Well, I took Yankee Trails up on their “Happy Anniversary” offer ($16 round trip if you wish them happy anniversary when you book - less than 3 hours each way house to casino) and went out to Foxwoods yesterday. It was a fine trip.
I thought that it would be hard for them to match the enroute movies from my last trip (Grumpy Old Men/ Splendor in the Grass), but I was wrong. Each way they played a different volume of the old Dean Martin show with appearances by dozens of the stars of that era. It was great! I dozed a little, watched the countryside, started a novel. The bus was uncrowded enough so that I had a full two seats and no one in front of me. The TV screen was two rows up.
So I munched on a few peanuts and dried apricots and watched old Dean go through his antics with all those old actors and comedians, all looking so young. Included: Frank Sinatra, Olivia Newton John, Goldie Hawn, Rowan and Martin, Dom DeLuis, Bob Hope, Flip Wilson, Howard Cosell, ruth Buzzi, Dick Martin, Bob Newhart, Dionne Warwick, Steve Lawrence, and many others I have forgotten. One skit was Petula clark singing “Call me” and little snips of perhaps 30 celebrities on the phone pretending to try to call her to no avail. I’m guessing the date of most of what I saw was 1965.
It was all senior citizens heading out to donate to the slots. There were just a couple poker players, young fellows sitting behind me talking strategies. If the old slot players die out and are replaced by poker players these bus deals will certainly go away.
I decided to move up a level and play $4 - $8. They have a $5 - $10 game too. My theory is always to play above the $2 -$4 so as to eliminate tables of people who really don’t know the game, but to stay out of the tables that attract the “hot doggers’ who know the game, but are not very predictable. The table choice was perfect. The players were good players who paid attention to what you were doing. They noticed how I played, and they pretty much played according to the mathematics whatever they actually had. One fellow liked to bet on draws. the rest could be put on hands. They were quiet and some would not talk. But others were friendly in an easy way, perhaps giving me too much information. All day I only encountered one grumpy old guy who seemed devastated when a woman with A-K beat him with a good river draw. He never laughed. For him poker was a way to work out the basic unfairness of life and he would find in the random shifts much injustice.
Meanwhile, I was finding delight in the randomness, helped along a bit by a few Amarettos. (I did not know that drinks were free at Foxwoods. Somehow I thought only coke or coffee was free.)
One other old fellow looked distraught when I caught a straight on the river and beat him out of a pot he bet right along.
“Well,” I said, “When I don’t play well, then I have to play lucky.” And he laughed and that was the end of his displeasure.
There was a young fellow across from me who congratulated me on a big win with some words to the effect that it must be delightful.
“Yes,” I said, “ I am always delighted when randomness works in my favor...it is like being born again.”
I saw in his expression that those had been poor words to choose, that he was afraid I might be going to convert him to some Fundamental sect, so I quickly added, “You know, randomness was very good to you when you were born.”
And he got it, and smiled, and said,
“Yes, it was.”
I suppose the negative old guy was thinking, “That does not apply to me; randomness is never good to me.”
But he kept his mouth shut. Good thing too. I’d had enough Amaretto that had he said those words, I probably would have quipped, “Then why don’t you die? It seems that would please you, and we’d be relieved to have one less whiner in our midst.”
I bought in for $100 and lost $60 before I won a pot. Then I went up to $400, back to $300 and finally quit around 3 PM at $368. I had enjoyed my limit of free Amaretto and was ready for the buffet and besides a “hot-dogger” had joined the table and started those damned blind straddles, driving the stakes of the game higher and also increasing the number of people in each hand, so the luck factor was beginning to be a greater part of the game.
I took my American Casino Guide $25 dollar matchplay and used it on the craps table. I put my money and coupon down and the shooter rolled a 7. Instantly I was up $50 and off to check my Keno tickets. One roll. That’s the way I like it.
For the $16 bus fare I get the ride, a free $15 buffet, and $20 in Keno bets ($1 Quick picks for 10 games.) I played both coupons and somewhere I hit for $10. The $16 cost of the bus was already a wash given the free $15 buffet coupon. Now I had made money by riding.
