Grind House goes Venetian


Ok, first off I realize this is my second trip in four weeks or so. I’m a high school teacher and have to make hay while the summer vacation sun shines, so to speak. If, however, you’re getting tired of reading the riveting prose of my trip reports, rest assured I won’t be back ‘til November at the earliest (hopefully the AVP meet-up).

I go to Vegas mainly to play good poker tournaments. This trip I was going to arrive Monday and leave Thursday, so I originally had hoped to play the Caesars noon tournament on Tuesday and the Venetian nooner on Wednesday. Since Caesars changed their tournament schedule I decided to play the Venetian tournament twice. In between I’d rack up 2 bucks an hour and amuse myself at the IP’s 2/4 game.

Arriving Monday 7/21 I took the airport shuttle. There were several people going to a handful of different properties, Luxor, IP, Mirage etc. When, on the second stop, the driver pulled into Hooters and loudly announced – appropriately enough – “HOOTERS!” everyone cracked up. The poor guy getting off looked pretty embarrassed, like he’d been caught sneaking into a low-rent strip club. Pretty funny. Guess he’ll take a cab next time.

I, as usual on solo trips, chose to stay at the glorious Imperial Palace. I went on the Fly to Las Vegas promotion – staying for three nights got me a $300 airfare voucher for the next trip and $75 worth of food. I got a room overlooking the pool, but since I was on the 17th floor, I couldn’t really practice my creepy-middle-aged-guy-ogling-chicks-in-bikinis routine. Otherwise it was a classic IP experience. Chipped sink and tub. Shower drain that backed up. TV remote not working. Now, I can live with the health risk of showering in ankle-deep drainage back-up. But a non-functioning TV I simply cannot abide! To IP’s credit, one phone call brought me a new remote in minutes and I was ready to play poker!

I decided to give Caesars’ 7pm tournament a shot. It turned out to be a bit better structure than I thought. On the web site it’s posted as a $150 tournament that gives you 4k in chips w/40 minute levels. It doesn’t say that for a $10 add-on you get 2k in chips, so it’s really a $160 tournament with 6k in chips and 40 minute levels. That was the good news. The bad news is that I played like a complete idiot. I like to think of myself as a pretty decent tournament player – if I go out of a tournament early it’s usually because I’ve been sucked out on or I have KK run into AA or something like that. On this occasion I cannot claim any such bad luck. I called off an absurd number of chips on two hands fairly early, leaving myself somewhat short stacked a lot earlier than I would like. Just before the first break, my suited connectors flopped a flush draw and an up and down straight draw. Normally I really hate to put it all in the middle on a draw, but figured this time I’d go big (and get back into the tournament) or go home. I went home, figuratively speaking, back across the street to the IP. On a side note, I played next to a guy that’s a new dealer in town, who splits time between IP and Bill’s. AVPers would be happy to hear that he thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to deal the Sunday night mixed game.

Back to IP, played a couple of hours of 2/4 and doubled my $60 buy-in. Not bad. Then I walked down to Bellagio to see the fountains. Just out of the IP, I found myself walking just behind a stunningly attractive young woman in a leopard-print halter dress with lots of exposed boobage. She had obviously dressed to impress. I walked behind/beside her and her friend all the way to Bellagio and every twenty yards or so, she reached back and gave her butt a good scratch! Man, talk about blowing the image. Anyway, saw the fountains, went on in and sniffed the rarefied air of the Bellagio, reminded myself that I am not their target demographic and headed back to make sure I was well rested for Tuesday’s nooner at the Venetian.

Back at the IP, on my way to the elevators I was drawn to the siren’s song of the 3-card poker table (I know, I know, I’ve tried to swear it off, but it’s like heroin). A few hands in I hit a 3 of a kind! Woo Hoo! Despite donking off all my chips in the Caesars tourney, I’m up for the day and basically freerolling next day’s Venetian event!

Everything everyone has said about the Venetian tournament is true. Absolutely the best daily tournament going in Vegas. Very nice room. More than competent dealers. Well run. Great structure. Decent sized fields – around 100 both days I played. Cup holders. Stunning cocktail waitresses. Beautiful tournament chips. Fiji water. Newcastle Brown Ale. My only complaint is the perfume that gets pumped through the Venetian, but I guess that’s not the poker room’s fault. I guess some people like that sort of thing.

Tuesday’s tournament I went out mid-field. I played ok – no complaints. Just a couple of good hands that ran into better hands. My AQ hits Q on the flop and gets chased down by a straight. My KK loses to an AQ that flops a Q and turns the A. That’s poker. One curious incident. Generally speaking I don’t drink while playing tournaments. This time I thought why not and ordered a Newcastle just after the second break. The waitress left and I went out two hands later (KK v AQ hand) . . . never got the beer. Hmmm. Maybe a sign.

On the way back to IP, I went through Harrah’s and noticed the rare sight of a 3-Card Poker table with a $5 min. Given the comparative luxury of Harrah’s compared to IP, I couldn’t possibly pass without playing a few hands. A couple of straights precede my second 3 of a kind in two days. Man what a great game.!

That night I dropped $100 at IP on 2/4, but it took me 7 hours and several Newcastles to do it. Say what you want about IP and its class, but they can accommodate my Newcastle request where many fancier places cannot. As usual, it was a very fun game, I was up and down several times but eventually spiraled my way out of chips and went to bed.

