Dealertainers, Headhunters and Sweet Home Alabama at 3am

Reports & Blogs by Grind House about Caesars Palace Posted

I’m going to mix it up a bit and write this report thematically rather than chronologically. Arrived in Las Vegas around noon on Sunday: left for the airport around 2pm Tuesday.

The Digs:
I wanted to travel cheap, so I stayed at the fabulous IP! If you’re not looking to be pampered, the price and location can’t be beat. I stayed there once before and my room was around the back side. Getting to and from the elevators was like negotiating a maze (thought when I finally made it to the room, I’d put the key in the door and get a piece of cheese). This trip I wanted to be closer to the front, so I decided I would actually ask for one of the rooms everyone else complains about. That’s right, I’m talking about a room overlooking Harrah’s outdoor band that plays until 4am. When I got to the front desk and voiced this request, the girl checking me in had to ask again to make sure she’s heard me right. She was only too happy to oblige, knowing that at least one person in those rooms wouldn’t be demanding to be moved.

The room was everything I wanted; close to the elevator; a great view of Caesars and the Bellagio. As for the band, well, when people say it’s loud, they ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie, let me tell you. It’s amazingly loud, even on the eleventh floor. I thought it was sort of fun though, kind of in the spirit of staying in the cheapest place on the strip. Besides, I can sleep through anything, even a rousing version of Sweet Home Alabama, especially when I’m dead tired, so there was no problem.

The Tourneys:
Poker tournaments are why I come to Las Vegas. Over the last couple of years, according to my records, I’ve become a slightly profitable tournament player (including a couple of first place chops my last two Vegas trips), but a lousy cash game player. In Vegas, my first interest is always playing tournaments that I can’t play in San Jose at Bay 101. This trip, that meant my featured events would be the Ti Headhunter on Sunday Night and the PLO at Caesars on Monday.

This was my first time playing the Headhunter tourney, and I can now recommend it highly. The structure is very civilized allowing for plenty of play. Unfortunately my tournament was pretty unremarkable except for how I went out. Early on I picked up a couple of big hands but couldn’t get any action on them. During the second and third levels I went pretty card-dead, so was leaking chips. Towards the end of the second hour though, I had my chance. As Maxwell Smart would say, “I missed it by that much.”

In the BB, somewhat short stacked, a few limpers, including UTG allow me to see a free flop with my suited Q2. Flop has a Q and a 2. I check. UTG makes a min bet, folds to me, I check raise all in. He calls with a mid-sized pair. The Q2 holds up and I double. So far so good. Next hand I’m in the SB. It’s folded around to the button who puts in a standard raise. I look down and find pocket 7’s. Thanks to my previous double, I have enough to call and see if I can flop my set. BB folds. Flop: Q-7-X – BINGO. I check, button makes a small raise, I check-raise all in again, fully expecting to be right back into the thick of this tournament. However, button insta-called and, of course, turned over QQ for an overset. I’m done.

There was a table of AVP regulars who I recognized from the pictures section playing a mixed game and I thought of stopping by and introducing myself, but that seemed like it’d be a little awkward, (and I was terrified of being invited to play badugi or some such game) so reflecting on my bad luck of going out set over set, I woulda-coulda-shoulda’d my way back across the street to the IP

Monday morning I thought about going down to PH since their tournaments seem to get good write-ups. Instead I opted for the 9am Caesars. The structure is a bit severe, but the 30 minute levels make it a little better than some of the cheap buy-in tourneys. I got the right cards at the wrong time and the wrong cards at really wrong times. I grinded pretty well though, stealing some blinds and picking up a few small pots, but finally went out out 10th (out of about 30) after 2 ½ hours or so when my two live suited connectors failed to pair, connect or suit.

That evening I went back to Caesars for the PLO. They TD was a guy that had been at my table at the HH the night before. I got his name but forgot it already. He seemed to be a Ti regular though and a nice guy. Turns out that was the most remarkable thing about this tourney. Early on I flopped the nut flush, and even got a guy who’d flopped three pair to chase a bit on the flop and turn before giving up. That was it though. I didn’t really get a truly playable Omaha hand again. I nursed my stack for about an hour and a half but finally went out when I flopped a nut flush draw in the BB.

Although I didn’t cash in any of the tourneys I can’t complain. I don’t have any problem with the way I played other than perhaps I should have started taking chances a little sooner in the Caesars 9am tourney before the blinds and antes became brutal relative to my stack size. But sometimes you just don’t get the cards. And as far as entertainment goes, between the three, I got in about 7 hours of play, so that’s not too bad.

