Thursday, November 15, 2007

Foxwoods trip report


Son Peter and I took the $10 special to Foxwoods yesterday. It was a fine day to be away, rainy and cold. Everything looked dark and wet, and the inside windows of the bus steamed over and added more gloom.
But inside Pete and I had some good conversation. He brought a little electronic game to amuse himself, but when I wasn't napping I nagged and bantered until he had to give me some attention. How wonderful to be able to do a little payback after all those years of riding long distances when he was the impatient guy needed attention.

The bus is a great place for talk because neither of us is driving. For me it is really a break, because whether I have a steering wheel in my hand or not, I am generally driving anyway.

Pete and I managed to talk through a number of issues and before we landed at the site for our great poker battles. We had found a much more favorable solution to the old 92 Ford truck's future. It had been sitting at mechanic Mark's for weeks now and needed a $700 repair.
Peter decided to sell it off.
He really wants a gas efficient car in its place.
Mark is more like a member of the family than a mechanic. He has fixed all our cars for over thirty years. So Peter called him from the bus, and told him to hold off on the fixing. Mark will let it sit in the site with a sign on and explain to potential buyers what it needs.

We were already winners before we went into the casino.

Foxwoods was full of people coming on the bus specials. From Yankee Trails alone they had 12 buses when they usually have only one. Most of the people were old, but there was a mixture. Few of them find their way into the poker room, but they clog up the lines to the free keno bets and the free buffet and their slow shuffles and walkers require some video gaming skills to walk to the poker room.

Peter hit on the free keno for nothing and I just hit for $5. Good thing we don't use real money for those $20 bets.

I started on a 4-8 table. Very soon I knew that I was on a table with all good players, many of them regular, all of them efficient. I lost money. My ace-ten caught two tens on the flop and aces on the turn and river. I won very little money.

So I moved. I saw a seat open at a nearby table and asked for a move.

My second table was a fine mix of players. A few good, fast, mathematical folks , one Asian who played loose and aggressive, one hesitant woman. I felt comfortable. I knew if I caught cards, I'd get paid enough. But the cards did not come.

I held A-J on the button when the flop came K-10-X. The Asian talked about how he was raising, but he feared that no one would call. I figured it was all fluff. I reraised to see if he would check to me and I could get a couple free cards.
It was probably a silly play, but I felt it would not push out any of the players between us, and I was right.
But I had read my opponent wrong. I thought he was bluffing. He held two pair, K-10 and he capped the bet.
Now there was quite a bit of money in the pot. I still can't do the math of the pot odds, but my overview said it was worth seeing the river. He bet a rag on the turn and I called. At this point three of us were left.
I had two outs to win. An ace might also win if the fellow was trying to push me. I was wishing very hard for a queen. And she came.
He proved himself less a fool again than I thought and checked the river. I bet and he called. It was a very good pot.

A-J. The same hand that kicked son Keith out of that Chicago tournament. I guess it is my new lucky hand. In both cases I played poorly.
At one O'clock Pete and I stood in the buffet line for about 45 minutes and then ate fine portions of battered codfish and prime rib. He was ahead $8 and I was ahead $63 with the $5 I picked up at the keno. So we felt very good.

I had not had enough Myer's rum, so I decided I'd play 2-4 in the afternoon.
At Foxwoods you can ask to have 2 hours off for lunch and then be given second place on a list when you return. Peter and I both ended up at the same 2-4 table and within a few hands I took a seat right next to him.
I have taught what I know about limit poker to quite a few people, but Peter, who as a teenage had very little use for anything I said, is my best pupil.
Son Keith is my teacher. I don't listen very well.
Peter listens.
He comes with very little bankroll and he plays a fine conservative game. This was his second time in a casino game, and he walked away with $62 after playing all day.
In one hand he was doing the betting. On the river he held chips up to separate them and I saw the shaking tell. "He has good cards" I thought.
Then he patted my k
nee under the table as if to say, "Don't miss this, and he turned over 4 sixes. I saw him play very few hands poorly. Most beginners do not have the patience it takes for the dry hand spells. They have to play.
At our table people were playing all those hands that cost money, any high card with unsuited rag was very popular. At the same time there was no real pre flop raising. So it was easy poker.

In the morning Peter did win with an A-2. He let it check around after the flop and no on bet, so he bet the turn. Some lady stayed with him with a pair of tens and then got mad at hm for having an Ace and not betting. He was happy. But I suppose now he may have trouble getting off A-2. That could cost him in the long run.

I had a few good cards, a few nice rums, and some funny banter with an old fellow who had a fine leather Western hat that he had bought in a Mexican town near Cozumel. We talked Mexico a little. After his buddy started to call him Tex Ritter, we started to talk of old Western actors and trivia like what was the name of Hopalong Casidy's horse. These old guys knew all the details of ten years before I was watching television. They all guessed William Bendix for the first Life of Riley, but one fellow knew if was Jackie Gleason. Robin would have loved this conversation. It was a fine time; the conversation and the rum made me feel young.
I took a good pot or two on bad betting by my new poker buddies and just sat and watched and drank rum and stayed just about $40 ahead. It was a fine afternoon. I did not drink so much rum that I actually sang the theme to "Rawhide" or even "Happy Trails to You" when I left, but I did have a fine time singing those songs in my head. Peter is not drinking alcohol, and it would not have done him any good anyway because I don't even think he even knows the theme to Maverick. He is not opposed to ordering rum, so even the slow waitress did not mean any dry trails for this old cowboy.

Very little preflop raising. Some fellow came from a no limit and started to raise every other preflop. The players grumbled about him later, but none of them rerasied him. I got to tell Peter that, especially if the really good player between him and Mr. Raiser had folded, he should reraise if he held very good cards, squeeze the rest of the players, but not get wedded to cards if the flop let him down . My chance came when I was on the button with A-8 suited. I actually used to not raise much with A-X suited, but one of the books I have been reading advised it if it would put money in the pot.
It would not have been a good play had I expected Mr Raiser to come back over the top of me. But I had read this fellow right. I could see all the grumbling in the heads of my fellow players as they called another bet. Most called for one card, and then dropped when my ace came. Mr. Raiser knew what I had done and figured it was mostly bluff, so he called me (betting his big red NL chips and getting change). I the disgusted way he bet, I could read he was very weak. My A-8 two pair took a good pot that hand, and Mr Raiser never raised preplop again.

Peter played well to my left. I did not feel pressured to adjust my strategy as much as I do sometimes when I play with family or friends. He took me down in one hand and it was nice to lose to him. Most times we were not in the same hands.

Just before I left to head home, a woman came on my right who had never played Hold Em before. She was a stud player, so she knew poker, but she did not really get the feel of the game. That is how it is at Foxwoods. You can almost always trust there will be some weak players at the table and that the average player being too loose but passive.

When we left, I was ahead $104 and Peter was ahead $62.

The ride home was boring. I could not nap well, Peter was quieter and into his Gameboy, and the people behind me chattered away the whole trip. Some of it was entertaining, but after three hours it gets old. There are few movies on the $10 special trips. I suppose this is because the drivers are not the regulars.

Still it felt good to be clawing up the cliff of defeat for this worldwind week of poker.

When I was in Illinois last week, all the guys were excited about the football upset. Illinois was up against the odds playing Ohio and pulled out a very exciting victory. I know nothing about football, but coming back from $450 behind in this week of poker to just $12, with today's game to go, feels very similar to the way those Illinois players must have felt against Ohio. Only there was no fighting on the field, unless you count the banter between Greg and I.

Tomorrow I have a home game at Gregg's. Then things slow down until Vegas.
Happy Thanksgiving

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