Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun

I took a pre-holiday solo trip to play some poker and see Johnny Mathis.  It was a great break from all the holiday planning.  I did fine in the 2-4 games, but I could not win at the Foxwoods 4-8, so I ended up down over $300.  Not a good score.
All the rest of the trip was delightful.

I had decided to see if I could not get a last minute deal on a Mathis ticket.  I know most of these tickets are comps given to slot players who don't value them but get them and then sell them or give them away.  When I checked the box office early in the day, a woman approached me who had two tickets and wanted $30 for both of them. One ticket at the box office was $35.

I only needed one and she would not split them, but that gave me the idea of price.  She told me that few of these shows are sold out and there are usually people trying to sell or give tickets away.  So about 6PM I headed toward the box office and on the way I saw six people talking about tickets.  I waited a bit away from them, and then said, "Excuse me, I wondered if anyone had an extra ticket for Johnny Mathis."  
Four of the group just left, but two fellows talked to me.  They had two tickets, but one fellow was not sure he wanted to see the show.
"Were you looking for a free one?" he asked.
"I was looking for a $15 ticket," I offered and that made him decide he did not want to see the show.
I did not pay attention to where the seat was located, but just headed to the theater.  
The place was huge.  I can see why they do not sell out.  It was like a huge sports arena. 
I realized I should have taken a look at where the seats were located. 
I was guided downstairs and then seated seven rows back and right dead center in the middle.  I have never had a seat this perfect for any concert.  Amazing luck.
Johnny looked and sounded great.  At 75 he is younger looking than I am at 64.  His voice was still pretty much the same.  That unique sound was so important to me in my high school years.  I was impressed and very pleased.

I expected the show might be Christmas dominated. Some take the theme so intensely that little other music happens, but this was a relaxed show with Christmas music and all the favorites and some newer songs I had not heard before.  He also sang “Crazy” from his new Country music album, “Let It Be Me.”  
I loved it all.
Behind him was a 30 piece orchestra.  We don’t hear or see this sort of thing often.
The set was soft and gentle.  There was a huge backdrop portrait of an old New England town covered in snow with just the lights of a church showing.  It seemed perfect.
All in all the show was a throwback to shows years ago. Not too much glitz and glitter and the music was not loud and in our faces. It was relaxed. Mathis is a relaxed, almost shy fellow anyway. He just moved a bit to play to different sections and sang the songs. It was about two and a half hours with a fifteen minute break in between for the bathroom and a water fountain. 
I have never seen such a long show. 
It all seemed simply wonderful.


There will be an interesting broadcast this Thursday.
Also on this site I get some of his music playing nonstop and it is fine to write this trip report to it.  Just now he sings with Ray Charles, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

Here is a review from Reno that also reviews Gary Mule Deer, whose fine comedy was sandwiched in between Mathis.

Maybe I’m one of the few who has not heard him.  He was really funny and had perfect delivery.  He sounded like Johnny Cash, but only finished one Cash song.  His jokes were aimed a good bit at seniors, a good choice for this audience.  I’m going to search him out and see his Utube clips.

Here is a local interview:

Johnny also sang with guitarist Gil Reitgers. This song was included.

I gambled the first two nights at Mohegan Sun and had such a fine time joking with other players.  The first night we all got to hear from one young woman who accepted a marriage proposal at the Mohegan Sun bar that night.  She had lived with the fellow a while, but she did not really expect the proposal and it was fine and fun.  Her best man played with us as well as did a very pretty girl who was his brother’s girlfriend.  She had a dry sense of humor.  She knew nothing about the game.  She would toss in her cards saying “Call” and someone would say, “ You mean fold” and once she said, “Well, they are the same in my world.”  I loved it.

There too was a delightful young black woman and her man who engaged me in a bit of joking and talk, and a cute personable Spanish girl with the coolest black cap. She was out of money by the second night but watching a family member and she was fun to sit with.  
I played right next to a dealer from Foxwoods who liked to raise preflop. I wanted to be to his  
left because of that.
I only really could use the position one time. I had pocket kings and reraised to eliminate the competition. It worked, but my hand ended up so good I should have just called and kept more people in. I caught a king on the flop and the turn and river were both deuces. He knew what I had, but he paid me anyway.
Then there was a young fellow who pretended he did not know anyone. Not Mathis or Lena Horne or anyone. He had me going for a while until I got that he was putting me on. He was very funny.
We also had a good discussion of jazz when he asked some serious questions.

