Posted by Malaru
Feb 23, 2013

Trip to Tampa. HRT

I enjoyed this trip much more then I anticipated. Overall it was just a nice enjoyable experience.

First a few updates since the last time I had been there- which has been a few years. Its a bit more general casino/Vegas feel to it now. I don't know how they got around for getting approval for the games but there is more then just card games now. There are automated sic bo, craps, roulette- actually ball/dice being used, just inside a machine that bounces/rolls them. The roulette is american style. I didn't check on odds for craps. They now have an Asian section with Asia poker, pai gow poker, pai gow tiles, baccarat, blackjack, and some VERY LOUD slot machines- there was actually a good deal of complaints from those particular slots. It is right next to a high limit table area which has a few new things such as 2 deck hand pitch BJ. OK rules, but no mid-show entry (I can understand this on a two deck). They finally actually have $5 BJ tables most other tables of any type are $15 (I think Let it Ride was $10)- and pai gow variations were $20 minimum. Mainly do to the 5% commission. The $5 BJ tables are the only ones that are 6:5 - all others, even the $15 ones were still 3:2 so I was pleasantly surprised for that. The poker room had a good variety going on- including a very affordable 3-6 Omaha hi/low, and a 1-5 spread 7 card. They added BJ switch, & Spanish 21- the Spanish 21 seemed to have all the generally accepted rules and was more friendly then I figured they would make it. The traditional BJ tables still do not allow surrender.

They are a good bit bigger in size with three main casino areas. One towards the back center of the facility, one to the left and one to the right if your standing in the main entrance. I think they are a little high in slots to table games- but I suppose most places are. A few of the tables had additional side wagers added since the last time I was there (3-card now has the 6-card hand bet for example)- the $5 BJ tables had a wheel of fortune style side bet- for $1 if you got BJ you got to spin it for between $10 and the Jackpot (when I was there the JP was $6,xxx)- if you were dealt an Ace you got even money on that side bet.

I enjoyed the Hard Rock Cafe's food- and only regret was I couldn't use more of my free food offer then what I did- but after appetizer and 10oz legend burger I was FULL. I highly recommend the legend burger at any hard rock cafe They also have an 8oz version. Soft drinks are now free (which is a welcome change for someone like me who don't drink alcohol on more then a rare basis). And their glasses are full size- a can of coke per order so it was nice to get that too, not just a half-size cup like a lot of places use.

-------------------- My own play/experiences---------

I was slow in getting much play in because I was looking around looking at changes and watching some others play. I didn't have much in way of cash to use either as I was taking freebies for most of the trip. Early on I used my $50 in free slot play and got $35 in return for it (I expected 37-38- so about right). About an hour after i got off one slot machine a guy sitting there won the $2,000 wheel spin jackpot. -sigh-. I used my $50 BJ voucher on a table with an auto shuffler since in theory it helps basic strategy. I stayed on a hard 14 when dealer showed a 6- the other card was a 5 and here came a jack. Oh well. I started to move on to the Asian room and stopped ot watch a guy who was just having a great time (fun, and good run, and just one of those charismatic guys who are plain nice) he was at a $50-2,500 BJ table with a couple stacks of black and a couple $500 chips and was betting a hand full at a time, or sometimes half a handful. He was on a bit of a streak. Said he started with $1,000. Occasionally he would tip the dealer $100 and when a waitress game him something she got $100. After a particularly large bet (as many $100 he could get in one hand- which I estimated to be right at the $2,500 limit) he won and even gave me $100 as I was only other person at table and just cheering him on. So that was great. When he was done and ready to go he colored up for 6 $1,000 orange chips. And I was $100 richer for watching lol.

