Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Gregg's game for me in 2009

Gregg writes: I lost as much this week as I won last week (I love/hate this game!)
Jerry has an important announcement which he said he'd share.
Game next Wednesday will begin at 1pm and end at midnight! (I get lucky after 6pm).
we'll have a second shift -- have or bring dinner and be ready to play
by 6pm (or of course come earlier.

Jerry writes:
As most of you know I have been unemployed and looking for work for a little over a year. This week I was offered and accepted a position as Vice President for Business Operation and CFO at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. If any of you are interested in learning more about Coker you can go to their website at The real exciting news is that my start date is January 18th (a little more than a month from now).
For those of you that don't know this move will take Cindy and I much closer to my parents who live in Wilmington, NC and my sister who lives in Winston-Salem, NC. Additionally, golf will be a twelve month opportunity in South Carolina, which is something that I will have to learn to live with. The hardest part of this move will be losing the second source of income that I have had during the last fifteen months playing in Greg's home game.
I have enjoyed knowing all of you.

Jerry adds his new address and contact information. I don't blog post those details. Contact him if you would like it.

GJerry adds his new address and contact information. I don't blog post those details. Contact him.

Ed writes:
One of the things I enjoy so much about Gregg's game is the diversity in personalities and how they tend to either delight or rub raw. I for one will miss you Jerry. I always was giggling inside as you did your best to get to Dewey in you're subtle way.

Oh Gregg, I love Diamonds!!!!

Hey Blowers can you chime in and give us the definition of "string bet"? Thanks Mr. Hollywood.
Here is an online definition.

The game discussion was whether after you clearly announced RAISE, you were still required to move all your raise money in at that same time.
Jerry said you did.
Dewey said his memory of lectures by dealers in casinos on string betting included this kind of line, "Once you say 'raise' you can move your chips in any way you want.
Ed thought he remembered that as well.

However, Jerry may be right in many places. What he objected to is called a "string raise"

Perhaps my memory is more from the limit games. There, since the raise is clearly only a certain amount a "string raise" would not fool anyone acting afterward.

Of course, at Greg's game it is rarely a case of being fooled. We wait for the raiser. Greg rules that string raisers are allowed.
Actually, I think his ruling is somewhat like:

Quit talking about all this shit and deal the cards. Who cares?

Readers should also not confuse this with the famous "fold and raise" practice also fully allowed at Greg's games.

Gregg wants me to write up the game .
We are packing to go South, so I'll have to make this game reflection a bit shorter than usual.

We had a fine game as usual. It is my last on in 2009, my last until March.
By then many of the players will have changed. Jerry got the job in South Carolina, so the rule czar is off to settle issues in another venue. Good luck, Jerry. Glad you found work and perhaps one day you will drift up here on a Wednesday and rejoin the old fellows.

Bruce came this week, but the cards went badly for him. He has trouble laying down second best and saving chips. He was busted early this week.

The new Phil was evident. What is happening! This guy took a huge number of pots again this week and left ahead.

Jerry left ahead $16 after an average game. I took him out when he was ahead of me with a heart flush on the river. He took me out when My flopped two pair beat his single Ace when he caught a queen on the river.

Peter did just fine, stacking chips and he did finally manage to risk less of his winnings and come out ahead for the day.

I came out $3 ahead. I only made two buy ins. Mostly I did not get cards and when I did I did not get callers.

I was more rested and alert, but I still muffed one. I turned before the betting was done. It was a three. Ed held a pair of threes. He was not happy to see his trip card shuffled back in the deck. Sorry Ed.

Greg was back to better concentration and play. He made some fine bets. But he lost money overall. Once he folded a jack of spades only to see the rest of the spade Royal work its way out on the board.

Casey joined us too and he had plenty to say about how the game was played. He won a bananna.

No quads this time as far as I remember.

Well, I will miss this game and be ready to come back to it in March. In the meantime, I'll keep up on my Ocala and Tampa games here on this blog, so check in once in a while and leave a comment.
I do have to review comments as the spammer who visits me everyday was making me work to erase comments. Now I can catch them before they post. But I love getting comments.

See all you guys in March except Jerry. Have a good time down South, Jer, don't let that humidity get to you, and enjoy the grits.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The roads were mean Wednesday.
Certainly this would be average driving in Buffalo, but the average drivers here have not driven in Buffalo and that makes it dangerous.
At Best and 43 after driving Best on the side of the road not yet plowed, I had to get a running start to push over the plowed wall left blocking the road by some idiot roadcrew. It took me a while to trigger the light. I inched forward until I hit the laser gun.
Main highways were okay, but you could never tell, and drivers were still thinking it was summer. Few understood the advantage of stopping distance.
I dropped some things to Peter in Colonie and his road was totally unplowed. I backed out of it rather than try to turn around.
Then I hit Lisa Kill road. It was the worst. I slipped coming down, but did not slide away. However, at the end when I had to turn left I could see it was not going to go well. So I waited until all the cars from any direction were gone. Good thing too as just turning left from a stop I drifted off to a snowbank and had to back up and try again. Luckily no Colonie drivers were coming from my right. They'd have sat on their horns and plowed into me.
Gregg's road was clean and clear except for about twenty kids having a snowball fight across the street and only giving us a narrow goal post through the crowd.
I suppose some of them drive as well as play in the street.
That would explain things experienced on the road.
None of us killed any of Gregg's neighbors.

There was some questioning of the judgements when the schools closed the night before, but Springville got a similar storm, did not close, and had the superintendent giving apology after about seven bus fender benders.
I could see how much the kids would be in danger just from watching play them in the streets.

I expected a poor poker turn out, but we had a well attended game, including John. I took a few hands from him early on and then my tray began to drain away.
After $90 buy in, the tide started to turn for me and I left up $51, for my first session win in a while.
I can't remember all the hands. Perhaps others will add some.
I do remember playing John's favorite 7-5 against John's 5-2 and both of us catching on the river. I loved beating him with his favorite rag.
Later a 7-3 gave me a low pair of sevens against John's bluffed pair of fives. He bet thirteen on turn and 27 on river, and I stayed with him. I thought he had a busted flush draw.

Against Jerry I caught an inside straight on the river and I caught a pair of jacks on the river, and that was fun. I stayed with the inside draw just in the hope I could frustrate him. Watching his countenance harden and his eyes roll is better than winning the chips.

My game was a Comedy of Errors. With no coffee and very little sleep, I soon started to crumble.
My worst error:
I held Jack-X of diamonds and three diamonds came on the flop.
I bet and I'm called by Jerry.
The turn is a diamond and that is a disappointment for me as I expect that Jerry, if he stays at all, holds a high diamond.
"Well," I announce as I turn over my cards," I have a jack high."
"Well, " John says, "You also have the river yet to come. Check or bet?"
Jerry is happy. He likes us to show in turn. He likes us to avoid a slow roll. I've done both very early, so there is no confusion.
No more betting and I win. Maybe Jerry had two low diamonds. If so, I lost money.

My second worst error is not to go all in when I have the nut straight and can bet second. I did this at Foxwoods once too. It was my only error that day, but I did not play tired at Foxwoods, so I suspect I just need to double check all straights before I bet. Here it cost me money from John.

Jerry left at his normal time. He had gained a good tray, and then it drained to a couple rows and John took him out. It just seemed Jerry did not get cards.
Phil is used to just that pattern of early gains lost back in the end, but today Phil was really very hard to figure and he collected plenty of pots with good play as well as some luck. He did lose a bit toward the end, but he left ahead, and he left many of us wondering just how to play against him next week.

"I am beginning to learn how you play," Phil said to John.
"Don't tell him that; he'll change up," I admonished, and Phil chuckled.
It was clear Phil had learned how to change up his own patterns. He told us he is more dangerous once he accumulates some chips. He was dangerous this week.

