Thursday, September 19, 2013


I have not always liked Turning Stone as a place to play poker.  In limit there are only 2-4 games and generally only one table with the same regulars.  
These folks are very tight.  
Overcoming the rake is impossible.  
And seating is at a premium.  Sometimes I have to wait an hour.  Friday night I came with my Four Fisgh book, but that night they seated me right away. There is no changing tables for better selection of opponents. I left that 2-4 table and played 1-2 no limit because the table was just too tight.

Foxwoods and Mohegan are both better venues for limit poker.
I have been hesitant to play no limit because I don’t really have the bankroll to play it, and I’m not ready to put $300 at risk in a single hand, especially to the risk of a bluff when I end up with second best after the river and my opponent is representing the best hand.
However, I’ve been developing a low chip no limit play where I buy in close to the minimum, rebuy if I lose,  and then leave if I win.  
I like it.  I think it rewards good play because everything is not risked on one hand.
It reduces the ability of my opponents to bluff.  They might draw out on me, but they can’t represent a river hand that they don’t have.  Meanwhile, I can often bet just a small amount on the river when I have a good hand and get called.  I might even have second best hand, bet, and get called by third best.

This happened when a river 4 of clubs made my opponents flush and my full house.  I did not have a 4, but I had a deuce, slow played from the beginning. It was second best, but I could bet $30, and I was called by the flush.

If I win, then I have to walk away and do something else for an hour or so, until I can buy in again for  the minimum amount. Or I can go and play 2-4.  

I played a good bit of poker, much more than the 4 hours required for the poker rate.  And I had a fine time.  

All of my winning sessions on this trip were on no limit tables, and I’d have come out well ahead had I played much less poker and just skipped the 2-4 games.  I ended behind $242.

Later on Friday night and then on Saturday night I was in loose 2-4 games that do offer good action and can be beaten by luck more than skill.  Once playable cards are selected, they often need to be played until the end, even on a draw; preflop aggressive raising and capping creates pot odds if the turn and river are not bet aggressively.  
This happened the last day at a table where most of my losses were realized.

On Friday night I played against an old fellow who was “off the leash” because his wife had gone to Buffalo from where they lived near Utica/Rome.  He had gone to a cheap movie in Oneida, was playing poker, and would go to the movies again at midnight. They wintered in Santa Barbara, California, and he was delightful for sharing stories and banter.  
He told about his neighbor who had been shot down in WWII and then paraded by the Germans in uniform to show they had captured the enemy.  German soldiers wanted to switch uniforms with him just so they might get something to eat.  He was fed.  They were not.

Next to this old fellow was a reserved young girl, but we managed to her laughing a bit.  She was pregnant and her husband was playing at a no limit table.  She was pretty reserved, but with a bit of banter, she opened up and laughed and joked some.  She plays no limit.  I played with her the second day.  Her manner at the table was a no limit manner where body language can make or break a win.

On Saturday a friendly fellow bought some of my silver strikes. This $8 sale brought my return on my $100 investment up to about $53.  It might be more; I lost count last Vegas trip.  My goal is to break even and have plenty of rings left to use as chips for poker games or to live a long, long life and so sell them all.  It is a fine hobby.  I have expanded to collecting and making card protectors out of "found" materials. Perhaps I’ll start a business.  Here is the one I made from two rocks found on Headwaters Beach, Ohio.

The photo does not do it justice.  What I like is that the white stone is a great handle and the piece is both heavy and yet can be set up on a stack of chips between hands.

The Turning Stone dealers were very good.  There were very few mistakes and only one that seemed at all a bit in a daze.  Dealers were better than Foxwoods, especially when Foxwoods has a poker tournament, pulls the poker dealers for it, and replaces them with blackjack dealers who don’t even know the game.  
I hate that.  
I pay for the dealer to pay attention to the game for me.  I don’t want to have to correct dealer mistakes.
Tony, the brush recognized me from an earlier trip report, perhaps on Blonde’s Board.  That was an odd coincidence. Nice of him to shake my hand.

