Posted by odiousgambit
Dec 18, 2015

Own Petard Hoisting

Recently I got my fix - I seem to be able to go about 2 months without gambling - at Rocky Gap again.

I had a deal earned with Hotels dot com where I was going to have to pay near nothing, and was able to use it at the Casino hotel, something unusual. But checking back later, I noticed there was a "stay and play" promotion where you pay $99 for a room [+ tax] and get $99 in freeplay - something I was not in on the way I booked. Pretty sweet deal, and still going on btw, but it either it was not available when I booked, or I failed to see it.

I was reluctant to cancel and re-book, who knows what kind of hassle I'd get into with re-activating my deal with H.com and besides, the 'near nothing' cost with using that rebate was more of a sure thing than freeplay, and it had an expiration date.

But it occurs to me, what if I can get both deals? Might be kind of greedy, but I could get some bragging rights and what would it hurt to ask? So I tried to see if I could get in on the deal at check-in and it started off good. They clearly were getting a lot of these "I didn't find out till later you had the deal" requests and were ready to get it fixed. Unfortunately, I got a lady who had not been on the job long, and didn't realize when I told her I booked through H.com that this would mean ixnay on the freeplay. She tried this, she tried that, she declared victory when she used my credit card only to have me repeat for the third time that the room was already paid for! So finally a supervisor came out after a good solid 20 minutes if not more and took care of getting me checked in ... sorry, no freeplay. I don't know why, I paid $99 plus, but it is easy to imagine the hotel has to pay some commission to H.com. I really wasn't angry, and had already decided to accept disappointment, expected it even.

Yet an eternal period of time to check in is not my idea of fun. I thought of how much I hated to be behind somebody with some kind of BS like this going on! Yes, people behind me got held up. All hoisted along with me on my own petard.

It didn't look at first like anyone would join me [I only contacted a few folks who might live close] but I was pleased to find that member Teddys could adjust his schedule a bit so our paths would meet for a few hours. I was glad to hear he got in on the $99 freeplay promotion - with 100% recovery in play on that too. His luck continued as we joined each other to play Craps and UTH too, from what I could gather. My luck, "not so much", till after Teddy had gone on, but then things improved. My own rolling at Craps, deplorable at first, ended with a hand where I hit 4 numbers, salvaging things at that enterprise somewhat. Then next morning just as I needed to leave anyway I colored up and split after a 4-oak at UTH nicely timed - this put me at -4 dollars gambling for the trip. I would have been up somewhat but I continue to over-tip these days, and gave it all away. But no complaints from me when you can break even or close to it like that.

I'm getting reports now that Teddy swung by again on his return loop and left a smoking crater at this casino. I'll let him tell you, if he comments.

The table games I play don't open with much till 10 AM, so this gave me an opportunity to fully investigate Rocky Gap VP including getting more serious about the Ultimate X. Prior to the trip, I made myself comprehend better what the Wizard has to say about it at the WoO site, having previously found myself a little on the dense side trying to pick it up. Also, I wanted to re-familiarize myself with Deuces Wild, a game available on Ult-X while JoB and regular Bonus Poker was not, I had found, from previous dabbling at that casino. I knew that generally speaking Rocky Gap isn't interested in providing good VP, bartop type providing the only reasonably priced option these days. Even if you want to play $1 per unit, the paytables don't improve much and the W2-g for the big hit looms at that price too, for 5-unit rounds.

So I scanned the Ultimate X screens for multipliers left behind a bit each time I had a chance. What I could inconsistently find was nickel players working 3-play with 2X or so multipliers left, not too exciting. Changing the unit price to 25 cents didn't work, the multipliers vanished. I checked out the games and paytables again; writing down the paytables gave me a funny feeling, not being sure how that would be received. After all, you wouldn't sit down there with a laptop and do it. So I just took a pen and wrote what I could on my hand.

This time still no JoB but there were varieties of Bonus Poker, the Double and Double Double and all that. I've never tried to see how different the strategies are for those as opposed to Bonus. Deuces Wild was what I had practiced prior to arrival, and it was available again. At 25 cents the paytable was

I didn't check the multiplier tables.