Greg did not seem himself. Pokermaster cannot gain control of the table. John undermines Gregg's aggression.
"Come on Millett; get a grip!"
No head cold. No computer. No excuses this week.
(I wrote this before I learned that he took Blowers in head to head after I left, and regained his Pokermaster title- see below)

Bruce was missing. That certainly changed the game. We can usually count on Bruce to reduce the bluffing by calling if he has a pair.
This left Blowers free to run his mucka jucka, game except he had run it last week and trapped me in a way everyone remembered. So now perhaps he would mucka jucka when he was not trapping but bluffing, but perhaps, too, we all would know that today he would wait for the bluff to mucka jucka.

It was like that verbal game you played as a child.

"I know," you'd say.
"I know you know," your annoying little brother would answer.
"I know you know that I know, "you'd respond.
"I know............... " well, you get the picture.
Only in poker at some point we all have to bet (or in Blowers case decide to mucka jucka) on some level of "I know."
I lost a big hand last week when he did mucka jucka to trap with the nut. This week, based on that disingenuous play, I lost money by not betting when he was not trapping, and again on a high hand but not the nut. So that one mucka jucka has awarded a good pile of chips to John.



The first chance I got, I showed out of turn my winning pair of kings after two rounds of checks and Jerry put on his face.
Ah.....this is the way to play the game.
Jerry then tried to slow the game by betting slowly, but his heart was not in it.
Hard to do that when it is easy for me to start a conversation with John that is as much fun as the poker itself.
Also, a slower game this week would have helped me in my mental disfunction a great deal. It would give me time to chew a bit of gum, take a breath, walk a bit.

On showing out of turn, Jerry thought my research supported his position.
I told him it supported Slink's position, not his.

I was never really in that position again to show early a well checked hand.
In fact, I was more often folding hands I would not show, especially winning hands.

Very little other rule issues. We did notice that the failure to collect chips into the pot after a betting round caused confusion and error on more than one occasion. Missed ya Bruce.


Gregg did not do computer today, but there were visits that took him out of the game and Jerry made sure he posted missed blinds. Remember, Gregg, that you can always just wait for the blind to come around, especially when you get socked for two chips.
John waited when he telephoned.
Also, remember you are the house and can change that rule anytime you like.


Often it is mentioned that in the casinos the rules of play are such and such and this and that.
In the future, I intend to offer up my opinions on how they pay on Mars as well.
True, I have never actually played on Mars, but not having played in a place does not seem to hinder folks from offering up definitive casino floor judgements.

John brings to the table casino play very different from anyone at the table. He knows no limit casino play.
I learned some things watching him play NL at Turning Stone one night and early morning.
Mucka Jucka was my lesson of last week and I used it at Foxwoods limit poker this week when my A-K caught two pair on the turn. I just made a face and sighed. It was small mucka jucka, but it was enough. My opponent called me twice.

This week John taught us how and perhaps why to bet or check in the dark. This is a much better skill than the blind straddle which John teaches us just for the fun of it. I am really interested because I think of it as a better strategy for limit games, although I often think it is a way for the regular casino rocks to signal their buddies to drop out.

We are playing double or more live straddles, but at Foxwoods they only allow a second regular straddle. Oh, they also play that way on Mars as well.
Only a live straddle cannot act last in round one of betting.
Except in Martian casinos where a live straddle includes..........well, never mind, there may be children reading.

Also RE: Foxwoods. Last week we were talking about their policy to take a timed rake of $5 every half hour, but no pot rake. They have changed that even on no limit games and now they rake. I have trouble leaving the 4-8 limit there, but perhaps I'll try a NL someday.

With Jerry gone the game generally doubles in speed, and so the crumbling of my mind speeds up as well.
But by concentrating on just my cards and letting all other errors simply be there, I manage to play well enough, get lucky, and in the end, I left $51 ahead.

I almost quit early down $80 in spite of the fact that I had no where to go. I was off to the Albany sleep clinic at seven to get wired up for an overnight of feeling like an android while people watch me sleep. Now there is a job I would hate. Imagine having to work all night long and stay alert while you watch people sleep.
The sleep study went well.
I am recalibrated and perhaps that will make me more alert for the next poker game.

Which Gregg reminds us is at Bobby Court again next Wednesday.
See you there.
Bueno suerte!



Five made the table today, at least til 6pm then it was just Blowers and Millett. In one-half hour John took Gregg's full tray and Gregg bought in for $10 more.
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
Then the tide turned!
At 10pm, John had to rebuy -- we set the buy-in at $20.
and rebuy
and rebuy
and rebuy
and rebuy
And go home happy, but empty-handed at 12:15pm
It was great speed poker for over 6 hours. Best hand was my pocket aces and an ace on the flop -- we both bet pretty hard, then an ace on the turn -- "have I got him by the nuts now." It's all in and I show my four aces. John lays down a royal heart flush. Gregg asks, Does that beat my four aces?. Sure does says John. Gregg says, that's the most amazing fucking hand I have ever seen. John says "yea, I put it together while you were in the bathroom!



Gregg - great game yesterday. Thanks for the heads up session...great fun. Maybe next time I'll river the straight flush for real!

Dewey - here's the link to the article you were unable to read while we were playing yesterday (good luck with that whole walking/chewing gum thing):

click on this link and flip to p 82:


I told you he cheats Gregg. Well, at least this time he owned up to it :)

And just in case anyone who has not attended out weekly games, gets the wrong impression. Honesty is the one thing we don't have to argue about. As much as we may banter the rules, we can trust our opponents to play and respect an honest game. That is an advantage over the casinos as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Good attendance at Gregg's game as Robin and Slink came out of hiding and so kept the numbers up despite Jerry's absence.

It was another loss for me at Gregg's and again based on a single hand. This time I was trying to swim upstream. I held pocket queens, and ace came on the flop and I still called Gregg's all-in bet. Well, no queen came, and just to rub salt in the wound, another ace showed on the turn. So that meant I left a loser rather than a winner.
I was never up today at all, sometimes I was even.

Bruce lost and left early. Not a good week for him.
Did you leave money as well Phil?
Peter racked up his three rows of chips, but Peter always hates to leave with money, so he plays a double or nothing game and finally Ed took him out catching a single queen for a pair of queens on the river backed with a board pair of 8's and calling Peter's all-in to win the last rack.
Oh, well.
Peter has been pretty lucky in life lately so what's a few dollars?
Peter beat me once with four sixes when I had a good full house, but he only made a value bet.

Gregg has not been at his best. He lost a little as well. without my poor poker at the end, he would have lost a lot.

It was good to see Gregg's cold has gone, but his computer work while trying to play must take a toll on his game. He rarely sees how other players make their bets, so the game then is cards and not people.
So grab another computer, would ya Gregg?

I think everyone lost except Ed.
Ed racked up so many chips he was complaining that they were in his way, obstructing his play.
Poor Guy!!

There was some friendly banter and holiday wishes all around.
And thankfully, even without Jerry or Bill, someone arrived who could once again wonder what the poker rule actually is on who shows first.
I was so overjoyed to have this discussion once again.
I miss it if it doesn't come up.

Slink contends that whatever the rule on who should show first, it is the choice of anyone to show out of order if they like, and only those with cards have much say in the matter.
That fits with my casino visits and experience.

Blowers has noted in the past that it is quite common for the last person checking after a check-around to just show a pair which he thinks is the winning hand, but that he does not want to bet. this is even more true if the last two rounds were void of any bets.

This fits perfectly with my casino experience.

