Friday, 29 Jun.
First night in Vegas on solo trip. Father's Day gift from wife and kids. Twelve year old daughter asked what I would like for Father's Day, following Mother's Day and I told her I would like a solo trip to Vegas. She told her mom and here I am, in Vegas. Wife’s cousin was coming to town so we could not go with my sister and brother with their family to vacation in California and ending in Vegas. So it was just me in Vegas with them for 3 days. Results turned out great (unbelievable, actually). I won in every single session, in poker as well as table games. Sat with my Mom (she came along with Sister) twice for Paigow, won $100 and $50, and $200 playing Blackjack while playing at Aria, waiting for poker room seat.
7.5 hrs (MGM)
First session was Friday night, after dinner with the family. Grand Wok at MGM – food was only so-so.
I did not start off too well, maybe the rust from being away from casino for a long time. I was not nervous but still not in the groove of things. The table was not very well lit in the temporary poker space. One end of the table was very dim. It may have affected me on one hand. Cards were dead and I tried to make a play at the pot where straddler c-bet $20 into $30 pot. I did not see a caller from the dark end of the table, so I raised $30 more. Straddler folded and I was about to muck, when dealer stopped me. The other caller called my raise. Oh no. That was not supposed to happen. I lost the hand and was down so I bought in for $200 more to increase my stack a bit.
I don't remember too many hands other than that one, but I did make a slight come back for $129 profit.
Saturday, 01 Jul.
Did not get much sleep as I went to bed at 5 am, only to wake up at 8 am. Went to breakfast with Mom and played Paigow with her for about 30 minutes and won $100. Took the profit and ran to the poker room where my brother was still playing from night before. He had about $1700 in front of him at that point (got up as high as $3500 and ended with $3000 some hours later). He told me to try the tournament. It was only $80 and winner prize was $2000. He was wrong, the prize pool started with $2000, not winner prize. I tried it anyway. It started out with about 30 entries, and grew to 50 before first break. Probably about 10 people must have re-bought into the tourney. It turned out to be a breeze. I thought that my playing style, aggressive at certain points, good run of cards at critical points, patience at others, and weak field resulted in overall chip lead at final table and ended in chopped pot with higher payout due to chip count. 1st place was >$1100, but I took $675, along with co-leader, and 4 others took $420 each.
Tourney was $80 buy-in, with 6000 chips, 20 minute levels. First 2-3 levels can be played with normal poker strategy but after that, chip count was more important, as it dictated play, in terms of aggressiveness, fear factor. It really gave tells if you can get a player's style/image down. For instance, tight players did not raise in position to take pots unless they had a hand. Some players, when down to 5-10 bb's early went all in with relatively weak hands. If you had a decent hand, like AQ/AJ/88, KQ and can afford a 30% hit to your stack, then you can isolate and make the call to eliminate the player.
I don't remember too many hands from this tourney either. I do remember chipping up steadily at first, then when blinds went up quickly, I was aggressive to take down pots uncontested with timely raises pre-flop. It was as much to do with chip utility as it was with having cards. That's why I don't remember too many hand histories. I noticed that my right hand neighbor was playing tight and running real good at one junction in the tourney. About mid-way he took out about 5 players at the table in the span of 30 minutes. Only problem was, he did not use his chips to intimidate, just stood pat waiting for good cards. I decided to stay aggressive, and with some good cards, I raised and bet strong even when on a draw. Probably reason for not remembering hands was because I did not go to showdown very often.
We got to the final table with 10 players and some people started asking for a chop already. They only had about 2-3 BB's so I said no, as I was chip leader with about 30-40 BB's. I told them I would take almost 2nd place prize money, and they did not agree. We played on and as additional players dropped, I was pressured to chop again. Finally, with 6 players, one of the guys that had been playing with me (he was fellow Houstonian) pleaded with me. Another player had also chipped up to my stack level. They offered us more so co-leaders took $675 while other four took $420 each. Everyone seemed happy for 4 hours of work. I played only 3.5 hours as I came in the tourney half way into 2nd level. I took the deal for a few reasons. Although I was confident that I was stronger player, even with relatively short experience, than the remaining players, especially when also considering chip count, I was not really on a mission to prove it. All of the others wanted to go do other things, not play poker. I told them that I was just going to go back to cash game, but they did seem like they had other things in mind. The blinds were going up and luck played a major role in hands, so my relative strength of play is not as much a factor. Almost 2nd place prize money is not bad. I could easily get unlucky and fall to 3rd/4th for $300-$400 prize. Took the deal and went on to try a different casino.
Saturday, 01 Jul.
