Thursday, October 26, 2017

Schenectady Rivers Casino Overnight Number 2

I was surprised to get a free room offer with the little play I gave them last time.  It may have been that they saw me as a newbie last visit.  I learned at the Player's Club that I had three accounts with them.  Very strange.  Now they are consolidated, so I won't look like a newbie again.

No resort fees.  What a joy!  A free night here is a free night.  This time we got a room facing the river.  Great view.  It had all the same amenities.  I did learn that I could get a microwave and coffee maker just for asking, but we just used the free coffee in the hotel lobby. Starbucks was perfectly fit even for my gourmet coffee loving wife.  And they had little syrups to have flavored coffee.
Elizabeth rarely goes to a casino with me.  For some reason she was willing to go this time, and we had a great time.  She was content.  I think she may go again.  She especially liked that the entire casino is smoke free.
Along with the free night came $40 in free play of mine and $10 for her new sign up.  So, she played a few slots and some VP and wound up $10 down for the trip.  She also got a great $25 matchplay which we split, and lost on a come out roll of 3.  Not even any suspense there.
I was behind until this morning when the 9/5 DDB gave me Aces twice.  I ended up $267 ahead for the trip.  That is nice because I head to Blackhawk CO next week and can use the bankroll.
There was a 3-6 game from 5 PM until almost midnight and a half hour high hand $300 bonus.  Just before the game broke up I was on the board with just tens full of sevens.  With 4 minutes to go some Aces full no limit guy took me down.
I liked the game.  Players were very loose.  Still, I did not do as well as I would have expected I might against that competition.
One fellow there had lived in Colorado and been to Blackhawk.  He praised the Lady Luck Casino.  That may be where I go on a future trip.  At the time he used to go just 6 hours of poker play got him a free night, but it was unadvertised and not based on a reservation.  He liked the games there, and liked the poker at the Ameristar.  However, it may have changed since his time.
An old fellow, Korean War vet named Paul was the best player at the table and played all the while until eleven.  He held an unlit cigar and could have perfected a George Burns imitation.  I liked all the players.  One had the same mannerisms as Peter Balint, my old colleague.  It was eerie.
The poker room  took my name and called me when the game started.  That was great.

With the free room came free wine at 5PM in the lobby.  The wine was pretty basic.  I added some stevia to my merlot to take the sour edge off.  Then it was fine, and I had two glasses.  The casino does not give free alcohol, but the whiskey prices were not inflated, running about $6 to $9.  I just drank the free wine and after dinner had a couple glasses in my room.  I brought a bottle of wine, usual Tisdale at under $5 a bottle.   It is a small casino, so a trip to the room is effortless.

We walked the trail along the river for a while and enjoyed that.  A few rowers were in the river again.  Only one small motor boat.  It is a great spot.  Very pretty.

Currently they are doing a good bit of building.  A Marriot is coming and it looked like it would be really huge once it is finished.  Perhaps there will be more eateries there then.
Just now we were not thrilled with the food choices.  We went out twice, once to Peter Pause, just down the street across from the entrance to Union College and then on the way home we stopped at Riccitello's , an old fashioned Italian place built into a house.

Peter Pause was great food at reasonable prices. I loved the homemade corned beef hash that had very little potato.  Elizabeth did not like it.  I ate hers.  The atmosphere was of a locals diner.
The service was good.  They only took cash.

We stopped for lunch at Riccitello's and I ate their chili and some streamed clams.  Elizabeth had eggplant parm and it was made there and delicious.  No frozen patties.  The chili was great for me, but would be too spicy for many eaters.  It all did well with my sugar numbers.

The bar was attached close enough to hear the conversation. The bartender (owner?) had been interviewed by Channel 6, but the piece had not run.  They wanted to know how the casino had impacted their business, and he was very positive.   He said they were swamped on weekends, and speculated that the poor food choices at Rivers was one reason.

We did have a good meal for a decent price at the Asian place at Rivers called Mian.

The accommodated my no carb diet with broccoli and no rice in a veggie pork dish, but I wondered if the sauce had added sugar.  On the side I got a plate of Chinese greens that were great.  I could eat two of those and be on diet and be satisfied.  Elizabeth had a Pad Thai dish and brought half home. It was good.  Nice to have refrigerators in the room.

We had planned to go out for supper, but Elizabeth tired out and wanted to stay.  I was happy.  I got more poker.  At the end of the night I was up just $5 in that 3-6 session, and I wondered why given the competition.

In the casino I could not find the slot I had liked last visit, something with a Diamond Dragon theme.  I kept looking.  Mostly I played the 9/5 DDB and Elizabeth played an 8/5 JOB 5 hand game in nickels.  I sure with there was just one full pay machine to keep my happy when the poker was not appealing.

