Turning Stone sent me two free nights in the good rooms right in the casino hotel. They are nice.
I like the real glasses and real ceramic cups. Those paper cups don't work right in my hand. I squeeze to tightly. I carry a ceramic cup, but it is nicer to have them there.
It seemed to take me forever to get out of the house and on the road. Things kept popping up that needed doing. As I was leaving, the neighbor offered me some free firewood and so I took a wheel barrow full down to my firepit. It all took time.
I was thinking about stopping at Arkell Museum in Canajoharie on the way down, but left too late. Perhaps I'll stop on the way home on Tuesday. Albany library offers a free pass on my library card, but the library does not open until one PM on Sundays, so it was impractical for this trip.
I thought my play was okay, but my chips just drained away. I played for a few hours, losing just $27, then checked in the hotel.
Free valet parking is part of the deal, but I like to self park.
I parked far from the check-in where I usually park when I come. I decided to walk to get my luggage and roll it back. It was a bit of a walk and with the luggage a bit of a chore, but the doctor wants me to walk twenty minutes and so this was it. I would not get much exercise at the poker table. There was a thunderstorm threatening and I had some worries of arriving drenched, but I beat it. That felt like gambling too and I had a great time doing it. On my back was strapped my computer and my sleep apnea machine, so I walked with weight and towed my suitcase and a bag of assorted food. In my free hand I carried the distilled water that I use in the sleep apnea machine. Perhaps it was only fifteen minutes of walking, but it should count for the day.
After I checked in, I ate at the buffet.
The buffet was just great. It cost $20 and was well worth the price, especially since I love fish. They had a crusted Halibut and a rolled and stuffed scrod and both were just done perfectly. The scrod was not stuffed with a heavily breaded mixture, but with some other seafood. If I came again, I might just make a meal on that. There was more, crawfish and mussels and shrimp, but I could not eat everything. I did eat one shrimp dish with vegetables from the Asian section.
I skipped the meats except for the fried chicken, but this was below par. I'm spoiled with so much time in the South where fried chicken tastes great. I had some taco ground beef mixed with peppers and onions that came with sausage and some hot sauce.
They had a "no sugar added" apple pie.
The coffee was good. I should have had a rum and diet coke, using the rum in my hip flask, but I just had iced tea. I'm rather dull.
I went off the diet and put a dab of chocolate iced cream on the pie and took a very tiny pecan bit, skipping the carb shell but enjoying just that small bite of richness inside.
The hot dogs looked very appealing, various kinds all done on a grill with rollers.
Beef was there and ham and British pudding.
There was plenty of fruit and salads and olives and pepperoncini.
Having just eaten the buffet at Mohegan Sun last week, I noticed the difference in food quality. Everything at Mohegan tasted dry and overcooked. It never used to seem that way to me.
I could have saved my buffet money and eaten at the poker room. They had meat balls, bread, and salad free for all the players. This was prompted by the East Coast poker tournament that ended this Sunday. That also caused the high hand award promo to be given.
After the buffet, I then played again until ten when the game was just too tight for any real winnings.
They had a wonderful high hand award each half hour of $200, but I never even got on the board. Some at my table won. One fellow won for the first time in 5 years of constant poker. This is a great promotion, but they don't have it every day.
I liked most of the players and most of the dealers. We got a very inexperienced dealer named April who really made mistakes reading the hands, but she was sweet and cute and trying very hard. However, she needs better training. Later I actually left the table and took a walk around because dealer Shannon was so inattentive and inept. She drove me crazy.
The rest of the dealers were full of fun and were focused on the game.
I check raised a few times. It was on a table where people bet into weakness. I was called and won. In one case the poor fellow thought there was a flush on the board, but I had the nut straight. He called my check raise, thinking he had a flush.
There was a good bit of joking, and all sorts of players in the afternoon and evening, but as I have noticed when I have stayed other times, late evening leaves just experienced regulars and small pots.
I played some low paytable Double Triple VP and lost on that as well. I just wanted to play some VP and when I have to play low paytables, I sometimes play high volatility and hope to hit quads and quit. Nothing.
I watched some craps, some roulette, and the big wheel. There were plenty of young people around these games and some pretty girls. I had a fine time watching the action, making mental bets and rooting for the players I liked. One craps shooter had a good run. He was not dice setting. He was dice launching. The cubes flew up so high that I was amazed they landed on the table.
Back in the room I opened my wine while I wrote this report. It is a cheap bottle of Tisdale Pinot Noir, but I find it just as good as any red I drink. I don't know why it sells so cheaply. The local liquor store at home has it for $4 a bottle. I did not have my aerator and still it goes down very easy with so sourness. I brought along a thermos of coffee laced with just a tiny bit of crème de menthe, tuvia and cinnamon. It was warm enough the first day. the second day I make their coffee and added just a bit of mine for the flavors. I do miss having a microwave in these rooms.
