Saturday, January 28, 2006

Poker rooms everywhere in Vegas

I was in Vegas for a couple of days this week betting Super Bowl props. While I rarely play poker anymore, I am still interested in the games that are out there, and the new rooms. Every time I go to Vegas, it seems a new poker room has opened up. Some of them are real nice too - Wynn, Caesars to name a couple. I haven't played in any of them, so I can't say anything about the quality of the service, the dealers, etc. Just stating the plethora of new rooms over the past two years. It also seems the higher stakes games are much more commonplace. While walking through Caesars the other night, I noticed they had a 300-600 mix game. I don't know what the next level below that was, but a couple years ago, those level of games were only found at the Bellagio. With more rooms and more games, table selection (or room selection) becomes more and more useful. Too bad for me these rooms weren't available 3 or 4 years ago, when I had the drive, the energy, the stamina, and the interest to play long hours of poker.

At those limits, I am a firm believer one must play a lot, and not just dabble in it now and then, if one is to really get any positive EV out of them. This is due to profiling the players. Profiling a player and understanding how she or he plays is crucial...and gets more and more important as the stakes increase. If you were to jump into a game where all the faces are new to you, it will take you time to analyze and study each of your opponents' style of play. But if there are other good players there who play at those tables on a regular basis, they can size you up much more quickly since presumably they already have a good handle on the other players, and only have to focus on you as the new player. This puts the new player at a disadvantage to other equally good players. Stemming from this, I think this is one of the reasons why players, even good ones, often have a tough time stepping up in limit. It takes them more time to learn all the faces than it takes for the other good players already at those limits to learn about one new player.

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