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Vegas trip report

RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion

Ok, just got back from Vegas, and here is the trip report.

Note 1: I may not post too many actual hands, so if this is better off in the new low content thread, please feel free to move it.

Note 2: I'm not going to post this all in one shot, kind of a post per day.

Hope you enjoy!


Wife has to go to SAP computer conference at the Mirage, so I'm tagging along. We head out Saturday, her conference is Tuesday through Friday. So I'm basically a married guy for the first 3 days and a bachelor the last four. My game is usually 1-2 NLHE, sometimes 2-5, recreational but serious enough about it.

Thursday: 2 days prior to the trip, cash in $100 in loose change to fund my dumb NBA betting. +EV. Wink


  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Friday: day before trip.

    Company lays off 10% (sequestration, I'm a government subcontractor). I'm not laid off. Those of us remaining have a 10% furlough (i.e. one unpaid day off every two weeks - so 10% reduction in pay for 10% reduction in hours. Furlough in effect for 12 weeks, then they re-evaluate). We knew something was coming, we weren't sure when or how much. Plus I got transferred to another department. So lots of upheaval here, but it actually was nice to have it over with before vacation and know I still had a job to come back to.

    Having a job: +++++++EV.
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber

    Set a record for airline travel (Philly to LV). Not only did the plane have wheels up to the minute of the listed departure time, but somehow we got a tailwind (which I never heard of going west), and did the flight in 4 hours. Checked into Mirage, very nice. Also very nice that the only expenses not covered by her company were my airfare; the first 2 nights in the room; and my food. So I go into the trip with a fighting chance to win enough to get us the trip for free effectively.

    Saturday: +EV
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber

    Take the wife to Hoover Dam. She had never been there before (I had) and she enjoyed it very much. We took lakeshore drive back which I had never done before, and that was a nice drive.

    Trivia: I've been to Vegas 7 times now and STILL haven't been to the Grand Canyon.

    Rental car was -EV. The Mirage gave us the right keys to the right car, but the rental agreement had the wrong car listed (a big ass SUV). So I call the phone number from the parking garage, get routed to the 800 number, and never could explain to the rep what the problem was:

    Rep: "you have the wrong car?"
    Me; "no, I have the right car, but the rental agreement has the wrong car. I want to get the agreement updated to show the correct car so we're not liable for the car we're not driving"
    Rep: "so you can't get into the car?"
    Me: "No. I'm in the right car right now; but its not the car your computer system has listed for our rental"
    Rep: "so you're locked out?"
    Me: "No. I'm in the Mirage parking deck, with the right car, with the right keys. But the car I'm in is not the one you have listed in your computers and I want to get that switched."
    Rep: "So you want to switch cars?"
    Me: "Not physically switch, just to get your computer updated to the right car"
    Rep: "I can't do that, you better go back to the desk"

    This actually went on longer than what I wrote there. It was like Who's on First. Finally go back to the rental counter, where the lady proceeded to cross out the wrong car on the paperwork and write down the correct one. So much for anyone updating the computer system. I did get her to give us 10 bucks off for wasting our time, which basically covered the gas.
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Sunday night:

    Ok, finally hit the card room. I actually ended only playing at 3 properties: TI, Mirage, and Venetian. I've been to Bellagio enough times, and it seemed like Aria wasn't dealing anything different than Venetian, so I never did make it over there.

    Nothing going at Mirage so I headed to the Venetian. Its actually kind of sad, the Mirage used to be the place to be, now they can barely keep 3 games going.

    The Venetian poker room is very nice. I believe some people had mentioned the poor waitress service but I found it to be fine. And I'd get 2 bottles of water instead of 1 when they came around, so that helped. Plus they have the big fiji bottles there which is nice. Which was key given its $3/bottle in the hotel (but there is a Walgreens next to the Venetian, so that helped on the water). I find it very hard to stay hydrated in Vegas, I don't know how you locals do it (plus the dry skin!)

