RagsPoker Vegas Trip Report 2016

RagsPoker

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(Trip Report continues in Posts 8 & 9 in this thread)

TRIP PREPARATION
I bought non-stop round trip flight tix on Oct. 19 for $260 on Southwest out of Flint, Mich. for the Jan. 12-18 Vegas trip with father-in-law (AKA Beeman) and brother-in-law (AKA Ace). This was the lowest ticket price I had seen after checking for the previous few weeks, so I jumped at it. In comparison we've had to pay between $300-400 in previous years. I'm staying at the Flamingo while Beeman and Ace are staying at Harrahs. I prefer the Flamingo because of the poker room ($2-4 limit always going, don't think there is any other low limits like that on the strip).
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I'm taking my current gambling bankroll of $3K for the 6-day trip. My goal is to average $100 in wins per day (trip goal of +$600); I don't expect any huge wins playing at my financial level but I also don't expect to lose real big either. If I can come home breaking even, I would be satisfied with that too....just don't want to lose too much on the trip.....a bad run over 6 days in Vegas could get ugly for the BR. (I do not count eating and hotel costs in my bankroll, that comes out of family vacation money. Drink tips do come out of my BR as I'm usually tipping with chips from my stacks at the tables.)

DAY ONE
Tue., Jan. 12

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After checking in to the hotel around 5 pm, these were my views from my Fab Room 138 on the 15th floor. After unpacking, I headed down to the casino floor to play some table games with Beeman and Ace; I proceeded to lose about $400 in just 2 hours ($300 at Ultimate Texas Holdem/Flamingo and then another $100 at Paigow/Harrahs). Should have left sooner, but was sucking down a couple Capt. & Cokes and trying to enjoy a little time at the tables with my traveling companions upon arrival in Vegas. Was on tilt, not so much for losing but rather for staying at the UTH table too long, so I went to my room and took a nap.

Woke up at 2:30 am Vegas time and went down to the poker room and played $1-2 NLHE/Flamingo. Bad luck was continuing as I was card dead for 3 hours, before finally hitting two nice hands......flopped Ace high flush for about $150 pot, and later my pocket Aces held up vs. English kid who pushed $200-ish stack all-in with AK pre-flop. (I made a pre-flop raise and then he shoved).

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The highlight of the night/morning (and the trip for that matter) came at about 7:00 am, 4 1/2 hours after I sat down at the table. I was really tired and getting ready to leave, but thought I would first take a quick picture of my chip stack (for the "Show Me Your Live Stacks" thread on PCF). That picture is shown above; now as I was checking the picture on my phone and not paying attention to the hand, a big pot was developing heads-up. When the betting ended (all-ins) the guy on my immediate right flips over pocket 3's for quads and yells to his opponent, "Show me your straight flush!". Bingo! He had it.....Bad Beat! Flopped quads lost to a turned straight flush.
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Loser of the hand (a guy from Chicago) got $1500 for the beat and another $500 for flopping quads. The hand winner (from Oklahoma City, shown on his cell phone at the end of the table in one of the pictures) won the nice pot of almost $600 plus an additional $599 for delivering the bad beat ($599 not $600, so he doesn't get a 1099 and have to pay taxes). All other players at the table got $150 apiece. My first experience at a bad beat table, nice to pick up $150 and I'm not complaining, just too bad Caesars got rid of the progressive bad beat they used to run a while back with all of their properties ..... that would have been a whole lot sweeter.

Cashed out at 7:30 am; in for $150, out for $320 plus another $150 for being at the bad beat table (minus $15 dealer tip for the bad beat).

Day's total: -$90 (and darn happy with that after my start)

DAY TWO
Wed., Jan. 13

$2-4 LHE/Flamingo was good to me in a 3-hour mid-afternoon session, hit a couple straight & flush draws and had a couple 2 pair hands that held up. As I was racking up, I played one final hand UTG and got rivered as my A-Q (top pair with Q on board) got beat with a Jack on river by Q-J hand (about a $40 pot).
In for $100, out for $215.

The guy who beat me in that last hand (a KC Royals fan) a short time earlier hit TWO straight flushes, both in spades and only about 10 minutes apart. Just unfrigginbelievable! In his first straight flush hand, he had 8-9 spades with a 10-J-Q board. He and his opponent kept re-raising each other about 4 times and our table was ready to celebrate a bad beat jackpot. Mr. KC Royal finally just called and asked his opponent if he had Ace-King, guy shook his head affirmatively but must have misunderstood cuz he only had A-4 spades. Table groaned and we all wondered WTF he was doing by continually raising. He got a little pissy when another player tried to explain that he shouldn't have kept re-raising so many times with the straight flush board showing. Anyway, KC Royal guy got $100 for each of his straight flushes per Flamingo promotion.
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Here is a picture of some of those purdy blue Flamingo singles along with a Kahlua & Cream (actually a little Kahlua and mostly milk....but still a refreshing drink!)