Generally, if no one has played the trash that they held, we don't gain much information by holding up the game to find out what it was.
If I am in that position at casinos with say a king in my hand and one on the board, I'll often say " Well, I have a king." Those who don't have anything more than my pair and have not bet in a round or two (so have not bluffed) hold cards from which I can extract practically no important information and I'd like the game to move along.
Of course any looking to check raise or trap will show the winning hand.

Bill and Jerry are sticklers for showing "in turn" and 90% of the time I go along just to keep them at ease, just as 90% of the time I manage to deal when it is my turn, keep my chips from falling off the table, etc. I don't follow any rule 100% of the time.
It is especially hard for me too if I have recently come from a casino game to remember that it matters to those without cards how I show mine and I'll get a lecture if I don't wait and just grab the pot to keep the game rolling.

Lately, I've been thinking that following this rule just to keep those without cards from being ill at ease, is a mistake.
Why should I want my opponents at ease anyway?

Of course, anyone with cards who has called a bet always can simply wait until the called player shows.
In casinos where I want to see the other guy's cards, I just look at him and say, " I called you, sir," and wait.
In no limit games the dealer will also remind him he needs to show first.
In 2-4 limit the dealer will just say, "Come on, turn em up," in an effort to speed things up and get more tips per hour.

Again, all casinos are different and any single casino will do different things at different times. Often a "rule" depends on the whim of the dealer unless you want to call the floor person over and get a ruling.
Or if you have a lot of guts, you can look the dealer in the eye after winning a big hand and say,
"I'll tip again when everyone is asked to show in turn."

Here is a good discussion of who should show first that reveals some of the complexities:

Here is a couple of simple rule guides that support Bill's/ Jerry's position

As we know, laws are not really very important unless there is some way to enforce them. I take my opponents chips or insult a player, casinos will eject me. No one who does not follow the show in turn rule would get even a lecture from the dealer. At Gregg's, well. what is the worst that can happen?

Finally, the rule that all casinos honor is that any player who called to the river (in some casinos any player at the table who was dealt cards) can ask to see any two cards, even those that a player mucks.
The dealer will then attempt in most cases to keep them out of mixing into the muck and will turn them over.
That's right. There is no right to muck.
While it is a player's right ask to see, it is also an insult because the rule is there to bring out into the open players who are betting on nothing in a effort to build a pot for a buddy who has signaled that he has the nut, or a strong winning hand.

Even in limit games this collusion can put a squeeze on second best player by allowing raise after raise. In no limit games it is a deadly collusion. A good description of this can be found in Andy Bellin's book POKER NATION. Andy was a poker cheat for a number of years and the book is the story of his scams, this being one.

However, I have often seen this rule used just so a player can get information.
For example, I sat down at Foxwoods, caught trip deuces on the flop, raised until the river, and then was beat with a straight. I was new to the table and the fellow next to me wanted to see what I played, so he asked to see my two cards and the dealer turned them over.

Generally, the player who is forced not to muck will get insulted and grumble for a couple hours. S/he might also afterwards call to see every two cards possible on the person who asked to see cards that the player intended to muck.

In practice, I rarely see this rule employed and you do want to be careful. Often if the two cards were going to be folded, but actually would have beaten the caller's cards, the pot is given to the player with the best cards in spite of the intention to muck. Son Keith had this happen outside Chicago and lost a pot of about $300 just because he wanted to see what a super loose player had when he called to the river. It turned out to be a full house that the player not noticed and intended for the muck.

Well, I hope all of those so fascinated with this rule, as I am, have managed to read this far. I'll be happy to post your rebuttals here where we have all the time in world to keep having this discussion.
However, I also know that researching answers and writing is not quite as much fun as raising rule issues at each game.
And Jerry, you can see you missed a good game and a huge opportunity to perseverate .
Jerry might paraphrase Amarillo Slim:

"Poker is a game of rules... It's not the hand I hold, it's the rules that I play with"

I'm off to Foxwoods to play some limit poker early next week. Elizabeth has actually agreed to come along. She'll hang in the spa while I play poker. Maybe we'll catch a show. We have free nights at MGM. That is a mystery to me as I have never dropped a nickle there.

At Foxwoods the grumblers will also have some fun with the rules, but the dealer will decide, or the floor will be called, and anyone who keeps arguing forever will be asked to leave. I hate the rake, but I like that as well as the free Myers Rum or Johnny Walker Black or coffee with amaretto.

I expect next week will be my last week, if I make that one. By April I'll be chomping at the bit to play at Gregg's. It is a long time without a game. However, I should manage some no limit at the horse track or some limit at Ocala where they have a 50 cent 1 dollar limit game. Florida is a low rollers dream. By state law the max no limit buy in is 100 dollars so if I show up as the games begin, it is a long while before I can get bullied out.

So Happy Holidays to everyone.

SLINK adds:

I'm proud to say I avoided the Ed steamroller and walked away up $5. I enjoyed Dewey's calm dissertation on the who shows first rules. It's clear he loves to discuss this and we had a delightful conversation during our game yesterday regarding this. I'm looking forward to further discussing the nuances of this issue the next time we play together


good read, Dewey - and congrats for using 'perseverate' correctly!

next Gregg game I wander into (hopefully the 16th) I'm angling for both 2/7
bonus and the 'show one' when a pot is won uncontested...'tis the season,
after all :)



Wow, what a lot of good chatter!
I can't wait until the next round on who shows first. My pants are already unzipped.
Yes, their will be a game next Wed. beginning at 1pm.
Best to all, Gregg



Sooooooooo, I wanted so badly to be just like my big toe (Stripes reference) bro in law that I found the closest fedora to his and wore it. Played when I normally would have folded and won. Folded when I normally would have played and reduced my losses (learned that lesson from the Dewster). Showed a Blowers bluff on occasion and generally didn't let my hallmark lack of patience get the best of me (this time).

Note to self - Arrive after Dewey to avoid chip and assorted other shrapnel. Just in case I'm breaking out my old kevlar vest from a past life............

Thanks for this wonderful experience Gregg. I was missing the old locker room, ball busting days of my youth. Ah yes, the smell of mildewed rotting socks is all that's missing. :)


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gregg's Return from China game

Well, Greg made it back from China and hosted his first game in a long while. With his obligations
to run his computer while playing, and his head cold and general exhaustion, I'd say the Poker Master was not up to his usual prowess. But, as always, he offered no complaints.

Blowers was my nemesis. They should not have even let that man out of his novel. He either had me beat or arranged a river card to beat me. I was up to a hundred dollars twice and left down thirty five. The hardest hit was when I held a jack X of clubs and it went runner-runner flush. John bet, I raised, and then he went into a long fictitious mumble in which he asked for information from the table and compared earlier actions, and finally said he put me on "two pair" and went all in. I should have seen the Oreo cookie next to his ear, but I called. Only one card could beat me and it needed a club with it. He had both.

I stormed and swore and threw cards across the table and called him names and ...... Oh, wait, that was just in my head.

Peter managed a couple hours of loss, loss, loss and went home.

Bill got just steadily drained. It was his first game in a long while. Nice to see him there. Before the game Bill, Phil, Bruce and I went to the Dragon Buffet. Perhaps we can get that tradition going.

Bill didn't mind losing all his money because he was so happy to see all of us again, especially his old childhood buddy Jerry who calls him Dad. Bill appreciates that Jerry keeps the game going at a steady pace so no one feels rushed, and that he adds such entertaining narration and banter. That way Bill could lose more slowly. We did have to wake Bill up a couple times and tell him it was his turn.

Jerry played his usual good, solid game, but this week he got drained as well and when he went broke, he just watched the second session.

Thanks Greg for letting us cash out and rebuy for another session. That gave both Peter and I an even battle.

Gregg lost.
He'd play a bit, then go off to blow his nose and load things into the computer (hoepfully there is no connection between those activities) and then come back a bit disoriented.

