So I just got back from a Vegas trip with a bunch of the boys. The trip was great! While in Vegas I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The first few nights we stayed in a room that was a non pool side view. This wasn’t our best choice as the hotel was undergoing construction. That meant an early wake up by the construction crew. After we complained we got moved to a poolside view. What a difference that made.
The poker lounge is located right off the main casino floor and right down the hall from the parking garage. There is a nice restaurant called pink tacos beside the room as well as a Starbucks located next door. The floor at the Hard Rock are excellent. All staff at the Hard Rock Poker Room seems to be a tight bunch. They are a very friendly bunch.
The games that were spread at the Hard Rock Poker Lounge were $1/$2 nl and $2/$5 nl. The $1-$2 had a buyin of $100/$300 and the $2 -$5 had a buyin of $200/$2,000. What I did notice is that they could only spread a $2-$5 game from Thursday to Sunday in the afternoons to early morning, which is ok because that’s when the Hard Rock gets the majority of traffic. The $1 – $2 spread 1 table in the early mornings and they would have a floor playing as a prop player to get the game going. I don’t even play $1 – $2 so i didn’t really play at the Hard Rock until the weekend before I went out to the club.
While playing at the Hard Rock Poker Lounge I played $2 – $5 with Jamie Gold. The game was fantastic as everyone had well over 3k in front of them at one point. No clue why Jamie Gold was playing such low limits. Most of the time i played $2 – $5 the game was insanely soft. I would buyin for the 2k max and most players had 300 to 500 in front of them.
I did have one major complaint with the poker room. The floor did not really have a solid foundation when it came to a few specific rulings. It seemed to me that the floor basically took the majority of the player’s word when making a ruling. Maybe it was just the one floor I dealt with but that was my general consensus. Most smaller poker rooms generally make “friendly” rullings to appease the majority of the players (to get them to come back). Stuff like this wouldn’t ever happen if you go to 1 of the 4 top poker rooms in Vegas (Bellagio, Venetian, Caesars, and Wynn).
That being said, the staff at the Hard Rock Lounge were extremely nice to the players. If you had the players they would spread whatever game and whatever limit you wanted. The staff at the poker lounge even walked us in to the Hard Rock club (Body English) on Halloween. It was pretty much the casinos busiest time of the year.
If the Hard Rock ran a $2 – $5 game around the clock every day i pretty much wouldn’t have left the casino. I did extremely well while playing there and the staff made my stay at the Hard Rock a great overall experience.
Oh and I bumped into Daniel Negraunu while playing at the Hard Rock. Apparently he was giving lessons to a contest winner. Here is a pic of me and Negraunu. I played a lot this summer at the WSOP and didn’t stop one pro for a picture. Heck I even played with Phil Galfond and Jamie gold. I guess I just consider these guys to be regular people.
So I was playing $5/$10 nl during the week of the WPT (at fallsview Casino Resort) as these were the smallest games that were offered. The action was really soft as a lot of tourists and 5/5 and 2/5 regulars were forced to play much above their bankrolls and skill level. I expected to make a few buyins each day during the time I was there.
I have had some bad streaks over my poker career and this was one of them. Every time I got my money in (and all the money got in) when I was 70% favourite (or better) to win the hand I would somehow end up losing. I can remember 4 or 5 hands where I got my money in with 2 pair or better vs very marginal hands where I would end up losing. And these were certainly not setup hands. Example 78 suited and the board comes k78 rainbow and I get my money in against a k6 off. K hits turn and guy scoops 900 pot. In that situation the guy thought he was committed as there was 175 in preflop and original raiser put in 130 on the flop which he called and I check raised the flop to put him all in. I also recall about 4 or 5 times where I got all my money in when I had two pair or better vs a naked flush draw or a pair and a flush draw. I lost every single situation. Don’t get me wrong I definitely want to get my money in when I am such a heavy favourite. In poker you certainly don’t want to wait to see a card that will hurt your action or better your opponent’s hand. Unless you are playing deep stack poker (which I wasn’t for the most part) most players who wait to see if a blank comes on the turn are generally playing with scared money.
On top of running bad I also got setup horribly. Within a 24 hour period I lost two stacks with set over set. One hand there was a raise under the gun and a call in mid position. I had 22 and called on the button. The board came 2J7 rainbow and the guy UTG (initial raiser) lead out. The mid position called and I raised. Both players called and the turn was an A. No flush draw was on board. Everyone checked to me and I bet pot. UTG folded and mid position raised me. I reraised all in and he called with JJ. This is what we call a cold deck. The same thing happened the next day with 44 vs 77. When board came 4710 turn A. All the money got in by the turn. I also ran into a set when I had top 2 pair and a back door flush redraw on the turn. AQ Spades vs 99. Flop AQ9. 7 spades hit the turn. I reraised the player preflop. By the turn all the money got in.