Cash Games:
Based on some of the positive comments on AVP, I decided to spend some time in the IP’s poker room. I played five sessions of 2-4, around 2-3 hours each, between tournaments: two profitable sessions, one break even and two losing sessions. Overall I came out stuck a bit but had a great time. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but if you don’t take your 2-4 hold-em too seriously, you can live with casino noise and dealertainers (I thought the one that was supposed to be Ricky Martin looked more like Joe Hachem) belting out their greatest hits, it’s a great room. There were usually one or two nice locals, three or four recreational players that know how to play, but are clearly of the “I didn’t come to Vegas to fold” mindset, one serious player trying to play seriously, and at least one or two people who have never played before. If you’re patient and not drunk, there are money-making opportunities. Here’s some highlights:

When I first sit down, there’s a lovely young lady looking at her hand-ranking chart, never played before. I got to explain some terminology for her, like flop, turn, river, etc. In one hour she made two boats and a nut flush! Had a mound of chips the size of Everest! I’m sure she walked away thinking, “this game is easy!”

I had kings cracked twice and aces cracked once, but not between 8-11am during the A’s and K’s cracked promotion. I just caught the tail end of this on Tuesday morning after oversleeping. This was the only time the previously described makeup of players changed. During this promotion the players are several grumpy old men who seem to play between 8-11 pretty much every day. While they are pretty funny, they turn quite surly if someone chases them down on the river. You’d imagine that anyone who spends 3 hours everyday playing 2-4 poker at a table with tourists would have a thicker skin.

In won a hand with 7-2 offsuit! Played it on the button after a handful of limpers. Flop had a 2, but two clubs. Bet from the SB a couple of calls including me. Club on the turn, checks all around. River a 7 of clubs. SB bet, folds to me. I figure, what the heck, in the spirit of low limit hold ‘em I called. With a four-flush on the board, SB only had top pair. Winning a pot with 7-2 offsuit sounds like a lot of fun, but it’s kind of embarrassing to actually do it when you have to show down. I felt it necessary to apologize while raking in the pot. Fortunately Mr. SB had a good sense of humor!

Twice, after making the nuts on the turn, one Ks full of Qs, another Broadway, I had two people call me all the way to the river, a couple of those with middle pairs, one of those actually re-raised me on the turn and called my re-re-raise! There’s the money making opportunities of which I spoke. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite as patient as I should have been the whole time.

I’ll expand a bit more on IP’s poker room in a proper room review.

I’m swearing off table games forever! At 1am those 3-card poker and Let it Ride games look like they’d be a lot of fun. Well, from now on if I’m going to drop $100 in 30 minutes in Vegas (poker tournaments excluded), there’d better be a stripper involved. If I’m jonesin’ for action I’ll plunk $5 or $10 into a video poker machine instead, or maybe take a list of rooms with low buy-in late night tourneys. I like my chances there, even in a low buy-in push fest, better than at the mercy of the tables.

My bankroll took a beating, but I got a lot of bang for my buck entertainment wise. I’ve come back from my last two trips with a good profit -- can’t expect that every time. My next trip is already booked for June when I’ll split 5 days between the Binion’s classic and the Golden Nugget’s Grand Poker Series. Hope to see some AVPers there.

Last Edited:


  1. great TR. I'll be at IP next week and have requested a room over CC. I probably won't be in bed any time early as it is, but out of curiousity, what time do the bands play to down there?

  2. Great report!!!

    Glad to see you had fun, even if it wasn't a winning trip.

    I stay away from table games other than Pai Gow, the rest of them are evil!!!

  3. Great read, thanks!

    @Grind House

    You should've introduced yourself and don't be worried about getting sucked into the game, just stand your ground! Or do as I, just talk LVM into dropping the stakes to 2/4, whip out a $100 and become a "teach me the game dontator" on each orbit :grin:

  4. @aggie182

    They seem to stop around 4am.

  5. cool, thanks man.

  6. @StrayBullet

    Ok, next time I'll say high. I'll be out in June, although I'll mostly be downtown, I'm sure I'll take the Duce down to the strip on the nights I bust out of my tourneys early. As for the mixed game, I can hang with any of the HORSE games or even Crazy Pineapple. Much past that I'm lost, but I guess that's how you learn new things eh?

  7. @Grind House

    I can still picture three of those grumpy old men, man did I piss them off. One I referred to as "porn star", because he looked like he had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I informed everyone at the table that he was a retired porn star.

    How can you play J9 off out of position? They would ask. I would answer faith based poker baby! But I was thinking, because this game is so passive I can almost be assured not to see a raise.

  8. Very good T.R.

    I think you all have me convinced for Sunday morning limit play at the I.P.