Sunday, January 22, 2017


Outside it was like this. Always crowds and a party atmosphere. These were all school kids getting ready to perform or be cheerleaders for a bit football game. Pretty amazing. Inside, it would be another night of poker, insulated from all the wild times.

I started early on my first day of poker in order to ensure that I would get a seat at the temporary setup. The floors were being redone, so they had a few tables in another area neat the Grotto.
This meant that I would play better players, but luckily just to my right was a local who thought he was a better player, but who raised and bet and bluffed and raised while chasing. 
This might  not be a bad strategy for the rock locals, but it did not work if he did not get cards. Twice I took huge pots from him because I had good cards, and his river did not produce the draw that he was betting would come.
Once I had K-5 suited and was looking for my flopped pair of fives to improve or for a river flush.
My hand did not improve.
I had been calling this fellow right along.  He bet the river, and I put him on a 5, and thought my kicker would win. He did not have a 5. He had nothing. When I showed my cards, he was shocked.
"He called me with a five," he whined.  
I told him those were "power cards," and that whenever I can't play well, I try to play lucky. 
He was not amused.
Another time I held 7-8 of diamonds, and all the diamonds came around it except the 5 for the straight flush. I checked the river, but no one had diamonds, so I won the pot. Had the 5 come, I would have hit a double bonus that was over $600.
Three old regulars, including Tony, came in and waited for seats that would never come. I had been smart to come in early.
At eleven forty five they stopped the game, took our names, and off we went to wait for them to set up tables in the newly carpeted regular poker room. This meant that there would be more space for players for my Friday and Saturday play.
Having some time to kill, I watched the sharks for a while and took some Christmas photographs

I tried the buffet, but it was closed until December 23. Too bad. I'd miss my smoked salmon breakfast.
I walked down to Main Street Station and had their breakfast buffet. It is not the best for me because so much of what they have is just sugared carbs. I did not want eggs again. But I had a good free meal just the same.
Outside it had begun to rain, and I was walking in only a tee shirt, so I ducked up to my room for my new raincoat and it worked fine to keep me dry and later to keep me a bit warmer. I am not feeling the cold here. Mostly it is refreshing and the casinos are a bit too warm for me.
Somewhere along my travels I passed a guy giving $15 tickets to Steve Connolly as Elvis at the Four Queens at 9. I decided that would be a great break.
Back in the newly carpeted room, they were beginning to work on the tables.  I talked the brush into locking up my seat so I could see better once the game started in the new room. He did that with my Player's card, and I went off to amuse myself for an hour wait.
I had won $24 in morning poker and I lost $25 playing 60 cents a spin in a huge Buffalo slot. It hit and hit and hit, and I got free spins, but in the end, it took my money. That was my big slot play for the trip.
I watched them working to set up the poker room. It was amazing really. They hustled and bustled using many, many workers. Everything was installed, all the chips and card cutters and equipment put into place while a huge number of red shirted folks vacuumed with fast and perfect strokes.
It was stressful for the workers because they had so much to do, and here were 40 people all milling around, all frustrated as poker players get, and all asking questions of the main floorman.
It was all done well except the reassignment of players. He called the limit table players from the list, but thought they were no limit and, it took a while for him to understand.
I just went to my assigned seat and was quiet because many of the regulars wanted to lock up seats, and the brush would not do it at this time.
I played and got good cards, but the pots were small. No passive callers here. After a while, a third table started and I got a table change.
There I found what I usually find, some tourist players. And once the double bonus times were over, the old regulars left, and the tourist players took over.
Not only did this mean an easier and more lucrative poker, but it meant more party atmosphere.
Right next to me sat an older British woman who was great fun. She was an odd shaped little woman, and very easy to like. She had traveled much in Europe. She was funny and interesting.
She was fluent in Portugese, French and English.
She owned some property in Portugal and said that if Brexit got economically bad, she would go live there.
It was a great conversation.
In between, this old guy on my right was hitting on her or kidding about it. In many contexts he would be considered rude, but he managed to pull it off, and she went along with the joke.
She was going to see Zumanity that night, so she kept saying she did not know if she would come up to his room, but perhaps after Zumanity she would be ready.
She had also been at the Beatles show the night before and loved it. She thought it was grand. 
She especially liked things that she saw that to her seemed especially authentically British, especially the placement of some of the outfits to perfectly reflect the particular time.
When I mentioned France, the guy to my right went into a rant about how unfriendly the people were. It turned out he had been there in 1974 and had no clue about Europe after that.
I tried to tell him it had changed, but he would have none of it. Finally, I just said there was no talking to him. I should have said, "Some people, if they don't already know, you can't tell them."
He got quiet as he realized how much the woman and I had traveled. Then he left.
I would see him another day and find him very friendly. Then I did ask if he did not think that in 50 years the French attitude toward tourists might have changed.
I moved my seat and sat next to Charlie, a very old and aged black man who was a bit disoriented at times. He did not talk.
A Latino woman came to my table. She was here celebrating that her son had turned 21, but he was of playing roulette. Her other son and a friend joined us for a while. Her husband came in later, just before I left.
I had been a bit behind, but I was building my stack with good cards and passive callers. The woman needed to see everything even on the river, so she paid me as did others.
Charlie would fold on the river if he was not strong and I bet. So I bet two missed hands and stole two pots from him.
Then I got pocket fours. At the turn I had fours full of eights and felt I had the best hand. I had not kept up with the value of the bonus hand awards, so I was puzzled. On the one hand, I wanted to bet it because I'd get called by someone with an 8.
On the other hand, I wanted to see the river. Charlie made it easy. 
He went all-in for a dollar and that meant I would see the river whether the others called my bet or folded. I completed the bet and everyone folded. 
Had he not bet a dollar and had I bet, I would not have seen the river 4 drop. 
It ended up being worth $197.
The table dwindled, and I was up for a break and to leave some money in my room and not carry so much.
For supper I ate free at California. I had the prime rib special and really went off my diet because I had a good bit of the cherries jubilee. It reminded me of years ago when I always tried to catch this meal at California.

