Fear and Loathing in Northern VirginiaI have some time off this week, and certainly had been thinking the thing to do was hit some of the more local new gambling opportunities for our area. My wife even suggested such a solo trip for me, not having time off herself. With that stamp of approval in my back pocket, I was practically out the door already. But then I started thinking about it. I'm not going to be able to go as far as Atlantic City or Philadelphia without doing an overnight, and I don't want to do that without planning the trip with her or someone, and there are no takers at the moment. I rethought Harrington Delaware, and convinced myself we are talking 2.5 hours to go the way I would like... it's just too far to suit me, and it wasn't *that* great the last time I went. Maybe if the buffet was better, you know?
Charles Town WV is a reasonable hour and a half for me, but from what I can determine, all I could expect there is overcrowded high minimum tables with possibly no Craps dealers in the morning. I have no interest in the slots, and as far as I can tell, there isnt even videopoker at all, even any with lousy paytables. The casino poker scene hasn't tempted me yet either. We'll call this the "Fear" part.
What can I say? Looks like any gambling in the near future will entail a trip with someone to Mohegan Sun or Atlantic City when that can be arranged; maybe not even this year!
And I was going to try Blackjack for the first time, too, damn it. My bankroll is gathering moths. I can't decide if I should be patting myself on the back for my restraint, kicking myself for not going anyway for an Escape I could sure as hell use, or what. One thing is for sure, the New Deal I thought we might be getting in our local area this summer hasn't panned out for me. We'll call the WV scene, and the distance to Harrington, the "Loathing", but it's the jackasses that have done what they've done in WV that are the focus of this contempt. I wonder how much company I have in that regard?
up or down longterm remains "down $1003"
below budget, $497 balance
Pat yourself on the back for your restraint. There just aren't enough good opportunities in your area. Save it for a trip to AC or LV where there's better stuff.
Personally, every one in a while, I like to make a trip, by myself, usually for a weekend, to Las Vegas or Laughlin. While it may seem weird to "get away" without the significant other, sometimes that's exactly what you need. While we may love dearly our s/o's, that doesn't mean that we can't use some time away. And by away, I mean away from work, away from home, away from life, away from the s/o, away from EVERYTHING. A solo trip definitely isn't for everybody, and I couldn't do it all the time, but sometimes, it's just what the psyche ordered.
"sometimes, it's just what the psyche ordered."
I certainly agree. But I do my outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing, without her per her request, she is quite super about it. However, this seems to use up my quota of "without her" activity. Adding gambling trips with overnight stay seems to be more than I should try to get away with.
FYI...last time I was at CTown, they did have VPoker...it was upstairs in its own section, and they were very odd, old style graphics. Not traditional machines. First I thought they could be like pull-tabs, but I don't think they were, because they offered a double up opportunities.
I'm On The RecordOn the record on this one:
Rams Running Back Steven Jackson will get in trouble with his gambling at some point in his career. Bad trouble.
Yesterday he had an interview on TV with the "welcome to vegas" sign as a backdrop [surely at his request] and you could see that one of his tattoos was also an image of that sign. Now I'm pretty sure the NFL tells these guys that if they want to gamble in the off season, they can't stop them, but that they have to keep it low key.
I'll keep this short: a little voice told me he already has caught the attention of the wrong people, and they will get to him. Whether or not this will be another Art Schlichter story I couldn't say, but I want to be on the record on this one, and I figured a blog post is a good way to do it.
Allen Iverson has a notrious gambling problem. He went to Atlantic City a lot while he was in Philly, and he was thrown out of the Detroit casinos at least once while playing for the Pistons. I'm not sure how he's doing in Denver (Blackhawk?) A lot of athletes have had gambling problems (Barkley, A. Walker) but usually it's after their playing careers are over. If I were him I would self-exclude myself from the Missouri/Illinois casinos before the season started.
I'm sure you know this already, but SJ is from Vegas.....
I live in St. Louis, and haven't heard a peep of him hanging out in the casinos around here.
You may be right, but I wouldn't judge him just because he's from Vegas.
