Thursday, July 9, 2015

Mohegan Sun

On the way down to Mohegan Sun, I stopped in East Hartford to try the Pho restaurant that Westie had recommended and found it fairly uncrowded. 
https://www.google.com/search?q=east+hartford+pho#q=PHO+501+East+Hartford,+CT&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAGOovnz8BQMDQyUHm5SQmYWlgamFpZGhgampkZmZibG5EhYxL-aCjPwg3tTE4hKFjMSikrT8opQoQRSuAlDFIUZVgwoLy1QzU-O0NHOz5BRzwzRLK6CQhXlaknEa0FyT5KSUpMSvbzsEXto6CPl_nPyV5bp7n_bmleoAQUrAH5YAAAA&rlst=n
No lines.  Plenty of parking.  It was about 10AM on July 5, a Sunday when everything was closed in the city. That probably helped.
I had rice noodles, but next time I'll ask for no noodles and just have the bean sprouts and so reduce the carbs. 
I added all the extras, the mint, the small hot peppers, the bean spouts. 
Everything was good.  $12 including tip.
The old gruff fellow taking my order had an air force cap. I could not see where it had come from.  I wondered if it were Tan Son Nhut Air Base.  I should have asked.

It dawns on me that with all the chicken soup base I cook myself from left over roasted chicken/turkey I should be able to make this Pho.  I grow my own mint.  I always have some sort of hot pepper.  I should buy some spices and experiment. 

Useful too was a Bank of America ATM just down the road where I could gather my bank account for the trip.
This is a nice little break as it is a bit beyond half way. 
 
I don't much enjoy the driving these days, but I did rearrange my CD's and have a huge selection now.  I took one of those old plastic towers and set it down between the front seats.  It makes a great caddy, and the tower easily sits up when I want to arrange the stow and go van seats.  I like it.  I just need a bit of velcro on the bottom. 
I used to like having the CD's on the visors, but I found over time they go scratched.  Keeping them in unmarked cases lets me take out one and put the one I just played in that case.  This seems to keep them in pretty good shape. 
I have used the Crosby record player to make CD copies of old swing records.  I'm pretty old school in technology.  I loved having these for the trip. Some great mixes of Big Band era music and not the old chestnuts we hear over and over. More obscure pieces, some I have never heard.  I also have a good bit of Sinatra, but I'm mostly playing Big Band between NPR reports of the Greek election on Euro Zone issues and other news. 
DAY ONE
I played at the casino and did really terrible, getting close to $300 down at live poker, moving between the 1-1 NL and the 2-4 limit games.  Then things go better and by the end of the day I was down just $111 on the poker, but lost more on the VP.

Hands I remember:

A-K   Two Aces flop and there is a K on the turn.  I don't bet because they are betting in to me, but I am not in good position.  On the river I sense I had better bet.  I toss in $25 and of the two players, one calls.  it was a nice pot.
Oddly, I had bet just the same way when I had nothing earlier with the same opponent.  That time he thought for quite a while and finally folded. 

"You must have had me beat." he said.
"Well, you never know," I answered and the table chuckled.
Perhaps this time he had to see it.
He was a friendly fellow with a very slight Scadinavian accent.  He was a good player and there all day.  I left, checked in to the room, came back and sat to his right again.

Pocket Aces on the 2-4 and pretty good betting.  It slows down so I senses I was in good shape.  I bet the river, have two callers and win.
A of spaces with X.  I catch the flush on the river.  The fellow right afterwards had K-X.  He just called the river.

The 1-1 was fairly full of regulars.  Louie was talkative and he got into it with a young fellow when Louis pointed out a string bet made by a young girl.  The young fellow gave up the verbal battle and on we went. 
Louie is doggedly narcissistic.

Moses and Julius played on the 2-4.  There were also two fellows there who were very funny, bull of banter and jokes and teases and even a some bits of song lyrics.  I had a good time with them.
And there was a woman from Oklahoma.

I liked the last 2-4 table.  I drank a good bit of the Copper Canyon cabernet wine and it was more of the kind of a party a 2-4 often is in Vegas.  I had good cards and won some money.

