Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bill's game July 23

poker - July 23, 2008

Bill hosted today and Robin came down so there were five of us, six for a while when Bill's son played. it was a fine game, different without Greg certainly who takes control of the table.

I played well and felt well in control. I had good cards, but I also had many folds when hands did not develop. I seemed to know what people had and play right. I lost in the beginning, bought in 4 times but ended $69 ahead.

Bill beat me in winnings. The rest lost.

One hand I remember had Bill with trip 8's after the turn. He bet "all in" but it was not all his chips. Peter reminded him that he had a full tray off to the right. It reminded me of once when Greg bet "all in" and then talked his way out of it when I called with lots of chips. Bill back pedaled so well that I decided to call him although I knew he had me beat. I had just pocket jacks, but the river might give me a flush, straight, or another jack. As soon as Bill back pedaled, i put him on trips at best, so I called his bet. A spade gave me the pot.

I got a bit goofy near the end of the session, the way I might at certain tables in Vegas.
I had been very tired. I was up today at 3AM and then I seemed to shift in second syndrome as an old college friend called it.
So I was singing some old TV western themes and goofing, and making a bit too much noise for the group, and they made me quiet down.
Then followed the old, "They would not let you do that in Vegas" discussion. We have a lot of those discussions, often on odd bits of rules. Bruce will often come up with some odd rule he hears on television that has no bearing on casino cash play. Today he was saying that "soft play' was illegal meaning that letting someone win was wrong. Well, not at our game, certainly. And when pushed he admitted that he got the rule not in casino play, but from watching television.
Oh, boy!!

At Slink's last week it was whether casinos let you see a rabbit run. One fellow insisted they did. When I finally asked where it was at Turning Stone and he agreed it was just once in a while. I was generalizing as I have been plenty places where the rule is "no rabbits" especially if a player complains about it. Nothing that slows down the game is tolerated in casinos.

So today is was about how much noise you can make at the table, how distracting you can be. I have been so often at tables where some lose, aggressive player tries to put us off our game with talk and banter. I know some who think it is just part of the game.

Well, anyway, I don't think these guys would much like the El Cortez after midnight when Action Jackson or any of ten other characters are going into their acts of distraction. I don't sing in Vegas, that is true, but I have been at pretty loud tables. The only rule I know is that you can't talk about a hand or read the board for people, or insult anyone. Otherwise, I have never seen even the worst agitator thrown out. Warned perhaps if it gets on the dealers nerves or a player complains.

Well, in less than a week I'll be in Vegas. At first I'll be at quieter tables, and certainly I expect Laughlin will be pretty subdued, but when I finally hit the El Cortez, well, I don't expect quiet there. If Catherine plays there will certainly be some whoop, whoop and a fine run of commentary.

I'm ready.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Son Peter and I took the Yankee Trails bus to Foxwoods today. I have a voucher, so the trip was free; Peter had a $5 coupon. The benefits are just fine: $20 in keno bets and a free $15 buffet for a $27 fare ($2 less if you book online)

However, it is a long ride, and we had not planned well this time. We had not noted that it was a combined trip, half Foxwoods folks and half Mohegan Sun overnight folks, so on the way out we had to stop at Mohegan Sun first. This would not be much of a time waster if the casino host was there on time and if they would just let the folks off the bus before they explain to them every detail of their two day Mohegan Sun staym warn them about every possible danger, and even be open to questions. Instead the Foxwoods folks must wait for the Mohegan Sun casino host to lecture the overnight folks. She ends by saying if they have any questions they might meet her at her desk in the lobby. I felt that in the lobby is where they should al have met be for the entire lecture.

On the way home one of the passengers brought a fine Johnny Carson comedy tape, so we were entertained. I always forget to bring a few so that the three hour journey back goes a bit easier. some drivers provide a movie. I guess Fred doesn't. This one was a very fine choice, but no one seemed to know how to play the second selection so we had just a one hour break in a three hour trip. And the piped in music was annoying. The quality of the sound is poor. I love Mamas and Papas, but did not recognize them when they sang or enjoy them. It sounded like some teenager had earphones turned up just loud enough to annoy the rest of us and not loud enough so that we could actually catch the melody.

On the way up Peter and I had some fine conversation and that works just great.
The bus driver Fred was very personable. He went over all the details, especially the one about making sure we made the return bus and did not get stuck overnight. Then he also had details for the Mohegan Sun people. He was perfect except he kept saying he was dropping them off tomorrow instead of picking them up and this confused some. He told some jokes so they could not always tell if he was just kidding or not. But in the end it all worked out.

The poker was fine, but both Peter and I lost. I won in the morning on a 2-4 table in spite of the fact that great cards after great cards lost. I lost with A-K three times in a half dozen hands. In the afternoon it went worse and I really lost. I ended $229 down which is a substantial loss for me even if it is only a variation of 1 or 2 hands at the 4-8 game.

Our opponents were not too hard to play. No maniacs capped the betting. Folks were believable and predictable. When I folded my predictions came true, but they were sad predictions. But in the afternoon too my A-K and pocket Kings lost enough to make the table feel sorry for me.

I had to show some and showed others, so that I might get some respect on raises, but that did not work either. It was not a mistake because I really was never in the position to bluff a raise without good cards and very few dropped out when I did make those raises. I tried to bluff with A-K one time againt a guy I knew was weak but he called my bets all the way with his simple pair of Queens and low kicker. I could see him thinking about throwing it in, but he just kept calling.

My best afternoon hand was 4-6 in a blind that caught 3-5 on the flop and a 7 on the river. I had someone betting in to me on the turn, who I check raised after two other people had called him. He called me on the river also. It was unthinkable that I might play a 4-6, I suppose. Maybe showing the A-K helped me after all.