Gai Pow Kapow!The Seminole Casino in Tampa has no dice games, so it gave me an opportunity to try my hand at Gai Pow Poker. I had some reservations about it, as I suspected strongly from the WoO's free online game that typically you just lose money playing the straight game in a pattern I've called the Wobbly Downward Spiral. Yet some things held promise, particularly that it seemed I was going to be able to play it well. This as opposed to what practice revealed at video poker, in which errors abound for me.
Certainly I wanted to play something in addition to just checking out what was going on at this Casino from general interest. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't found a $10 table, but I did, and an empty one too as I'd hoped, so it was on. I immediately told the dealer I had played only online and that it was going to be obvious. This honesty didn't seem to get me anywhere, but the guy's English was not that good, so I'm not sure if he understood me fully. But he was helpful enough when I needed it, and starting off my luck was pretty good. At about the time I realized I had completely forgotten to ask to bank as much as possible, someone else sat down, and more sat down, and I took the advice offered here not to bank with other people at the table. This meant I was going to suffer the full 2.66% HE the entire time.
As a few of you assured me, though, I enjoyed playing anyway. It was interesting that I seemed to get no "bad beats" like the WoO's game likes to dish out on me, coming up with straights when I am dealt the full house that gets split into the 3 of a kind / pair, etc. On the other hand, I had practiced pretty hard to get the right play on being dealt 2 pair, yet I got dealt very few of these compared to the online game it seemed. It was no sweat asking the house way, or just other players who knew their stuff, if I had a hand I wasn't sure what was best with.
I was also interested to see that the other players never failed to make the Fortune side bet. Of course this gave them some hope for variance at the expense of losing their money faster if luck failed them, and sure enough, even though most bet the minimum $2 for side bets, this was seemingly enough to drain the bankroll, whereas my $200 was going to last I don't know how long before bust. Two guys were definitely betting more on this side bet, one was blown out quickly and the other hit something that paid $450 [I forget what he bet but it was always around $10]. He eventually left the table with that exact amount, and I remember he paid in with plenty, I would think just under that.
I didn't have any trouble blowing off suggestions I should be playing the side bet, even though the other players seemed to consider it unendurable to think they would have hit a good hand and not made the side bet. If it was pointed out to me my hand would have paid nicely on the Fortune bet, I would just say "and I was going to bet that too!" and left them to wonder why I didn't.
I played for 3 hours, pushing plenty during the middle time, and seeing the downward spiral kick in hard towards the end. Time to cash out while you get the satisfaction of coloring up. It was one of those times you say you broke about even, although I left a $25 tip to make up for the failure to tip last time out in Delaware. Did I never play the Fortune side bet? OK, I admit I blew $6 on that just for grins. Would I play this game again? Yes, I think I would, especially as a break from Craps.
longterm now "down $1003"
below budget, $497 balance
I'm glad you liked the game. It's a nice way to unwind without sitting at a slot machine. I'm never sure what to think about the bonus bet. It seems like there's a very strong negative correlation between when I play the bet and when I get a bonus hand.
Also wanted to comment on banking. It's true that some other players will react negatively if you want to bank their play. That said, your edge is better the more players' hands you bank. If you have thick enough skin to play the DP in craps, you would probably be able to shrug off the reaction to you banking here.
edited my long term condition, it was bugging me to make it look so "loser" when actually I'm doing good long term.
regarding grief about banking and about playing the DC, I'm fairly determined to learn how to do these things and just manage the problem, especially since I think I will go darkside when shooting Craps next time around. For Gai Pow Poker, I'm going to try starting the table me and dealer only, then when someone sits down tell them I'm banking and act like that courtesy should be enough and go on. If an a-hole makes a huge bet I'll just wait him out or watch in awe if he can keep it up.
Thanks for the encouragement.
Did you mean Pai Gow? It is a nice, slow game. Also Pai Gow Tiles is a good game and even slower than poker. Where I play if you bank, the other players will sit out the hand.
"Did you mean Pai Gow?"
What a hilarious mistake! Didnt realize I was doing that till you pointed it out!
I thought "Gai Pow Kapow!" was an intentional play on words, reflecting how the session went.