    Everyone in Vegas has $2/hr comps for poker. God I wish the east coast had that.

    Laundry bell, back in 5. Next post will actually talk about some cards.
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Sunday nite poker:

    Venetian had a couple of games running I never get at home, and I'm very OCD about knowing about the existence of card games that I don't know how to play, drives me nuts. So while 75% of my playing has been holdem, I can play, have played, can hold my own in everything - razz, omaha, stud hi-lo, etc.

    The 2 games out there were Big Omaha - which is PLO, 8 or better, with 5 cards dealt to each player instead of 4 - and Venetian plays it 1-2 in the blinds with a forced $10 Mississippi straddle on the button. Got it? I sat in it for 15 minutes waiting for them to call me for my 1-2 game, and won a few bucks when my button straddle yielded me A2xxx, no PFR, flop comes up 3 low so I have the nut low, I pot it, and take down about $40.

    2nd game they have which I have never even heard of is open face chinese poker. I watched for a few nights before playing it the last night, I'll write about that later.

    Sunday I lose about 100 total. I made one mistake - got married to TPTK on the turn when V raises and I donked off my stack. Interesting side note: in one of Bart's podcasts he talks about a raise on the turn (usually) never being a bluff. Since I heard to that piece of advice about a month (could have been an older podcast, I started over with his at the beginning because I listen to them on the way home from work, so by Tuesday I'm usually finished with last weeks'), I've been tracking this situation on my droid. Right now it's 7 for 7, i.e. all 7 times someone has raised the turn that the cards were shown, the raiser always had TPTK beat, usually by a wide margin. So I'm going to keep writing this down, and by the time it get to 20 for 22 or something, so I should be able to actually bet/fold in this situation. If I'm smart maybe I won't wait so long and start doing it now. Laugh

    2nd iffy play was an all in bluff on the river try to represent a full house on the river. I don't remember the exact hand unfortunately (I believe I had something like TT or JJ on a flop of K77). Anyway I pushed it the whole way, shoved the river, and V must have tanked for 2-3 minutes before (rightly) figureing I was polarized, and guessed correctly that I was on the bluffing end of it. I still don't feel too bad about that play, he literally almost released it a few times before talking himself into the call.

    Ok, so got to run some errands, get dinner, etc. I'll try to post tonight, if not, tomorrow.

  • Hey nice trip report. You got to watch out for those turn raises. Unless someone doesn't understand the value of hands or is short one pair is rarely good.

    Man that Big O game must have been really juicy, it always is. The more that I have been playing $5-$5-$10 PLO at the Bike the last few months the more I am looking forward to playing Big O over the summer at the series. PLO 9 handed has taught me patience and everytime Ive played big O at the series I have been coming from a year of holdem playing in LA. You start with JJ+ in holdem you usually are not folding on the flop. In PLO you can play really nitty and just not connect and have to check fold. So know I'm coming from that mindset into big O where you have to check fold a lot and be very patient.

  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Hey Bart,

    Nitty and patient are my middle nameSmile

    I didn't sit at the Big O table for long, but the hands I saw that got showed down looked very loose to me. I played a little bit of PLO too (more on that coming up), same thing.

    I have no problem folding 90% of my hands, stacking off someone once. and going home up a stack. As nitty as I play, the table usually doesn't catch on. And if it does, I will make the occasional play/c-bet with air and can pick up a few small spots to loosen up the image.

    True story: playing 3-6 limit at the Taj one night I went absolutely card dead and folded 60 straight hands. Then I picked up AA and KK 2 of the next three, won $150 total, and left the evening a winner.

    Parx doesn't really deal PLO much (although they have one game going tonight (Saturday)); and 25 1-2 NL and 9 2-5 NL and a couple of other stray games, so for now I need to keep focused on NL. But like I said I like to be able to sit in any game and have a clue, and would love it if PLO took over here out east if its got as much profit potential as you and Limon and others have been saying.

    More details on the trip to follow.