I loved playing and talking with all these characters.
I ended up ahead after two days and about 17 hours of play.  

Then on Monday I went to a serious 4-8 at Foxwoods.  I want to learn a bit more about playing these harder games which are more poker and less luck. If I can get more comfortable, I can play the game at the Venetian.  Most of these folks know one another and play with each other often, so that puts me at a good disadvantage. They also play the game better than I do. 
I started aggressive, lost, and showed I was playing crap. I had had the experience at a 4-8 the night before at Mohegan when as soon as I bet, they folded. It helped me with pocket kings that held up as two people stayed with me to the river and had just a smaller pair. So I go paid, but I was lucky that the kings held up.
However, the rest of the morning was just terrible and I played poorly. 
By the time I reined in my bad play I was down almost $200.

I should probably have quit earlier, but I kept hoping I’d get some of my losses back.  All day I had just one full house and other than that not a hand bigger than a straight and few of those.  The full house was a strange 4-6 that flopped full.  I had some pocket kings and they won but lost with jacks and queens.
The only thing I did not like is there were a couple arrogant players. One old woman was the enforcer and any variation from strict rules, she called. She was annoying. Another fellow was a know-it-all and was downright rude at times. Most of the time these arrogant folks don't play as well as they think they do. I took pots from both of these folks who were surprised at my strength.  
The good players say very little and if they do think they can play better than I can play, they keep that to themselves because they don't want me to leave. One fellow did say he folded because I had a "glow" when I flopped my full house. That was good information. I'll try to work on that. I used to try to pretend that I had bad cards and try to believe it myself. Generally, I had not thought my expressions gave much away. In that hand another fellow called me to the river.
The dealer at Mohegan also gave me a good tip. He said that when there is a lot of talking, that means the guy has a good hand. I had never heard that. He said that was how he suspected I had a good hand with my pocket kings. I was joking about them too much with him. 
We did not have many head to head battles. We more or less stayed away from one another. I liked knowing he would raise just before me so I might throw away good but not great cards, especially things like Ace 8 or Ace 9 which I probably should throw away anyway. Also, I think he was smart to raise preflop on big cards in early position. That way he gets out the cards that might draw small cards and beat him.
I had a funny hand at Foxwoods. I like to raise on the button with suited middle connectors in games where most people play big cards, if everyone is in the pot. It builds a pot, disguises my cards, and often gives me a free turn card to draw to a straight. I should not do it with unsuited, but this one time I did, as everyone was in. At that table that meant that most had large cards, and it might mean that those were used up and not coming on the flop.
This time the flop did not help me at all. After the flop they all checked to me and I checked. My free card was a nine on the turn and one fellow bet just before me. I called and everyone else folded. He had pocket jacks. A nine came on the river. He bet and I raised, was called, and took the pot. Well, that caused some stirring of talk.
"You raised that preflop with 8-9 offsuit?"
"I did"
There was amazement all around.
For many of them that also identified me as a poor player. I certainly do not explain my thinking. Sometimes I just say that I felt lucky. I had not bet at all in a long while, so I liked offsetting my rock status with an unusual bet. But it did not help me because afterwards I never had any cards where I might show the power of betting out or raising and want to be called.

I was pretty careful, but I did have a bit of an on tilt experience. I don't play video poker because the pay schedules are so bad, but I was down a bit my first night of live poker and still not ready to drive back, so I decided just twenty bucks in the Double Bonus. Now in Vegas I play 10/7 DB, but here it was 9/6.
Well, my twenty ended up being $80 in. First I had made the mistake of hitting max bet for the first $20 and that is much higher than just 5 quarters. I had stretched it a bit by hitting the double up for any win on a pair and actually went three times once and won all three. But it dwindled as I played. Finally, I hit four 4's. Only 5 coins in, but it was enough to give me almost $40 profit and I cashed out and breathed easy.
Ironically, the pay table had not affected my play because I never hit a flush or a fullhouse. I sure was happy to see those nice paying quads; however, I wish I had hit them when I was playing max bet by mistake. I did not have the guts to try the double up on those quad 4's. I suppose it was the best bet in the casino, just like free odds on the dice, no vigorish, but I guess by then I was off tilt.

