Tuesday, August 20, 2019



Friday, August 25, 2017


Yankee Trails offered $7 bus rides to Turning Stone last Thursday and I managed to get a seat on one of the five buses.
I hit a high hand.  Four aces with my A-9 hand and no larger kicker on the board, so I won $200.  I almost did not turn the hand over because I thought I needed pocket Aces for it to count.

I played break even poker until just the last hour or so and then my game fell apart and I lost the money back.

I took my $15 of freeplay to the fish slot and won $15, but later I lost $5
In the end I was $42 ahead and rather disappointed in myself.

I played with a discocated retina in my left eye and went to the emergency room as soon as I got back.  It is pretty bad.  I get surgery next Tuesday.  Last night and today I spent with one doctor after another.  Tomorrow I head back to Turning Stone with Peter to meet Chris on Sunday.  That should be a good visit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Turning Stone

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Turning Stone The Poker

As is generally the case, the players at the Turning Stone tables were for the most part dull.
Mike from Colonie, an ex prison worker who did some scared straight programs for Albany High, was talkative and funny.  Most other people were just playing the game.  No stories.
Some of the dealers were engaging.
Promotions were good and attracted the better players.   A half hour high hand paid $200 and the bad beat is up to over $350,000.  I played well, but came out $10 behind after a few hours of play.  It was hard to keep the tables full.  They opened six tables and these dwindled.  It was hard to get them to move us.  They like lots of tables because it increases their rake and dealer tips.
One old fellow drove me nuts.  He tapped is hands and so I had to hold up to see if he was really checking or not.  Then too he talked about the bad beat in a way that might jinx it were it to hit.  Many of us tried to explain that this could allow the casino not to pay, but then later dealers seemed to point out possibilities as well.  So, who knows.
I found out that the main casino offers free coffee and soda that can be accessed by us rather then delivered by the waitress.  No free alcohol here.  But that is good.  I can't entertain myself long enough and there is that drive back.
I loved the no highways ride back to Utica.  I just stay on the one road that passes Turning Stone and it takes me directly to the hotel.  No Thruway tolls and just as fast a ride with less traffic.  Easy.  Nice to have the GPS teach this to me.


I went over for the morning high hand session, from noon to five.  I was the first there at about ten and the room was  empty. 
I decided to amuse myself with some video poker in spite of the very poor pay tables.   I rarely do this.  I amused myself on a Double Double Bonus 6/5 until I lost $60.  This is the worst VP I've played in my life.  94%. 
By then the craps table was full of folks and I used my $10 matchplay and lost that.
There was no game yet.
Just outside the poker room I sat down at a fish barrel slot.  I never play slots, but at one nickle a spin I thought I would amuse myself.  I hit a bonus and the bonus spins did well.  When they opened my table I cashed my $20 out for $98.  Very ironic.
By the time I quit at 5 PM my score for the day was minus one dollar.
I was pretty hungry and went to the Savoy for a fine meal. 

https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=360069252682634449#editor/target=post;postID=7847221253451772432 I had thought about going to the movies, but instead I went back  for the second session, going from 7PM until 10PM.  I had good cards and I played well.  When I cashed out, my score for the trip was plus $68.

It was a good table with joking players.  Most of the players were good, but there was enough playing poorly to make the pots in general fairly large.  My closest to a high hand was flopped quad fours.  Aces were already on the board, but I did make money.  Later, I got a full house, but there was a higher one on the board.  There were fewer players than on Sunday, and so the odds of hitting a high hand were better.  I think other trips will be weekday trips.  The high hand brings in the players,

There was not much interesting conversation, however.  And there were two annoying issues.  One fellow who seemed nice enough kept trashing my play to the young woman social studies teacher to his left.  First, it was to point out the ridiculous habit of raising and then folding.  I had raised preflop with A-K off and when the board did not support it, I folded.  I said that to him.  Then in a head to head with him, I raised on top two pair, J-9 with a pair of 5's on the board.  He had a five and so I lost the pot.  So he went on about how he did not know why I raised into him.  When I did, he thought I must at least have a 5.  I got ticked and asked him why he needed to debase my hand.  He apologized.  He seemed a good fellow, but I had listened to enough.  I need to stop letting those negative bits affect me.  I have a short temper these days. Later, we joked once.  It was over.  