This morning there was one 1-2 NL game in session and the faces all looked like serious players.  So, I went to the VP and was happy that I did.

Tonight from 5- midnight the same high hand awards apply, so there would probably be another 3-6 game if they get enough players.  I would have been too tired, unless I had napped at the room.  They did extend our check out until 1PM.  They seem very easy about that.

I came home, unpacked and slept for 3 hours.  I guess I did not rest well in the night.
All it all it was a great little trip.  It reminded me of Vegas years ago when comps were easier and there were few limitations.  Elizabeth would go back as well.  She was happy reading in the lounge and drinking free coffee, and in playing a few dollars in the slots.
It us just a 40 minute drive from our house, so next spring I can go just when the 3-6 game is working.  If they keep the high hand going, I think the 3-6 game will keep going.  It is hard to know why it does not attract players.  All at our table agreed that we could never make money at the 2-4 games at Turning Stone.  Too many tight players and too high rakes.

Elizabeth and I have been experimenting with trying to get the vacation-away experience without going so far away from home.   It seems to be working.  We agreed that we felt away from home just to be in this new place and exploring restaurants and such.

Sunset over the river at Rivers.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


I got a great deal with a fellow gambling pal from out of town for an overnight and comped food at the Rivers Casino in Schenectady, NY.
They would like to spread a 3-6 limit game there, but rarely are able due to a lack of interest.  Saturday the high hand award of $500 per hour drew some players.  It is easier to hit those hands in a limit game than in no limit.  I played and lost pretty badly.
Later while my gambling pal was collecting his huge profit from the 2-5 NL games, I wandered about the casino.
The pay tables are not very good at VP.  They rarely are in these locals casinos.  I played a nickel 5 play 8-5 JOB.  It is not a good pay table, but I was hoping for a surge in volatility in my favor.  Perhaps a dealt quad.  None came at all.
I see they are not on VP Free, so perhaps I need to take more time to survey all the choices.
I moved to a DDB 9-5 in quarters, but nothing happened there.  That is a 98% game and worth playing short term for fun.  In the long run it grinds the player down.
Then I played a slot.  Three quarter lines a pull.  It was older in style with some sort of diamond dragon theme.  I liked it.  I cashed out $15 to the good.
The next day I played a decent 1-2 NL and won back some of my money.  I left $160 down for the trip, but with that much in free room and food.  Then in the mail this week I got a free night offer with $40 free play, so that is a value o $150.  It is not so bad to lose when comps bring back the value.  My wife and I are booked for next Wednesday when I have some hope that the $300 every half hour might attract some 3-6 players.  I've also been practicing the DDB VP.

I was not impressed with the food last time.  My companion is a fast eater. He just wants to get back on the table and play for hours at a time.  He gets only the rare chance to go to the casino.  He can always eat.

We had comps in the steakhouse, one of those upscale places where the steaks are $30 and everything else is a $10 add on.  I had a prime rib.  It was a generous cut, but was much too tough.  I took half of it home and got two more meals out of it, but I cut it up and sautéed it in mushrooms and onions.

We also had a comped express breakfast at a bar just near the elevator.  It was not so great.  I had an egg muffin sandwich.  Pretty boring.  We did find out that we were missing a great Sunday brunch offered in another place.  I'll try that spot next time, or go back out into Schenectady to a better restaurant.

The casino was fine otherwise.  Saturday night there was free music in the lounge.  I watched for a while, but got sick with a migraine and had to call it an early night.  The television has a huge selection of stations including TCM which is a great station when you don't feel well.  No commercials.
I was also impressed with the room lighting.  There were many lights in various places, including those over the beds for night reading.  The deck had a wonderful desk lamp and there was another free standing light as well.
The shower was large and long with good pressure.  The controls were on one end and the shower on the other, so we did not get wet setting the right temperature.
There was a fine little refrigerator, but there was no coffee maker.  I'll bring my own next week and my own coffee.  I keep forgetting to do that when I am traveling by car locally.

We walked out into the quiet morning behind the casino to make phone calls.  There was a fine walking path along the river.  This morning the river was full of long rowed boats.  There must have been an event.  It was wonderful to see them all.
This week I'll try walking the path along the river with my camera.

I also saw some locals I knew.  John from our old house game was there, and my old neighbor and pal Ron was also.  They both played at my table for a while at times.

I did not drink, even the wine in my room later.  They don't give free alcohol.  I don't know the prices.