"What is it we're playing here again?" he'd ask. "Bridge? I bid two spades."

Gregg had played a bit of poker on the plane coming back with his grandson and lost $40, which does not sound too bad until you understand that they were playing with Chinese yuan so Gregg lost not a mere 40 but a whopping 273.
He did not say whether he was loading pictures in his computer as he played.
Perhaps he was out on the wing for a while walking the dog and the kid stacked the deck.

I thought Phil went off with a lot of money, but they all said he won just a dollar. I know he had a lot of chips in front of him at one point. (not as many as Blowers insisted on gathering, however. These Hollywood guys with the flashy hats and the svelt bodied starlet companions always have to show off.)

Bruce seemed to "have no luck at all" as he often sings. he went home early.

I wish I could remember more hands. There was one where all the final players had pocket diamonds with two diamonds coming on the flop and we were all-in. I had the Ace and on the river came a lovely little four of diamonds. Amazing good luck.

I flopped a full house holding pocket threes with 2-2-3. I overbet and Jerry folded a high pair so I lost some there assuming the FH would hold up.

I held trip 5's when Blowers held trip 6's. See. That is the kind of guy he is.

Blowers also beat me on the river, but I can't remember that hand.

I had quad Jacks that made just good money, but not on the river.

It was a good game, I thought, full of action and jokes and a good way to start the holiday. Sorry more did not come. I kind of expected Slink, Robin, Charlie, Ed. It was good to see Bill after such a long time. He is so busy in retirement he doesn't have time to play poker. he is off playing with his "new friends." Many of them are very underage girls. Heh, talk about risk taking.

Jerry heads out next week for a job interview in South Carolina. Hope it is a good one and he finds a place he likes. Tough to move that far away, however, after all these years here in the Capital District. Good luck on that one.

Gregg hosts again next week so those of you who caught his cold this week can bring it back and lose it to him next week. I'm planning on bringing bubonic plague, but I'll lose that to Blowers.

I don't know if Blowers is coming. He is always busy working on the movie. But why does he need to worry about funding when we are all here to help him every week?
If he does come, I'm not going to be nice to him. I'm going to get back my money if it takes a thousand rivers and then.... I'm just gonna laugh.


Oh, excuse me, I just got carried away in the fantasy of it.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone. You know we will have the best one here, having seen little one year old grandchild Casey pulled back from the precipice death this week and doing very well indeed.

If you need a bit of opera for the holidays, Charlie sends along this one:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turning Stone

I took a ride up to Turning Stone to lose my restlessness. It was a fine time although I lost $100. One hand determined that score. A fellow had pocket aces and I held pocket deuces. The flop came 8-8-2 and we were all in. Given my push he should have tossed the aces and put me on an 8. The river gave him the other 8 for a fine pot of $250. He was a bad played, chasing and lose, but made money the way Gregg does by betting more than the table wanted to risk. I got some money back from him just letting him bet into me when he had cards. I played well and the table was a nice mix. Lots of young phys ed teachers there on a conference. Many of them did not play well at all and even the good players meant that there were few faces I recognized.

I had a free buffet and did not go to Rome for the Savoy supper. I got home about midnight and felt satisfied. I had thought about staying overnight, but ended up going with no breathing machine and had had enough poker anyway although this morning I am restless once again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Second game at Bruce's

Our second game at Bruce's was a great success. Attending was Phil, Jerry, Ed, Bruce, Peter and I. Peter and Bruce lost money. The rest gained some profit over the afternoon.

I did not sleep last night. I had coffee in the afternoon and I guess it put me off sleep. So by the end of the poker game I could barely keep my eyes open. It did not affect my play. I was dealt nothing to play. The few cards of value I did manage to get gave me some good pots with only one, pocket aces, being beat by Ed's club flush. I bought in for $60 and lost $27.

Jerry had a fine set of quad Queens, but there did not seem to be too much drama otherwise or too many wins with nut hands. Bruce had a nice nut heart flush. Straights and queens seemed to be very strong in taking pots. With fewer players the games are less dramatic.

We think next week the game is at Gregg's again. Gregg should confirm this whenever he gets home from roaming the world.

Obama has taken to following him to countries. Perhaps he'll show up for the next game as well.


I have ordered two American Casino Guides at Amazon but I probably only really need one. If anyone wants one for $14, I can hand it to you for that price. Amazon ships two for free, but there is tax added for NY State.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

John's Game

Well, it was another friendly night of poker with lots of interesting taste bites including some of the best brownies anyone ever tasted. John has a sister who really knows how to cook.

Two tables, a fifty dollar and a twenty dollar were set up and the action was good at both. Everyone seemed to have a fine time.

I was tired. By midnight I could barely keep focused on when my turn came about. At one point I dozed off while Jerry considered, and after Jerry called (because he did not think I had cards) I called too and won the hand.
But this persistent weariness wears on me. I guess I should have pumped myself with coffee.

So I apologize that most of the names of people and the details of hands are lost to my memory.

I played the fifty dollar table with John, Bruce, Jerry, Ed, and two other fellows whose names I've now lost (really sorry). It was a friendly group, and the poker was full of light joking banter.

The first session was Bruce raking in chips and Ed tossing away losing cards. Each had a tough streak. Ed finally packed up and left. Bruce lost some of his winnings back by the end of the night, but he must have left ahead just the same. It felt good to see him basically controlling the table.

John basically donated all night. He had a few winning streaks, but in general he just spreads his money among his friends at his game. A most generous fellow. Money and brownies are tasty treats.

I did very well in the first few hands and then lost it all back and bought in twice more before Kim showed up and my cards turned golden. I know I frustrated my fellow players in the last part of the night, but had they had any strong hands and called me, they would have been groaning much louder.
I did not get the pocket aces I saw John take Bruce down with, but I did get pocket kings so many times I was astounded and often they would go to trips.

One hand with Jerry I got very lucky. He had pocket threes and flopped a set. I had a pair of eights. The turn and the river hit my kicker Queen giving me a runner-runner nut house against Jerry's smaller full house. Jerry did call my final forty dollar bet although he read I was strong and knew he was probably beat.
No straight flushes and no quads at our table. Peter played at the other table and perhaps there was some action there that he can write up. It seems I heard quads mentioned and straight flush was in the verbal air.

I saw John win once with his famous 5-7 flopped straight, but there was less Mocha Jucha than at the prior game. 9-2 did not emerge once in my memory. There was some straddle bets but none that were doubled and few that were raised when the betting came around.

The highlight of the game for me was when Kim showed and sat at our table to joke and watch us play. She is a treat. Along with her came my luck, so I am now superstitious.

Kim has had some setbacks in her quest for Olympic Judo action reported in this game post:

but she is coming back along strong again, and we expect to hear great things from her. Last night she brought good luck to me, and I ended up with a $250 profit.

It was especially fine to see Bruce and Phil out to a game other than Gregg's. Perhaps I can get them out to Averill Park one of these days.

Thanks John for hosting and for being so attentive to everyone.

And thanks, everyone, for my traveling money.
I'll be in New Mexico and won't see you regular goofs for a couple weeks at Gregg's , but I'll be at Bruce's game on Nov 11th. Remember to contact Phil to reserve a seat for that one. Only six seats are available, after which you come and wait for someone to leave.
Bruce says seating is up to Phil, so Phil is taking reservations.

"Taking calculated risks is, well, risky; not taking them is pointless."
John Blowers from his novel Life on Tilt: Confessions of a Poker Dad

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gregg's Game

Another fine game at Gregg's and another win for both me and Peter.
Again I appreciate any memories of particular hands. I walk away with fewer remembered hands every week. Sad to get old.