Generally, I move tables when the 1-1 is down to only a few players and they are all rocks so the pot is a few dollars.  Or when I've been there long enough that when I bet out, everyone folds.
I like 2-4 when it is full of passive callers and that is what happened at Mohegan Sun.  I can do my preflop button raises with suited connectors or with flop straight o flush draws and be fairly certain of not getting raised and getting a free card as well as confusing everyone when I raise after the flop, check when they wait for me to bet the turn, and the reraise them if I catch on the river.  Sometimes that $2 raise preflop will let me see two free cards.  A player who might have bet his/her high pair after the flop will wait until the river and by then I'm out.
I am not certain chasing straights and flushes or both in late position is the best play, but it is fun to be in that action.  And when I'm lucky, I generally get paid.

Raising and then folding also breaks up my otherwise fairly tight play, so my table image is not as a rock.

I went to find the 9/6 JOB that a poster on one of the boards had mentioned.  I thought it was at the Bow and Arrow bar, and so I found my way to that end of the casino.  It was not at the bar, but it was in that area.  This was fine as I did not want to play at the bar, or drink anymore, but to sober up so that I could drive to the hotel with no issues if stopped.

I had the worst hand I ever remember.

I was playing 8/5 Bonus and dealt A-K-Q of diamonds and another Q.  The correct strategy is to hold the pair of Q's.  I did that. The next two cards were 10-J of diamonds.  Had I played the incorrect strategy, I'd have hit the royal.

I ended up down $80 and so down $191 for the day.  Not a good day, but it was a long day, so not terrible.  I am not certain if this earns any points of any sort.  It does not earn what they call Momentum Dollars but it might earn something.  The little signs are too hard to read in the dark.

I did like the feel of the casino late at night on Sunday, the end of the holiday weekend.  Plenty of pretty girls and interesting colors and shapes.  There was not much live music offered over these couple days.

The Super 8 room

This was still the rock bottom cheapest I could find.  July 5-6 for a total of $103 booked on booking.com so that I could have cancelation without penalty.  Super 8 booked at their site often offers no chance of cancelation.

I don't think booking on booking.com always gets me the Wyndam points, but instead of asking, I just gave them the Wyndam card with my credit card and they punched in my number. So perhaps I will get points.

I like the position of this casino because late at night it is easy to find without traffic.  I leave Mohegan, go straight to 2East, turn right on 12 and go directly there.  In the middle of the day I got twisted up and went 2West and my GPS got me there eventually but with highway traffic and a roundabout route.  I need to remember just to go the easy way. 

The clerk remembered my complaint about the broken light last trip, and I asked her that if she knew of a room where everything worked, that was the one I wanted.
She gave me a nice end room and the second floor 227.  I'll ask for that room by number next trip.

Of the three lights, one is missing a blub.
However, I don't need it and everything else does work.  The room is comfortable, clean, and quiet.
I did not go down for breakfast as I'm making tea and chicken soup in the room and hoping to go back for a short nap before heading out today. 

I like having the microwave and heating up my home made chicken soup.  I can't remember and did not make note of whether I had that last trip. 
This time I have a king bed and slept well, but had some tough dreams probably based on eating just before going to bed.

The hotel is underbooked this trip.  There were more people on my last visit.  

The television worked well to entertain while I had food even though it did not carry Turner Classic Movies.
I did not go down for the breakfast at all the first morning but made tea and soup in my room.


********************************
DAY TWO

I slept quite well here.  I had some strange dreams, and of course I woke up at the same early time, but I felt rested and as it turned out I gambled from about 11 until midnight at one thing or another.

I was bought in for $200 almost immediately.  I start with only 60, but there were a few tough hands.  In one I held a small flush on the turn that needed a five of hearts for the straight flush and a potential high hand award of several hundred dollars.
My opponent bet $20 on a river king of hearts.  He had the Ace along with the five I hoped to catch.  I should have folded, but I had not played long enough with this fellow to know that he did not bluff.
For those of you used to no limit games, that might seem like a very small bet.  Actually, it is a substantial bet in this game. 
The rest of my losses were all bleeding.  Did I play too loose?  Maybe.
However, I soon got all that back and made a profit in spite of drinking 5 glasses of the Copper Ridge cabernet. 
I know it is not good to be tipsy and play no limit, but in this 1-1 game it matters less than in a high stakes game.  There is less bluffing to read. 
Sometimes I think being a bit drunk helps my table image.  In limit it loosens up my opponents and tightens me because along with the wine I become quite talkative and so the dull wait between playable cards is diminished.  Either that, or I just rationalize.
But for me the experience is not at all about winning big money and not always about the poker.  I like the interaction with strangers, the banter, the joking, the stories.  At this table I get to tell my newest joke:

"What do you call a prisoner who looks down on everyone as he walks down a staircase."
"A condescending con..........descending."

