Thursday, March 8, 2007

Trip with Asian mom and son


These Foxwoods games would benefit my poker playing even if I never won money there. There is something about them that gives me more insight into my playing low level limit poker than I ever got in Vegas or on line.

This trip I ran into an unusual table with the poorest players I have encountered so far. They bet second best cards, were impossible to push out, and even sometimes ignored their own strengths. One player refused to bet or raise when he had the nut hand. He said he did not want to be �greedy.� He would raise pre flop on strong hands and bet fine if he had nothing that had much chance of winning, but if he had a hand that could not be beat, he would check it. It was sort of good Hold Em strategy in reverse.

Another fellow was playing for the first time. He would call to the river on a busted straight. He would fold when no bet was required. Once he raised and I reraised on my pocket kings to push those behind me out. It worked too. There were very few reraises pre flop so when one happened, the trash players folded. Well, when it got back around to this fellow, he had no idea what to do. It probably was his first encounter with a pre flop reraise.

The table tried to restrain him from folding so many hands for free, but he kept doing it. I advised him to just push his cards forward and give the table time to remind him that he need not fold, but he liked to toss them in to the center. Once �new guy� bet against �generous guy� who caught trip kings with Ace kicker on the river. �Generous guy� just checked. �New guy� did not have a pair, but it did not cost him as much as it should.

As a result. it was more like playing 2-4 in Vegas and for the first time I really gained insight into what frustrates me about this kind of a game. All I can ever do in this game is play good cards.

One woman at the table amassed most of the chips. She must have been ahead six hundred dollars over the time I was at the table with her. She was a good player who caught cards and the others always paid her. �Generous Guy� paid her right through the river when he held a pair or more, even after he should have noticed that in three hours she had never bet on the river unless she could beat top pair.

�Rich lady� seemed to reproduce the ace of diamonds for the flush whenever she needed it. Near the end of the afternoon, she asked to see the folded cards of a strange old Greek fellow after she had won the pot and he had folded. He ignored everyone so much that the table had assumed he could not speak English.

They soon learned that they were wrong.

After an hour and a half of complete silence, the old Greek lost his temper when �Rich Lady� asked to see his cards, ranting with lines like, �just take the money,� asking her if it wasn�t enough that she was �castrating� all the men at the table He kept up the ranting for three more hands, until I got tired of listening to it, and finally asked for the floor to speak to him. Then he shut up again for the rest of the afternoon.

His ranting cost him some money.

In one hand he held K-10 to another player�s K-9, but the second guy missed it that there was a pair on board, and a higher kicker. When he turned in his cards, I quickly pointed and told him to take them back. He was confused, but he did it; my comment cost Greek guy half the pot. I was motivated in part to punish the ranter.

The fellow who took back the split pot was generally a good player. He was embarrassed he had missed it and thanked me. He was a funny guy, made a few good jokes, waited for the big blind to come around after his lunch break with the �Absent button� stuck like a third eye in the middle of his forehead. He told me he plays every day and generally takes home $200.

When I first joined the table, I had sat down at the table to find 2-2 in my big blind and flopped a set. While I was still setting up my chips and looking distracted, I check-raised trip deuces on the flop. It scared no one, but someone caught a gut shot on the river to beat me. I folded without showing. A very aggressive loser asked to see my folded cards. I suppose I was new and he wanted to see why a new guy would check raise. At this casino the dealer just takes the cards and touches them to others to muck them. At Turning Stone, cards that are asked to be shown are kept in play and will take a pot if they are winners, even though they have been previously mucked. (That happened to son Keith at an Indiana casino when a player had stupidly folded a winning full house. there the cards reentered play and took the money Keith would have won had he kept his mouth shut, or had I asked to see the cards.) Bill is very interested in this rule because he wants people to show cards in turn and that custom is not encouraged by dealers who want to get the hand over, get tipped, and deal again. So he got the info at turning Stone. It is probably a good question to ask at any casino where you play, along with the details on high hand and bad beat awards.

I hated �Loose Yahoo guy� as he raised often pre flop and was two seats behind me. I wanted him to my right, but could not manage it. I was considering a table change when he got frustrated with a bad river card and left in a huff. I about $80 at that point and soon caught up and inched ahead.

I just stayed up about $100 most of the afternoon. My pots were just enough to allow me to keep up with the blinds and poor flops. I surrendered many more big blinds than in other games as there were more pre flop raises although once �loose yahoo� left, raises were less often. I actually saw one player raise late pre flop on suited connectors and I realized that this was a good play because no one was going anywhere until after the flop and half would not remember that raise, or if they did, people would misinterpret it. However, I can see it would have been a better play last week. If on the flop the ace came rather than his two cards or suits, he could represent it wish a bet, and after such a raise, get people to fold.

These are great insights. Perhaps I get more of them here because so many people show cards each hand, win or lose.

My greatest insight in this week�s game was to see how much more limited I am if players did not fold hands that they believed to be second best or would not allow themselves to be pushed out of pots by one raise. Many of these folks called when every guess they had told them that they were beaten, so to win here I had to play only the best hands. I did not often get cards. I went up to about $100 and then just stayed even.

