Went for Aria, ended up in Hell

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Work is always slow around the holidays, and I couldn’t resist the thought of a bunch of rich noobs checking out the poker tables at the grand opening of City Center so on Monday I booked an unplanned trip to Vegas for Thur-Monday (Dec 17-21). This is when things went absolutely nuts!

For those that have been on AVP a while, you may recall that I hit a Royal Flush in Mississippi Stud in January for $30K and then in April I went on a sick run on Full Tilt turning $600 into $42K into $16K in less than two weeks. Since then, I have made several trips to LV and had been slowly giving back my gains. I can’t play poker for more than a few hours at a time and always end up playing way more table games than I want/plan and losing. I know I have a gambling problem, but am somehow able to control it most of the time. I have self-excluded myself from Full Tilt, Absolute, UB, Stars and a bunch of other sites to avoid temptation. I decided on this trip that I would play a lot more craps and forego the higher house edge on ‘carnival’ games like M-Stud and Let It Ride (LIR).

On Tuesday night (two days before LV), I went onto the Wizard of Odds website to totally master the right bets & right way to play to minimize the house edge. His Craps game is quite good and I was toying around with come bets, etc. They had an ad for BoDog and I remembered I had an account there before, but wasn’t sure if I had excluded myself and thought that practicing with a few hundo live would be better than with play chips (example 1 of addictive habit). Within 1 minute, I deposit $300 and within 5 minutes am broke. I deposit another $300 and get to play for a while and now I have about $750 (up $150). I don’t want to be on-tilt when I get to Vegas, so I should cash out. Then I see they have LIR and think there could be no harm in playing $1-2 hands. For those that play, you know the game has a $1 bonus bet for hitting huge hands that is a complete scam (26% house edge). On Bodog, they do it different and pay out less for sraights/flushes/full houses but have a progressive for the Royal Flush, which is at $131K. It pays 10% for a straight flush. In 10+ years of playing, I have never flopped a SF and my brain tells me it would be cool to hit for $13K right before the Holidays so I play $2 hands and the $1 bonus. After about 20-25 hands, I am winning, but realize the bonus is stupid so I stop. About 5 hands later I get dealt the KJT of spades. I let it ride and the first card is the As. Knowing I am about to be disappointed, I LIR again and the freakin’ Qs rolls off for my second Royal of 2009. Pays 1000-1, so I scoop $6K. While this is cool, I am sick because I just missed $131K. I now have about $7K and proceed to play 3 card poker (3CP), some 3 card rummy game, roulette and more LIR. I hit a 3 card run of A-2-3 of diamonds on the rummy game which pays $5K. Before I know what hit me, I am up to $14K and now it is time to cash out. They are sending me $3K per week.

Wednesday rolls by and I am finally off to Vegas on a heater. Staying at Paris, as it is the closest HET property to CC. I get the end room with a view of CC and the B fountains. The room is so big, it actually has a hallway in it. This only reaffirms that I have a gambling problem. I have lunch at the Paris buffet and make the much longer walk than it looks to CC. You have to go past PH to the bridge, go up/down stairs, do more walking, go through a mall, walk some more and you are finally there (about 20 minutes). I would be interested to hear the rationale behind putting the casino so far back on the property. It is about 4PM and to my surprise/disappointment they only have 1 $5/10 game going so I get on the list and play $2/5. My very first hand dealt is 9-2 offsuit, so I am quickly reminded that cards are cards everywhere. I play about 2.5 hours with no real hands of note and finally get called for $5/10 up about $300. I walk over and see a table full of the same faces I have played with before at the V and B. Table is tight as a drum and I decide to leave after an hour down $100. 99% of the hands were finished with a cont bet or re-raise on the flop. I think we may have seen 1 river. I played one hand very well when I lost the min with JJ against KK on a low flop. I have reviewed CC elsewhere on AVP, but overall I did not like it. Too noisy, smoky and staff was rude. Felt like I was at the B. Food is 3x overpriced ($14 for a hot dog & coke is not my style). Cashed out +$200 and decided to check out the table games. I hit a flush on LIR, a small profit on craps and 3CP and pit boss gives me a buffet comp. I left CC about 9PM up $500. I am off to a decent start.