Then when there are groans I can follow with,
"Yeah you groan now, but you'll be telling it all week."

When my pocket jacks flop trips and I slow play them and even get a $12 call on the river, and everyone talks about how much they hate jacks, I get to say:

"Well, there are four ways to play pocket jacks...............................................
and they are all wrong."

At a 1-1 game of strangers I have the right audience.  These guys are not quoting Dan Harrington or figuring pot odds to the dollar.  They will talk a bit about the death of Andy Griffith and repeat a few old scenes.  They talk a bit about Trump's speech.

And my old jokes are often new to them.

At any rate, if I am going to drink, it has to be in the afternoon.  Unlike Vegas, where I can stumble on a bus, here I have to leave and drive sober, so the drinking is before the buffet. 
And that fits my diet as well.  Red wine will lower my blood sugar if I over indulge in the buffet.
I went to the buffet just before the price went up at 4 PM.  They had a Facebook special discount (M to F you say Facebook or Twitter...a verbal coupon, my favorite kind.)   With my points, or Momentum dollars, or whatever builds on the card,  I ended up paying under $5.
I am still not certain if that is all live poker or if the full pay VP adds value to my meals.

There seemed to be even more things on my diet there.  One medley of peppers and onions was just great.  I put the meatballs and sauce on that.  I had a slice of the end of beef, all crunchy and full of the spices they use.  I had a tiny piece of the fried chicken. The sugar free cheese cake and the mousse were there again and very good.  Next time I'll ask immediately for a carafe of coffee as that is about two cups and then I don't have to wait. Service was fine, but still not like having the coffee right there. 
I carry in my own Truvia.  Once my Truvia and Stevia are depleted, I may be carrying in leaves of the two Stevia plants I pot planted this last week. I can't do sugar and I won't do these carcinogenic substitutes whenever I can remember the more natural sweetener. 
My sister-in-law has a new sweetener for me to try.  And I'm going to try Yacon Syrup as well.
I tasted a few fried clams and shrimp.  The clams I mixed with roasted cauliflower and a bit of Frank's hot sauce and that was a very good combination.

After supper I wanted to let the last of the wine play out, so I slowly played a bit more of video poker and lost $40 and then went back in the early evening for poker. 
 
First I was on a 2-4 table, but I did not like the ambiance there.  I won the one and only hand I played with most of the table in,  but when they called me for a new 1-1, I went to that table. 
These were very friendly and easy players, but more skilled than the earlier games.  And two to my right was a young fellow whose style was erratically aggressive on purpose. 
I could not put him on hands, and so did not know what to do. 
He left for a while, and that made the table easier.  He then came back. 
Two poor players had by this time lost all their money.
One was a really sad call.  He held the 7 for a straight but could get beat by 7-J or J-Q and it was crystal clear that one of the two opponents pushing all-in had one of those hands. Last to act on the river he called over $50.
He asked about the hand and the table was kind, but he wanted to know.  I explained to him how in the best case scenario he would split the pot three ways, and in the best guess, he had lost. 
Too bad.  He was a friendly kid.

 I was tired, the table now was a totally tough group, and I figured everyone had my tight style down, so I went to play more video poker. 
I had made almost $100 at that table before I left. 
I like having the flexibility here to move from a 1-1 to a 2-4 and now to some VP.  I'm convinced that table selection in these low games is key to everything.

I think overall I did well in the poker because in all my play during the first two days, I can't remember having a full house or better.  Much of my winning was lucky river. 
Take this hand.
I have K-J and a J X X flops. The J stays high on the turn and nothing else connects.  I make small bets and they are called. On the river comes my K and I make a large bet.  It too is called.  My main opponent held A-J and had me right up until the K hit. 
Here too my tight table image helped me.  He never tried a raise, figuring if I were betting, I had more than top pair.

