Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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THAT HELPS ME CONTROL SPAM.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

MOHEGAN FOXWOODS SUPER 8

I went up to Connecticut again for another solo outing.
It was good gambling and I saw a fine free show at Mohegan:  Fabian, Frankie Avalon, and Bobby Rydell.

THE HOTEL    SUPER 8

I had a few reservations about the Super 8 after reading some poor reviews.  However the $142 price for two nights is much cheaper than anything I have found to book on weekend nights, and even finding that took a few tries.  Saturday is the expensive night and it is my favorite because it includes a good 1-1 NL game at Mohegan.
I slept in at home, and got a later start than I usually do, so I decided to head directly to the hotel in Groton and get settled rather than play a few hours of 4-8 at Foxwoods.  I arrived at 2PM and they assigned me to a newly cleaned handicap accessible room.  I had not asked for that, but when they have a single traveler and no handicap reservations, they assign it because it only has a double bed.
That was a lucky break.  It was in perfect shape and very clean as well as being larger than the other rooms.  Also it was on the first floor.  I'll have to remember that option.

The woman at the desk was very helpful.  She arranged to cancel housekeeping.  I could not communicate that to the Chinese maid, but  I did not want to be disturbed the next morning. 

There was a good sized refrigerator with a decent freezer.  It had a soda can caddy in the door.  I like that.  My drink of the trip was cans of Canada Dry seltzer and they packed easily.  I also could store my cheeses and fruit which I brought for snack and breakfast.
The bed was in great shape and very comfortable.  Electrical outlets were handy and there was a fine desk.  I had not brought my computer this trip, but another time I might.
The small flat screen television had a fine array of stations including Turner Classic movies.  Eating a breakfast of cheese and fruit and peanut butter crackers while watching a good movie with no commercials is much better than being solo in some local eatery.  And cheaper and more on my diet as well.
Super 8 provides a very skimpy breakfast with most of it much too full of carbs for me.  Also, as it turned out, I ate most of my indoor meals well beyond breakfast time.
There was a coffee pot that made a couple cups, but the coffee turned out weak.   Next time I'll make just one cup. 
It was clean, but I read about folks worrying that the coffee makers are not clean.  I think next road trip I'll bring a small bottle of vinegar and run that through a couple times, rinse a couple, and then make the coffee.  I'll also bring my own coffee filters and my own blend of ground coffee to this place.  The small maker would have accommodated that.
I've read some discussion on coffee makers.  Many people just could not understand not just going out for coffee in the morning, but I enjoy being lazy and having a bit of breakfast before my shower, lounging in sleeping clothes, not putting on sneakers.  If I get coffee from the provided breakfast area, I just use slippers and don't get all cleaned up for the day.
Sunday morning I had a bite of breakfast before bed because I played 1-1 poker until 3 AM and then had to play Video poker for a couple hours to get the Courvoisier out of my system before driving back.  It had been a grand party table and I'd had quite a few cognacs.  I love playing these games with lots of talk and drink.  It is like being around a friendly bar, and it helps me toss the bad hands and not get bored. 
So I arrived back  at the hotel at 6 AM and grabbed a bit of free breakfast on my way to bed.

I also love the drive from this hotel  to Mohegan and back.  I put the GPS on "no highways" and eliminate almost all the traffic, adding just a couple minutes to the trip.  To Foxwoods it is a bit more a wind through city streets, but Mohegan is a straight shot from the hotel for most of the trip.  Coming home in the dark, late at night there are no cars.  It is ideal.

MOHEGAN 1-1

The 1-1 NL can be a very different game, depending upon the other players, and there is rarely more than one table.  I often wait for a seat, join a table, and leave in a short while.   This one was full of people out for a good time and not the mixture of the boring taciturn or serious, arrogant grumps that often dominate the no limit games.
There was good banter and plenty of laughter.
I lost a bit at the beginning, but then started to get lucky and collected quite a few pots.  Some I should never have entered.
The most outrageous was when I held 9-6 of diamonds (son Peter's favorite hand)  and the flop came two diamonds and a six.  I made a small bet, had a couple callers, and then a fellow tossed over $50 all-in.  He held the A-K of diamonds, but I put him on trying to force us off the diamonds and decided to make that  bad call.  When one guy after me called, I thought I was certainly done.
However, as it turned out the caller was on a straight draw, no diamonds came, and my pair of sixes took the huge pot to the laughter of everyone.  The guy with A-K was still telling that story the next day.
It was a good hand to play because it set me up with a table image of playing bad cards and certainly captured callers when I bet good cards.  I got well into the talk and banter, so it was easy to toss cards.  Getting a bit drunk also helped my table image.  I actually played pretty tight, but that was a bit invisible in the confusion of talk and story and banter.
On one side of me was a fellow born in Poland and on the other a fellow born in Galway, Ireland, so I managed to pull out some of what they had experienced although no good tips for traveling. 
A young fellow directly across from me was astounded when I talked about recently buying a new boom box and beginning to recollect cassettes at a dollar for a bag of 16 in Florida.  It was all too laughably retro for him.  In fact, at first he did not believe me.
He wanted to know if I wanted a tube TV as he has one to get rid of, so I told him the story of getting two such televisions 40 years ago, both broken, and switching tubes so the kids could watch our first color television.  It wasn't perfect, as my son Peter reminds me. 
He grew up thinking Smurfs were green. 
However, in those days we had very little money and it seemed a great find and a fine alternative to a rather small black and white screen.
I told about the concert and no one really knew the music of the Golden Boys.  However, in music talk someone knew who Jack Teagarten was when I mentioned I had listened to him most of the way from home. That really surprised me.
A tall and gracefully attractive Black woman sat behind her man and eventually we managed to draw her in the conversation.  So it was a grand party. 
I so much enjoy the party, more than the poker, but leaving at 3 am with a few hundred profit was very nice as well.
The video poker took $150 away from me.  I can't seem to win lately.  It is JOB full pay.  But it sobered me up for the drive to the hotel. 