At WoO the wizard return table page shows this as "Deuces Wild 20/12/10/4/4/3 .... 97.9863%" It does seem to me that some people might find this playable without the vulturing. So I started a thread on it, http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/video-poker/24508-not-vulturing-ultimate-x/

I also was able to confirm paytables a little better for regular VP. GameKing on the floor near the Ult-X was $1 minimum [grrr]. JOB paytable for it fit the wizard return table of "8/6" Jacks or Better" .... 98.3927%. Stingy for something demanding $1 units IMO.

Bartop VP allowed 25c play, which IMO makes the difference between playable or not including the W2-g factor - however, the HE is worse. Bonus Poker I identified on the wizard return table as "35-6-5 ó 97.36%". The only "bonus" is 4 aces?

Bartop JoB was 8/5 ... wizard return table puts this at 97.3%. Thus close to a coin-toss to play Bonus Poker or JoB or save your money and read a newspaper till the Craps Table or UTH table set up.

PS: BJ tables open up early, maybe are available all night, and the rules are good. CSM with Lucky Lucky side bet, the paytable for which is 5.3% HE. [maybe this changed but is much worse]


teddys Dec 20, 2015

I hit a royal vulturing UX for $0.10, ($400), then 4 2's x 4 vulturing on $0.05 (about $80), then won $800 playing craps. I love Rocky Gap!

odiousgambit Dec 20, 2015

>I love Rocky Gap!

I always 'kind of' liked 'em, and as long as they are doing the 'stay and play' freeplay thing the place is really getting hard to hate ! I'm tempted to head right back - it'd be hard to sell to the Missus though LOL

aceofspades Dec 31, 2015

Good report and always good when board members can meet up - brings more "reality" to it (for me, at least)

Wishing you all the best in 2016!

WuShuang Oct 10, 2016

sounds good!

Posted by odiousgambit
Jul 11, 2015


No, not the football player. Rocky Gap again, short report.

Went back this week, this time with the Missus; this was a first for us there. She managed to get some golf in although that was a close call due to rain. Man, East coast is getting plenty of rain this summer.

Did alright with Craps and UTH, with a $300+ session at both along with some losing sessions. Wound up netting to the positive side by over $300 so left happy.

My rolling was awful so at the one Craps session I just started passing the dice to some dudes who were getting it done. Stuck with the Right side this time as there were plenty wanting to play, and the common goal made it fun. The session was pretty short though, the wife collected me for dinner and for later action I was interested in getting plenty of UTH in.

The UTH kind of my new thing, did several sessions, enough really to give the odds of netting out a loser somewhat likely - luck was with me though I guess. I'm really focusing now on cutting down on my own errors, the game to me has become about netting out the errors to the favorable side [to some degree]. One problem is dealers not really being given a procedure to follow to keep them from going too fast. I really try to make the quickest decision possible for the first bet ... after all that decision should be quick anyway. I make sure now I have the 4x and 2x chips ready to go. Wouldn't you know though, one mistake I made was watching my hand go from crap to 2 pair as the river was turned over, got happy about it and forgot to bet! So now part of my 'thing' is to have the single chip in one hand at all times to remind me!

Also notable was the absolute fit the dealers and the other players were having over me declining the Trips bet. Worst ever, but I never let it ruin a good time. In the case of the dealers, I actually wonder if they get chastised for having a player decline to make the side bet in that game. Curiously enough, I don't disdain this particular one due to the paytable used. I usually make one or two for a lark in a session [placating nobody].

As far as VP goes, they have put in now some Ultimate X machines and for sure RG attracts the kind of players that will leave multipliers active. Just saying.


teddys Jul 11, 2015

Good to hear about the Ultimate X back in -- last time I was there I couldn't find them.

It is truly beautiful down there. I suggested to Pierce that the next WoVCon East should be there, before the weather gets bad.

odiousgambit Jul 11, 2015

>the next WoVCon East should be there

Is it definitely in the works for somewhere?

teddys Jul 13, 2015

Nah, it's all on Mission2Game (heh) to figure that out. I suggested Rocky Gap. Also a possibility is Lady Luck Nemacolin. I'm sick of the Meadows. Also, somebody (not gonna say who) is no longer a "welcome" guest there :)

odiousgambit Jul 13, 2015

I have a pretty busy Fall lined up but would love to show up if possible. I would be the wrong one to talk it up of course.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 13, 2015

Rocky Gap Again part II

I also played some BJ, 3 card poker, UTH, and a bit of VP.

