I haven't seriously played poker since college and even then was only an average player. But imagining a bunch of drunk tourists, I figured I won't be the best player but will be at least among the top 3. I started reading the book tynan recommended which advises a much looser starting hand advice. The Turbo Texas program oddly will only deliver via snail mail so I haven't tried it.
Since I'm driving back to the East Coast anyway, I figured I would spend a few days in Vegas getting a cheap $25 room and playing my hand at Limit.
To my surprise, it's hard to find any limit games in Vegas apart from the very entry level 2/4. Only the Bellagio seems to have any higher limits.
On the Monday afternoon, there was one 4/8 table and one 10/20 table. The 4/8 table had a good 30 minute - 1 hour wait so I signed up for a new 10/20 table opening up.
Starting out, I felt good. Folding all the bad cards. won a hand or two. Blinds would cut down my stacks back to break even and then I would win a small hand again. Rinse and repeat. The most aggressive player is to my immediate right so I'm thankfully able to see what he does before I play. Everyone else is slightly loose but very passive. To my surprise a lot of hands never make it to flop and usually with less than 4 players. Not what the book says at all, this seems like a regular table.
Then a very loose tourist with his wife came along raising everything and playing everything to completion. I eventually catch a pocket JJs and going one on one with him. Flop is a bunch of numbers. I keep betting, he keeps calling. Numbers on the turn and river. The showdown. I have two pair with my JJs. He reveals a turn card straight. And he leaves afterwards with my money.
That cut my stack in half.
Afterwards, I loosen up my play because everyone thinks I'm playing super tight. So I start stealing blinds and doing okay at it. But then I get pocket 10s and again bet heavily. Only one other player against me and he's raising me. The flop comes out with #s and a Queen. At this point, I think I should have kept going. I was already well committed into the pot. The pot odds were in my favor. But instead I check, he raises, I re-raise, he re-raises, and I fold. Then I'm down to only a few big blinds and get eaten away.
- Strangely, casino poker feels a lot faster than online even though I know that's not true. Maybe it was just the new environment, but 99% of the time I wasn't paying much attention to everything or calculating odds in my head. Everything just seemed too quick.
- Waiting for good hands is a very boring process.
- Since it was a Monday afternoon, I guess at least half of these guys were regulars. One of them was correcting the dealer's mistakes. Most or all of them obviously had more experience than me. Weekends might be better
- I brought in a $300 which seemed high to me at the time but for a 10/20, it actually feels way too small and I think I started playing sloppy once I had less chips.
- I'll be sticking to the 4/8 waiting list next time
That sounds like a very accurate description of the $10/20 at Bellagio. I think you played JJ correctly-- sometimes you're going to lose hands like that. Just part of poker.
I would be VERY careful loosening up because of your image. There are times to do this, but no one at $10/20 is adjusting their style based on your image. They'll notice that you're tight, but keep calling anyway. I think you probably loosened up mostly because you were getting bored waiting for hands.
As for TT, it's probably correct to raise preflop and then call an additional raise. No need to put in a third raise, because what worse hands are you REALLY getting value from? You didn't say if you put in a third raise or not, so you may have played that one correctly. Then on the flop I would probably check-raise an xxQ. If he raises on top of that, it's an easy fold (because he must have QQ, KK, AA, KQ, or AQ). If he just calls your raise, I'd probably bet the turn and check the river, assuming nothing interesting happens. Sometimes he'll bet the river and you'll have to decide to call or fold, other times he'll check and you'll win, other times he'll check and turn over KQ or JJ or something.
A good buy-in for $10-20 is $400. Generally 20 big bets is an okay buy-in.
4/8 at Bellagio is a disaster. You can't really make money at it because the rake is so high, but it's a good place to practice the basics. As soon as you're playing 90% perfect starting cards, play $10/20.
I was expecting worse players. Apart from the tourist most of the guys seemed to know what they were doing. A few of them were on the waiting list for 20/40 and moved later or decided to stay.
God I hatred that tourist. He was all in at least 3 times with the worse hand and horrible starting hands and would win on the turn or river somehow. I thought he would be my cash cow but turned out the opposite.
I was surprised though at the variance of cards these guys played. A lot of unsuited, high card and low kicker. On the other hand, I saw 3 pocket Aces in less than 2 hours.
I don't really recall pre-flop, I'm sure I raised it to 2 or 3 bets but not sure if it went to four.