I stayed the weekend at a Ramada in Groton where the inexpensive hotels cluster.  It was a few dollars more than the cheapest Super 8,($123 total for both Sat-Sun taxes and all) but had better reviews and an indoor pool.  I liked it.  It was not very fancy, but fine enough. I could actually park my car and see it out my window. I was on the first floor of two floors available. The service was great.
One of Gary Mule Deer's jokes was:

"If the room is $29.99, you better just skip the complimentary breakfast."

Well, this was one of those breakfasts. On the other hand, a bit of orange juice and some oatmeal is plenty to start my day. I brought two ceramic cups this time, so I could avoid the Styrofoam bowls in the microwave.
Across the street was a Walmarts and the room had a coffee maker, fridge and microwave, so it was easy enough to eat there during relaxed non poker time and watch a bit of television. 
The pool was very shallow and the jacuzzi was very old.  It may have been brought to Groton by the first Connecticut pioneers.  Still I enjoyed swimming around a bit, especially on Monday morning when I had the pool all to myself.

The television lacked my TCM so all the television was commercials.  I can no longer tolerate commercials. I'm spoiled at home with being able to tape and fast forward and with Roku and Netflix. While having my bagels, I flipped between Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn and some other easy to follow story, but sometimes the commercials were on both stations.
I did have wifi, but I forgot to pack my external speakers or that would have entertained me.

I told the fellow at the counter that I was taking immune suppressive drugs and nervous about bedbugs. He said that he had been there three years and no cases had emerged. He was worried about guests to went to the cheap places, did not like them, and then came his way as the cheap spots nearby had had some cases. Of course, that was good marketing, but he also talked about his mother, struggling with cancer and on immune suppressive drugs, and her fear that just getting a cold might kill her. So I don't think he was just marketing. My humira is not at all that serious, but I do worry about the bugs. I checked completely and everything looked great.
Both the fellow and I agreed that it was not so much about cleanliness but just about luck. Still, I wonder if folks who have not treated bedbugs in their homes might also be folks who don't want to pay an extra few bucks to stay in a hotel. Or perhaps the slightly more expensive places get less traffic and so the odds are with them for less infestation. Just a thought.

The ride to Mohegan was about 8 miles and almost a straight run along the river on an uncrowded road. It was an easy drive. The drive to Foxwoods was a bit longer and windy. I liked it in daylight as it was through country with many old stone fences, some horse farms. At 3am I'd rather be coming back from Mohegan Sun as the turns were less complicated.

I drank too much to drive the first night, so I was not comfortable driving back at 2 or 3 am and waited until almost 5. It was a mistake to drink late into the night. But the poker was entertaining even into the early morning.
They gave great alcohol. On Sunday I had Glenlivet and they really brought a double so two was it for the day. After that I had virgin bloody Mary's. I asked for a bunch of olives and the waitress brought me three in my bloody Mary and another cup full of olives, maybe twenty. Well, that was supper. Amazing!
For the most part I ate bagels in the room, but I did have a free buffet at Mohegan Sun.  It was really delicious.  I like it better than the Foxwoods buffet, but that may be simply because I am used to that one.
Particularly tasty was a braised lamb and cavetelli pasta and a medley of roasted vegetables.  Other things looked very good, but these were so tasty, I made my meal on them.   I had a few deep fried shrimp that were quite meaty. The deserts were very good as well. There was a good bit of fruit and as well as a normal salad bar, I saw some fancy cold salads. In the spot where they must do the morning omelet was a pasta station where you picked the pasta and the chef put it together with anything you might like. I could not try all these tastes. I'll have to return.

I love the Mohegan Sun casino decor. Foxwoods reminds me of an overgrown shopping mall, but Mohegan is just full of glass and beads and colors and Indian shapes. It is like walking through a piece of modern art. I was sorry not to have the energy to pack a camera and share some of the sites.
This fellow captured some of the visual ideas a couple years ago.

Hit "older" so see some of the idea of the place.