The latter was pretty awful. It's only available at the casino bar for 25 cents, out on the floor you have to play dollars and at least 3 lines at once. At the bar JOB was 8/5 and BONUS was 6/5 - 97.3% for JOB and about the same or probably worse for BONUS [I only noted that it was 6/5 and that gives a lot of possibilities I see now]. Killed a little time at these machines and lost $27 overall playing JOB. IIRC for $15 a pull at the floor machines you got the honor of playing still pretty bad paytables. As Teddy has noted elsewhere, they decided to gut their VP offerings, they used to be slightly better.

The BJ rules are good there including Surrender, this might be due to Maryland insistence as is done in PA, not sure.

D any 2
resplit limit: you can resplit once
re-hitting split aces - no

For my taste, and since I am a flat-bettor, the variance in BJ is too low to get excited even with good rules, so I refuse to play very long. Additionally, lately, in the face of Wizardly disapproval, I have been attempting to increase the variance at the cost of HE - this by putting some money on side bets if they aren't outrageous. Told that the 21+3 was no longer being offered, I glanced at what was printed on the table and thought I saw 'Lucky Ladies' - I knew I wasn't playing that as any HE I've seen has been humongous. As I neared the end - what I sensed to be enough action at Bj - I realized it actually said 'Lucky Lucky'. I knew nothing about this sidebet but since I was doing OK threw a couple of dollars at it. Later examination showed this is a much more reasonable side bet but with an RG alteration not shown at WoO.*

For the first time realized RG actually publishes many of their rules and even paytables - I found nothing needing an update. Does Maryland promote this kind of transparency? There also was a discrete sign on the wall near the cashier indicating the casino generally returned 91% to players. The link for the table games pdf, which puts Lucky Lucky last, is:


I hit very few naturals at my BJ session but did well with splits and doubles - it's fun to win those. I stopped slightly ahead and gave it away in tips.

I chatted the dealers up at the 3 card poker table to check out the paytables. They were surprised to find they were published, but let me write them down [I was double checking]. I didn't like what I saw for Pairs-plus, a 'meh' paytable, but warming up to them sat down to play for a bit. The game has way too low variance to play without the Pairs-plus IMO. Unfortunately you had to bet the table minimum, so I bet it only occasionally. They had a 6-card side bet too, on which you could bet a dollar, I think I bet it once. So this was my only time I ever played 3 card poker; I would have wound up even except for tip. Check out the pdf for the paytable if interested.

I was eager to play the Ultimate Texas Holdem, to pop my cherry on it - for various reasons like table minimum or availability had just never played it, and was glad a table was open. I donít want to repeat what I was saying in the thread I mentioned in the last post here, but have to say I was puzzled yet again at all the players ignorant of even a proper simple strategy. It occurs to me that smart phones are proliferating like crazy - this is a place that should have had plenty of players with them - yet not a soul even knew the basic recommendation to never bet 3x. Everybody just seems to learn how to play from other players and the dealers. Is this ever going to change?

This is a touchy subject but it has to occur to anyone playing that it is almost inevitable that there will be a percentage of dealers with modest abilities. They must still rake it in with all the ignorant players out there, but especially with straights, thereís just mistakes. I refuse to say anything when there are other players at the table, plus it all gets whisked away as you ponder. This really gets me into a mindset of me vs the dealer; pal, you better be able to call your hand correctly. After all this is even true with a friendly poker game. Naturally, vigilance is required for your own hand too. Such slippage has to lower the HE; I saw enough to wonder if it could disappear some sessions.

In any case, it was a lot of fun. I played more UTH than anything I think, even Craps. Wound up down $55 after tips.

Overall I wound up down $140 - kind of kicking myself for tipping to much maybe. But Iíll be back.