A woman Shirley had come from Rochester on the bus.  She played during the day session and was very , very tight.  She did not lose much.  I tried to stay out of hands with her, but for a preflop raise I could generally count on her folding.
She joked a good bit.  She hit one high hand.  She also asked about the art museums and NARM.  She praised the Rochester museums.  She had a tough time when Kodak went bankrupt.  Her husband lost his job and his pension.  

The Filipino fellow who jokingly called himself Don Pedro came around after the high hand awards were over and sat to my right.  I had played with this fellow the day before and I liked him.  He was fairly new to the game,   He had a quirky sense of humor and he made little jokes.  At one point he moved like he was going to push all-in and then folded.  The Slink joke move I call it after my old poker buddy Slink who amused himself in the same way at home games.  Because he had made those motions the dealer insisted he raise the pot.  The cards had not mucked.  He called the floor. Don Pedro complied without argument to avoid the floor.  When the pot was reraised, he folded and within a hand or two he packed up his chips and left.  "You can't joke around here anymore" he said.
There was talk and so I spoke up for the newness of the player, and the dealer kept coming into the conversation with his same, worn rule argument.  I told him I got all that.  I was just explaining how it was from the perspective of Don Pedro.  Then some woman who made a habit of checking and betting out of turn, who always seemed to think that the button acted first, said, "Well, you can't fool around at a poker table."  I just laughed at her.  
I understand the sense of no collusion in high hand play, but clearly the dealers were all on edge enforcing it, sometimes annoyed with the threat of job loss, sometimes annoyed at player ignorance of rules.  The no talking rules have to be looked at in the context of other casinos around the country.  It is very common to have an expression like "Spread the pot" to signal that the player had the high hand and just needs one more bet.  Many casinos don't care about enforcement.
In general all the dealers were very efficient and better than I remember.  They knew how to call the game.
One brush talked to me about my writing.  He had seen some of it, but he may also have confused me with another writer of more stature.  It was fine to be noticed.  He was a very fine fellow too.
I missed Don Pedro because he laughed a good bit and we had become friendly.  His very quiet and inverted friend watched the game from behind and smiled when I tried to get him to play.  They were from Kingston, Canada.  He introduced me as Don Dewey.
That took the edge off the evening for me and within a few hands I packed it up for the night. Probably a good thing.  I don't leave with profit often.
I had bought in for $60 and again for $40 and been down below the $40 until I started to improve, so my $59 winnings meant I had won back over $100 from my lowest point.  
These fellows seemed like good players, but they did not seem to register my tight play.  Pocket Aces on the button when raised and an Ace flopped got folks betting in to me.  That was a good hand.
In another I had the king high club flush and check raised on the river to two pair.  In another a very good player and I each had a king when the flop came K-K-8.  Mine was with an 8.  Again, there was no high hand.  I just called the first $2 bet and others bet behind me.  The fellow check raised me on the turn and I reraised and was called on the river.  He had K-Q, but I had the nut.
Very few bad beat jackpot possibilities.  The players were better about not talking about it, but not perfect.  We had to educate folks again.  Dealers said they had been admonished at meetings with the threat of job loss if they did not tighten up on talk around the bonus pays and the casino had refused to pay a few bad beat jackpots.
So there it was.
Such a rule nazi atmosphere just takes a bit of fun out of it all.  So, between Connecticut and Turning Stone I am drawn more to Connecticut.  Not as much sense of rigid rules.  Better hotel choices with TCM and refrigerators.  VP that is full pay.  Free drinks add to the value. Turning Stone at $200 has better high hand pays on weekdays.
With the coupons the poker room sends I could probably come out on the bus and go back on the bus for one overnight of about $60 on weekdays.  Some dates in August have $7 Yankee Trails rides. However, it would mean no meal at the Savoy.

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.