But if I keep winning, while I get old, I get rich.

Phil broke about even with his play. Gregg was the day's loser, down at least $70. Jerry walked with some money. Again he accumulated a good bit, but lost half of it back.

I took a little. I might have taken more if Jerry had called.
The turn gave me Broadway.
I checked.
Jerry made a healthy bet and Phil called.
I went all in.
Jerry hummed and hawed and shared with us what he knew.
He knew he had me beat, and he knew Phil would fold like "a house of cards."
With all this knowledge, he incongruously opted not to call, and so he folded against his astute analysis.

Phil, of course, called my all-in bet, figuring I guess that if Jerry was not going to listen to his own judgement, then perhaps Phil would just make his own decision.
Phil's own astute analysis put me perfectly on my nut straight, but he held two pair.
He decided to go home way up or broke.
He had been the guy I wanted to push out, so I was not happy he called me, until the river gave him nothing, and then I was happy.
And he had my all-in more than covered, so he did not go home broke.

By the way, with Jerry's cards folded and mine not yet shown, I offered Jerry a side bet.
$10 to see if he did in fact have me beat at the turn.
He wisely declined once again to trust his own analysis.

I liked that hand very much.

I took some of Bruce's winnings when I held trip kings and he held trip tens. Both were pockets and invisible. He kept betting 20 and I kept merely calling, fearing the straight, but unwilling to lay down three kings. It was an expensive loss for him, but had the board paired I might have taken every one of his chips with the nut full house so he saved money by not catching what he had hoped for the river card.

It is rear to have two hidden trips in a game with only five players.

These two hands took me from $60 buy-ins to a nice profit and I held on to it, ending up $70.

Gregg loved the game even though he lost. He loved the action. Near the end I gave him plenty of action, and he connected too a couple of times, but he lost it back to either Peter or me.
On one of those hands I overbet just to give him a shot at gaining some chips back, I put him all in when I had pocket nines and there were only three chips at stake.
I even said, "If you have good cards, you have a shot here."
He called me with suited cards. Tilt cards. A three and a four of hearts.
He did hit one pair.

We also had some discussions of nonpoker topics.

The recent decision of Obama to not pursue people in states where marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes was debated.
Jerry was adamant that for twenty years people in New York State have been able to be given a doctor's script and legally use marijuana, but just shouted his one bit of anecdotal proof in a manner that admitted no other information. His mind was clearly made up, why confuse him with facts.
We gave it up.

Actually, I think, Jer, you were very harse toward me.

The nice thing about the blog is that Jerry can't shout me down here.

So here are the facts:

These are the states where raising and selling marijuana has been crazy. They sell openly and even put out signs, but the Feds can still send them to jail. This ruling makes their lives a bit less crazy. Playboy magazine did a great in depth article this year on what it is like to be growing and selling in California. It was amazing to me that the places selling actually had different varieties for different medical symptoms and helped the sick folks pick just the right variety.

Scroll down to see the states affected by this ruling on the color coded map:

Here is a fine summary of New York State law:

In short, don't expect not to be fined or jailed for marijuana in New York State.
Obama's recent decision has really no impact on our law since the state itself will arrest. There is no medical legal loophole.

On the other hand, if any readers are looking for a change of employment and would like to move to Colorado, this might be a great opportunity:

Gregg says legalization for medical purposes is coming. I hope he is right, although I also have to say that this weed has caused much havoc in my circle of friends and in my family, even when suggested by medical people, and while that could be true of any misused prescription drug, I'll stick to wine.

And speaking of wine. I brought the worst bottle of red wine to the game. I bought two for $2 and drank one this week and it tasted fine. The one I brought to Gregg's was in Gregg's words.
But he and I and Phil finished the bottle nonetheless.
So another time I'll have to donate a nice Bordeaux to make up for being so cheap.

Don't forget John's game this Friday. Call and see if he has room.
Don't forget Bruce is hosting two games in November. Call him or contact Phil to call him as Bruce will limit to six players.
Please don't contact me for either game as I won't be here to arrange much, although I expect to make both Bruce's games. Put me down Phil, if you don't mind.

Details are in Gregg's response to today's game:

It was a sizzling game from 1 am til 7pm AND Bruce was still playing at 7pm. A great game even if I took the biggest hit. The Hill Corporation pretty much cleaned the table today.
Friend of Ed's, James Rogers, may be joining us next week.
And I've been asked by a couple guys for John Blowers Address which is:
34 Van Buren Road 12303 (Bldg. 34; Apt. 5)
And in November 11 and 18th the Wed. game will be a Bruce's. Next two games will still be at 738 Bobby Court 12309
Unless you come out for John's game, I won't see you guys for awhile. I'll be off spending Gregg's money in New Mexico. Since Gregg will be off for the following two weeks, it will be a long while before I get another shot at the legendary Pokermaster and I suppose by that time he will be out of his slump. Too bad. I need money for Florida in December.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Gregg asked me to start my reflections on today's game with the announcement that he will host again next Wednesday at the usual time. Regular players should pay attention, however, to where games will be in November as Bruce may host a couple when Gregg cannot.
Dates are to be worked out.
When Bruce hosts, the table is limited because of comfort to six players, so reservations are necessary to be certain to have a seat. Some last minute players may like to come even if they don't start with a seat because Bruce and perhaps others only play for about three or four hours and then would give up a seat to someone waiting for the other one or two hours of action.
Last time Bruce offered a one to six time window.
I'll try to get the details right when I post them on this Blog.

If I don't, Jerry will certainly correct me. I was mixed up on the dates on Blower's game.
Contact John if you want to play at that one. I think he has some room, but he does not have a complete list for sending invitations.
However, I don't speak for game hosts. You need to write to them or call them directly, so they can tell you if they have room. Phil will probably be the contact for Bruce's hosted games because Bruce does not have e-mail.

I expect plans will be firmed up by next week and then I can pass on details.

John usually offers two no limit games, a $100 game and a $20 "kiddie" game for low rollers.
John's game is.... well..... let me get it right this time by putting it in Jerry's words, along with Jerry's reflections on today's game:

Jerry writes:

The heading of John's e-mail says the event if Friday, October 23rd. The e-mail message, which was sent on Monday, October 12th, indicates that John will be returning from LA next week and he also indicates the game is next Friday. The top of the attachment also says Friday, October 23rd. In your feeble defense the attachment does ask for an RSVP by 6/15.
I guess you could be confused, but I would guess most people who actually read the e-mail and attachment carefully understood when the event was.
PS. Nice call today with top and bottom two pair. You were a little rough on Ed though when he was
handling his remaining 13 chips while I was deciding whether to call or fold on Bruce's all-in bet of 22 chips. Your reprimand was particularly harse since you handle your chips on many hands before it is your turn to act.

Now here are my own weak reflections of today's action:

I forget so many hands. I hope some of the other players can add more details.
I do remember the hand Jerry refers to. Peter was sure he was going to win. He held 9-4 and that made a full house. Jerry considered his options a while and then he folded. Ed called with 9-K and a bigger full house. It is rare in our little game that full houses beat full houses when two cards in the hand both play.
It is common when two pair are on the board, but this time both houses were better hidden. Peter was disappointed.

Pete was up and down, but in the end he had to head home broke. I suppose it was because he did not have Casey this week to tell him how to play. At that time both he and I were down quite a bit, but after he left, my luck improved.
My first loss of the night had been an all-in soon after the beginning of the game when I held A-K of diamonds and there were two diamonds on the flop and later a king. Jerry flopped a set of treys. He was ahead for the entire hand, played it well by not showing much strength. It was a huge pot, taking quite a few $20 initial buy ins and giving Jerry an early lead in chip accumulation, a lead he held for most of the afternoon.
He lost some back to Gregg and I when the game got down to three players. We got very lucky and drained him a bit until he decided to quit and protect some of his winnings by going home.