  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Monday wife report:

    Last night before her conference, so I took her to a very nice dinner at Joe's Steak and Seafood in Caesars. Very nice steakhouse and pretty affordable. We got out for $120 for the 2 of us (full disclosure: we don't drink). We've also eaten at the Venetian steakhouse (same pricing), and the Wynn steakhouse (ridiculoulsy overpriced. Almost $200). Joe's had nice variety (she got lobster, I got the filet), very friendly, and they were very honest about what sides were big enough to share, so one veggie and one potato was enough for both of us.

    Monday poker report:

    Played at the Mirage. I found the softest 1-2 game I have ever played in. Literally, every check meant they didn't have it, every bet meant they did. Other than playing good starting hands, after the flop, I just played their cards. They checked, I bet, took down a pot. They bet, I folded. I flop top pair, value bet it, get payed off. Won $500 without even one big hand or stack off to note. I would have played all night and busted the table but I had a tee time in the morning.

    Side note about impressions of poker players in Vegas: there are generally 2 types: tourists and regulars. I fill a unique spot in the middle - I am a tourist but play better than your basic Vegas tourist. So I had no problem taking money of the bad tourists. As far as regulars go, I would stay out of their way for the most part, but still, found spots to beat them up in. Case in point: Vegas regulars are so used to tourists only betting with the nuts, that if they bet or checked a flop or turn with what was most likely a good hand, if a scare card came in (ace, obvious draw card comes in), I could easily bet or raise and take down the pot. Overall for the week I'd say I was in the top 20% of the player pool I was up against.

    I found the games in Vegas easier to beat than my home game at Parx. I think the main reason is the tourists. The closest Parx gets to "tourists" is on a Saturday night; but on a Tuesday its all regulars. In Vegas you can be playing with 4 tourists at your table on a Tuesday.

  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Tuesday: wife starts her conference.

    I played golf Tuesday and Wednesday at Bali Hai. Its next to Mandalay Bay. Its nice but pricey (179 if you tee off at 720; 299 if you tee off at 730). Being on east coast time it was easy to tee off early. I shot 56-44 day one, 49-54 day two (my handicap usually hangs 22-24). Not bad for having not swung since October. First round was better; I was 2nd twosome off and we got done in < 4 hours. 2nd round it was windier, the tees were back, got stuck behind a slow group, and it took about 5 hours. After the 44 on Tuesday I was psyched to go out Wednesday; I hit the ball well on front but didn't score so well (short game); and then started running out of gas on the back. Hit a couple of nice shots that just got pushed by the wind into the water or trap, so started to not care, and with the long waits between shots, I was ready to call it a day.

    Golf is one thing Vegas doesn't do real well. I'm glad I played (the 44 was a blast), but won't be bringing the clubs on the next trip.

    Trivia: Last summer I got to play Pebble Beach. If you're and avid golfer, its a must play. Most amazing golf course I have ever played. The problem is once you've played Pebble ($495 round), it really spoils you for paying 179 for any other resort course, especially when its not 4x nicer than my local muni (which costs me 25 to walk and 40 to ride).

    Tuesday poker; my notes are that I won ~250, but I don't have any hand memories of notes. I didn't get into that many spots, but the few I got into I should have written down for discussion.

  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Wednesday wife report: we went and saw Terry Fator at the Mirage. He won America's got talent a few years back. He's a ventriliquist who impersonates singers - youtube him, he's pretty amazing. He had his female puppet do Skyfall by Adele, you'd swear Adele was in the room. The show was pricey even with the Mirage Mlife 40% discount; but we had seen Blue Man group and Cirque de Soleil before, and there were no big headliners in town that we wanted to see ( last time we caught Ray Romano, very funny show).

