I know this is supposed to be 'All Vegas' poker, but thought some might be interested in a Florida trip...
Wife & kids were out of town this past Friday so I decided to make the 2 hour drive down to the Hard Rock in Tampa to see how the poker room was since the state raised the max buy-in to $100 and allowed NL poker (yes, I said raised...before only $1/2 limit was spread).
For those who have never been to the Hard Rock in Tampa, it is easy to get to, parking is easy and it is fairly nice overall. The best part is the scenery is great (if you like scantily clad women).
I walked up to the desk and the waiting list for $1/2 NL was over 30 people so I asked what they had for immediate seating and he said $2/5 NL. Considering the max buy-in is $100, was surprised that $2/5 was even offered, but I came to play, so I took the seat.
Ten-handed tables. $5 max rake plus a $1 jackpot rake. Dealers are poor to average. The jackpot is for a spade royal and was at about $14,000. I've been playing for about 7 years and never hit a royal in any suit, so I wasn't too interested in it.
So I bought in for the max and watched as $20 pre-flop raises were called in 3-5 spots. All-ins after the flop were pretty standard and callers would have anything from overcards, gutshots or bottom pair. There was no way or reason to bluff in this game as you would get called down by somebody.
Ran my stack up to $260 after flopping a set. Got ran down a few times and was down to $60. I got pocket QQs and went all in with 3 callers. Flop was Q-J-J so I was right back to $250. The 3 callers preflop had an amazing assortment of crap such as K-9, 7-8 and 4-4...all a could say was Wow.
Apparently, when the buy-in is $100, most of the players try to keep going all in with ATC and try to triple up to get a stack. Seemed like somebody was rebuying every 3rd or 4th hand.
Some sort of tournament was starting so our table broke. I get moved to another 2/5 table with about $300 in front. Stacks are all over the place, with some near $1,000 but most around $100.
This table was playing a little tighter (but still very loose). I couldn't catch any cards for the first few orbits and finally decided to try and steal a $70 pot from the button with a live straddle and some limpers with Q-8 suited and a raise to $60. I figured I would have created a tight image having folded every hand since sitting down a half hour ago. Apparently, nobody paid any attention and get two callers. Flop comes with an Ace and two clubs. Checked to me and I fire out $75 to represent the Ace, first player folds but second re-raises all in for $100 more. This is not what I wanted, but was getting the right price to call with about $450 in the pot. I catch the flush on the river and and am up to $600. (The other player went all-in with A-rag BTW...Wow again).
Before I know it, I go on a heater and flop several sets which turn into full houses. Twice I had a pocket pair turn into a straight. Each time I get nice action and go from $600 to $1,200 in about 20 minutes.
Now everybody seems mad at me for taking their money and cheer whenever I lose a pot. I get callers whenever I bet. The cycle is I bet, they go all in for $100, I call and win and they re-buy. Over and over. I now have so many nickels that the floor comes up and tells me I need color up. They take TWO racks and bring me back two stacks of green.
I eventually get all the way up to around $1,800 and start playing pretty loose. After losing a few pots I figure its time to go and cash out for $1,655. For those of you in Vegas, they may seem average, but when the buy-ins are $100 at a time, its actually a pretty impressive feat.
Overall, I hate the structure of this $2/5 game, but if you can patiently build a stack there is a huge advantage that can really start to snowball. With $6 in rake plus dealer tips, I don't think you could beat this game in the long run, but if you want to play against some really soft competition from time to time, this is definitely the place to go.