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TR: 09/05 - 09/09 Plaza & DT (Poker!)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by PatekPhil, Sep 26, 2006.

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  1. PatekPhil

    PatekPhil Tourist

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC (Kabul, Afghanistan)
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27

    My Trip Report

    Well, here it is - a belated trip report. My sincere apologies to those from this board I was supposed to hook up with - I really was just too far gone jonesing for poker to make any calls...

    So - I flew from Kabul - Fort Lauderdale where I met my dad and went for a brief 1 week cruise. Then I bopped back to Vancouver on the 3rd, and left for Vegas on the 5th. Flight was uneventful on SkyWest - although I did have to go through Salt Lake City, and was able to avoid being converted to Mormonism.

    I arrived in Vegas at 2100h, and my travelling companion arrived at 2200h. I retrieved luggage and went DT (got screwed by the cabbie - he assumed I was a tourist - so I dissed him when I paid him - $30 airport - DT??? Ridiculous) I had already arranged with my poker buddy that she was on her own for hotel xfer. Checked into Plaza where I had been comped for 4 nights by my host. Initial room was a wonderful center-strip room overlooking Fremont and the light show, but it was non-smoking and my friend Joanne is a smoker - so back down to the 3rd floor I go for a room swap. New room is still just fine, South Tower, overlooking the strip in the distance and the bus station immediately below. Rooms are clean, tidy, typical micro-bathroom, new linens in my room. No remote for the TV, housekeeping brings one up immediately. I sneak downstairs and buy-in to a $2-4 HE game to wait for Joanne, and I buy both of us into the midnight tournament.

    Joanne arrives JUST in time to play (luggage left at belldesk) and we proceed to take 1st and 3rd in the tournament - it was the way to win a tournament for me. I amassed a big chipstack through having nice hands that held up at mid-level, or playing crap from late position that hit the flop and sucked in AK for all their money. It was only a 2 table tourney, but still a nice payday to kick off the trip ($60 buy-ins with one optional $40 add-in) - and Joanne survived to third by tightening up and playing patient (something she usually cannot do). Then, it now being about 2:30am we decide to hit the sauce, celebrate our win and play some craps. We hit the Plaza bar for $20 each in the bar VP and suck back about 5 crown and gingers in record time and stroll over to the only open craps table in the joint.

    Now - I realize that this was a midweek evening after a big weekend (Labour Day) - but c'mon - the Plaza was DEAD for my entire stay. I certainly hope they are able to drum up more business - they are certainly worthy of more customers based on their property in my opinion. But on all my nights there, it was totally quiet. Anyways - we were the only ones playing at this craps table, and Joanne isn't a particularly 'good' craps player (bets fields and hardways) - the table was breaking in some newer dealers, making bets and rolls among themselves, practicing payouts etc... when we approached. Long story short, Joanne made a pretty good roll for a few passes and lots of 9s, I hit several 6's and 8's and my $500 buy-in was soon $1100, and Joanne's $100 was about $150. So - we cashed in after one throw each (one dealer whom I recognized from earlier trips muttered 'you made $600 in 10 minutes and you're LEAVING???) I had tipped on our throws throughout and tipped off a stray $7 so there should've been no hard feelings, cashed in, rented a safety deposit box and called it a night.

    From there, the trip dissolves into a bit of a blur. We played 5 more tournaments this trip in various casinos, I made the final table in all of them, Joanne in 3 (I took her out on the first hand of one of them - we may be friends but we'll bust each other at the table, given the chance!) - although we only made the money once more each after our first night win. Some observations:

    Golden Nugget - Good tournament, pretty good players. Probably the best tourney we played in.

    Paris - Nice size field and rolling tourneys, so if you're a tourney player its easy to get action. Joanne made it to the bubble and her KK ran into AA. DOH!

    Fitzgeralds - Man - this casino REEKS of sewage on the main floor. But the daily tourney usually attracted 2 tables of the biggest fish you've ever seen.

    Riviera - I played here for the first time because I'm hosting a tourney there in early January for a convention. Nice little room, friendly staff - and some of the most DRUNK players I've ever seen. This one guy who played all the tourneys and was close to being kicked out for being a jerk played 'Kill Phil' style - all in bets preflop with medium - big hands until he was knocked out or made a stack - then made all-in moves throughout the tournament. Not a bad player per se, but must take some HUGE losing streaks with his 'longball' style of play.

    Other poker observations:

    - Mandalay Bay 4-8: I turned a $200 buy-in into $700 at a very passive, soft game. I loved calling the chip runner over and saying '7 empty racks, please'. Could've stayed longer because I had a great table image and people were gunning for me - but I had been too lucky to this point to push it any further. (AA and KK each held up against 6 other players, and I was flopping monsters EVERY time I had the big blind - TT2 flops to my T2 etc...) I was getting called every bet - so unless I kept on hitting hands, I wasn't going to keep my chips.

    - Wynn - Neither Joanne nor I had ventured to the Wynn prior to this trip, and we decided to break it in. I doubled up at their 4-8 game $200 win, and Joanne made about $50, very nice room, although the service SUCKED. We couldn't find a cocktail waitress for the life of us, so I ordered a hot tea with lemon from the deli waitress and had to pay $5 for it. Would definitely play here in the games tho - more manageable and comfortable than the Bellagio, but great game selection and the same mix of locals and tourists.

    Other gaming notes:

    - At the Wynn, we got $10 each in free slot play for signing up for new red cards. Each of us hit $100 mini-jackpots on the dollar slots on our free plays, so we decided to put this money into a fabulous dinner at L'Aureole.