    Wednesday poker report:

    Ok, here's a hand of note:

    1-2 Mirage about 4 PM. A couple of pre flop limpers, I raise to $10 with JJ, get called. Flop comes up 2s2c4s . Checks to me, I bet about pot, get raised by one V, everyone else folds. I normally feel flop raising is a draw, so I re-raise it back and V just calls. Turn is a 5c. V checks. I don't see how the V has 36 or 24 here; I'm ahead of any draw and want to get this hand over with; I'm behind a 2, but the only 2 that would make sense is A2 suited. I don't remember the exact amount in the pot but its probably about equal to my stack at this point, so I shove all-in hoping to charge him for his draw, but he snap calls. I get lucky and river a J so I take down the pot; he doesn't show but looks obviously displeased, so I think he must have had me beat on the turn. I know I didn't do a great job of remembering the bet sizing, but given the action, at what point should warning bells have gone off in my head? I really felt he either had a 2 or a draw, and if I played scared of the 2, I would end up letting him try to make his draw for free, then I'm screwed on the river because he could bet any scare card whether it hits him or not knowing I've slowed down.

    Wednesday night: the best 1-2 table in my life got replaced by the worst 1-2 table of my life. Well not super tough, I just happened to get the 5 tourists and 4 regulars who actually knew what they were doing. Someone would raise PF, everyone would fold. Every single hand was like that. There was no way to make money it so I went over to the Venetian.

    I got into a 1-2 PLO game there, and it must have been me and 9 pros/kid pro wannabees. So I'm running out of gas for the night, when some young kid standing around watching the game says, "ah man, I gotta play, I'll buy anyone's seat for $100" at which point I said "sold". At which point he said, "nah man, not enough money on the table". Another orbit goes by, it gets to my BB, I tell him its still his for $100, he says 50, I say sold, and take my 50 bucks and call it a night. I've never seen that before, anyone else every get offered money for a seat? Nice when I was leaving anyway.

  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber

    Hand of the trip (spoiler alert: brag post):

    2-5 NL at the Venetian. Good table; there's money to be made here. V's think they're better than they are. I had AA hold up for about $300 earlier, I'd been playing tight. This hand involves a guy who looks exactly like Johnny Chan if Chan had hopped into his time traveling Delorean in 1983 and set it for 30 years in the future. Chan played a bit too loose, and would show agression until played back at. I felt I could stack him off given the right set of circumstances (actually him and a couple of other players).

    Effective stacks 1K. I get 22 in MP, call the $5, there were some callers in front of me, behind me, Chan makes it I believe $15 on the button. I think its 5 way. Flop comes up 2 7 K rainbow. Checks to me, I bet $50, hoping to hell Chan has AK. Chan calls, everyone else folds. $175 in the pot. Turn bricks up. I bet, I think $125, Chan calls. Call it $425 in the pot (I might have bet 150 so pot might be 475). River is a Q I believe. No real chance for a draw to have come in. I have a feeling that if I bet, Chan might find a fold, but if I check, he'll take it as weakness and bet for me. I check and he quickly pushes all in. I snap call and my set of 2's stack off his AA. NICE!
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    And now a word from our sponsor:

    Reading Poker Tells, by Zachary Elwood.

    Thanks Bart for telling us about this book. IT IS A MUST READ (unless you play at Parx, then please by all means don't read it). This book has made me 100's already in the month I've had it and its going to make me 1000's.

    Here's the deal: not every player displays every tell in this book; however some players display some of the tells with such regularity that I can pick up an extra pot here or there, or save myself a big bet here or there, every single session. I now watch the players instead of the flop for the first time in my life and its opened up a whole new world to me. I've finally started playing my opponents cards not mine and this big has helped me get there big time.

    For some reason, as mathematical as I am, I'm not that good at range analysis in the heat of battle. I kind of always just do it by feel, am I'm I ahead or behind here? And this book really helps with this. His section on players looking at you vs. not looking having a different meaning whether its a waiting for action tell or a post bet tell, is worth the price of the book alone.

    This book will help you find a spot a 2 or night, or more, or at least a player or 2 a night, where you can just print money. Highly worth it.

