Sunday, March 20, 2016

Poker Room Closed At The Plaza

The company that owns the electronic tables at The Plaza sold them to another company based in another state and therefore they cannot get licensed to operate those tables in the state of Nevada.  Friday night was the last tournaments at the Plaza.  I talked to the poker room manager and asked him if there was any chance that at some point the poker room could be reopened and he told me absolutely not.  The big question that was going through my mind was what the hell do I do now, what are my options, and what specific goals will I have within those options, and how do I go about accomplishing them.  

It was really depressing to me because on my current bankroll the Plaza was really my only option.  I don't have the bankroll for anything else in Las Vegas in a live setting so what I did was I left the plaza with about $200 on me and I decided to drown my sorrows in a little $2/$4 limit game at the Golden Nugget.  Sat in with $100 and two and a half hours later cashed out for $291.  A nice $191 profit in 2.5 hours.  As of about 2am Saturday morning my live play March earnings were a total of $286.  The cash game was $191 and $95 in tournaments.  The final numbers on the tournaments were 3 for 15, $95 in earnings, and a 57% ROI.  

The limit cash game that I played in I enjoyed so much playing.  I always love it when I get the chance to play a limit game session and  while I'm a good tournament player limit cash games is something that I have always loved and this goes back to my days in California when I was married and would go up to Chumash Casino as often as possible and play in the $2/$4 game up there and occasionally the $3/$6 game.  In those games back then I had easily an 80% winning session percentage, of course it wasn't done on a daily basis, but still.  It made me start thinking about what I needed to do, what I needed to focus on and what plan was I really going to go with since the Plaza has been shut off for me.  Let's face it, my choices are extremely limited and I realized no matter what the end goal is I have no choice but to return to the online grind.  What would be my ultimate goals with the online grind. How much of a bankroll will I need to work up to and for what.  Would it be $6,500 so that I could have 100 buyins for the $65 tournaments, or maybe, just maybe, there's been something staring me in the face the whole time and I just didn't see it until now.  Or maybe I let other people's opinion ductate my decisions more than it should have.  Time to retake control. 
I definitely could continue with the full-time tournament plan because I'm a damn good tournament player but the $2/$4 session last night made me realize just how much I absolutely love those limit games. These people are loose, they are passive, and the chips are flying.  6 to a flop, people calling down with pocket twos, I mean it can't get better than that.  This is no surprise to my readers because I posted on my blog before about how much I enjoy these games and every time I have I always get a dozen different people telling me the rake can't be beat at $2/$4.  The rake can't be beat at $3/$6 and it has to be $4/$8 before you can beat the rake in a live limit game.  Guess what people I'm here to tell you that you are dead wrong.  

As far as I'm concerned anyone that thinks that the rake can't be beat at $2/$4 is not playing it correctly. Limit cash games take their own expertise and you have to play extraordinarily tight and a complete focus on pot odds.  I got news for you if you are winning 70% of your showdowns then you certainly are not affected by the rake.  The session at the Golden Nugget is a prime example.  Every decision that I made was focused on specified hand selection, pot odds in each and every situation, and utilizing the dynamics of the table and instituting this into actual playing.  The result was somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 an hour.  Now no one can deny I had an extraordinarily good session and also no one can deny that those kind of results are not going to be maintained, but I am firmly convinced that the old adage of one big bet per hour over the long-term is ridiculous.  I can easily see two to three big bets per hour  being made consistently over the long term.  Do I love playing tournaments hell yeah.   Will I continue playing tournaments, hell yeah, but I have decided that the mainstay of my full-time liveplay will be limit cash games where I will be able to take part in the possibility of bad beat jackpots, high hand bonuses, quad and straight flush binuses freerolls for hours played, and hourly comps that only cash game players can have get.  And hang on for this one, but I actually enjoyed playing the limit cash game even more than playing in a tournament.  I know no one ever thought I would say that, hell I never thought I would say that, but it is absolutely true.  I love playing tournaments, but I found out I love playing limit cash games just a little bit more.  Maybe I knew but I just forgot how much.  

