A profitable and extremely enjoyable tournament trip

Reports & Blogs by slamdunc about MGM Grand Posted

1st visit in 2007, thought I'd submit my 1st trip report, particularly as it was my most enjoyable stay !!

My wife and I visited and stayed at the Bellagio between 30th August - 9th Sept and although I go with my wife, as she enjoys Vegas too, she knows how much I enjoy Poker so I play every other day or so, but don't over do it and play in the day so as not to take advantage of her good nature.

In addition, i play at least once a week live at a small club in Yorkshire, England, alternating between single table and multi table games, the club having had upto 60 members but now about 40 and is of a very good standard, so much so that our club won the 'Poker Occasions' GB & Ire Team Championship in 2009. I don't purport to be the best in this league, ('Ming's League') as we have some very sharp players who could make it at a much higher level if they had the time, money and incliation, however I hope I am in the top 5-10 or so ?

Anyway my Vegas report !!!

31st August, 9am - $70 buy-In, $10 bounty game, Monte Carlo
I always play at the Monte Carlo as it was the first place I stayed and played when I first visited LV and it was and still is the friendliest place to play. The manager 'Jim' shook my hand when I arrived, I am sure he vaguely recognised my face but can't believe he remembered me for a minute, but it was still nice. Started off with 4,000 in chips, and it soon became apparant that the game was a limping game, with 3 or 4 in every hand, very few raises, so i played table Captain, complaining about not getting no hands, telling the dealers if they didn't give me some hands soon, I was going to deal. Anyway after a short time I began raising with marginal hands, getting respect and everyone folding, so building up a nice stack. On the occasions when I got a call, I would always make a continuation bet and they would fold or I would know I was behind and get out of the way. I soon increased my stack, thanking the dealer everytime and hopefully making my fellow players laugh, they seemed too... and the 23 players quickly went down to 2 tables and without having a showdown or having to show my hand. Then quite a few became short stacks with only 1 or 2k, so i began taking my chances with the short stacks, with marginal hands, Q,10 - 10, 8 s, small pairs and rag Aces. Surprisingly I won more than I lost, without being at great risk and 2 tables became 1 and I continued to play just the same, no showdowns, just a bit of bullying, which is not normally my style. With 4 left, I just kept bullying the short stacks, as top 3 cashed, as they wouldn't call with only 2 or 3 blinds left and then I would take a stab anyway and i soon found myself 'heads up', still without having a serious showdown and I had about 3 -1 chip advantage, so kept raising every hand and winning when the runner up, went all in with A,6 and I called and hit with 7,5 s.
7 bounties in total and $235 for 1st was a great start, $305 in total.

1st September, 10am - $60 buy-in, Harrahs
Never played here before, but from the info on AVP thought it might be a decent game as it said average players were 40, but only 24 turned up on this day. It started limpy like the Monte Carlo so I thought same as yesterday, tried being Table Captain, but in the frst hand I raised after about 20 mins, the 3 callers, all called my 4 bet ??? WTF ??? Got a picture heavy board, everyone checked it down and someone with 2 pair on the flop, won ??? Anyway I did it again a little later, my 6,000 starting chips now down a bit and they all called again, they wern't good players !! So I just decided to play ABC Poker and see where I was and if I could see how the other players were player, but couldn't get a read on how many of them were playing. I did get a pair of Kings, with 2 callers to my 3 bet, but my bet after the flop, got 2 folds ? Then with 7 left and top 3 cashing, I got a early call, button call, short blind call and I have a pair of 8's, so with blinds at 300, 600 pushed all-in for 5,800 to win the blinds, but button calls with 10's and hit's a 10 on the flop, I shake her hand,say good luck and walk off cursing ?

Went to see Viva Elvis at Aria on 1st Sept night, great show, only marginally behind 'Love' and 'Jersey Boys'.

3rd September, 11am, $50 buy-in, Treasure Island
only went to play her as we were going to see Bill Cosby at TI the same evening and wanted to pick up our tickets, so I told my wife I'd play here as it has always got good reviews on AVP.
Which it was, it was fun, the dealers friendly and the players a bit more advanced. Started with 36 players, and 4,500 in chips and I played staedy until I got A,3 d on the button and although I don't normally play hands like this, called 2 other callers at 100,200 to see if I could hit a flop and with both blinds also in, 5 of us saw a flop - K,8,5 with 2 diamonds, all folded round to me so I bet 600 to try and take it down, but got 2 callers. Turn is the 10 diamonds, big blind bets 600,I raise to 1200, small blind calls and big blind calls. Nice pot, please don't pair the board !! Flop is a rag, blinds both check and I bet 1350 and get 1 caller with 2 pair and am chipped up.Next hand I get 8's, make a 3 bet to 600 and a shortish stack goes all-in for about 3,000 so I call as I can afford it and 8's hold up,so I am well set. I then go pretty quiet, only raising occasionally with 9's and A, J and getting no action, then later with A,Q, one caller but I bet a blank flop and took it down. I soon get down to the final table and never got into any big showdowns, everone trying to limp to top 5 cashes, but buying a few blinds and staying healthy, got to heads up with a really nice guy and good player, Matt from Seattle and after we played a few hands and were having a laugh, we shook hands and split about $1100 - $1200, can't remember exactly as my wife and I went for a few beers at Rhumbar at Mirage straight after as I was buzzing and it was hot !! Nice room and great fun !!