  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    Thursday night: Open Face Chinese poker, $5 a point.

    Ok, I watched this game for a few nights with much fascination. As it was my last night in Vegas and I had just won a 1K pot, I figured now or never. I found the one guy on the list for it, he had been playing it every time they had played it, and explained my deal - just wanted to try it, I understood the rules but not the points, just wanted to play it for an hour or so before my wife pinged me for dinner. He was fine with that, and we got 2 other players to jump in. Thank you Jason and Rob and Nile; everyone was very friendly and helpful to each other, especially Jason who was the most experienced and helped us all learn the game.

    Here's the game for those of you who don't know it (and I had never heard of it until this trip):

    Regular Chinese poker is everyone gets 13 cards face down, and you set 2 5 card hands and one 3 card hand. The 5 card hand closest to you (the back?) has to be higher than the 5 card hand in the middle, which has to be higher than the 3 card had up top.

    OFCP is slightly different in that everyone gets 5 cards first face down. Then going from the left of the button, each player sets those 5 cards any way they want. Get a Royal Flush? Set them in the back. Get AK752 with some double suits? Don't ask me, I'm still trying to figure the game out. Then each player gets dealt a card, places it; and this keeps going until you have all 13 cards set.

    The problem becomes trying to make big hands (bonuses start with straights, more on that in a minute) without fouling (fouling occurs if you middle hand is higher than your back, or your front is higher than your middle or back. If you foul, you're out and can't win any points). Lets say you get dealt:

    KQ7 spades
    56 hearts

    and you play the KQ7 spades in the back, and the 56 hearts in the middle, trying to go for 2 flushes.

    And then you get dealt the ace of hearts.

    Now what? If you put it in the middle with the 56h you have to get the A spades in the back or your flush in the middle would be higher than the flush in the back. If you put it in the back, you've busted your flush. And if you put in the front, you really have to just pair up the other hands to beat the ace.

    The basic scoring is:

    Everyone scores against everyone else (i.e. if me, Bart, Wendy, and Claire all play, I score my hand individually against each of Bart, Wendy, Claire).


    We compare hand vs. hand. If I beat you 2/3, I win a point. If I beat you 3/3, I win 6 points.


    In the back hand:

    Straights worth 2 points
    Flushes worth 4 points
    boat 6 points
    quads 8 points
    straight flush 15 points
    royal flush 25 points.

    In the middle hand, same as above except double.

    In the top 3 card hand, bonuses start with pair of 6's (one point) and increase a point/pair from there (7's are worth 2, 8's are worth 3, etc).

    Its highly addicting and highly confusing.

    I spent most of my time trying just not to foul. Once you get past that, if you're playing 4 handed, you can start to see what cards that you might need that are live are or dead, and start playing accordingly. Plus Jason made a good point that you need to start looking at your hand vs your opponents and try to at least win 1/3, so that you only lose 1 point to them instead of 6.

    I can see how the game could be highly addicting. I lost $200 in about hour. I can also see why the game is going to be difficult to "solve"; with 600 billion possible 13 cards combos out of 52 cards, it quickly pushes the limits of both probability analysis or even brute computer force to determine an optimal style of play. Someone on the web said whoever solves this game first is going to win a ton of money and I tend to agree.

    I played with the wife on the plain flight home for an hour, and I ended up owing her $55. She actually likes the game, because as she put, "it requires a little bit of thought but it's not work like holdem" Laugh

    Trivia: my wife is actually a very good card player, as least as far as home tourneys and 2-4 limit in AC goes, but she absolutely hates playing cards. Every time I drag her into a home tournament she always cashes, and usually more than me, and she always hates it.

    I think I've played it enough to know I don't want to play it for real money. However, I think it might be a nice addition to my home game when we have 4 people sitting around waiting for everyone else to show up (and we'd be playing for nickels or dimes a point, not $5 a point. My home game is a 50 cent max wild card donk fest).
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber

    Last day. Wife was conference in the morning, then we fly out in the afternoon.

