I was in Las Vegas for five days and was able to play in four tournaments and also had two cash game sessions.  Here’s an idea of how things went…..

The first tournament was a $50 buy-in daily tourney at Monte Carlo.  This is a typical small daily tourney with everyone starting with 4k chips and a blind structure that makes the entire tourney take about 2 hours. 
I’m relatively quiet (pretty card dead) until we get down to 8 players left (top 3 ITM).  I then pick up KQ of spades from mid position and make a standard raise.  I’m called by two late position passive players and also from the BB.  The flop comes J 10 spades and the 3 of hearts.  I don’t have a made hand, but I’ve got a ton of outs on anyone that has a J.  The BB makes a 1/3 pot bet (that I know the two players behind me will call) so I’m getting a great price to draw and don’t even have to make a lead bet.  I also know from past history with the BB, that they will not bet without a pair, so I know I’m behind.  Indeed, the two behind me call.  The turn is the 6 of clubs, a total brick.  The BB now makes a min bet, another bet that gives me the price that I need to draw, so I call and imagine this… the two behind me call too.  The river is the 2 of hearts, another brick.  The blind makes a min bet, I muck and the other two call.   They all show their cards and the blind’s J5 wins the pot.  All 21 of my outs were good too.  Missing 2 shots at 21 outs isn’t a good start and left me as the table short stack.
The next hand is a couple later when I get into the BB on the same orbit.  I have UTG+1 make a std raise and I look down at QQ, which with my stack size is an insta-ship!  The opp goes into the tank and a couple minutes later, decides to call and turns over A8 diamonds.  That’s great, as I only have to dodge three outs (or so I think).  The flop comes diamond, diamond, diamond… and I’m busted in 8th.  Not the way I wanted the week to start, as this is the tourney that I’ve won the most money in over the years but I’m playing in it again tomorrow for $60 as it’s a bounty tourney on Wed.

The second tourney that I play is the Tuesday nightly at Aria.  This one has a $120 buy-in and normally attracts a larger field.  81 enter, so the winner gets over $2600 and the top 9 get ITM.  This is the first time I’ve played this tourney, but it suits my game very well.  10k starting stack and 30 minute levels gives a lot of playability with a large stack, which lets me be much more patient. 
The first hand that I get involved in is at the 100/200 blind level from the button.  There are 2 limps in front of me and I look down at QJ spades.  I make a std raise to 900 and get both limps to call.  The flop is a jackpot for me, A 8 3 of spades!  Both opps check to me and I fire out 1500.  The first opp calls and the other goes away.  The turn is the 7 of hearts and when the opp checks, I fire out 2500 that is snap-called by the opp.  I’m now putting them on the K of spades, set or 2 pair.  The river is 2 of diamonds and the opp checks again.  I fire out 3k hoping for a call.  The opp tanks for a couple minutes, says “OK, you can have it,” and flips over to show KK.   Needless to say, my cards go straight into the muck as I take in a nice pot, but with the way that the opp played KK there, I’m immediately labeling her as the biggest fish at the table.  The hand before break, my table breaks and I get moved to the other side of the room and as I walk by Ivey’s Room, I see a few faces I recognize from tv.  Mike Matasow and a few other big pros are playing a 400/800 mixed game. 
My new table is a mix of the old table, plus 4 from my table (the 4 best players from it).  I’m at the table for only about 40 min and only saw two flops the whole time, both free from the BB.  There were a number of short stacks at the table and it seemed that whenever I got into LP and wanted to try a steal, one of them shoved.  Looking back, it was probably a good thing, as most of them ended up with players acting after me actually having a hand. 
The only noteworthy hand here is one that anyone in the tank will get a VERY large smile out of.  I’m in the BB into a family pot and check to see the flop for free.  The flop comes J 7 2 rainbow and I make a pot-sized bet that everyone folded to.  It went into the muck, but yes, I hit two pair with the tank hand!
Just after I pay the BB a few orbits later, I get moved again.  This time to the stage at the feature table, that is going to end up as the FT.  Of course, I go straight from the BB to the BB at the new table, so I have to pay it again.  I end up at this table for about 90 min and it’s an interesting set of characters, to say the least.  Seat 1 has their headphones on and whatever they’re listening to, they sure aren’t looking at the action on the table, as they act out of turn twice.  Seat 3 is a loose passive pre, LAG post flop player.  Seat 4 never played a hand and was under 5BB.  Seat 5 is the bigstack TAG.  I’m in seat 6.  Seat 8 is a tourney reg that knows everyone working there.  But the character of characters is in seat 10.  He’s a luckbox extreme that is about 6’3 300lbs wearing a knitted Olympia Beer hat… and has a lapdog poodle in his lap!  I probably should label him captain suckout.  I saw him win five hands trying to be aggro, getting his chips in bad each and every time and sucking out on whomever is in the pot with him.
The only hand that I get involved in where I had to show the hand (made three position steals) was against seat 4 when they were on the button with 2.5BB left and shoved.  I look down at AKo, which I figure that I’m in a race, but well priced in to call.  The button flips over quackers that hold when the board runs out five low cards.
As the tables combine from 3 down to 2 left, the other table must have had a hand with multiple KO’s, as I get picked to move to it to even the tables out at 9 each.  Since I hadn’t had much for cards for a while, I’m now down to 8.5BB and within two minutes going to about 3BB (after I play the blinds and they go up) and look down at AQs from UTG.  Since I need chips, AQ clubs qualifies as a hand to shove with, especially at a new table where only one person may have a read on me (played with them at my first table).  UTG+1 re-shoves to isolate me, so I’m hoping that I’m now in a race, which I am when the others get out of the way and the opp shows pocket 10’s.  The flop is heaven and hell all at once!  A dia, Q sp, 10 cl  I now have two pair, but I’m behind a set.  At least I have outs.  The turn gives me a ton more outs too.  K of clubs.  Now I can win with two aces, two queens, nine clubs and three jacks, 16 outs!  Unfortnately, a low heart comes on the river and I’m out in 18th.  I’m happy with the play, as I knew that a double-up would get me right near the bubble due to all of the lower stacks (my 8.5BB stack was a mid-level one at the other table and there were three similar or shorter stacks at this table).