My rivers were like that. 

One good hand I played A-9.  I caught two pair on the turn after calling small bets.  I still just called.  On the river both of my opponents checked.  I bet $25.  They both called.  Each had two pair smaller than mine.   One had K-8 and another A-3.  I know that $25 does not seem like very much to NL players, but in this game it was a large bet.  I made that river bet only a few times this week.  I won each time, one time stealing a pot with nothing. 

I then played VP for about 3 hours on $100, went up and down and in the end I was up $5.   That 2 pair payout really helped me grind from quad to quad.  I'm hoping I get some points or something for all that coin in.  In Vegas I'd be getting room offers. 
I played so long because I found a fine full pay, new game in the smoke free area (with the help from a board friend) and it was just a very comfortable game.  I like to use the buttons rather than touch the screen and all these buttons worked.  I really liked it.  Earlier it was dominated by some regular who gave me bad looks when he saw me checking pay tables in that area. 
Drink service was slow.  Otherwise it was great.
Max Coins on these machines is 25 quarters. I play just 5, but  there is one button near the deal button that says, "Bet Max" 
At one point some pretty girls came around the machines bantering with their fellows, and I got a little distracted.  I was watching them and listening to their banter. 
All of a sudden I noticed that there was a leap in my dollar amount when I hit two pair.  Apparently I had by mistake hit the Max Coin and then whenever I hit the Deal button, I was betting 25 coins. 
I was lucky.  I won a bit and pulled myself out of a losing slump with that error.

After I was too tired to play any sort of game, I walked over and watched the roulette for a while.  It is such a colorful game and the wheel is just such a graceful machine.  I love it.  I never bet it, however.  Too much house advantage.  But I love to watch.  This one was particularly clean.  It looked very new.  The colors were all very intense.
I played $20 in assorted slot, but was not impressed with them.  Some I played just a few pennies.  There would be no hits at all.  In Vegas I can be in this mood and play a game like Texas Tea at the El Cortez and it will hit here and there for a few cents and give me that entertainment.  I ended on an old reel machine taking 2 quarters and just paying the top hand 5.000 quarters.  I was up and down.  But I lost my $20.

Part of me wanted to stay later, but the rest of me was overtired.  One of my earlier opponents in a very colorful shirt came and shook my hand.  He had lost the tournament and was getting it back on the blackjack.  He seemed new to poker. 

On the way out I noticed the large dome of a light just before the elevators.  It is really wonderfully colorful.  I don't think the newer casinos coming in Schenectady or Springfield will have the ambiance of this casino where d├ęcor is unique and well considered.
 

 LAST DAY

This last day really put a sour spoil on the trip for me. 
I lost all my bankroll, down about $600.  I got a bit grumpy.  The dealer misheard me say "Call" when I tossed a $5 chip and counted it as a raise which was reraised.   I got grumpier.   I should have just used a quiet one chip rule.  I'll not play without some ones again so I can put in the pot exactly what I want to put, and I'll check what I say with the dealer's perception before I push. 
Then I had pocket 3's and a fellow turned his cards over on the fold preflop.  One was a 3. I was big blind, but there was a raise to $3 and so I folded.
A 3 flopped.  It would have won.
After the hand someone said something about more 3's and I said there were not more because I had folded pocket 3's.  A fellow next to me said sarcastically, " I really doubt that."
I now this is poker, but why would I lie and being called a liar twice in a row, really broiled my beans and I said so.
Then another fellow had something wise to say a bit later after he showed cards that I missed and I just asked what he had.  Perhaps he just wanted to rattle me. In any case, I just picked up my chips and left.  What I had left over I put through the double bonus VP.  No mirables, so I went home.
I played a bit more video poker and nothing.
The drive home was fine, however.  No traffic. Easy roads.  I was not so tired.  I wave very glad to see my quiet old house and the calm lake and make a cheese sandwich.  I slept very well.

It will be while now before I go again.
I have to reserve my bankroll for Vegas.
I got $60 back at the home game the next day.  That was good. 

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