    I play a 2 hour session at the Venetian, from 8 AM to 10 AM. Me and 9 guys who had been up all night, some drinking, some sober, but all of them tired.

    Booked $130 without even trying.

    God I love Vegas.

    Seriously, this was my 7th trip out, and my wife's 3rd. I think we're actually Vegas'd out. I now have a poker room 30 minutes from my house; plus NJ legalized online poker; plus its just a matter of time before NJ wins the fight for legalized sports betting, at which point I'll have everything a gambler needs here except the weather and the donkey tourists.

    The other problem with Vegas is the flight's a haul, and the 3 hour time zone difference, we've been in a fog for a week.

    Plus the super bonus, is that since I started seriously tracking my poker playing since 1/1/12, and sharing the nice results with my wife, she's actually really gotten behind me on this. I'm making $20-$25/hr, and she sees the time I put into with the books and the study and the podcasts, so she knows I'm not "gambling". So she's started saying things like, "you should play on Saturday nights, that's your best night because all the gamblers are out", and "you should go back to AC on some Saturday night, see if the games are juicier there" (which I've been dying to do; there were 13 2-5 games at the Borgata last night). We've been joking about this being my part time job in retirement, but it could actually work (especially in the winter; in the summer I can work the local golf course 2 days/week and get my golf for free).

    So overall it was a really good trip.

    Hope you enjoyed the writeup. I'll get back to posting real hands from Parx, probably going to play next weekend.
  • regfish Posts: 34Member
    Enjoyed reading it man. Thanks for posting.
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    Hey Roger, you going to Parx this Thurs-Fri? I might be there.

    Also, where did you find the $5 OFC game? I've been wanting to play it in a casino for real, but it tends to only be available in the high stakes whenever it runs
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber

    Looking at my wife's schedule, my Parx night this week looks like it will be Wednesday. Is Parx your home base? If so I can let you know you when I'm playing and we can meet up and say hi. Let me know and maybe our schedule will sync one week. (My Parx night is usually Thursday, but not this week. Occasional weekend too).

    THe $5 OFC game was in Vegas at the Venetian. I haven't seen it spread in Philly or AC. I checked the Borgata Saturday night at 8 PM on Bravo and they a gadzillion games going but no OFC.

  • chilidog Posts: 2,427Subscriber
    It is taking a while for casinos/card rooms to catch up on the rapidly increasing interest in OFCP. I have heard two people in different poker rooms ask for a game to be spread and the floor men/managers haven't had a clue what they were talking about. I don't think there is a standard revenue structure for casinos yet. I would assume its a time charge game, but with a max of 4 players they can't afford to spread the game at a standard rate of $7-9 per half hour. That's probably one reason you don't find small - mid stakes games running yet.
  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber

    Glad you liked the report! I had so few hands of note worth discussing I figured I could easily remember them all in great detail, but after a week, no chance at that. I should have taken better notes. But I figured some people might enjoy living vicariously through me for a week.

  • RecreationalRogerRecreationalRoger Posts: 789Subscriber
    chilidog said

    It is taking a while for casinos/card rooms to catch up on the rapidly increasing interest in OFCP. I have heard two people in different poker rooms ask for a game to be spread and the floor men/managers haven't had a clue what they were talking about. I don't think there is a standard revenue structure for casinos yet. I would assume its a time charge game, but with a max of 4 players they can't afford to spread the game at a standard rate of $7-9 per half hour. That's probably one reason you don't find small - mid stakes games running yet.
    chilidog - you're right about that - Venetian just dropped $5/player/half hour when it was $5/point, and the dealers had no idea what to do other than how to deal it. They left it up to the players to get the payments made correctly.

    The other problem is you get so wrapped up in the game you forget to tip the dealer; since you're pushing pots back and forth between each other and the dealer isn't doing it. When I got up and left I realized that and threw the dealer 5 bucks, which he was very appreciative of.
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