The poker room there is brighter too.  In Foxwoods you do down in the basement.  At least this trip I played where I could see out the window and watch the pines move in the chilly wind.
I expected snow on Sunday, but the storm blow over and I had all clear traveling and an easy drive back home on Sunday.  I waited until after rush hour to leave so as to hit the confusion of Hartford when there were fewer cars.  Even so I exited once too soon.  The GPS brought me back easily, however.  Cost me just one minute in my ETA.  Then halfway home there are few cars on the road at all.  No tolls either.  I picked up a ticket, but was not charged either way.  I am not sure why.  Gas for my van is about $40 to $50 round trip.  Not a good daytrip,  but for three days of gambling, not so bad.  Often I go with friends, but this time I wanted some time to myself and the ability to be flexible around my own comfort.  I slept very well, did not push it so as to be overtired and all in all, except for playing over my ability level, it was a good trip.

Well, I can never remember many of the jokes I hear, but here is one from Gary.

In  the senior citizen home yesterday I heard an old man say to an old woman,
"I bet you can't guess how old I am"
and she says,
"Sure I can, just drop your pants and I can tell."
So he drops he pants and she studies the scene a while and then she says,
"You're ninety -two years old."
"Well, I'm be dad gummed," he says, " how did you you figer that out?"
"Why it wasn't very hard at all," she answered, "you told me how old you were at breakfast this morning."

Joke 2

So it seems Arizona has conducted a resent poll on the illegal immigration issue to see if it was really bothersome

27 percent of those who responded said that they were very concerned and wanted he government to do more about it.

70% percent said,
"No creo que haya ningĂșn problema"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Article signing

Well, it was a bit cheeky of me to turn one published article into a book signing at the local bookstore, but it was a lot of fun just the same.  I asked my friends to come just so I would not look too pathetic and they did so it was a bit of a party.  I did well with what was ordered and sold three of the John Blowers signed leftovers as well.

Here is how it looked:
(clicking on photos will make them larger)

With granson Casey and his mom Jen
l to r:  Jerry, Gail, Kathy, Charlie, me
Meliss and her daughter

Casey brought along his favorite toys

Don and 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Foxwoods on the bus, a Saturday trip

Well, I did not break the bank at Foxwoods, but I did break the seats in the Yankee Trail bus.  I was sitting by myself in the second to last window seat with two women in the three seats behind me.  I decided a few minutes before arrival that I would move to the aisle seat and make my exit effortless, so I stood and arranged my belongings and when I sat back in the aisle seat, the support snapped, putting the entire seatback as well as the seatback connected to it and me on the laps of the ladies behind me.  Luckily they were not hurt.  The heavier seat with me in it landed on the empty seat between them.  They were nice about it, but it did mean we all had to find different seats for the return trip and would not have as much space.

My day at poker was a very good one.  I drank a good bit of Myer’s rum, met some very interesting people, ate a large portion of free chicken at Pollo Loco, and left with a profit of $132 for the day.  All in all it was a success.

As the rum loosened me up, I engaged more and more of my companions, asking questions, joking, and having the experience I like, one of interaction and sharing that is similar to what happens around the televsion setting of Cheers, only with strangers.  Most people are more than willing to talk about what they know, so it is only necessary to find some opening and ask the right questions and follow up for more information. 
Soon they are telling life stories.
This Saturday group was more diverse and Cosmopolitan than the regular local rocks I usually encounter on weekdays at Foxwoods.  I joined a new table too.  I like that very much as no one knows anything about anyone and the folks who are programed to quickly lose their day’s bankroll have just started.  Joining a table in progress often means playing against those who have survived by using good play and while new bad players join, it is not the same as starting when everyone has fresh money.

The people were more fun than the poker.

I played poker with a Polish fellow from Warsaw, and so I got to drink my Myers Rum and say:
na zdrowie

He was a friendly fellow, and he told me that in Connecticut the good source of Polish food was New Briton, especially Broad Street.

From his comments, I suspect that this neighborhood has experienced the same sort of problems as Polish communities in Utica with the end of factories in America, but perhaps the Polish community is a bit more vibrant and not hit quite as hard as those in Upstate NY.

Also it seems what the Guzik's call simply kapusta is technically bigos kapusta.  Kapusta is more generic for cabbage and when we add the sauerkraut, it is bigos kapusta.
That was a good key search word for more information on this delightful dish, and I liked the following particular blogged description of how it might be made.  

