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.