Seminole GamblingI did hit the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino / Tampa this week while in Florida. Mysteriously, as far as I could determine, this is the only place amongst many so called casinos in Florida where any real semblance of what I would consider Casino Table games has been allowed. For example, the Miccosukee operation near Miami has only bingo, pull tabs, and poker it seems. How the Seminoles got their deal I don't know, but for table games they have Blackjack, Baccarat, Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Let It Ride & Three Card Poker... but not certain other games, notably Craps! Now rolling the bones is about all I have indulged in when it comes to gambling in recent times, so it was time to learn a new game if I was going to check the place out.
With help from all of you at this website, I settled in on Pai Gow Poker as the game I should really try as somethig new, with mini-baccarat as a second possibility. Contacting them ahead of time, I got these details by email:
Pai Gow Poker
Minimums start at $10
Player banking is allowed, rotation
5% on wins, commission.
Limits on Baccarat are $25 - $5,000
ties pay 8 to 1
5% commission on Bank wins.
The minimum pretty much ruled out the mini-baccarat unless somehow the limits would be lowered in a slow period. I was really hoping to take a dip in that game as well. But when I arrived on a Tuesday afternoon about 2 PM, the place was pretty darn busy. I asked someone about that, and they said there was big prize drawing on Tuesdays that brings people in, but he also said that the place really brings them in at all times anyway. I toured around and thankfully asked where the cafe was, as where I had walked in was the smaller casino area whereas a larger area existed on the other side of the Hotel. You were just supposed to know this. In this larger area, they had the poker tables and, for the most part, higher table limits on the table games; mini-baccarat was there and sure enough it was $25 minimum. Fortunately, I did find a few $10 Gai Pow Poker tables by going back to the smaller casino area.
Seems like the Seminoles are coining money with this place. Evidence is they are packing them in for sure; the only complimentary drinks are soft drinks and coffee, except in the High Limit gaming area. Some of the poker games had a waiting list. To go on a weekend must really be something.
My experience with Gai Pow Poker in the next blog post when I get to that.
Recently a Baccarat dealer at Tampa pushed 1200 dollars out to a player and, not getting a tip he felt moved to refer to the player in a manner that I shall type as Cork Sucker. The Floorman who had just recently moved up from Baccarat Dealer very loudly asked the Dealer "Which Cork Sucker?". This seems to have prompted all the players at the table to color up and leave. Now you can have whatever views you choose to have on the propriety of the employee's behaviors, but you surely know that its the Seminoles, not the employees, who are making the money at those casinos!! They are terribly run and still they are profitable beyond belief. Craps? Don't worry: Six will get you five that its craps within a year!
I'm told that players can engage in just about any behavior they wish to and will not be at risk of casino intervention unless the dealer lies and tells a manager that the player made a derogatory comment about Indians.
So its definitely generating a great deal of money for the tribe.
If you take a look at the Seminole's bus program you will see that Florida gamblers are willing to trek great distances and get almost zilch in the way of comps. Drinks? The Seminoles have ONE liquor license. High Rollers get comps. Thats about it. (by the way, the HOT chocolate is. Very hot!).
The Seminoles have been hiring "blackjack" dealers that fit into certain sized uniforms and certain sized fish-net stockings, but have not yet installed any poles anywhere. So maybe those Seminoles are learning how to run a casino?
I played for about 30 min @ Seminole Hard Rock--Fort Lauderdale on Sunday 6-20-10. We were headed to the airport for our return to Houston from a trip to the Keys and I thought my wife would enjoy some slot action.
The major change to the casino from our last visit a couple of years ago was the addition of table card games (no dice games) instead of just poker. It looks like they have tables in each direction off of the main bar. It is a decent layout.
I played mini-bac ($25 minimum) and 3 card poker during the short visit. I broke even on mini-bac and lost about $40 on 3 card. My wife lost $8 on slots...
I was offered drinks three or four times in that short period of time. That is very good cocktail service, but it was a Sunday morning and the slots were empty. 2 of 4 mini-bac tables were full. There were a good number of blackjack players and also several tables full of 3 card players. The tables were fare from full; it just seemed everyone was playing at the same tables as opposed to spreading out more.
We'll visit again next year...
"I was offered drinks three or four times in that short period of time."
so was I, but there was some sort of charge i didn't investigate. Did you in fact get free drinks? If so, it indicates they are hungrier for business there.