Perhaps I'll try some of this bloggers variations one of these days.
My basic attempts at bigos kapusta are in my blog of recipes here:


We also talked about the rock concert son Dana had attended in Warsaw.  The Polish fellow livened up to talk about Warsaw, and it was very entertaining to listen to him between playable hands and hear the charm of his home city.  

He also was familiar with Dyngus Day, but not because of Buffalo, but because of coming from Poland.  He tried to teach me how to pronounce the full name, but said we Americans could not really ever pronounce it, and that is why in English speaking countries it shortens to just Dyngus Day.

He has children in Chicago and actually had shopped at Wally’s market in the Polish Community there.  I shopped there a few years ago when Wally’s had so many choices of kielbasa that it was impossible to chose one, and since the young, pretty blond girls behind the counter spoke only Polish, impossible for an illiterate fellow like me to get any help in the choosing.  I could not even manage to communicate the idea of barbecue grill.


While I was playing in the seat to his right, I learned a new rule, at least for Foxwoods poker.  I put four chips in my hand with the intention of calling, but before I could act, my Polish neighbor announced a raise.  
I wanted with this new information to fold, but the dealer would not let me fold.  I pointed out that I had not passed the chips over the labeled “bet line,” but she told me that line meant nothing.  It was just there for the convenience of the short armed dealers.  
Later, when the floor was around, I asked the question for clarification.  He told me that if the movement to bet took chips past my cards, I then had to make the bet.  
The dealer's name was Wilton (or something close) and she was from Haiti. She both knew her ability and was confident she was right. She was also delightful, and we laughed together at all of it and I overtipped her once later to show there was no hard feelings. Then she later helped me get seated for my last half hour.
So many times these discussions of rules leave either the dealer of the player outraged. It is so unnecessary in a casino where the floor is the final arbitrator. So, after that I put my cards far in front of me and just short of the "bet line", protected from being folded by my huge clay card protector, so that any action I might take would be on my side of the cards.  They let me do this.  In a sense, it allowed me to establish my own betting line.

Soon after, I moved down two seats to be more directly across from the dealer and had an Italian guy to my right. We had a fine time talking about Italian and Spanish and how both people can understand each other’s language, a speaker like me could not get by in Italy with my limited Spanish, but natie speakers have no trouble.  He taught me a few Italian words, and we spoke in Spanish occasionally, so that one of the other players asked me:
“So, do you intend to speak every language?”

And so the banter and laughter continued.

On my left was a very pretty girl who was quiet and reserved, reading a People magazine in between playable hands.  People magazine always reminds me I am now old because it never contains photos of any people I know, and after seeing page after page of young celebrities that I have never heard of, I sometimes get depressed because surely the world in this way is passing me by.
I kept glancing at the photos and finally saw someone I knew, Halle Berry with her new French lover Oliver and so I started to talk to the pretty girl about Halle.  
I could not remember the title of the movie that first attracted me to this actress, nor the name of her costar Billy Bob Thornton.  I could remember “Sling Blade” that Thornton had directed, and that prompted another player to name Billy Bob Thornton, but none of us could come up with “Monster’s Ball.” I kept coming up with "Midnight Dance" and knowing it was wrong. The girl had never heard of Billy Bob or either movie I described, and I knew that even these movies that I think of as fairly recent flicks were as ancient to her as “Hollywood” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, which is the last movie I’ve watched here on the Roco.

One old fellow named Ascher, directly across from me, wore a cap that said Dave and Buster’s, so when I had an opening I asked him if that was a construction company or a sandwich shop.  He told me it was a bar where there was a Midway of new arcade games and that he had not been there, but his daughter had sent him the cap from Orlando. The pretty girl next to me chirped in with more information, that one existed in Providence as well and called it like a Chucky Cheese for adults.
A while later the girl stood up to proudly show us her beginning pregnancy, and it was so sweet to see this rather indrawn woman smile and share with us her coming baby. Her Asian husband was nearby and we congratulated both. She looked Irish.  
Ascher was a great comfort to me because here he was looking seventy and still playing good poker at 97 and could tell people about Dave and Buster's although I am sure there are no 97 year old people playing in that arcade. He was just a wonderful fellow.

One newbie to the game just kept catching full houses.  It was amazing.  He did not play poorly, but it is hard, after all, to play full houses poorly.  He walked with a good pile of chips.

