My first Las Vegas poker trip


Friday March 21st
Landed in Vegas @ 8:00 am on Friday. Followed someone's tip and joined a free rental car club (Thrifty’s Blue Chip Club). This was a great tip as it allowed me to bypass the rental counter and go right to the lot to get my car. I was out in a minimum of time. Drove downtown and went to the Golden Nugget for lunch buffet (acceptable) and to place my NCAA bets.

Then it was a walk down to the El Cortez. Well, I walked in and searched out the poker area. They had 2 tables going, but frankly, the look of the players scared me (table games intimidate me anyway, it usually takes me awhile to get up to the tables). I was afraid that if I bet out of turn or bet wrong, they would beat me with their oxygen tanks or run me over with their wheel chairs, these guys were OLD. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they were twice my age. So I passed. I am such a wimp.

My plan was to play 2/5 limit at Binions, but all they had was 1/2 NL. So I walked across the street to the Golden Nugget. I watched a couple minutes and the bought in for $100 for the 2/4 limit game. I wish I could give you hand by hand plays, but I’m not there yet, except for my very first hand. I get dealt 34o, EP, and outside of the type of hand I wanted play, this being my first cash game. You know what’s coming. Flop is A 5 2 rainbow. Doh! I know it was the right call for me but still.... It was a fun game, 10 handed. There was one really old lady, I would say in her eighties that went through about $250 while she was there. She couldn’t read the cards from the 3 seat and kept asking “Is that a Jack? Is that a Queen?” It was funny. One guy was visibly upset about it, and I thought “Dude, it’s 2/4 limit”. Eventually she moved to the 10 seat when it opened up. There was 1 other older lady, mid 60s I guess. She was playing well, tripling her stack while I was there, I think about $600. The rest were fish, either busting out or buying more chips as they ran low. I walked away with my initial buyin, which means I made enough to tip the dealers and CW. I was mostly happy with my play, except that after about an hour I started to chase bad hands. The GN cocktail waitresses are smokin’.

Day 2
After spending the day at the Paris Spa and watching some basketball, I headed down to Fitzgerald’s for some 1/2 NLHE. I bought in for $100. In less than hour I had more than tripled up to $330. after giving back about $40, I thought “What the hell, why am I still playing?” Also the table was changing and I didn’t like the looks of some of the newcomers. So I cashed out. I had brought the book Winning Low-Limit Hold'em by Lee Jones along and came away with this: wait until you have a solid hand, and then hammer the competition. That’s what I tried to do. My play improved over the Golden Nugget.

Day 3
Easter Sunday saw me registering for the 11 am $65 tournament @ TI. I can see why this room is a fav. I liked the space, the chiars, the lighting, the dealers, and the management. There were 16 players to start, 4 alternates later checked in. I was not the first one out, and almost made it to the end of level 2 when my QQ got cracked by an A that paired on the river, which elicited compassionate groans from the rest of the table. I went on TILT. I left and walked a few laps around the casino before I remembered that I wanted to say hi to Perry and Danette. So I headed back and introduced myself. It was Perry’s last day. He really does have a great voice. I’ll have to put Southpoint on my list next time. Danette was great and said that she had read some of my posts and we talked about the poker room rate. She was really nice to take the time to chat. I would have reentered as an alternate and qualified for the rate, but I was still on tilt and don’t think I would have done very well. If it weren’t for a show and dinner that I had already made reservations for, I could have easily played another 3 hours or tourney to get the rate. Maybe (probably) in October. It wasn’t until I had finished the ruben combo at Canter’s did I feel back to normal.

After catching some sun, I finished the day by going to the early Mystére show (loved it), followed by dinner at The Steak House and then over to Casino Royal to play some Craps. I can recommend The Steak House. I had the NY strip served with roasted garlic and a side of whipped sweet potatoes. The garlic was smooth as butter and I spread it over my steak. Mmmmm.

Day 4
My last day saw me packing up and having free breakfast @ Starbucks. (Tip: get there early - there’s always a line) I checked out and then headed up to the M&M store to pick up gifts. Then it was off to the airport and home.

