June 27, 2011 – Las Vegas, NV
I arrived at The Stratosphere around 12:30 Vegas time for day one of my annual poker vacation to Sin City. Why The Stratosphere? Why not? Hey look it’s a big needle thing like that thing in Seattle, and I’ve really never spent much time down at this end of the Vegas strip before (there might be a good reason for that).
On channel 31 in your hotel room at The Stratosphere you can watch people get a thrill by jumping off a ledge really high up in the air.
Right from the beginning The Strat had the kind of bush league hotel service that was instantly noticeable. My room for one wasn’t ready, which actually served me well as I went to the poker room and won $196 in 2 hours playing 1-2 NL Hold’em, but when I did get to my room there really wasn’t anything special about it. The view of The Strip was OK, the window was kind of small and unimpressive. The TV in the room had a fuzzy and grainy resolution. I’m not sure if it’s even HD, maybe it just has really bad component cables? The TV’s speakers were also blown out which was nice and irritable. The internet connection of course didn’t work, which is why I’m posting two days of action in this one blog. It took the “technicians” at The Strat a good 5 hours to figure out why the connection wasn’t working. But why am I bitching so much about my room? Who spends time in their room when they come to Vegas? Let’s get to the action!!!
I entered The Rio feeling good after I had won almost $200 in just two hours while waiting for my room at The Stratosphere. The 2011 World Series of Poker had been running for weeks when I made my attempt to satellite into Event #48: $1500 No-Limit Hold’em. The satellite works by 10 players putting up $175 each and the winner gets a $1500 seat into the event. I managed to get myself into heads-up play with just one player remaining but unfortunately I only had 1500 in chips to my villain’s 8500 in chips and a drastic turn of events did not happen and I finished 2/10.
It’s a real mood killer to get that close and watch an opportunity slip away. I checked out the big name pros in The Rio playing tournaments and cash games, but after my almost win I wasn’t really in the mood to play so I headed back to The Strat and recharged for tomorrow.
Stratosphere 1/2 NL Hold’em 2 hours: $196
WSOP STS 2/10: -$175
I entered the unique and interesting surroundings of the Circus Circus casino around noon. I was ready to forget about my WSOP FAIL and play some cash games. However, the CC poker room isn’t a 24 hour action room and there wasn’t a soul to be found anywhere. OK…I guess I’ll walk over to the Riviera.
The Riviera was so much better than Circus Circus. They had “one” full table of 1/2 NL Hold’em going. Wow, not really too exciting. The only action I felt like taking at The Riv was that they did randomly have a makeshift arcade in one of their hallways that had both a Taxi pinball machine and a Spy Hunter game. Like I said The Riv pwned CC in terms of action, but after one game of Taxi and Spy Hunter I was back on the sidewalk of Las Vegas Blvd to search out a cash game.
I knew The Wynn would have games going.
I got the action I was looking for as The Wynn had 4 1/3 NL Hold’em games going. Unfortunately, the cards weren’t on my side at one of the IMO nicer rooms on the strip. I never really got anything going and after what was either a great read or a stupid laydown half of my chips were gone. I ended up running into pocket QQ holding pocket 77 on a flop of 654 rainbow where I shoved the rest of my stack. The villain called and I didn’t improve. Boom, my first buy-in gone. I wasn’t feeling it at the table, so once again I started heading down LV Blvd.
The beauty of Vegas is that at one moment you can be in a high end place like The Wynn and the next you can be drinking cheap beer and having the hot Vegas air blowing in your face at O’Shea’s. The O’Shea’s poker room is pretty much just a novelty; tables are literally almost on the sidewalk and the open air and random people walking by on The Strip invade the poker game constantly. I played 1/2 NL Hold’em at O’Shea’s for about an hour and had my fill as I left up 7 whole dollars.
I left O’Shea’s for Planet Hollywood and the sad thing about my time at PH was that the most exciting thing to happen was The Hangover slot machine I played and won $114 on. It was the Stu progressive jackpot that gave me my windfall on this penny slot machine.
I was card dead my whole time at Planet Hollywood. The 1/2 NL Hold’em game was normal. The players were playing straight forward ABC poker but after no significant hands or pots I was down $71 after 7 hours. On a side note the University of South Carolina Gamecocks won their second consecutive College World Series while I was playing. GO COCKS!!!
I headed over to MGM around midnight and my cold cards followed me. Again, nothing and I mean nothing developed. I was hoping to find a Pot Limit Omaha game to play somewhere since I was getting brutalized in Hold’em holdings, but none of these rooms were running any PLO. 3 hours at MGM and down $152. It was time to stop the bleeding and head home to The Strat.
The Wynn 1/3 NL Hold’em 2 hours: -$300
O’Shea’s 1/2 NL Hold’em 1 hour: $7
Planet Hollywood 1/2 NL Hold’em 7 hours: -$71
MGM 1/2 NL Hold’em 3 hours: -$152