Gregg and I then continued as we usually do until one of us has all the chips. I pushed and pushed and kept grinding, but the old Pokermaster seemed to find ways to win back. We played an hour heads up.
Finally, Gregg held a seven which went to trips on the turn. I held a ten which made my full house on the river. Gregg thought the smaller full house enough and went all in so I took him completely down with a personal profit for the day of $84.

Earlier Phil left with a good bit of profit. He just hit good cards and bet them without giving them away, so that he won some really fine pots. This was perhaps his best day. For a while we thought he might break the record and leave with five racks, but he spread some of his winnings out before he cashed out and went home.

Bruce was there and did not do well. Gregg lost also, buying in quite often so that his final loss left him actually down some dollars.

Ed took me out with a nice high straight when I had the lower one. Good at that point he did not have more chips in front of him. I thought I was very strong and he had trips.

I thought it was a great day. I had come very tired. I almost stayed home. The coffee woke me up enough and it all worked out. The interaction of the players seemed to me good humored. Gregg hosts a fine time for all.

I had poor cards most of the afternoon and only started to get good ones later. I could have used some of the power hands earlier. Against Gregg I had pocket kings, pocket aces, and plenty of other good cards. Most did nothing but take a few chips when he folded. They would have been great earlier.

Not too many quads. I had quad tens, but only Gregg was there to see them, and he had not paid me much either, or I'd have been home a lot earlier.

Well, add in anything you remember that I can't either in the comment section below or in an email to me. See most of you next week.


Bad day at Blackrock -- for me anyway. I got spanked and spanked and then absolutely beaten up by two-tier Phil. Anyway, from 5 to 7pm I had my chance to breakeven, but turns out that turn about is fair play as Deweys 10's over 7's beat my 7's over 10's and cleaned me out.
Game next Wednesday begins at 1pm (and John -- is your game this Friday or next?)
Best to all, Gregg

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Great Foxwoods Van adventure

The cool thing about my Dodge Caravan is that I can go solo when I want to be just off by myself and save money by sleeping in the van, and the next week I can pop up the seats and put six other people in for a day trip.

Guziks, Proziks, Elizabeth and I have been trying for two years to head off to Foxwoods. We had hoped for an overnight and finally decided that a day trip was more practical. They have always driven in the past. This was my turn. Usually we have had to take two cars, but we all fit in the van, including Jerry's 91 year old mother who still has her girlish figure and was fine about getting squeezed in the middle of the back seat.

I drove out and Jerry drove back. I could do it, but I'd rather not drive after dark and I was happy not to be in the traffic we encountered on the way back.

The trip out was full of laughter and stories and getting caught up with family and other news. As we went in, someone mentioned that the loud party atmosphere of the van might be different on the way home, but actually we sang almost all the way home. Josie has a wonderful voice, but we all took a piece of the atmosphere and the songs were old. Even Mom Guzik sang along.

The gambling was good for some and not so good for others. Don and Josie found the well pretty dry. The Guziks hit one of those slots with the huge wheel that spins around if certain screens appear and they did very well. For much of the time they played as a team, but Mom was the top winner.

Elizabeth and I watched for a while. I quit early when my poker table went south. The morning was great and I was up almost two hundred and had a few Courvoisier, with a rich businessman who made his money in China and some other interesting characters, but the afternoon was not great so I quit ahead seventy five and lost another twenty in a video poker spin machine with Elizabeth. She lost at her moderate slot play as well, but most of her day was the spa: massage, swim, hot tub. And she went to see the Bodies revealed show as well and really loved it.

All in all it was a fun day. We had a fine buffet and some great time to chatter. Now we'll start planning so that the stars align themselves again sometime in the next two years.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Greg's back from Alabama Game

Greg writes:

Very good day of poker with up to eight at the table and Dewey and Gregg til 7:30pm
One of the great getaways of all time -- son Peter, with an inside hit for a straight flush beat, Dad Dewey who was holding the Ace high flush.
Despite this loss, Dewey got his Mojo back, up over $200 til Gregg got a lucky river at about 7:30pm and took half of his fortune away, which gave Gregg a plus $3 for the day.
Game next Wednesday begins at 1pm.
Thanks Bruce for hosting the game last week and I hope that Dewey gives us a few more details of today's game.
PS: a lot of Alabama jokes today!

Well, I'll toss in what I remember. Toss back what I have missed and I'll add it to this blog.

Fortunately, Blowers was out working on his next book or his movie or something, so he was not there to take all our money this week.

I managed with one buy in to collect almost $250 and then I lost a good bit of it back, especially to the Pokermaster Greg in the last hour and a half.
In the day's last session, Greg was at one time at a low of $30 and he wedged his way back up with skill and courage and endurance to a point at which he and I were about even, and then I begged him to let me go home. He is a kind pokermaster and he gave me a break this time.

Peter too was a winner, catching about fifty dollars profit. He played good solid poker and laid down second best hands. It was a joy to see his good play.

At one point the river gave me an ace high heart flush. Peter, acting before me, went all it. I groaned thinking I now was going to deplete him of his winnings, thinking he held the king. No full houses were possible.

"Well, now you go home, boy," I said, " I call."
"Straight Flush" he announced. That was his fifty dollar win right there.

A few hands later the pot was huge and I held pocket kings while Gregg held pocket fours and Peter held A-Q. My kings held up and I got back most of my losses from son Peter.

Bruce and Phil got hit pretty bad. Ed came and when my pocket aces hit for trips on the river I took his profit out with an all-in bet he called with K-9.

I think Jerry left with a slight profit. He was up and down during the afternoon.

Chuckmonk showed for this game and it was a joy to see him as always. He did not fare too well. He took some pots, but was beat in the end.

Greg did not make money, but he had bought in so many times it was a win for him to have his profit of $3 and felt like a win. On our final hand I held 6-7 of spades and had a straight. He held 9-10 of spades. 3-4 of spades was on the board, so I had a straight already and a straight flush draw. The 8 of spades showed on the river and the Pokermaster squeaked out again. that hand was worth $100 to the winner.

More than the winning I felt in the groove, felt like I was seeing what could be done and getting out when nothing could be done. Of course, John was not there to represent his 7-5 as pocket aces.

I needed a win. I have been losing so much lately. Friday is a day trip to Foxwoods with old school chums. Even Elizabeth is going on this one, but will lose her money at the spa. I hope to do better at the limit tables there.

And there were lots of Alabama jokes, as Greg says. I asked him where was the banjo on his knee. If he'd really "Come from Alabama" then he should have one and I wondered had it "rained all night the day he left."
And it got worse from there. But he seemed to have had a great time and been well received as well. Perhaps a week off put him out of the poker groove. It sure seemed so at the game beginning when he was the only one who needed rebuys. I can't imagine that there ever was a time when he bought in for $100 in recent memory.

Lots of rules discussed and debated. Lots of questions about blind straddles most of which none of us could answer with authority.
Gregg lobbied for open freedom to talk at any time, with cards or not, but Bruce objected too strongly and the issued was dropped. Of course, Bruce was the first to speculate on another's hand when he did not hold cards, so he got pounced on. After that he was quiet. He decided just to mime the day away and it was pretty funny until he got tired of it.

The limit of three raises per round was inforced a number of times. That is rare for our group. In one case when raises were just a dollar it gave Phil a good chance to kill any possible raises after his with just a dollar. That was a rare play and a good one.

Gregg's rule of dealing cards up from the front of the deck rather than from the back, so all see them at the same time, was inforced again. I think that one is here to stay.

