Fuck I wish I was back in Vegas.
But I'm not, so here are a few things I learned from playing with (losing to) bloggers during my trip to the WPBT Winter Classic.
1) Get 'em talking and having a good time, and they will ship you chips. Shelly's got a great story about how I applied this at the IP for fun and profits for all the bloggers there, but I learned it from G-Rob in the side game at Bradoween. The more people are chuckling at/wondering at your crazy play or wacky comments, the less they take it personally when they sling a pot to you. That means they're not playing their top game, and you're gonna get paid.
2) Min-raises and flat-calls make the baby Jebus cry. It's taken a year to understand and begin to implement the "fold or raise" philosophy, but I credit time at the NLHE table with April and DoubleAs great post on pressure points to solidifying this idea for me.
3) The same cards that are auto-fold in early position are worth a raise in late position. Position, position, position. No really, position is more important than any of the books will ever tell you. It also doesn't become as readily apparent playing online, at least at the limits and levels I can afford to play. But it becomes so incredibly important when playing live and for money that matters.
4) Pay attention to table texture. I blew off about $100 in profits in the IP poker room because I realized three hands too late that the table texture had changed radically. When the rock-tight locals sit down to grind, the fun is gone and the easy money is gone with them. The ability to adjust to table shifts quickly is something I'm going to need more practice in casinos to master. Darn, guess I'll have to go back to Vegas.
5) Most people playing at the $1-2 NL tables or the small buy-in tourneys just aren't very good. I'm okay, I get buy and manage to usually scrape together a positive number at the end of each month, but I don't consider myself to be a fantastic player. That said, I can only come up with one time in the three tourneys I played that I felt like I got absolutely outplayed on a hand. And it was not a great loss, because I got pushed off a hand rather than playing it all the way through, and when the guy showed his semi-bluff and said "my kicker's no good," all I could think was well, we had the same hand, top pair 10 kicker, so it wasn't really BAD, either. So I laid down a split pot, not a huge deal. Now that's certainly not to say that I'm the next Bill Fillmaff, but I realized that I can play live with most folks who are gonna be slumming down at my levels.
So how have I applied what I've learned? Not terribly well, but I've recouped about $60 of the $600 I left in Vegas since coming back. A couple of SNG cashes and 7th in a $50 freezeout on Absolute for $115, before donking off $40 last night in $1/2 limit trying to work off a bonus. But still, one week, recouping 10% of my losses, I'll take it. We'll be just like all the other losers and call the expense of my trip "paying for my poker education." Or we could just call ita 5-day vacation for less than a grand total, which is a fuckton of entertainment value in my book.