The bad beat is up to a ridiculous amount that would give each member of the table 17 grand if it were hit. Quad sevens have to be beat. Players qualify as long as they have not missed any blinds. So we could go to the bathroom and still be in the split. How crazy would it be to tell friends that I won 17 grand on a hand that I was not dealt?
The changes at Turning Stone make it a better destination on some days. However, I find in general the players are tight and the pots small, especially at certain times. It is too expensive for a day trip although many of my weekly poker buddies drive up for tournaments.
It is very quiet here in the room. That is an improvement over Vegas, especially downtown. I did not ask for a view. In the daytime it is pretty awful looking out, mostly rooves, a little deserted courtyard.
After dark the view is fine, skylights show up as rectangular lights, there are some neon in various places, the little courtyard looks like a deserted courtyard at night, much nicer. The wifi is free with no password and works great. It does not need to be rebooted. It is the easiest hotel wifi I have encountered.
At the end of the first day, I am down $276.
I could not get to sleep last night, but finally I did and then I slept fine until after 6 AM. No terrible dreams. A few were disturbing.
I went down to the breakfast buffet and liked everything except the not crispy bacon and watery sausage gravy. They made a good omelet. I had some tasty canned peaches and pears. These are rare for me as I don't buy them. The coffee was good as was the grapefruit juice. Breakfast was not well attended. It was not spectacular, but it was good and for me it cost $5.
From there I went to the pool where I stayed about two hours.
I met Glenn from Nova Scotia. He was a grand story teller and we talked a long while about places to travel and our families and jobs. He had build scaffolds for many years and then one day just quit because the work was crazy, long hours and grueling conditions with guys committing suicide. He lived in Seattle for a while, but he loves Cornwallis, Nova Scotia for the golf and the absence of guns. He told about once being in an Arizona Starbucks when fifteen folks came in all carrying. He got our quickly. He is 58 and hopes to have 12 years to do the more difficult traveling. After 70 he may settle down. He and his wife Kathy are looking at Scotland or Southern France. Golf often plays a role in where he looks. I liked him. Quite a spirited character. We talked Vegas a bit.
VERONA STATE PARK
I then went to Verona State Park and walked along Oneida Lake. The smell of the water was great. There is a long walkway there. I'd say it was a boardwalk, only it is made of concrete, but there is a wooden railing along side the walkway and then just a few feet of rocks and driftwood to the water.
There were a few campers in the park and some folks from someplace where workers wore green shirts having a grand picnic, mostly young people.At each end of the walkway I found a way to bet right down to the water. At the South end I followed the trail the workers use to take trees out and dump them. I found a worn piece of driftwood that worked as a walking stick and took it. At the North end I found a place to sit on a slice of tree in the sand
and watch these amazing hooded gulls flitting about a tree trunk set in the sand of the lake about 30 feet from shore.
They called in squawks I had not heard before, and I watched them for quite a while.
There I picked up another tiny piece of wood that perhaps I'll form into a card protector.
There was a good bit of wood all along the shoreline, large dead tree trucks and roots in interesting patterns. I liked that.
There was a fine swimming area for summer, all roped and with a sandy beach and bottom.
I was back in time to play 2-4 poker and I hit one high hand, flopping Aces full of sixes. It held up There were very few players in the room, so the odds of hitting and keeping the high hand were increased.
They forgot to put me on their board, and part way through the hour I heard them yell "high hand" at another table.
I was so disappointed.
Then I heard the dealer say, "Aces full of fours."
turned around and yelled, "Hey, I had Aces full of sixes earlier" and saw the puzzled looks of the crew on the desk, but the dealer of my high hand hand was at the counter and confirmed the hand. So they took care of me.
No one apologized.
I saw other instances of mismanagement with players being dropped but thinking they were given seats and all the resulting confusion. I want the floor to be more personal, especially the main fellow who rarely smiles and is very perfunct. I want the girl to be more efficient and accurate.
The high hands and associated wins helped me get some of my losses back.
I really had a tough session, losing to many rivers, having Aces cracked, once when I had three of them and a guy drew an inside straight on the river. That is frustrating. In the 1-1 game at Mohegan I could have pushed him off his cards with a healthy turn bet.
Later I would play some penny slots and some 8-5 JOB, breaking even on those. I played $20 in the JOB and lost it, put in another $20 and got back up to even. I did not play long, but because my good hands were full houses and a flush or two, I figured that I had been short paid $10. Hard to believe with just a very short session of play the low pay tables would make that much difference.