Gregg got a bit annoyed at me when I suggested we never know what might happen at his games, but he had said earlier that we decide on the rules "each week," and I think we do make changes often and allow some pretty unusual things at times. Then if Blowers shows there might be any number of quirks, like multiple straddles or a bonus chip for winners who hold a 7-2.

Oh, straddle bets were determined to be double as they progressed. So the first straddle is two chips, the second is four chips and the third is eight chips. No one straddled that far this week. Gregg did most of the straddling.......maybe all of it........I did not see it give anyone an advantage.

Well, this game continues to be a good bit of fun. Add in remembered hands or comments if you like and I'll put them in the blog.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Foxwoods: frugal except for the lobster

Foxwoods is about three hours from my house, so to go in a day and come back seems a bit much. Sometimes I can manage friendly company and that makes it a good six hour visit with some gambling in the middle, but otherwise it is a long run for a day's gambling. The Yankee Trails bus is a good deal, making up most of the cost of the trip in a free buffet, and I will do that on occasion, but seating can be tight and it means I can never play late night poker.
I like the poker best late night on the weekends, especially Saturday. Players who rarely play are drawn in for a night of fun and regulars who come every day may take that night to do something with the family. Some may even want to avoid the rush of unknown opponents. So for table selection it is hard to beat Saturday night.
Unfortunately, Foxwoods is not Vegas when it comes to room value. Slot players may get free nights, but rooms at the casino or in surrounding hotels are expensive on the weekends. an hour away I can get something for fifty bucks, but not close.
I can expect on a good winning poker run to win on average not much more than a hundred dollars. It seems counterproductive to take the trip just to see my meager and hard won profit eaten up by a room I hardly use.
Last winter in Florida I bought a Dodge Gran Caravan which holds a twin sized mattress that with good bedding can be made up to be a traveling bed. I decided to see if I could sleep in my car at the casino.
I learned that at both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun there are RV park areas, but these are restricted to RV's and vans do not count. Seems unfair. However, my good buddy Jimmy Morey claimed that Foxwoods would not bother me if I slept in my car, either in the parking garage or in the parking lot near the RV parking area.
So I gave it a try.
I discovered that the parking garage is just a bit too noisy. The cars come and go and there is a rhythmic beat of the tires against the seams in the concrete that interrupted easy sleep. I moved to the outside lot and found it fine. There were cleanup crews making a bit of odd noise and an infrequent car, but in general it was quiet enough and no one disturbed me or three of four other sleeping folks.
I do need to rig up some curtains for the intense parking lot lights, and perhaps I'll get some of those airplane blinders. I have noise reduction earphones, but they are awkward to sleep with and earplugs might also reduce noise. Also, next time I will park in the sleeping lot and take the shuttle in to the casino so that I don't have to drive even a short distance if I have been drinking.
I really did not sleep very well this time. But the newness of it made me a both a bit anxious and excited as well. It was my first experience sleeping in the van and I was as excited as I remember I used to get when I went tent camping. Often the first night I would be so wired that I'd just get up and spend it by the fire with just a few hours sleep. I was so pleased with the comfort of the mattress and in general with myself for finally taking the adventure, that I was not ready for much sleep.
Also, although October here is supposed to be cold, this was an unusually warm weekend and I was surprised at how warm the van stays. I had prepared blankets and expected to be sleeping cold, but perhaps just body heat alone keeps it warm. The windows certainly steamed up. You'd think I was having more than just a rest by myself.
Also, I played poker until after 2 AM and was awake just after sunrise, and I tried too locations, so I had not given myself much sleeping time. What is nice about having the bed in the back of the van, is that I could also head out for a midday nap if I liked.
This trip I just decided to do the one day. I don't like driving at night, but I still had a good bit of the second day to play, leaving at 3 to get home by sunset. What this added to Saturday night was the ability to play late, drink run, catch a show, and so get more out of my six hour travel time.
What I realized is that had I wanted to stay longer, I could pay with those travel coupons for Sunday night at a nearby motel, catch up on sleep and then do a third night of gambling with van as enough rest before heading back. This would bring my hotel bill down to Vegas room prices. If I sandwich in a 50 dollar room, I can use my sleep apnea machine and catch up enough sleep to make the other two nights just five hour naps in the van and that would better fit my poker patterns.
Also, it gives me a good bit of flexibility. I always have the van as backup, a comfortable place to go if the frugal opportunities dry up.
The coupon hotel deals can not be counted on.
Foxwoods will often give a decent poker rate on a room, but you have to play first and then call over the floorman who decides. In Vegas I can make frugal reservations and know I have a place. At Foxwoods eventually I certainly would get stuck paying full room price.
It is all very exciting. I think I have finally found a frugal approach to going to Foxwoods.


I had accumulated about $40 in comps, so I could eat at the buffet for free, and that would have been the frugal choice, but I like these two eating places and I hit both of them.


I like this spot. I see the reviews praise the breakfast, especially the cinnamon French toast, but this time I went for lunch. They gave me a carafe of good coffee for $1.59 so there was no waiting for refills. That was a good start just before poker and beats any coffee at the casinos.
I ate crab cakes. Sides could be chosen. I had a green salad and a sweet potato. The salad was fine but fairly barren except for two kinds of lettuce. The sweet potato was excellent. The sides could be refilled for free but I had enough.
Great homemade biscuits also came with the meal and real butter was there if I dug through the offerings or asked.
Another choice is blueberry muffins. Perhaps I'll try that next time.

I ate my Saturday supper meal at Pollo Loco in the casino. I really enjoy their chicken. This time I had the healthy choice, breast of chicken, veggies, and a salad. The chicken still was well marinated and everything was really tasty.


This place is pricy, but I treat myself to it if the weather is right. Lobster on a picnic table with plastic silverware is just to funny to miss. This time I ordered a larger lobster, one and three quarter pound. If you pay enough, they have really huge lobsters. This is the oversized menu.

They crack them just right so there is next to no work in the eating. The tail is sawed in half length wise so the meat is an easy find. The sides are weak, a bag of chips and cole slaw, but you eat in a pleasant marina and watch the boats come and go.

For more photos of this lobster spot, see last year's trip report

Sunday morning I ate breakfast at the Foxwoods buffet. It is pretty basic with three egg stations set up for fewer lines and the basics of breakfast. Smoked fish, however, was very plentiful. They had a white fish, salmon, pickled herring, and a smoked fish salad. They did not, however, have capers or horseradish sauce for my favorite way of making smoked salmon. Perhaps next time I will carry my own along with some Frank's hot sauce. Places more often have Tabasco and it is my least favorite hot sauce.
I did find hidden in the bottom recesses a few crumbs of what might be called crispy bacon (for the search for crispy bacon in Vegas click here) and they were enough. Grits were there as well as oatmeal, the ice cream was working with plenty of toppings, and there were plenty of sticky pastry offerings. The pineapple was good. The coffee was just barely passable.
In the main section they also offered a delightful pecan sauce like the sticky bun with no bun. I did not have iced cream, but next time I'll put some of these night big pecans on the vanilla.
The price was $10 and I was happy to see that unlike Vegas, Sunday was not an excuse to gouge the gambler with cheap champagne and double buffet prices. I see from my redng that hey have also done that in the past. Perhaps it taught them that few would come out for that.
breakfast opened at 8 AM and there was a waiting line, but it did not take too long.
I ate for free on the poker comps accumulated on my card.



Wandered into a great show at Foxwoods. Perfect for me as I love the old lounge music, loved Dean Martin and I remember Julius LaRosa.

And he did sing
"Eh, Cumpari" in this show. There was quite a bit of Italian in the show, even some Italian humor.

I remember well the flack when Arthur Godfrey fired him on the air. Godfrey lost more for that insensitive stunt.
At 79 he is still performing and was on stage singing in full voice. It is not what it was fifty years ago, but it still was fun.

