First things first. Before I start my trip report, I'm going to have to take some time to thank TheMark once again. His generosity in allowing me to stay in the other half of his Rio suite for this trip was greatly appreciated. If he keeps it up, he'll pass Otis for first on my list of most free rooms bummed off of in Vegas.
Traveling with TheMark is traveling in style. He and the Pizza King picked me up at my house in plenty of time to catch our flights out of G-Vegas, connecting through Charlotte. On the main flight, his new 17" MacBook Pro acted as the in-flight entertainment, and we watched Terminator Salvation to pass the time. Once on the ground, a limo picked us up (sadly, the sign held by the driver did NOT say "TheMark") and got us to the Rio.
Standard operating procedure when TheMark is your host: Prior to check-in, bet $100 on a single roulette spin. "Bet black," he said. Off went the Diamond Total Rewards card and a $200 bet, one that probably lowered his average spin wager, was placed on the felt. Clickety clack went the ball and bam, right into a red slot. "Sighball." Down already.
No worries, we dropped our luggage off and had lunch at the All American. I donked $80 off at video poker to earn my two free Heineken's and when we were finished, we walked down to the Pavilion to check out the poker action. It was early still on Wednesday and nothing much was going on. We found AlCantHang and had some fun reading Pauly's Mastodon weekend recap in Bluff magazine. It should be online soon, and it's pretty funny if you know our G-Vegas scene at all. If you're still out in Vegas, it's the issue with Annette15 on the cover.
TheMark and I put our names down for a single table PLO satellite that unfortunately never materialized. I wanted to focus on PLO this trip since I was playing in Event #20, the $1500 PLO. I still wanted to play a satellite since Event #20's entry fee was the most I'd ever paid to enter a tournament. We settled on a $125 10-person SNG. Obviously the structure for these things makes them effectively a turbo, but I've played enough of them online that I wasn't too worried.
It was during this SNG that I remembered why I began playing PLO in the first place. The edge in these things is nearly zero. I won some limps when I raised with pocket Jacks. Standard. I raised with pocket 8's and called a short stack's shove. I lost a race against AJs. Standard. I re-raised all-in with pocket Aces, and got AQ to fold. I re-raised all-in with AK and lost a race to pocket Tens. Standard, standard, standard. And boring as hell. There weren't any mistakes made by anyone really, the hands played themselves and the only deciding factor was luck. Sure, most of it was due to the structure of this turbo, but the appeal of playing Hold 'em hit an all time low for me. I'll get over it, but if there's PLO to be played, I'm probably going to always want to play that first.
Off to the cash games.
The Rio was only offering the following PLO cash games: 5/5 and 5/10/25. Both had no cap on the buy-in and several players had $2k+ sitting in front of them in the 5/5 game. Still, I bought in for a lucky $700 and internally reiterated my PLO mantra: Patience + Position.
Over the past year and a half, I've played primarily 6-max PLO online and was cognizant of the fact I was now sitting at a live, 9-handed and deep stacked game. There would be differences. Online, 100BB games are actually pretty shallow and buy-ins fly into the pot regularly. Here, things would be different. There was a decent amount of limping, which wasn't a mistake generally when the implied odds were so large. I just kept my eye open for players who played obviously bad starting cards and tried to take advantage of them.
Oddly enough, there were a lot.
Everyone at the table knew to raise AAxx, KKxx, and some double suited rundown hands, but there were several players calling out of position with effectively garbage hands. I played tight enough that I was able to win a pot with an airball on the button on a Q77 board, getting some one's naked 7 to fold. Over the course of two sessions at 5/5, I booked a +90 and +540 win, erasing the roulette, video poker, and SNG losses for the day. I turned in early so that I'd have enough sleep in me for the reason I went to Vegas in the first place, my first World Series of Poker Event.