Best places to play in Las Vegas

24 04 2012

Everyone wants to take that 3 stacks of high society and try their luck in Las Vegas.  And with the WSOP just around the corner Las Vegas will be getting a spike of players coming in.  Now the Rio is where all the action is but there are obviously other big rooms to play in as well.  Many people have given reviews and here’s my take on some of the biggest rooms to play in this summer.

Bellagio —– A-

Overview:  Well known for its highest cash games in Bobby’s room this card room is very famous and one of the most popular to attend by tourists and pros alike.  They have a very quaint room and the action never rests.  It is probably the most famous of all the rooms.  The room tends to get crowded a bunch and sometimes the wait for a seat is very long.  However the staff is friendly and accommodating.  The floors rule promptly and efficiently even with the crowded room.  The room is easy to get to and the location is perfect.

Venetian —— A-

This is my second favorite room and it has a very similar feel to the Bellagio.  I feel like the parking is somewhat far from the room and the casino in general is crowded.  But the room is nice and you tend to get a lot of tourists who want to play in a nicer atmosphere.  Best part about playing here is they give you big sized Fiji waters.  For Free!!!  

Aria ——– A

The aria is very eloquent as well and is the favorite of many pros.  They have a wide mix of games including a 6-12 mix game which is rare to find in Las Vegas.  The room is protected by statues of cards surrounding as a perimeter.  Ivey room provides some of the biggest action in Las Vegas.  There is nothing wrong with this room, I just haven’t played there that much because the Bellagio is geographically closer to me.

Caesars Palace —— Tournament=  A  ——- The rest = B-

This room is highlighted by its bright colors and all the professional pictures lined up against the wall.  One of the deepest structure tournaments is held here each summer.  If not playing the Main Event, come play the $1000 buy-in Caesar Main Event where you start with 50,000 chips! And blinds starts at 25-50.  That is 500 big blind! With 1 hour levels.  As for cash games there seems to be relatively few of them and the chips are pretty dirty.  There will be so much action elsewhere that I will probably not head over to Caesars that often.

These will be the main places I play this summer besides the Rio which will be where most of my time is spent, but other casinos will be having tournaments and they got some nice rooms.  If you want to check out other casinos I would go check out MGM and Golden Nugget.  As well the Horseshoe will have tournaments.  I have never been to any of the other card rooms but I am sure they are just so-so with relatively small games.  Never-the-less all action this summer will be good where ever you go.  I hope to see you around town as we take on Vegas and all of the fish it supplies.





Drinking at the Table

22 04 2012

Drinking and playing cards have always been past times and they are a part of the game.  If smoking cigars was aloud I think people would do that too.  Or just go to Europe lol.  But what effect does drinking have when playing.  Many people like to drink and have a relaxing time when playing.  However if you want to be profitable at this game you can’t drink excessively. 

People will say do not drink at all and I don’t think that is necessarily true.  Drinks can actually be a strategy.  I try to get every edge I can and one of those edges is acting drinking.  I am not a heavy drinker but when I go play some of my first words I yell are “Cocktails”!  Why do I do this?  Because my opponents will either consciously or subconsciously think, “Ok this kid is a drinker he is going to play loose.”  Anytime I can get my opponents to think I am a fish I take advantage of it.  So I order my drink and try to get others to drink with me.  I’m trying to look like I am there to drink and not play cards.  Carefully I take small sips and hide my drink under the table.  If someone asks I say I drank it all.  I find a way to make it look like I am drinking all night and I will even pull some loose moves to start to coincide my loose image.  It is all about the small edges.

Now on a similar topic but none the less important, the question is if you do decide to drink how much you should drink.  An issue I battle with and a lot of people do is that if I am playing with friends at the same table and they start ordering me drinks and peer pressuring me I sometimes will cave in and I have had a few nights where I killed my bankroll because alcohol got the best of me.  Don’t be that guy!  Have one drink! Experts have said that one drink is good for you a day and can boost memory.  So if you limit yourself to one you should be fine.  Drinking is a fun way to socialize but remember that one of your best friends is your bankroll and he/she may not like how alcohol is treating them.





tournament strategy episode 4

19 04 2012

The Three barrel bluff

The dangerous three barrel bluff.  This is a huge play that can win you a big pot or lose all your chips.  This defies guts and character and only some can pull it off effectively.  I was watching this hand from the 2011 WSOP and I thought it was a good hand to explain the three barrel bluff:

Start the video at 5:15 and end it at 8:00…

So in this hand two standard hands started with Yoon holding A9 suited and Lamb holding 55.  Lamb has position but Yoon is the aggressor.  On the flop it comes J 3 4 two hearts.  Yoon makes a standard c-bet to 130,000 into a pot of 345,000.  This is obviously a bet that Yoon wants to take down the pot without having to invest much money.  Lamb calls knowing Yoon has a wide range and can be on a draw or air.  The river comes a 6 which puts two flushes out.  Now Yoon decides he is going to continue his bluff.  I like this because he is first to act and he can represent that he is trying to get everyone of Lamb’s chips by betting.  If he checks he has to give up.  He chooses to bet 250,000 into a pot of 600,000.  This is only about 41% of the pot.  He is trying to establish pot control and at this point he believes he is unlikely going to have the best hand.  Of course Lamb calls getting a great price to see another card for his straight draw.  I still think Lamb thinks Yoon is bluffing as well and this is a fairly cheap price to see the river.  Now the river is a K which misses the flush draws.  I like this card for Yoon.  He can now try to represent AK.  The pot is now 1.1 million.  Yoon feels he is definitely no good and I’m not a fan with betting an ace on the river because there is a small chance he might be good but the way Yoon played it, it is time to establish the three barrel bluff.  Now watching this tournament and in general I have noticed a trend that when over betting or betting big on the river the player tends to have a very strong hand trying to look like they are committing a bluff. 

Now I am not saying that this is always true and maybe in this instance it’s so but Yoon only fires out 340,000 which is 30% of the pot.  He is trying to value bet.  This is a really small bet and Lamb can call easily.  For a three barrel bluff to work sometimes it means making a big bet on the river.  I would have liked to see Yoon bet at minimum 800,000.  The problem here was that Yoon got scared and did not want to risk a lot of chips.  The best players put the hard decisions to their opponents and make tough bets.  When playing deep in a big tournament you cannot be afraid to bet your entire stack if it means winning a hand.  If Yoon was afraid of being called on the river than he should have just given up earlier in the hand but especially when a king falls that would of been a great time to bet big and say, I got AK I want to bet big to get a lot of chips out of you, instead he looks weak and Lamb snoops it out. 

Yoon gets knocked out not too long after and Lamb goes to take 3rd in the event… nuff said!





Tax Day and Keeping Records

17 04 2012

It is tax day which means it is time to owe your taxes. This is only the first year that I have had to pay taxes on my poker winnings. Luckily I did not have to pay that much and that is because I did not win that much. About 90-95% of poker players lie about their win/ loss statement and do not claim taxes on their poker income. Whether you play poker full time or as a hobby, in America you are supposed to claim taxes on winnings. Now I was brought up with the saying never lie, cheat, or steal, and as my father explains constantly you do not want to do that with the government.

Now last year I kept pretty solid records so I know exactly how I did. You should keep records even if you are just goofing around, even if that means you lost 20 dollars in black jack. This is because you can take your wins against your losses. If you have a losing year you do not owe taxes. But if you try to lie to the government and falsify your records they can come after you. Don’t be like Al Capone and evade taxes. If you want to evade the government you have to keep your money out of the bank. The bank is how they can track how much you are putting in and if you put in a large sum they question it and want to know how you got so much. It is better to be safe and pay taxes but if you are not going to you must be very careful and hide your money well.

If you decide to be just and pay your taxes like everyone else, make sure to keep solid records. I know a lot of people who play a lot of poker who do not keep records or barely do. When keeping records make sure to record each individual session. In my record book I write the date, the location, the type of game for example NL 2-5 or limit 10-20, or NL tourney. I write down what I bought in for and what the end result was. I write down the number of hours of that session to find out my win rate per hour and also I circle or star any session where I am being backed. After you write it down in your notebook you should ASAP put it in a spreadsheet. Excel will keep all your records nice and neat and then you won’t have to take hours figuring out your results on tax day.

The moral of this story is don’t live on the cracks, pay your taxs. Keep records, just like online where holdem manager was able to do now use some type of database to keep track of your live game play. This will also help you know how you’re doing financially so you can figure out if you should move up or down in stakes.





Black Friday Anniversity

16 04 2012

On Friday April 15, 2011, one year ago, I was at my local pub drinking beer with some friends when they were telling me how awesome this weekend was going to be when I completely tuned them out when i heard the report on the news.

The federal government had shutdown the major three online sites and put them under investigation for money laundering and illegal online gambling.  I froze up, did they just say they shut down full tilt poker!?! I had been playing on the site everyday for the last few weeks.  I freaked out the first thing I did was call my dad to let him know. I cried to him.  It felt like poker was dead.  Online poker is so big that its death could affect poker in general.  I thought that the WSOP was going to be canceled and my career as a poker player was gone with the wind.

Wow was I wrong! The WSOP last year set record numbers.  Everyone went from playing online to going and playing live.  Live poker has never been better.  I thought there would be less than 3000 players in the main and they still got the third largest prize pool to date.  Not only did the WSOP set record numbers they had the highest T.V. ratings by filming live coverage updated only 30 minutes later while showing hole cards.  This is unprecedented and will change the way of televised poker in the future.