I continued on my way to the Asian room and sat down to watch pai gow tiles. All the practice I put on this site I was still honestly intimidated to play so I just watched for a bit- there was a friendly Asian guy next to me who would show me what he had and then there was a not so friendly much older Asian woman on other side of table who didn't even want me sitting there (the bad luck whitey deal?) After watching for a while I left it alone for the time being and went to the pai gow poker table where I had a decent run- the dealer never game himself pai gow but somehow I didn't loose but one hand and won a couple. Got the bonus several times- just decent hands being made all around. After some time and as it was getting late I went back to the tiles table and it was booked full on the $20 table and walked to other side where there was an empty table with a dealer just waiting.. it was a $40 minimum. I called the pit over and said "That $20 is full and this table has nobody, if you'll lower it $20 since I'm trying to learn anyhow Ill be here a while.. common the other table is full and nobody is sitting here" .. he did it for me.. first time I ever talked someone into lowering a table limit lol. The dealer was very friendly and helpful. One piece of advice they gave me that I don't recall seeing on the site is that when you don't have anything- no pair, no gong, no wong, anything- to just line up the tiles from low to high in value and pair the middle two together so you get a fairly balanced hand. I liked this short cut, but I wasn't so sure I was using it to the best advantage. like a 7/7 I could see using this- but when I had options of say 0/8 vs 3/4 don't I want to use the 0/8? ... I didn't mind not playing good strategy as my objective was just to get some play in and experience and learn. And i can tell you I am officially addicted to the game now. Had a great time sitting there- even when loosing to some really tough dealer hands- who was on a hell of a roll (such as high-pair/wong). I loved playing, and one thing Id do to test myself while sitting there was to put the tiles together how i thought they would go and then ask for house way and about half the time they would keep it the way I had it.. a couple times they advised changing to put a higher tile on this side or that side).

I was amazed a couple times by how fast some of the Asian players would put their hands together- like reading all the combinations in 3 seconds and done. I was almost always last at table to get the tiles back down. A couple times I was a little confused and asked for the house way straight out- but that gave me some tips and when my table did get a couple other players at it - the other players didn't seem to mind. I just had bad luck at the table.. one hand I had a high pair (the 12's) and 9 and still lost. the dealer had gee-joon/with a copy of the 9 I had. Ouch.

When i got down to $40 I got up and went to play some poker. I played 2-4 limit poker- and spent about 2.5 hours in the poker room and left up to $115.

I got there at about 3pm and left at 2:30am. I walked in with $100 in free play and $40 in cash and left with $150. Overall experience was great, and as stated I had a much better time then anticipated. Of the 11 hours I was there about 40 minutes was spent eating, and about 2 hours watching others, and about an hour and a half wondering around noting all the new things and changes. I estimated I spent about 8 hours playing. It was a crowded typical Friday night ordeal.. and I had one point where I REALLY REALLY needed a restroom.. and even the better restrooms were a mess and not much better then what you'd find in a Walmart.. but I did find a private restroom in the high roller room where I was playing the Asian section (funny how the two are combined, I have noted that in general Asians seem to have deep pockets when they are here). that was a single-person room, nice soft towels for drying your hands ordeal. And it was almost hidden as if not to be noticed/known to the general public. This was a greatly appreciated find. LMAO. The world for a nice clean private restroom!


odiousgambit Feb 23, 2013

Tampa Hard Rock, right? Been there once. Thanks for the report

FleaStiff Feb 23, 2013

I'm glad you enjoyed the trip.

As to noise, usually anything in or near a high limit area is quiet but sometimes the Seminoles get things wrong.

As to craps and ODDS the machine craps is Player Selectable odds usually selected at the time you opt to make your first odds bet.

I played it at Hard Rock Fort Lauderdale and it was unfamiliar and strange particularly for an odds bet, but after a while its easier to understand. It was selectable for SicBo or Craps but I chose craps.

Crowds particularly at peak times are indeed a problem and sometimes signage is poor. Prior exploration pays off though.

cclub79 Feb 27, 2013

There are some Bally's Electronic Roulette Wheels that are single zero.

Craps odds was only 2x, but with the buy bet/1c Vig, you shouldn't be playing the Line anyway..

PapaChubby Feb 28, 2013

This is the first I've heard that tiles have been added to Hard Rock Tampa. This could be trouble for me.

Posted by Malaru
Jun 29, 2011

Poker adventures

Well Ive been in a few tournaments now- and I prefer tournys to money games, Im not really sure why- I feel like I do better in tournaments and I feel like you get more time with your money- anyhow;

My last tournament was two sundays ago and I was the bubble boy unfortunatly- I finished 5th out of 44 w/ 4th being in the money- it was a $45 tourney

Thursday Ill enter into two more for the day, the first being another $45 tounrmanent w/ $5 bounties; and the second one starting 6 hours later is a $100 tournament w/ $25 bounties.

I like the bounties idea, you can get your buy-in back or even make some without having to be in the money.

