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Video Poker Owes You Nothing (Summer 2021 Solo Trip Report)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by JFO, Jul 30, 2021.

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  1. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    This would be my first trip to Vegas in almost 18 months. There were some very good slot promos going on downtown that I was hoping to take advantage of, so I was hoping to play quite a bit of video poker and hopefully get some table poker in also. I have been on a Royal drought for the last several trips before the pandemic, but I was expecting to play over half a "Royal Cycle" on this trip, which should put me just better than even money to hit a Royal on this trip. I decided for this trip I would not take pictures of 4-of-a-kinds or 4-Royals, but I would keep playing and save my photos for that RF which I think I am way overdue for....

    Note from Last Vegas Trip: My last trip was New Years Eve 2019, New Years Day 2020 Trip (Here) About a week after returning from that trip, I got real sick with all of the symptoms of the topic we are restricted from discussing on VMB. After a cycle of antibiotics did nothing for me, I went to see my doctor, who tested me for everything they knew to test for at that time, but everything came up negative. They gave me an inhaler because of my very strange breathing and low oxygen levels. I did make a full recovery after a week, and when we found out about this "novel" thing, I PM’d every VMB member I made contact with that last trip and was glad to hear they were all doing fine. So yeah, I got many accusations of being a "patient zero." I took the antibody test when it was available in May 2020, but it came up negative, most likely because it was too long since I recovered.

    Note on New Poker Group: Also over the interim, I got to know number of table poker players in an online poker study group that formed early in the pandemic. We had been playing online micro-stakes with each other with simultaneous zoom calls, and discussing lots of hands, strategies, and all sorts of poker topics in chat rooms. Three of the members would be in town during my visit: CP, who is retired and living in Vegas, has been on a "heater" over the last several months playing 2/5 NLH, and has gotten up by a very substantial amount. Bizzy, who also lives in town, went pro during the pandemic, and has a poker blog at https://bizzypoker.com/ where he tells stories and shares his poker progress. PK is from out of town visiting for the week, and had moved up to 2/5 over the pandemic, and has been treating poker rooms like candy stores.

    Arrival and Transportation: This would also be my first trip to Vegas in over 20 years that I did not rent a car. The flights in and out of Vegas were fairly cheap (so I covered them with Ultimate Rewards Points), but Rental Car rates were absurd with the companies selling off their cars and not being able to replace them. I was planning on taking the shuttle downtown, but fortunately CP offered to pick me up from the airport and take me around.

    Wynn Status Match: Our first stop would be the Bellagio, where I would have an updated MLife Gold Card printed. After that we went to the Wynn, where we both had our MLife Gold cards matched to Wynn Platinum (CP achieved MLife Gold entirely through table poker, and didn’t know about the Wynn status matching this summer.) On my previous trip I was a pretty big fan of the Wynn Slots app, as I was getting unlimited free rooms. However, I gave up on the app when they made the big downgrade in Feb 2020. I did express some frustration with that downgrade in THIS video rant I shared with this community, but I knew that app was way too good to last. I still think the Wynn is a nice place.

    Pizza Rock: Next stop would be downtown where I was hoping to meet up with the poker guys and treat them to dinner with my comp money and food vouchers. When we texted PK, he had just sat down at a 2/5 table at the new Resorts World (aka, the Westward Ho 2). He told us the table was so soft he had trouble justifying leaving the table to join us. (He would make over $2000 in a couple hours at 2/5, so we all understood.) Bizzy was able to meet us there. I then learned (1) the free food money vouchers the GG/D sends me doesn't apply to their off-casino partner restaurants the way their comp dollars do, and (2) all of my GG/D comp dollars went to 0 over the pandemic. CP and Bizzy decided they preferred to pay for their meals than find another restaurant in the casinos that I could treat them to with my voucher money.

    CP and Bizzy would both telling me how soft poker was post-pandemic, and couldn't believe I came all the way to LV to just go downtown and play video games. There was probably some truth to that, as I do think my poker game has improved from playing in the group. However, the downtown promos I felt were just too good, and pretty soon I should be able to play table poker anywhere. I let CP have my 4Q parking pass that I asked for at check-in, and I crashed early that night.

    Four Queens: The 4Q had reduced the points for all of their bartop games (including the 10/6/40 DDB) and also their multi-play machines (with 9/5 jacks and other bad games.) So I would be playing the 9/6 jacks on their old uprights with the hard barstools. Their uprights are extremely uncomfortable for long marathon sessions. I would eventually "borrow" a softer barstool from the high limit slots area which I thought did help a little (security saw me take the high limit barstool, but they didn’t seem to care at all.) My right shoulder would get very sore holding my right arm out that kept hitting deal/draw/deal/draw with all this playing.

