It was a very enjoyable (and even somewhat profitable) trip to Las Vegas for the WSOP this year. A couple folks have asked for some of the details so I will share them here.
Arrived on Wednesday the 4th around 9 AM. I had $400 in use or lose vouchers on Delta so I flew first class from KC to Salt Lake to Vegas. Nice flights, no problems. I went straight to the Rio to get checked in and I planned on playing in the 1 K event that day at noon before I got too nervous!
The room wasn't ready so I decided to cash in my $100 in Free Play at the Tropicana I "earned" in March. I won a bit at video poker and by the time the Rio called me to let me know my room was ready I was in the middle of a $290 win at a cash game ($50 of this was when I won a raffle for playing for an hour, the Trop is giving all sorts of promotions and rakeback and I was very impressed overall with the room, I'd recommend checking it out.). I also had a good deli meal with my comps while I played and by the time I went back to the Rio it was just after noon and I decided to nap and wait for the event the next day as this last 1 K event had two Day 1's. The play at the Trop was pretty good overall but there were some players there at the 1/3 game that could be exploited. I felt good about my decisions and this gave me a bit more confidence for the tourney.
I did visit with one of the dealers at the Trop who was trying to round up some stakes so she could play in the 1 K event the next day also. I was impressed with her general demeanor and knowledge of the game so I gave her my info and was willing to buy 10% of the action, she was not able to get enough backing to play but I felt like this would have been a worthwhile investment and I would have enjoyed having someone else to follow quite a bit.
After some sleep at the Rio, I decided to play some VP at the Palms. They have taken out their 100+% VP at the dollar level so I played fifty cent machines mostly. After an up and down session I basically broke even. Later, I played a bit at the Rio and lost for a while and then hit a nice jackpot on VP (they have surprisingly decent VP compared to what they once had). I crashed early to get ready for my big event Thursday.
I actually missed the first two hands of my event on Thursday. I figured they would not start right at noon as they usually have some ceremonies and what not. I sat in seat 6 (great when I can see the cards) and things were pretty uneventful until I had KK and built a nice pot pre-flop when the dreaded Ace hit on the flop. I still led out for about half the pot and was faced with an all in (and one other player had called preflop) and I had to fold. That left me with about 1800 at the first break down from 3000.
I played well after the break and went all in post flop with 88 on a 679 board and got back over 3000 chips. After that it was a lot of folding and crappy cards. Finally toward the end of level five I had A 10 and got busted by AJ on an AKJ board. I was a bit short and the blinds and antes were becoming substantial. I realize these tourneys aren't that deep stacked but I don't think the play is all that great and I felt with a few breaks I could have done well. As it was I'd say there were probably half of the people busted out by the time I got knocked out. Given a real lack of cards I felt okay about this. My friend Tim and I had a disagreement about this but I think there is significant positive equity in these tournaments albeit with quite a bit of variance.
So after I busted out of the tournament I decided to decompress a bit. I grabbed a salad and took it to the room and relaxed a bit. I thought about trying to play the 7 PM tourney at Venetian but I decided to head over to Casino Royale instead. The Royale has gotten extremely tight with what used to be decent free play and comps on food so I don't know how much more often I will be going there. I did have some good success on the video poker at the bar and you always meet some interesting folks there. One lady sitting next to me was only playing three quarters at a time on the machines and she made sure to let the bartender know that she wasn't sure if she qualified for free drinks or not. (This bartender had let a umm.... "working girl" know that she would not get free drinks betting one quarter every five minutes or so) but the bartender let this lady know she qualified. Anyway I am quite obsessive about video poker and I let out an odd sound when this lady held a pair of 8's with an ace kicker. I know I should keep my mouth shut but I couldn't help it! Anyway she asks me to help give her some advice and I tell her that I wanted to see her play five credits at a time and win a royal flush jackpot so when she was down to $36 I put $24 in her machine and we would split the winnings 60/40. She had to ask her husband permission first which I was fine with and we tried to win together. She managed to hit a $100 jackpot and cashed out $100 so I made $16 profit there with my $40 share. That was a lot of fun and I was glad that we won as a team. This got the attention of another one quarter at a time player who was looking to earn some business and I politely declined that offer. There were quite a few working girls out at the Royale I guess. I went back to the Rio and inquired about keeping that room for Friday night and was quoted $179 which was not for me.
Friday I got up and decided to play in the $560 "bounty" tournament. While playing Crazy 4 Poker I was quoted a rate of $109 and decided to take it. My thought was I could use reward credits to pay for the room but that did not end up happening. There was a bracelet winner at our table that this lady busted after about 30 minutes so she won a quick $500. Outside of Kathy Leibert I didn't see too many players I recognized in this tourney. I signed up an hour late as did everyone at my table. I had built my 20,000 stack up to about 52,000 when I raised under the gun with AQ of spades to 8000 (blinds 1500/3000 with a 400 ante), only the big blind calls. Flop comes 6, 7, 10 rainbow check check. Turn comes Ace and big blind leads out for 8000 and he has 16,000 behind. I guess my Spidey sense was off as I put him all in and he was happy to call with his 8,9 of clubs as I was drawing dead. That left me with about 20,000 and after an attempt to lead out from the big blind on a dry board with nothing was bullied with an all in I was left with about 11,000 and fading fast. I pushed my last 9100 in with J 5 off with the blinds quickly approaching and was snap called with QQ. I ended up 361st out of 1140 and felt like I was a bit unfortunate not to make some money on this one.