I get back to Paris and can’t walk by own personal crack game of Miss Stud. I win about $900 and proceed to hit a bunch of other games booking small profits each time. It is late and I’m tired and am heading back to the room when I see the Green Machine slot. I have completely given up playing slots but this slot is so stupid and the fastest way to lose $100 in Nevada, so obviously I decide to donate. I get down to $14 in about 12 seconds and Bingo, I hit it for $1,000. I can’t hit cash out fast enough and get back to my room about 2AM up $3K after day 1.

Another thing I never understood about Vegas is why housekeeping comes in your room so early. I also use the DN Disturb sign, but forgot. Sure enough, about 7:30, some lady storms in the room yelling and wakes me up. I piss around most of the morning and head back to CC around 10:30 to use my buffet comp. I always try to go about this time as you get breakfast and lunch together. The food was awesome, but the décor/setup made me feel like I was in a high school cafeteria in LA. If you go there, you will understand what I’m talking about. The breakfast buffet was $19.99 and very much worth it IMO. While eating, I decide that I should just spend the weekend playing $5/10 or lower and not risk losing much after such a fast start. Then I question this strategy because I am running so good. After lunch, I head down to the poker room and they have ONE table going ($3/6 limit, I think) around noon on grand opening weekend??? Disappointed, I leave, never to return. I do meet Photoc who is a part-time dealer there and say hello. I decide to test out the tram and take it to B. This proves to be one of the worst decisions of my life.

The tram drops you off WAY in the back and you have to walk past the shops, conservatory, lobby, etc. to get to the casino, then through the casino & more shops to take the bridge back to Bally’s/Paris. As long or longer than the way I came. As soon as I get to the casino, I see a LIR table and dump $500 in about 20 minutes without winning a single hand. Confident, I rebuy and lose another buy-in even faster. I make a mad dash back to Paris and proceed to lose at Craps, M-Stud, LIR, BJ, 3CP and anything else I try. Being the idiot that I am and chasing losses, over the next 10 hours I go from $3K up to $5K down in the most amazing bad streak I’ve ever had. I never played a single hand of poker that day. Did I mention that I’m an idiot?

I had planned on playing the $340 tourney at the V on Saturday and decided this would be a good way to kill some time. Before I left, I was going to bet $100 on Fresno because I know Wyoming sucks. To my surprise, the spread has dropped from 12 to 10, so I double up to $200. I meet DCarp from AVP and take my seat. The Wyo game is just starting and I have a great view of the game. My table is very weird – average age was 55 and they were tight/stubborn. If they would call most anything, but rarely raise, so bluffing was out the window. I picked up enough hands to stay afloat, but was witnessing an avalanche of all-ins where the worst hand won every time. For example, there is a raise, a re-raise and some old bird goes all-in for 8K while the blinds were still 100/200. Raiser folds and re-raiser snap calls with AA. Old bird flips over 3-6 offsuit. Flop is 3-6-x and he takes it down. About 3 hands later I win a race with AK against AA guy’s QQ and am up to about 18K. There were about 120 runners and it paid 18 spots. Blinds are getting up there and we get down to about 60 players and I get moved to another table. This table is the complete opposite – all young/aggressive Internet types. I re-raise them a few times and they fold every time and I build to about 25K. After a while, with antes now kicking in heavy I do the re-raise thing again with 6-7 just trying to take a pot down. Chip leader calls my raise and flop is 6-6-5. We proceed to get it all in and I double up against his 88. My image is shot, but I am either chip leader or close with 50 remaining. The guy to my left goes all in for his last 8K with garbage, gets called by AQ, and rivers a pair to survive. He then goes on a sick heater and has nearly 100K in less than 30 minutes. The Wyo game is now over after 2OT. I get some good cards, but have to fold AK and JJ on bad flops and am down to 30K. I then get it all in against a short stack with AQ vs AJ and lose. I ship my last 12K in OTB with KQ and only get called by the BB with K8. 8 on the river and I am out in about 30th place. On tilt, I dump another $500 at the tables and use some comps to get a Short Rib Sloppy Joe at the Grand Lux.