On Friday night I played a $15 tournament and went for 3 hours.  I was exhausted, but it was a lot of poker for that little bit.  67 started, and I guess I left with about 17 players yet to go to the 3 who would be paid.  I played pretty well.  I just got blinded down and then had to go all in on a close possibility. No rebuys.  No bounties.  The cheapest tournament I have seen in a long while anywhere.

It does seem they are trying new promotions to attract players.  The bad beat was up to $208,000 and an incredible fantasy, but they are talking of high hand awards every so often or specials on club flushes.  I wish they would do cracked Aces.

Other gambling included a run using the slow hedge at the craps table.  I came out after a few times around down $10.  
I had not used my matchplay and that was a mistake.  The matchplays are only good weekdays, and I should have used mine on Thursday.  I lost the use of it.  Hard to imagine my missing a matchplay. It reinforces the idea that coupons need to be played off early in a visit.
I watched some of the young ones play “Beat the Dealer,” a new game that looks a bit like SicBo and a bit like craps, is simple to understand, and has a much higher vigorish than craps.  It is located in the same area and attracts those intimidated with craps play, perhaps confused by all the choices and the game itself.  I like watching this game.  I’d never play it.  Not at an 11.27% house edge.

Poker buddy and old neighbor Ron went up for one overnight, and I went for two.  The poker did not go well for Ron, and he did not have as much fun as I did.  Too bad.
We used coupons for $20 off the poker rate and so stayed right in the hotel for $66 a night.  I liked the room, loved the pool and the easy access, enjoyed myself.  I’d do that again.
The room was better than most of those I get in Vegas.  The view was of the parking garage, but it was not right under the window.  Directly in front of me were plenty of green trees that had been places around a driving circle.  Pines were full of cones, and maples were scattered in between.  
It was pleasantly quiet.  There were no noises.  I liked that.  
The room did not have a refrigerator, but it had a safe and a great coffee pot that made 3 large cups with Seattle coffee, and a nice flat screen TV that worked easily.
The bathroom was plenty big enough with good directions on how to switch the water to the showerhead, plenty of towels, Nice large soaps, good water pressure.  The flush did make a bit of too much noise, so I skipped that in the night so as not to wake my light sleeping buddy.  
Plugs were abundant, so it was simple to put in the apnea machine and to plug into the lamp base for use of  my little traveling computer for the free wifi. Wifi was easy as well, although I could not seem to get two people on using the one computer and move between them, so I could not play the MyVegas for Elizabeth.  She kept that up to date from home.  
There were two desks, so there was plenty of room.
I have stayed in their cheaper Inn down the road and this room was a definite upgrade.

I went up to the Savoy restaurant in Rome twice, once with Ron and once on my own.  It is one of my favorite places to eat in the world.  It feels to me like going back into the 50’s and going to an old fashioned Italian restaurant with linens on the table and an old and interesting bar as well as a wild collection of wall hangings that include sports banners, photos of officers from the old Rome Air Base, odds and ends of things, even a painting of Langston Hughes.  I sat under that on my second visit and watched the traffic in and out of the kitchen and listened to the live piano player as he wandered through old music.  For “Luck be a Lady” he included the usually skipped introduction.  “When you wish upon a Star” was followed with “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” There was "When Sunny gets Blue." I loved all of it.
The greeter is a very old woman in a shawl like sweater with a bun who escorts people to tables and moves chairs in spite of the fact that she walks with a cane.  She is just a wonderful character.
I was solo and it was a crowded night on Friday, but she gave me a choice of seats, and I picked one against the back wall in the center where I can watch the pretty girl waitresses (especially the blond with the sexy librarian look) and also see the pianist and any entering customers.  The movement keeps me entertained. 
Then the servers and clearers all bustle about and take very good care of the customers.  The place was packed.  There was a din of conversation like we might hear in an old live recording of a jazz club.  I did overhear one conversation.
“Beets, beets, I just love beets!  And I can’t figure out why.”
“ she makes the best beets….I love them, he beets.  Really!  I just love beets.”

