First time poster, long time lurker.
A buddy of mine I grew up with and I try to get to Vegas now and again. We can get in, split some costs and not have to entertain each other. Works out pretty well.
Flew to Vegas on Wednesday, June 1st. He wanted to rent a car (we just missed the parking fees at MGM resorts which I believe are in effect now - they were "unboxing" the machines during my trip). Stayed at Mirage and arrived on property at about 11:00am local time. It was hot even for Vegas standards for early June, reaching at least 100 each day. I waited in the check-in line and brought me an ice cold beer that evaporated before reaching my stomach. Reserved a standard queen room and front desk clerk took my $20 tip and upgraded me to a view room with queens. Hadn't tried it before and although I don't spend much time in the room, it was kind of cool to see that it can work.
We dumped our bags in the room and I went to the MLife desk to claim a MyVegas reward (2-1 buffet at Mirage), then we ate at LVB Burger at Mirage. I'd heard good things about it and it was enormous and delicious.
My buddy is not a poker player - he likes blackjack and craps. I'll play each as well and we made our way over to the Linq to check out the new promenade, etc. Pretty early in the day and I'm pretty sure we played a few hands there and at Mirage but I wanted to soak in the sun. Went to the pool - really nice pool area. The waterfalls and tall trees provide tranquility and shade when needed. The water felt great. Plenty of pretty girls in bikinis and while I wasn't there long, it was refreshing and something I plan to incorporate more often on future trips. Went back to room and showered and changed.
We ended up heading downtown the first night for some specific reason I don't recall now. Played BJ at Golden Nugget, Golden Gate and Plaza. I have never been to Golden Gate that early before (I guess) since all the dealers were fully dressed and there were no dancers. That changed around 7:00, I think. I don't remember the exact sequence but I know we played downtown for most of the night. Went to Pizza Rock (my first time - always heard great things and it did not disappoint). Drove back to Mirage and crashed. We had an early flight and woke up around 3:00 Vegas time that day. I was down a bit from BJ but really went for poker tournaments.
Thursday, June 2 - woke early and walked to Hash House a Go-Go at Linq (again, heard great things so tried it out). Enormous portions and very good. Must have arrived at the perfect time because I only waited about 5 minutes to sit but when leaving the lobby area was packed. Don't remember the time, though.
I went to Rio to check out the WSOP. I'm sure many reading this can relate to the feeling of actually being at a place and around people you have seen on tv a billion times. I made the 25 mile trek from the Rio casino back to the WSOP area and tried to soak it all in. I was like a kid at Christmas. Obviously the WSOP had just started but there were tons of people there and it was really all pretty cool. I stopped by the TPE booth and met some people I had only known through twitter/Twitch/etc. I wasn't rolled for Colossus but wanted to at least play one of the daily deepstacks events. Not a bracelet event but still an official WSOP event and that was good enough for me. Decided to play a tournament at PH that night and the WSOP daily deepstack the next night. I couldn't register a day in advance so goofed off a bit more then went to PH.
PH has their tournament series that runs concurrently with the WSOP. I played a 7pm $100 with a similar structure to the WSOP deepstack. 30 minute levels, 15 minute break every 4 levels and started with 200bb. They had poker tables in the main casino area that I believe were all cash games (and all pretty full). The tournament area was upstairs. The tourney had around 150 runners and late reg of 4 levels. I've played in a few live tournaments but always the smaller, scheduled daily ones at casinos so this was actually a pretty large live tourney for me. I do play online and those are considerably larger. There were definitely some very soft spots and a lot of weird play but overall fairly straightforward. I think in the first few hours I only saw one 3bet. Primarily a pretty loose and weak table. Unfortunately, I didn't see much in the way of playable hands. I actually made what felt like a tight fold with JJ in the small blind but based on the reads I had at the time I decided to lay it down considering the action in front of me. BB shoved after I folded and got the first two actors to shove, which made me feel a bit better about my tight fold. Turns out it was KK v QQ v AT (don't ask me) and the kings held. Tourney paid 15 places. I was hovering around 20bb most of the night. Got moved a couple of times which threw me off a bit considering I had developed some pretty good reads on the guys at my original table. In the end, I fought tooth and nail with my short stack until I got it in with 88 and called by a big stack with AT. He hit an A on the river and I busted about 8 from the money. That took about seven hours (busted around 200am) and I was bummed but not much I could do. Returned to Mirage and grabbed a sandwich at the Pantry, which is a cool little place near the elevators. Sandwich was good and it was pretty quiet in there at that time. Crashed.
Friday, June 3 - Had breakfast at the Mirage buffet (Cravings), which was fine. I spent the morning doing a little sightseeing and playing some BJ here at there center strip. Went to the pool again for an hour or so. Thought about playing the Mirage tourney at 2:00 pm but decided not to since I didn't know how long it would run. Played a little BJ at Mirage and was up a bit then headed over to Rio.
You can (and should) register for the daily deepstack tourneys in the room the tourneys are held (I can't remember which one it is but ask and you'll get pointed there). The main reg line includes everything and, while I was there, the Colossus. The line was insane and I'm glad I didn't stand in it before finding out you don't need to. Registration for the deepstack was quick and organized, despite a bit of a line. There were other tournaments going on in the room (it's immense - maybe the size of a big Wal-Mart or bigger) and the sight and sound (all that shuffling!) was again very cool.
I played the $135 7pm. It had about 300 runners with a similar structure to the PH tourney. Started with 100bb, though. 30 minute levels, 20 minute break after every 4 levels. Pretty soft table here as well although there were a couple of guys who were very competent. I got hit with the deck early and called a river shove with an overpair (TT) on a scary, connected board. I underplayed my hand and he bet three times into me. I had him covered and picked off his bluff to bust him. I iso rasied in position with AK v an early position raiser who had a pretty small stack. I raised to put him in if he called which he did after tanking and complaining for a few minutes. He had KQs and my AK held, vanquishing another from the tourney. I had a pretty good image and was taking down pots with cbets and decided to raise a T9s from early position. Got a few callers and the flop came Ad8s7d. I was first to act and bet about 1/3 pot. Guy to my left raised all-in, next guy (smallish stack) shoved. I had them both covered and called. Each of them had an A and I caught my flush to gobble them both up and dispense two more from the tourney. (too bad it wasn't a knockout). Unfortunately, I got AA in against 77 and he caught a 7 on the flop. Funny thing was the river completed my flush draw but it was 7h giving him quads. Not only brutal but dealer thought I won. That took about half my stack. I got moved to a table where everyone had heaps. The structure really takes off about 4 hours in, with pretty big changes each level. Again, I was stuck having to navigate a small stack, which I did effectively. This one paid 42 and I managed to hang around until the top 30. It was really cool to go hand for hand and have the director announce that were were all in the money. So, I soaked that in and continued to do what I could. I ended up pretty desperate and got it in with A7s with around 8bb and busted. I soaked in the walk to payouts. The line for payouts and the thrill of actually cashing in a tournament with WSOP emblazoned everywhere. I busted around 1:30 am and by the time I was paid it was around 2:30. At that point people were busting out of at least three different tourneys that were all itm and there was a steady stream of players walking to get paid. Bought a souvenir shirt and caught a cab to Mirage.
Saturday, June 4 - woke up early (600am) and played some craps. Actually made a huge profit on that in a few hours. Checkout at 10:00 for car return and airport.
All very low stakes but I couldn't be happier about the cash (and the last morning's profit). Am trying to find a way to return before it's done. Either way, fun trip and as always I can't wait to get back ...