he calls. The other two insta-fold. I roll the aces and he says \’oh fuc* me! I am so bad!\’. He then rolls over two red threes and tells me I deserve it as he thought I was just pushing/stealing with A/K in my spot the way I played it. Cool. Turn =2. Not cool. River= Jack. I\’m out.
I win that pot, and I\’m pretty well assured of being in the money with my tourney style play (very tight aggressive). I screwed up!! Bad move–I\’m a dummy. My bad!
As it was late and my first night, I got some sleep to get ready for the Bellagio cash games the next day. A long time St Louis player (BR) has had the same dislike as me for the Bellagio for several years. Too tight of an area for that many tables and the attitude of the staff was simply the worst I have ever seen in any poker room anywhere which is why I hadn\’t been there since 2006 or so. This friend I refer to told me before I left things were different at the B and I should check it out. A tad more space, $2 an hour comps, and a very different attitude by all he said. Ok, I\’ll check it out.
So Monday morning comes around and I head over. I walk up to the podium, look at the floor person, and before I say a word I hear this from her mouth:
WELCOME TO THE BELLAGIO POKER ROOM, AT WHAT GAME CAN I SEAT YOU SIR?
After I got up, I said, \”Uhh, 2/5 …please\”.
WELL WE HAVE A SEAT RIGHT NOW, I\’LL WALK YOU OVER.
I had to get up again but I did follow her over. By the way her name is Nicole and that stunning conversation I never expected started a little friendship between us as I rarely left that room again for about 80 hours. Turns out her Dad is from St Louis, and whenever she was there on duty through the week, she would come talk to me–usually in the same seat I was the day before she saw me…Sweet lady.
The game itself was one of the best I have seen in Vegas. Rarely did I see the same faces all week. There was between one and four 2/5 games going all day/night which was great and only about 4 daily ppl there who were all outstanding to chat with and easily identified right away. Two in particular treated me great and filled me in on a lot I did not know about the room as the hours passed. Really interesting behind the scenes stuff there especially with the big names in Bobbys Room.
I rarely play in Vegas with my friend Mike (friend that I came with) as I play with him a ton at home. But this time we started at the same table on Monday and it was just a blast. He left after about 10 hours (he cant do the 20+ hour sessions I love—wimp) up well over $2K. For those that don\’t know, the B caps the 2/5 at $500 on the buyin so he had a great session. I eventually finished a bit below him-just over $2K- which made him happy (we are insanely competitive). But it was a blast to come to town and double team a few locals (before we got to know them at that point). That first night was by far the deepest table I played all week. It looked like a 5/10 with the stacks by the end in all seats. LOTS of fun!
Speaking of the 5/10 there at the B, I never jumped in the water. At that level I did see the exact same faces every day/night. Can I beat them? Don\’t know. Doubtful at first and my roll would take an initial beating until I adjusted. But why would I leave a game I consistently beat for the unknown? Plus I play on average 24 hours in a given normal/home week. These guys were making their living in that game without question. My hat is off to them and I hope they are successful!
As far as other games in the room, there were always several 1/2, 2/5, 5/10 NL and also some large limit games spread. The \’upper deck \’ for lack of a better term was always full but I never asked what was spread there. Bobbys Room was always going too. Ezezra/Brunson/Tran & Berman were the big 4 among about 6 others who looked 12 years old. I\’m not kidding. I think they made their first 4 million online when they were 10, bought the best fake ID\’s around, and are now playing Bobbys Room with Doyle and Eli. Sickening.
As the days dragged on, Mike started leveling off and I stayed on a heater. His focus shifted to making massive NBA bets and I grinded hour after hour sucking down as much blackened salmon as I could get my fork on. Man that stuff is great! \’Snacks\’ is the highest end snack bar I have been around– that is for sure lol.
I did play one more tourney on the trip to break things up a bit. This was the Wed night Bellagio $125 buyin. Only 31 or so total and the play was atrocious. Nothing at all like the V tourney. Very different skill levels as a whole. Oddly I won the thing at the Bellagio. Once down to 2, the other guy and I were dead even and we chopped. The tourney was run by a floor person named Mel who could not have been nicer/more professional. I was able to chat with him for awhile after the tourney and it was obvious he loves his job and has a good time doing it. Turns out we have a similar military background. Class guy who I wish the best to. Thanks for making it fun if you read this amigo!
As this is dragging on forever, a quick note on limp #2 with aces under the gun. This time it is a wildly aggressive 2/5 with 7 people I had not played with at all before at the table. This was almost all businessmen and rodeo people who wanted to kill some time playing poker. Geez I love Vegas. So I\’m sitting on $1200 and the villian has about $680. I limp with two red aces. Villian in mid position pops it to $50. It folds to me. I make it $300. If he calls, great. If not, I just picked up a free $60. Instead, if folds back to him and he insta-shoves. I call. He rolls two black tens. Really?
Flop= A..4…8 ALL FRIGGIN SPADES!
Turn= 2 diamonds
River= 3 diamonds
He laughed, pulled out a wad of about $7K and plopped $500 more on the table. I stacked for awhile.
Overall this was a great trip both $ wise and overall fun. I really do appreciate the difference in attitude at the Bellagio as us nobodies in the poker world do notice stuff like that–at least I do. Plus the game was incredible. Add the great food and I think I just found my new poker home. I just need to schmooze a bit more in the future to get a better rate as I plan to stay there from now on!
Last thing–finally got to meet Photoc this trip. Good guy and I hope to get some sushi next time I’m in town! Also a quick shout to Jennifer and Justin and AlaskaGal who I was happy to see at a quick session at the Mirage one day. Lots of good people in that room!
If still awake, I hope this was entertaining in some respect. Please keep the trip reports coming! We have some great writers on AVP with some interesting stories and writing styles!