Since I was busted I moved from Rio to Aria which was my home for three nights. Aria is obviously a great hotel and by the time I got checked in and settled Chuck had arrived at the airport. I took a cab over to Mirage to meet him and his buddy Donnie met us for some highly fun and profitable blackjack. We ended up hitting the piano bar at Harrah's (lots of fun) and Carnival Court along with some roulette and Crazy 4 Poker. I only play roulette with Chuck who loves roulette. We ended up eating breakfast at Canter's around 4 AM (Horrible service, okay food) and I cabbed it back to Aria. My friend Tim who was playing in the ME tried to meet us but it didn't work out.
I told Chuck we had to eat at Lotus of Siam this trip and his being hung over would be no excuse for us not to make it. Well he was too hung over for lunch so I just met him at Carnival Court. They had a great '80s cover band and it's always a good time there. He told me about the Alan lookalike from the Hangover being at Caesar's and I decided to track him down so we could get a picture. (well worth a $5 tip!). I'll post the pic on Tigerboard. Anyway, I had a Facebook friend talk about being ready to hit the Horseshoe and drinking at Cheesecake Factory so we went in Caesars to track him down. It turns out he was in Cleveland! We went and had an excellent meal at Lotus of Siam and gambled at Mirage to try our "$250 play". We always take one chance at $5 Video Poker on a 10 play machine hoping to win our fortune. We have had better results than we are entitled to but this night the machines were mean. Chuck wanted to try a third round but I was near my loss limit so I told him I'd play my last $150 on one play $2 VP until I hit $250 or went broke. Well the machine froze up when I was dealt AAAA2 for $4,000! Nice!
The plan was to meet up with Chuck on Sunday but he was hurting pretty bad and we had another late night Saturday so I slept in and went over to watch Tim in the Main Event and play the $235 Megastack tourney. Again I was pretty happy with how I played in this one but again it's a fast structure.
I'd built my starting stack up from 15,000 to about 20,000 at the end of level six (300/600 blinds, 75 ante) when I called from the big blind a raise to 1400 with the same 8 9 of clubs that busted me. Flop comes 6c, 7h, Jc and I check to the raiser who bets 4000 and is called. I push all in over the top and am called twice by two bigger stacks. Original raiser has AJ off and other guy has 4h 5h. I looked it up and I was about 54% to triple up and then some but a 3 hit the turn and a 2 hit the river with no club so Mr. 4h 5h hit it big.
I feel much better about my poker game than I did last year at this time and I'm not crying about my luck but I feel like I could have a nice score in these tourneys if I stick with it. I then found Tim and grabbed a table at the seafood place for he and his friend (they made too early of a reservation) and railed him for a bit.
I missed the big TBC meet up over at the Tropicana and I would have liked to have attended. I especially wanted to meet some nice posters like Koala and Seattle Irish but I wanted to watch Tim and pick his brain over dinner along with his friend Bob. Those guys both know a lot about poker.
I decided to leave Monday instead of Sunday so I went to the Encore to change hotels AGAIN. This turned out to be an expensive decision but once I got checked in there and dropped my backpack in the room I waited for Tim to finish. He was too tired to meet so I went to the Riviera on my own to try their promotion. Any amount of money you lose there (up to $1000) they will give you half the money back in free play right away and the other half back a month later. It looked like I was going to take their free play as I was down $600 at one point but I hit quad 6's and then quad aces to get up $290. I think the optimal play is to try to win a bit more money than $290 but I didn't really want to spend any more time at the Riv so I cabbed it back to Aria to crash.
Tim picked me up Monday at noon and we had lunch at California Pizza on my comps after he helped me take my stuff to Encore. Like I said Encore ate into what could have been a super profitable trip but I flew back Monday night (on SWA which is my typical airline of choice) up $1500 despite spending $1500 on poker and probably at least $500 on cab fare and meals, etc.
Great trip and I was ready to come back Sunday to rail Tim's run to the final table but he got it all in with AK on an Ace high flop with 1100 players left and ran into QQ. There was no queen on board when the money went in on the flop but it showed up on the turn. After hearing about that I've decided my luck wasn't so bad. That would have given him over 30,000 in chips. Oh well.
Anyone that made it through this report thanks for reading. Sorry it's a bit light on poker analysis but my advice is eat at Lotus of Siam, drink and party at the Piano Bar at Harrah's and Carvival Court and think about giving the cash games and general casino at Tropicana try as their customer service is very good and they really have made that hotel impressive!