I need a lot more time in this. I know what to do obviously when I think I got top pair or something good, but everything else post-flop is murky in my mind. Those borderline cases are killing me.
I might check out the 2/4 games around here before going back to Bellagio. If I'm not making any big mistakes there then I'll go jump into the 4/8 and 10/20 again.
Is there really no other limit places besides the Bellgio? I guess all the excitement is in NL
No limit cheap buy in tourneys have all the casuals but I imagine you can't make money off those as the tourneys are long, the prizes are low, and the no limit factor lets people get away with some bs scares. I remember when I was real new at poker and I just all in'd every decent looking hand preflop or on the flop and got to the near final rounds. The time I lost I even had a 70/30% approx advantage preflop over the opponent though I guess statistically if you flip the coin enough times a result you don't want will eventually show up.
Oh yes - from my experience don't play NL on Saturday MORNING either lol - my big mistake it was all hardened poker veterans and young'un college aged pokerstar wannabes who practice 25 hours a day. The best time I played was right after dinner or once people all got back from skiing/snowboarding in reno the late tourneys 7pm+. You get stuff such as people celebrating birthdays who have no clue how to play poker - very easy to play but very unpredictable and volatile as they go in on very shoddy hands and bet like they are naturals. High fives on the table with their friends which are suspect when one of them bluffs you out then turns over a 36 offsuit lol.
I've since retired from poker - I never liked the game tbh and I hardly play nearly enough to compete with the people completely gaga over it. My best streak I had was getting 3rd or so out of 20 people in an online NL tourney. Online is somewhat deceiving though in that 4 or 5 people in your table at any given time you've seen before and see a lot so you already know how they play. Maybe it'd be good if they anonymized all the names before any online tourney so you couldn't get that info.
Interesting night, I played at the Mirage's 3/6 and Venetian's 4/8 for two hours each.
I started at the Mirage @10pm which had a fair number of complete newbies that didn't understand how to play the game and a few retired veterans. While I sat there for two hours, I saw probably half a dozen people come, lose all their money to the regulars and leave. I actually didn't like this style of a few people playing anything and everything. By midnight, the table was dying down, and I decided to go to the Venetian which I knew had 3 $4/8 tables going on.
I had also called the Bellagio at midnight but they said they only had one 4/8 table open and it already had 3 seats open. No thanks.
Venetian's tables are kind of a ruse though because the third table is the move table where players get moved to the real tables whenever there's an opening. I wanted a full table but there was 5 or 6 of us at the moving table until I got promoted to the regular table. It was kind of obvious most of these players were Vegas locals including one guy that always read his magazine when he wasn't playing and I decided to read my Kindle too since I wasn't playing 90%+ of these hands. Despite this, I played a lot better at this table since people didn't play the worse hands here.
So, the best time seems to be indeed as you said after dinner in the evening but before midnight. I might of had a really unlucky night though because the best pocket pairs I got was 88s and the best hand overall I got was KQs. I won one big hand at the Mirage getting the nut full house and later at the Venetian with a not so great hand but other player folding on the river. As well as taking very few, small pots at the flop or pre-flop.
I still obviously have a ton of holes left in my game and can see why Tynan recommended Turbo Texas first because there were a lot of times I was uncertain whether to bet or call. Re-raise or call? Despite reading the book's early chapters several times over, the info needs to be cemented in my brain first. But I definitely played a much tighter game tonight than I did at Bellagio's 10/20. I lose about 15x BB at Mirage and 10x BB at Venetian. Or losing about two big hands and one big hand going for the straight/flush draw or just folding my hand on the flop.
I did play a different poker stimulation beforehand to cement what hands I should be playing. I played some 200 hands in less than a hour through the game and got to see my statistics which showed I won or played only 5% of hands, can't remember which. But since live poker is like 30-50 hands/hour (?) then I should expect 1-2 monster wins per hour on average which has been my experience so far. But that's such a tiny fraction of hands to play. And I got close to nothing tonight in terms of cards. Next time, I'll bring my kindle and some earbuds so I can better use of my time. I should probably be calculating my pot odds more often too, but I really hate the ratio format the book uses of 12:1 and such.