What can I say about this whole experience? Sick runs like this generally happen very rarely. However I can’t really complain as this is the nature of the business. For about 4 days I felt like I was in Mike Matasau’s shoes. I am taking a few days off of poker and then hitting up Vegas for a week where I will probably play a few tournaments at Caesars. Caesars Palace is having its ‘Mega Stack’ Poker Tournaments during the month of October. Action should be good.
Oh yah I forgot to mention that Glen Witmer took down the world poker tour event in Niagara and a cool 1.2 million. I have played with Glen before in Niagara. Glen resides in Waterloo, Ontario Canada. Glen is a really nice guy and it was a pleasure to see him win.
So I got into Vegas on the 3rd and have been playing mainly cash games at the Rio and Wynn. The Rio cash games in the tournament hall are mostly uncapped however there is a cap at 2/5 (500 buyin). The most action game that I saw was the 25/25 plo (pot limit Omaha) game. I have mostly been playing 5/10 nl. One hand cost me a few k however this has been a profitable trip so far. The hand was played at a 5/10 nl game at the Wynn where I had a pretty tight aggressive image. It was 4 limped around to me on the button and I raised it to 45 with 5d6d. Flop came 2h 4d ks. (5 people in the hand) First guy made it 25 to go and 2 guy called. I thought I spotted weakness and continuation raised them to 200 total as there was 225 in the pot preflop. First guy called and others folded. Money card hit the turn 3d. He led out for 300 i re-raised to 900. He pushed for 2200 total and I snap called. River hit 2h and he showed 44. That’s poker however considering he had 9 outs to win the hand as he was holding the 2d.
Later on in the week I played some 2/5 with 5 deep stacked players. One of them included the ever so animated Alan Boston (7 Card Stud player). I recognized him from being on poker after dark. What a table this was. Alan probably went through a few buyins (unwilling to lay his hand down after missing many draws).
He told me that he would be disappointed if he didn’t make the 7 card stud 10k buy in. I saw him at the Rio during the event and he said he was playing solid however was card dead for most of the event. He also mentioned that he got into an accident with his Ferrari before the event started. I made a few buyins at the cash game with Boston and got some great insight into the world of sports betting. Alan told the table to put money on game 1 of the nba finals and the series. So I took his advice and bet the Celtics for both bets. So far I already cashed in on game 1 and am waiting to cash my 1.7 to 1 ticket if the Celtics when the series.
I decided to take a week off from my life in Toronto and head to Vegas. Before I knew it the week was over and I decided to extend my stay one more week.
While in Vegas I mostly played cash games at the Wynn and a few tournaments at the Venetian. The Venetian was holding their Deep Stack Extravaganza. I played 2 $500 buyin tournaments and 1 $1000.00 buyin tournament. All the results ended the exact same way. I ended up doing the exact same in each and every one of the tournaments. The majority of the field in each tournament were just plain right offs. I mean you wouldn’t believe what people were pushing with. The tournaments started at 12:00 and there was a 45 min dinner break at 7 or 8pm. Needless to say I didn’t get to that point. I got knocked out in each tourney just a few minutes before dinner break. I believe I finished 55th out of about 200 in the 1k buyin. And yes I went in with the best hand and got sucked out on. That’s the beauty of tournaments. I actually don’t know how I lasted that long in the 1k buyin tourney. I didn’t see a pocked pair higher than 10’s until about 7 hours into the tourney when I got AA and lost to a set of k’s. Blinds were 800 1600 with 75 ante and the chip leader on the table raised 3k in early position. A short stacker then pushed all in for 12k (just more than the 10k starting amount) and I found AA in the big blind and went all in for 22k. The chip leader had pocket kings and the case king came out on the flop. The short stack had AK.
On to the cash games. That’s where I really made my money on this trip. I was playing 5/10 nl uncapped at the Wynn. The amount of tourists that were playing was amazing. For the most part the regulars were solid players minus a few, so I tried not to get into too many confrontations with them. The good thing about deep stack poker is that you can be really aggressive and get people off hands. The action during the two weeks that I was there was terrific. I have to tell you about one hand that went down. I really couldn’t believe it. One of the regulars who just sat down posted out of position. An older fellow sat down with about 5k in chips. He must have come from playing one of the table games as he had a bunch of yellow chips. There was a raise from the regular and a call from the older fellow. The board came Q83 rainbow. The regular raised and the older fellow said “I call you all in”. After much debate the floor came to settle the dispute and it was ruled to be just a call. The turn came an 8 and the regular put the older fellow all in. He instantly called and the river came a 4 (which was a blank card). The regular turned over AQ and the older fellow mucked. The pit later told us he saw the guys cards and that he had a 10J calling a 3k or so turn bet with a Gut Shot. If the 9 would have peeled off then I don’t know what would have happened.
For those of you who like an uncapped NL game the Wynn is a great place to play. For the most part the average buyin at the 5/10 game was around 2k, however the regulars mostly sat with a lot more. And the 2/5 game saw most people buying in between 500 – 1k. Oh and if you are big into tournaments the Wynn is having their annual Wynn Classic all through out march. These tournaments should bring lots of action for the cash games as well!