Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thinking of Vegas

So as the summer draws closer, and with the few poker bloggers left who still have major poker media outlets to write for beginning to write about departing for the desert, my thoughts have continued to swirl about this year's World Series of Poker. And although I would never have thought this could happen, the shutdown of online poker in the U.S. actually has me re-thinking whether or not to even head out to Las Vegas this year.

It's weird because, just a few weeks ago, shortly after the April 15 online poker shutdowns in the U.S., I posted here about how Vegas was only a couple of months away, I couldn't wait, etc. But since then a few things have happened. My normal crew that has come out to Vegas with me each of the past few years is leaning towards a camping trip instead this summer, in Jackson Hole or some other appropriately well-known outdoor site where I, frankly, have zero desire to be, whether in the middle of June or any other time of the year. I work too hard every day all day to spend my leisure time pretending I am homeless and at one with nature. But rather than try to convince them to hit up Vegas this summer, I am fine with them not going, I've been to Vegas before by myself, and in a lot of ways a solo trip can provide the kind of focus and clarity of thought that only isolation can bring and which might actually be a benefit in a poker tournament context. It's kind of exciting to me, in fact, when I really sit and think about the possibilities. Plus, I know a lot of people who will be in town when I'm there, and it's not like I will really be "alone" in any event, right? Right.

But then I started thinking about the poker. And about how I would be looking to plunk down $1500 or $2000 on a no-limit holdem tournament, when I literally will not have played no-limit holdem even one time -- not even for play money, not even with my daughters on the family room floor -- in nearly three months. I have always maintained right here on the blog that being even a minimally-successful nlh tournament grinder requires excellent timing and impeccable reads, both of which are much more based on instincts, instincts that unfortunately can only really be developed and maintained through practice. I mean, sure we're all degenerate junkies here, but it's more than addiction that led me to play some form of mtt's most nights of the week when my game was on and I had the time to do so -- it's my survival instinct. Because I know I don't play anywhere approaching my best nlh tournament poker unless I'm out there on the (real or virtual) felt practicing it, living it, every single day. Sure I could take off a day here and a day there and see no retracement whatsoever in my skills -- I did that all the time -- but it would be sheer folly for me to even suggest that I could stop playing poker for 11 or 12 weeks heading up to the WSOP, and then just waltz in to the Amazon Room at the Rio, plunk down a couple large, and play my best.

Quite the opposite -- I would probably play terrible, in relative terms. Relative to my "A game", anwyays. And that's what is really giving me pause here as my expected trip to Vegas marches ever closer and closer, all without me still having any plane reservations, any room selected, anything at all really. Do I really want to fly 6 hours each way, waste my precious little vacation time away from Hammer Wife and my awesome young kids, just to do what essentially amounts to throwing away a couple grand? You won't find anyone with more confidence in their poker tournament abilities than I, but even I have to admit that me not having slung a chip or even seen a playing card in nearly three months is not going to be a good matchup for the skill of the players at the WSOP, this year moreso than in past years as I would expect far fewer donkeys with online poker now no longer possible for U.S. asshats to play.

So what's the thought here? Do I suck it up and head out to the desert anyways, maybe shorten my trip, just stay a night or two, and take a chance at the WSOP? And if my plan would just be to stick to the Venetian DSE and other tournaments with smaller buyins -- ones where I would have an equally small chance of success in, given this forced poker layoff -- then why not instead consider just a trip down to Atlantic City for the Borgata Summer Poker Open which is also in mid-June, and maybe a trip to Foxwoods for their big tournament series that run throughout the summer months? That would enable me to get some poker on, play for smaller buyins which is more befitting of my forced-poker-layoff self, but still to be with my family and not waste a lot of vacation time that I could otherwise be spending with the people I love the most. Throw in a family trip maybe later in the summer with that extra vacation time, and now it starts to become really tempting.

So what is a poker blogger to do?

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Blogger Bayne_S said...

I am scheduled to go out to Las Vegas June 10-16.

Cousins Bachelor Party is 10-12, $1500 PLO is 13th.

I was playing PLO cash after shutdown until my computer froze and full tilt forced reload of SW blocking me (until online poker was pried out of my computers cold dead hand apparently)

Zero poker since.

I am going through same reservations about playing 1500 event.

I suspect I will still spend M-W in Las Vegas but it seems more likely I will play far cheaper Caesars PLO on 6/14. I also have luxury of 10 flights/day to choose from and cost to bail early is not too prohibitive unless SouthWest decides I need 2 seats.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Journey for Lily said...

Hoy, don’t do it. Don’t give up the dream! Winning a bracelet should be every good poker player’s goal. And you are a good player. We have played on Full Tilt.

Last year won a package on FT. Had a great run at WSOP bubbled out on event #54, winning a Sat for the main event. Took the cash. This year was planning to win package again on FT. Not happening after black Friday. Plan B was to win at Fox woods. This week placed 2nd at Mega MTT for $21K. Will be at the Rio from 7/2 on. If you rank the competition, the WSOP is as easy as they. ¾ of the field have no clue. As KG says “anything is possible”.

Patriot fan from FT and Foxwoods.

10:34 PM  

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