Paid To Play in LV – Day TWO


This is the report of what NOT to do when in Las Vegas.

It actually started out really good. The day was for researching on the book, so I had interviews and tours with the coming East Freemont Street Entertainment District, El Cortez and Wynn. Lots of good information for me to work on over the next few months. One disappointment, though, I had arranged to get to see SPAMALOT at the Wynn, but I found that John O’Hurley was out for a couple days, and his understudy would be playing the lead role of King Arthur. My contact at the Wynn managed to change the date to the following week so by 5pm I was finished with nothing to do.

Except poker, of course.

I checked the room at the Wynn. It looked like a nice room, but there was a big convention in town. The room was stock full with long waiting lists so I decided to head to the Venetian.

There was waiting at the 1-2 NL and with the evening tourney about to start, it didn’t look like they’d start a new table. They did have a 2-5NL seat open and I decide to give it a try. I bought in for $1000, which is higher than I’m used to risking, but okay for the upper end of my bankroll. The table was also not great. There were two tricky YAG, and while there were several conventioneers-tourists in the group they quickly showed themselves to be experienced players. Several players mentioned how there were no fish at the table and the play was very good. Actually, it was a fun game, because everybody there were roughly equal in ability, so there were some interesting plays as all the players could make moves and you could also make moves on them.

I had a good read on one guy to my left who hailed from San Antonio. He raised to $20 from EP and I put him solidly on QQ-KK-AA. It folded around to me in the BB and I looked at 8c9c and I called. Flop came 455 rainbow. I checked. He bet $40. I decided I could make a play on him if I got the right turn so I called. Flop was a beautiful 6. I checked. He bet $80 and I quickly came over the top of him for $200. He agonized a long time before mucking QQ face up.

Actually, that was typical play for me, because the deck was unkind. The best hand I made in five hours was a single nut flush I made on the turn. I put a smaller stack all in and he called with two pair. His for-outer hit on the river and took $500 from me. I built up again and made the nut straight on the turn. My big bet was called and the river counterfeited my hand to the second nuts and made another player the nuts to hit me for $700. Built myself back up.

So my starting cards during 5.5 hours were:

AA-KK-QQ – 1 Time (no action)
88-JJ – 2 Times
22-77 – 6 Times
AK – 2 Times

Made Hands:

Full House of Better – 0 Times
Flush – 1 Time (lost)
Straight – 1 Time (lost)
Trips/Set- 0 Times
2 pr- 3 Times.

So I made most of my hands making plays from position and on semi-bluffs. At the end of five hours I was standing at $1550 just playing excellent small pot poker. But I was still working in sleep deprivation mode and I was starting to get too loose and make mistakes. I knew it too, but I talked myself into thinking the cards would change and I could get a rush going and come out of this with a big win.

Instead my tiredness and the quality of the competition finally caught up with me. I made K/T 2-pair on the flop and tried to slow play it even though there was a flush draw on the board. The third Spade hit the Turn, check, check. I bet on the rag river and the best player at the table raises $100. I know he has the flush but I convince myself I have to call and he rakes the chips.

I’m angry at myself then and go tilty. I call a small raise with 9c8c and land a flush draw. The second best player at the table bets out and I “know” he is making a play at the pot. I call. The Turn is an A. He bets, I raise and he calls. A club hits the river. He bets. I go all in on a huge overbet on my baby flush and he quickly calls with AcQc and I’m toasted down to $25. I should have called or made a more standard reraise since I had a medium flush and only something that can beat me would call me. Tired and tilty and five hours of good play disappears to someone else’s stack.

It was good experience playing with some good players, but there were two really bad problems strategically there. There were no weak players to feed off, no drunken tourists or players making silly tournament poker mistakes, so it really wasn’t a good game profitability wise. It was fine sitting at it to test the waters but when I realized the type of table it was, if I really wanted to make money at poker, I should have looked for a better game. Playing poker with 9 other players of roughly equal ability is good for fun but not for money.

Second, I stayed too long. I was fine up to five hours but then I got too tired, too frustrated, started forcing the action instead of taking advantage of situations that presented themselves. This was too good a table to get away with that.

I’m off to Arizona to see my family. I’ll be back on the 25th for three more weeks in LV.

See you there!

The Numbers So Far:

At The End of Day Two

Cash Games: -$301
Tourney: -$165
Other Games: -$29
Total: -$495

Last Edited:


  1. Hey Lloyd,

    Sorry about the rough table, but if it only cost you a couple hundred of your $1k buy-in, that's not too bad. I had a similar experience playing at the Mandalay Bay a few months ago. Its hard on your ego, but its better to get up and find a softer table under those conditions.

    BTW, NH bluffing the boat/trips/straight.

    Never mind, I just read day one. Doing the math it looks like the whole buy-in went kerplunk. Sorry. Still a NH on the bluff

    I'll read day three next.


    Edited by Redright88 after reading day one.