Down over $6K, I decide to have fun the rest of the trip and come up with an idea to play $1/2 in all the crappy rooms. Plan is buy in for the max, double up and go to the next one. I had back to Paris and start my quest at Bally’s. First hand, UTG raises to $8, every person but me calls and we go 8 way to the flop. After 3-5 offsuit rakes a monster pot, I realize I am in a different universe, but you gotta love it. Before 1 orbit, I double up my $300 with AK vs A9 on an A-high board and I am off. Bills only has $2/4 limit, so I go on to the Flamingo. It takes about 45 minutes to double up here. O’Sheas has one table going and it is full, so the IP is my next stop. These are some of the drunkest people I have seen and I’m not sure how they are even functioning. The drunkest one wants a shot of Patron, but waitress tells him this is only for Diamond members. I oblige and order one and give it to him. Stacks are short (all less than $100), so I figure I will just felt somebody and move on. I get it all in twice with best of it (88 vs A4 and AK vs AT) and lose both. I decide to take my remaining $80 and move on. It is now after midnight and instead of going to Harrah’s poker room to resume my quest, I decide to head back to the room and give up on another frustrating day when I somehow end up at the M-Stud table at the Flamingo. I burn through another $1K without winning a hand and am now down about $8K on the trip. Instead of going back to the room, I decide to take by last $2K and play some $5/10 at the B. I actually pick up AA and double through a short stack who hits TPNK. Play till about 4AM and cash out up $1K.

This TR is already way to long, but the process of winning at poker and losing at the tables continues on Sunday and I lost my whole BR on the trip after being up $3K the first night. I had a very early flight, was tired and in bed by 5PM. I was supposed to meet Grange95 for the start of his trip, but couldn’t muster the stamina to do it.

I guess I justified the big loss due to my win on BoDog and was still up $4K for the week. Of course, I could have hit for $131K but that’s they way it goes sometimes. Two royal flushes in one year is pretty sick, but the law of averages says I will never hit another one in my lifetime, so that sucks.

I did learn a few things on this trip that should benefit the AVP community. Most importantly, the $1/2 games are silly soft and I see no reason to play much else as you are basically guaranteed to win. I completely understand why LVM and the others consistently average $20+ hour. Secondly, I think CC is going to be a failure – I just don’t see enough people spending enough money in that place to make it work. IMO, it is not as nice as the B, V or even Caesar’s. Lastly, the law of averages does exist – when you are beating games with a house advantage – QUIT!

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Comments

  1. Nice TR, JJ. Stay out of the pits!!! I had one hellish trip through the Wynn a few years ago that taught me that lesson. I was only minus $1K in the blink of an eye on that trip, but I don't think I've played a pit game since. It sounds like I'm talking to an upscale TBC, but quit giving the house money.

  2. Great report! Sorry you were so cold in the pits, but I agree with you that the 1/2 and 2/5 NLHE games are still beatable for good money. Next time we both make it to Vegas, we'll definitely connect and maybe donk it up at O'Shea's. :wink:

  3. @redright88

    LOL - this thought crossed my mind on more than one occasion.

  4. "I know I have a gambling problem, but am somehow able to control it most of the time."

    I'm guessing this trip was NOT one of those times :exclamation:

  5. @jjmaximum

    LOL - this thought crossed my mind on more than one occasion.[/quote]

    more funny than similar. obviously JJ loves the action on the pit games, but he is actually playing within his means. He was gambling with excess money and had a BR solely limited to this trip. I suspect despite losing the large amount of cash it was still lots of fun and worth it. As opposed to TBC who is constantly on the edge of survival (no fun).

    good TR JJ... better luck at the pits next time. Or how about instead of the pits you do the Patron challenge at IP? See how long you can do one shot of Patron each orbit without losing your stack or passing out.