There was a seat for me back in the game and I played for a couple hours but I was tiring and unlucky, so I left $39 down for that session. I went to see Steve Connoly impersonate Elvis at 9PM.  The details come next.
My last day of poker at the Nugget was terrible. I lost over $500 because I just would not quit. I lost sober and later I lost drunk. I played from early afternoon up until just after two am.
I did like the people. The young Asian fellow who raised every hand he entered and his wife were very friendly and we bantered a bit. He was not like he was the first day. He had lost quite a bit at sports betting.
Dennis was very sour at losing on the river over and over and he complained bitterly, even saying f%%% more than is usually tolerated at the tables. In the past I have enjoyed him, but here he was not much fun, and I don't think he liked me telling him to chill out a bit and relax. 
Two encounters were unpleasant.
The "Rock" when he left in a very low key voice added personal insult. I can't remember all of what he said, but he did say I was an idiot. I had tried to bring him out of his shell a few times, but could not seem to engage him in any way. He had on an Air Force cap, but when I asked it he had been a "lifer" he did not know the expression. A marine I played with later said he thought that "The Rock" had not been in the service, but only pretended.
I best like Joe, an older and very pleasant many who runs an antique shop near Glouster, something called Point. We talked fishing codfish. He lost friends in the Perfect Storm.
A Texan from San Antonio was friendly. I told him I had been there years ago and hated it. 
He was taken back and then said it was rare for folks to hate San Antonio. 
There was another woman and the table who was born there. I did not wait too long before I said that, well, I did love my one day there, that was the day they gave me liberty from Air Force basic training, and so they got the drift of the joke.
The British woman I so liked was in the room but never at my table. She lost again. Players were for the most part skilled and difficult to beat.
I was able to use the Asian every hand raiser to my advantage. This time he was two behind me, so when he raised and most called the raise, there was quite a bit in the preflop pot, and with good cards I could reraise. If he then reraised, it would force out some of the folks we had squeezed. If he did not reraise, I knew his hand was not very strong. 
That perhaps was one of the problems that "The Rock" had with me. He sat to the left of the Asian fellow, so he would be squeezed in some cases. However, I was more careful when he called the raise. He played very few hands, only those that were the best.
At another table earlier a young Asian woman was getting bumped by a huge guy at the table behind her. She complained and I offered to switch seats with her. This would also get me away from a guy who always blind straddled my big blind. The first time the guy bumped me, I bumped back. 
Well, he did not really like that. We were big guys and it was going to happen he said. I told him the girl had moved because of his bumping and that if did not sit a foot from the table, there would be not problem. 
He got plenty mad and wanted to go outside and settle the problem man to man. The dealer wanted to call security. I said I thought the guy, after his verbal bluster, would solve the issue. And I never was bumped again. 
But when the table broke, and I was moving, I asked not to be at his table and he started again trying to get a fight going because I had "eye balled" him as I left.
I told him that I would look where ever I wanted, and that he had been stop threatening me. I told him my son was a lawyer, and he would have to face him in court. He said that he did not care about my son, but wanted to settle the issue with me, but I got the threat of legal action to stick in his mind. There were not other issues and when I next looked for him, he had left the poker room.
It was all stupid. I could have handled it better had I not been aggressive.
In the end, I left feeling defeated and not really knowing why. Perhaps as my friend Kevin says, I just played too many hands. I drank Perrier for most the time and then red wine. Generally, I can win at 2-4 when a bit drunk, and I like the experiencebecause drinking gives me the patience to toss away the poorer hands. 
However, after struggling with bankroll in the middle of the trip and then coming back with good VP wins and a high hand at the Nugget, it was disappointing to lose it back. Perhaps "The Rock" is right and I am an idiot.

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