Tampa hard rock is the only casino ive been to in my life- and I enjoy it.. shows how much im missing out on in vegas hu? lol
I have no problems getting a comped meal about every other visit- they will give me a comp of 25 to 36 bucks. I dont drink alcohol so the drinks are free for me... the dealers Ive come across are friendly and talkitive- then again I know who im looking for to get that- I got a few favorites- and others that are real downers. Some of the bit guys are selfish on comps and others will really try for you.
No dice and no roulette cause the current state legislation only agrees to card games- and does not allow for dice, ect. it was a huge step forward though- and id expect less limiting establishments in 6 or so years.
Lots and lots of slots- and i enjoy them some too. When in the tampa one try out the green room. The nacho dish is awseom and huge- and I really enjoyed the battered fish.
the hotel stay is a bit pricy- usually $120 to $210 a night.
Typical table minimums are $15. Almost any time you can find $15. the $10 tables they keep for blackjack, but they get lines on the busy times. $20 pai gow is very very typical but you can find it for $10 when you look at the right times. On the busy nights you may see alot of BJ tables at $25 and bac at $50. The pai gow and asia poker tables can soar to up as mcuh as $100 min. out on the floor- much less the high limit room. But its rare for me ot see it that bad.
My typical every trip experiance is BJ at $15, Pai Gow at $20, Bac at $50, and most everything else staying at $15. They do not have $5 never have and never will. $10 min on the slow days.
BJ uses 8 decks- and if your willing ot do $25 or more per bet you can get a shoe instead of the auto-shuffle.- if you look in the right places.
Security is pretty high there too- they keep all the more stringent security standards (own PD, no resale of used cards, dealers cant mention they work there when not working, even some proceedural errors if you keep doing them will get you backed off at the least; people on voluntary removal they have no problem arresting you for tresspass after warning (mind you this is volunteery removal on your own will) whereas others will mostl likely ask you to leave and not cash you out and bar you from tables, ect. they use the full tresspass after warning bit.
Oh and I forgot to mention- dont even think you can get your room comped- not going to happen.
thier points seem to be based on a point per $2 on slots- or something to that effect- with per bet and buy in tracking at the table games. The points are kept for a HORRIBLE 3 month day to day rollover (not use to use even.. much less the typical 6 month to a year most places have)... at $2 being 1 point- their highest of three card levels reqires 100,000 or more points in a 3 month period (I thin its 100,000+ .. could be more)... so the card points back SUCKS BIG TIME IMO.
I can't tell you whether or not there was a charge for drinks @ Ft Lauderdale Hard Rock...they were offered often but no one was drinking.
I also don't know how their crowds are--it was very sparse on Sunday morning, but I would think that was pretty normal. Minimums did seem high, on average, for the crowd on hand and the time of day.
Harrington Delaware Will Not Get My ActionI figured I had to check out the closest place to me at the moment with a Craps Table. In a few weeks that will be one-hour-away Charles Town WV, but this week it was newly set up Harrington. I came back with some specifics here if you were interested.
I decided to approach the trip with low expectations. Originally this place was a racetrack only, and racetracks have managed to bum me out in the way they operate. But some of my concerns were dashed right away. Nice facilities, obvious security, all those things; I wouldn't worry taking my wife. They wanted your business pretty clearly I think, and that does matter. Overall I'd say one of the big negatives for me was that it just didnt cut it as someplace to go for a DC area day trip. It is just slightly too far at 2 hours away [although gas was cheaper, so filling up there was part of that deal]. There's nothing else to do, the buffet wasn't much, and the excitement level of such small potatoes, if you know what I mean. And they did manage to miff me on a couple of things which I detail below.
The positives didnt add up enough: it was nicer than I thought it would be, there was no "clip-joint" horsescrap like charging for parking, the dealers were not surly. And the big positive for me, Table Games offered, also isn't going to be enough. Maybe if I wasn't waiting to check out Charles Town!
