No Limit Holdem in Vegas Part II

NL Holdem in Vegas Part II

Poker article continued from NL Holdem in Vegas Page I. This page is part II

…”Who’s comming back to the strip with me?” Who would have thought it would be so damn difficult to find a no-limit game at six in the morning? I personally had this magical conception of Vegas, in terms of poker especially, that I could get a game anywhere anytime. This was not true. I walked all over the damn place looking for a game, any game I’ll even take a limit game. I first started at the Bellagio, come on best known for poker there must be some high rollers left over from the long night. I was amazed to see an empty poker pit and a pit boss telling me, “yeah, the game should start back up around nine or ten”. Nine or ten! It was six in the morning at the time and I’m working on my second wind here I need a game.

So I left the Bellagio and headed elsewhere. I found myself at the MGM. This casino, I am almost sure, the 2nd largest in the world! Foxwoods, New England is the largest and I believe Fallsview, Niagra Falls is the third. So here I am at the 2nd largest casino in the world and do you think there is a game? Obviously not, I enter – again – an empty poker pit and a confused look on the pit boss’s face. So without giving up hope I headed to where I “heard” there would be a good no-limit game at all times – the Rio. Why you ask I didn’t head there right away, well it is actually decently far, if your walking, from everything else. However, on my way to the Rio I had to go through Caesar’s palace, which is a gorgeous casino with a beautiful mall yet no poker game. Anyways I head through Caesar’s and was off on my way to Rio.

Now the way to walk to Rio is actually quite unpleasant. It is along a highway or freeway or some kind of crap like that and the sidewalk is dangerously located an inch from where crazy drivers are speeding by you on hazardous turns and bends. Furthermore, you must talk a pedestrian boardwalk which is distasteful to the scenery in Vegas but mere aesthetics is the least of your worries. As I walked on the boardwalk I noticed several spray painted signs. Upon closer examination, from my limited knowledge of L.A. street gangs, I noticed it was a specific type of L.A. gang one in which I would definitely want to avoid. I will keep the name confidential to keep myself and my loved ones out of possible danger but lets just say it was not the nicest feeling to know that I was walking in gang territory.

What a feeling of relief when I approached the Rio, my shirt was off and around my head due to the blistering heat. I place my shirt back on and head inside. I walk confidently to the poker pit. Don’t worry Johnny everything will be good, there has to be a game come on it’s the Rio, I walk into the poker pit and nothing. Crud, I just hiked up Mount Everest and found a McDonalds at the top – no surprises. Instead of conversing with the pit boss I just decided to cut my losses spark up a cigarette and head back to civilization.

No Limit Holdem in Vegas Part I

No Limit Holdem in Las Vegas

What would any rational professional poker player do once he has turned twenty-one – fly to Vegas of course. As my twenty-first birthday approached I was ready to place my skills to the test in the ultimate poker arena.

The outcome – not impressed. As I arrived at the Vegas airport I was pleased to see the abundance of slot machines strategically placed in front of you as soon as you walk off the plane. As my friends and I laugh at the people enclosed in these glass cases full of slot machines we feel the beating of our hearts rise as Vegas is about to be tackled. I have heard rumors of my skills at the poker table including the infamous the best player in Toronto. With these thoughts floating in my skull I am ready to take my strategies to the best tables in the world.

Hotel Check In

We went to check into our hotel. The hotel of choice is the Las Vegas Hilton, which I would recommend as it is cheaper than the larger names and about a five minute walk from the strip.

Once our bags were in our rooms, I couldn’t even say the word Vegas before one of my associates took off and decided to explore Vegas by himself. Myself and the others needed to catch up on some necessary food intake so, hilariously, we went to Denny’s.

After contemplating regurgitation and deciding against eating, it was poker time. Where? The Bellagio of course as I have heard that is where you can find the best in the world. And as contradictory as this may sound, if you are not an amateur then trust me when I say that you do not want to play with amateurs as your strategies will be tossed out the window when you get calleddown with ace five off suit to catch a gutshot straight simply because he doesn’t consider odds.

Anyways I’m looking for a game and that is the bottom line. It was fairly late, approximately one or two in the morning so I figure there must be a thousand games at any level going strong. To my astonishment I walk into the poker pit and find about nine tables running at a substantially low level.

Let me make something clear before I continue. I am a strict no-limit Texas Holdem poker player. I have no problem, I say this hesitantly, with playing limit poker but I just cannot stand the fact that you can’t put a person to the test for all of his or her chips, which I feel is the determining factor of a real poker player. Furthermore, the pots in limit poker, unless the blinds are 10/20 or higher, are relatively small and thus you could win five pots and be up fifty dollar, which is a waste of time. So I personally enjoy a nice no-limit game as I consider myself a high risk gambler.

When I entered the Bellagio’s poker room, I was surprised at the amount or lack of amount of no-limit games. There were a few, but I was stuck at 5/10 no-limit. In addition, I was with a bunch of amateurs who have decided, overnight, to become poker players from their time spent watching the sport on television. I played my game and set my traps. And after about an hour and a half, when my associates are pleading with me to leave, I cash out with a four hundred dollar gain.

I decided I would not be one of those typical stupid gamblers who play the high limit slots and shoot for a million. The main reason for this rationale is that my bankroll was not where I wanted it to be and thus I wanted to build it before I started to play stupidly. My strategy was set and my first mission on the first night was accomplished.

I admit that I was tired and ready for sleep. We got back to the room and smoked some funny cigarettes and everybody proceeded to pass out. I put my head down on the pillow and had a devastating thought – I’m in Vegas damnit I can’t sleep. I jump out of bed look around at the passed out crew and said simply “who’s comming back to the strip with me?”

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