Friday, August 25, 2017


Yankee Trails offered $7 bus rides to Turning Stone last Thursday and I managed to get a seat on one of the five buses.
I hit a high hand.  Four aces with my A-9 hand and no larger kicker on the board, so I won $200.  I almost did not turn the hand over because I thought I needed pocket Aces for it to count.

I played break even poker until just the last hour or so and then my game fell apart and I lost the money back.

I took my $15 of freeplay to the fish slot and won $15, but later I lost $5
In the end I was $42 ahead and rather disappointed in myself.

I played with a discocated retina in my left eye and went to the emergency room as soon as I got back.  It is pretty bad.  I get surgery next Tuesday.  Last night and today I spent with one doctor after another.  Tomorrow I head back to Turning Stone with Peter to meet Chris on Sunday.  That should be a good visit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Turning Stone

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Turning Stone The Poker

As is generally the case, the players at the Turning Stone tables were for the most part dull.
Mike from Colonie, an ex prison worker who did some scared straight programs for Albany High, was talkative and funny.  Most other people were just playing the game.  No stories.
Some of the dealers were engaging.
Promotions were good and attracted the better players.   A half hour high hand paid $200 and the bad beat is up to over $350,000.  I played well, but came out $10 behind after a few hours of play.  It was hard to keep the tables full.  They opened six tables and these dwindled.  It was hard to get them to move us.  They like lots of tables because it increases their rake and dealer tips.
One old fellow drove me nuts.  He tapped is hands and so I had to hold up to see if he was really checking or not.  Then too he talked about the bad beat in a way that might jinx it were it to hit.  Many of us tried to explain that this could allow the casino not to pay, but then later dealers seemed to point out possibilities as well.  So, who knows.
I found out that the main casino offers free coffee and soda that can be accessed by us rather then delivered by the waitress.  No free alcohol here.  But that is good.  I can't entertain myself long enough and there is that drive back.
I loved the no highways ride back to Utica.  I just stay on the one road that passes Turning Stone and it takes me directly to the hotel.  No Thruway tolls and just as fast a ride with less traffic.  Easy.  Nice to have the GPS teach this to me.


I went over for the morning high hand session, from noon to five.  I was the first there at about ten and the room was  empty. 
I decided to amuse myself with some video poker in spite of the very poor pay tables.   I rarely do this.  I amused myself on a Double Double Bonus 6/5 until I lost $60.  This is the worst VP I've played in my life.  94%. 
By then the craps table was full of folks and I used my $10 matchplay and lost that.
There was no game yet.
Just outside the poker room I sat down at a fish barrel slot.  I never play slots, but at one nickle a spin I thought I would amuse myself.  I hit a bonus and the bonus spins did well.  When they opened my table I cashed my $20 out for $98.  Very ironic.
By the time I quit at 5 PM my score for the day was minus one dollar.
I was pretty hungry and went to the Savoy for a fine meal.;postID=7847221253451772432 I had thought about going to the movies, but instead I went back  for the second session, going from 7PM until 10PM.  I had good cards and I played well.  When I cashed out, my score for the trip was plus $68.

It was a good table with joking players.  Most of the players were good, but there was enough playing poorly to make the pots in general fairly large.  My closest to a high hand was flopped quad fours.  Aces were already on the board, but I did make money.  Later, I got a full house, but there was a higher one on the board.  There were fewer players than on Sunday, and so the odds of hitting a high hand were better.  I think other trips will be weekday trips.  The high hand brings in the players,

There was not much interesting conversation, however.  And there were two annoying issues.  One fellow who seemed nice enough kept trashing my play to the young woman social studies teacher to his left.  First, it was to point out the ridiculous habit of raising and then folding.  I had raised preflop with A-K off and when the board did not support it, I folded.  I said that to him.  Then in a head to head with him, I raised on top two pair, J-9 with a pair of 5's on the board.  He had a five and so I lost the pot.  So he went on about how he did not know why I raised into him.  When I did, he thought I must at least have a 5.  I got ticked and asked him why he needed to debase my hand.  He apologized.  He seemed a good fellow, but I had listened to enough.  I need to stop letting those negative bits affect me.  I have a short temper these days. Later, we joked once.  It was over.  

A woman Shirley had come from Rochester on the bus.  She played during the day session and was very , very tight.  She did not lose much.  I tried to stay out of hands with her, but for a preflop raise I could generally count on her folding.
She joked a good bit.  She hit one high hand.  She also asked about the art museums and NARM.  She praised the Rochester museums.  She had a tough time when Kodak went bankrupt.  Her husband lost his job and his pension.  