My close friend who I have referred to as "Melanie" in this blog has told me as far as she is concerned there is no need to give her an alias.  This friend that I have mentioned so many times is in fact Michelle better known as 9ontheturn to those of you that follow her on Twitter.  Getting out of the Golden Nugget last night at 2 a.m. and knowing I was going to Harrah's the following afternoon instead of going all the way back to the north side I availed myself to her always gracious hospitality and headed over to her place and crashed on her couch overnight.  We kicked back and chilled for a little while, got a delivery order from a restaurant at about 4am and I didn't even end up falling asleep until 6 in the morning.  I left her place Saturday afternoon went down to Harrah's and deposited the $286 that I have earned in live play during the month of March on WSOP and between the online grind, playing limit games live, and live tournaments, I plan on turning this into a full-time bankroll for grinding limit cash games and still being able to play the live tournaments from time to time.  It goes without saying that on WSOP I will be grinding nothing but tournaments as limit cash games are a ghost town at the very best on that site.  How much I need for this endeavor is a matter of opinion.  The old adage always was 300 big bets for a limit bankroll but as usual, always wanting an extra little cushion for my full-time live play I have decided to go with 500 big bets or in this case $2,000.  That's all I need to start grinding $2/$4 live on a daily basis $2,000.  Earnings from the live limit games will be utilized to work my way up to $3/$6 games at say the Mirage for instance and then to work the bankroll up enough for $4/$8 live limit games at the Bellagio.  $3,000 would be required for the $3/$6 game and $4,000 would be required for the $4/$8 game and if I'm right about two big bets per hour being definitely achievable over the long term I would be looking at $16 an hour playing $4/$8, but let's not get ahead of ourselves, first things first.   $2,000 for full-time live $2/$4 limit cash games.   

These turn of events definitely put a different spin on April.  Instead of needing to add the nearly $400 that I was going to add to the bankroll, instead I can now utilize that extra money for some live play. One of the tournaments that I will try will be the $45 tournament at Green Valley Ranch, definitely a $65 tournament at the Golden Nugget as I love that blind structure, and I definitely foresee a cash game session mixed into that also at the Golden Nugget.   I may possibly play the Friday night $125 tournament at The Orleans but I am not totally certain on that.  It seems all dark clouds have silver lining as long as you look for it.

As for the online grind I will get my day started at 11am.  I will play in the $2 Rebuy, $3 rebuys that are at noon, 4 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.  I will also play the 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. $2 MTT and I will toss in the 2:15, 5:15, 6:15 $1 MTTs.  That is 8 tournaments a day which I feel is completely sufficient.   The $1 and $2 MTTs are not really going to be money-makers they will simply counteract the time it may take me to get some deep runs in the $3 rebuys.  The $3 rebuy is where the real earnings will come from online.  As far as the rebuys go I have $286 which if I were to pay the buyin and do the immediate rebuy to start with a double stack for a total cost of $5.73, even if we round that up to $6 a $286 bankroll gives me a little over 45 buyins, but as I said the $1 and $2 mtts will be used to counteract the cost of those buyins.  I do not intend on adding on under any circumstances in these tournaments.  Running the figures in comparing the additional cost as a percentage to the total cost of the tournament even though it adds 45 big blinds to the stack at the first break comparing cost percentage to that of the additional big blinds added it does not add up to a +EV action and in fact by not doing so over the course of say 20 tournaments is equivelant to 9 buyins with immediate rebuy.  Like everything in poker it's all a cost vs reward equation.  

It's now 3 a.m. Sunday morning and my first tournament will be at noon so definitely time to get some sleep.  $2,000 seems so much more realistic and closer than $10,000 or even $5,000.  I have absolutely no doubt in my mind this is the way to go and with the $286 that I already earned I'm damn near already 15% of the way there to that goal.  That's all for now.  Some may totally agree with the direction I have chosen and others will have a lot to say on the negative side of it and that's okay.  We all have opinions and usually nothing will change those opinions, but for me this is definitely the way to go.  Take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.


  1. People have asked me for years why I play 2/4 in Vegas instead of 1/2 or higher. The answer is always, I find it stress free and it pays for my trip. I don't get to play as much as I like so usually my first session I play too many hands cause I am just so damn happy to be there and 2/4 is more forgiving of that. Otherwise, there are less grinders and the table are in general just more pleasant. Fewer hoodies and sunglasses. You get the occasional disgruntled 1/2 player who is just passing through and gracing us with his presence and always informs the table that nl is really the 'only real' form of poker. It is always a joy to watch them get felted when they fail to realize that limit remains a 7 card game.