I found a penny slot I liked called Swordsman. Others I tried at a penny bet on one line did not ever win, so I moved after a dime. This one hit and I played a dime, ten lines for a penny each. I hit well, even had the fun of a free spin bonus and enjoyed the game. After a while I quit even for my $5 risk but ahead on that game about twenty cents. As you can tell, I am not an aggressive slot player. I get that it is enjoyment and I want mine at a low cost over time. Board friend Pluto inspires such play.
One good aspect of Turning Stone was that I was seldom annoyed by the music. At times it was interesting old rock and roll from back in my youth, Chubby Checker Twist songs and others. The pool music early in the morning was this sort as well, but as I was leaving it seemed to get more into rock in later decades. Here in the room I listen to the Jonathan Schwartz Channel ?? even while I sleep. Last night it kept cutting out so I put on some Jim Reeves.
Nice to have the computer along to write in the early mornings and keep up with MyVegas chip collections.
I almost did not. For some reason it shut me down and installed Windows 10 although I have not to my knowledge said yes to those invitations. All of a sudden it just shut me down and took an hour or so to load, some of it with me answering questions that took a few minutes to register. Everything is different. Many of you know I hate change more and more as I age and I keep returning to my younger times, to listening to albums and cassettes, to casinos in Vegas that have not changed much. So it took a while. One good thing is my wife had recorded all my major passwords so I could get in my major sites. At first I could not nothing because I needed somewhere to sent password changes. Well, it goes along. It took me a while to figure out how to use the Favorites Bar, but I have done that and I like this system better than the old. It might be a bit faster. They automatically took out the old virus protection and put in some other one. I still can't remember the new stuff, even how to shut down. I guess I better write it down somewhere. Anyway, I've used some sleepless time to play around and organize things.
Another good thing is that the new system works better on retrieving photographs.
From poker I went to the Savoy Restaurant in Rome and had way too much food.
The next morning it spiked my sugar a bit. I had to have the garlic bread, especially soaked in the juice from the clams.
This is one of my favorite restaurants. It is old school Italian with tables covered in old fashioned linen and a room decorated with hundreds of pictures and banners and all sorts of framed bits. I sat at the Alex Haley table under a painting and a photograph of the writer as well as two letters, one in his handwriting. It was like eating in a museum.
I ate clams Bianca and Chicken Sinatra. Too much food. All very good. The Sinatra chicken came with their version of a local dish, Utica Greens. Very tasty but I could not finish all of it and I could not take it home.
Tuesday, my last day, I woke up very early and very tired. Even the coffee did not get me going. It seemed forever until the pool would open.
I planned on a morning swim, brunch at the state park, and then a visit to the Arkell museum.
I woke up over tired and too early.
I had plenty of time to pack up and even tried a last minute nap for an hour before I went swimming. No real sleep.
No interesting conversations at the pool. It was all mine.
There were two workmen but they did not engage me.
I am curious about the rule in almost all pools that we can't swim alone. I am often alone as I start early in the morning. There are using maintenance about testing water or arranging something. I never get asked to leave. I'm guessing the rule is just to satisfy insurance. Were I to drown, my family could not sue because the rule was clear. I am happy that they don't toss me out.
The music this second swim was a bit more modern. But I enjoyed the pool and hot tub for an hour.
I packed up my things and prepared for my morning exercise walk to the parking pot strapped with luggage.
I had half a bottle of red wine left and did not want it for breakfast. I wanted to take it with me to the Verona State Park but I no they have a rule against alcohol. I rinsed out the coffee thermos I had brought from home and put in the wine.
The hike to my car was good exercise again.
The Verona State Park was completely different this day than it had been the last. It was a windy day and the wind off the water was so cold, that I walked back to my car for my windbreaker jacket.
I had the park to myself except for one couple on a bench far, far away. I still had the watermelon, strawberries, peanut butter, light carb crackers and can of smoke oysters that I had brought from home. It made a great brunch, and the wine went very well with the oysters. I thought perhaps I might review the wine.
"A delicate fruity ambiance with just a hint of coffee," but actually I could not taste any coffee at all.
I was still thinking the Arkell Museum, but I did feel a bit sleepy for art. Then the GPS set tot ake me to the Arkell, took me right back to the casino, so I decided to play poker for a while. That "while" ended up being 7 hours later at 8 PM.
The first table as expected was full of rocks and the pots were small. I bet any time I hit the flop in late position and often everyone folded. The fellow to my right was a good player. He called me on one of those bets and scornfully announced my playing strategy.
One hand I played K-9 and the flop came K-9-3. I did not raise because I thought I'd easily take the pot right away at this table. It turned out that one player had pocket 3's and had me beat from the flop.