SUNDAY

I slept a few hours, but not really long enough to be rested. 
I had brunch in the room and watched a movie, but did not feel sleepy.  I had a dilemma because at 7 PM I was to see a free concert of old singers.  I get so tired lately, and I knew that I would not be chipper at 7 and I did not relish a nap.
As it turned out I was in my seat a full forty minutes before the show and had a bit of a nap there.
I went in and played a bit more poker.  It was not memorable.
I stood in the longest line I ever remember since the military to get the free tickets I had reserved.  However, they processed everyone quickly. 
I took my $10 in comps and ate at the buffet. 

THE BUFFETS

I was hesitant at eating there because on my last visit I found the food dry and unimaginative.  However, this Sunday meal was very tasty, and now I'd go again. 
I ate sliced turkey, meatballs in sauce, shrimp, fruit, shrimp, lobster bisque and the sugar free cheesecake.  I did not have room for the chicken and biscuits.  It was all good, except the cod.  Foxwoods has such great codfish, but what they called "loin of cod" here at Mohegas was overcooked and dry.

FOXWOODS

On Monday I ate at the Foxwoods buffet around 4 PM.  I could really tell the difference.  A most decadent bit there was the pork belly with that crispy coating.  It is much too fatty.  I loved it.
I liked the pulled pork in the BBQ section, so much of my meal was pork. 
And the cod was crisp on the outside and perfect on the inside.  It is one of my favorites there.
There too were a selection of sugarfree desserts.

My old neighbor and poker buddy, Ron,  happened to hit Foxwoods at noon on Monday just as I arrived.  We went to supper at the buffet and caught up on our lives.  It had been a while since I'd seen him.  Some fine stories.
It was just luck to see Ron.  I had not intended to play but planned rather to take a tour of Weathersfield which I had missed on my last trip due to rain.  This Monday when I woke up refreshed, it was pouring again, so I went for some 4-8 limit action before heading home.  I'm liking that game more and more. 
I remember getting pocket kings and having a king flop.  I checked.  On the river the flopped five paired.  I checked again, hoping that the case King might come on the river for $500.  No luck.  I bet after the river, a guy raised, I reraised and took the pot with the larger full house.

If this 4-8 limit is this good on a Monday, perhaps I had better play more at Foxwoods than Mohegan. 
Poker players earn free rooms. 
I used to get offers and buddy Ron gets offers for just poker.  It would make sense for me to stay and play there.  The room is big and there were 2-4 games as well and a fine high hand promotion of $500 and $1000 every 15 minutes.  This promotion is not everyday, but if it is other Mondays, it makes for a full and easy room.  I made $155 profit there and combined with the 1-1 play ended my trip $376 ahead in spite of a rather poor showing on the video poker.
I'm not sure how often I'll go to Connecticut in the future.  By next spring we will have a casino with poker room right in Schenectady with no need to rent a room.  That might change my gaming.

THE GOLDEN BOYS

I enjoyed this concert, enjoyed seeing these old guys.  Only Fabian was changed so much that no one would recognize him.  Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydel were simply an aged version of their younger selves.
Rydell has a new kidney and new liver.  He made a pitch for organ doners.
They put on a good show with plenty of music and talk and old clips.  Their Rat Pack like stage banter was pretty corny, but I enjoyed the corn.
They did a selection of their most famous hits.  They did other period music.  They added in tributes to Elvis and Rickie Nelson, Bill Haley and Bobby Darin.  They thanked Dean Martin but said nothing of Sinatra, or Buddy Holly.
The band that backed them up demonstrated how easily early rock and roll evolved out the big band sound.  Frankie's son played drums. Don Everly's son played guitar, and so he and Frankie did a few Everly Brothers songs.  Edan has a very similar voice as his dad.
I first started listening to this music in 1958 an 59 and much of what was played as introduction and by the Golden Boys was of those early years. 
It is ironic that in telling my friends I was going to see these Golden Boys I could not seem to remember all three, but I could remember all the words to all the songs.  Some were very easy like
"Ooh, eeh, ooh, ah, ah, ting, tang, walla, walla, bing, bang"
but others required some metal acuity.

No wonder I want to go back to boom boxes and cassettes.
And yes, I still have some 45's and a machine to play them on.










Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Gregg's Game

Today was the first poker game since Gregg died. 
He wanted the game to continue. 
We did.  We drank a toast of expensive scotch to his memory and talked to him often as we played.
Jim brought the scotch.  Oban
https://www.discovering-distilleries.com/oban/

If he is in a place where he can listen, I'm certain he was amused.
Two beautiful sprays of flowers were in the room from the funeral.  Otherwise, it seemed the same.  The art was still on the walls. 
So sad.
Players were:  Ezzy, Pat, Gail, Greg Gorka, Jim, Peter, Charlie, and me.

It was the first time that Gail and Pat had played together.   Gregg Millet would have liked that.

I lost $25.  Peter bought in for $70 and then started to hit.  One huge all-in with Greg Gorka transferred a bunch of chips.  Gorka's KK lost to Peter's drawn straight on the river, and also I doubled up by drawing to a flush on the river.  It was the biggest hand of the day.

Peter ended with a $91 profit.

We started to talk about a Memorial game, but made no solid plans as yet.

Plenty of talk about Vegas.  I'll have to send out some information.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun

I've been caring for Elizabeth as she recovers from a knee replacement.  She is pretty independent now, but not yet able to drive. 
Son Dana came up last weekend to give me an overnight break, and I went off to gamble in Connecticut.
Prices for hotels were very high.  Even Groton wanted over $100 for the night I had to book.  I ended up for $68 (taxes and everything) in Wethersfield, 46 minutes from Mohegan Sun. 
It seems like a long drive, but I really enjoyed it, even at one in the morning.  The road was deserted and cut through forest, so there was not a lot of merging.  I could plug in a bit of old radio classics and the time just zipped by.

