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Old 05-02-2019, 02:55 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2019
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Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

So I'm a newish player who has never played in a casino before. Been studying the game for a year watching videos mostly and have played with friends before. Played about 6 cash games locally ($100 buy in typically) at someone's place where I lost at first but have been improving and very profitable the last 3 games. I would feel pretty confident in a casino but do not want to risk over $300 in Vegas.

I would like to do at least one tournament for the experience as well as $1/$2 cash games. However, looking into it the rake seems to be 10% and $1-$2 jackpot drop. Does that mean every pot gets $1-2 removed for these jackpot promotions as well as the 10% rake? With all that and tipping dealers it seems very difficult to profit in this. This is all part of an experience for me too being in Vegas for the first time (don't plan on coming back for a while) but I want to have a fighting chance at making money too. Any advice for where to play cash and tournaments would be appreciated!

I've considered Limit but never played it before so I don't think I fully understand the strategy behind it. Also recommendations for playing short stacked or deep with some reasoning would be great.

Last edited by BadBeatsbyDrDre; 05-02-2019 at 03:14 AM.
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:11 AM   #2
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Welcome to the forum ... you will find lots of information here by using the search box for various topics. You do ask quite a bit here in your first thread.

1) The easy one ... pretty much all casinos in the USA will have a 5+1 or 5+2 rake. This being on a $50 pot there will be $7 taken for the rake .. 5 for the house and 2 for the promo. The promo is usually not taken until the pot goes over $10 or $20 depending on the room. If a room doesn't have a promo, then the rake will range from $4-6. 'Usually' the rake will be reduced if the table drops below 6 players. In LA they take a rake Pre-Flop ... even if there's no Flop!! (Yikes)

2) Can the game be beaten? Yes, there should be plenty of action and opportunity to beat most 1/2 NL games. Huge money? No, but with experience you will be able to figure out how to hand the style of play that each table is presenting.

3) Where to play in Vegas? EVERYWHERE! Download the Bravo Ap on your phone and it will show you information for most of the casinos and what cash games (including buy in ranges) and tournaments they offer. This is a very handy tool since it tells you 'exactly' what's going on currently and most will show how many players are waiting to play as well.

3A) I like to play cash at Wynn, Aria, Venetian and Bellagio, but I like to play a little deeper and typically there is a lot of action in these rooms as well. The games will vary by day and night for sure at some locations.

4) Tournaments ... I always suggest that you avoid the 'daily' day time tournaments at the casinos since they are usually turbo type of tournaments that go for no more than 3-4 hours max (if that) and are designed just to bring some traffic into the room in the mornings.

4A) You will have to pay a little more, but most of the afternoon and evening tournaments have better structures with more chips in play. I love the Friday night $125(?) at The Orleans. It will run from 7PM to 3-4AM, but there's $6K or so waiting for you at the end of the rainbow. Cash there is pretty good as well and they usually have some of the more traditional games running ... stud, limit.

5) If your budget is only $300 'total' for Vegas it may be a struggle to fill a lot of time playing poker without some immediate success. You should be able to buy in for $100 in most every room. For an interesting experience The Golden Nugget runs an uncapped 1/2 game ... some players sit down with $5K just for the heck of it. You could buy in for $100 and sit down next to a $2K stack. That doesn't happen every day!!

6) Deep or Short ... You have to decide what is best for you. I will tell you that 'any' short stack is a target for the deep stacked reg Player. This is both good and bad since you will attract a wider range of callers, but this also means you are more easily felted by 67o. So you could run up a big stack or be out the door quickly. The other issue is that if you continue to play a short stack style when you get a bigger stack you are even more susceptible to backdoor (all or nothing) types of play. The nice thing about Vegas ... If you get a quick triple up, then you can just cash out and walk one block (or less) to the next room and buy back in for the minimum!!