    Stick to the rooms that are easy to get to by the tourists. Avoid the morning coffee klatches with everybody who knows each others name. There are some evening regulars but not as many. Binion's on the weekend nights is wild. My son had a wheel and the gentleman who thought he was going to win the pot with 2 pair said "Aces play low? I have been playing for two days and didn't know that". My son, ever thoughtful, offered to go out and refill his football with beer for him. HA.

    If Mandalay sill has the 4/8 with 1/2 blinds and the half kill you might want to try that. I have taken a lot of money out of that game in the past.

    1. aid "Aces play low? I have been playing for two days and didn't know that".

      That reminds me of the time I was playing in a $125 buy-in tournament and about an hour into it, the guy on my right leaned over and asked which was better, two pair or three of a kind?

  2. Nice 2/4 session. Can you share some hands with us?

  3. You can't make your mind up can you? You switch games you play like most people change their underwear. You stated recently that tournaments gave you exhilaration and now you prefer limit hold em after one winning sesssion lol. You use this session to refute others contentions that low limit hold em can't be beat because of rake.

    Several people recommended your blog to me but I can't help but find you infuriating, both the content and style of writing.

    I am amazed and perplexed that you have any readers or followers. This is as much as a reflection on poker players as it is you.

    Apologies if this comment comes across insensitive but sometimes the truth can appear harsh.

    Good luck to you.

  4. If you get a part time job for 3 months you'll have your $2,000 and then you can get back to poker. Also, sharing hands from live play would be appreciated. Make your blog more like Poker Meister's and Rob's and less like Tony's.

  5. Well lucky b you are certainly welcome not to read this blog ever again. You don't like my choices you don't like my writing style hey I never claimed to be Ernest Hemingway or John Steinbeck I'm just a guy who plays poker who tries to write about his experiences because maybe some people might be interested so as far as those comments are concerned you can take a flying leap and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    As far as not making up my mind perhaps you did not read the part where I said I love tournaments and will still play them or perhaps you skipped the part where I stated that playing in the cash game brought back to me how much I enjoy those limit cash games. You accuse me of making a decision on a single session so you must have skipped the part about not only this session but when I used to play these $2/$4 games when I lived in California.

    I was playing tournaments at the Plaza perfectly willing to stay on that course then they close the poker room so I go play a limit cash session and it fired something memories maybe from years of playing those games maybe I just got away from it for whatever reason but the session at the Nugget made me stop and think what the hell are you doing. Why arent you trying to aim your primary full time play in this direction. It's like someone doing an activity and loving it and for whatever reason they go a long time not doing it and when they finally return to it they say to themself why have I not done this for so damn long.

    With all that said you want to read this blog, fine, you want to comment your disagreement with actions and decisions I make I'm all for it, but if you're gonna take personal shots at me because I'm not a pro!fessional writer then you can step the fuck off and don't bother returning.

  6. We can debate whether 2/4 limit is beatable or not, but it really doesn't matter because you will believe what you believe, and only you can prove it for yourself. I hope you will keep good records and see in the long run how you do, I for one would love to be proven wrong.

    I am confused about one thing though, you did this whole calculation about how much you need to play 2/4, 3/6, etc. Then a few paragraphs later, you already plan to take the $400 expected in April and spend it on higher buyin tournaments and also cash games. Can we say Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? I can see where some of the things luckyb said came from. You change directions more often than TBC changes his pants. I said this in the past but I think it is worth repeating. Poker is a long game. When your changes are faster than the feedback loop, you can't know which change works and which doesn’t. Worse yet, you change the stats you keep (from what we can see here) almost as often. Not only is it impossible to see if your changes affect your stats, you change the stats you keep track of also!

    Speaking of stats, I have a hard time understanding how you can have 80% winning sessions in 2/4 limit assuming it is a normally raked game. From what I understand limit holdem is a higher variance game than no limit. The percentage of winning sessions are also a function of your win rate. From my own experience at live low stakes no limit holdem with a much higher winrate than possible in limit holdem, my winning sessions % is around 70%. I don't have a lot of live 2/4 limit data, but it is definitely closer to 50% than 70%. Now before you think I don't know how to play limit holdem, I actually spent years playing limit holdem online, and worked on my game religiously before switching to no limit.

    As usual, good luck with your latest plan.

  7. Blogs are for the pleasure of the writers and not the readers; people who want you to pander to what THEY think you should write about are mistaken as to the purpose of your blog. Carry on.