Now there are some things that online poker has done to hurt poker.  The main one is the frozen accounts of Full Tilt.  I lost a few hundred but some lost millions.  I have a friend who lost hundreds of thousands and moved to Canada to play there.  Quite a few people had to move out of the country to continue making money the only way they know how (online).  A lot of others learned to play live and filled the high stakes games in rooms such as the Bellagio.  Another disappointment was the cancellation of several of the best T.V. shows.  The Big Game, Poker After Dark, and High Stakes Poker were all great shows sponsored by either Full Tilt or Poker Stars were shut down because the Sites in America were now banned.  They lost their funding and did not want to be associated with the illegal sites.  And of course there was the Full Tilt Scandal that has Ceo Ray Bitar as well as others like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson stealing money from the accounts of users in an alleged ponzi scheme.

A year later many things have changed all do to the indictment of the poker sites.  Some good but many bad.  Let’s not forget that faithful day one year ago that changed poker forever.  Never forget!

 





When I grow up!

12 04 2012

I was reading pokernews.com and saw that poker pro Sam Trickett won a pot in an high stakes game worth $2 million! $2 million dollars!!!  That is a lot of jolly ranchers.  Now someday I plan to play that big and win a tournament or two worth over a million dollars but for now at my small stakes a boy can only dream.  As Norman Chad infamously says as kids get knocked out of the WSOP “he was a kid with a dream”.

Thinking about this I wonder how my life will change when I win the big one or just become famous and I have some pretty cool ideas of how I would spend the money.  First thing after cashing the check I am heading to all the nicest clothing stores and buying some spiffy suits.  I am going to look good for my fans 😛  I like fast cars and loose woman but what I want more than any of that is a pimped out mansion/living quarters. 

I already have the lay out in my head.  Its going to be one of those designer houses on the hills of Malibu or Australia painted mostly white but made of titanium steal.  The inside is what it is all about.  Each room will be a different theme.  I will have an antartic room that will be covered with creatures/ mostly penguins because I am a penguin fanatic.  Also I will have a sports room that has all sports memrobilia and it will be my living room where I watch T.V. on my huge 70 inch screen.  Then I will have my game room of course.  We will have pac-man as well as other video games and a ping pong table.  This room will be all white with a giant full length bay window overlooking the hills.  There will be an indoor basketball court and an outdoor swimming pool that if you swim under the house goes into the indoor pool.  One bedroom will have an aquarium around the walls that have real fish.  Don’t get me started on the kitchen with its fresh tropical fruit and futuristic fridge and sinks. 

 The backyard will have a tennis court and a one hole par three course.  There will be a long driveway.  And if I forgot there will be mad house parties for all the cute girls.  So much more but these are a few things of my dream house….

… Then I woke up realized I haven’t had a big win yet and still hearing Norman Chad’s voice.  I can dream can’t I?  Let me know what you guys would do with the fame and money and hear your dreams and then we can be kids with multiple dreams.  And then we will make our dreams come true 🙂





Tournament strategy vol.3

10 04 2012

Hey guys this issue of championship power poker is the issue of the new era of min-raising.  It seems that today that a lot of people especially the young guns are moving toward opening with a min-raise.  Now this is a transition from the traditional 3x bb raises.  We will wake a look at the benefits of this new min-raise, what most recreational players still do, and my take on min-raising.

Min-raising has many benefits that is better then 3x or more when entering first into the pot.  First of all you are risking a lot less.  Better players know that they can out play their opponents post flop so when they min-raise they do realize that the blinds are going to call more and their will be more post flop play.  The min-raise essentially does the same thing especially from early position.  This is that if you raise from early position you are getting a lot more respect and now your risking a lot less.  If you have 10000 chips and blinds are 200-400 now if you min raise your risking only 800 chips and if you raise 3x your risking 1200 chips.  This is a difference of 4% when they both are considered a raise.  Now if you have a tighter table a min raise can just as easily take down the blinds than a big raise.

If you make a big raise and get reraised you are more likely pot committed or lost a bigger chunk of your chips.  Its the similar to the idea that you make a huge over bet thats only taking down a small pot.  I see a lot of guys not listen to this advice and bet up to 5x the big blind even late in a tournament.  It is just silly.  Your risking to many of your chips and your trying to gamble pre flop and not have the skills to play post flop.  Anyone can play pre flop and make decisions but it is the truly good players that can take the pots away after the flop

I like to bet a little bit bigger in the earlier parts of the tournament as in 3x sometimes 3.5x but when the antes kick in I almost never come in with a raise of 2.75x.  I don’t like to min raise but usually do 2.2-2.5x the big blind and this way I am not risking a lot and I keep the pot small until I get what I want or I am ready to take the pot away!