Ive been doing alot of reading and studying in the past 3 weeks on poker play- and while Im keeping my strategy basicly my own and not trying to take strategy advice from books- what I am learning from the books is how to place my opponents as playing a certain way and keep more mental notes on how they been playing- for instance before i really read to pay attention to it in the past Id not think of paying attention to how many hands a player plays in- but in my last tournament I did- and noticed this one asian man who saw the flop like 7 of every 8 hands... and then I noticed he was aggressive also- he would often raise or open-raise a very high amount... and I made a mental note of his loose-agressive play.

One think Im going over now, and learning about ways to do- is to keep ongoing notes and temporary notes, both on your games, opponents, and sessions. To keep track of your buy-ins vs how much you leave with and to keep tabs of anything that stands out about players. I never thought much about these notes in the past, thinking well its so many hands and they change how they do stuff so often, but you know in the long run humans are creatures of habit and sense its a local card room I have a chance of seeing the same people alot, and they are bound to have habbits they stick to- if you can determain the right ones.

Another thing Ive been learning about is to pay attention to tells ahead of your action thats not directly related to your action- if Im in position 7 on a table of 10 and I look to my left and see two players just waiting to chuck their cards and the other very disinterested in the game, hell that makes me the button.

Its being very interesting to learn alot of these aspects- and finding how I act between all these things- and I found a couple flaws in my own play, for example how often I play hands and that perhaps I should be a little more selective- especially when I am one of the blinds to not let the blind make me feel obligated to chuck in that little bit more.


DJTeddyBear Jun 29, 2011

>> I prefer tournys to money games, Im not really sure why

>> I finished 5th out of 44 w/ 4th being in the money

While being the bubble boy sucks (I'd prefer to be the double bubble if they don't bubble-chop), that a good few hours of solid poker experience for a relatively low risk. I prefer tourneys too, for that very reason.

The loose, aggressive, sees-a-lot-of-flops guy is easy to figure out. Of course, I tend to be the schmuck that decides to take a stab at him when he has the nuts.

It's the tight, silent, under-the-radar guys that you have to be wary of, so you can realize when they decide to play a hand.

Making notes about people so you can remember it for next time is a double-edged sword. While it can be helpful, it may be conditioning you do be unable to play with strangers.

Protecting the blinds is a hard habit to break. A limped pot when you're small blind or a min raise by U.T.G. with no re-raise when you're big blind does NOT mean you're forced to call. Similarly, it's hard to raise a limped pot when you're big blind, but you have to do it occasionally - and not just when you have a monster.

Posted by Malaru
Feb 02, 2011

Sometimes you just get the touch.

I wanted to make a small report of my recent visit to the 'sino. Where I had a really good time.

It seemed just about everything I touched was paying off for me- and big... I started off putting $20 into one of the 4-screen penny slots (4 games in 1 bit)- I just wanted to have fun, I know its a penny drainer- played for a bit, and left- gave it all my money $4 at a time.

Time to get to real play and decided to go sit down at the blackjack table a while- after afew good hands and being up and down a bit after cashing in for $400 I left at $600.

Nows when the fun began- I really wanted to hit the higher level slot machines so I sat down at the $5 wheel of fortune machine and started plucking away at $100- right on my last credit I won a spin- got myself $700. Cashed out up $600-

I continue on to my favorite- Pai Gow Poker and sat thru a bunch of hands- and immediatly got two flushes in a row- one causing a push and the other winning- making fairly small bets for now- 20 to 50 a hand- and placing a progressive $2 on the side bet (yes I cant resist the side bet on pai gow)- after some time and good fortune going my way I decide to play $500 on the main bet and placed $20 on the side bet.- I got a 5-card straight flush with an A-2 top-pair. I got the win for $475 and got 50:1 on the str-fl for a $1,000 bonus win. I leave the table up about $1,600.

I love to play holdem bonus- it really is a fun game its just highly volatile- and today the volatility went my way, after being up a little and down a lot I got about even again and placed $200 ante with a $25 bonus bet (I keep this one to singles most of the time cause of how bad a suck bet it is)- I got a flush on the turn with got all 4 bets paid off- for a total of $1,000 plus I had a AK offsuit for a $375 win on the bonus. I leave the table up about $1,000.

I check on the poker room- its packed, not gonna wait around- so I go back and play some 3-card for a while and a little more BJ- down about $500 between the two. I go back to pai gow and make a $1,000 wager which wins me $950 (nothing on the $25 bonus)- so I leave it after just a couple hands- and decide before I leave to do something I always wanted to do- I went and put $200 in the $100 slot machine- first yank nothing, second yank mixed bars for a 10 credit pay- I cash out with $1,000 up $800.

