Therefore, with that in mind, instead I think it's best if I tell you something else. A tale of equal importance, mind you.
It's all about what I did on my day off.
It's a sojourn into solitude, comes with a plethora of poker, but will hopefully will provide a distracting detour from the domination the WSOP has.
Generally, the day off can often only feel like a half day, this is due to the fact that whoever has the day off, will end up being on the night shift the day before. This, plus the fact the PL team basically adheres to the motto, 'First ones in, last ones out' (like we're secretly some sort of elite army unit) in our efforts to cover everything, means that it's not usual for us to get up at around 3 or 4pm on our day off.
With this in mind, and having constantly covered poker, I had an irritating itch that could only be scratched by some time to play live myself. With that in mind, I headed away from the Rio and it's loudness, to the relative tranquillity of the Orleans.
The Orleans is basically away from everything in Vegas, but it does have a nicely refurbished poker room and tournaments that are not terribly structured. The only downside to all this is there are not too many tourists, and generally the quality of players is pretty good, and better than just about anywhere on the strip.
I bought into the tournament, and with an hour to kill or so, sat in a $1/$2 game going to waste time. I probably had sat down at the wrong table if I was planning to try and make money, as everyone at the table seemed to have at least double the max buy-in ($300 is the max). Simply put, I decided I was going play hands for value, there was nothing worse than losing a couple of hundred bucks just before I started playing a tournament. Truly, I was about to evoke the spirit of Owen 'NittyMcGritty' Laukkanen...
A lot of the pots were limped but everyone always seemed to over-bet on the flop, great, all that was needed now was a hand. After missing a few flops and dropping about $50, there was a multiway pot and I checked my option in the big blind holding 8♣ 6♣. The flop came up potentially good, but tricky J-8-6 rainbow.
With six of us in the pot, the small blind immediately came out with a pot-sized bet for $12, slowplaying was immediately out of the question. I bumped it up to $35 and everyone but the small blind folded. He made the call before checking to me on the potentially ugly 7 which appeared on the turn.
I had about $120 left and the pot was $94, I decided to bet $60, I reasoned he wouldn't have fired on the flop with T-9 versus five other players and there was plenty hands I was beating. Plus even if he did have top pair, he may still well call with strong top pair hands like A-J, K-J Q-J, plus smaller jacks (J-T and J-9) have picked up a straight draw.
To my surprise he just flat-called me, rather that setting me in, surely he knew I was now committed? While I was thinking what he could possibly have, the dealer put down a king on the river, not a great card, but all it mean was that if he had K-J, he'd got me in the end and would set me in. Fortunately though, he checked, position is such great thing, and it allowed me to move in, where he groaned and called with A-J.
So I doubled up and honed my NLHE skills just in time for the tournament, which was about to begin, now lets see how everyone likes a taste of 'British Steel' mwahahaha. But then three particular things became aware to me, which left me in what I'd like to call, 'a big pile of poop.'
It wasn't a no-limit hold'em tournament.
I'd gone to the Orleans on a Thursday.
Tournaments on a Thursday are always Omaha Eight or Better.
Now I'm not against limit games per se, but they do tend to be incredibly mechanical to play, even at the best of times, make it PLO8 and now I'm interested! Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went out after about an hour and a half, not many stories in that itself, just another tournament that didn't work out.
Having been daft enough to sign up for a tournament where I didn't even know what the game was, I decided I'd be better amongst my own ilk, the tourists on the strip, whose idea of poker is only what they've seen on ESPN's "Degree Action All-in Moment". The MGM provides a lot of tables and I decided to slip into this maelstrom of action.
With all the stuff going on at the Rio, it's quite easy, if you're a decent player to fleece the tourists along the Strip instead, place like MGM, Imperial Palace, etc are full of people just itching to get in there and gamble.
I re-raised preflop to $40 with aces after a serial punisher of the limpers had tried to steal, one guy cold called from the small blind after everyone else had folded. I checked behind him on the 2-2-4 flop, but when he checked the 5 turn as well, I felt inclined to bet and he folded K-J face up to me, in a, 'I know you've got nothing but I'm making a strong fold' kind of way.
I'd almost doubled my buy-in for the night, busting a guy with the nut flush against top pair and taking the odd pot here and there, before on the last I was about to play, I managed to pick-up kings and then proceeded to re-raise preflop before doing it all on a non-descript 8-2-3 board, right bang into top set. I ended up about $100 for the day after taking away tournament buy-in, so at least there was some profit.
I slumped into a cab with before two random drunk people behind me said, "Oh are you going to the Rio? Can we come??!" Too tired to argue, I moved into the front seat where the slurred noises and cackles from the back-seat were only slightly less irritating than the techno-dance music that was pulsating from the driver's above average-sized speakers.
There's a lot of money being played for at the Rio, but if you cannot stomach their limits, then, "There's gold in them thar hills!"
And when I say hills, I mean the Strip.
As good as all these smaller tournaments are at Binions, the Venetian, the Golden Nugget and Caesar's, there's cash games galore for practically anyone, because once you're here, even the smallest bankrolled player could end up making some money with good fundamental skills and correct game selection. It really is that simple.
Just remember to leave the poker table one hand before you were planning to leave the poker table, it might make all the difference!