$2-4 LHE/Flamingo (6:30-8:30 pm), again connected on a few hands like flush & straight draws.
Local lady to my immediate right flopped quad 10's and then quad jacks only a couple hands later. I can't believe all these great hands I'm seeing. I have seen three flopped quad hands and three straight flush hands with all of the quad hands missing me by one seat position. I've never seen such big hands in such a short period of time (less than 24 hours).
In for $100, out for $210.

Took a walk down to the Venetian with Beeman to rail Ace for a little while in a $125 NLHE tournament (he ended up chopping for $1680 w/ 4 others) . I lost $20 playing VP. Was very tired and walked back to Linq area and went to bed around 11 pm Vegas time....I'm not as young as I used to be and needed some shuteye after 30 hours in Vegas with only about 4 hours of sleep since my flight.

Day's total: +$205
Trip: +$130

DAY THREE
Thur., Jan. 14

$2-4 LHE/Flamingo for 2 1/2 hours (now played enough hours to qualify for Friday freeroll tournament). Started hot but hit cold streak at end of session.
In for $100, out for $130.

We drove downtown for the day.

Played blackjack at The D, got down early but made a strong comeback. Their BCC chips are in great condition and handle and shuffle nicely.
In for $100, out for $200.
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Also played the D's mechanical horse racing game on the top floor, lost $5. Odds are set on various combinations of horses finishing first and second. Each bet is 25 cents. Lots of fun as people were cheering and rooting on their horses.

After walking around Fremont Street for a while, we drove out to Jerry's Nugget in North Las Vegas for a couple hours.
Jerry's is an older, smaller casino, still privately owned. Dealers were all very friendly, sometimes too chatty as I really had to focus hard at the blackjack table at times while they were jabbering. One lady dealer gave me her personal 6-year history of dealing in the place; she had worked at Jerry's prior to leaving for self-employment with her husband (they owned an 18-unit motel for a few years before selling); she got re-hired at Jerry's for the health insurance benefits after her husband (a dealer at the Mirage) was relegated to part time following the poker decline in the late 2000's.
Signed up for a player's card and got free deck of used BJ cards (clipped and marked on a corner with black marker) and a canvas-type bag.
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Played some $2 minimum Ultimate Texas Holdem; that game has been kicking my ass, big swings and I've been on the wrong end of it lately; Beeman & Ace love to play it and seem to have better luck at it than I do.
In for $100, out for $6 in souvenir singles.

I slid over to a double-deck blackjack 3:2 table and had a nice run over about an hour's time.
In for $100, out for $350.

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I really like their $1 chips with those sweet edge spots and iconic sign inlay (they were really filthy, but cleaned up nicely); took 6 home with me, probably should have gotten more. They have Bud Jones CIC hundos, first casino that I've personally seen CIC chips in.

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We drove back to the Strip at night and I proceeded to lose $50 at both paigow and single deck blackjack at Harrahs (just 1 win in 8 hands), headed back to my room to call it a night.

Day's total: +$175
Trip total: +$305
 
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bluegill

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What is the electronic device with the lcd screen just in front of the dealer tray?
 

Forty4

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What is the electronic device with the lcd screen just in front of the dealer tray?
for rewards. They swipe your card when you sit down, the card reader is next to the chip drop. Then they clock you out when you leave. Not sure if there is a technical name for it but that's it's purpose.
 

bluegill

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for rewards. They swipe your card when you sit down, the card reader is next to the chip drop. Then they clock you out when you leave. Not sure if there is a technical name for it but that's it's purpose.
Ahhh, that makes sense. Thanks
 

RagsPoker

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(Continuing with my trip report here; I wasn't allowed to add to OP because apparently too long)

DAY FOUR
Fri., Jan. 15

Registered at 8 am for the Friday Freeroll. A player must have at least 12 hours of poker room play for the week to qualify. Player gets 1000 chips but gets 2000 more chips with $5 dealer add-on. Top 10 places receive $300 each, 11th-20th gets $200 and 21st-30th gets $100. There were over 130 entrants, the largest they've had according to a couple of the dealers.

I sat down for a little BJ 10 minutes before tourney. Bad run, losing $75.

