Writing this with red eyes and a woozy head after a long haul flight so excuse the typing errors.
Spent a few days in San Diego working. Been before but still a great city. Went to La Jolla and the lighthouse on the hill to see one of the best city views I’ve ever seen. Caught the 1pm Friday flight to LV which stood for an hour on the runway due to a hydraulic leak..yuck!
LV airport was the usual Friday afternoon chaos but got a cab to my home for a few days, the Flamingo. Taxi driver was great and didn’t long haul me and was genuinely friendly without trying to sell me strip clubs, hookers or worse which as a single male traveller I often find myself being offered.
Flamingo – won’t bother staying here again. Was on the first room level – floor 4- with a view of AC units and the casino canopy. Room was Vegas standard but tired. I couldn’t be bothered to ask for a change as I was only wanting somewhere to sleep not sit and look out of the window. The room was in the habitat tower and this gives quick access to the strip. Come out of the elevators turn left and go out the coach parties entrance brings you through a service area to Margaritaville and O’Sheas. From my room to the strip in about 3 minutes. Settled into the room and went to get a bite to eat at Earl of Sandwich in Pho. That was good and was like a better quality Subway. Would definitely use it again.
Crossed the road to check out the City Centre complex. I don’t like it. Just my personal opinion but for Vegas give me flashing gaudy casino lights and noise over sleek metal and concrete any time. Lots of expensive shops that are way out of my range and similar for restaurants. Can LV really sustain any more high scale luxury shops??
Bought into the Aria 7pm $125. About 30 runners. Got to say that of the first five dealers they all made a mistake. Either in their dealing or in sorting pots out. The floor also made a wrong decision in one floor call but give them credit that they did come back and admit they had erred and apologised.
No particular hands of note and I busted out at about 10.30.
My good friend Dan had just flown in and I met up with him in the casino. Dan comes from a family of good poker players and he’s good company so it was good to have someone to hook up with whilst in LV. Dan had some other friends in town who were staying at Hooters so we cabbed over to Hooters to meet up and took advantage of the $1.50 beers. I crashed about 1am leaving them to carry on.
Next morning I’m up and ready for a late breakfast and get ready to play the Venetian $340 at noon. Dan calls and they are all still up having not yet been to sleep……..
We meet and Dan insists on playing the $340 as well – though his eyes are telling another story.
After a quick fill at the Venetian food court we enter and I make sure we get separate tables as I hate playing in a tourney with a friend on the same table. 122 runners and I survive a few races, hit some hands and make the final table with about average chips. As usual I never cease to be amazed by the chip suicide some people commit in these situations as I watch a couple of big stacks go bust. One player at the table from New Jersey apparently won a Borgata WPT event for $1.7 million. Didn’t know his name but he was good company and fun at the table. I eventually busto out in 6th for $1953. Nice result early on into the trip.
That night Dan and I visit Hash House a Go Go at the IP to try out their famous food. All you’ve heard about it is true – the portions are huuuggge. I had the fried chicken sandwich which would easily have fed two. Go, but only when you’re really really hungry.
Sunday and I return to the Venetian to play the noon $150. 95 runners.
At the first table was an old guy in a Phillies cap. He was questioning everything that was said/done and had a comment about everything, a pain in the ass. When the tables started to break we got some players to the table. He immediately wanted to know why one of these players had exactly 7500 chips at this stage which was the initial starting chips. General confused looks were met by him stating that he wanted to know that this player hadn’t been comped into the tournament by a host. Maybe these things happen??? I’d have thought a host wants his guests on the table games not wasting 8 hours in a tournament. He was annoying with it though (if you’re reading this – tough – it’s true) and I was pleased when he 4 bet all in with 2,2 to get called by AA. Bye bye.
I go out an unimpressive 35th
After a plate of orange chicken from Panda Express, Dan and I decide to give Caesars Palace a try for their 7pm $150. Field of about 35 runners and this tourney has a good structure and I will be adding this to my list of games to play again. I get paid well early in with my set of 4’s on an ace high board.
One player is an old Asian guy who is just playing awful. He minraises UTG and myself UTG+1 look down at AA. Bingo! How do I keep the Asian guy in? I do something I nearly never do, min rearaise. I know that he will not be able to resist having a look for the price and a shove will probably scare him away. Obligingly he calls. On a Q high flop he shoves, I call and he shows sixes. Nice pot thanks for the payoff! I get knocked out around 10pm and Dan is still in so I enter the 10pm $80.
