by , Oct 29, 2011 | 1:24 pm

margaritaville casino las vegasSometime during this year I decided I wanted to add more tournaments to my poker diet.  I’ve been a cash game grinder for my entire poker-playing career and don’t really have anything to speak of in regards to big tourney scores.  My “official” tourney resume is pretty weak.  That being said, I think every high-volume tournament pro wishes they crushed at cash games, and I think that every cash game grinder wants that feeling that only a tournament victory can bring: the combination of the big pay day combined with being the last man or woman standing at the end of the day (or day 2, 3, 4, what have you).  It very well could be my ego projecting my perceived thoughts onto the rest of the poker-playing community, but why would you not want to be well rounded in your profession and have multiple skill sets?

I’ve torched a lot of money being irresponsible … Vegas definitely has a way of seeping into any crack in your guard wall and blowing it wide open.

If you think that low stakes live poker games tend to be pretty soft, you should check out some of the tournament series that are running this month and next around Vegas.  You’ll see things that will make your head shake and leave you feeling good about the future of poker and its draw to the casual players.  However, these are tournaments we’re talking about, which means you’re a bit handcuffed in regards to how much manipulation of tourists you’ll be able to partake in compared to the cash games.  The structures for a lot of the events are pretty good, but variance is still a bitch.  I won’t go into detail about some of the ridiculous beats I’ve taken over the past week to send me on a walk of shame toward valet.  I’m gonna keep plugging away though with a healthy mix of the series, and cash games when there isn’t an event to my liking.

After I busted out of the AVP tournament at MGM last Saturday, I couldn’t help but notice a plethora of tourists all over the property with Hawaiian shirts and leis on, tropical drinks in hand.  I asked a dealer what type of nonsense was being celebrated in Vegas this weekend but she didn’t know either.  I recalled reading a story about the Margaritaville Casino opening that weekend, which would be attached to the Flamingo.  I don’t know if Jimmy Buffet himself was in town for this grandiose gala of tackiness and vastly overrated music (I fucking hate Jimmy Buffet) but there were a hell of a lot of his fans about.  I decided that I needed to just get it over with… Even though it was basically just a section of the Flamingo, it was like there was a new casino on the strip.  I’d have to go walk through the damn Margaritaville Casino.

I parked at O’Sheas and made the walk across the drive, where there had been set up “the world’s biggest margarita” and entered Margaritaville.  I guess they plan on playing Jimmy Buffet music in there 24/7, which is expected, and which also means I may never go back.  I took a look at the It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere Bar, threw up in my mouth a little bit, and decided to go check out the poker room at the Flamingo, hoping some parrotheads (zzzzzzz) would spill over.  It was actually pretty quiet when I sat down, and all of the players seemed surprisingly sober.  That is, until this guy sat down and instantly announced (slurred) a bounty on another dude at the table:

Here was your standard tourist enjoying himself and who knows how many free drinks, and once again he had found a way to plop himself into my game. It’s a scene that is set nightly in one card room or another around Las Vegas and I almost always find it entertaining in some fashion.  But it really got me thinking. When I look back over my past 3 years playing poker, there are a few leaks I can point to.  Not having poker-playing friends for a long time to really dissect hands and strategy has definitely hindered my development as a player.  I now have some great friends that I can go to anytime I want input, but I wonder where I’d be if I had a coach when I started.  Boredom at the tables is also up there on my leak list.  If I’m card dead, I have to constantly remind myself not to make stupid plays with stupid hands just to keep myself entertained.  But if you want to know what leak has directly cost me the most money, it’s not even close.  That would be playing after drinking.  It’s pretty embarrassing and really dumb, but I’ve torched a lot of money being irresponsible, both online and live. In the past I was really good at grinding up online bankrolls, moving up through the limits with proper money management, and more than once, bombing my account after coming home from being out all night.  I blame myself entirely but Vegas definitely has a way of seeping into any crack in your guard wall and blowing it wide open.

I feel like a very different poker player now than before I took a couple months off.  I’m more patient and things seem clearer.  I obviously will always have leaks and losing sessions but I’m taking more accountability for my own actions and focusing on just playing well. If the cards would cooperate in one of these tourneys that’d be spectacular, but until they do I’m just gonna keep grinding away.  And even though I still love drinks with friends and you may even catch me with a beer at the table once in a while, I plan on leaving the majority of the in-game indulging to my tourist opponents.  As fun as that can be sometimes, these days it feels better to just pick up the pieces when they shatter themselves with Q7o vs your TT on 553T8:

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