4 days, 3 friends, 2 rental cars, 1 house


This was a different trip than usual. The wife stayed home and watched the kids so I could go play poker with a group of friends (marrying well = first big win); we stayed off strip at a house my parents recently bought. The driving meant there would not be as much non-poker play time (i.e., drinking) but that was okay as this a poker trip anyway.

It is a different experience staying off the strip, and in the end I am starting to like this better – the opportunity for some peace and quiet instead of the constant sensory overload is refreshing. Usually I’m ready to go home after a few days in Vegas but this time I wanted to stay longer. And driving and parking at strip properties was surprisingly easy.

Anyway, on to the poker (unless noted otherwise, all games are 1-2 or 1-3 NLH)…

Fri / MGM
Three of us were on the same flight and tried to get to Rio in time to railbird for the 4th friend who arrived separately in order to play a WSOP event. Unfortunately he got stacked just before the dinner break, so we spent less time at the Rio than expected (side note – wow, Harrah’s has really let this property slip). We went for dinner then left to go play on the stip. We parked at NYNY and walked over to MGM. I have never played or run well in this room and have only once had a profit (small one, like $50) but for some stupid reason I keep coming back. This was the last time.

I was impatient, not playing well and maybe a little tired. Even playing bad passive poker I was in the range of even until these two big hands:
1. I have AKos. I bet pre flop and get one caller. Flop comes A 10 rag rainbow. All the money goes in the middle and the other guy shows A10s. Another A comes but I don’t improve and lose a chunk of change (at least I had this guy covered).

2. I flop an OESFD and bet it hard. Guy to my right calls my post flop bet and re-raises all in on the turn for his last $50ish with top pair. I call but don’t hit any of my outs and am felted.

I was very unhappy with myself, especially the first hand. When I’m more on top of my game I would like to think I get away from that one instead of falling in love with TPTK. I also misplayed the 2nd hand by building a big pot with a drawing hand. I am a donkey.

Total for the session: -$265
Total for the trip: -$265

Sat / Aria #1
No memorable hands. Generally I played reasonably solid ABC poker and won.
Total for the session: +161
Total for the trip: -$104

Sat / Aria #2
Same table as Aria #1 but this time the players are different, as seats 7-10 are occupied by crazy young internetters who are betting, raising and bluffing with virtually anything. I decide to wait for a good spot and shove, taking my chances with an expected small edge to a big pot. Two hands defined the session:

1. Seat 7 raises to $20. I re-raise to like $45 and he shoves. I put him on a fairly big range and consider my options. I look over and he’s breathing very hard, which I interpret as nerves. I convince myself he’s got 9’s or 10’s and shove. Mistake. He actually thinks for a while and starts talking aloud about me having AA. He eventually calls (as I expected) and turns over KK (not as I expected) to crush my JJ.

2. I consider leaving but again decide against it – I figure I’ve got very loose aggressive players at the table so I should be able to pick an easy spot to get my money in good. A few hands later Seat 7 raises to $20 or $25 and is called by a weak player. Action is to me and again I see JJ. I know I’m ahead of both players. I’m pretty sure Seat 7 will call with a lesser hand no matter how much I bet, but if not I’m okay taking a $40-$50 profit with a middle pair. I shove for the ridiculous amount of $185 (all in). Seat 7 goes in the tank but eventually says something like “How big is your pair? Okay let’s race” and calls. The other guy shows A6h as he folds. Seat 7 turns over AQos. An A comes in the window and I’m felted.

I consider rebuying but decide against it – I’m tilting and tired and there will be other opportunities to play. Another friend has similar luck with the internetters so we decide to drive to Aliante (closer to the house), sit at a 2-4 table and order copious amounts of Crown Royal (I am not counting this stop in the $ tally as we played to drink not to win, so I consider this an entertainment expense not a poker loss).

Comment on the (Aria) Poker Room: I like this place. I have seen others comment on the management (negatively) and have complaints about assorted other things but this is my 3rd time in the room and I’ve always had good experiences. I will be back.

Total for the session: -$300
Total for the trip: -$404

Sun / Red Rock
Time to regroup. Maybe it was the shock of the losses. Maybe it was the benefit of 2 straight days of playing poker. Either way, my game is much better and my focus is much sharper. I don’t make any mistakes, value bet my hands when I am ahead and they hold up. Funny how the game is easy when that happens.

Comment on the Poker Room: To this point I haven’t been too impressed with the Station properties. This room ends that trend. The property is nice, the room is well run and nice, food options and bathrooms are very convenient for the poker player. I think they had about 10 tables going on Sunday afternoon. I’ll be back.

Total for the session: +261
Total for the trip: -$143

Sun / Mirage #1
I took a break from poker, went back to the house and rested, then made my way to the strip. I had fun playing 2-4 limit at this room on a recent trip and decided to give NL a shot. This session ends up being a continuation of the Red Rock session for me. I got down about $50 but it was the result of making good decisions to get away from strong starting hands where I got out-flopped. I felt great at the table and knew I could beat it. My gut instinct is proven correct when I double up when my AA fades a Q on the river (avoiding the straight draw) and felts Seat 1’s AK. I would have liked to stayed and played longer but decide it is good to take my win and go have dinner with the group.

Comment on the Poker Room: My gawd the drink service is horrible. At one point they even joked (I think) that they only promise same day service. I still like playing here and appreciate the bonus hands they have but come one guys, getting drink service right should be a no brainer.

Total for the session: +93
Total for the trip: -$50

Sun / Mirage #2
After a dinner break we head back to the Mirage. The new table is much different. Lots of $15-$20 pre-flop raises with multiple callers. I was pretty uncomfortable and never gained reads on anyone. The only hand of interest occurs when I see 10 J suited from a blind. Flop comes 10 J 8, two spades. I make a healthy bet and am called by one person. I put him on a straight draw. Turn brings a horrible 7. Still, I have a feeling about making my full house and put out blocking bets to control the pot to the end. I miss. He shows 8 9os for the straight.

Otherwise I am incredibly card dead. This is probably a blessing in disguise. It allows me to avoid trouble and creates an ultra tight image that lets me take down a small number of small pots. In the end I was pretty content to avoid trouble and take a very small profit.

Total for the session: +36
Total for the trip: -$14

Mon / Venetian
We pack up, clean the house and head to the strip for our last session of the trip. I have about 3 hours before my flight and really want to win so I can end on the positive for the entire trip. No such luck, as this is a tough session thanks to the cards not cooperating. I get AK 3 times and KK once but run into the following hands: AA, trip J’s, AA and trip 7’s (that actually lost to the rivered nut flush). Four hands that should have been profitable ended up being @ $65 loss. I was extremely fortunate to only have a small loss here but overall it was a disappointing way to end the trip. If those hands play out like as normally expected I come home with a tidy little profit. Oh well.

Comment on the Poker Room: You gotta love the V – midday Monday and the place has numerous games going. Not necessarily the softest games you can find, but what do you want for a Monday afternoon?

Total for the session: -$7
Total for the trip: -$21

Normally I would be disappointed with this result but this time I’ll gladly take it, as getting back to near even was effectively a win. And it was really fun doing a poker trip with friends. I can’t wait to come back and do it again.

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