mickeycrimm
mickeycrimm
Joined: Jul 13, 2013
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May 16th, 2014 at 10:38:11 AM permalink
On my last road trip Al and I got fairly close to Deadwood, South Dakota and decided to drive in and survey things out to see if a guy could make some money there. We didn't have hotel reservations or anything but it was off-season and mid-week. When we got to the turnoff at Sturgis the billboards were everywhere. One said "Silverado Franklin Hotel-Rooms starting at $29.99." We did a little googling, found some very bad reviews, but decided that for the price we could put up with a dump that provided bad service. So we decided to hit that joint first.

I hadn't been to Deadwood in 20 years. The town was where I had my first little gambling success 22 years ago. How I got there is another story. In the early summer of 1992, when Las Vegas got to hot, I thumbed up to Seattle and worked day labor. My intent was to make it back to Dutch Harbor, Alaska where I made damn good wages. And since the work was seasonal I could play poker in the lower 48 in the off season. The problem making it back to Dutch was I was working for minimum wage, and sitting in the bars at night sucking up cheap beer. I needed $550 to fly back to Dutch. Saving the money just wasn't happening. So I changed my plans entirely.

I took off thumbing east out of Seattle. Somewhere in Idaho I got picked up by a guy who was on his way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to build a house. He had some stops to make along the way but told me he would put me to work in Jackson if I made it there. I stopped in Missoula and worked some day labor for a few days, then took off hitchhiking again....to Jackson Hole. When I got there I found the Good Samaritan Mission. It was actually more like a bunkhouse. You paid $3 a day for the first two weeks then the rate went to $10 a day. Job Service ran a day labor office and the wages were much higher than down in the big city, $8 to $10 an hour, and the jobs were plentiful. So I blew off the guy who offered me a job there.

A month in Jackson Hole and I took off hitchhiking again. I wound up back up on I-90 and got dropped off in Rapid City, South Dakota. I checked into the Cornerstone Mission and staring working day labor out of a Job Service office. The wages were much lower than Jackson. One weekend I decided to thumb up to Deadwood, about 30 miles away. I walked into Big Jakes Cardroom at Goldberg's. There was no game going on but they all jumped into action when I showed up. The game was Seven Card Stud Hi Lo (Eight or Better). I had no clue what I was doing. They fleeced me very quickly. I took off thumbing back down the hill to Rapid City.

After work one day I went to the local library and looked for some poker books on Stud Hi Lo. I found a book by Oswald Jacoby but it was for Stud Hi Lo without a qualifier. But I soaked up as much information as I could....and the next weekend I thumbed back up to Deadwood....and walked back into Big Jakes Cardroom. The book worked like a charm because this time it took them twice as long to fleece me. Back down the hill I go.

I met Ben in Rapid City. He was a rubber tramp (a tramp who lives out of his car). We took off together working day labor around the region. We stopped into Fort Collins, Colorado. One day after a day labor job I stopped into the local library looking for poker books. I found a book on Stud Hi Lo (Eight or Better) by Andy Nelson. This was an excellent piece of work on the game. I ran it over to the copying machine.

Ben and I wound up in Frisco, Colorado, up in the mountains, where wages were high for day laborers. I studied Nelson's book every night. Ben and I decided to split the sheets. He wanted to go one way and I wanted to go another. He was a real nice guy, always quick with a smile or joke. But I could tell there was a sadness about him. He finally told me that at one time he had a wife, child, and a career. But his wife and kid were killed in a traffic accident. He just roamed around the country, living out of his car, and working day labor after that.

I took off thumbing back to Deadwood. The folks at Big Jake's Cardroom were in for a rude awakening. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were surprised my game had improved so much. I not only managed to hold my own, but was making a profit. Not much, about $50 a day, but it sure beat digging ditches. Miss Kitty's, across the street, also spread the game.

I returned to Deadwood in the summer of 93, and the summer of 94. But by then I had learned about other Stud Hi Lo games around the region, like Cripple Creek, Colorado, and the pickings were much better there. So it was that 94 was my last time in Deadwood.