After 2 hours in tournament, I fell short of the money in 45th place. Crippling hand was my QQ losing to all-in K3 pre-flop, K came on turn, left me with 2K chips instead of 9K. Shovefest started shortly thereafter; I busted out when really shortstacked.
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Blackjack was rough on me today; -$200 at the Linq and -$100 at Harrahs. Won $5 at Ultimate Holdem at Harrahs, yeeehawww!

$2-4 LHE/Flamingo from 6-9 pm.....3 hours of poker misery
In for $150, out for $63.

Played about an hour at Harrahs from 10-11 pm with Beeman at Ultimate Holdem table, was finally able to play quite a while at this game without losing fast.
In for $100, out for $150.

Played in the $60 NLHE/Flamingo Midnight Tournament, busted out early. Folded AQ after my pre-flop and post-flop raises with 8-9-J board (2 diamonds) against player who limped and had been playing a wide range of cards. Next hand I'm in SB with 44, everyone folds, I go all-in, get called by BB with 10-10; he flops a 10. An appropriate end to a tough day of gambling.

Day's total: -$525
Trip total: -$230

DAY FIVE
Sat., Jan. 16

$2-4 LHE/Flamingo, hour and a half of more misery this morning. Still haven't hit a set this whole trip, let alone quads (for the $500 bonus). Witnessed another big hand at my table, lady hit a straight flush 9-10-J-Q-K (spades again!) for $100 high hand payout at the same table where the 2 other spade straight flushes hit two days earlier.
In for $200, out for $90.

Watched NFL divisional games in Harrahs and Flamingo sportsbooks during the day.
Football Bets:
$36 to win $30 1st Half Over 21.5 KC/NE - LOST
$55 to win $50 AZ -7 - LOST
$50 Parlay AZ, CAR, DEN to cover - LOST

$1-2 NLHE/Flamingo, midnight to 2:30 am. No drunks at this table surprisingly this time of night on a Saturday, very aggressive table with a lot of straddling. I decided to play tight and it paid off. Won about 5 significant hands: Pocket Q's held up 3 times, pocket 6's rivered an open ended straight, and my pocket 10's flopped a full house vs QQ who went all-in on river. Finally some run good after a couple tough days at the poker table and in other games, only time all week that I flopped a set with pocket pairs in cash games.
In for $150, out for $525.

Day's Total: +$130
Trip Total: -$100

DAY SIX
Sun., Jan. 17


Football Bets:
$20 Parlay - Sea +3, Sea/Car U44, Denv +7: LOST
$50 to win $50 - Sea +2.5: LOST
$55 to win $50 - Pitt +4.5 1st Half: WIN
$39 to win $30 - O21 2nd Half Pitt/Denv: LOST

This was my only winning sports bet ticket of the weekend:
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Drove out to Summerlin to visit Red Rock Casino. Ate at a great barbecue place in the casino and watched the end of Sea/Car game and the Denver/Pitt game in the Sportsbook; very nice sportsbook with nice big clear TVs, available seating and good drink/waitress service.
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Played about 5 shuffles of double deck blackjack, had a decent little run.
In for $100, out for $250.
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Back to the Strip for last night of the trip, $2-4 LHE/Flamingo, about an hour from 11 pm-midnight.
In for $100, out for $50.

Played in Flamingo $60 buyin Midnight tournament. Caught some big hands early on to built up some chips, KK, QQ, 10-10 all held up. Biggest hand was 3-4o in small blind with two limpers and the BB who checked, I flopped two pair and then turned a full house to bust out player who bet every street (except for the pre-flop call) and went all-in on the river, certainly not any great play on my part but it is sweet when another player keeps betting into your disguised monster! I survived until 3-handed (tourney paid 3 places) but didn't hit hands at the end and got 3rd place money of $238 (I gave $20 for dealer tip)....good way to end the trip on a positive note and put me into the plus column.

Day's Total: +$260
Trip Total: +$160
 
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RagsPoker

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~~~~~~~~TRIP WRAP-UP~~~~~~~
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Flight: Direct flights both to and from Vegas on Southwest were smooth with very little turbulence....I like the airline as you can check up to 2 bags at no charge and leg room is adequate (much better than sardine-can Spirit Airlines). Southwest flies out of Bishop Airport in Flint, Mich. which is only an hour and a half drive for us, and the check-in/security is so fast in such a small airport. I much prefer it to Detroit/Metro which is a longer drive and a bigger airport. The wait to get luggage at Metro is usually longer; it literally only took 5 minutes of waiting at the luggage carousel at Bishop to get our bags on our return trip. We have flown Delta out of Detroit in the past and like it, but Flint/Southwest is overall more to my liking.