Hope this helps .. rake is part of life and the USA is very lucky that it's still very reasonable. Don't get caught up in the money. Play for fun and the experience. No one wants to lose, but you are no where near a point where you should 'expect' to win. You want to win, but you need to be willing to walk away without too much discomfort if you lose. GL
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:11 PM   #3
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Answer gave you the goods but if you are looking for 50-100 tournaments look at ballys,, harrahs flamingo, etc. The rake is higher on these tournaments and but they may be your best bet on a 300 bankroll.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:31 PM   #4
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

answer20 nailed it. I'd just add that the reason you want to play in a place like the Bellagio, Aria or Wynn is that you have to chance to see some very high stakes games in nice rooms. You want a story to tell your friends especially if you're not going back any time soon. Last time I played at the Bellagio, the big game in Bobby's Room included Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen while I was playing.
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:41 PM   #5
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Are we allowed to just watch in some of the higher stakes games? Also I read that a good time to play cash games are weekend nights when tourists starting getting drunk haha, can anyone validate this? If this is the case then maybe it would be better to play cash Friday night and try a tournament at some other point? Are there no good daytime tournaments at all?
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:18 PM   #6
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Good data and information so far. But to be clear, you are not “newish”. You are completely and totally new. Videos, training, online, home games...none of these are live casino play. The will all help and put you ahead of most new players, but pretty much guaranteed you will be the new player at the table. Not a problem, everyone here was the new player at one time.
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:30 PM   #7
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

1) Typically you shouldn't gawk or rail the HS games unless you know one of the Players. You may or may not be able to initiate conversation with them when they are going to/from bathroom/phone call. I had a great experience with GMueller at Aria my first time through as we talked for about 10-12 minutes but don't count on being that lucky ... you don't know if they are down or up or whatever else may be gong on that day. (They are human you know.)

2) Yes, you may have an easier time 'getting it in good' against a drunk. Just remember that they can still (and do) win via suckout. Don't fall in love with AA on J64 since someone's kid may have been born on June 4th (06/04/xx). Typically against a drunk 'someone' will be all in. So be prepared for the variance.

2A) Vegas is a 7 day destination via conventions. You may want to see where the conventions are that week and what hotels are involved ... that's where you can run into 'Oh, I saw poker on TV once' type of Players.

3) Just as a guideline, most any tournament under $100 will have a poor structure. Look more at how long the levels last and how many BB you start with.

Again, I like that you care about your trip, but I fear you may be putting too much hope into it as well. When you are on vacation there are typically no wrong answers ... stories, yes. Be ready to lose it all with a smile on your face.

Get the Bravo App and read about what each casino has to offer. There is a Las Vegas thread on this site as well. And probably a or something similar as well ... maybe

I can guarantee that you will get smacked by an unseen set sometime during your trip and it will suck. Make poker only a portion of your trip .. check out CityPass, Groupon or Living Social for discounted 'tourist trap' type of places that you may want to visit. My wife and I had a wonderful time visiting 6-7 places at 70% off since we prepaid. (Ferris Wheel, Wax Museum, low-level shows) GL
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:46 PM   #8
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

It is very nice that a new player can come on the site, ask a general question, and then an experienced player takes the time to provide a well thought out, lengthy, and detailed answer. Praise to this community!
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:27 PM   #9
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Excalibur lets you buy in for as little as $60 at 1/2 . Might be a good place to start since you have no casino experience + a $300 bankroll.

Minimize variance by playing extremely tight & hit and run when you win.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:12 AM   #10
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Yeah I may do that, I also read online the Flamingo at 1/2 is a great place for beginners. The issue with shortstack is whether I can survive the initial few hands given the variances of poker, it could lead me to being in a shove or fold situation. I also might not get solid value when I do make hands.
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Old 05-10-2019, 03:37 AM   #11
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

I think Excalibur has a great atmosphere for a new player. I don't live there but i did find Bellagio a little intimidating back in the day.
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:21 AM   #12
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Not too much Vegas experience my self but I agree about Excalibur being a good starting point for the not too experienced.
The average player seems to be not too sophisticated but the whole property is a dump compared to most places on the strip and there's never enough dealers.
I played there twice my last trip because I was staying at the Luxor but twice I ended up leaving after waiting over 30 minutes for a seat opening both times. Usually only one or two tables running because it seems they never have enough dealers.
Not the most thrilling Vegas experience.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:00 PM   #13
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Im in Vegas 6X a year, so qualify as a regular tourist.