They have a fine buffet there at Foxwoods, arranged as are most good buffets now, in International and Thematic Stations. At the barbecue section the rib meat was off the bone tasty, but the chili was just so-so. At the seafood section they made a fine beer battered cod. I was not too impressed with the beef. Veggies were very good everywhere as was the mushroom soup with added mushrooms from the salad bar. They served a good pot of tea at the end, not those luke warm cups of water that diners seem to feature. I had a little vanilla iced cream with vanilla topping. While I munched, I read some of the free poker magazines from the poker room. Interesting stories and articles. One argued that poker was an essential American tradition and told stories of historical poker games including the famous shooting of Wild Bill Hickcock who died with Aces over Eights, now called the Dead Man’s Hand. I don’t follow the celebrities or watch Hold Em on TV. The hands are mostly bizarre and I find it much like watching paint dry, colorful perhaps but uninspiring.
I would like to play no-limit again some time, but not at Foxwoods as they charge about $10 an hour in lieu of a rake, taking a $5 chip each time the dealer changes. This is good for the loose and fast players and poor for me. The rake only comes out of winning hands. When you sit and fold cards for an hour, you pay nothing to the casino for that privilege.
I updated information on my Wampum Player’s Card. I don’t have a clue how I can have $46 in comps on that card, but that is what the clerk said I had from long ago.
But I should have played a dollar somewhere as I see the points expire in 12 months. I’ll have to do that next time and check a little more carefully as to how the poker comps work with the slot comps. Not much chance of me playing much of anything there. I don’t play slots, and the video poker I like, Double Bonus, was at the ridiculous level of 6/5 which makes it a 93.5% game if played with perfect strategy. I can’t imagine anyone uneducated enough to play a 6/5 but educated enough to learn perfect strategy, so I suspect the take is a lot more than that. I can see that machine as a windfall for the casino. They make more than slot profit on those machines. Years ago there used to be a 9/7 that I would play if I went there with friends, but I don’t even play 9/7 since I retired. Only 10/7. Perhaps some of those comp dollars are from when my friends played on my card while I watched. I’m glad I checked it all out anyway.
On my way through the casino one old fella from the bus stopped me and talked about his day feeding the slots. He was down $35. While we talked the Security guard came over and stretched his legs a big to step in two particular spots on the carpet. He’d seen the old guy drop money there and he placed his feet on the dropped bills.
“I wonder whose money this is?” he asked as he moved one foot. The old guy knew he had dropped some money and claimed it.
“You’re losing your money without even having the fun of playing,” I joked.
The security guard moved his other foot, “And what about this?” There were two 20 dollar bills. More of the old guy’s money.
I told the old fellow I was up $268 playing live poker. He asked what kind, but when I said Texas Hold ‘em, I could see that the game was all foreign to him.
I did not encourage him to seek out the tables. A fellow who could not manage the money in his pocket is probably not going to be much of a poker player.
I had about an hour of poker left and actually went back to the same table. The “hot dogger” was still there, but so were a few other players. I felt I had their style down and no real time to learn a new table.
I lost at first. Just had second best.
Then I started to win. These players were loose at the beginning, seeing almost every flop, so the pots were pretty high and offset losses quickly.
I got head to head with the “hot-dogger” and was so annoyed that I called him right to the river with my A-Q. I caught a Queen on the river. He bet every time and had not even one pair. Pathetic. After that he lost all his money to another player and left mad.
The rest were good players. Too good really. They were tricky. When my time was up, I started to pack up, but I was slow, so I saw another hand. I had pocket tens and was positioned directly after the big blind. Well, I raised. Every player folded, including both blinds. I suppose they were all so shocked to see this tight guy raise right away like that. So I won $6 and was sure glad to be leaving. I like respect at the table, but not that much. In the hour, I had won $16, so my total win score for the day was $342. Not bad at all.
I inadvertently dropped my empty water bottle as I picked up my chips, so I had to come back to the table to retrieve it. I wanted some water for the bus and I wanted it in the Stations Casinos water bottle that I had brought home from Vegas. I suppose the players thought I was a nut retrieving it.
I was one of the last two people on the bus. The rest were all early. They had lost their money and were done long before it was time for the bus to leave. They were all good sports about the losing, joking about the casino getting all their money. They were happy to hear I won. Even one winner on the bus lifted their hopes. But it made me sad.
The young poker players behind me had won $50 and $126.
No one else talked about winning.
More Dean Martin on the way home, a little napping, and an occasional sip from my Stations Casino water bottle . The time went quickly. A good trip.