For the day I went in with $700 and left with $3,800. Great Day.

Made a couple discoveries this trip- the highlimit room had nothing but mini-bac and blackjack- the onyl rule variation for BJ was the dealer would stand on all 17's. On the main floor they have midi bac instead of mini.

Play was at the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa.


FleaStiff Feb 02, 2011

Congratulations. Don't spend all your winnings on the same slot machine.

That is a strange casino. Usually High Limit rooms have substantially better rules. Anyway, the Stand on all 17s is good for you.

teddys Feb 02, 2011

Congrats on your success. Glad to see you won when you moved up in denomination. When I do that, I always lose :(

Where did you play?

Malaru Feb 02, 2011

I actually used the winnings to buy me an AR-15, put a grand away for a trip to pittsburg in the summer, and paid about a grand in bills. the rest im not sure what im gonna do with. :)

And yes, the rules there for reguler blackjack are: hit soft, 8 decks, continue shuffler, split ace once for one card, no surrender, usual minimums are $15 sometimes youll find a $10 and its not unusal for it to be $25. but the highlimit room had stand on all 17's and shoes. that was the big diffrence lol.

Mosca Feb 05, 2011

Excellent, it's nice to see variance trumping edge!

Posted by Malaru
Jan 23, 2011

Proud State Settlers.

I've told people in the past that basicly my family has lived where I am sense the 1800's- and with my grandmothers passing - who had the home thats been in the family for generations. I found the document that Ill hold onto for the rest of my life that just sorta made me a little more proud.

It is the original land settlement paper for the 320 acres the house/farm was on. It is from the land grants of Florida after it was purchased from Spain. It granted my (x-generations back) grandfather the 320 acres thats been intact almost ever sense via the "April 24th 1820 act of congress" for the sale of public lands. When my aunt died a few years ago the farm finally got divided up into ten- acre lots and sold off (against family wishes but thats the government for you)

It was signed by President James Buchanan on December 7th 1859. Im honestly surprised to have found the document in as good condition as it is in. So far, as for the documents and papers Ive had to read and go over this has by far been the best one.


Wavy70 Jan 26, 2011

I remember in my younger days I trained dogs for police work. We used a neighboring farmers fields for tracking work. He was an old timer who has lived his whole life there as did his family for as long as he remembered. Knowing I was a history buff he brought out his "Deed" one day to show me. It was a Royal Charter from George III. Cool to see. I convinced him to donate it to the state historical society.

Posted by Malaru
Jan 10, 2011

A site full of cheats and scoundrals.

Im actually a bit ashamed of some of the people on this site. You dont call yourselves cheats because you follow the letter of the law (usually... the vast majority of you)- but you sure dont try to follow the sprit of the law or of the games.

For example- those of you who are voltures and search a casino for a new dealer who is accidently flashing the hole cards- I consider this a cheat. Its one thing to sit down at a table to enjoy the game and have a dealer that does this once in a while- its an enitrely diffrent situation to hunt down a dealer like a pack of wolves. You say its just fine because they are flashing the cards and your not trying to cheat to get the information. But I ask where does the trying to sneak a peak start and end? Why dont you just ask for your chair to be sitting right behind the dealer or just pick up his hand and take a good long look at it.

You are obviously not there to play the game the way it is intended to be played and that makes you a dishonest subject it dont matter to me how far you take your ways or how you defend your actions.

Have I been overpaid? Hell yes, and I corrected the dealer- have I ever had a card flashed at me? No Ive not that Im aware of. Have I ever sat down at pai gow and the dealer set their hand a certain way and I think it was the wrong way? Yes, and if I was the only person at the table I asked her about it.

Again, I dont care what your defenses to the reason you take advantage of dealers or the games is- even if its because you believe the casino to be greedy SOBs who would not let go of a a rusty old penny. Its their house your visiting, their rules, your the guest- be on your best behaviour.

You want to play good strategy, you want to count cards- go ahead, by all means you should. I have no problem with strategy play or methods. But when your giong all out to see a card that you KNOW your NOT suppose to see, or when you do other things that you clearly KNOW is not how the game should be played- your just being scoundrals.

