Thursday, July 06, 2006

Today is the one year anniversary of my moving to Las Vegas. Boy does time fly when you're having fun.

One year ago today I flew in from Austin, TX and stayed my very first night in familiar digs--the Tropicana Motel 6, near the MGM, the same motel I'd stayed at for many of my frequent Vegas trips as about the only guest who who wasn't paying by the hour. The next day I saw my apartment for the very first time, and that second night was spent, where else, but at the Bellagio playing poker until 7am.

Now here it is a year later, and I still live in the same apartment, still play poker for a living, and I still love living here. Yet much has changed. That very first night I was in Vegas, I walked across the street from the Motel 6 to play a couple hours of 6/12 at the MGM. Today, the MGM can barely get a 4/8 game going on many nights, as a result of the continued slow and inexorable advance of no-limit as the most popular game. That second night at the Bellagio was spent playing 30/60. I would then move on to the 80/160 game, and even play the 100/200 game at the Commerce in LA. Yet, I've evolved along with the poker rooms, and now recognize NL as the choicest game.

Also very different is my schedule. Mostly an internet player in Austin, I came to Vegas with the intention of playing more live. That I did, almost the point of neglecting online play altogether. This led to bigger winning months (it takes a lot of online 15/30 hands to equal a good extended run at live 80/160), but also to bigger losing months--heck, losing months at all (one reaches the long run much, much slower while playing live). My first 8 months or so were spent as 75%-live/25%-online limit player. But now, I've relearned the real value of online play, and am a 90%-online/10%-live no-limit player.

Also changing was my diet.

And finally, this apartment I'm in isn't going to be around much longer, as I'm in the process of buying a house. Yes, the guy who moved to Vegas so he could play live at the Bellagio every night has for the most part given up live play but has fallen in love with the city enough to make it a more permanent home.

I look back on the first five or so months I lived here with very mixed emotions. On one hand I'm kind of sad. Those first months were spent living a completely carefree existence, doing what I love. Wake up in the late afternoon, eat, play poker, eat, play poker, eat, go to bed an hour or two after sunrise. Practically every night was a winning night. I was living a blissfully unaware and simple, dream existence. For those five months I was completely engaged, completely happy and, above all, successful. (Of course, that was before I was harshly reminded of how cruel poker could be.)

On the other hand, I hardly recognize that guy who spent five months gorging himself on nothing but poker and food. Poker is no longer the basis for my existence. Rather, it is now a means to an end. An interesting, thought-provoking, and enjoyable means it is, but still just a means to an end. And that end is profit, plain and simple. Likewise, the copious amounts of free food available--the comped buffets replete with row after row of tantalizing desserts--no longer appeals to me as much. Thanks to saving those buffets only for more special occasions, my slowly softening and expanding body of those early months has now completely reversed its course.

Now my life is much more diverse, with a regular exercise routine, and a much reduced poker playing schedule. Also in the works are a variety of possible investments completely unrelated to poker.

But enough rambling. Here's hoping that the next year is as exciting as this past year has been.


Anonymous Peter B said...

This is a great summary of life in Vegas, Eric. The longest I've stayed is three weeks, mainly just eating and playing poker, and by the end, I was quite glad to get back to London. However, if you can get an apartment a couple of miles offstrip, I think that it can be a great place to live. I once had an apartment for a couple of weeks about a mile past the Palms on Flamingo West, and there's a big difference between staying there and staying on the Strip.

It's sad to hear that the MGM can't even get a 4/8 game going some nights. Is live limit going the way that 7-stud went? Will I have to retrain myself back to playing no-limit (well, I used to play pot limit, but there's a great deal of similarity). Perhaps I'd better get some practice in online.

I've watched the $200 buy-ins at Bally's and the Flamingo, and I didn't see much to scare me. I just happen to prefer the aesthetics of limit. Still, I guess that there's usually the 8/16 at the Wynn.

Good luck with the new apartment. And well done for ignoring all that bollocks that is the WSOP.


10:54 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

so whats the need to be in Vegas if all you do is play 10% live now?

7:35 AM  
Blogger eric said...


NL is definitely the current game. I doubt limit hold 'em will ever go the way of 7CS, but for now NL is the place to be, I think.

One benefit to limit is that for the same bankroll and similar size game you can have a much bigger winrate and much lower variance.


I just like it here, that's all. And it's still nice to have dozens of live cardrooms to choose from for when I do want to play live.

6:12 AM  
Blogger eric said...

that should read, "one benefit to no-limit"

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:53 PM  

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