Mixing Poker with Work- 11 days in Vegas


Went to Vegas on business and I generally perfer to play poker rather than Casino games while I'm out there because hey those casinos did not build themselves. I went out a day early (Sunday night 5/28) with the goal of playing in the daily Bellagio tournament on Monday. I figure I would try the satellite to get into the tournament. While waiting for the satelite game to start I played some 2/5 NL. Great news- Bellagio has raised the buy-in on that game- $200/$500. Well in about 90 minutes I made a quick $1,500 playing in that cash game. I was up maybe $80 from my $200 buy-in and then the key hand played out- Flop was like 5-6-8 with two hearts. I had the 6-9. About 6 players limped in. Well after I flopped the straight, the betting got out of hand quick and three players went all in before we even saw the turn- two players on flush draws, the other guy had two pair. I dodge any damage on the turn or river and make a very nice profit on this hand. I played in the satellite- got down to the final three- We decided whomever would finish third would get their buy-in back from the other two who get into the tournament. I finished third. Anyway, I decided to use some of my profit to play in the tourny ($540 buy-in)- Great choice on my part, although it did not always look that way during the game.About halfway through I probably spent as much time looking into the Doyle room watching the big guns play (Doyle, Allen Cunningham, Jennifer Harmen, Danny Negreanu, Barry Greenstein to name a few), but I made it the final table and we got down to the final four and decided to split it 4 ways- we were basically even in chips and it got us all second place money. Great start to the week.

The other tournaments I played were three at the MGM ($120 buy-in), which previously to this trip was the only tournament I playd in Vegas. I finished second in that one). I ended up finishing 8th (Final table, but no cash), knocked out early, and finishing 4th, which is a cash. I like the MGM tournament- it will generally last about 3 hours, well run. I also played at the Venetian. Their tournament was good, but their dealers don't understand everything is going. The dealers are the one downside to that room. I got to the final table and finished 9th, which did not pay. I was among the big stacks with about 20 players but a couple of bad flops killed me. Their tournament was $125 buy-in, $5 add-on which is well worth, and a one-time $50 rebuy which everyone but two players bought these chips.

Spent $1080 in regular tournament buy-in's and got $4400 in cash. Not a bad profit.

I also played in a 10 table satellite at Casaers to get into the Vegas Open. We got down to the final two and we had the same amount of chips. I ended up winning the satellite, which also got you $200. We actually cut a deal to split the $200, so I got $100. Buy-in was $130. I had to spend an additional $60 on the entry fee, so I actually had $90 invested in the tourny. The Vegas Open is run by National Poker League, which is trying to grow and challenge the WPT. It got good support from the pros (C. Ferguson, Andy Bloich, JC Tran, etc). When I sat down at the tourny- it was about 20 minutes in and the tables had 9 seats, but we had only 6 players, so we were stealing the other seats blinds. Only one hand had actually been played all the way out to this point. I had 3-3 on this hand and raised, again trying to steel the pot. I actually got two callers. Flop was 6-4-3. They both check to me, and I raised. One guy folds, and then the next guy raises me. I call. At this point I feel like I'm ahead, and I was right. The next card was a 6. I'm great- full house- I'm golden- I go all-in and get called. OOPS. The guys ended up having 6-4, which I can't believe he called the raise. I got eliminate. The guy actually went on to win that event.

Cash games:

I played cash games at the Palms (2/5 No Limit). Probably the worse room I played. Good management and attractive waitress can't overcome the attitudes some players have. I won money the first night and lost some the second. Probably lost about $100
I played (1/2 NL and 2/5 NL) at MGM. I like these games. Great room, great dealers, good service. I didn't do well this trip. I generally had done quite well in this room in the past trips, but I was down on this trip. All in all I lost about $300.
I played at Bellagio. Did awesome on the first day- making $1,500, and for the rest of the trip I made maybe another $200, although I was up biog again on another day (maybe $1,200, but onlycame out of that session with a $200 profit).
I ended up losing $300 during the Casaers cash games, but I lost $600+ pre-flop on one hand, so the play was profitable other than the hand I pushed all-in with pocket Kings, but you guessed it- another guy had pocket Aces. OOPS. Lesson learned.
I spent quite a bit of time during the weekend playing cash games at the Venetian. I played 1/2 and 2/5 NL). The room is great. You have more space in this room and are not crowded like a Bellagio who actually stuck us on a 7-card stud table to play hold-um). I made about $700 in this room during cash games. Most players were playing tight because they were trying to get their hours to play in the Venetian free roll tournmanet. (You have to play 50 hours in each May, June and July to qualify for the tournament OR play 200 total hours.). Great promotion.
At the Wynn I played in the high limit area ($5-$10 NL). I played great one night and made about $3,500. Two great hands were when I had pocket Aces, and the flop was A-6-6. Another guy had trip 6's and I made him pay. The other hand which was the biggest hand of the night for me- two players ended up going all-in on a flop of 4-6-6, with two clubs. I had 6-7. It was an additional $300 for me to call. Both players were on the flush draw, and I had the best hand. Turn came- 7- full house for me. The other nights I played I didn't get great cards- they were not even playable and it gets expensive just sitting on the table. Plus I had some bad beats- one hand which sticks out as when I had pocket 7's, flop was A-7- and something else. I had the trips and go all-in, and get called with a guy who was on a flush draw. He hit, but it was not a hand which I would have pushed the money in if I were him. He got lucky. You need to have a good bankroll to play the game- they let you buy-in for $500, but that won't get it down on this table. I probably lost about $1,000 total in the room (4 bad nights outweighed the good night I had). It is the best room in Vegas, and they will have a promotion which if you play 50 hours between June 22nd and July 22nd- you will get into a free roll tournament.

Great trip- looking forward to the next one, which should be soon.

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