Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tampa Bay Downs

Once again I did not bother Billy for horses, but just got some number from a couple sites.  The sites agreed, so I ended up with favorites and the cross the board bets just broke even when the horse placed.
I hit the first race exacta.
I hit a show bet on a horse that was listed on one site as having won more races than the other horses but not picked as the winner in this one.  It did show.
I had horses that did something in most of the 7 races, but I only made $2.

I used my freeroll and did fairly well, but three Aces took me out when a guy caught an inside straight for Broadway.

The cash game just dwindled my dollars and in the end I called an all in when I held two jacks and there was a queen on the flop.  Bad bet really.  An A-K of diamonds won with the nut flush.

It was fun.  I ate a half chicken downstairs with a two dollar beer and that was a great meal for $10 although not on the diet as it included potatoes.

I was tired and left a bit after 5.  I did encounter traffic.  Next time I'll take Hillsborough to the SunCoast highway as that will not be bumper to bumper as my roads were. 
I stopped at Gander Mt but not good buys.  At Target I got some good cold drinks.  All these were on Hillsborough.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tampa silks Losing day

Had a mixed day at Tampa. 
Playing while the horses were running was much better than playing in the evening.  The evening was all locals and my cards did not run very lucky.

I bet $34 on the horse and only had two hits, one was a show for 40 cents and one horse I had bet across the board came in to win.  Overall I lost $17
I lost more on cards, but the killer was the evening.
In the end I was down $121

I waited 2 hours for a seat at a table after going out for supper at The Wing House, a clone of Hooters.  Very pretty girls and some great nuggets of breast with a pretty decent sauce.

When I go again I'll head out to eat after the last race.  I got overtired and hungry and left before race 9 and 10. 

I quite in the early evening and had some tooth/head pain on top of my losses and also some trouble driving until I pulled over and washed one eye where something was really bothering it.

Not my most favorite day.

I did come home with one freeroll entry that was a gift from a fellow player.  I can use it any day until the promotion goes away, so I'll go up again.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Few days of poker and horses in Tampa

I decided on a few solo days in Tampa while to give my wife and her visiting best friend some “girl time” and me some poker time.  Actually, the poker has not been going well for me lately, and I wanted to see if Tampa would be better than Ocala.

Most frugal places to stay in Tampa are about $80, but I found a cheap little place for $62 that has a little kitchen with stove and pans for cooking. 
I stayed at this one:
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Airport(FL969)
6902 W. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, FL, US, 33634
Phone: (813)886-7799
I like eating in and watching Turner Classic movies.  It saves money, keeps me on my diet, and entertains me as well.  Solo eating can be a bit boring.

I played at Tampa Hard Rock the first afternoon, just a 2-4 game.  It was not too hard, but there were very few fish and they did not stay long.  I was up and down and ended down $28.  I won a small pot with pocket Aces and had both pocket Aces and Kings cracked.  Once again I played about four hours and never saw a flush or higher.  I did steal one pot on the river with nothing when my one opponent was clearly going to fold if I bet.

The people were interesting.  One old guy told stories of smoking marijuana when he was young.  An Asian woman sat who was dressed immaculately in red with a huge flower in her hat.  She was very attractive and yet pushing seventy.

Half the dealers were poor.  Some needed to be watched for errors.  Others were just slow or missed where the game was.  The others were very good. Martha was the best.

One of the poorer dealers made it up with humor. 

He told us that dealers could not eat in the buffet.  They were provided with food in their area, but because it was prepared by folks practicing to make food for the buffet, sometimes it was good and other times it was just terrible. 

“I would not feed my dog such food,” he remarked.

He told how they had butchered chicken cordon blue by making it in sort of a glop, and then said they had also failed at Shepard’s pie.

“Shepard’s pie?” a player remarked.  “I did not think anyone could do much to make that bad.”

“That is what I thought about the white rice,” said the dealer.  And that just cracked me up.  His delivery was perfect. 

And so he told about asking for the “mashed potatoes” only to learn that what looked like mashed potatoes was white rice.

He was entertaining, but he did not follow the game well and seemed to have to stop dealing to talk.

They took the 2-4 game out of qualifying for any high hand bonus, but left Omaha 3-6 in the running.  The 1-1 NL game also would not qualify.

So there was just a couple bad beats.  That made me mad and does not encourage me to go again.  Not that it matters much with the hands I’ve pulled this season.  However, I want to be able to win what I’m rake to fund.

I used a Groupon at Monserrate (CLICK) To get a bit of taste of Latin food.   When I got there, they wanted to only serve two people.  It says nothing about that on the Groupon.  

So, I’ll write and complain to Groupon.  And I'll call ahead with this question in the future.  It makes me angry really.  Why not just put a minimum purchase amount in the price on the coupon.

The very pretty Spanish waitress let me talk her into serving me when I promised to eat enough for two. 

I did too and enjoyed all of it and the music and the Spanish around me and the look of the delightful waitress. 

But I should not eat so much as these groupons deals tempt me to do. 

I had a rolled stuffed yucca that was luscious, a great corn pie with carnitas and chorizo, followed by a fried tilapia that was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  I had not room for flan.

It all was very good. 

I ordered the wrong wine, a white.  Still it was good.  I ate too much.  The fish came with fried plantains and black beans.  All was very good.  Even the beans tasted unique.  I’d go again only not on a Groupon. 

Too much food and not enough sleep the night before my trip left me unable to go out to see the late night jazz as planned in Ybor City or to do anything much except watch old TCM movies. 

The hotel was fine but pretty old.  No flat screen here.  The remote would not turn off the closed captions until the desk clerk fiddled with two others and finally got them full of batteries and found a way to turn off that annoying option.  I saw some good old Johnny Carson and got stuck in a Lauren Bacall Gregory Peck movie which was not my favorite but good enough to keep me watching.

The wifi is very fast and easy to access.  The place is clean, just full of old furniture and very small with comfortable but basic beds and pillows that were too small.  The bathroom was fitted with a fairly new shower insert that included two seats and good water pressure.  The sink insert was fairly new too and all were in good repair.

The trip advisor evaluations were right on the money.  The place is adequate.  And for me having the ability to make my own meals and eat to TCM, as well as this location, made it a great place to stay.

Some neighbors on one night got into a loud argument and that should have been annoying, but really did not bother me much.  it was in part entertaining, like a Jerry Springer show, and then more entertaining when the noises changed to makeup noises.

I woke up at just before 4AM and at 4AM my wakeup call went off.  Good thing I was already awake.  So, I reset that.  Amazing that it was not immediately cleared after the last guest.  I’ll have to check that if I stay again next year.

Housekeeping only comes once a week, and for me that is just fine.  I like not to be interrupted and for just two days I don't need the attention.  The fine print asks guests to pick up after themselves or face a cleaning charge.  Fine too.  If that keeps the price down, I'm for it.  It also kept a good bit of the noise down. 

In spite of the large number of guests, the hotel was quiet in general.  I knew my neighbors were playing television only if I really listen very intently; it was so faint that with the AC fan or my sleep apnea, I could not hear it.  Also, I think the old fashioned free standing televisions in the middle of the room are less bothersome than those flat screens mounted on adjoining walls. Nothing kept me from sleeping.

I love the location as it is close to both the Hard Rock and the Tampa Downs as well as the place I wanted to try with the Groupon was just down the street.  There were plenty of places to eat around here, including a Hooters for wings if I wanted a treat.


The next two days I played at the Tampa Downs in the Silks Poker Room.  The first day the horses were running;  the second was just poker.

There were no limit games, but the 1-1 no limit was very comfortable.  I always think of it as a hybrid between limit and no limit.  There are few preflop raises and few all-in bets most of the time.  It is easier to overcome the rake in a no limit game.  And poorer folks who generally might pick a 2-4, pick this one, while the really good players pick 1-2 or 2-5.

I like the light action.  It suits my bankroll.  If a few players do start bully overbetting, I leave and come back.  Generally I buy in for $60, at some point need to rebuy another $40, and that amount of chips stays in front of me for a few hours of play.

One day they paid the high hand in the room $300 every half hour. The next day they paid every high hand $40 or more, depending on how high it was.  Quad 3’s and quad 9’s paid $300.  “Baseball” they called the promotion, after the old poker table game.

I found the players lively and fun and of all ages.  They talked as players do in a limit game.  Sometimes they got a little mad, but generally the mood was quite friendly.  None told stories, but there was some funny banter.

For the first time this winter I was very comfortable, cards seemed to come, and I made a small amount of money.  I did not make too many mistakes, did not play very many odd hands, did not bluff much at all, or play a loose game.  With the blinds 1-1, and so little preflop action, it was a flop game. 