Across the table was a young fellow named Shaun who could be counted on for a bet if no one else bet. He did accumulate chips when the table felt too weak to call.  Because of this and the general loose attitude at the table, even with good cards I rarely bet out, but let someone bet into me and then decided where to call or raise.  
Once I held jack/Queen and the flop came king/jack/XX.  It checked around and was going for the second time around when Shaun decided to bet the turned three.  I called.  He bet again on the river and I called and showed the winning jack.  He was surprised I had not bet the jack.  I learned then that he would always bet second best, so if he was in the hand, he would bet into me and I could wait for him.
It was hard to push anyone out, so raising did not often seem practical.  Only once did I push successfully.  I had 8-9 suited on the button and everyone put in the initial $4, so I button raised to $8 to build a pot and give me a chance of an after flop free card in a straight or flush draw situation.  The flop was A-A- X and everyone looked weak, so I took a shot at bluffing and bet my button.
The table folded.
It was a good pot because of my initial bet, but no one wanted to play with me, figuring I had raised earlier on an Ace.  This is another advantage to that button raise with suited connectors in limit.  We can represent the ACE.
Otherwise, I was not very aggressive except in the check raise.
My first twenty minutes at the table were brutal.  My very first hand (one where I had to post, so I saw a free flop)  I had 9spade-5heart  and the flop came 10-J-Q all spades.  The betting was frantic and I was squeezed, but I went along for the ride, thinking that the straight flush would be great and thnking I had the third highest spade if a fourth spade dropped.  
The turn gave me a straight, so I called with more hope, and I held at that point the winning hand.  
The river was an Ace which made bigger straights.  No one had a flush.

Then a few hands later I had K-4 of hearts, flopped 4-4-x, and bet, but lost to runner-runner heart flush.

So, as the day wore on my money dwindled as I'd get good cards and bad flops or bad cards that ate up my potential.  I was down almost $200 when the tide turned and I made it all back with profit.

Many writers say that we should not drink while playing, although some of the old players at the El Cortez have said that "no one  can beat a drunk."  
In no limit I would never drink, but in limit, I play better when I am drunk and happy, and I also manage to liven up the table a bit with my questions.  I find the wait between playable cards less boring, and I think that I disguise my ability to play and that helps me win more on good hands.
For example, in this game I had pocket kings and raised on the big blind.  It is the only time all day I raised a big blind.  I rarely do that because position is just so bad.  So it should have signaled that I had cards, pocket kings being one of the three possible  general hands to raise with in early position.
I ended up head to head with a very good player.  Perhaps he just put me on A-K as I slow played the trips when they came on the flop and just called his bet on his building flush.
He caught the flush on the turn, so I did another check/call.
The case king came on the river.  I bet out wanting to insure my $8, and he raised his flush.  With a pair of kings on the board, he should have just called my bet unless he had a full house.  I reraised, and he still called and I showed my quads.  
He was very annoyed, but polite about it.  I expect he was playing the drunk and not the cards. Why else would I bet out on the river?  I had to have a full house to do that unless I am too drunk, see my third king and miss seeing the flush he was betting.
I have often played this man and found him very disciplined and not at all like what he was in that hand.

Drunken play also gives me a chance to cover up why I bet with less power in the few instances when I am trying to push out the other player on the river.  As I turn my cards, I can say that I misread them.  I won a hand that I should not have bet and covered my push bet that way.

One bad poker decision was to throw another $4 at pocket sixes when the flop was 2--2-XX  The turn was free and the river dropped one of my two outs to give me the full house and a nice pot, but it was bad poker and I need to avoid it.  The table looked weak.  I did not think anyone had the trips.  I never knew since after I was called on the river, I was the only one to show. 

Most of the rest of the day I tossed stuff away.  Peter was teasing about playing 10-2, but I refused to play any A-small unless it was suited (I won once with A-2 of clubs just because I had the only Ace.)  I threw away any unsuited middle connectors which I am at times tempted to play.  I threw away even middle suited cards with gaps like Blowers favorite 5-7.  In early position I threw away anything less than picture cards, especially with Shaun doing his raising thing. 
It worked.  
I think at least in limit I just have been too often taking a chance with bad cards.  Once in a while I'll play them if I think that my reputation is as a rock, so any bet I make gets too much respect, but at this table, no one seemed to know I was a rock.  I  suspect they knew I was a talkative drunk who claimed to lose often and talked about getting the value of the rum to offset my losses.  They did not see me toss away so many of my hands.  But perhaps I tossed less than I remember.  It may be that the bad flops on high cards still kept me from looking like a rock.