10.5 hrs (Aria)
One of the goals for this trip was to try different poker rooms. On this day, it was my intention to take cab to Aria, and walk to Bellagio. Only problem was, Aria took so long (>1 hour) to get into game, I did not want to go to Bellagio and do the same. Plus, I increased my stack during the peak hours of play and did not want to leave. So, I got stuck at Aria, dropped back my winnings and left just about even.
The wait for 1-3 was 36 deep when I signed up. I went to play Blackjack while waiting, won $200 for my buyin (actually bought in for $300). Came back only to wait some more, and list was now about 45 and growing, same with 2-5 game. Finally got seated in room near the podium.
Nice room, but a bit noisy, mostly from players moving around, and podium continuously calling for new players. But, I loved the lighting on the table, very bright, but mainly directly on the board, perfect in my opinion. I would have liked to have cup holders on the arm rest/pad, but not major issue. The chairs' backs were very springy, so you tend to lean back more or had to sit up straight.
I dropped some money early on as I tend to play aggressive, chase cards, and try to bluff, etc. I added $100 and things picked up. I don't remember too many hands but I chipped up to about $650. But then, the table started to change players and a couple of better players sat down. I did not like their demeanor or playing style and contemplated changing tables. I did not get involved with them though. One guy got on a hot streak and ran his stack from $300 to about $1300 within 2 hours. Another couple of friends joined also. White guy was weak player. Black guy was better, but I miss-read him as weak also and lost a major pot. I was sitting next to a fellow Texan, so we were chatting for quite some time. He was not very good, and he and I got my neighbor to the left on tilt.
1st hand. I had A9, suited, in MP. I limped in along with 3-4 others. Tilter raised to $12 and we were about 3-4 in the pot. Tilter complained about being card dead and had even changed seats to get better cards. Flop came with an Ace and rags. Checked to raiser and he came out with $20 bet. I thought it was kind of weak. With early position caller ahead of me, I decided to take a stab at the pot, thinking that raiser/tilter was just c-betting. Raise of $40 got him to call and EP player to fold. Rag hit the turn. I bet out $50 and tilter was mad, tanked for a minute and folded unhappily. He said that I must have hit a set. I said, no, I only had A9. He got angry. He said that I was playing wrong and that his call of my raise should have signified that he had a big ace. I told him that I knew that and the only way for me to win the pot was to follow the raise with a bet. He said that players in a 1-3 game don't make plays like that. I thought it was an insult to the table, but no one seemed to say anything to him. He then went on a couple of minutes later and said that I was an aggressive player. Later on, he continued, said that if I was going to stay aggressive and bet into him, he would call, even if I made a set. He was going to show me. He said, “I’m ready to play poker now.”
Right after that hand, my fellow Texan made a bad call, but had a good read on Tilter. I did not pay attention to the hand, but tilter complained, called the guy as Donk for calling his turn raise with K6, on K high board. Fellow Texan was a Donk, but with a good read as his K was good. Tilter went for re-buy.
Not too long after that, I had 44, called a small raise with Tilter behind me. Flop was great, A45. I checked and tilter bet. Turn was a blank. I check raised Tilter and he was upset. River put a 5 on the board. I bet something like $100 and he called and said something like, do you have the 5? I said no and showed the 4's. Sent him for another re-buy.
He proceeded to chat it up with a couple of guys at his end of the table. He then went on a run and got lucky to draw a river flush to double up against one of them. Other guy miss-played his flopped set. Allowed Tilter to check raise the turn without putting him all in. I was not paying attention to the hand the whole time, but saw the results. Tilter quickly exited the table after gaining back his losses and saying to the other guy, "sorry, but it was not personal". I thought it was kind of hypocritical for his statement, after berating me for aggressive play and calling other guy a Donk. After he left, I told the guy at the end of the table that I thought he should have pushed the turn, and he admitted to playing the hand wrong. He was upset at himself for losing the hand to what he called, "worst player at the table".
I ended up on a bad play myself. I was just telling Texan that A-6 was a hand that I almost never play and it was my nemesis. But, after being card dead, I was on button with it and limped in. Four to 5 players and flop was great, A36. With only $15 in the pot, I bet $10 and only one caller, new Black guy in SB. He had been playing fairly tight. Turn was a 5. I bet $20 and V raised me $40 more. I knew he made a hand but was not sure how strong. If he hit the straight, I could still suck out with a 6 or A. Made the call and river was a blank. He went all in, $170. I went into the tank for about 1 minute. He had one of 3 hands, straight, A5 or 65. I was hoping for A5, so I made the bad call. Straight was the correct answer. I thought that this was the worst play of the trip for me and it haunted me.