After lunch I just tightened up to playing almost nothing. I was just too tired. I was hoping to just save my $100 profit. I lost A-A and K-K , surrendered blinds, lost discipline and called my own second best hand. It was nearing time to leave with less than $40 profit when I played 8-9 offsuit. That is a poor choice of cards to play. I have been working on never playing it. Every once in a while to crack my tight table image I might play such a hand, but it was just damned foolishness here as no few would pay any attention to me and when you bluff, you need everyone to pay attention. So I was a little disgusted with myself until the flop came 8-8-6. I was early to act and because of two hearts on the board, the presence of players who call regardless, and to see if the other eight was out there, I bet right out. No eight. On the turn came another heart, I checked, someone bet, and I figured I was dead. I called on the chance of a full house. On the river came the fourth 8 and the fellow with the king high flush stayed right with me, calling my check raise. (Another fellow with the ace high flush had folded). I was very lucky to have caught.

That hand of quad aces was the last hand I played. I saw my free cards, and just before my big blind I left a little early for supper, figuring the day was not going to get any better than four eight's, and it would be sweet to have that as a final memory until I go again. The economic �utility� decision. Besides I was tired. I had not slept well the night before and had not napped well on the bus. I was ahead $102, pretty much the value of that one hand. Five hours of poker; one hand to show for my effort.

My Keno paid nothing. Two out of eight visits those free keno bets have paid nothing. Each time I have 20 one dollar chances. Never have they paid back the $20 face value of the ticket. I can�t imagine playing keno with my own cash. You might as well flush your money down the toilet and wait to see if it backs up and floods some bills across the floor. The only advantage I can see keno players have is that it is probably the only place where an adult can play with a crayon. Oh, they can get free candy bars. All they have to do is invest two dollars in a vending machine instead of a keno ticket. They pick a candy bar. The change they get is equivalent to what they would have won playing keno, so the candy bar is free. Keno is supposed to be a relaxed way to gamble away an afternoon, but with a 25% vigorish, I�d find it mentally exhausting just trying to keep my imaginative subjective reality from being influenced by mathematical fact.

On the other hand, on the bus to Foxwoods they played the movie �Dreamer� about a little girl who takes a horse with a broken leg and manages to take it (an 80-1 shot) to win the Breeder�s Cup. It said it was �inspired by a true story.�

After the no keno win, I caught $50 with one $25 bet on the craps table using an American Casino Guide matchplay. Here again is proof of the value of the frugal rule that you always assert yourself toward promotions. I call it the �Lucky Pete� rule after my Florida gambling buddy who is King of the coupon. On the coupon it states clearly that these coupons are one per person per promotion. The idea is you buy one book, and play once in the year. They check your players card to validate your coupon and give you the matchplay. At the beginning of my visits, I had three such coupons. I had purchased two 2007 books in readiness for last December�s Birthday Bash and then I won a third book by posting a report on their American Casino Guide website. Robin and I split one once and we lost. I have won on the other two and on two others for a total craps win over the 8 trips of $170.

Matchplay gambling is just like keno gambling only the player and casino switch roles. Here it is the casino flushing away money on the chance that the �lucky� players will stick around to gamble �the house�s money� after a win so the casino will be able to grind back what they have flushed away.

Sorry, Foxwoods. Each time I put my profits in my pocket, go home, and look for the next coupon.

My winning score for the day was $152. Over eight trips now to Foxwoods my winnings total $1696. Seven were winning sessions. After one session I lost $7. Three of the trips did not required payment for the bus ticket. I used my points for free vouchers.( $48 value). I have a $26 voucher for my next trip also. All Trips included a $16 free buffet. So that is $124 in total food comps.

Not a bad score for a hobby.

I took another nice walk around the casino. I watched the Sic Bo action for a while. Again it was mostly Asians. There is a stereotype that all Asians are good at mathematics. If that is true, then the rest must be expected to play Sic Bo. I love this game. It is so colorful and those delightful little dice hopping like Mexican jumping beans are delightful. I wish I had one in my house. I�d be happy to play it all day if I could take the side of the casino.

I found some interesting sculptures I had missed before. One I Iiked very much. It features an Native American woman who died in 1994. In the sculpture she carries a young lamb across a little wooden bridge. She is behind two sheep and behind her is her sheep dog.

I read about a 114 year old woman who when she recently died was the oldest woman in the world. She was only 100 when Foxwoods opened and had often gone to Foxwoods. the article did not give her total winnings. Foxwoods had often had a party for her on her birthdays.

I also found a large balcony on the second floor that let me walk outside and see miles of forests. It was a fine spring day and I regretted that the good weather had come just as I had booked the trip. I do wish I could pick to go without scheduling. And I wish the ride was shorter.

Here at the lake the ice is melting and an area has cleared in front of the house. I will be able cast off my dock if the water level recedes so the dock is no longer under water; I could do it now with boots. Flocks of mergansers visit us and play in the open water every day.

Enjoy spring. Be lucky. And if you can�t be lucky, be smart.


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