*after going back I'm pretty sure I got the paytable wrong


rdw4potus Jun 14, 2015

Looks like you and I noticed many of the same things about the UTH tables at Rocky Gap. I would think that the high variance of UTH's base game and the relatively low HE of the Trips bet would make UTH a good game for you. Plus, well, there's the dealer quality issue.

odiousgambit Jun 15, 2015

>UTH a good game for you

yes, I like the variance - which means there is really not much reason to play the side bet. I meant to mention I was up quite a bit at one point and started to press by increasing my bet a unit. That never seems to work out and I flamed out again LOL

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 05, 2015

Rocky Gap Again Part I

I had something to take care of not so far away from Cumberland MD a couple of days ago, so I got a chance to drop by Rocky Gap Casino. I think that makes my third time for the smallish but friendly venue. Checking into it beforehand this time, I saw they had Ultimate Texas Holdem now and was pretty sure that is a new offering. At least the one time I had checked on it before, they said they didn't have it when I called. This time I figured they just won't have it available during the week, but I practiced for it anyway [some of that discussed in thread http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/tables/22188-uth-the-21-outs/]

And I knew the BJ rules were decent. And there is a Craps table that would unfailingly give it's Siren call to snare Yours Truly.

On day one, to my surprise, the UTH table was up and going when I walked in late aft. - no seats open either. The Craps crew was just standing around though; hmmm.

Empty table. This is when I like to go Darkside. It's nice to not worry about any other players thinking you are trying to jinx them, but I got reminded of one downside to an empty table. If you don't like your rolling, there's no one to pass the dice to. And, man, did I start out clobbering myself. I absolutely could not roll a 7 [or Craps during a come-out either] for what must have been something around 30 minutes. The crew just couldnt believe it. We joked I might beat that Pat lady with the record.


Only one problem: a Don't player trying to commit suicide!

It was $5 minimum, 3x4x5x, and I was only doing the Don't and the DC not allowing more than 3 numbers to be in action - yet I estimate I was down about $600 at the point where I was going to call uncle losing any more. I always vow to not switch sides in a session, and didn't this time either. Built up another 3 bets with odds at that point and finally rolled the 7-out darkside winner. Then I began to get it back. I swear that is the strangest yo-yo experience I've ever had in my life. Now I am rolling plenty of 7s and over the next hour or so climbed absolutely all the way back to being ahead a little. BTW in the meantime two other players came in and convinced themselves they should be going darkside and they are winning too. It was that rare occasion when it's just a table of Don't players whooping it up. Then I could see I was giving it back again and colored up; I tipped plenty and wound up $40 down, most of it tips. What a ride!

Part II will be UTH


Konbu Jun 05, 2015

Rocky Gap is a small and compact place but I had a good time there in April. It helps that I made the small and someone else made ATS (I had 1,1,1), and ended up winning there. Hollywood Charlestown is closer for me though, but the table stays at $10 even when only one is open, and $25 for PGP so I don't want to play 2 hands.

Drive 45 miles ~ 50 mins to Hollywood $10 no bonus bets or

Drive 120 milies ~ 2 hr to Rocky Gap for $5 craps with ATS bet...

odiousgambit Jun 05, 2015

Never had a bad time there. Friendly counts for something.

ArtVandalay Jun 08, 2015

I'm an hour away from RG. I used to go a couple times a week until they went to all CSMs on the blackjack. I just got tired of it. The UTH has been around there for about 6 months now. The table is usually empty during the week.

odiousgambit Jun 13, 2015

>The table is usually empty during the week.

it was empty at times during the day, but evening had it respectably busy

Posted by odiousgambit
Mar 22, 2015

Chess: 1850 down to Kings and Pawns

I am fairly sure I have never beaten the 1850 at level 6 if we start from the beginning moves; I do remember being able to beat level 5 occasionally. I was playing more chess then and at my best. Level 5 was pretty fun, and Iíd say level 6 is the last practical level for play. The computer will take an average of 2 minutes per move at L6; that includes when the best move is obvious, so 2 minutes, often more, can feel like an eternity.

Iím not there now for sure. Here I am able to win at level 1, showing the vulnerability of the computer if it can be kept from getting ahead in pieces. At level 1 it may also have left itself at a bad place when all thatís left are Kings and Pawns. At move 32 I feel that White should win, having the more advanced pawns; itís how to beat the 1850, keep from getting behind on pieces and play a better end game. This is further tested below.

