Over the last few days (M-W 8/29-31), I thought I would hit up a few rooms, mainly concentrating on the locals scene.
First, some background. I live very close to Santa Fe Station (North Rancho near Ann road), and with their new room (that will hopefully be included on this site soon), I find myself there about 25-30 hours a month, but do venture out to other rooms quote often.
Santa Fe Station (cash game only): The standard spread at Santa Fe is 2/4 1/2 Kill and 4/8 1/2 Kill and 1/2 NL (the last of which is pretty much nights and weekends only). I played there for about 4 hours last night, in the 4/8 game. $1/2 blinds, which is a locals thing (but can also be found at M Bay). VERY loose game. Due to the $2 blinds, there is a LOT of limping, and a lot of suckouts. In a crucial hand, I was on the button with KJ Diamonds, and limped in. It was about 5 people seeing the flop. The Flop came 789 ALL diamonds. The BB bets out, the guy on my right raises, and I re-raise. Both call my raise, and the turn brings a blank. BB bets, guy on right raises, and I re-raise again. BB Calls, guy in right calls, and river brings another black (no pair on board). They both check to me, and I bet out. They BOTH CALL. BB held 56 and flopped a Straight, with an open ended straight flush draw, guy on my right held Q10 of diamonds, for a queen high flush and open ended straight flush draw. The pot had about $150 in it, and it was shortly after that hand that I left.
In short, the Santa Fe is a great locals room. I wouldn't venture in unless you are ready for a ride through some old school locals style of play.
Texas Station (cash game only): This morning I tried out Texas Station from about 6-10 AM. I decided to try them out as Sante Fe sometimes has trouble getting a game going so early. There was one table of 4/8 1/2 Kill with 1/2 blinds going and I jumped in. Pretty much the same as Santa Fe, just not as clean. Same mature clientele here, and same limping (one guy even limped with Aces and got lucky by rivering broadway against another guys trip 10s). A bit of a roller coaster as far as my chip stack, but ended up dropping $40.
Plaza (cash and tourney): Decided to check out the Plazas new Shootout single table tournament. $25 buy in, winner take all (no rebuys). Everyone starts with $1K in chips. All NL. They run them from 10-4 every day. Great little tourney. I lost by going all in with AA over the top of an obvious blind stealer (I was BB and everyone else folded). He held 89 off suit and called my all in, and of course, he made his straight on the river, beating my trip aces. I came in 4th. While waiting for the tourney to start up I played in their only running hold 'em game, 2/4. I haven't played 2/4 in a very long time, nor had I played in a tourist casino in a very long time, so this was an experience. In short, I LOVED IT. I will definately be hitting up more of the downtown and strip properties in the future, as I forgot how much "fun" it is to play against tourists. Ended up winning $78 from about 45 minutes of play (mainly due to getting AA twice, and hitting three suited connectors against multiple players that reraise with K10). They just started doing $35 Sit and Goes where the top 2 get paid. Will definately check out one of those next week.
Gold Coast (Cash Game and Tourney): The Gold Coast has a great cheap tourney. For $22, they have a 40-50 person maximum tourney (minimum 40). Top 4 places are paid. First hour is limit, and the next is NL. I ended up busting out right before the final table. Came in 12th our of 40. It took them a WHILE to get a game going in the morning. In fact, they could only get a 2/4 game going at around 9:20 am. They encouraged tournament players to go ahead and sit in on the cash game, even if only for a few minutes, just so they could get more people to come in. I would not look at this place for a cash game, but the $22 tourney (cheapest in Vegas, I think), is a nice little time.
All in all, I like locals casinos because I am one, and we like to stick together and wax poetic, but I wouldn't even think of trying to grind out any consistent income from either of the locals casinos I mentioned. The Plaza and the other downtown and Strip properties (obviously excluding M & B) are better for that.
For ultra cheap tourneys, though, the Plaza and the Gold Coast is where its at, and I recommend both highly.