    I would run into @kathiemc23 who was also playing the same promotion. We were playing on adjacent machines talking about random Vegas things, and she asked if I was in VMB. I responded by pulling my alien green wristband out of my backpack and putting it on! While playing with her, I would be dealt this "Flush with open ended 4-Royal", and she encouraged me take this video of the draw:



    During my trip, I would actually be dealt four "4-Royals", with each of them having a paying hand in the deal (that flush, one straight, and two jacks-or-betters), and each one bricking to a no-pay hand in the draw. kathiemc23 would eventually leave for lunch, and within 10 minutes of her leaving I would hit both of these:

    02_SF1.jpg

    03_SF2.jpg

    I didn’t get many of those during my trip, but that may have been a highlight.

    Also, at the 4Q, I would meet a young woman on an adjacent machine who was barely over 21 and grinding 9/6 for quarters like a pro. She turned out to be the daughter of @mwig, who brought his whole family there to grind the promo together as a family. I introduced myself to mwig and we spoke a little bit, and then went back to our grinding.

    My room at the 4Q had a beautiful view of the top of the parking lot:

    04_4Q1.jpg

    as well as a view of the hotel pit. (I always ask for the quiet side.)

    05_4Q2.jpg

    This pandemic 4Q empty vending machine seemed like it would also make a good snapshot for a TR:

    06_4Q3.jpg

    Prime Rib dinner at Magnolias:

    07_Mag1.jpg

    Oops, I forgot to ask for the creamy horsey sauce, they brought it right away:

    08_Mag2.jpg

    A little cheesecake for dessert:

    09_Mag3.jpg

    Sure, the fruit topping on the top was canned, but compared to the Blintzes I got for breakfast at Saginaw’s in the Circa:

    10_Circa1.jpg

    That only came with a single package of jelly? The Circa was a quite impressive place to visit, but I was annoyed that coming from Fremont Street, they have 2 escalators each going 1-way (up) to get into the casino, and then I had to take the elevator in the back of the casino to get back down to Fremont Street.

    Binions: Binions was running the same promo as the 4Q. I would play the 8/5 Bonus Poker in the slant tops, which was a lot more comfortable than the 4Q uprights. Same luck as the 4Q, where I had trouble hitting big hands. However, I did hit one hand of interest. In video poker when you are dealt a King with a suited Ten, there is a lot of discussion and debate on when to hold and when to discard the suited Ten. I think this hand below may settle the question once and for all that there is no harm in holding the suited Ten:

    11_Binions1.jpg

    Binions Café had taken their tuna melt off the menu. Not sure when that happened, but maybe they hadn't learned from Subway they don't need real tuna to sell a tuna sandwich! I did like their tuna melt when they had it, so I hope they bring it back. But here was their breaded fish n chips:

    12_BinionsCafe.jpg

    Hugo's Cellar: I was able to take CP, Bizzy, PK, and Coach Persuadeo (who I discussed in Day 4 of THIS trip report) to dinner at Hugo's Cellar at 4Q. During dinner, we discussed a lot of poker hands, as well as a lot of random Vegas and non-Vegas topics. We ordered 2 bottles of wine and all this food:

    13_H1.jpg

    14_H2.jpg

    15_H3.jpg

    16_H4.jpg

    17_H5.jpg

    And I was able to cover it all with my comps. There was a little confusion in our reservations, and they thought we were celebrating a birthday. We decided we would celebrate PK’s birthday even though none of us had any idea when it really was. When they brought our table the complementary Chocolate Lava Cake with a candle, PK insisted we all sing him Happy Birthday (which of course we did, as poker players we have absolutely no shame.)

    Afterwards we walked over to the Golden Nugget to hoping to play their uncapped $1/$2 NLH game. However, the room was full and the waiting list was about 15-20 long. I decided I was just going to crash as I was in the middle of a VP marathon, and the rest of the guys decided they would head to Resorts World for easy money.

    Sahara Poker Room: Coach Persuadeo who has been a Pro for about 8 years and a coach for about 4 years (Blog at persuadeo.nl) finally moved to Las Vegas during the pandemic. He goes to the Sahara twice a week where he has a game with his friends and his students. He is not a formal "host" of the game (he does not get paid anything for bringing people into the room), but he does have a good relationship with the poker room staff that lets them spread games to their liking. Now you might think a game among coaches, students, pros, and locals might be about the worse choice of table to play poker on. However, I will say that while the games he sets up are not soft, they are quite loose, very high variance, definitely not depressing, and you might be surprised to see how light these guys are playing when a hand gets to showdown.

    On Thursday nights, they have a $2/$3 NLH game with a $600 minimum buy-in (200BB), and uncapped maximum buy-in, for a very deep stacked game. Instead of a rake, they have a seat charge of $5/30 minutes, which comes out to much less than most rakes at these stakes. Most of his players are accustomed to playing deeper than $1000 behind, so for them this is just a friendly social deep stacked practice game. However, $600 is a bit deep for me to be playing in a wild game, and I didn't play in this one for this trip.