The Filipino fellow who jokingly called himself Don Pedro came around after the high hand awards were over and sat to my right.  I had played with this fellow the day before and I liked him.  He was fairly new to the game,   He had a quirky sense of humor and he made little jokes.  At one point he moved like he was going to push all-in and then folded.  The Slink joke move I call it after my old poker buddy Slink who amused himself in the same way at home games.  Because he had made those motions the dealer insisted he raise the pot.  The cards had not mucked.  He called the floor. Don Pedro complied without argument to avoid the floor.  When the pot was reraised, he folded and within a hand or two he packed up his chips and left.  "You can't joke around here anymore" he said.
There was talk and so I spoke up for the newness of the player, and the dealer kept coming into the conversation with his same, worn rule argument.  I told him I got all that.  I was just explaining how it was from the perspective of Don Pedro.  Then some woman who made a habit of checking and betting out of turn, who always seemed to think that the button acted first, said, "Well, you can't fool around at a poker table."  I just laughed at her.  
I understand the sense of no collusion in high hand play, but clearly the dealers were all on edge enforcing it, sometimes annoyed with the threat of job loss, sometimes annoyed at player ignorance of rules.  The no talking rules have to be looked at in the context of other casinos around the country.  It is very common to have an expression like "Spread the pot" to signal that the player had the high hand and just needs one more bet.  Many casinos don't care about enforcement.
In general all the dealers were very efficient and better than I remember.  They knew how to call the game.
One brush talked to me about my writing.  He had seen some of it, but he may also have confused me with another writer of more stature.  It was fine to be noticed.  He was a very fine fellow too.
I missed Don Pedro because he laughed a good bit and we had become friendly.  His very quiet and inverted friend watched the game from behind and smiled when I tried to get him to play.  They were from Kingston, Canada.  He introduced me as Don Dewey.
That took the edge off the evening for me and within a few hands I packed it up for the night. Probably a good thing.  I don't leave with profit often.
I had bought in for $60 and again for $40 and been down below the $40 until I started to improve, so my $59 winnings meant I had won back over $100 from my lowest point.  
These fellows seemed like good players, but they did not seem to register my tight play.  Pocket Aces on the button when raised and an Ace flopped got folks betting in to me.  That was a good hand.
In another I had the king high club flush and check raised on the river to two pair.  In another a very good player and I each had a king when the flop came K-K-8.  Mine was with an 8.  Again, there was no high hand.  I just called the first $2 bet and others bet behind me.  The fellow check raised me on the turn and I reraised and was called on the river.  He had K-Q, but I had the nut.
Very few bad beat jackpot possibilities.  The players were better about not talking about it, but not perfect.  We had to educate folks again.  Dealers said they had been admonished at meetings with the threat of job loss if they did not tighten up on talk around the bonus pays and the casino had refused to pay a few bad beat jackpots.
So there it was.
Such a rule nazi atmosphere just takes a bit of fun out of it all.  So, between Connecticut and Turning Stone I am drawn more to Connecticut.  Not as much sense of rigid rules.  Better hotel choices with TCM and refrigerators.  VP that is full pay.  Free drinks add to the value. Turning Stone at $200 has better high hand pays on weekdays.
With the coupons the poker room sends I could probably come out on the bus and go back on the bus for one overnight of about $60 on weekdays.  Some dates in August have $7 Yankee Trails rides. However, it would mean no meal at the Savoy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rivers Casino in Schenectady

I was very near the casino and had a few hours to kill, so I thought I'd give it a look.
Not much was happening this afternoon.
There were a few NL games but no 3-6 game, just a list.  After an hour there were only four of us on the list and they said that they would not start a game without eight, and I suspected some of the four would not still be there.  I just left.

I did sign up for a card and get my free ten dollars.  I lost it in a 7/5 Bonus Poker game, followed it with $80, and hit four deuces for $80, so I cashed out even.  I played about an hour.
The machines themselves were new and worked great, but all the pay tables are less than full pay.  This makes it a $98.01 payout game.  This is way better than playing slots, but it really makes a difference.  For a long while, it made no difference because I did not hit full houses, so I was not short payed.
When I left I had hit 5 full houses, so I was short payed $6.25.  It certainly adds up.

A 9/5 JOB would be better.  Playing just one dollar in a 9/6 dollar JOB would be better.
The JOB there is 8/5.

There was some shouting at one craps table, but otherwise there was not much life in the place.  There were a few pretty girls, but mostly there were those dead faced old people, unhappy and losing.  I'm tired of that scene.
It does make it easier to plan a trip to Mohegan Sun when Elizabeth would like me out of the house for a couple days.  I can always find something to play in the one of the poker rooms.  Bravo Poker application will tell me what is what on my phone.  I should have checked Schenectady today before I went over.
I checked out the interesting slots.  Quite a change from the old days when it was just three spinning wheels on one to three lines.