Monday, November 28, 2005

Prepping for Vegas: Above & Beyond

Well kids, we're just 11 days from arrival in Vegas, and already a few good "get ready" posts are beginning to crop up. Might also help to check out my post from late May just before the June WPBT event... a few of those suggestions are still valid. I can hardly wait, and as exhibit A, I'll be heading up to Atlantic City this weekend for a few days to hit the tables and get re-acclimated to live play. Oooh, I can hear it now... "-EV for 6/12, -EV lock it up."

And while its great to play some live poker to get ready for Vegas, and pump yourself up by watching the final scene of Rounders over and over again, there are probably a handful of other, more productive things you could be doing to really arm yourself for the travel ahead. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Dress appropriately. Comfortable shoes, layers of clothing, and so on. First off, its going to be mid-50s by day and mid-30s by night while WPBT is in town. That's not warm, folks. Second, many of the poker rooms are effing FREEZING. The MGM Grand's room was notoriously cold this summer, and despite long sleeves and such, I froze my ass off in there. Then there's the Excalibur poker room, where one side (nearest the bathrooms) sits right under a huge cold air vent. Don't say you weren't warned.
  • Research the games you're intending to play ahead of time, if you're planning on really attacking the poker tables (I know I am). Same goes for live tourneys. AllVegasPoker has a great site up that covers each cardroom and even provides recent reviews from people who've been there. They've also got a handy tourney schedule. Personally, 95% of the tourneys spread in Vegas are of no interest to me due to the high juice %, but I may break down and play one this time just for the hell of it. The 2+2 B&M Forum is another good resource for looking into what games are available where, and whether they're good or not.
  • For example, I'm planning on playing 1/3 donkey poker whenever "Storming the Castle, Part Deux" takes place at Excalibur, and perhaps at other times as well. I may get some spontaneous 2/4 or 3/6 gamboooooling in with other bloggers as well. But these will be diversions, not the main event. My focus will be limit hold'em from 4/8 through 10/20 or, if the games look insanely soft and people tempt me, 15/30. The 8/16 at Wynn, the 6/12 at Mirage, 5/10 at Aladdin, and kill games at MGM are all favorite targets. I'm sure I'll play a fair bit of NLHE as well, but honestly my hourly earn in that game isn't nearly as much as my rate at LHE, so I don't know why I play so much of it. Friday, I'm planning on hitting Joaquin's HORSE/Razz event at MGM Grand, Saturday we've got the tourney and the shootout, and from there I'm just going to wing it... with a rough plan in mind.
  • To the extent you need to cashout your online bankroll to play in Vegas, do so at least 3 or 4 days before traveling (if you use Firepay or IGM). The transfers take time, and as I've said before, the last thing you want to be doing the night before your flight is haggling with Tarbaj the support guy on the phone about where your three grand is and why it hasn't hit your bank account yet.
  • Research food & restaurants -- you'll be glad you did. Vegas does a few things well, and while there's still plenty of low-grade grub around, there are also some excellent restaurants worth checking out. Some are expensive, others not. The difference between a $80 meal that tastes like it should've cost $20 and a magnificent dinig experience is a little research, and I know I try to put the time in. My pick for this trip: Noodles at Bellagio. I hear great things about it, but have never been there.
  • Meh, there's more but I'm stuffed and tired. More to come.

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