Peter too lost most of his budgeted $70 at 2-4 tables. The morning table was also good for him, but the afternoon caught him. I played with him in the morning, and his play was very good.

The Keno paid us $5 each.

People were friendly at the tables, but not as interesting as Vegas.

I think I like these bus trips better in colder weather when I have been inside and bored for a week. It is just too long a ride even with good company.

I checked again, or tried to, on the poker rate at Foxwoods. As I understand it now, I might get a rate of $69 if I play a while and then ask for it, or I might not. Well, this is of no use to me if I want to sandwich some days between two bus trips.

Yankee Trails will get me there and back, but I would not have a certain place to stay, so I guess if I want to make an overnight trip, I'll book some of the mailed promos (still at $69) and then try for the bus. Even though the bus would cost me $52, it is a good deal as I get coupons for both days, so I eat two $15 buffets and have $40 in free keno bets. All that for about what it would cost me in gas/tolls to drive there and back. But if I drove I could find a cheap $40 motel.

Still, when I can stay in Nevada for under $12 a night, I have trouble swallowing the $69 Foxwoods rate as a "cheap promotion." I guess I need to get over that except that my mathematics of 11 nights of saving $50 a night in hotel expense by going to Nevada more than pays my airfare to fly to Vegas even if the airfare goes up another 50%. Add that to the fact that the first and only time I have tried to book Foxwoods at the $69 rate, they were out of promotional rooms. I suppose sometimes folks hear that hotels in Vegas are out of promotional rooms, but I have never personally been told that in the over ten years of booking promos.

Now if only Laughlin would have bus deals like Yankee Trails. The only promo bus rides I find are one day trips and no luggage can be taken along on the bus. The shuttle is currently $110. So in Nevada a shorter bus trip is 50% more, while the rooms are 60% less. If I were marketing Laughlin, I'd find a way to set up promo bus trips from Vegas in which folks paid for transportation and housing for three or four days.

Day bus rides to Tampa Hard Rock from Crystal River up North where we stay in winter area about the same price as our Yankee Trails, but stay a much shorter time, probably due to rush hour traffic. A short time at a casino is of no use to a poker player.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Local Games

Well, I have not written much of Greg's games lately. I don't think anyone in the group reads these anyway and I can't imagine the game details of much interest to others.

The games go along very well with the regulars coming just about every week. Phil has been in Disneyland, but he comes back for next week, and the Greg takes off for his great China trek after that game, so I won't see that local poker much for a while.

Peter comes every week now. He and Jen go to lunch with me and we have some good talks.

Bill comes too with his classic "unbelievable" comment each time the board goes against him, especially on the river. He won a little last week and lost this week and left early.

I have not been doing well. Greg does well every week. Peter hangs in. He got too loose and tightened a little this week and played a lot smarter, laying down losers. The three of us all made money. I got very lucky. I was holding A-9 of hearts and went all-in when two hearts flopped, Both Peter and Greg called. The turn was heart. Peter bet again, but Greg folded. Pete held two hearts also, one of them was the king. But I had the nut. That hand made my money. Otherwise I'd have been down $20.

After that Greg called the game. He did not want to face both of us if we were as high chipped as he was and perhaps lose his afternoon's winnings in one hand. Smart, but disappointing. It underlines too the fact that although he always says he loves the game, there are times when he is ready to quit with his profits rather than risk a huge loss. Had I not lost so much on the one I overbet, I'd have been able to make more on my big hand from his racks.

Peter still had a harder day. He bought in five times. Both Greg and I had only 2 buys. Mine was almost the first hand of the day, when Bruce took me for an all-in win. Greg lost everything and worked his way back against the big chips to have a few trays. It was really amazing to watch.

There were lots of quads. Bruce and I had them and Greg had them twice. None made huge money, but all did fine.

Greg is very good and hard to figure. He is aggressive, but seems to know when to escape. I learn a good bit playing with him that may come in handy in Vegas/Laughlin at the end of the month, if I play no limit. I had him cornered twice yesterday, once with quads, and could not get him to go over the top with an all-in against me. The one time he went, I did not have it and was pushing him. On my second push, I intended to bet another 20 chips that had matched the pot on my first bet, and instead said, "Match the pot again" so it cost me $60, and then he went all-in. I had to fold.

Keith just got back and lost $30. Unusual. He did win earlier and lost on a night when he said he may have been drinking just a few too many Johnny Walkers. That is my reservation too. The limit games allow some leyway for mistakes. He and Bern had an Elvis renewal of vows at Graceland chapel, just the two of them. So fine to see a couple still in love after ten years.

His experience makes me almost sure to play just limit. I make mistakes even when I don't drink. I turned over my cards by accident yesterday and then folded what ended up being a winning hand. I did not want to play them if everyone had seen them. Otherwise I'd have stayed in for certain. That is the kind of error that is the most stupid. I don't usually make those errors in casinos.

Too often in Greg's games too I give Peter a look at my cards. In the casino I am careful to cup my hands, but I have no deck to shuffle and more time to act and decide. I need to slow down a bit at Greg's, especially when it gets late in the afternoon.

Well, we may play at Slink's on Friday. He wants a game, but was late in announcing so people may have the date planned up. I can go. Last time Karp and his son-in-law came and played pretty loose abd aggressive. It was a hard game figure and I guess they go lucky and took most of the money.

Peter and I expect a day at Foxwoods also. I have a free voucher for the bus. Next week might be good. I am done with the woodworking, but the weather has been so nice here I hate to leave the lake for a long day like that.