Vegas Poker Question

I’m going to Vegas in a few weeks (for only a few days - Thurs night to Sunday) and have a few poker questions.

I’ve been playing mostly low-limit hold 'em ($2/4 or $3/6 limit) in Atlantic City casinos, with a few months of NL tournament experience online (mostly 9, 45, or 90 person SNG). I would not call myself a beginner at this point at either limit or NL.

I avoid non-tournament NL cash games, but would like to play some NL low-entry tournaments.

I’m staying at Mandelay Bay, and I see ( that they don’t have $2/4 tables, but do have a daily $40 NL tournament (

It looks like the closest casino within walking distance with a $2/4 limit table is Luxor…

Any recommendations for Poker Rooms with low-entry-fee NL tournaments or limit tables?

Caesars has both. I’m pretty sure they do nightly $60 NL tourneys, for example. And it’s not that far away from Mandalay Bay, although you are down to one end of the Strip.

As of last March, Tropicana had nightly no limit tournaments with $50 buy ins. Trop is a free tram ride and a walkway over the Strip away from Mandalay Bay. It was pretty casual for being in a Strip casino. It’s the only place in Vegas where I’ve seen a dealer make change from his wallet. :smiley:

It is a very easy walk to the Luxor, it is sort of connected to Mandalay Bay. And Excaliber is connected to the Luxor, and offers low level games there as well.

I would guess I am about the same level as you, not a beginner, but not wanting to play the higher stakes games. I felt more comfortable playing at Luxor and Excaliber than at the more expensive casinos.

Avoid low buy-in NL tournaments. You start out with only 300 chips, which is ridiculous.


Look around. They built this town on folks like you.

You do know that in poker you’re not playing against the house right?

But poker players do pay a rather hefty table rent, and the house can’t lose on that.

Or do. I played in one of the Mandalay Bay cheap tournaments around Christmas. Frankly, it was the best money I ever spent playing poker. I learned more in the hour it took to kick me out than I had in the previous 35 years of playing basement poker with friends.

Yep, I now know that I am transparent. Have a hand, folks fold. Have a low pair, I can’t push people out, they catch on the river. Try to run a bluff and get called like they know me. 35 bucks taught me that I can’t play with the big boys yet. So for a small investment it improved my skills enough to win it back in the “friendly” games I normally play about 10 fold. Your milage may vary.

Right, but I think that Gatopescado implied that the OP was a sucker, which isn’t always the case in poker.

I don’t have specific opinions on which low buy in tournaments to hit - I tend not to play those things. The house will demand a minimum profit for their time and hence since the prize pool is low they’ll take a significant percentage of it in fees. And I’m not sure how typical this is, but often in those tournaments only a very small number of places pay out - perhaps, for example, top 3 or 4 out of 50 - they want to lure people in with a big first prize, rather than make the payouts a little more even. Combined with the shallow stacks and fast levels, I wouldn’t expect to be significantly, if at all, profitable at these games even if you’re significantly better than the competition.

It could be relatively cheap entertainment by Vegas standards, you should just see it as such.

The NL cash games you avoid are actually more profitable than you’d expect based on the rake structure - there are some really horrible players at those games. Especially the ones without capped buy-ins - I’ve seen a guy sit down at a $1/$2 no limit game with $3000+ before and lose it in an hour or two because he thought sitting down with a lot of money made him tough, and they tried to bully people really stupidly, and smarter players cashed in on it.

Unfortunately he gave his money to everyone but me. I got involved in a $1600 pot with him where I was a 90% favorite to win, and lost, and never had the chance to get into a significant pot with him again. Poker gives you daily kicks in the balls, even when you’re really good at it.

If you are looking for poker games that are less expensive, rent a car and hit a few of the local casinos (away from the Strip) that might be more fun, and less costly while you are here.

At any rate, have fun and let us know how you did!

I played at some Sit-n-Go’s at MGM Grand. They are pretty low buy in, and only take a couple of hours each. I won the first one for ~$300, so that was a good start to the weekend.

Good poker room, good drink service, and the house doesn’t charge a ridiculous amount to play. They also have regularly scheduled tournaments.

Can someone elaborate on this? I usually play at the Borgata, in which there is a per-pot rake, but no actual fees… is what you are referring to different than a rake?

Not sure about tournaments but, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, there’s not really THAT MUCH difference between 2/4 & 3/6. Or 3/6 and 4/8. What will, if you’ll excuse the pun, kill you ( :smack: ) is the 3/6 or 4/8 kill pots. As I said, there’s not much difference between 2/4 and 3/6, but there’s a pretty sizable one between 2/4 and 6/12 (a 3/6 kill pot).

So my recommendation is to try to find a 3/6 game with no kill.

As others have said, I’ve heard Vegas tournaments are notoriously bad. High buy-in, high rake, small starting stacks, quick blind levels. They don’t want tournament players. They want everyone knocked out quickly so they’ll play live and the house can rake $4 a hand. :rolleyes:

Good luck!

Again, however, this often isn’t true for the scheduled nightly tournaments. Obviously the ones with the higher buy-ins are going to start with deeper stacks and a slower structure, but even, say, the Caesars tourney I mention above started everyone with a fair amount of play, and the tournament itself lasted five or six hours.

Now, the really fast tournaments are going to be the mini-buy-in sit-and-gos (or hourly tournaments), where you start with 800 chips and the blinds increase every ten minutes, but you’re only plonking down $20 to play.

I don’t remember for sure, but I think there was maybe a $5 adder on top of the buy in. That may be wrong, and there could have been only a rake. I think the larger tournaments don’t have a fee, just the rake.

I’ve never seen a tournament with a rake (in fact, I’m not sure how it would work…). All tournaments have a set amount to join and a percentage of that goes to the house. The rest goes into the prize pool. You want to find a tourney where a smaller part of your buy-in goes to the house (5 out of a 20 buy-in is a very bad return on your money).

Cash games will usually have a rake - normally a percentage of the pot up to a cap (I normally see 10% up to $4 at a 3-6 game). This makes 3-6 pretty tough to “beat” because the rake is so high. Still great fun.

For poker in Vegas I like to find a few bigger tournaments (with buy-ins in the $60 buck range) that can last 5-6 hours. Then I play the cash games at the “fancier” casinos. You often can only find 4-8 but lots of rich tourists like to throw money around in that game.

Of course, you’re right. I’m not sure what I was thinking about the tournaments and rakes.

First rule of serious poker: When you sit down, see if you can spot the fish. If you can’t, it’s you.