I started my day at Foxwoods on a wonderful 4-8 table.  I never was below my buy in.  I went up, went down to almost even and then went up again to $172 profit. 
All the folks were pretty easy to play against. 
One NL player joined us and whined and complained and even strutted a bit while he whined.  He played an aggressive game, betting on almost nothing.  The only time he beat me was when he caught an Ace on the river that topped my kings.  One other time he did not bet on the river.  I had waited for him because I had Jacks full.  Probably there was no way to make any money on the street.
I hated him.
I told him that he was too much like Donald Trump.
He played with his tongue in his cheek and blamed the dealer when his pocket queens did not win against a flopped Ace, leaving his chair and yelling at her as he strutted about.  What an idiot!
He was a real braggart and a poor player.

The rest of the fellows were fine.  I was perhaps too talkative for them, but they respected my play.  I was very comfortable.  A regular named Bob was there, an old guy who is friendly by not talkative.

I left and drove to Wethersfield and checked in my room.  I was upgraded actually to a room on the first floor for no extra charge.  Full refrigerator, large king bed, microwave, but a grainy TV and no coffee maker.  Directly across the street was a Hooter's, but I had enough food with me for the first day, along with a tuna sub I brought and ate at Foxwoods.

Then I went to Mohegan to play the 1-1.  It was a great disappointment.  It took me a long while to get a seat, and then I hated the table.  They were all good players and not the sort of easy players a 1-1 will often attract.  I left soon after down a few dollars. 

I spent the rest of the night getting drained at a 2-4.  it was a fine game.  I just did not get winning cards.  Finally, I left, having played away almost all my profit.

I played a nice 9/6 JOB in the Hall of Tribes, losing $25 for a grand trip loss of $21.  Four rums balanced out those losses.  However, I would have liked to come out ahead.

Foxwoods had not had a high hand every half hour promotion.  Perhaps that explains the easier players there.  The regular rocks would probably be attracted to Mohegan where that promotion was offered and that would explain the crowds and the better players at the 1-1.  It is hard to know sometimes whether to chase promotions in poker or avoid them.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hartford: Bushnell Park and Mark Twain's house

I was tired getting up on my second day and decided not to try gambling again, but to see something.  I had many destinations from my hotel in Westerfields (46 minutes from Mohegan Sun.)  However, it was really raining, and I was up and out by 7 AM, so I decided to have breakfast and head out to the Twain house because it opened at 9:30 while the Westerfield museums did not open open until 11 on Sunday, and the interesting graveyard seemed not so interesting in the rain.

I tried the Rooster Company
http://www.roostercompany.net/

but they did not do breakfast.

So, I went about a mile away to Sophie's
https://www.bing.com/mapspreview?&ty=18&q=Sophia%27s%20Breakfast%20Lunch%20Newington%20CT&ss=ypid.YN155x2948377&ppois=41.6967010498047_-72.7205123901367_Sophia%27s%20Breakfast%20Lunch_YN155x2948377~&cp=41.696701~-72.720512&v=2&sV=1

and that proved a great choice.
Sophie's is a one woman operation with a few tables.  She is a fairly large woman probably in her 60's and she wears the old fashioned kitchen aprons our mothers wore.  She cooks as things are ordered, and she let me order the pierogi special even for breakfast.
I don't eat pierogi on the low card diet, but one choice was one filled with sauerkraut and mushroom.  The shell is very, very thin, so I thought it would not add too much to my carbs that day.  I had mine fried.  Yes, she does make them herself and they were fantastic.  7 pierogi cost $8.50.
Coffee came in a large cup and was delicious.  Perhaps a refill would be free;  I don't know because I did not need more.
I'll be back there again.

From there I tried to go to the ancient burial ground in Hartford.
http://theancientburyingground.org/
However, it was chained up.  There was lots of construction and road closings.  Parking was all paid parking.  I did find a place where other cards were parked near the downtown park, but I was nervous about being towed.
I walked in the Bushnell park and took photographs of the Soldiers and Sailors arch and of the carousel.  I was too early for a ride.
http://www.bushnellpark.org/attractions/soldiers-sailors-memorial-arch


























Then I went off to the Mark Twain house.


MARK TWAIN HOUSE HARTFORD CONNECTICUTT

The Mark Twain house is located on the same grounds as the Harriet Beecher Stowe house.  I know I have been there before, but I did not remember anything much.  It may be that we did not take the tour.  I hope so.  This loss of memory is very disturbing. 
Well, it makes me more appreciate the blogs.

There are some exhibits in the welcoming center.  They are interesting and worth seeing.  It is the one area where we can take photographs.  Here is Mark Twain in leggos.



To see the interior of the house itself we need to pay for a tour.  $16 for seniuors.  There is a good deal to then go to Harriet Beecher Stowe's house with $3 off that ticket.  However, I was tiring.  Another house may have been too much.
It was a fine tour.  We had a young woman who knew a good bit about Twain.  She took us to each room and talked her talk.  The next tour was right on our tail.  That was a bit disconcerting.  However, in no case was there going to be any lingering allowed, so it really did not make much difference.  I did hear enough of the other tour to see that they were not duplicates on one another and it would be worth going again and getting a different tour guide.