My neighbor's reactions was not, "Oh, too bad your two pair did not hold up," but "Why do you play K-9. That is just garbage."
This is good advice in no limit, but in a 2-4 game, where we are going to see a flop for $2, it may not be good advice. When playing this these rocks, just the king might be strong enough. Two pair is certainly strong on the flop. In this game, I'd have bet if 9 was top card on the flop and perhaps take the pot with that bet.
At any rate, I hate derision when I can't defend myself. Defending here would just give the guy and my opponents more information. It really annoyed me.
He had been friendly before, and we talked about travel to Europe and cruise opportunities. I got some information and ideas from him. But even here he did not get any from me, because he was one of those fellows who did not want to learn anything from anyone. He was interested in where he had been but not where he might go on my suggestion. Which is fine because I was most interested in where he had been and how it all had gone. So, I kept him talking about his travels.
A young kid joined the table who had not played much poker and never played 2-4 limit. He bet terrible hands, and so the table stopped being so tight. I made a couple very soft spoken suggestions, the usual on playing mostly high hands and suited connectors, but he did not want to learn the game.
So, we just passed him around until his money was gone. I tightened my play as I could not steal pots with this guy playing. Well, the derisive fellow next to me with the huge chip stack who derided my play seemed very unhappy now. I realized he wanted a game where he could predict play. He did not want me playing K-9 off or the kid playing and betting almost any pair or who knew what. His chip stack cut in half, so he left.
My table broke, the old rocks going home for lunch I suppose and I went to another table, a looser table. There I played well, but ended up often getting rivered. I was losing.
I held Ace-6, the same hand that had gone to a full house and given me the free $100 high hand on Sunday. And it did it again. And again they got it somewhat confused. The dealer called a high hand at our table, forgetting what I had on the board.
I held pocket 8's which went to a full house on the river. With three minutes left in the half hour, I beat the current high hand of 7's full.
My pocket jacks saw a flop of two jacks. I did not know what to do. There was not enough money in the pot for high hand. $13 is needed at Turning Stone. I decided to bet $2 right on the flop because usually there are a couple people who will call that, people who will not put me on trip jacks and betting out in early position, let along quads. I lucked out. In the end, I took my third $100 of the day by beating three tens and three sixes. Had the river been a ten rather than a six, we all would have realized thousands of dollars from a bad beat prize of about $210,000 split up and I'd have gotten a nice share of that.
The dealers were shaking their heads because I had taken high hand three times in the same day. My fellow players were tolerant. The guy who paid me said, "Win another one" and I said, " I can't. These folks will beat me up in the parking lot if I win another one." And fellow player Lisa said, "What makes you think we have to wait to get to the parking lot?" So, it was light banter.
Lisa's remark was ironic because just that day she had her purse snatched right in the casino. Four young teens were involved. She gave chase but could not catch the one with bag. Later it was found with her car keys and credit cards but missing $500.
By now they have probably arrested the kids. They had all their photographs and had photographed the license plate of the car and traced it to the owner and then to the getaway driver girl.
We are very safe in casinos, but there are very stupid people out there who don't really understand how are people in casinos are monitored. I keep my money in my front pocket.
Well, I should have quit up for the trip, but I kept playing and listening to Lisa tell her story. She seemed to want to tell it. It seems the kids live not too far from her. I told her to watch herself in case one or a friend wanted revenge, to buy some pepper spray, lock her doors, check the back seat of her car, have friends check in on her.
And at 8 I decided to quit. I was down $106 for the trip. So perhaps the derisive guy is right. By luck I had won $400 extra dollars and I was still down.
Well, when I can't play well, I try to play lucky.
I was tired but I was hungry. So I went to the buffet for the T bone steak. Very good for cheap steak. The steaks were all arranged like files in a filing cabinet and labeled well done to medium. The stuffed scrod was off in taste this time. Same sugar free pie. It was all good.
I drove home and did fairly well. At the end a huge yellow moon rose up from the horizon ahead of me. The last half hour was pretty uncomfortable. I was very tired. But I'm happy I stayed and played.
SCORE: lost $106
Comps Two free nights worth $80 each if paying the poker rate.
$20 in food comps at buffet
$2 value of a slice of pizza served in the poker room.
Pretty much a wash. Plenty of fun for the price of gas.
I don't keep track of tips in my scores. However, I did tip $22 total on the high hands. Unlike Ocala most don't tip here, and when they do it is $5. I gave the dealer $10 who had validated my claim of the first high hand that had not been board posted. I gave nothing to the dealer who did not remember I had the high hand and called a lower one out until I corrected her. The other two got $6 each.