Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ocala Jai Alai poker

I drove up to Ocala for a few hours of poker.  Wednesday is the day the Villages sends a bus, so the competition is just a bit softer.  I was especially lucky to be rather late and have to wait for the table that opened for those eliminated from the tournament set up just for the Villages. 
I was patient and I caught a few good cards, so I ended up $107 ahead when I quit and went to supper at the Iron Skillet.

The folks playing were friendly and talkative.  Wes, who once was  a dealer at Ocala and reminds me of my son Keith, came to play and told us all about his poker room up near Jacksonville.  It is much bigger, but a long way for me to go.
He was on the high hand board twice and each time he lost.  Once he had an 8 high straight flush that lost to a Royal in the last hand of that half hour session. They give high hand $250 every half hour.  I was never close to a high hand.  Earlier the prize went mostly to straight flushes, but later it went to Aces full three times.
I also heard that a new poker room is opening near the Villages and every one is very excited about it.

I hope it won't be too much competition for the Ocala Jai Alai room.  I'd hate to see that one close.  On the other hand it may draw more players out from the Villages and some may be a bit soft.  Also, there was speculation they might spread a 3-6 game.  That would be nice.  However, Wes told us that in Jacksonville the only limit is 2-4 in spite of their being plenty of tables.  So, I won't hold my breath.

While I waited for a table I met and talked to a fellow in a little mobile scooter and he turned out to own the place.  Fred was his name.  Very friendly.  We talked a bit about new casinos coming to my area up North.  He wished me well. 

A pretty young Asian woman sat next to me for a while. She was very quiet, but opened up a bit and then told a rather disturbing tale of being verbally abused because she is a woman and Asian by this old confederate guy, unwashed with a flag on his shirt.  It was upsetting.  She held a high hand and asked for the pot to be spread.  She needed just one caller to make enough in the pot to collect a thousand dollars.  The fellow knew that.  He purposely did not call her and killed her chances.  Terrible story.

Dale played with us for a while.  I rivered him with a king of spades against his turned flush. I had a few lucky river cards.  The best pot, however, I did not catch my flush or straight in spite of plenty of outs.  I'd have doubled my profit had I caught on that hand. 

Phyllis who arranges the bus from the Villages sat next to me and she was funny as usual, punching me in my arm when I check raised her and took a good pot.  She had a plastic reindeer that shat out brown jelly beans.  Pretty funny card protector.

Many of the dealers I knew and remembered.  Howie, the big guy, had just buried his mom last week in South Carolina.  Melissa was cute and funny as always.  Most do a great job. This is one who gets easily distracted and makes mistakes.  But overall the dealing is perfect.  A new dealer Chris had worked his way up from chip runner last month.  They said they were hiring new folks.  I imagine that the poker room soon to open will take some of their regulars.

I played with my piece of decorative rock from Oatman, Arizona.  I wish I knew what the stone was called.  The woman who sold me the scrap for a dollar did not know the name of it.  I liked it and it generated some discussion.

When the Villages bus left, the game was down to rather tight and good players waiting for the evening tournament.  Only five or six of us.  I played for a while, but realized I could not make money and left.

I went to see the renovated Iron Skillet.  I have to say it looked the same  $15 got me the buffet and I bought a little sugar free chocolate as well to take home.  I sat at the counter and around me sat truck drivers telling stories.  They were quite entertaining.  I felt a bit like Steinbeck in Travels with Charlie except I just listened.  They have showers there for the truckers so it is a popular spot.  These guys were driving from all over.

The chicken was good as was the roast beef.  I had a good salad.  The corn bread and taste of mac and cheese was off diet but tasty. 

I'm happy the place is open again.


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