    @jjmaximum how???? Did you do this in poker? I'm guessing table games, but how??? Do you have the link as I missed the story somehow?

  6. @jjmaximum

    LOL - this thought crossed my mind on more than one occasion.[/quote]

    You can only claim the upscale TBC status if you find yourself waiting for the bus with a stack of purple chips in your sock. lol

  7. @vookenmeister

    LOL - this thought crossed my mind on more than one occasion.[/quote]

    more funny than similar. obviously JJ loves the action on the pit games, but he is actually playing within his means. He was gambling with excess money and had a BR solely limited to this trip. I suspect despite losing the large amount of cash it was still lots of fun and worth it. As opposed to TBC who is constantly on the edge of survival (no fun).

    good TR JJ... better luck at the pits next time. Or how about instead of the pits you do the Patron challenge at IP? See how long you can do one shot of Patron each orbit without losing your stack or passing out.

    @jjmaximum how???? Did you do this in poker? I'm guessing table games, but how??? Do you have the link as I missed the story somehow?[/quote]

    vookenmeister, u shouldnt have missed my private tourney on stars the other day, how u been? and arent u aware that fulltilt poker does not offer table games?
    and what about when my roll was at 8300 during the wsop and then i dropped it to $6000 (first time this year i had a big drop) out of many. was it still survival money i was losing then or was it just excess money? reason i ask is because had i managed the remaining $6000 well, i couldve lived the rest of my life off it never going anywhere close to broke, and couldve still been back to 15k by 2010.

  8. Hey tony

    I am not on stars only bodog. Meaning of my post is that jj was playing with a trip BR not his life bankroll. Your losses are scarier and thus much more stressful.

    I know because my online bankroll started very low. I feel worse losing 50 bucks online than I do losing 1000 live because the money means more to me

    If u ever play on bodog find me (though ia am only doing 25 50 cent no limit and 10 - 20 sit n gos

  9. @vookenmeister

    It was strictly poker cash games. I started with $600 at $1/2 and moved up in stakes as the BR increased, finally playing $25/50NL. I had one especially sick run - I was at about $8K and was waiting for a seat in a $5/10 game - decided to play $5/10HU with some dude and won $13K in 5 minutes off of him.

  10. They are sending me $3K per week.

    is this a policy of their's or did you choose this option? I would be pissed if I couldn't get all my money when I wanted it.

  11. @Tucson Jim

    is this a policy of their's or did you choose this option? I would be pissed if I couldn't get all my money when I wanted it.[/quote]

    Their policy is $3K per week by check. It comes from Canada via FedEx overnight. Their site states that for any amount over $10K they reserve the right to pay 'in the manner most appropriate'. They offered to send it all via bank wire which I would have received in a few days, but my bank is a small local CU that can't accept international bank wires. I probably could have figured out a better way, but I was actually in the LV airport when I received the email and just decided to go the easy route. I have to say that BD has been very prompt & helpful.

  12. @jjmaximum

    It was strictly poker cash games. I started with $600 at $1/2 and moved up in stakes as the BR increased, finally playing $25/50NL. I had one especially sick run - I was at about $8K and was waiting for a seat in a $5/10 game - decided to play $5/10HU with some dude and won $13K in 5 minutes off of him.[/quote]

    you are my hero!!! did you do a write up on it? It's taken me 3 months just to go from $200 to $750. of course, I am not putting more than 10% of my bankroll at risk at any time so I am just starting to play .25/.50 Oh and I prob play at most 2 hours a night here and there.

    stilll... very impressive...

  13. and if you would have hit the $131k it would have taken 43 weeks to get your money at $3k per week, yikes. Still I agree, very impressive.

  14. @jjmaximum

    This is why I love the IP! Great report!

    -Ryan

  15. Nice TR. The sloppy joes at Grand Luxe are the goods.

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