Ron seemed to like the place.  He likes Sam Adams on tap.  However, his meal did not agree with him. Probably too much garlic.  He had a pasta dish with hat pasta, mushrooms, and vegetables.  I had some of it, and it was very good.  I ate some of the mushrooms and broccoli cold for the next days breakfast.  I had two chicken dishes, one a French dish and one with another marinade.  Both came with great risotto.
When I asked for a side of anchovies for my Caesar’s salad, they came without an extra charge.  Nice.  
I had the house wine.  There was a cheaper wine called table wine, but I went for the $6 chianti.

Casino Food was a bit more expensive than Vegas, and I did not bring my usual nuts and fruit for the morning.  I ate free at the buffet twice.  I liked the breakfast offerings better than the lunch offerings, but on Friday lunch included some old time music for seniors and a sale price of $10 so it used up less of my karat comp points.   There was a place to dance. I just watched.  
This weekly event is a great DJ presentation with two large screens showing black and white videos of the performers back in the days of the Dick Clark show. The performances were not perfectly in sync with the sounds, but it was still great to watch them.  I loved it.  I’d like to go with Elizabeth or some dancing partner.  I am no longer good at dancing with strangers.

Also, in that area was the Scare-a-thon, a convention for folks who like old horror movies.  Many of them were dressed gothic or in horror costume.  One fellow actually had the beginnings of two horns growing out of his head.  I really think they were implants and not makeup.  He had them on when he went on the elevator to his room with his wildly dressed girlfriend.
It takes a good bit of dedication to a hobby interest to have horn like nubs implanted in the forehead.  I would not have my card protectors growing out of my forehead.

I did not pay to see the main displays or the B movies but just walked about to see the people.
They were entertaining.
I also watched the dancing in the lounge on Friday night around midnight.  It was like being in a nightclub with no cover and the opportunity to watch the dancing girls and people over the short wall without even needed to buy a drink or being in the lounge.  I liked that for entertainment as well.
There were paid dancers in two places and plenty of pretty girls dancing on the floor.  Most everyone was about 18-25, but mixed in was a woman of about 70 having a fine time dancing and singing along to all the modern music.  I loved watching her.  It is so fine that some older folks can keep active and feel comfortable mixing with the younger ones and I loved seeing what a grand time she was having.  Perhaps she was there with her grandchildren.  Nice.

I swam three times and loved the pool.  The water was not super hot and did not seem chlorinated.  It seemed to help my psoriasis.  Perhaps there were salts in the water.  The Jacuzzi was hot and it worked fine too. It was empty except for one family on one occasion and shaped in a way that made swimming in circles easy.  


On Saturday I saw this show.
They were doing Abbey Road by the Beatles.  It was just great.  I got a seat very near the front and in the center.  The sound is the thing for this group, not costume, not egocentric talks, just the album, note for note, cut for cut.  
Then they took a break and followed with another set of songs the Beatles had sung, again with the intention of doing them just as they were done:

“Long and Winding Road”
“Oh La Dee, Oh La Dah, Life Goes on”
“Mother Nature’s Son”
“No Where Man”
“I am the Walrus”
“This Boy”
“Mr. Postman”
“You Say its Your Birthday”
“Let It Be”
“Twist and Shout”

So it was a fine mix and an amazing performance with so many musicians to pick up any small nuance that the Beatle’s included in their music.
I was particularly moved by “Let It Be” and amazed that after all the times I have heard this song, a live presentation could have that affect.  I wish I could let things be more often instead of having them wear on me.
The drummer in particular was spectacular and wonderful.
And since the entire show was about sound, the sound was perfect.  It was loud, but it did not grate on the ears.  There were no mike aberrations.  Sound was adjusted constantly, new for each song as were often the instruments.  Just one of the best things I have seen.

Fine too was to meet Jimmy and Sherry, old and loved friends, at the casino. They were playing bingo but not shouting much.  They had a room as well.  It was great to catch up on old times.  We don't see one another enough.



Anonymous said...

it was good to hear you got to see the beatles show!! I liked your blog and the pics!! sherry

Dewey said...

And where does it mention I saw you and Jim. Nowhere?? I'm a jerk. Anyway, it was fun to see you folks and thanks for the comment.