Friday, July 29, 2005

Vegas trip summary

I am disappointed in the way things went in Vegas. I failed to achieve my primary two goals of the trip: 1) gaining experience in high limit action games, 2) playing well

Due to lack of sleep, I elected not to play in any game higher than $15/$30. Probably also due to lack of sleep, I also made mistakes in excess of -1BB/hour. Ironically, my net results were very good > +$100/hour, but this was only due to pure dumb luck. My results would have been considerably better had I been playing well. The actual results kept the trip from being a disaster, but I am quite ashamed of how things went.


My flight to Vegas was at 5:30pm on Saturday. I was planning on being as well rested as possible for playing $30/$60 games from midnight to 4am. So my original plan had been to wake up early on Saturday and then take a 4 hour nap at around noon. My reasoning was that if I just tried to sleep in until around noon, there was a high probability that I would wake up (for any number of reasons) well before then and be unable to fall asleep for an afternoon nap.
I woke at 6am, and decided to head over to the local poker room for a few hours of additional practice. At around 8am, I made the first poor decision of the day. I elected to sign up for a no limit tournament. I was under the impression that the tournament started at 8:45am because of poor annoucements and my failure to diligently confirm the schedule before signing up, but it actually started at 9:45am. My borderline thinking at the time was that I would likely be done in 3 hours or less which would be a good time to go home and take a nap. If I was still in the tournament after 3 hours, I was likely in the money, and had a good chance to cash in a high position. Thus, my cashing in a high position (1st place was $11k, on a $120 buyin, $60 rebuy) would compensate for losing part of my nappy time.
An additional consideration was that this type of fast structure no limit tournament actually would be much more relaxing than playing side games for a couple of hours because the decisions tend to be very simple - push all in or call all in. I was planning on heading home immediately after the tournament.
I received a slightly above average number of good hands, and took only 1 modest bad beat until I reached the money at the last 18 players. This was roughly at about the 3 hour mark, so about 1:15pm when including breaks. I had an above average stack, and by the time there were 15 players remaining I was the chip leader with approximate 16% of all chips in play.
Perhaps at this point I was a little bit tired from sleeping relatively little the night before, but at any rate, I made my 2nd notable mistake of the day. This was the worst mistake you can make when you are chip leader in a no limit tournament. Namely, I got involved in a huge pot with the 2nd chip leader with a marginal hand losing close to 70% of my chip stack. For the remainder of my tournament I had less than 4 big blinds, and ended up busting out in 10th place for a $510 finish.
It was very disappointing, but additionally, it was already 2:45pm. I rushed home, got packed and was only able to lie down for about 25 minutes before heading out to the airport. I believe I only slept for about 15 minutes on the plane. Daytime flights can be quite rowdy, especially on Southwest.

Saturday night I played mostly $15/$30, and I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. I spent a considerable amount of time chatting with a middle aged pro from the east coast. Actually come to think of it, one theme from the weekend is that I had numerous opportunities to chat with professional players (although, this should be a tip off that I was often not in particularly good games). This helped me learn quite a bit about the Vegas poker scene, so in retrospect, the trip was not a complete waste.

At around midnight, I think I should have gone to bed and gotten a good night's rest so that I might at least have the option of playing in a higher stakes game on Sunday. Instead, I got seated in an $8/$16 game and it was a fantastic game. It featured the worst player I have ever seen at an $8/$16 game (it seems like every few weeks I keep encountering another "worst player ever" and I hope this keeps up...), and I was able to win my fair share of pots from this tourist. However, in the middle of the session I made a mistake that I want to avoid making in the future. Basically, on one hand, I trapped the tourist with a set and then check raised him on the river. He was very upset about it. I basically made a fool of him, and he didn't call my river check raise. I understand better now what some professional players talk about in their books about trying to keep the game slightly friendly and to avoid upsetting the tourists. I think I got considerable less action from him after that incident. Another good learning experience.

Hmmm, I think overall I failed to meet my primary objectives for the trip. However, after reviewing the sessions, I did learn some things and also encountered some situations that helped reinforce things I already knew. The trip was also fun. All in all, it was not a wasted trip, but I hope to execute better on the next trip.

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