POKER: One of my goals for this trip was to find out what game suited me best. I think that I have an idea of that now. 1/2 no limit was the most profitable and fun to play. I really did enjoy 2/4 limit, and think that with a little more work it would be profitable also. I’ll test this more next time.

I don’t think I’ll play too many tournaments. The timed levels and increasing blinds are pressures that don’t make the game enjoyable for me. And I know that they are just chips, but betting $400 on a hand is uncomfortable to me. I know it’s a head game and the chips aren’t worth that and I only paid $65 to play, but I just can’t get past it right now. I’ll still play every once in while, esp @TI to get the poker room rate.

This was also a test of sorts. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the patience or discipline or I would find it plain old boring. Happily, I past my own test and now will find good local games, set up some home games, and study, study, study.

GAMING BUDGET: Between the sports book and poker I won $400. This was offset by $100 craps loss, $65 tournament fee, and $35 in various slots and VP. Net was +$200. I still have bets out for the Sweet Sixteen, so that could change.

DRIVING: Not a big deal. Using maps generated by Map quest and some common sense I got around well. It gave me some freedom to get around (and go to In-and-Out Burger). On the other hand I was always a bit worried about theft or damage to the car. I guess whether I get a car or not will depend on the trip.

PLANNING: As usual, I over planned. But, I had a great time and it didn’t bother me at all. When you’re on vacation you’re supposed to do what you can’t/don’t at home. This time that meant watching NCAA hoops while munching on BBQ potato chips and drinkin' a Coke.

TI: I have read about TI being “de-themed”. Hmmm. Let’s see, it used to be a pirate theme. What’s there now? A pirate show in front. No changes in interior decor. Siren’s Cove Gift Shoppe. Bars “Breeze” and “Mist”. I think rather than being “de-themed” it has more evolved into a more Vegas theme rather than a Disney theme. Also, I saw lots of 20 something eye candy, but also an equal share of older folks as well as families. Anyway, I loved it and if I can afford it, I’ll be back.

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  1. Steve it was absolutely my pleasure meeting you on Easter Sunday! I only wish that your tourney experience had not been so bad :cry: Hopefully your next trip will be more profitable in our room! Thanks so much for stopping by and especially for introducing yourself! I always enjoy meeting AVPers when they come in to play!

    Nice TR, thanks for posting!!! Take Care and we'll see you on your next trip out here! :wink:

  2. I actually use to work at the TI. A little known secret. It has in fact changed dramatically on the interior. When I was there 4 years ago in the high limit pit, they remodeled that, put in the tequila bar, Canter's, Myst, Tangerine, new Siren's Show (old kiddie pirate show GONE), the escalator for the walkway to the mall was being installed, the arcade was removed, buffet completely redone and more. So yes, the place has changed, for the better might I add!

    Btw, if you do some searching or know insider tricks to site like priceline, you can get a car and use it every other day of your trip and still pay less than you would for a cab from time to time.

  3. @photoc

    FYI...they haven't "removed" the's just not what it used to be. It used to be HUGE and in the location where Kahunaville is now, but it has since been downsized greatly and moved across the hallway and down a ways near the pool entrance. :wink:

  4. @ChicagoSteve

    This lady made how much in 2/4 limit? Unless you were there for about 49 hours straight, I just don't see this happeneing.

    Nice report though. I would steer clear of playing 2/4 limit unless you are just looking to have some fun. The game is not a profitable one and if you're really trying to win some cash stick with the 1/2 NL.

  5. i saw a bunch of litle old ladies at the 2-4 tables at the golden nugget. i saw one sit down with one rack and leave with 2 in a rather short time.

    i had some interesting hands with them. there was one time i had pocket nines and the board was K, 6, 2, 6, 9. and the pot had gotten pretty big for a 2-4 game. finally at showdown she turned over 2, 6 and lost to my bigger full house.

    another hand i turned a nut straight and little old lady #1 bet, #2 called, i raised and they both called. the river was a blank and once again little old lady #1 bet, #2 called i raised and they both called and mucked when i showed my straight.

  6. @bighouse123

    Well, OK, maybe my eyes were bigger than her stack really was. What I do know is that she didn't get my chips and everybody else was rebuying and busting out.

    Maybe it was only $300...... :grin: