I'm not the second coming of Phil Ivey. Nor am I a poker virgin, but I learned an awful lot during this trip. This was my first time playing in a casino environment. First lesson learned; When the max buy-in at a NL table is, say $200, don't attempt to play when there are guys on the table with thousands of dollars. Never occurred to me until too late. If I get an A-Q and raise 25, the guy with 2000 is gonna put me all in. Regardless of what he has. I ain't playin A-Q all in. So I lose a quick 25 without seein a flop. Happened a lot. Start at a new table when everyone starts with the same amount. Seems obvious........now. Anyway....
Started out with my girlfriend and I playing 2/4 at the Sahara. This lasted about 15 minutes before I figured out that 2/4 is essentially bingo. Everyone played every hand til the end, period. It was stupid. So I moved to 1/2 NL. Bought in for the 500 max and was still pretty close to the short stack at the table. Didn't get a lot of cards so I stayed pretty even for about 3 hrs. by folding everything. Girlfriend got bored at the 2/4 table so we ended our first day of live poker action early and went to bed at about 11:00. Not up, not down, essentially even.
Up early the next morning walked to the Stratosphere to check that one out. After seeing the somewhat tired Sahara room, this room looks absolutely gorgeous. Got on the list for NL and sat down with GF for some serious 2/4 limit action haha. More of the same for about an hour when they finally got enough interest for a NL table. I left her there and moved onto a table with about 7 people. We all bought for the max and started out even. I did quite well and soon was big dog at table. This didn't last too long. Young kid sits down with a couple hundred or so and raises first hand 50 bucks. I got pocket K's, so I think to myself, "heres my chance to be the bully". I raise him all in flip over my kings and just about crap when he flips over his A's. Of course they held up. I go over to GF's table to cry about my sad story and see she's got stacks and stacks of chips. She's just laughing, saying she can't lose. I decide to keep my sad story to myself and go sit back down. About 5 minutes later she comes over and tells me she just got quad 4's and won the high hand jackpot, about $100. Now she wants to go shopping. I say my good-byes(friendly table) and we head out with her up about 300 and me the other side of even. We walk outside and are surprised to find it's dark. Played about 10 hours there and it felt like 4. Go back to Sahara, she's tired and hungry. After we eat, she heads up to the room and I hit the poker room again. Tonight theres some wild action at the NL table. 1000's of dollars being thrown around by 3-4 locals at the table. My measly buy in and lousy cards gets me about 2 flops for the next 6 hours. What the hell, I got drunk and ended up about 50 bucks. And got to see some pretty wild play in the meantime. I thought to myself there's no way I can do this, I guess it's bingo for me the rest of the trip.
Next morning go see Rios room, no one playing so hop shuttle to harrahs. Again, not a lot of players so walk down to the Wynn. Tons of players there. Now that's a nice room. I don't play but watch some for a little bit and leave to drop GF at mall and head to Stardust. This is my moms favorite place so I have to go there. Tired old place, tired old people, but easy money. Finally feel like maybe I can play this game. GF shows up, hates the room but sees that I'm doing quite well so gets on a 2/4 table for more bingo. After about an hour she comes over and says she can't be there anymore, can we leave, please. I cash out about triple and we head to the MGM to see if it's everything everyone says it is.
Well, it's friday night about 5:00 and the place is packed. Wait about 20 minutes and we both get called at same time. Her to her bingo game and me to a new NL table. Buy in and just killed for the first couple hours. I walk to her table to gloat and find she's still holding her own as well. Her table is a big old party with everyone doing shots and she's pretty wasted but having a good time. I walk back to my table and glance at this huge stack at the table next to mine. Notice the guy is none other than Chris Moneymaker. Delusions of grandeur begin to fill my alcoholic mind. If I can just get a few more pots maybe I can go play at his table...haha. The cards turn on me and I can't get any more ahead. Oh well. GF finally runs out of money and staggers over. I show her Moneymaker and she says "oh yeah, I know. Phil Gordons right over there". Sure enough, there he is a couple tables over. Turns out there's some poker writers convention or something and she was sitting at a table with a bunch of them so she was already hip. Cool room, cool vibe, easy money. Head back to Sahara for another ass whoopin and quickly lose my MGM winnings and then some. But played til 4 am and met some cool people.
Up about 4 hours later, go eat and back to Saharas poker room. Finally talk GF into playing NL and we sit. The same guys are still there but with much smaller stacks. We play about 1 hour, if that, before GF decides it's too much pressure playing NL. I've doubled up and want to see some other rooms before we leave the next AM, so we head to the Aladdin. She has to go to the fcuk store so she drops me off at the poker room and goes to shop. No NL tables open so I get on a 3/6 table full of pretentious jerks who have no idea what they're doing but still take me for about 60 bucks before a NL table finally opens up and I move. Now this was a good table, some real good players. A few newbies as well. Play for awhile about even, GF shows up and gets put at the jerk table. About an hour later she's had enough so I say "one more hand". A-Q. Raise 10. Everyone folds except the 1 seat. I'm the 10 seat so I haven't got much of a read on the guy but he hasn't done much yet so I'm pretty confident. Flop comes A,J,9 rainbow. I bet 50, he calls. Q on the turn, I go all in for about another 120 hoping to scare him off his draw. He calls, flips over A-8o. Everyone looks up and says WTF? Well of course the river is a 10, he gets his straight and I've played my last hand for this trip. Hello wheel of fortune slot machines.
All in all a fun, educational trip for me. Already planning the April trip so keep the reports coming.