We opened in the foyer to an intricate inlayed wall and ceiling, more detailed than anything I've seen and quite delightful.  In the gas light Twain would have used, there would be a flickering that would even more enhance the affect of all the shapes and colors.
The stairs were constructed to make  it appear that the house was higher than it seems.  That was also delightful.  Utility was considered, but primarily ornate display was the theme of the place.  So it was not only a look into Twain and his wife Olivia, but also into 19th Century style.
The bifold doors were especially delightful.  They too were thick and full decorated.  The bifold construction allowed for a large door to open and not so restrict space in the adjoining room.
From there we went into a room with a fireplace that had a diverted chimney so that directly above the fireplace mantel was a huge picture window.  It was a fine design.  Here are on the walls was a painting of hollyhocks with a humming bird and assorted sea shells.
Of course, not everything was exactly what it would have been, but I did ask if Olivia would have had such a clutter of objects and was told that she would.
The dining room was next.  Twain would have used it for dinner parties 5 nights a week.  He would try out his material on the guests.  If they all bored him, he might leave them to Olivia and walk out to read a book in the next room.

There was a library room with an attached arbor.  He would sit in an adult chair and the children in little rockers.  He would read to them.  In this room was a huge mantle from Scotland.  It was so big that the top part of it would not fit the room, so they had it removed and mounted above a door.  It was some unknown coat of arms.  It had been thought to have been lost in a fire at another house, but a visitor to this house recognized it as something in his grandfather's garage and subsequently gave it to the Twain museum  That was fortuitous.  This ornate piece was one that Twain bought and had shipped back from Scotland.
There were shelves of books.  When I asked how authentic they were as representative of Twain's library, the guide explained that there was a library historian who had assembled lists of the books Twain read and liked and then built the library collection to reflect the results of her research.  The bookshelves were built to match the Scottish piece.
Olivia had her own library/sewing room.
In their bedroom was an ornately carved wooden bed with angels.  Twain actually slept backwards so he could see the headboard of angels.  Most photographs of him in bed are from this bed.  He had a gas line that went from the overhead gas lamp directly to a light for reading in bed.  He smoked in bed.  This was very unsafe.
The cherubs on the headboard were removable and the children named them and took they to play with during the day, like little wooden dolls.
The Langdon grandmother had her own room upstairs as did the girls.
Clara's room had a piano. She had seen a woman play in public once and asked if girls were allowed to play in public.  He bought her a piano to prepare.  In this room was a speaking tube.  There were a few scattered around the house.  Clara learned that if she stood on a stool, she could speak into it and get almost anything she wanted.
Sophie loved horses and the carriage house was depicted in her room along with some horses. 
The wallpaper reflected the "Frog Went a Courtin'" folksong, but the dark version, in which the frog and his loved mouse are eaten by wedding guests.
George Griffin has his own guest room not far from the billard room.  He did all sorts of supporting things for Twain. 
The billiards room was just as I have seen it in photographs, or perhaps I do remember that one.  In that room Twain would meet friends and tell tall tales of the wild West.  There was a depiction of cues crossed on the ceiling.
At one time in my life I wanted such a room.  We thought about making one here at the lake, upstairs, when the boys were younger and might have played.  I should get a folding table and put it up in the garage in the good weather.  Perhaps I will.  I loved pool as a boy.  My dad bought a table for $10 and balls for $25 and we played often in the basement.

I had not known that the manuscript of Huck Finn had spent 8 years in a cubby before it was printed and released.  Odd that there was so much doubt about such an important work of fiction, one that changed the American novel forever.

In the bookstore on the way out I saw scores of books I don't own on Twain, some that I have never seen.  The most interesting was peripheral to Twain, it was a memoir of Hal Holbrook, who does a grand impersonation of Twain in lecture mode and has now for many decades.
https://www.amazon.com/Harold-Boy-Became-Mark-Twain/dp/0374533598




Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mohegan Sun

My wife Elizabeth is having a knee replacement, so for 6 months I'll be staying close to home and nursing her back to her dancing self.
That was a catalyst for a trip to Mohegan Sun.
At first I scheduled two nights, but there was a death of a close friend's grandson and a Memorial service, so I went down to just one night with the idea of getting home the day of the Memorial Service.
Booking was just terrible.  Everything around Mohegan was booked up and expensive.  Even Groton was booked up at first.  I booked in Wethersfield, 40 minutes away, but gradually I rebooked.  I love booking.com for such flexibility.  I must have rebooked almost a dozen times, changing out seedy places for better spots, and finally booking at the Hilltop Express in Groton when rooms became available for a brief time.  Total cost was $82 and it was not luxury, but there had been no bed bug reports and the negative reviews were all things that would not matter to me.  I'd go there again if I could get the price down. 
A few days after I booked, the price was up to $100 plus tax.



I left at about 5 AM and got to the casino before the poker tables were running. My trip down I used two GPS and they did not agree, so at times I got confused.  Also, I needed more bathroom breaks than the route allowed.  It took me a while to get to the Mohegan Sun where I played poker for a while. I never got to play my loved 1-1 game, just 2-4 and sometimes with local rocks.  And grumblers.
I found the JOB 9-6 games in the Hall of Tribes.  Nice.  I lost.  Had I hit one quad, I would have come out more  ahead for the trip. 
I played for the afternoon  at a 2-4 of mixed players, but no loose idiots; I came away $50 ahead.

I checked into the hotel at about 3 PM and made myself a fine meal and watching a few Andy of Mayberry shorts.
Positives were:  Turner Classic movies on the TV.  Free and very easy wifi.  a refrigerator and microwave.  A coffee maker that would take my own coffee and filter.  Easy folks at the desk. A short walk up stairs to the nonsmoking rooms.  Quiet.  Good sun blockage for napping.  Beds were comfortable.  Pillows were fine. Easy parking.  Good and easy drive to Mohegan using GPS with highways off.  Right up route 12.  Refrigerator freezer held my small ice bags.
Negatives were: a running toilet that would not plug except by hand (I just left the top off the tank)  no coffee provided.  Somethings might be a bit cleaner.  The AC took a long while to affect the room temperature.  Refrigerator freezer needed to be defrosted.

