August 2008
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Sixty four and a half hours

You need wait no longer.  The long-anticipated results graph is here.  This is how my live poker experience in Las Vegas went.

As you can see, I was some way off my target of 100 hours played. In fact, I logged 64.5 hours, in 32 sessions at 14 different poker rooms.

Almost all games were $1/$2 no-limit Hold’em (only Caesars Palace and Palms were $1/$3, for a total of 2.5 hours).

Each point on the graph marks the end of a session – I only ever recorded wins and losses when I cashed out of a game.

However, because of the way I approached game selection and bankroll management, there won’t be many big swings within a session that aren’t shown here.

I always bought in for $200 and topped up whenever I dropped below $150.  Usually I’d just pull out another $100 bill if the table allowed it (some games have a $200 cap, some are $300) so I’d be playing anywhere between $150 and $250, except when I was winning.

If the game looked particularly soft and other players were already sitting deep, I’d bring another $100 into play as soon as I’d spotted where a big payoff might come from.

Usually, I’d hit and run after a win of $100 or more.  Spit all you like, but I needed a reason to stick around after taking down a big pot.  I especially didn’t like to be sitting with $400 when other players still covered me, and particularly if I thought those players knew what they were doing.

If a player was very drunk, or steaming after a big loss, or just plain awful I’d stick around.  Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t always the case and when it wasn’t I was off to another game.

If I thought the table sucked, I’d always try to hang around for an hour for the experience, and to make sure I’d got it right before moving on.  But if I wasn’t getting action from a table of rocks – or just because I hadn’t seen a hand for an hour and the whole table went "oooooh" the first time I raised – I’d get the hell out at the first opportunity.

This "cardroom crawl" approach is pretty inefficient in terms of hands per hour, but that was my plan and I stuck to it.  In fact, until the last weekend, I hardly had to wait on a list at all.

At about 30hrs, I did indeed win over $400 in under an hour.  Pocket deuces, baby, and after hours of pain it was finally my turn to be on the right end of top two pair against a small set.

The graph does not include the $200 lucky seat jackpot I won at Palms.  I really didn’t know whether to put this in but decided against it.  I still have no idea what happened, but I’m sure it had nothing to do with my cards.  I may as well have won it in a swipe-and-win.

If I’d hit a high hand bonus, I would probably have counted those on the graph – especially if it was paid with chips that ended up in play.  After all, the $1 jackpot drop taken out of of every pot is included in those numbers above (as well as dealer tips and cocktails) so when it pays off I guess I should count it too.

However, apart from a quite exciting flopped open-ended straight flush draw at Luxor (the highest hand each hour wins $100) I didn’t get anywhere close.  I really wanted to spin the wheel at Excalibur one last time before the room closed, but it wasn’t to be.

So, the overall profit of $635 puts my win rate for the trip just ever so slightly under $10/hr.  My "career" win rate over 160 hours is a little higher.

Make of all this whatever you like.  It’s really not much of a sample size still.  All these numbers tell me is that I spent half the trip losing and then went on a heater.  Not as useful as I’d hoped it would be.

1 comment to Sixty four and a half hours

  • James

    Nice graph, pleased it came out positive just lookign a bit shaky for a while. $10 an hour is pretty good still especially when your doing something you enjoy.

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