Dean, of course, is dead but his songs were there in the voice of his daughter Deana Martin along with some rare old footage of her dad in the family during which she sings on stage with his taped voice. She has a great voice. Her use of the stage is a bit awkward, but in a Vegas black sparkling dress she sure had one sexy wiggle.

There were plenty of pretty women in this show. The entire band was women. It was called the Diva Band.

The cost of the show was thirty dollars. I caught a ticket from a guy unloading extras for twenty, but afterwards I found out that had I waited I could have got a seat for five from the same guy who was wanting to move his inventory just before the show started. I'll remember next time to check around show time for these guys and make an offer. I had a fine seat and the show was easily worth the money. Plenty of Sinatra in a style so close it seemed as if he were singing. This was better than the Rat Pack in Vegas show at the Plaza.

I was also happy to have begun to scale back on the gambling and remember some of the other benefits on these trips. It is part of my return to the more frugal trips and it will insure I don't lose during the losing cycles. Since my poker playing lately has been rewarding me like other folks slot play, this is a good strategy.


Except for one $20 session on a poor paying slot, and another on a double bonus (short pay of 9-6) for amusement, I played live low limit poker.
Session one - $4 -$8 Foxwoods
The first hour of this session was the killer. I got great cards and lost hand after hand until I had bought in for $260. It was a hard start. I played from 2-7 PM and then went to Pollo Loco and to a show.
Session two - $2-$4 - This was better. Fine table of loose passive players and I drank rum, joked around with the younger folks, and had the best time. I won $83.
Session three - A little $2 -$4 and then $3 - $6 at Mohegan Sun. Both were at tables with experienced, fairly tight players. I lost at the $3-$6. These were the regulars who knew one another. I could not budge them.
Final trip count - lost $370 including $20 on slots.

Memorable hands.
I don't remember most of my Foxwoods hands. My mind is a blank.
I did a good bit of raising on the button with draw cards when everyone was in. No one ever reraised this bet and generally I could see the flop and a free river. I did hear the groans of people who waited for me to bet the turn so they could raise, but by the river I could fold unfulfilled draws.
One I do remember was my 4-6 of diamonds. By the turn I had the straight and when I raised, some guy without cards and a pass to talk, speculated that I had pocket aces.
How else explain a bet on low cards flopped.
He had no business with his mouth open, but I could see that it got my call from another fellow with something more than pocket aces. On the river I caught my runner/runner diamond flush, took a chance and bet it, and my opponent called again, probably still thinking I had high pockets.
That button raise on draws at a 2-4 loose passive is a great play. The poorer players get caught or give it to me for free. The better players get confused and call anything more than a high pair and even if an ace flops, the turn is usually free.

I want to go again and play more late night 2-4. I can't make much money, but I sure have a better time with the younger folks. They don't get mad if I beat them. They just laugh. The only one mad at me at the 2-4 was a older serious fellow who bet his king when the flop came A-K-2 and I had A-8. I called. He checked the turn which was a 5 and I checked as well. He bet the river, a 3 and I called and showed my ace.
"You got an ace," he bitches, " Why didn't you bet it?"
I should have been quiet, but I snapped,
"The real question is why you bet your king. I'm beat by A-2 and A-5 and A-3 as well as every other ace with a kicker higher than 8. You are beat by anything that calls you."
He shut up. But I'd have done better to say that I'd misread my hand and thought I had other cards and kept him in the dark.
At Mohegan I had a royal flush draw and caught an offsuit ten on the river for a nice straight. It was beat by four tens. Had he held the club and the spade made my royal, it would have been a bad beat jackpot.
I also had a nice straight flush draw at what would have been the high hand award for the morning had I caught turn or river.

I lost with K-K to one opponent who had A-A.

I made the best player at the table mad at me. I checked my A-K when two aces came on the flop. I checked again when the turn brought a king and then raised my opponent and I bet on the river. Had this guy been a poorer player I would have gotten a raise or two. He held the K-K for the lower flop. but I had raised preflop so he figured me for A-A or A-K

Many of the regulars were annoyed with me. I would not play often, but I might play in ways they did not expect. These regulars had good, solid rules and wanted me to be predictable. It annoyed them that I might fail to raise them off a hand at the $3 level and then get two free cards and fold or bet out something that they did not expect.
Still, they beat me. They were less annoyed then. They figured I had it coming.
Playing the way I was playing I needed a bit of luck and did not get it. Once they were mad at me, I had to really tighten down and just play good cards. They would pay me off if I did, even bet into me to push me. However, they would not let me push. But I did not get the cards. I sat a long while and was going to be seen again as a rock if I bet, so I called it a morning.
Perhaps it is bad to play against the standard pattern of the math, but it seems otherwise I just join the group of players who pass around the pots and exchange money on a regular basis. The house then takes the only profit.

I best like playing at night with young folks who are still in party mood mixed with first time players. The old guys are just too serious. They are friendly at first, but dull, and they don't get a laugh when a river card saves someone's second best. If it is their card they do this disingenuous apology.
This is limit poker.
The river is often a good bet.
Certainly it is a huge part of the game.
I got caught in one bad river.
I played a 6-9 and on the turn I caught a straight with my six and my nine made it the nut. There were two diamonds and both my opponents were on diamond draws. I bet. Guy with queen high raised me and the second player called. This is an unusual play at a good table. We called. Of course, the river was a diamond and queen high was good enough. I missed not only a nice pot, but a good bit more that would have been bet if others had a smaller straight.

The tables at Foxwoods were better at keeping full than those at Mohegan, but both places suffer from walkers. There is a "third man walking" rule which as far as I can see is a joke. If I say anything about it, there is always some reason the dealer is not going to actually do anything. It is there to threaten, but no one has chips locked up. I think the locals get a free ride on walking.
No rake reduction either. If the casino was losing, I bet the third man walking would be enforced.
The whole thing is maddening and perhaps I'll be the fourth man walking next time, skip the blind, wait for it to come around and cut down on being blinded to death.

Also, both places now rake a dollar for bad beats. Players like these promos. I don't really get it. In every other way these guys like to win because their skill and math is better than the opponents, but the all is luck bad beat lottery is talked about over and over. I suppose that since the money is used for promotions, it is the best lottery ticket I can buy, but I'd rather play without it.
Of course, the only time I have been at a table where quads beat quads in all these years was at the Palms where there was no bad beat and quad kings beat quad nines.


Great color starting in the trees. Autumn is here with summer temps.

Lee is a great first stop for coffee and a bathroom break.
I saw gas for twenty cents cheaper in Massachusetts. Connecticut was a few cents higher than New York.
For some reason both times the Mass pike was free. They just picked up my toll ticket.
Coming home on Sunday the traffic was perhaps as crowded as coming on a weekday.

The GPS is awkward in a few spots. I lost signal outside Foxwoods after turning the wrong way. There is a place where 2A turns right and then immediately left that must be new right outside Mohegan Sun. The verbal prompts around Hartford and Springfield don't distinguish the exits well enough in traffic. So be certain to know the route numbers. There is a confusing sign to head toward I-90 when passing Springfield. I stayed straight and another I-90 exit came.

There is a rest stop not far from Mohegan Sun which might be an easy sleeping spot. I saw it on the way to Abbott's Lobster in the Rough.


Mohegan parking at the Riverview seemed best for access to the live poker room.
At Foxwoods I parked at the Pequod but might better use a Rainmaker parking option

Carry hot sauce and some sauce for the smoked salmon.

Check just before the show for people unloading unused tickets. Offer $5 for $30.

Small tube half reading glasses for looking at GPS fine print and still being able to see for driving.

Nite time sleep aide