Again not that bad structure for an $80 game. On the table I’m in seat 10 and annoying drunk guy is in seat 1. He’s giving it loads of F-bombs and is warned. He then wastes time complaining about how someone has stacked their chips. In an unusual display of my peacock feathers I give him some verbal back about getting on with the game and shutting up even though he wasn’t complaining about me. I don’t normally do that but I was fed up with him. I then find that he keeps staring at me from seat 1 behind the dealer’s back. I look back at him and TBH find it quite amusing. I make the final table and top 6 get paid. I bust out with my AJ vs A10 held by, yes you’ve guessed it the drunk guy from seat 1. I hit my J to make him a straight. There is no justice in this game.
Good news though is that Dan wins the 7pm tournament for about $1700.
Monday and it’s back to the Venetian for the noon $125. Over 100 runners.
Early on and there’s a guy in seat 4 who is trying to be the table alpha male. He will limp or raise every hand and call most raises. He gets some big pots with random 8,5 type hands. It’s noticeable that his presence has shut everyone up. Probably because he looks like if I checkraised him he’d challenge me to a cage fight and I’d lose. Even one of the dealers comments on the glum table. I think we’re all just waiting for an opportunity to double up through this guy which has to happen soon. He pays me off big when I flop the miracle from the BB with Q6 on a QQ6 flop and calls me to the river with a 6.
He eventually busts by getting all his chips in with 6,2 in a raised hand against AJ on a JJ6 board.
It was then noticeable that the table atmosphere relaxed and people started chatting and joking more. I struggle on, have to fold KK on an ace high flop, get AA UTG and no callers. Eventually have to push with Ad5d and lose to JJ, out about 30th.
Dan joins me for dinner the Grand Luxe café in the Venetian. I go for the fried chicken comfort food. Again the portions are massive and the food excellent. Far too much for one person. Unusually for me I can’t finish it.
We decide to give Caesars Palace 7pm $150 another go. I’m pleased to see we both get separate tables. I try a table testing raise at 25/50 to 150 with a random hand to see how the table reacts.
One caller and I hit so a few chips get in and by the river I see that he has called my raise with 5h2h to turn a flush. All information noted on that player! The table is joined by a smartly dressed Texan player. He can actually play poker and gives me a few verbals in a hand but I give him some back. A little bit of chat with him through the game and he's a nice guy who knows how to play. I'll stay out of his way unless I have to. As an example of the weak standard of many players, Texan shoves from the cutoff and the button is a French speaking lady who has about 6 BB. She folds and shows AK. WTF?
I final table but go out in 8th place.
Tuesday and my flight leaves tonight so I’m looking for a tournament that will go to late afternoon so I can get to the airport. Decide on the Mirage 11am $60 34 runners. Usual cheap strip tournament with a fast structure where you’re going to need your good hands to hold and some luck to win. I get to the final table and get some luck as a short stack shoves into my BB where I wake up with AA, I shove my AK into KK and flop an A, I flop a set of 5’s and get it all in vs top pair. People had been talking about chopping even from 9 players down but myself and one other refused. A 9way chop was daft. Eventually at 6 players and some outrageous high blinds we chop for about $250 each which was second place money. I left to get my flight home.
So with the Venetian money, a cut of Dan’s win and the Mirage money, I left with the same I came to Vegas with. In my book that’s a result.
Venetian is still the best poker room, though I also found Caesars good. I won’t be going to Aria again unless I’m in the area.
There are so many poor weak passive players in Vegas tournaments. OK, there is less in games like the Venetian $340 but every game has them. So many players open limp just to see flops and will fold to raises. This is so exploitable and can earn you some good chips. An open limp often sets off a Mexican wave of limping. If these players check raise you then so often it is at the very least TPTK.
That said there are also some very good players but these are easy to identify.
I also noticed so many British people around Vegas and strangely lots of French (not French Canadian) and Italian people.
Walking the strip as a lone male does mean that you get ignored by all the timeshare touts but does make you a magnet for the porn slappers, hookers and drug dealers.
Note for TBC - Tony, there have got to be better places to sit for hours than that dump O'Sheas with a dwarf shouting in your ear all day.