Wednesday I finally had a decent tournament. I still didn’t cash, but went out 14th when they were paying through 9. What do you call that the bubble of the bubble? A couple of remarkable things about this tourney: I got dealt pocket aces four times – twice back to back. I’m not normally a shower, but after my opponent folded I just couldn’t resist showing the second pair of pocket rockets. Just as amazing, they held up every time. The other remarkable hand was a major league woulda-coulda-shoulda hand. Mid tournament, I had just gotten back to an average stack with one of my pocket aces. There were two or three limpers, I limped from cut-off +1 with unsuited 78. Small blind put in a pretty stiff raise, one of the limpers called, folded to me. I don’t remember the exact numbers, so I can’t say for sure if I was priced in or not, but being a tournament, I didn’t want to call off a bunch of chips with 78 off when I was obviously up against at least one big hand, probably two. I folded. Flop had two 8s. As I’m trying not to spit my Fiji water all over the table, one guy goes all in, called by the other. I don’t remember who had what or which guy won the hand because of the apoplectic fit I underwent when the quad 8 landed on the turn. Man oh man oh man oh man oh man!

That took a good 6+ hours, so as for entertainment value, I guess I got my money’s worth. That night was another 7 hours at IP’s 2/4 – came out $27 down.

Thursday morning got up, checked out, had an hour to kill before the shuttle came to take me back to the airport. The 3-card poker table winked at me. Oh why not, sat down with fifty bucks and was almost through it all when the royal flush hit. Man I’m the best 3-card poker player ever!

Bottom line I was down $460 in tournament entries, down $62 in 2/4, but up $570 in 3-card poker. Throw in that I ate for free, and the $32 or so in IP poker room comps and I guess I can’t complain. Here’s hoping I can make the AVP meet up in November.

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  1. I am sending you my details and you are writing my post.

    The comedic interludes with the 3 card poker were a great way to make the stories interesting...

    Next time you should make up a story about Pai Gow, or let it ride.

  2. You know..I really like that scent that Venetian has. Maybe it just reminds me of Vegas and how much I want to go back. And how much I HATE 3 card poker! I'm never playing that crap again! Although I did see two straight flushes dealt at my local casino last week...wish I was that lucky! :confused:

  3. Nice little solo trip you had their Grindhouse, looks like we crossed paths a few times but never were able to bump into each other.

    3-Card Poker is the crack of the casino, especially after you go on a roll like you did. If I play something other than poker or craps, thats my game - and I can tell you I haven't picked up a three of a kind or a straight flush in at least two years :scream:

    BTW, your going to get a PM from me about your neck of the woods - I'm heading that way on vacation with my better half Oct 4 - Oct 11. Any pointers will be appreciated :grin:

  4. @Grind House

    Was she pushing a double-wide stroller too? I think I know her!

  5. Great report and great read, thanks!

  6. Great trip report. I'm heading out semi-solo for NFL Kickoff Weekend 9/5 - 9/7. Staying at IP as well on the 2 night air package ($200 flight voucher & $50 in chow). Planning on using the voucher for a 2009 WSOP return & will be curious to see how redeeming it works. I'm hoping it's not a pay full fare & net down to what you have paid anyway deal. If you use it for your Nov trip, I'd be interested in hearing how it went. Where did you use the food comp? I'm thinking Augustus Cafe across the street in Caesars but guess it can be any Harrah's owned restaurant.

    This will be my 1st stay at IP. Friends stay down in Mandalay, but I didn't feel like paying the $129 Fri/Sat poker rate at Luxor & being locked in there for 5 hrs per day. Looking forward to complete poker freedom for less than $100 per night! Think I'll be over at the Mirage alot enjoying the full kill Omaha 8/b game (just wish it wasn't so nit infested). I'll probably get roped into playing some 3 card with the friends as well, so it was good to hear of some success in that game. I did my homework this year & discovered the 'ole Q-6-4 or better rule. Should at least help minimize losses there...

  7. @BobbyFL

    I mailed in my voucher and am now waiting to receive word that it's been "activated." The $300 will easily cover any flight I take since I'm pretty close and the room rate is supposed to be whatever is quoted on the website at the time. It should be a good deal, I'll let the board know if I encounter any unpleasant surprises.

    I used all my food credits at IP (Teahouse and one breakfast at the buffet). Not exactly food to write home about -- but I don't think my poker suffered from gastrointestinal distress. I could easily eat two meals a day there and not have to pay a dime more than the $75 credit.

    Q-6-4 is the rule. I never play a new table game without checking it out at the wizardofodds web site!

  8. @Bucabear

    I'll be glad to help, pm away.

  9. This info might be somwhere else so i apologize in advance but does anyone know anything about these vouchers for flights and food that are being talked about? Thank you.

  10. All of the Harrah's properties are offering a Stay & Play Package that comes with a flight voucher (to be used on next trip within a year) and a food comp at any Harrah's owned restaurant. It's available for 2-5 night stays - the longer you stay, the more you get. You also have to stay at a Harrah's property on the return trip. Typical jumping through lots of hoops to use it, but if there aren't any snags it seems like a pretty sweet deal.