Nothing but 1/2 NL for 14 days this year already-and going back for more in December!
I play poker alot, mostly online and up the road in a 45-table packed poker room in a monster indian casino near where I live. I was a Vegas Virgin until last year around Thanksgiving when my g/f at the time and I booked a stay at the Hard Rock for 12 nights. 12 nights will wear your azz out by the way, especially if you don't get away from the tables during the middle of it and do something else outside of a casino. However, we returned in March for a 3 night stay at the Cosmo and that was way too short.
Anyway, for anyone that's familiar with the Hard Rock, you know it's a good mile or so away from the strip. Since my wife and I work out religiously at home, and knowing I would be sitting in a poker chair sipping on beer for nearly 2 weeks, we ensured we worked out every morning at the Hard Rock gym (incredible place - like a minature Lifetime Fitness in there), then had breakfast in the casino (2 great restaraunts in there btw - and very affordable), and went on foot to the strip...every day. Bundle up if you go to Vegas in the winter months by the way. It's cold enough in the poker rooms but outside it can be miserable if you didn't pack the right clothes.
The Hard Rock is dead during the off season, and the poker room really never has more than 1 table going. I played in there only twice, and the competition was pretty good. The 2nd night I was in there I had spent most of the day at the Bellagio, Ceasars, and PH, and was feeling pretty good about how much I had made already - but I couldn't resist joining the 8 that were already seated. I bought into a 1/2 cash game for just $150, and it was a grind for the next 2 hours - until I got to a 3-way monster hand where it was all in after the flop, all of us had incredible cards and outs that were all different, and I was lucky enough to benefit and rake in nearly $500 in chips at the end of it. A few hands later I tipped the dealer and got the hell out of there knowing in the back of my mind it would be the last time I play there. It just seemed so much easier elsewhere, and I just didn't feel comfortable nor could get much of a read on that table. They were all pretty damn good.
The Hard Rock is one of the most gorgeous casinos in Vegas, and you could spend a full day going through the place looking at and reading about all the famous musicians and the memorabilia on the walls. The place plays constant outstanding rock all day and all night that isn't too loud. You will hear songs you haven't heard in years, and during our 12 day stay - we NEVER heard the same song twice. The crowd there is alot of 20-somethings that are using their parents college fund, but it's fun and not overly obnoxious. The rooms are amazing. Ours overlooked their humungous pool area and the strip was seen off in the distance. I highly recommend staying at the Hard Rock. They have great deals if you look around and you can not feel so guilty about sitting on your azz all day playing poker if you are starting it off with a nice long walk to the strip.
The casinos that I found as the most inviting during my 2 trips are the following:
Venetian - Hands down the most comfortable, professional, top-notch place to play. Freakin love this place. Tons of action. Order the food while you are playing - it is not bar food and it's very reasonable.
Caesars Palace - Huge Room. Very quiet as it is actually a room away from it all. The competition is very tough and aggressive, but the comps, atmosphere, and their daily tournaments draw alot of people in here.
Luxor - Hated it. I know some like it on this site, but I just didn't like the place. Felt like I was in a basement, and the location of the Luxor is just way too far away from anywhere else I enjoyed playing. A place with really no personality.
MGM - I have played at MGM the most of anywhere I've been in Vegas, and had the most success. It's the first place I think of when I think Vegas poker. I do recall I had one really ridicoulously bad day where everyone at the table couldn't believe my luck (3 separate times all within a 30 minute timeframe where I was all-in and leading by a large percentage at the point of pushing, only to be river'd every effin time). The house rake is among the lowest, and there's a ton of traffic through here.
Flamingo - Poker room is very popular, but man this place is nasty and ugly. When I went in there I felt like I was walking into a morgue. Like the entire casino surrounding the poker room was 90 year old people on oxygen tanks. Not a place I want to spend my vacation.
Planet Hollywood - I get cards here at the cash games. When I take my profits and join their tourneys, I draw dead and am normally out by the 3rd round. Still love this place for 1/2 cash though. If you can't get past the noise all around you when you're playing poker in a roped-off area, you're best finding a different place to play.
Bellagio - Always packed, waiting list can be some nights up to an hour. Just be patient once you get in there, especially when you get put at tables of the rich and inexperienced. There is just so much action at every table I've been at in here - never a dull moment.
Bills - It's good if you really just want to make friends, have fun, and you don't really care if you make money or not. There's money to be made here as the competition isn't really all that good - but honestly not anything like the other places. You're playing for the comps (aces cracked and other specials) but .50 cent / $1 blinds are kinda cheesey.
Can't wait to go back next month and try out some places I've read about on here!
Great report man.
Thanks for the report and the insights of the different rooms.
I agree with some of it, but see some things differently about others.
I'm going in December too, and I can't wait!!
I hope we both run good!