Tuesday, August 20, 2019



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rivers Casino in Schenectady

I was very near the casino and had a few hours to kill, so I thought I'd give it a look.
Not much was happening this afternoon.
There were a few NL games but no 3-6 game, just a list.  After an hour there were only four of us on the list and they said that they would not start a game without eight, and I suspected some of the four would not still be there.  I just left.

I did sign up for a card and get my free ten dollars.  I lost it in a 7/5 Bonus Poker game, followed it with $80, and hit four deuces for $80, so I cashed out even.  I played about an hour.
The machines themselves were new and worked great, but all the pay tables are less than full pay.  This makes it a $98.01 payout game.  This is way better than playing slots, but it really makes a difference.  For a long while, it made no difference because I did not hit full houses, so I was not short payed.
When I left I had hit 5 full houses, so I was short payed $6.25.  It certainly adds up.

A 9/5 JOB would be better.  Playing just one dollar in a 9/6 dollar JOB would be better.
The JOB there is 8/5.

There was some shouting at one craps table, but otherwise there was not much life in the place.  There were a few pretty girls, but mostly there were those dead faced old people, unhappy and losing.  I'm tired of that scene.
It does make it easier to plan a trip to Mohegan Sun when Elizabeth would like me out of the house for a couple days.  I can always find something to play in the one of the poker rooms.  Bravo Poker application will tell me what is what on my phone.  I should have checked Schenectady today before I went over.
I checked out the interesting slots.  Quite a change from the old days when it was just three spinning wheels on one to three lines. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Home Game

I held a nice home game while Elizabeth was out of town. It was fun and folks seemed satisfied except for those who lost.

We started with two tables, one upstairs and on in out dining area.  6 players at each.  The disappointing part is that for most of the evening I could only interact with a portion of my guests.  In a cash game I might have switched tables.

The food went over well.  I made a hot and a sweet onion and pepper and sausage, all cooked a day before and stored in the refrigerator in slow cookers that were easy to take out and plug in.
I also did chicken in Chivatti's vinegar base sauce. 


That was marinated two days, cooked in the oven right in the sauce.  Then stored for a day and recooked in the large slow cooker.  The meat fell off the bone. 
I had plain chicken too.

I made a large tomato sauce from scratch if using canned tomatoes counts.  Oregano, turmeric, tarragon, paprika, black pepper, Bruce's organic fresh garlic first softened in olive oil.  On large can of paste to about six  cans of diced or crushed and one can of sauce.  It cooked hours the first day, was stored in the refrigerator and slowly warmed on the stove as we played the tournament.
I made a spaghetti squash
Served black olives, pepperoncini.
I made some garlic bread again with Bruce's fresh organic.
Peter made a nice cut fruit mixture.
Others brought fruit and cheese, sandwiches and bags of chips and assorted goodies.
It was all good.

I had hoped for chili but cooked it on high in the slow cooker and the kidney beans burned enough to spoil the taste.  Nephew Chris said he liked burnt chili and had some when he arrive on Friday.
Chris was an amazing help.  He helped me set up and take down.  He handled all the intricacies of parking.  He spent Sunday morning drying the poker chips from Gregg's game which I hand washed individually along with the tray and the box.  All the black gunk is gone now.  There are two more trays at the poker room, but I'll do those this week.
Pat came with chairs and plenty of expertise.  Jay and Pat were timers, Chris and Charlie were bankers. 

I was not very astute at organizing the tournament, but I do think that we survived.  The 7800 in chip value and the fairly aggressive blind raises helped to keep it moving.  I hate long tournaments.
I misplaced my own chips and looked everywhere all the day before only finding them after I went to bed and my falling asleep mind told me to look a couple places.  So, I was limited by color.  I should not have used my coral colored with  red chips.  Too much alike.
I also lost the list of players.  We had 12:  Scott, Peter, Cassidy, Dewey, Ed, Bill, Slink, Jay, Charlie, Pat, Gfahr, Chris
Well, it all worked.  Pat and Chris split the tournament money and cash games afterwards lasted until 1 AM when Charlie and Gfahr left.  Cassidy, Peter, Chris and I played a bit of a ten cent Pineapple Game.    I slept very well.

Son Peter did go swimming.  Once in, he found it refreshingly comfortable and swam over to the Dyke.  He was in quite a while.
It was a bit cold and rain threatened so no one went on the water, or fished.

I certainly enjoyed seeing all of these folks and having many of you to my house for the first time.  I only see this nephew of mine about twice a year, so it was grand to give a fine poker party to celebrate his visit.  So thanks to all who came.

I did manage to get the house back in shape before Elizabeth came home, but it did take most of Sunday. 

Coming next is the Gregg Millett Memorial poker tournament on November 10, a Thursday.  It is in the evening.  Times and details have yet to be worked out, but we are moving along in the discussion.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


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.


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.


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. 


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. 


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.


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.


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

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

but they did not do breakfast.

So, I went about a mile away to Sophie's

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.
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.

Then I went off to the Mark Twain house.


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.