Solo and with dietary restrictions and with always too much food in our home refrigerator, rather than eat out,  I tend now to take what I need in food, take a plate for the microwave, take a nice knife and fork, cold seltzer, and a couple real cups for coffee or tea.  I had romaine lettuce covered with a bluegill fish salad that I made myself after my last fishing.  I had four left over chicken wings microwaved on the plate I brought.  I ate some sugar free chocolate, but I think those are affecting my sugar just the same.

Then I went to bed.

I slept until 9:30PM  and awoke refreshed and ready for good, late night 2-4 poker.

When I got to Mohegan, I was given a seat with all local regulars.  Grumpy rocks.  I thought I'd never hear the end of it when I called a raise into my big blind with only 3-9 of heart, flopped two hearts, and took the guy out on the river.  He did that rude grumble thing where he talked to the guy next to him about my loose play, knowing I'd hear it.  Very immature.

I saw the other table was full of younger people and no faces I knew as regulars.  So I got a table change.  That was a grand idea.  Immediately the tone of the game changed.  These folks were talkers and full of fun.  Their poker was okay to very loose.  I played until almost 6 AM, losing at first with a run of second best cards, often on the river,  and then getting it back for another profit of $54. 
But it was great fun.
By the early morning the table was full of African Americans and Spanish Americans and Portuguese Americans and one drunk guy from Texas and there were women in the mix.  It was delightful.  Jokes were flying.  Characters were all over.  One woman came just to watch with her father and livened the entire place up with he banter, driving one dealer nuts, but delighting most of us and most of the other dealers.  It was the most fun I've had in a long while.
I play 2-4 much better with plenty of distraction and a few drinks.  I had three Makers Mark boubons, generously poured and felt them. 

And this is the difference between Mohegan Sun and Turning Stone.  At Turning Stone the 2-4 limit games break down and dissolve about 10 PM.  There is not all night party there.

One woman came in her wheel chair and told us the story of a young guy stealing it on her in the casino, and her friend giving chase.  It was very funny.  There was plenty of talk of movies.  I had just seen Jane Russell in The French Line  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cl-r2mHPf4 and I talked to the Texas guy about the movie, and oil and a great character named Waco. 
One guy told this joke:
A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar.
The bartender says, "What is this, a joke?" 

I left when the players got below the high hand award numbers even though with only 4 players they lowered the rake to a single dollar.  I knew these guys knew how I played, and it was time to cash out.  Although the lose guy was still there.  He was lose aggressive and he just bet and raised every hand, managing to steal most of the pots until folks caught on.  I took money from him by not betting.  He folded if anyone showed any strength.  Then on the river, I'd check raise. 
He dipped in his pocket often. Then he started to win and was up to over $200 on a $20 buy in.  And then he started to lose. 

I played off my winnings on video poker and left just $3 ahead for the trip.  $2 I won with 10 spins of Megabucks.  I never play lotteries but often do ten spins and then quit.  That gives me the opportunity to have the fantasy between trips that I hit and become independently wealthy.

Then I went back and packed up and started the 3 hour drive home.  Part what I was too tired and pulled into a nice parking lot by a Stop and Shop with shaded parking far from anyone.  I slept easy for perhaps an hour.  Then I drove home with no difficulty.

It was a good trip, but I missed a good bit of what I hoped to do.  I wanted to see the ocean and the lighthouse in Groton.  But what happened worked just great.  So, I'm ready to be nurse to Elizabeth. 
Already today I built a block to go under the front legs of her recliner so here feet will be above her heart.    I used two 4 by 4's and cut and chiseled a place for the front legs to sit into them so there is no danger of slippage.   It was ugly but I found some old cedar paneling I picked up somewhere a few years ago,  and so I prettied it all up a bit.    A good job done.  She likes it so much she may just leave it there.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Turning Stone













SUNDAY NIGHT

Turning Stone sent me two free nights in the good rooms right in the casino hotel.  They are nice. 
I like the real glasses and real ceramic cups.  Those paper cups don't work right in my hand.  I squeeze to tightly.  I carry a ceramic cup, but it is nicer to have them there.
It seemed to take me forever to get out of the house and on the road.  Things kept popping up that needed doing.  As I was leaving, the neighbor offered me some free firewood and so I took a wheel barrow full down to my firepit.  It all took time.
I was thinking about stopping at Arkell Museum in Canajoharie  on the way down, but left too late.  Perhaps I'll stop on the way home on Tuesday. Albany library offers a free pass on my library card, but the library does not open until one PM on Sundays, so it was impractical for this trip.

I thought my play was okay, but my chips just drained away.  I played for a few hours, losing just $27, then checked in the hotel.
Free valet parking is part of the deal, but I like to self park.
I parked far from the check-in where I usually park when I come.  I decided to walk to get my luggage and roll it back.  It was a bit of a walk and with the luggage a  bit of a chore, but the doctor wants me to walk twenty minutes and so this was it. I would not get much exercise at the poker table.  There was a thunderstorm threatening and I had some worries of arriving drenched, but I beat it.  That felt like gambling too and I had a great time doing it.  On my back was strapped my computer and my sleep apnea machine, so I walked with weight and towed my suitcase and a bag of assorted food.  In my free hand I carried the distilled water that I use in the sleep apnea machine.   Perhaps it was only fifteen minutes of walking, but it should count for the day.
After I checked in, I ate at the buffet. 
The buffet was just great.  It cost $20 and was well worth the price, especially since I love fish.  They had a crusted Halibut and a rolled and stuffed scrod and both were just done perfectly. The scrod was not stuffed with a heavily breaded mixture, but with some other seafood.  If I came again, I might just make a meal on that.   There was more, crawfish and mussels and shrimp, but I could not eat everything. I did eat one shrimp dish with vegetables from the Asian section.
I skipped the meats except for the fried chicken, but this was below par.  I'm spoiled with so much time in the South where fried chicken tastes great.  I had some taco ground beef mixed with peppers and onions that came with sausage and some hot sauce.
 They had a "no sugar added" apple pie. 
The coffee was good.  I should have had a rum and diet coke, using the rum in my hip flask, but I just had iced tea.  I'm rather dull.
I went off the diet and put a dab of chocolate iced cream on the pie and took a very tiny pecan bit, skipping the carb shell but enjoying just that small bite of richness inside. 
The hot dogs looked very appealing, various kinds all done on a grill with rollers. 
Beef was there and ham and British pudding. 
There was plenty of fruit and salads and olives and pepperoncini. 
Having just eaten the buffet at Mohegan Sun last week, I noticed the difference in food quality.  Everything at Mohegan tasted dry and overcooked.  It never used to seem that way to me.

