Posted by Junelli 1:09 PM
I went to Vegas over the weekend for a family trip. Because I was with my entire family, most of the weekend was spent walking around sight-seeing, shopping, seeing shows (the new Cirque du Soleil show "Ka" is amazing), and eating at nice restaurants (none of which I've ever done in all my previous trips to Sin City).
Although considered a "slow week" by Vegas standards, the poker culture was bustling. The WPT was in town filming the Main Event of the 5 Diamond Classic poker tournament ($15,000 buy-in, 376 Players, 5 day tournament). The TV cameras were all over the Bellagio, and everyone in the poker world was there (although when I arrived at the end of day 3, most of the pros had been eliminated and were playing in the cash games nearby).
I saw the following pros playing at Bellagio: Doyle Brunson, Greg Raymer, Chip Reese, Helmuth, Gus Hansen, Johnny Chan, TJ Cloutier, Howard Lederer, Men Nguyen, Sammy Farha, Umberto Brenes, Jennifer Harman, Daniel Negranu, Hasan Habib, Chris Grigorian, Ted Forrest, Layne Flack, Devil Fish Elliot, and that Loud Mouthed Australian from the WPT France tournament last year.
Some thoughts: I met TJ Cloutier. He is huge. Johnny Chan pissed next to me in the bathroom. He is short (in height, you fags). Jennifer Harmon had a makeover and is hot (you'll get to see her in the future WPT show as she made the final table and won 4th place). She is only about 5 feet tall and weighs about 90 lbs. She reminds me a cross between meg Ryan and Angela Allen. I also met the loud mouthed Australian (can't remember his name) in the valet line. I tapped him on the shoulder, and asked "Aren't you that guy from Australia? I saw you on TV last year." "Yeah, I just got busted out of the tournament with AK against AQ." "So, are you going to play in the cash game now?" "No, I'm going to eat dinner."
I only played poker one day. The Bellagio poker room was packed, and the line for the $200 buy-in NL table ($2-$5 blinds) was approx. 2 hours long. I knew I didn't have much time, and it would be hard to make much money quickly over there, so I decided to sit down at the largest cash game I've played thus far in my poker career: $10-$20 NL, no maxium buy-in.
The minimum buy-in was $600, but most players bought in for much more. I bought in for $1,000 and was slightly short-stacked. The guy on my left had $5,500 in front of him, but most people had between $1,000-$2,000. I saw a woman buy-in for $2,000, and lose it all on the very first hand when she was dealt AA, flopped a set, and lost to a guy who flopped a flush.
To say the game moved fast is a tremendous understatement. It usually cost $80-$100 to see the flop. Once the flop hit, the bets were usually $200-$300, increasing exponentially from there. Most pots were about $1,500-$2,500.
I played extremely tight for about 4 hours, and was not getting many playable hands. I won a few hands and lost a few until I flopped the nut flush with about $950 in chips in front of me. Middle position player (a huge asshole) raised preflop, and kept betting the whole way. I got all my chips in, and doubled up when I won the $1,900 pot. At that time I had bought in for $1,300 and was up $600.
Several hours later I cashed out with a $500 loss. No major losses or bad beats, but just missed several $100 flops.
I enjoyed playing that game, but was definitely "scared" money. The limits were above my comfort zone, and I didn't have the bankroll to afford the swings given that on every hand I had to expect to put all my chips (~$1,000) in play. I learned that it's very hard to call a $800 bet when you have top pair mediocre kicker, middle pair, or some kind of straight or flush draw). I either flopped the hand, or I got away from it. However, if you're on a rush, you can get rich in that game. The guy next to me was up $7,000 for the day.
I played a lot of blackjack (with my family), and won some and lost some, and ended the weekend down about $500. Not bad for 3 nights in Vegas. Looking forward to the next trip...