The third tournament was a $60 bounty tourney at Monte Carlo.  It’s basically the same as the $50 one that I had played the previous day, but with a $10 bounty added.  The first hour of it is pretty uneventful.  I made a couple of position steals, but didn’t have much for cards.  At the beginning of the second hour, I’m in the BB, have UTG muck, then UTG+1, that is the table short stack limps.  Everyone folds, so I look down at AJ and make a std raise.  UTG+1 only has an extra ½ blind over my bet, so she shoves which is an easy call for me.  She flips over A3o, which is great as I’ve got her dominated to win a $10 bounty.  The flop makes it even better… A  J  10, so I’ve got two pair.  The turn brings a K and I get one of those gut feelings, that I’m going to get counterfeited.  Well, I was right, as the river brings a Q for a chop. UGH!  There goes my bounty.    Later in the second hour, we’re on the bubble of the final table and I’m in the cutoff in an un-opened pot and look down at AK and make a std raise that is called by the SB.  The flop is A 3 7 rainbow.  The SB checks and with about a pot-sized bet behind me, I shove.  The SB snap-calls with AA, so that is the end of the tourney for me in 10th.

The final tourney that I played was the $80 nightly bounty tourney at Harrahs.  $20 of each player’s entry fee is for the bounty.  I was pretty quiet the first hour, winning a couple small pots and losing a small pot with two pair when the opp rivered a straight.  However, that hour DID give me very reliable reads on the opps.  The first big hand that I got involved with was against a loose passive opp (they would make a weird open-raise, then call the rest of the hand).  They opened from MP and I look down at pocket 10’s on the button and make a std 3-bet to 3k (they raised to 1k).  The opp shoves over me and since they’re loose, I’m absolutely calling for another 2k or so chips, as they had me covered by about 1k.  They flip over A 10 off, so I have some of their outs counterfeited.  The board did give me a scare for a second, as a K hits on the flop and a J hit on the turn.  Unfortunately he had me covered, so I wasn’t able to win a bounty.   After winning this hand, I was able to cruise to the final table (top 4 get paid).
The first hand I get involved in at the final table with is AKs from UTG.  I make a std raise and the button (table short stack) shoves, which for an extra BB is an instant call.  Things look really good for me to win a bounty when an A hits the flop and K hits on the turn… BUT… the river is a duck!  There goes another bounty.  The next time around the table, when that same player is in the BB, I look down at 88 and make another std raise.  It folds to them and they shove again.  Since this player was playing loose and shoving a bunch, I call and they turn over AK.  The exact same situation but this time it’s reversed.  Of course, my 88 gets shot by a bullet on the flop.  There goes another chance at a bounty.  After this hand, I go card dead for the next 30 min or so and three opps get KO’d at the final table, so we are down to 6.  Since the blinds are now going up very, very quickly, I’m looking for anything to shove with where I have a +EV play.  I get it when I’m down to 3BB (just after another blind jump), as I pick up AQ and am the first one in the pot.  I get called by the big-stack that was playing ATC and getting lucky.  Unfortunately for me, this is the only real hand that he flips over all game, AK.  Needless to say, the better hand held, so I get ko’d in 6th.  I’m fine with the play there too, as one double up would have put me into a top 4 chip position and be in line to cash and I can do a ton worse than playing AQ against one opp heads-up that is playing extremely loose.

The two days at the cash tables weren’t much better and both ended up losing sessions (one was a total loss and the other was one that I ended up down a little after being down almost a buy-in).  I just had absolutely no luck at all.  Two times I ran AK into AA on an A high flop.  Twice I ran a flopped set into a higher flopped set.  Three times I flopped a set and got rivered by a gutshot straight or flush.  I was able to sneak in a couple of flushes that I got paid on along with another flopped set that beat the opp’s top two pair.  Unfortunately, we’re all going to have days like that.

However, saving the best for last, there were the video poker machines.  From knowing odds on hands, etc., I do know the optimal play for each type of the video poker machines that I’ll play and also know how to tell the ones in a casino that will have the best payout %’s over time.  These, I did much better at.  I was able to hit quad sevens on a double bonus machine (nothing wild).  I also hit five nines on a deuces wild machine but I also hit a much better one in Bellagio.  I was playing a deuces wild bonus machine and hit a whole flock of ducks, 2222, for a mini-jackpot payout of 1000 coins!   That hit alone took the sting out of the bad tourney luck by counteracting it!

The next blogs that I will be doing will be starting on Nov 13th, as that is when the weekly league starts in Joliet that I played with Dave in earlier this year.  Hopefully one of us will be able to take down the WSOP-ME seat in the finals of it on Jan 29th.