Last Friday, several of us from our regular Poker table took the day off to go visit Mohegan Sun's new Poker Room. Overall, I found it an educational and not *terribly* expensive experience. General summary: real-money poker is a bit different from either small-beans poker or funny-money LARP poker. But it's not *dramatically* different.
I played in two "sit and go" (SNG) tournaments, with the rest of our group: each had a $75 buy-in, which isn't too bad for a couple of hours' entertainment at a casino. I played decently well in the first one, making it about halfway through; while I was incorrect on the play that knocked me out, I still believe that it was based on a reasonable assessment of the situation. (That is, I was wrong but not stupid.)
I probably shouldn't have entered the second one, because I was already both tired and a bit stressed from the first -- in that one, I got knocked out early because I *did* make an utterly bone-headed play. Note to self: if your internal monologue is saying, "Yes, I know that you really *want* this to work, but it is patently dumb", it's probably telling the truth.
After that, I decided to go back to the land I was comfortable with: small-stakes seven stud. I got some chips and hung out until a $1/$5 stud table opened up (which took about 20 minutes, giving me to time to calm my nerves), and played there for the remaining couple of hours. That was much more in my zone -- while I may be a fish, I'm not quite as small a fish as some. (This was helped by getting a couple of nicely-hidden hands, and the apparent assumption by many at the table that, since I wasn't a regular, I didn't know what I was doing.) So I gradually won back most of the $75 I'd lost in the second tournament, doing much to improve my mood.
Dinner was at the Long House restaurant inside the casino, and was quite good, but in reverse order of cost. That is, the steak was very good, but the Country Fried Onion String Brick in Honey (improbable as it sounds) was better, and the escargots appetizer, with a crunchy layer of parmesan baked on, was utterly divine.
Overall, a pleasant day out. I'd agree with the general consensus that the company was more interesting than the poker itself, but it confirmed my fondness of small-stakes poker as a recreation for its own sake. Not really worth the two-hour drive in and of itself, but a good field trip with friends...