So here I was rolling back into Deadwood in May of 2014, twenty years later, and a hell of a lot more gambling knowledge than I had back then. It was off-season and mid-week so Deadwood was slow....but we still had a problem finding a parking spot.

next post....
"Quit trying your luck and start trying your skill." Mickey Crimm
mickeycrimm
mickeycrimm
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May 16th, 2014 at 11:40:01 AM permalink
We found a parking space a couple of blocks east of the Franklin Hotel and walked back down. The Franklin is an old historic hotel/casino built in 1903. The hotel desk is just inside the front door. Across the street is the Silverado Hotel/Casino. They are both owned by the same company. At the hotel desk the guy quoted us $39 plus tax for a double, two people. We told him we had a parking problem. He decided to put us in the Silverado's motor lodge to solve our parking problem. The hotel bill came to almost $46, tax and all. Then he told the doorman that we would be arriving at the parking lot with a car in a few minutes. Al went and got the car and the doorman walked across the street and opened the gate up. The room was definitely outdated, cinder block walls and wood paneling. But for the price and parking accomodations who could complain. The room was immaculately cleaned though.

We had a few little goodies to defray the cost too. We both got $5 in freeplay, $5 blackjack matchplays, a free tap beer, wine or well drink, $1 off the buffet. But those would wait for later. Al and I wanted to survey the town out as soon as possible. We started out down one side of the street then worked our way back up the other side. Video line games have taken over Deadwood. There are "Must Hit By's" everywhere. We found a play, a Williams coin-out machine where the minor was at $47.78. I spun it off and hit something big. We cashed out a $55 winner.

We were going in and out of all these joints and not finding much. The video poker totally sucked. Deadwood is the home of 7/5 Jacks. We only found a couple of multi-line games in the whole town. Not a single Ultimate X to be found anywhere. We found another "must hit by" with a high number and made $26.

The live poker just totally sucked. Not a live game anywhere in town. The only thing we saw that was close to a game was when we walked through Saloon #10. A poker dealer and two house players were sitting there eyeballing us. We kept walking.

Goldberg's and Miss Kitty's, the two places I first started playing poker 22 years ago were both shuttered. I could tell Deadwood was a tough nut. The places all looked nice but they were operating with skeleton crews. Just no business while we were there. Deadwood is a weekend town. And the summer tourist season adds a little.

Several places had the Royal Match 21 blackjack consoles. But the best we could tell it was about a 99.1% game.

By the time we got back up to the Franklin we knew Deadwood was not for us. No real money to be made. But we found a penny Red Hot Jackpots where the bottom meter was at $9.08. I spun my free play off on it and hit the 3 RHJ symbols on the third spin. I cashed out an $11 winner. We found another "must hit by" that we used Al's freeplay on and won $25.

We had a big $1 off on a $17 prime rib buffet and decided to use it. The buffet was nothing to write home about but everything was very fresh at the salad bar. While dining Al and I plotted on where we were going to go to make some real money. And we discussed the problem of the Royal Match 21 in the Franklin have 3 different sets of rules listed. I decided to put the problem up on WoV. Then we retired for the evening.

The next morning we were back across at the Franklin having coffee. We just happened to walk by the Royal Match 21 again. And we got to thinking about it again. I was reading off the posts on WoV to Al from my android. There was nothing we could figure out. So Al said:

"I'm gonna take some pictures of this game and send them to ShuffleMaster and ask them what's up."
"Yeah, that's a good idea. I'm gonna do the same."

No sooner than we started taking pictures a suit security showed up and asked us what we were doing. We explained about the 3 sets of rules. He scratched his head and said "Let me get the slot guy out here." The slot guy showed up and we explained it to him.

"Who the hell are you guys?" was his response.
"We're just gamblers but we think it's strange."

When the guy figured out we weren't Gaming he cooled off. He looked down at the problem.

"Well, this game has been here three years and you are the first guys to point this out to me. It's got to be a ShuffleMaster mistake."
"So there's not three sets of rules in the game?"
"No, that's impossible. It's the six-deck rules that apply. ShuffleMaster made a mistake when they put those rules up in front of every seat."
"Why do you have 'single points only' listed in front of every seat?" Al asked.
"Well, we learned that the hard way. We got our butts kicked on point multiplier days."
"Well, that solves the problem for us."
"Thanks, guys. I'm gonna call ShuffleMaster and tell them to get their butts down here and fix it."