    On Tuesday nights, they have a $1/$1 PLO game that I did play in. This game had a $50 minimum buy-in, uncapped maximum buy-in, $4 max rake with no promo drop. Most PLO games have $200 minimum buy-ins with $5 minimum bring ins, but this one actually allowed players to limp pre-flop (although it didn't limp around much.) I would buy in for $100, and after a couple hours of roller coaster rides, cash out up $26.

    In addition to his regular players and friends, there would be a couple hotel guests who would wander into the game to see what $1/$1 PLO was like. Coach Persuadeo would quickly introduce himself (and everyone at the at the table) and explain this was a special request game but open to anyone. He also frequently invites local poker bloggers (which doesn’t make the game any easier, but does make it more interesting.) All the players did seem to have a very good time, and shortly after I got there, there would be a waiting list for that table.

    Departing Downtown: I needed to check out of my room the final morning, but my flight wasn't until very late that night. I still needed to finish up my last promo. I texted CP to let him know when about I should be done, so we could go grab something to eat and then play some real table poker. I finally finished my final 4000 points about an hour after checkout. CP got there right as I was collecting my free play. He played for quarters as I burned through my final free play and cashed out my cash back.

    I did not hit any Royals this trip. If I hit one I would have been up pretty good. Without hitting one, at least the promos and cashback made the trip not such a bloodbath.

    CP and I then went to Whiskey Lickers where I still had a ton of comps:

    18_W1.jpg

    19_W2.jpg

    Red Rock Poker: I got into CP's car, and we talked about what poker rooms to go to now that I was done with VP. However, I was pretty dead from all the long playing days and short nights from my trip. He took me to his retirement mansion in Summerlin where I would meet his wife who also plays poker, and then crash in his guest room for almost 3 hours. (It was supposed to be just a quick nap, but they let me sleep. I guess I didn't know how tired I was.) We then all went to Red Rock where we played in a really soft 1-2 game:

    20_RR.jpg

    I'll share one quick hand was one of my last hands. I was on the button with 7h 6h. There were a couple limps, and then an open to $10 from the hijack (fairly new to the table with $200 behind). The cutoff folded. There hasn't been a lot of 3-betting in the game, so I decided to just flat behind on the button, as did both blinds and both limpers to make $60 in the pot with me in last position with a speculative hand. The flop came 8s 9c Tc giving me the bottom end of a very vulnerable straight. It checked to the hijack who c-bet for $25. I raised to $100 folding everyone except the hijack who called me. The turn came the 4d which changed nothing, the hijack checks to me, and I push in the rest of my stack (close to $250 which has the hijack covered, and he quickly calls with his remaining $90) The turn comes the Qh. I turn over my hand, and he turns over pocket Tens (for unimproved flopped top set) and walks off. Another player tells me he folded a Jack because he didn't want to call my raise on the flop, which was good for me because if he stuck around he would have made a bigger straight.

    We played to pretty late. After we cashed out, CP drove me back to the airport (Really great guy!) I definitely did better at table poker this trip then I did video poker, but I still love both games. I hope I should at least be getting some decent postcards in the next couple months....

    End of Trip Report

    That was longer than I expected, but thanks very much for reading. Please feel free to post comments, I read them!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
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  2. Grandmaw

    Grandmaw Low-Roller

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    I don't play anything but slots - but I loved reading your report. All the food pictures and meet ups with friends made for a great trip to Vegas for you. Thanks for posting. :)
     
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  3. kathiemc23

    kathiemc23 Low-Roller

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    It was so great to meet you! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
     
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  4. Burnsie

    Burnsie High-Roller

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    I love your post title—ain't that the truth, brother!!!

    Glad you had some good grinding action even though the RF remained elusive. Sounds like a great trip altogether.

    And I gotta say, that empty vending machine is one sad-looking sight. C'mon, Four Queens, get your act together!

    Thanks for the report!
     
    Harrah's ATLANTIC CITY
    First-time Planet Hollywood stay!
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  5. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    I appreciate all the reports....some great meal ideas!
     
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  6. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

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    Thanks for your TR, Well done,

    later. GVJ
     
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  7. JeJas

    JeJas VIP Whale

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    Wynn matched your Mlife Gold to Black? That seems unusual.
     
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  8. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    It was Wynn Platinum and I just corrected the TR.

    Because the status match is a limited time thing from Wynn, I just took the match as a quick hit-n-run, I am not even sure at this point if I will be able to use any of those perks. Thanks for catching that!
     
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  9. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Low straights, low flushes, and full houses with three of the lower value card will put you into an early grave. I especially like to see 2-3-4-5 up when I have six-seven or a pair of sixes because there's a chance someone is betting his ace.

    Thanks for posting. Glad the ten high held.
     