I could have saved my buffet money and eaten at the poker room.  They had meat balls, bread, and salad free for all the players.  This was prompted by the East Coast poker tournament that ended this Sunday.  That also caused the high hand award promo to be given.

After the buffet, I then played again until ten when the game was just too tight for any real winnings.

They had a wonderful high hand award each half hour of $200, but I never even got on the board.  Some at my table won.  One fellow won for the first time in 5 years of constant poker.  This is a great promotion, but they don't have it every day.
I liked most of the players and most of the dealers.  We got a very inexperienced dealer named April who really made mistakes reading the hands, but she was sweet and cute and trying very hard. However, she needs better training.  Later I actually left the table and took a walk around because dealer Shannon was so inattentive and inept.  She drove me crazy. 

The rest of the dealers were full of fun and were focused on the game.

I check raised a few times.  It was on a table where people bet into weakness.  I was called and won.  In one case the poor fellow thought there was a flush on the board, but I had the nut straight.  He called my check raise, thinking he had a flush.
There was a good bit of joking, and all sorts of players in the afternoon and evening, but as I have noticed when I have stayed other times, late evening leaves just experienced regulars and small pots.

I played some low paytable Double Triple VP and lost on that as well.  I just wanted to play some VP and when I have to play low paytables, I sometimes play high volatility and hope to hit quads and quit.  Nothing.

I watched some craps, some roulette, and the big wheel.  There were plenty of young people around these games and some pretty girls.  I had a fine time watching the action, making mental bets and rooting for the players I liked.  One craps shooter had a good run.  He was not dice setting.  He was dice launching.  The cubes flew up so high that I was amazed they landed on the table.

Back in the room I opened my wine while I wrote this report.  It is a cheap bottle of Tisdale Pinot Noir, but I find it just as good as any red I drink.  I don't know why it sells so cheaply.  The local liquor store at home has it for $4 a bottle.  I did not have my aerator and still it goes down very easy with so sourness.  I brought along a thermos of coffee laced with just a tiny bit of crème de menthe, tuvia and cinnamon.  It was warm enough the first day.  the second day I make their coffee and added just a bit of mine for the flavors.  I do miss having a microwave in these rooms. 

The bad beat is up to a ridiculous amount that would give each member of the table 17 grand if it were hit.  Quad sevens have to be beat.  Players qualify as long as they have not missed any blinds.  So we could go to the bathroom and still be in the split.  How crazy would it be to tell friends that I won 17 grand on a hand that I was not dealt? 

The changes at Turning Stone make it a better destination on some days.  However, I find in general the players are tight and the pots small, especially at certain times.  It is too expensive for a day trip although many of my weekly poker buddies drive up for tournaments.

It is very quiet here in the room. That is an improvement over Vegas, especially downtown.  I did not ask for a view. In the daytime it is pretty awful looking out, mostly rooves, a little deserted courtyard.


After dark the view is fine, skylights show up as rectangular lights, there are some neon in various places, the little courtyard looks like a deserted courtyard at night, much nicer.  The wifi is free with no password and works great. It does not need to be rebooted.  It is the easiest hotel wifi I have encountered.

At the end of the first day, I am down $276.

MONDAY

I could not get to sleep last night, but finally I did and then I slept fine until after 6 AM.  No terrible dreams.  A few were disturbing. 
I went down to the breakfast buffet and liked everything except the not crispy bacon and watery sausage gravy.  They made a good omelet.  I had some tasty canned peaches and pears.  These are rare for me as I don't buy them.  The coffee was good as was the grapefruit juice.  Breakfast was not well attended. It was not spectacular, but it was good and for me it cost $5.
From there I went to the pool where I stayed about two hours. 

The pool is clean and clear and heated nicely.   The hot tub was perfect as well.  Of course, I would like a pool that puts up artistically formed bluegills and black bass for decoration.






I met Glenn from Nova Scotia.  He was a grand story teller and we talked a long while about places to travel and our families and jobs.  He had build scaffolds for many years and then one day just quit because the work was crazy, long hours and grueling conditions with guys committing suicide.  He lived in Seattle for a while, but he loves Cornwallis,  Nova Scotia for the golf and the absence of guns.  He told about once being in an Arizona  Starbucks when fifteen folks came in all carrying.  He got our quickly.  He is 58 and hopes to have 12 years to do the more difficult traveling.  After 70 he may settle down.  He and his wife Kathy are looking at Scotland or Southern France.  Golf often plays a role in where he looks.  I liked him.  Quite a spirited character.  We talked Vegas a bit.

VERONA STATE PARK








I then went to Verona State Park and walked along Oneida Lake.  The smell of the water was great.  There is a long walkway there.  I'd say it was a boardwalk, only it is made of concrete, but there is a wooden railing along side the walkway and then just a few feet of rocks and driftwood to the water.