I like that. 

Blinds rarely had to be folded. 

In the end, I wound up winning enough over these two days, to cover my Hard Rock losses my small losses in betting the horses. I came home $59 to the good. 

Wild Bill gave called me with some tips on horses, and I compared his list with what I found on line and made a few bets scattered throughout the first day. 
It was very exciting because even the losers were generally close at the end.  The only dead dog bet I made was a mistake.  I bet all the races in a bunch and the clerk gave me one horse in the wrong race.  I did not notice it, in fact the “race 6” kept looking like “race 5.”  I’d have won some too, had the error not been made.

On the days when the horses do not run, gamblers can have a seat in the grandstands with a television.  There they can bet other races and be outside in the fine Tampa weather with the quiet peaceful track stretched out before them and two fountains working.  It is very nice and seems little known.

I liked watching the horses.  I could see both the track and a screen from my poker table.  I went outside for a closer look for the last three races and wandered down to where they saddle up.  Quite a show.

In the last race at this saddle up time one horse looked very energetic and I almost bet him at the last minute.  I’d have won on that long shot had I made the bet.

My $59 to the good made this my first winning result in any session of poker this winter. 
I guess the curse is broken.
What was even more comforting was how much I could play close to even.  I never needed to rebuy beyond the $100 and my losing sessions were small.  So the pattern was good.  My game is good.  I don't have to give it up.

In these high raked games ($5 and $1) it is hard to overcome the rake and breaking even is fine with me, leaving me with the entertainment value and always the chance for a high hand to put me ahead. 

The closest I got was once having three 3’s and another time holding A-10 of diamonds and having four to the royal just before the river.  Royals pay $600.  In that hand a fellow ready to go home tried to push us all out with a $15 bet that put him all-in freplop with K-10 unsuited. We showed.  He paired his king on the flop but I caught two diamonds.   Another diamond on the turn gave me the pot, and I was hoping for the jack of diamonds on the river.  Great drama but no royal.

I remembered this Latino player from other trips here other years.  He plays almost every day and if funny and friendly.  I usually would be pushed off those cards, but his voice was unusually quiet when he made the bet and tipped me that he was not too confident.

On another day I won a big hand because I missed seeing that the wheel was possible.  I flopped 8-3-5 for trip 8's.  The turn was an Ace and my opponent made a healthy bet.  I put him on perhaps two pair or smaller trips or maybe even an Ace with high kicker.  I missed the possible straight.
He made a healthy bet and I pushed all-in.  On the river came another Ace bailing me out of losing to the "wheel."  The fellow was not happy, but he was quiet about it.

There were all sorts of players, including the loose bluffing young men who overbet until they were caught.  I had trip queens once and the turn offered little chance I could be beat.  I checked, hoping the kid would overbet, and giving me a shot at the high hand on the river. 

He checked. 

The river gave me a full house, and I made a solid bet that he called, given my perceived weakness. 

He was very sourly annoyed that I had not bet the turn.  I was disappointed that he had not tried to push me out.

I hate the part of no limit when there are bluffs of hundreds of dollars, but here it is more like my weekly home game, and I am not playing with scared money.  Bluffing in general is not a very good tactic here.  It is too inexpensive to call bets.  I like that.  I bluffed once early on and was caught.  It was just a $6 bluff for a small pot and the fellow thought a while.  Once showing that bluff, I did not bluff again, hoping that the table would remember that hand and pay me on my better cards.

I also was good at leaving a game where I did not like the players or the action.  I changed tables once, and I quit playing three times.  The horses offered a way to quit and be entertained on the first day at the Silks.  On the other day I went for a meal or went shopping and was entertained by Tampa.  Gander Mountain is nearby and was a treat to shop.  There found fish scalers, some small hooks, new line and a few inexpensive shirts on sale.  This store is not around my rental in Homosassa or my home up North. 

For lunch I drove about 15 minutes to the Whole Foods and had some very healthy food.  I shopped for a few of the things I can’t get in Homosassa and found the French organic red wine I like best on a sale of $3 off a bottle with ten percent more off for buying 6 bottles. 

(CLICK)    L'oustalet

The drive home was very easy on the Suncoast highway.  I like having the automatic pass and not needing to stop for the small change tolls every few miles.  I was home in an hour and a quarter.  So I’ll go up again soon just for the day.