Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sammy and Chau: NL at the Bellagio

I went back to play at the Bellagio for a few hours and, indeed, I could tell I was pretty rusty. Fortunately, none of the horrible floorpeople were there. I went to the Bellagio because figured it would be the most likely place to have good NL games going at 4 am, and they cap the buyin at $200, which I figured would be good since I expected to be a bit rusty. I had forgotten how cool the Bellagio's poker room is. Playing at the lowest limits available in a poker room, as I do at the Bellagio, makes the atmosphere feel much different from playing at the highest limits, which is what I've gotten used to at other casinos. It's too bad the floorpeople there tend to be so terrible.

The other cool thing about the Bellagio is that it attracts the best players in the world. This morning, Barry Greenstein and David Benyamine were playing with a few other people in Bobby's Room, and Chau Giang and Sammy Farha were playing 100-200 NL with a few other players out on the regular casino floor at a table by the cashier. This is the biggest NL game I have ever witnessed, with a minimum buyin of $20K. As I walked by the table as I went to cash out my chips, Giang was shouting something playfully at Farha. At this point the game had shrunk to 3-handed. The third player (who I didn't recognize) was out of his seat, laughing that he wanted nothing to do with whatever was going on. I stopped behind Giang to watch the hand. It was still pre-flop and there was less than $2,000 in the pot I think. Giang was sitting to the left of the dealer. Now he was standing and leaning forward with his hands on the table as he shouted across it to Sammy. Sammy, like me, was having some difficulty understanding what Chau was saying, but it seemed he had just gone all-in for another $30K.

"So if I say 'yes,' then it's another $30K?" Farha asked Chau. Farha was holding his cards up in the air to allow a woman behind him to see his cards.

"Yes, yes, thirty thousand," replied Giang.

"Ok, put the flop out there," said Sammy. I interpreted this to mean he had called, but Chau reached into the pot and started pulling in the chips. The dealer seemed to have no problem with this, and proceeded to put out the 5 board cards. Anyway, I guess Sammy actually had folded. As Giang began to muck his cards, the third player, who was standing next to me to the left of Giang, reached in and playfully tried to turn over Chau's cards... Giang slapped his hand away, then turned over one of his cards: a king. He then claimed to have had AK, which clearly upset Farha. "I don't know why I fucking laid it down!" The third player claimed to have also had an ace, and tried to get Giang to tell him which ace he had... Chau refused to respond, suggesting that he may have been afriad to be caught in a lie (if he named the wrong suit, the other guy would know he had been lying). I don't pretend to be able to figure out all the motives and double-speak of a world-class player like Chau Giang, but I guess this suggests Giang didn't have the ace... I dunno.

After cashing out, I walked by the table again, and Farha was clearly steaming. He made a raise preflop with about 7 black chips, and Chau asked him how much it was. "I don't know, what does it matter? Here!" Farha responded irritably. He threw in a whole stack of $1,000 chips. I didn't stay to watch the rest of the hand.


adspar said...

After a year grinding limit, I've started playing some no-limit.

Where should I play NL when I'm out in there Vegas this month? I doubt I'll want to play higher than a $500 buyin, so I guess $2/5 or lower.

I'll play some limit between $15/30 and $30/60 probably. Mirage, Bellagio, and Wynn should have that right? Anywhere else?

Keith said...

Pretty much every poker room has either 1-2 NL or 2-5 NL now; many have both. The easiest 2-5 game is still probably at the Rio; the easiest 1-2 game might be the stratosphere. The Mirage and the MGM are good for both. I also like the Mirage for their $15 comps (no comp card needed) and their limit games, which often have open seats where I can play if the NL games have a wait. They have 10-20 and 20-40 limit.

Caesars also runs all these games. A lot of people think it is a great place to play, but I don't really like it there.

I plan to head over to the Venetian to check out their new room sometime soon.

adspar said...

I've played the Mirage before a bit, but I never thought to ask for comps. I'll have to do that this time if I play there. I'll have to check out the Rio $2-5NL. Is that your usual hangout?

Keith said...

I don't really have a usual hangout right now, but I haven't been to the Rio all that much recently. Frankly, places like the Wynn, Bellagio, and even the Mirage are much nicer, and they have reasonable limit games (ie bigger than $4-8), which are a nice change of pace sometimes. Still, the Rio's 2-5 game is just so juicy that I'll probably be heading back again soon.

A guy at the Mirage said that while nominally the Wynn gives "$1/hour," in practice they have actually given him much more than that. Their cafe and buffet are suppusedly excellent, and he and his wife each got a full 3-course meal after playing 11 hours. So the Wynn might be a good choice, too.

cc said...

I'm a numbskull, I think, as I never ask for any comps or anything when I'm at the Bellagio (I guess feeling like you're begging for something vs. being recognized and incented to be there). One of my happiest days was when Charlene introduced me to Karen in the back room and told me I could have a poker rate whenever I wanted to stay there (I'd had to stay somewhere else like MGM Grand or something). I'm there infrequently, so I don't expect to be recognized, but it is always nice. And I definitely prefer Bellagio with now Mirage as a good alternative vs. Wynn, but it seems that during the day there is a surplus of poker players (meaning grinders) at the tables, which is probably to be expected during the week.

adspar said...

In the past when I've been out there, I've only played at the Mirage since I pretty much only play limit and above $10/20 was higher than I was comfortable playing. So this time I'm looking forward to trying some $30/60 at Bellagio on a Saturday night. I'll scoot over to Rio and try Keith's 2-5nl too.

cc, I'm with you about never begging for comps. I think this trip I'll force myself to break out of that and hold my hat out. I'm also trying to keep my room costs down by splitting my trip between Gold Coast and Wild Wild West. Good rates there.