There were a few campers in the park and some folks from someplace where workers wore green shirts having a grand picnic, mostly young people. 
At each end of the walkway I found a way to bet right down to the water.  At the South end I followed the trail the workers use to take trees out and dump them.  I found a worn piece of driftwood that worked as a walking stick and took it. At the North end I found a place to sit on a slice of tree in the sand



and watch these amazing hooded gulls flitting about a tree trunk set in the sand of the lake about 30 feet from shore.




They called in squawks I had not heard before, and I watched them for quite a while.





There I picked up another tiny piece of wood that perhaps I'll form into a card protector.
There was a good bit of wood all along the shoreline, large dead tree trucks and roots in interesting patterns.  I liked that.








There was a fine swimming area for summer, all roped and with a sandy beach and bottom. 



I was back in time to play 2-4 poker and I hit one high hand, flopping Aces full of sixes.  It held up  There were very few players in the room, so the odds of hitting and keeping the high hand were increased.
They forgot to put me on their board, and part way through the hour I heard them yell "high hand" at another table.
I was so disappointed. 
Then I heard the dealer say, "Aces full of fours."
I
turned around and yelled, "Hey, I had Aces full of sixes earlier" and saw the puzzled looks of the crew on the desk, but the dealer of my high hand hand was at the counter and confirmed the hand.  So they took care of me. 
No one apologized. 
I saw other instances of mismanagement with players being dropped but thinking they were given seats and all the  resulting confusion.  I want the floor to be more personal, especially the main fellow who rarely smiles and is very perfunct.  I want the girl to be more efficient and accurate.

The high hands and associated wins  helped me get some  of my losses back.
I really had a tough session, losing to many rivers, having Aces cracked, once when I had three of them and a guy drew an inside straight on the river.  That is frustrating.  In the 1-1 game at Mohegan I could have pushed him off his cards with a healthy turn bet.


 Later I would play some penny slots and some 8-5 JOB, breaking even on those.  I played $20 in the JOB and lost it, put in another $20 and got back up to even.  I did not play long, but because my good hands were full houses and a flush or two, I figured that I had been short paid $10.  Hard to believe with just a very short session of play the low pay tables would make that much difference.
I found a penny slot I liked called Swordsman.  Others I tried at a penny bet on one line did not ever win, so I moved after a dime.  This one hit and I played a dime, ten lines for a penny each.  I hit well, even had the fun of a free spin bonus and enjoyed the game.  After a while I quit even for my $5 risk but ahead on that game about twenty cents.  As you can tell, I am not an aggressive slot player.  I get that it is enjoyment and I want mine at a low cost over time.  Board friend Pluto inspires such play.

MUSIC

One good aspect of Turning Stone was that I was seldom  annoyed by the music.  At times it was interesting old rock and roll from back in my youth, Chubby Checker Twist songs and others.  The pool music early in the morning was this sort as well, but as I was leaving it seemed to get more into rock in later decades.  Here in the room I listen to the Jonathan Schwartz Channel  ?? even while I sleep.  Last night it kept cutting out so I put on some Jim Reeves. 

Nice to have the computer along to write in the early mornings and keep up with MyVegas chip collections. 
I almost did not.  For some reason it shut me down and installed Windows 10 although I have  not to my knowledge said yes to those invitations.  All of a sudden it just shut me down and took an hour or so to load, some of it with me answering questions that took a few minutes to register.  Everything is different.  Many of you know I hate change more and more as I age and I keep returning to my younger times, to listening to albums and cassettes, to casinos in Vegas that have not changed much.  So it took a while.  One good thing is my wife had recorded all my major passwords so I could get in my major sites.  At first I could not nothing because I needed somewhere to sent password changes.  Well, it goes along.  It took me a while to figure out how to use the Favorites Bar, but I have done that and I like this system better than the old.  It might be a bit faster.  They automatically took out the old virus protection and put in some other one. I still can't remember the new stuff, even how to shut down.  I guess I better write it down somewhere.  Anyway, I've used some sleepless time to play around and organize things.
Another good thing is that the new system works better on retrieving photographs.



From poker I went to the Savoy Restaurant in Rome and had way too much food. 
http://www.romesavoy.com/


The next morning it spiked my sugar a bit.  I had to have the garlic bread, especially soaked in the juice from the clams. 
 This is one of my favorite restaurants.  It is old school Italian with tables covered in old fashioned linen and a room decorated with hundreds of pictures and banners and all sorts of framed bits.  I sat at the  Alex Haley table under a painting and a photograph of the writer as well as two letters, one in his handwriting.   It was like eating in a museum. 
I ate clams Bianca and Chicken Sinatra.  Too much food.  All very good.  The Sinatra chicken came with their version of a local dish, Utica Greens. Very tasty but I could not finish all of it and I could not take it home.

LAST DAY

Tuesday, my last day, I woke up very early and very tired.  Even the coffee did not get me going.  It seemed forever until the pool would open.

I planned on a morning swim,  brunch at the state park, and then a visit to the Arkell museum.
I woke up over tired and too early. 
I had plenty of time to pack up and even tried a last minute nap for an hour before I went swimming.  No real sleep.

No interesting conversations at the pool.  It was all mine.
There were two workmen but they did not engage me.
I am curious about the rule in almost all pools that we can't swim alone.  I am often alone as I start early in the morning.  There are using maintenance about testing water or arranging something.  I never get asked to leave.  I'm guessing the rule is just to satisfy insurance.  Were I to drown, my family could not sue because the rule was clear.  I am happy that they don't toss me out.

The music this second swim was a bit more modern.  But I enjoyed the pool and hot tub for an hour.

I packed up my things and prepared for my morning exercise walk to the parking pot strapped with luggage. 
I had half a bottle of red wine left and did not want it for breakfast.  I wanted to take it with me to the Verona State Park but I no they have a rule against alcohol.  I rinsed out the coffee thermos I had brought from home and put in the wine. 

The hike to my car was good exercise again.

