Sunday, September 07, 2003

Sunday, September 7, 2003

I was in on a phenomenon which rarely happens in my limited world. So when one does occur, I am ever so glad to be a part of it. This phenomenon was playing at the Bellagio for the ten days I spent with my Mom, waiting for our house to close, in September, 2003.

When I left Las Vegas in March, 2003, having spent the fall and winter there, I was a low limit player. I could consistantly beat any low limit Stud game; 1-5 or 4/8, but I had less skill at hold'em, and usually stuck to the lowest limits offered.

April 2003 brought me to Atlantic City and a whole different world of poker. Hold'em was easier to beat, stud was tougher. Tournaments were daily, and good. I knew eventually we would be out in the Southwest for good, but I hated the thought of leaving the closeknit poker world of the Tropicana.

Finally we sold our house in the DC area and were free to move out to Arizona for good. While waiting for our new house to close, we stayed in Vegas for ten days and played lots of poker. I have documented accounts of various cardrooms and tourneys in other posts, but this one is solely dealing with play at the Bellagio.

Back in March, 2003, I was playing only one game at the Bellagio (and not very frequently, at that, given the high rake): 4/8 Stud. The ante was fifty cents. Upon returning to the Bellagio in September, 2003, I found that they had done away with 4/8 Stud and now spread 6/12 Stud with a one dollar ante. Not the best game for me, a very, very tight player. Cross that one out...I decided to either move up to 15/30 Stud or stick with Hold'em.

They start at 4/8 Hold'em. Forget that, the players play like it's a 1/2 game. Okay, so onto 8/16. Nice, nice, juicy. They were 10x worse than when I left Vegas, due to the WPT phenomenon. Wow...maybe I could move up to 15/30, after all, I had consistantly beat the 10/20 game with 1/2 kill at other casinos.

So I took the plunge. $300 in chips, 3 hundred dollar bills under them. "Act confident, get in control of the table, you can do it."

It was a coup. The players were more like the 2/4 players I was used to at the Tropicana. I was amazed that the play has deteriorated so badly that now "I" can be considered a middle limit player! My own skills have not increased tenfold, of that I am sure.

I was constantly shocked at the number of times that players tried to throw away or "call" their big blind. I was astounded at the amount of "string raises" attempted, the junk cards played and the overall feel of the table. My sessions were always winning sessions, not hugely, but enough to give me 1-4 big bets per hour. Amazing. Even during the worst of my sessions, I would find myself at least ten dollars up. Wow, not me!

Hmmm, maybe next time I visit Vegas I can move up to the 20/40 game? I don't know, they look like a bunch of crafty, old sharks to me...I can't let my head get swollen!