Overall kinda surprised at the lack of players. There are a ton of local players. They are usually playing loose-passive poker with a wider starting hand selection. I guess this means I need to think more long term and calculating odds to maximize my wins and minimize my loses. My last big lost at the Venetian was with an A10o, flop comes with three matching suits to my Ace. I chase to the river figuring I have around 36% of hitting my flush or 12% hitting my ace.
I wanna start earlier around 5pm or 7pm but then again I don't seem to play well against the newbie, wild style right now. I'm interested in how the weekends are but i'm leaving friday.
Also, just for fun, I folded a hand with a five in it. Somehow my five landed face up. The flop came out 5, 5, 5. Dealer said that's a first. What a hand that would of been to play although a mistake to play it. One guy also got quad Qs at the Mirage and got to do some jackpot promotion for a chance to win 31k but everyone says they always only get $50. .There was also at least 3 times that I folded a hand that would of made the best hand of a straight but they were usually starting hands like pocket 6s or 67s against 1-3 other people.
Looking online it says there's 25-30 hands played per hour. I'll just say 30 hands with 10 players.
So that means BB/SB 3 times each.Say I fold 1/3 SB and play 2/3 SB. Basically 4 BBs then. A 4/8 table that means $18/hour goes to blinds.
If I win one big hand/hour with say 4 other players.
4 * $4 pre-flop = $20
say 2 people call a raise on flop = $8
1 people calls turn and river = $16
Win $44 - $4 rake - $16 blinds for hour = $24 winnings left over that I'm currently probably losing in posting blinds for other hands and playing til turn or river sometimes. $24 = 6 non-blinds calls in 1 hour, probably as the button, behind button, or with giant hands.
Hmm this is fuzzy math, just trying to get a sense of how i should be stacking up
Don't go smaller than $4/8... 4/8 is already enough of a disaster. Any smaller and it starts being more of a slot machine and less of poker. You'll get more out of playing the simulator.
Mirage has a $3/6, I think. You could play that. There are probably other games around, but Bellagio is the place to play.
To my left is Barry Schulman, the owner of CardPlayer magazine, and a professional poker player. At the next table over is Jennifer Harman, considered to be one of the very best limit hold'em players in the world. As the dealer starts flinging the cards around our table, Jennifer stands up. She's just been busted out of the same tournament I'm playing.
I look down at my cards and see pocket queens, the third best hand you can be dealt. I've been waiting for a hand like this for hours.
Amid a field of 675 poker players, the majority of them professionals, and a handful of them famous, only 100 players remain. Improbably, I'm one of them. Luck has a giant part to play in this, of course. If not, I would have been busted out long before Jennifer Harman was. But at the same time, playing for twelve hours with some of the best poker players on earth has given me a lot of confidence. They're better than me, but I've held my own. I'm good enough, at least, to not be totally run over.
Three times a week I spend an hour driving to the casino to begin my work. On the outside the casino looks like a Disneyland for adults with statues of roman warriors on the outside. I walk in, greet the managers, employees and fellow players and place myself on the 2/5 poker list. For the following 10 hours I shuffle chips with one hand, browse the internet with the other and quietly observe others in order to exploit them. Despite my long-term success; playing poker each day presents me with new challenges. Every hour I face a $500 decision which I must be right more than 80% of the time to be a winning player. Sometimes I chat with other players. Sometimes I listen to music and act solemn. Sometimes I play the role of a douchy frat kid. More than 90% of the time I’m friendly with the other players and chat with every dealer. Everyone knows my name. Some players refuse to sit at my table in fear, despite that I’m really not that great.
Playing poker for a living sounds like the dream, right? When everything is going in my favor I simply can’t help but see poker as a dream. One month I won so much I dropped a grand on clothes and it barely affected my monthly earnings.
I have no boss, yet no employees. I have no schedule. If I piss my “customers” off it usually makes me more money. I can work whenever I want. Also the job is relatively recession proof: gambling increases during times of economic hardships. Sometimes I can watch movies while I play and still make great money. I can listen to music the whole time I play. Writing all of these benefits make me smile irresistibly. I’m literally smiling right now.
Nearly every other day someone asks: “Should I quit my job to play poker for a living?” on the world’s only poker forum.
Honestly, no you should not. Players are continuously becoming better. All poker players are becoming better. If I could go back 8 years ago with the knowledge I posses now, I would earn half a million a year easily. Poker is a dying business to dive into. More and more people start playing poker for a living with each passing day. You can continue to increase your skill level, but at a certain point your efforts are better spent elsewhere.