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Gambling: Did OK at the poker tables, probably should have played more no limit but instead played a lot of $2-4 limit in attempt to better my chances of hitting poker room jackpots as players are involved in more hands, thus increasing your odds. Also harvested a some spotted Flamingo $1's for a couple of PCFers. I would like to play more blackjack but the 6:5 games on the Strip kept me away most of the time. Downtown (and Jerry's Nugget) games have better rules, ie 3:2 blackjacks. Had an unusually rough time on the Strip in the pit where table games weren't kind. I'm not a slot player and play very little video poker. Didn't hit my win goal but still finished in the black ($160) and I can't expect much more than that. Above picture, is another look at the bad beat hand I got $150 for being a player at the table.

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Flamingo Poker Room: Games always running here and the room was busier than any other trip I remember. $1-2 no-limit and $2-4 limit were the only games offered, generally 6-8 cash tables running along with a couple tables of $60 buy-in tournaments about every three hours. Decent promotions including bad beat and high hand jackpots especially during slower times (6 am - noon and 4-8 pm).

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Regarding those sweet $1 chips: The $1 chips with edge spots are becoming rare. About 5% of the singles have the edge spots, and of those it's a 2:1 ratio of no bird to bird chips. I base this on my various times of buying a rack of blues for the $2-4 game. Generally there was between 4 and 6 spotted chips in a rack. I picked up 62 spotted $1's (no-bird) and 32 spotted $1's (w/ bird). Those of you who have them, enjoy them and hang on to them because I think they're only going to go up in value.

Food: In past trips we haven't been the best at setting meal plans and getting together to eat. Did better at that this year and tried to have at least one decent meal a day (I said decent, not healthy): Guy Fieri's (really good pulled pork), The Yard House (great St. Louis style ribs), American Coney Island/The D (good ol' fashioned Koegel Vienna chili dogs), Johnny Rockets/Flamingo (didn't think their original burger was too good this year), Lucille's Smokehouse/Red Rock (excellent BBQ baby back ribs, chicken & sausage).

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$20 Trick: I had a Fab room booked at the Flamingo. I received an email asking if I wanted to upgrade for $28/night. I decided to just try the much talked about "$20 trick" upon checking in. First, the man at the front desk (Jarrett from England) asked for my ID and credit card. I gave them to him and then nonchalanty tapped a folded $20 bill on the counter and asked if I could get some type of upgrade or at least a room with a strip view. He looked on his computer and then said he had to check to see if any rooms were ready and walked back behind the counter wall. He was gone for at least 5 minutes, maybe longer. Why he couldn't just make a call to that room rather than leaving the front desk, I don't know. When he returned, he said he could get me into a Fab room with a strip view. When he got me all checked in and gave me my room key for Room 138 on the 15th floor, I handed him the $20 and said thank you. He offered his thanks and I moved on. This was the 4th straight year of staying at the Flamingo. The first year I got a strip view but the last two only the blah views of the Linq ferris wheel construction and pool (pool action not happening in January). So I think the $20 trick worked and was worth if for the Strip view for 6 days.

Weather: Since 2011 we have gone to Vegas the first or second week of January and this was probably the best weather. Temps were generally in the 50's during the day and very pleasant in the sunshine. It was quite chilly at night and when sitting in the poker room at night you could really feel the cold air when people walked in and out through the doors facing the Strip.

Hookers: Didn't really notice them thru the week, but there were plenty of sightings as they were out in full force on weekend nights. In the Flamingo they'll sit at the end of a row of slots by the aisle on the way to the bank of elevators in the Habitat area, give you a sweet look, smile and ask if they can come up to the room with you. Also, as I was walking late at night from Harrahs thru the Linq, many could be spotted. If you're interested, a little eye contact with them is all it would take to strike up a conversation. And no, I didn't strike up much of a conversation....or anything else for that matter!

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Overall: Six days in Vegas is a long time, but it did seem to fly by. We broke up the week with the trip downtown and later on to Red Rock. Lots of gambling and poker fun with the in-laws. Next year we are talking about staying at least a couple nights Downtown. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the gambling (3:2 BJ primarily) much more than on the Strip (too many young drunks there on the weekend). Haven't played poker downtown (Golden Nugget would be on my list) but would like to do that. Also want to go the Neon Boneyard at night and also hit the Mob Museum, and maybe Spinettis & Gamblers General Store. I still would like to continue to stay a couple nights at the Flamingo as my poker experiences there continue to be good.
 
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Kyle

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Awesome trip Doug! Glad you had a great time and thanks for sharing your story with us! Great pictures too!
 

moose

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What is the electronic device with the lcd screen just in front of the dealer tray?

It's the Bravo poker system. Almost all poker rooms use this system. You can put the app on your phone and get updates on the live games and wait list for poker rooms all across North America.
 
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