Al and I loaded up and left Deadwood headed for parts unknown.
"Quit trying your luck and start trying your skill." Mickey Crimm
bobsims
bobsims
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May 16th, 2014 at 11:52:55 AM permalink
Good to see you're still doing well Mickey.
When was the last time you made it down to Reno?
mickeycrimm
mickeycrimm
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May 16th, 2014 at 12:44:22 PM permalink
Quote: bobsims

Good to see you're still doing well Mickey.
When was the last time you made it down to Reno?



I think it was sometime in 2007. The video poker scene had dried up pretty good by then. I'm still plugged in with some of the local pros and it appears that it's still pretty bad there. From what I've been told a $100,000 bankroll might make a guy $50 an hour....until you get pitched off the play. That's to thin edge for me.
"Quit trying your luck and start trying your skill." Mickey Crimm
Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
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May 17th, 2014 at 12:53:54 AM permalink
Quote: mickeycrimm

I think it was sometime in 2007. The video poker scene had dried up pretty good by then. I'm still plugged in with some of the local pros and it appears that it's still pretty bad there. From what I've been told a $100,000 bankroll might make a guy $50 an hour....until you get pitched off the play. That's to thin edge for me.



Enjoyed the story, Mickey.
Pokeraddict
Pokeraddict
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May 17th, 2014 at 1:51:31 AM permalink
Quote:

Well, we learned that the hard way. We got our butts kicked on point multiplier days."



That was the best AP play in the history of Deadwood. What rule error do you see on the machine? I never noticed conflicting rules. Also, that machine has been there for about 5-6 years. I have lived in LV for 3.5 years and the point multiplier days lasted 6-9 months before they pulled the plug. I still lived there for another year after that play died. I suppose it could be a different machine than was there 5 years ago but I was up there in the winter and it looked to be the same.

That SHFL machine was 6 decks, DAS, DA, surrender and H17. The rules said something about the machine reshuffling at 2/3 of the shoe.

As for VP, nothing is playable in Deadwood. The best game is probably the S17 blackjack games at the Lodge up on the hill. I believe they have a D9-11, DAS 9-11 DD that S17 too.
GWAE
GWAE
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May 17th, 2014 at 5:59:16 AM permalink
Mickey how do you remember every detail about trips 20 years ago? Did you write all of this down or are you filling in the gaps with approximations of what happened?
Expect the worst and you will never be disappointed. I AM NOT PART OF GWAE RADIO SHOW
BleedingChipsSlowly
BleedingChipsSlowly
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May 17th, 2014 at 7:16:39 AM permalink
Enjoyed the story, thanks for posting. Good luck with parts unknown.
“You don’t bring a bone saw to a negotiation.” - Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Buzzard
Buzzard
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May 17th, 2014 at 8:40:49 AM permalink
Yeah Mickey Lots of Ben's in this world. My son-in-law Ralph was one of them. Married twice. And both wife died from ovarian cancer.
That was it for him. Hit the bottle and the road. Oblivion for the next 10 years. Now married to Melanie. She is Schitzoaffective and can be a handful at times, but a great Mom. If I see granddaughter 2 or 3 times a day, they will be wearing 2 or 3 different outfits.

But as for Melanie when she is in one of her moods, LOL. Nickname for Ralph is Pope Ralph. Patience of a saint ! Once of the reason I have a soft spot in my heart for anybody flying a kite. Especially at beginning of month. Means they have no welfare or nut job check, as those all come then. Rarely give cash anymore. Either burgers or a sub. Batting average pretty good . At least 9 out of 10 will drop the sign immediately and sit down to eat. Once saw woman flying kite, 2 kids sitting in van at Walmart lot. Circled around after getting
breakfast subs and 2 milks at Subway. She dropped kite and literally dove into the van.


Ever see Ben again., Mickey ?
Shed not for her the bitter tear Nor give the heart to vain regret Tis but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it Sparkles yet
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
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May 17th, 2014 at 5:44:23 PM permalink
This story was kind of boring, but it's good that Mickey tells those stories too, so people don't get the wrong idea about a life of professional gambling. It's not really all that glorious, is the message I'm getting :)
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer

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