Monday, November 9, 2009, the morning of the 2009 WSOP FINAL Final Table when Darvin Moon and Joe Cada were to battle it out for the championship, I played in a daily no limit hold’em tournament at the MGM Grand.
I registered about 5 minutes before start time. There were 70 players registered already. I was told that the tables were full and that I was 1st alternate. By tournament start time there were enough alternates to seat another table. One of the alternates inquired about that and the tournament manager said that he would like to start another table, but, he didn’t have enough dealers.
Mental Note: MGM Grand, Monday mornings @ 11am, the casino plans on 70 runners for the tourney (in November).
Buy In: $65
Starting Stack: $1500
Levels: 20 minutes
Alternates: Original players busting out within the first 4 levels may apply to get on the Alternates list.
Seating: 10 players per table
I was seated during the first level; probably saw 2 – 3 hands before the end. There were a couple of very experienced players at the table; a couple of newbies, and the rest mediocre players.
The last hand of the second level (50/100/no ante) I was in the Big Blind. The most experienced player at the table was in the hijack seat. Everyone folded to her and she opened with a $400 bet. Fold, fold, fold to me, and I called with AhQd. We were heads up. Flop came 2 7 10 rainbow.
I knew the flop didn’t hit her and I had observed that she played very aggressively when in hijack to big blind position, so, I thought this was more of the same. I decided to check-raise to drive her out of the hand. I checked. She bet $400. I raised it to $800. She called… hummm. I had her on KQ or KJ. Was she sitting on trips? Better slow down.
A 4 came on the Turn. I figured that didn’t improve her hand. I thought for a few moments and decided she was convinced she had the winner and was going to let me hang myself, so I checked. She checked.
An A came on the flop. She called me all in for my last $300. I called, was outkicked, and lost. She had AK offsuit. I didn’t last more than 25 minutes.
The no-smoking poker room is located at one end of the casino area. It is curved like a quarter moon and holds about 20 tables. Two sides are open to the casino area and are separated from the casino by a black rail. The other two sides are abutted by the Race and Sports Book area on one side and the Centrifuge lounge on the other. The tournament took place in what staff refer to as the “back” of the poker room. The “back” is the side of the poker room farthest from the registration desk. It is railed off and open like the other side, but has less traffic as the popular attractions (Lions Habitat exhibit, for example) are on the registration side. It was actually pretty quiet at that time of day considering that the Race and Sports Book area (with tons of TV monitors) and the Centrifuge lounge are on either side and the 22,000-square-foot Studio 54 nightclub is just across the hall. The tables and chairs were in very good condition, and although there were 10 seated at a table and there was a little bit of jostling for space, the tables were separated a good distance from each other. Here’s a map of the MGM Grand layout. Poker Room is in the lower left of the diagram.
I only experienced two dealers this tournament. I recognized both from having played at the MGM Grand in previous years. Both were professionally friendly and rather quiet. They announced raises, but didn’t go out of their way to guide the newbies. When there was a delay, they pointed to the person whose turn it was and said something to encourage a response and move the game along.
At my table, there were all levels, so, I am guessing that is the general spread across the tables.