Yes to Excalibur and Flamingo for a new player to get feet wet at 1-2 NL. Golden Nugget downtown as well.
One level up in quality, ability and toughness : Mirage, MGM, Ballys, Mandalay Bay
One more level up: Venetian, Caesars, Planet Hollywood, Harrahs (Harrahs has some maniacs)
Top level: Bellagio, Aria, Wynn

I would not rule out playing some limit; 2-4 at Flamingo and Gold.Nugg is fun, 3-6 at Mirage is decent, and can be a raisefest if the right mix of locals and tourist show up. I've pulled in several $100+ pots in 3-6 here.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:42 PM   #14
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Honestly with that bankroll and at those limits, just go to the nicest casino that suits your tastes.

Probably Aria, Wynn, Venetian, or the Bellagio.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:20 PM   #15
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

See the Mob Museum downtown, have a steak at "Triple George", buy in for $100 at the Golden Nugget, walk Fremont Street. The Strip is nice but it's not "Old Vegas", who cares if you went up the fake Eiffel Tower or rode the Giant vertical wheel. JMO.
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:53 PM   #16
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

The only things I have to add:

1. Go in with realistic expectations. Your $300 could last you 2 days or 2 hours. Play the best you can, have FUN, be prepared to accept any result.

2. Consider shortstacking if you play NL - here's an old post of mine where I talk about it:

3. Consider looking for a fixed-limit game. You won't WIN as much playing fixed limit, but your money will most likely last longer. Buy the book "Small Stakes Hold'Em" by Miller, Sklansky and Malmuth to learn how to play.

Don't forget that most Vegas casinos have free drinks while you're playing!

Have fun
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:07 AM   #17
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

How long will you be in Vegas? If you plan on being here for a week, plan on getting in a lot of poker, and you play in a room that offers a weekly free roll tournament based on the hours you play in the room, I'd highly suggest taking advantage of that. Rooms that offer such free rolls are Harrahs, Ballys, Flamingo and Planet Hollywood.

I'm not saying you SHOULD play in any of those rooms, but if you do, you're paying them via rake for the prize pools in these freerolls, so you might as well play in the freeroll the room offers if you are here long enough.

I would agree that Excalibur is a good place for a beginner to play. Another option on the opposite end of the strip would be the Stratosphere. Although I havent been to the Strat in a while so I'm not sure how active that room is now at this point.

I would probably avoid Planet Hollywood simply because you can straddle from any position, and if you arent on the button or UTG, it's I think $20 to straddle. And people do take advantage of the $20 straddle the games can play a lot bigger sometimes. Bally's has the same thing I believe, but at least in my experience I dont recall anyone ever doing the $20 straddle.

You're going to want to avoid Wynn, Aria, and Orleans because their NL games start at 1/3 not 1/2.

I would also probably agree with others to probably start at 2/4 limit since you are a beginner. It's almost impossible to beat long term due to the rake, but you can sit down with $60 and get comfortable playing in a casino, then move on to NL.

But like others have also said, $300 isnt much to work with. So if you do play 1/2NL, you're gonna have to short stack it with $100 in case things go south. That way you'll have at least 2 more $100 stacks to work with.

Last edited by thedude404; 05-17-2019 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:47 AM   #18
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Smile Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

If you have car access, the Poker Palace in N. Las Vegas has the cheapest tournament I know of in the city.....Saturday nights 6 ish 20$ buy in unlimited rebuys until break, and a free show (by the low budget players) included in every tournament. Drink service (beer) is great....possibly the best poker value in the city. I cashed last trip.....think I made 23$ and had 8 beers (burp!)
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:14 PM   #19
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Re: Newish Player in Vegas - where to go??

Could anyone comment on the MGM GRAND 11:05 am tournament Sundays, $10k guaranteed with 25k chips to start and 20 min levels
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