Bill Cosby was very funny and a legend.

5th September, 11am - $80 buy in, MGM
Decdied to play this room as I had played it on a previous visit and didn't really like it, but noticed on AVP that the structure had changed, so I gave it a go. It was much better and with 40 players and again a bit better play than the earlier games, was enjoying it very much, kept myself in the game without anything significant, there were re-buys for 2 hours and one guy, re bought 4 times and would have needed to finish 2nd or better win money ?? Anyway I'm pretty happy, below average stack but asit's a better blind structure, my starting stackof 6,000 down to 5,800 but with blinds at 300, 600 stillok, so when I wake up with Q's in early position, I raise to 1,500 hoping for a caller to increase my stack and a raise to really get some chips and I do get an allin for about 4,600 and everyone else folds, so i call and he turns over 5's and says they've been coming allmorning !! and one did !! so I'm not out,but down to 1,200, get a call from button and small blind, I push my rest with A,10, pair of 3's calls and I don't hit !! Left disapointed as if the queens hold up, I go nice again, but thats Poker, nice game and structure.

Was going to play the 9am at Monte Carlo on 6th Sept, but overslept, but thats Vegas.

7th September, 11am - $60 buy - in, Mirage
Always loved the Mirage and this was no change. Started with 6,000 in chips, 28 players and a nice game, a real mix of players here, limpers, fans of Ace rag and aggressive players, Played well early and got busy as I got some hands, A,K s hit an Ace and took half a players stack as she had that Rag Ace, but I was worried she had hit 2 pair, as she called every bet, pair of 8's again, hit a set and even when a possible flush came on the river, they held up, again betting every street and of course a few semi-bluffs got me very chip heavy, until about 20 left and I have over 20k, get 2 callers on my 800 BB, when I have Q,J os and flop comes 9,10,Q !! rainbow... As I have top pair and straight draw, decide to bet out for 1,500 and get an all in from late position for about 8,000, i think for a while and assume I'm behind, but call as I have the cips and a draw, he turns over 10,8 and I am overjoyed, until the J comes on the turn, to make him a straight and a rag on the river, I curse him under my breath something rotten. But a break staright after, so I cool down. Then soon after the break get Q's a rag flop an all in from the blind, who has top pair (7) and I have him dominated, hold up and am chipped up again. Then easily find my way to the final table and in late position get Q's with the guy who flopped the straight to me earlier, having raised the blinds of 1000,2000 to 6,000, I re-pop to 15,000 and he gives a speech that he is pot committed and goes all in for about 25,000 and I call and he turns over J,3 s, I was worried, but flop comes, Q,8,Q and i was less worried, but that was sweet !!
Carried on until we got to the last 5, playing ABC Poker, we made a deal to cash 5th place, everone seemed in a hurry to leave and I again found myself head-up,but dominated about 3 -1, the nice guy, said, 'I've played long enough,do you fancy a split'I reluctantly agreed and we shared about $1,000,not exactly sure, as I went To Rhumbar again !!! Still buzzing !!

While in Vegas I read Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott's Auto Biography, 'The Life and Times of a Poker Legend'and it s the best book I have ever read, fast paced, jaw dropping and very funny. The guy is a hero, despite his past !! A great read for all Poker fans and no Strategy !! and it may have helped my this week. (If anyone knows any similar books on Poker stars, which would be good reads I'd certainly like to know, as I have no Idea what I can read to follow it)

Hope you enjoy the report, it turned out to be longer than I intended !!

Last Edited:


  1. Congrarts on all the cashes- good job. You sound good enough to step up a level and try the Venetian or one of the other bigger rooms. The tourney's are longer but the payouts are nice.

    I'd recommend the "The Banker, The Professor and the Suicide King". as a good book for you. I found it to be a great read and very timely. It's about a Texas banker that is a self made multi-millionaire who got intrigued by Poker. Anyway he ventures to Vegas to take on the big boys heads up. It's a great read.

  2. Fantastic trip report Dunc, and some nice cashes.
    Must make some notes on our October trip to do the same.
    Although it will be hard to match the heroic exploites of the best player in the club.

  3. Great report. Thank you for posting your Trip Report and room reviews!