The Verona State Park was completely different this day than it had been the last.  It was a windy day and the wind off the water was so cold, that I walked back to my car for my windbreaker jacket. 
I had the park to myself except for one couple on a bench far, far away.  I still had the watermelon, strawberries, peanut butter, light carb crackers and can of smoke oysters that I had brought from home.  It made a great brunch, and the wine went very well with the oysters.  I thought perhaps I might review the wine. 
"A delicate fruity ambiance with just a hint of coffee,"   but actually I could not taste any coffee at all.

I was still thinking the Arkell Museum, but I did feel a bit sleepy for art.  Then the GPS set tot ake me to the Arkell,  took me right back to the casino, so I decided to play poker for a while.   That "while" ended up being 7 hours later at 8 PM. 
The first table as expected was full of rocks and the pots were small.  I bet any time I hit the flop in late position and often everyone folded.  The fellow to my right was a good player.  He called me on one of those bets and scornfully announced my playing strategy. 
One hand I played K-9 and the flop came K-9-3.  I did not raise because I thought I'd easily take the pot right away at this table.  It turned out that one player had pocket 3's and had me beat from the flop. 
My neighbor's reactions was not, "Oh, too bad your two pair did not hold up," but "Why do you play K-9.  That is just garbage."

This is good advice in no limit, but in a 2-4 game, where we are going to see a flop for $2, it may not be good advice.  When playing this these rocks, just the king might be strong enough.  Two pair is certainly strong on the flop.  In this game, I'd have bet if 9 was top card on the flop and perhaps take the pot with that bet.

At any rate, I hate derision when I can't defend myself.  Defending here would just give the guy and my opponents more information.  It really annoyed me. 

He had been friendly before, and we talked about travel to Europe and cruise opportunities.  I got some information and ideas from him.  But even here he did not get any from me, because he was one of those fellows who did not want to learn anything from anyone.   He was interested in where he had been but  not where he might go on my suggestion.  Which is fine because I was most interested in where he had been and how it all had gone.  So, I kept him talking about his travels.
A young kid joined the table who had not played much poker and never played 2-4 limit.  He bet terrible hands, and so the table stopped being so tight.  I made a couple very soft spoken suggestions, the usual on playing mostly high hands and suited connectors, but he did not want to learn the game.
 
So, we just passed him around until his money was gone.  I tightened my play as I could not steal pots with this guy playing.   Well, the derisive fellow next to me with the huge chip stack who derided my play seemed very unhappy now.  I realized he wanted a game where he could predict play.  He did not want me playing K-9 off or the kid playing and betting almost any pair or who knew what.  His chip stack cut in half, so he left.

My table broke, the old rocks going home for lunch I suppose and I went to another table, a looser table.  There I played well, but ended up often getting rivered.  I was losing.

I held Ace-6, the same hand that had gone to a full house and given me the free $100 high hand on Sunday.  And it did it again. And again they got it somewhat confused. The dealer called a high hand at our table, forgetting what I had on the board. 
I held pocket 8's which went to a full house on the river.  With three minutes left in the half hour, I beat the current high hand of 7's full.

My pocket jacks saw a flop of two jacks.  I did not know what to do.  There was not enough money in the pot for high hand. $13 is needed at Turning Stone.    I decided to bet $2 right on the flop because usually there are a couple people who will call that, people who will not put me on trip jacks and betting out in early position, let along quads.  I lucked out.  In the end, I took my third $100 of the day by beating three tens and three sixes.  Had the river been a ten rather than a six, we all would have realized thousands of dollars from a bad beat prize of about $210,000 split up and I'd have gotten a nice share of that.

The dealers were shaking their heads because I had taken high hand three times in the same day.  My fellow players were tolerant.  The guy who paid me said, "Win another one" and I said, " I can't.  These folks will beat me up in the parking lot if I win another one."  And fellow player Lisa said, "What makes you think we have to wait to get to the parking lot?"  So, it was light banter.

Lisa's remark was ironic because just that day she had her purse snatched right in the casino.  Four young teens were involved.  She gave chase but could not catch the one with bag.  Later it was found with her car keys and credit cards but missing $500.
By now they have probably arrested the kids.  They had all their photographs and had photographed the license plate of the car and traced it to the owner and then to the getaway driver girl. 

We are very safe in casinos, but there are very stupid people out there who don't really understand how are people in casinos are monitored.  I keep my money in my front pocket.

Well, I should have quit up for the trip, but I kept playing and listening to Lisa tell her story.  She seemed to want to tell it.   It seems the kids live not too far from her.  I told her to watch herself in case one or a friend wanted revenge, to buy some pepper spray, lock her doors, check the back seat of her car, have friends check in on her. 

And at 8 I decided to quit.   I was down $106 for the trip.  So perhaps the derisive guy is right.  By luck I had won $400 extra dollars and I was still down.
Well, when I can't play well, I try to play lucky.

I was tired but I was hungry.  So I went to the buffet for the T bone steak.  Very good for cheap steak.  The steaks were all arranged like files in a filing cabinet and labeled well done to medium.  The stuffed scrod was off in taste this time.  Same sugar free pie.  It was all good.

I drove home and did fairly well.  At the end a huge yellow moon rose up from the horizon ahead of me.  The last half hour was pretty uncomfortable. I was very tired.  But I'm happy I stayed and played.

SCORE:   lost $106
                 Comps  Two free nights worth $80 each if paying the poker rate.
                              $20 in food comps at buffet
                               $2 value of a slice of pizza served in the poker room. 
Pretty much a wash.  Plenty of fun for the price of gas.
I don't keep track of tips in my scores.   However, I did tip $22 total on the high hands.  Unlike Ocala most don't tip here, and when they do it is $5.  I gave the dealer $10 who had validated my claim of the first high hand that had not been board posted.  I gave nothing to the dealer who did not remember I had the high hand and called a lower one out until I corrected her.  The other two got $6 each.