I began this Friday night on the East Side of Las Vegas Boulevard in the high rent district. The plan was to park at the Wynn and stroll down the Strip to The Venetian and Paris. After some ring game play, I would reverse course and catch the rooms again in the midnight hour. I want to say something here about 'the best laid plans on a Friday night in Las Vegas' but what happens in Vegas often gets forgotten in Vegas.
At 7 PM the poker room at the Wynn was already hopping. There were eight no-limit tables in action with blinds from $1/$3 up to $10/$20 and the interest list for the $25/$50 NL game was getting close to a full table. Limit tables ran from $4/$8 to $30/$60 and the $60/$120 games was beginning to draw signups. One of the standard games at The Wynn is a $10/$20 Omaha8 and it was full with a short wait list. By far the longest wait list was for the $30/$60 mixed game, I watched that game for awhile and confirmed the rumors that "gamble" was the operative word in this mix. Resisting temptation to join the line of players taking seats, I moved out through the Winter Wonderland that is the Wynn's holiday entrance to the crisp Las Vegas evening full of tourists and poker seekers.
A brisk walk south down the 'Las Vegas Construction Zone' that is the central Strip these days takes us to the Venetian and its new poker room. If you have ever enjoyed the décor or space or ambience of a poker room then image all of these great qualities in one room. Nine tables of NLHE were in play by 8 PM, evenly spread among $1/$2, $2/$5 and $5/$10. Plenty of $4/$8 limit games were going but the only other interest list was for $40/$80 limit. There seems to be gap in the player pool at the Venetian; the mid-limit games are simply missing and the big Stud game was not to be found. Perhaps it was just too early for the Canal Walk players to be hitting the felt. Maybe later?
Another long Las Vegas Boulevard block brings me to Paris and a room in transition. Right now the poker space at Paris is out in the middle of the casino floor. However, as with so many rooms there is a new space in the near future. Paris should have its new room operational within 60 days. For now the room is nearly full but not with ring games. Paris has the most interesting tournament schedule in all of Las Vegas; here they run a NLHE event every two hours. Yes, there are 12 tournaments a day in Paris, actually 13 with the daily 7 PM Omaha event. NLHE tournaments begin on the "odd half hour" at 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30, 11:30 — take two drinks and repeat. So there is always a tournament going and the ring games are full of players who have busted from that tournament or who are waiting for the next one. Tonight this was exactly the case with the 7 PM tournament down to three tables and the 9 PM just about to start and closing all of the cash games as the players took their tournament seats. Wait two hours and repeat.
And wouldn't you know it; there was a seat open in that 9 PM Paris tournament. So after my kings were not liberated and my time in Paris was drawn out; I made my way back north to Venetian where the action had picked up but still low limit with the $40/$80 game still looking for a few more players. The Wynn was buzzing at midnight, both high and low limit were full and the mixed game had grown to two tables.
Was this the end of another Friday night on the Strip? Play or call it a night? Play or call it a night? Oh look, is that the sun coming up?
Ed Note: Play until the sun comes up at Poker Stars.