1.e4 c6
2.d4 d5
3.e5 Bf5
4.Nf3 e6
5.Bd3 Bb4+
6.Bd2 Bxd2+
7.Qxd2 Ne7
8.O-O O-O
9.Bxf5 Nxf5
10.Nc3 Nd7
11.Rad1 Qe7
12.Qd3 Nb6
13.b3 Qb4
14.a4 c5
15.Ne2 cxd4
16.Nexd4 Nxd4
17.Qxd4 Qxd4
18.Rxd4 Rfc8
19.Rc1 Rc3
20.Rd3 Rac8
21.Rxc3 Rxc3
22.Kf1 Kf8
23.Ke2 Ke7
24.Kd2 Rc7
25.Kd3 Kd7
26.Nd2 Kc6
27.c4 dxc4+
28.Nxc4 Rd7+
29.Ke4 Nxc4
30.Rxc4+ Kb6
31.Rd4 Rxd4+
32.Kxd4 Ka5
33.Kc5 h6
34.Kd6 Kb4
35.Ke7 Kxb3
36.Kxf7 Kxa4
37.Kxe6 Kb4
38.Kd5 a5
39.e6 a4
40.e7 b5
41.e8=Q Ka5
42.Qa8+ Kb6
43.Qc6+ Ka7
44.Qxb5 g6
45.Qxa4+ Kb6
46.Kd6 g5
47.Qb4+ Ka6
48.Kc7 h5

At move 32 I change the 1850 to level 6. Now, still playing White, and blundering at move 42, I am able to prevail in a somewhat different game; it takes 49 moves again. This suggests the end game did not improve for the 1850 at level 6 over level 1:

32.Kxd4 Ka5
33.Kc5 h6
34.Kd6 Kb4
35.Ke7 Kxb3
36.Kxf7 g5
37.Kxe6 Kxa4
38.Kf7 b5
39.e6 h5
40.e7 h4
41.e8=Q a5
42.Qe4+ b4
43.Ke6 Ka3
44.Qb1 g4
45.Kd5 b3
46.Kc4 b2
47.Kc3 Ka4
48.Qxb2 h3

Then I switch and I play Black, level 6, starting with move 32 again. White [now the 1850] at level 6 takes 60 moves to win. Like a mother fretting over all her babies, it just canít see that it has the game wrapped up by ignoring those pawns. Then, after Queening, it canít see it doesnt need to scarf up any more pawns or need any other Queens.

32.Kxd4 Kc6
33.b4 b5
34.axb5+ Kxb5
35.Kc3 Ka4
36.Kc4 Ka3
37.Kc5 Kb3
38.h3 Kc3
39.g3 Kd3
40.f4 Ke4
41.Kd6 Kf3
42.Ke7 Kxg3
43.Kxf7 Kxf4
44.Kxe6 g5
45.Kd5 Kf5
46.e6 g4
47.e7 gxh3
48.e8=Q h2
49.Qh5+ Kf6
50.Qxh7 h1=R
51.Qxh1 a6
52.Qf1+ Ke7
53.Qxa6 Kf7
54.b5 Ke7
55.b6 Kf6
56.b7+ Kf5
57.Qc4 Kf6
58.Qg4 Kf7
59.b8=Q Kf6

I test my last statement about not needing any more Queens by playing White again vs. level 6 at move 49. I am able to get checkmate on move 59 ... perhaps the conundrum caused by the Black pawn potentially putting the White King in check could have been avoided, making mate possible by move 58.

49.Qe5+ Kg4
50.Qxh2 h5
51.Ke5 Kf3
52.Qh3+ Ke2
53.Ke4 Kd2
54.Qd3+ Kc1
55.Qe2 Kb1
56.Kd3 a5
57.bxa5 h4
58.Kc3 h3


Joeman Mar 25, 2015

OG, your blog posts have inspired me to start thinking about chess again. I haven't played competitively since I was a teenager, and I hadn't played a game in 10 years (and it was probably another 10 years prior to that when I last played). Anyway, I have started to play Microsoft's Chess Titans on the default (Intermediate -- Level 5) setting and am getting my butt handed to me regularly! :P

Good luck in your pursuit! (I know... it's chess. Luck has nothing to do with it!)

odiousgambit Mar 25, 2015

Cool! Post some PGNs! That is such a nice development these days, to be able to post and see the games.