The examples of doing wrong on here are clear as day. Its like you come up to a property line in the forest and there is a sign there that says "please do not tresspass"- and then you think, well they said please- so they must have made it optional- and you cross over into their property line. Now, what if that sign said "Do not tresspass" you would then go "if they did not want me to tresspass they would put up a fence" so you tresspass anyways. Ok now they have a fence, but its just a small farm fence, not even barded wire on it and the sign is still there- your response is "Oh, well, its a simple fence to climb over, they must not reallky want us out"- and you cross over. - What am I trying to say? That the general meaning and desire you do not enter the property was always there always conveied as something you should not do. You should not need a large fence with razor wire and security cameras to make sure you stay out.

Likewise, the fact that the cards are placed face down on the table and done so quickly as as smoothly as possible should give you the hint that its not suppose to be something you see- just because the casino does not blindfold you in the dealing process does not mean they want you to see the cards. You make up your own desires and ethics as you go along, and that makes you a scoundral. You are the same type that an officer cant just ask you to stop, hes got to beat you over the head with his nightstick to remind you.

Ok, rant over. Sorry.


teddys Jan 10, 2011

Your opinion, harsh as it may be, is welcomed. But don't you think you should have made it a thread so people could respond?

Malaru Jan 10, 2011

Nah- I just wanted to rant in private.. if I had made a thread it might have seemed attention seeking or board bashing in all- which in fact I know there are others on here that have simuler feelings that I do. I just had to type it out of my system. :)

OneAngryDwarf Jan 11, 2011

I can see where you are coming from, but unfortunately the law is not on your side. Courts have ruled several times that it is the casino's responsibility to protect its interests, NOT the players'. An advantage player is well within his rights to use any and all information he sees on his own table--without the aid of electronic devices or confederates, of course.

So it's perfectly fine if you believe holecarding to be a bit sketchy and underhanded, but know that it is definitely not considered "cheating" in and of itself.

gambler Jan 11, 2011

I have to agree with you. While an advantage player can do what they wish legally, I feel that the spirit of the law is what counts.

dm Jan 11, 2011

Why did you omit counting as improper? You can use your brain, but not your eyes?

Malaru Jan 11, 2011

I omit counting because thats just strategy and using your head. It dont tell you what is on the table, meerly what could be on the table- it still leaves doubt, room for error and there is a safeguard against it in reshuffling or cutting. These safeguards can easily be adapted by the house and modified as needed. Now, if you were doing something to make more of the cards come thru (ie, tyried to get the dealer to place the cut card as far back as possible so all the cards come out)- that would be dishonest. Simply keeping track of what has happened in the past is not cheating- other games like bac they even let you keep track. But NO game is ment for you to see a card if its face down on the table.

clarkacal Jan 12, 2011

All is fair in love, war, and casino gambling. It is up to the casino to train their dealers to deal, payout, and collect bets correctly. I used to feel that I am an honest person so I need to tell the dealer I lost, or he paid me too much. Then I saw over and over again people get fed free alcohol so they would go broke. You think this isn't a strategy? Can you imagine the change in a casino's bottom line if they couldn't serve alcohol?

How many times have you seen a craps player walk up and put money on the pass line when a 4 has already been established? How many times have you seen a rookie or a drunk stand on an A4 or A5 at a blackjack table? They gladly benefit from the player's ignorance or lack of skill, so we will benefit from theirs.

DJTeddyBear Jan 12, 2011

>> How many times have you seen a rookie or a drunk stand on an A4 or A5 at a blackjack table? They gladly benefit from the player's ignorance or lack of skill, so we will benefit from theirs.

Excellent point.

If they will benefit and not correct our mistakes, why should we not benefit and correct their's?

dm Jan 12, 2011

If you think counting is allowed, try entering each card into your computer program as they are revealed, with your computer on the table, of course.

benbakdoff Jan 13, 2011

As teddys said your opinion is welcomed, however the blog's title is terrible and I feel you could have put more thought into it.

Wavy70 Jan 13, 2011

Truthfully if I could sit next to the dealer and lift his cards I would play BJ all day.

If I am gambling I have to assume that the people providing the game understand the rules and how it should be played. It is not my job to mind the casinos money and aside from getting a break-in dealer fired by telling the pit boss nothing has been accomplished aside from me securing the casino's profit.

You analogy of Trespassing is not overly accurate. Trespassing involves an active party (trespasser) and an inactive one (Tresspassee). When gambling both are active participants. If the casino chooses not to properly train it's employees and the pit boss is so vacant as to not observe his dealers in action they obviously are not concerned why should I?

If I am refinancing my mortgage and notice that on the paperwork the bank forgot to put 3 points on top of the percentage would I grab the loan officer and tell them you forgot to charge me another 200k.