I'm including the following background information on myself, with the intention of providing the context in evaluating a room. I read a number of the reviews and trip reports and found it hard to figure out the weight to put on someone's opinion when you don't know them.
Me: 37 year old lawyer with five years poker experience. Started with 4-8 limit for the first 18 months. Switched to NL 1-2 and play about 10 hours per month on average. 53W - 12L record before going to Vegas, biggest win is $1190, worst loss $500, Average win rate per hour in Vancouver is $55 / hour.
I also play a few online tournaments including 6 times in the PokerStars Sunday Million, in which I have cashed 3 times and best finish was 162 / 6188.
Jan 10 - checked into NY NY with two other lawyers from my firm, who are both poker players. Our intention was to to to log 30 hours of poker in three days. I picked MGM grand as my home base due to the reviews here, so we started out there at 6pm on Thurs night.
I was surprised and dissapointed at the tightness of the table. I play mostly at the River Rock and Boulevard Casinos in the Greater Vancouver area and a 10 - 15 raise in 1-2 NL is std. Here that $15 raise brought you the blinds. This went on for two hours and I was starting to feel that I should have logged my time at home. My two friends are also good amateurs, and the reports from their tables were similar.
However, around 8 pm, a drunken baboon sat down immediately to my right. I built my stack up against him for a while then lost a $350.00 pot to him with KK when he had AK. I was in Dealer position and reraised PF to 75 as there was one $15.00 raise and three callers (the dynamics had changed greatly with the baboon in every pot!). The Baboon was the only caller of the reraise and the board came 888 OTF, turn 2, river Ace. The man was truly so stupid that he checked in the dark to me on the turn and the river and then when the river A landed was visibily confounded by his previously announced decision to check in the dark. It was so clear what he hit that I checked behind him faster than the cocktail waitresses deliver drinks (which is very fast at MGM).
That knocked my stack back to $300, built it up to almost $600.00 as two other fishes sat down at the table (one large pot won with JJ where I put donkey all in on an under card flop). Then I lost a very large pot with KK versus AA against a preflop all in - This has only happend to me twice in my career when I've been holding the KK, I think it was a bad call on my part as the guy was fairly tight and would not be making that move with QQ or AK so at best I was chopping - Anyway hindsight is 20/20 - knocked the stack back to 150. I didn't have the nerves to continue, so left the table. 53W - 13L down $50.
Quasi-tilt led to a stunning loss at Black jack -which led to a comped Suite and "O" tickets courtesy of MGM Grand.
Next day, we went to CP and played in the 11 PM tourney. I finished 17 or 18 / 55 when I was crippled in the later stages when I woke up with AK in the small blind and called a cuttoff all in who pushed with A8 and the poker gods dropped an 8 on the turn. The CP tourney was very well run and had a great blind structure for a mid level buy in tourney ($120) both my friends were in the tourney and busted out 16 and 19 or so.
The three of us then wandered up the Strip and stopped in at a couple of rooms on our way, O "Sheas was noisy and smokey and looked loose but we can't stand smoke. Landed at Paris where two drunk guys made for a great friendly NL 1-3 game with lots of cash. My double the pot over bet OTF after my BB limp with Q4 caught a call from A7, with a board of AQ4, pushed him all in on the turn, he called and my hand stood up. Same dude reraised my under the gun AhKd $12 raise to $30 with QJ hearts, I flat called that and the flop was Kh 4h 2h. I bet out $40.00 and he matched that and raised another $70 or so all in, instant call from me but no hearts came. I laughed and resolved to push with AK against him if he did that again.
Picked up a few small pots but then drunk guy number 1 lost all his money to one of my friends and we were getting tired. Cashed out down $30.00 53W - 14L.
The Paris was very quiet at 4 am, and the Poker room was only running three tables of 1 - 3. I don't drink when I'm playing poker until the very end, and then I want three beers in a row very fast with the third one to go. Cocktail service here was the slowest of the rooms we played in. (MGM was by far the fastest). It's also not a great venue for a non smoker as it's not fully separated from the casino. I wouldn't play there again.
Next day we were busy with football,(damn those Seahawks - giving us a 21 point cushion on the spread in the first 4 minutes then collapsing)the
Bellagio Buffet and the toally incredible "O" show - after the show we railbirded at Bellagio, but it seemed so crowded and not a great atomosphere so two of us headed over to CP, while our third man headed to bed.
CP is truly a beautiful poker room and the action there was fast and furious with lots of drunken people trading money back and forth and having a grand time( it was Sat night -technically Sunday morning but it's not morning in Vegas until 6 or 7 am)
I decided to play 2 -5 for the first time ever. Our table had one super loose drunk guy who was calling huge bets (such as $200.00 all in with 3rd pair) and four semi loose drunk guys who were limping every pot - it was a dream come true table. My friend and I were far and away the best players there until one local pro sat down after an hour- and I just stayed out of his way.
Dream pot came up Hero has $500, donkey $350.00, donkey in MP (one of the four semi loose drunk guys) raises to $15, two of the other semi loose drunks call around to me in small blind who wakes up with the grand daddy of the them all:
AdAs I reraise to $40, original raiser calls and the other two fold. Flop is Ah Ks 2s, I bet out $60.00 trying to look weak, Donk reraises to $150.00 - I go into Hollywood mode - How much is it? How much more do I owe? $90.00, count out the $90, think, think then as I'm sticking the $90.00 on top of the $60.00 I say raise, and move all in. Donk calls. turn is a blank and my heart stops as the river is 6s. I can barely speak as I say did you hit it? - he shakes his head and I flip over the set of Aces. He groans and flashes KQ to his friend and my buddy at the other end of the table. Whohoo - biggest pot of my poker career at around $800.00.
Hung around for a while and flopped a set of 9's but only a small pot win, then totally card dead and missing every flop with hands like KJ or 89 in late position limping. This was a table that was completely foolish to bluff at, headed out two hours later at 4 am $270.00 to the good. 54W - 14L at live No limit Holdem
CP was easily the nicest room I was in and I will take most of my play there next time. My experience was that CP was a few degrees looser than MGM.
Headed back to the Mansion Bar at the MGM and drank some fine wine and Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon, until it was 7am and time to leave for the plane.
Total profit only $210.00 but I lost three very large pots in difficult circumstances.
I also checked out the TI Poker room by just walking around in it for a few minutes, but, like the rest of the TI, it seemed a little dated - don't flame for that - I know it's an AVP darling!