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  10. Gmoney10

    Gmoney10 Low-Roller

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    JFO, thanks for the TR. FYI: got an email from Club One about getting back your expired points and earned comp dollars that were lost during the pandemic. Just need to go to the Club One desk before the end of the year for details. Not sure if you’ll be back in Vegas to use this.
     
    Big game trip 2022
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  11. booker

    booker VIP Whale

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    Love reports with lots of poker! Thanks. I need to check out the blogs.
     
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  12. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    Thanks for posting the report. Loved the food pics. Would have liked some commentary. How was that fish and chips from Binion’s cafe? What was that drink next to those beautiful stacks of chips at the table?
     
    Hope it's not too cold!
    Farewell to CET
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  13. 3OfDiamonds

    3OfDiamonds Vegas is Fabulous When You Degen Responsibly ;)

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    Yes, an answer to that second question would be lovely since it looked delicious :love::cheers::licklips:
     
    The Suite Life With 3OD and the Four Queens
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  14. 3OfDiamonds

    3OfDiamonds Vegas is Fabulous When You Degen Responsibly ;)

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    Thanks for the TR :thumbsup: I’ve been holding king-ten without concern for if there’s a third lower card in the suit (this is actually in line with the 9/6 JOB strategy in the Bob Dancer “Video Poker For Winners” software… if Bob Dancer ain’t fretting over it, neither am I :haha:). Get that Royal next trip :cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
    The Suite Life With 3OD and the Four Queens
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  15. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    Hold K-T suited except when you are throwing away a 9 (any suit) AND a lower card of the same suit.
    Ks-Ts-9c-4c-3c …Keep the Ks-Ts
    Ks-Ts-8c-4c-2s …Keep the Ks-Ts
    Ks-Ts-9c-4c-2s …Keep only the K

    Point is if you’re tossing a penalty card towards a straight AND a penalty card towards a flush then give it up and just keep the King.
     
    Hope it's not too cold!
    Farewell to CET
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  16. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    8/5 BP and 9/6 Jacks have near identical strategies, but this is one of the rare hands where the strategies have a slight difference:

    - In both games I am holding the suited Ten when there are no flush penalty cards (and of course no other high cards)
    - In 9/6 Jacks, I am playing the strategy you describe (assuming you meant only throwing away offsuit 9s)
    - In 8/5 BP that I was playing, I am actually discarding the suited Ten whenever there is a single flush penalty card below 9 (regardless of offsuit 9 on the board or not).This is because with the flush only playing 5x in this game, there isn't as much of an EV boost of making a "backdoor flush" when holding the KTs after discarding the penalty card as there is in 9/6 jacks, so discarding then suited Ten has VERY TINY higher EV in this game, where keeping it is higher in 9/6 jacks!
    - In both games, if the 9 is suited, I am holding the KT9s (as well as any lower cards of the same suit, which I think is what you meant.)

    So 9/6 Jacks, your strategy:
    Ks-Ts-9c-4c-3c …Keep the Ks-Ts
    Ks-Ts-8c-4c-2s …Keep the Ks-Ts
    Ks-Ts-9c-4c-2s …Keep only the K

    8/5 BP that I was playing at the time:
    Ks-Ts-9c-4c-3c …Keep only the K
    Ks-Ts-8c-4c-2s …Keep only the K
    Ks-Ts-9c-4c-2s …Keep only the K

    For this hand that I posted, the draw I caught was so ridiculous I guess I made a "troll-ish" comment that you can always hold the suited Ten. I guess that warped sense of humor carries over from table poker, where any starting cards can draw into something ridiculous....
     
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  17. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    Actually Persuadeo (the table poker coach who I discussed in this TR) frequently says "Poker owes you nothing" whenever a player says something on the lines of feeling overdue for a hand or a winning session. I actually asked his permission if I could use it as a TR title, and he just laughed and approved.... But yes, its absolutely the truth!!!!
     
  18. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    Thanks! I was in such a rush for everything this trip I didn't get a chance to get to GG/D, but I should definitely have time in upcoming trips!
     
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  19. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    They were served very hot (fresh out of the deep fryer) with LOTS of breading. Note that I love fried breading with tarter sauce, although it might not have been a very healthy choice....

    That would have been a Strawberry Julius with whipped cream.
     
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  20. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    Yeah, the low end of straight (which I had) I have frequently heard called "the ignorant end" of the straight. With 5 opponents in the hand, J7 would be unlikely, but QJ is not so unlikely. My decision to continue for stacks was because the SPR (effective stacks to pot ratio) on the flop was quite shallow ($190 to $60 = 3.1) If it was a lot deeper I could definitely consider bailing with this hand if action got out of control, but not at this depth. And then the hand was also very vulnerable to flush draws, full house draws, and bigger straight draws, so I needed to either charge those draws or drive them out.
     
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