    - REALLY mediocre / bad luck the rest of the trip. No slot wins worth mentioning in my prowling around after too many cocktails, Pai Gow at the Plaza SUCKED - I lost 5 $100 hands in a row - so I'm not sure if my host will be amused with my level of play this trip. Craps - no really big wins, just the $600 on the first night and a couple of $100 - $200 wins, and a three $500 downs, including the hoover of a table at the Mandalay Bay.

    - High points - Took $500 in Pai Gow at the El Cortez, and another $200 from their craps table. Although Jackie never came down to play hold-em while I was there, I still love his property, and like how it is cleaning up.

    Food notes:

    - Apart from a couple of MSS buffets, one diner at the Plaza, and several sandwiches / shrimp cocktails at the Golden Gate, we treated ourselves to L'Aureole, courtesy of our 'free' $200 from the Wynn. I've eaten there before and highly recommend the restaurant. Interesting experience this time. I ordered a 1991 Dominus at $420 - because I'm aging a couple of 1997 and 1998's at home, and wanted to see where they were heading. Hey - the dinner was already free from our slot hit at the Wynn, so why not be decadent? The wine and the meal were superb - this has to be one of my most favorite restaurants to dine at in the world. But - the bill comes, and there is no wine on the bill(!!!!!) Dilemma ensues - do we 'fess up, or book the 'win' and bail, leaving a nice tip? Joanne is imminently more honest than me, so we call the waiter over, he turns BEET red, and presents us with the correct bill (+$420) and two free glasses of vintage Taylor-Fladgate port (worth about $30 each) for being 'the most honest table he's ever had'. Anyways, we tip $100 on the $625 bill and leave, feeling VERY satisfied after an amazing meal, but I'm sorry - I'm still kicking myself for not taking the wine freebie. Must say though - the wait staff and the bartenders at L'Aureole are the class of Vegas.

    General observations:

    - Plaza is STILL good value downtown, although it still has a lot of work to do. It was a dead zone while I was staying, and the rooms are definitely merely adequate - but it REEKS of potential to become the fun spot downtown.

    - Golden Nugget is STILL the class of downtown - lots of players, decor is holding up. If the Plaza can't turn it around, then this will become my new home away from home.

    - El Cortez - REALLY cleaning up its act, and has displaced the Plaza on the gaming value, fun and drinks quotient - only downside is the location - so I'm willing to stay at the Plaza and give 'em some play, but they are sure not going to keep me there.

    - Wynn - Nice property, but I don't think it tops Bellagio. I guess the only difference I noted was that staff were more personable at Wynn - they genuinely seemed happy to see you and to help you, whereas at Bellagio they seem more 'jaded'.

    - Taxis - got screwed by the airport taxi, and coming back DT from the Wynn, we told the driver explicitly we wanted to go back on the strip NOT by the freeway (this was about 2am, so no traffic) and butthead takes us on the freeway, costing us easy an extra $6 - $7. Pointedly mentioned that a) we tip and b) he ain't getting any because he screwed us on the fare. He was speechless - which to me indicates he was BUSTED. So - caveat emptor when dealing with cabbies in Vegas (as usual).

    - Poker - why is it practically impossible to find good 4-8 games??? Its not like 4-8 is mid-limit poker. But, the only 4-8's we could find were Wynn, Bellagio and Mandalay Bay. EVERYWHERE else was 2-4 or MAYBE 3-6. Ridiculous.

    Aces to you!

    -PatekPhil
     
  2. abner2xday

    abner2xday Tourist

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    617
    Location:
    Seattle
    Nice report!

    General comments:
    I am surprised you didn't play in the Caesar's Noon tourney.
    I think 4-8 is hard to find because people would rather buy in for the same amount at 1-2NL (they see NL on TV, they want to play NL)
    I wonder if the server would have been stuck for the $420.
     
  3. PatekPhil

    PatekPhil Tourist

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC (Kabul, Afghanistan)
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27
    I like NL for tourneys, and I do play 1-2NL cash games, but prefer limit - I don't like the swings, and I don't like getting punished for playing solid all night, and making one mistake (or getting unlucky once) and losing your whole stack. I prefer 10-20 / 15-30 for limit games, but Joanne won't go bigger than 4-8 with a kill - MAYBE 6-12 after a couple of beers, so played small this time.

    Ceasar's tournament - we went over there, but again, no 4-8 (and the 6-12 was unlikely to start up) so we ended up going to the Wynn instead.

    You'd think if his job was on the line, he would've comped the wine, or done more than two glasses of port and a big 'thank you'. Whatever. It was an incredible dinner...

    -PatekPhil.
     
  4. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    Sounds like a good time. Nice notes on the games. Your recommendations on the Plaza should be followed with, "but my frame of reference is Kabul". lol.
     
  5. bigalbr

    bigalbr VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    July 2005, 4/8 was commonplace. Almost everybody who spread 2/4 had at least 1 or 2 4/8 games. I was in over Labor Day, and it was all 2/4, 3/6, or 1/2 NL. I'd recommend you learn 1/2 NL, since your other gambling clearly indicates you can handle the money side. On a bad note, there were a lot of dead games over Labor Day. Not too many super juicy games. I'm wondering if 2/5 might be the sweet spot. Most of the internet sunglass set seems locked into 1/2 for bankroll reasons. The action players who don't like those guys may be up at 2/5 or 5/10.
     
  6. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I still think the Plaza has more potential than any site downtown for being the next big thing. That location is perfect and they have a bit more space to play with.
    Lately, when I've played craps at the Plaza, it's been dead. It used to be one of my favorite places, but it lost its vibe when the tables were relocated due to the poker area.
    phil,
    Next time I run into Mr. Wynn, I will mention the honesty of your table regarding the wine.
     
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