Of course, playing once every three months on drink is easy, but playing everyday in Vegas for 17 day, I'd kill my liver with that much rum.  So I'll need to work out a sober table persona.

One fellow was called to the table as Mac, and when he joined us, he looked a bit like a fellow I had been to parties with twenty years ago, a friend of an old friend Wayne.  He had greatly aged, much more than me and much, much more than Wayne, but the resemblance was close enough, and finally I asked him if he knew our mutual friend Wayne.  It was the guy.  He did not remember me, but it was fun to have noticed and remembered him, and I'll pass on his greetings.  

The buffet was too crowded, so I went to Pollo Loco for my free food and that was a great decision. 
In line behind me was a Latino woman and her husband and eight others in the family all speaking Spanish and very excited because she had just won $250,000 at bingo.   What a party!!  She showed us the sign that she had to hold for her photo.  I am not certain I would want to advertise that I just won $250,000 but I suspect that she did not have it on her in cash and there were 10 people with her.

Even sober I can never figure out what to get on posted menus in fast food joints or how to maximize a coupon when it is ala carte.  So when the counter worker asked if he could help me, I showed him the coupon, told him I did not want a drink, and knew I did want the marinated and grilled chicken, and asked him to help me by maximizing my coupon without making me pay any more money.
He had me pick two sides, white meat or dark.  
What I got for $15 was an incredible amount of food, especially the chicken.  It came on two plates and was delicious as were the bean dishes I chose for sides and the cinnamon sticks he chose for my dessert.  Free water too and lots of salsa to add zest to bites of chicken or bean sides.   
It was so fast, that I was able to play another half hour of poker.  I lost $20 doing that. And the dealers were the worst in the world, slow and completely baffled by any little aberration so they needed to ask the floor.  I did not get the same kind of poker I had earlier.
Still it was a good day and I quit ahead $132 which included $3 I won at video poker using my freeplay.

I was just under the wire for the bus because at the last minute I discovered I was without  my nice warm pullover shirt.  I rushed to check security before going back to find it still on the seat at Pollo Loco where I had been eating.  The search for the shirt gave me just three minutes to board the bus.

I hurried and made it.
The ride back was less than ideal.  The bus was too hot for me, and I no longer had  my own seat.  It was dark and no movie was played this time.
I felt the beginning of the hang over, drank all my water and just drifted.  Next trip I need to bring some books on tape since on the way back it is too dark to read.
My companion was a woman who perhaps had had a lobotomy this past month and had recovered enough to ride the bus and play the slots.  She was pleasant but not engaging.
Still there were two talkative Black guys in the next row talking about fishing all the local shore spots in our area.  Many of those spots  I knew, but many were new to me.  They told some fish stories from Basic Reservoir of large bass breaking straightening the hook and in general entertained me with plenty of annecdotes.
One said he thought in Round Lake that the weed treatment had killed the fish and they would stock again in a couple years, but the fishing had suffered.
They talked about how an Asian guy they knew who prepared Carp by keeping them alive in his bathtub to purge them and then filleted them.
After the fish talk, one started to tell the other about street craps and how it is played, detailing how the bets are made and explaining how complicated it is with side bets on all sorts of combinations adding to the usual bets we see in the casino.  They talked about dice games with up to six die and combinations of numbers. I could not follow all of it, but it was a great conversation to overhear.
And behind me one woman was telling another all the recipes of things she made in her slow cooker.  While I did not hear of any I wanted to try, most being just put together meals with cans of this or that,  it was fun to listen just the same and it made the long, dull ride home more entertaining.

So I had quite a day of it.
I like Foxwoods.
I do well there and even if I don't do well, I have fun with the free rum, the free food, the free conversation.
This had been my fifth free trip, using points for the bus voucher, but I could not get another voucher this time as I had but 24 points to start and I needed 27, so I may have to actually pay to go in December or when I get home from Florida next spring.