One thing I can't shake off is the Dealer who seemed to be trained to push the bad bets. A very nice and attractive young lady, she drank the Koolaid evidently: something like "you will be noticed for pushing the betting". I know you have to expect reminders that it is time to place my usual bet, but I don't like finding out the dice were coming out; then being told to watch my hands. Screw that business of calling out the bet, Geez I prefer to just place the chips, I'm trying to train myself to wait to do things when the dice are in the middle and I don't need someone untraining me. But the thing I really remember is me thinking the lady knows how I want to bet, I'm primarily doing the Don't Come bet [DC] with odds, but skipping the odds on 6's and 8's DC if my big bets have been going south. So my point on the DC is a 6, and she says "do you want the action?" and I say no, meaning to me no free odds bet. But she meant, did you want to just leave the bet in the DC box, start it over and don't go for the point resolved. To really tick me off, I get that straightened out, with me apologizing for the misunderstanding, and we no quicker get that done than the 6 is rolled losing my bet! grrrr. Of course then I'm thinking it's bad luck to have all that dealer participation going on. But especially it bugs me to think that I never asked once to do that particular thing, G.D. it, leaving the bet in the DC box even though a point is established! Did I ever ask to pick up a Don't Pass Line bet when we got a point? To my way of thinking, that has to be first. I need to figure out a way to let the dealers know to just let me be in charge of my betting. I know they are going to be reminding me to bet, but actually me maxing my action all the time, I don't care about that. And this other thing, "do you want the action?", brother I am going to be looking out for that now.
And the other thing was: going to $10 tables at noon. That really messes me up with my standard bankroll, so the DP/DC gets complicated with me being too much of a piker to put up $60 in free odds. If I play the Pass Line I just do 2X odds at a $10 table so I only have $30 in action. The sessions didnt go so good luck-wise, and I'm not forgetting part of what I perceived as my problem was the $10 minimum and the bankroll I brought. I would have had longer lasting action at a $5 table and my chances for luck changing would have been better.
OK, Harrington Raceway and Casino, you had a shot at my action, but now I have to think I'm going to have to expect $10 Craps Tables and bringing $1200 for a bankroll. Somebody else wouldnt think that was necessary, but I do, because H.R.& C. or anybody else isn't going to get the satisfaction of seeing me leave the table with no chips left. That really iced it, I'm not going in the middle of the night to see if that's when the tables stay $5. Maybe your chances were bad to start with, but you blew it for sure with that. I could have forgiven you if you had all 4 tables packed, but you "sort of" had two going and you had two empty. Going to $10 minimum in that circumstance is a slap in the face in my book. I'll really be surprised if they see me again.
Raising the table limits at noon, without having full tables, sounds like they were following someone's prescribed guidelines without putting thought into it.
Maybe you shouldn't cross them off your list just yet.
Give them a little time, and once they have a meeting between management and floorpeople, that noon guideline will go out the window.
I'm wondering if all the Delaware casinos are following the book - someone asked about table limits at Dover Downs on their facebook page, and their response was $5 limits during the initial test and $10 and up once state approval sets in on June 21. To me, $10 limits is not worth the 1hr less drive to AC - I'll just keep going if that's the case. I'm awaiting July and Charles Town as well!
Re: "But she meant, did you want to just leave the bet in the DC box, start it over and don't go for the point resolved."
Over many years of using a system to hedge by laying the point while going through the don't come, I use my order to take down my lay bet (after getting up behind the line) gauge dealers' competency and attention, as well as tipping. New dealers, especially, are eager to take down the established don't bet behind the line. It's not clear whether it's a problem of trying to decrease the player advantage at that or a lack of appreciation of the don't side. The latter is a major factor causing problems in Caribbean casinos.
OG, I was there Saturday at the Racebook for the Belmont (btw proud to say my horse won) and went to the table games area afterwards; the main area was packed, the poker room had a wait list, the high limit room was vacant. I'm most familiar with blackjack so it garnered most of my attention.
1. We saw one dealer, clearly a beginner (and rattled), at a $25 table. She tried hard but made some pretty basic errors (e.g. she had 9-9-2 and started to clear the chips from a guy who had K-J).
2. At two different $15 tables within a 5 minute time period, we saw one bloke stand w/A-5 versus a 10 showing; and then we saw a gent w/5-5 v. 5, hit, get a 3, then hit again. I seem to recall during my one/only trip to Vegas that these kind of plays would have drawn at least a pause from the dealer.
Seems like there's a lot to be learned for a lot of folks.
Do you think your dealer may have been trying too hard?
"Do you think your dealer may have been trying too hard?"
I don't think she was getting her Jollies by trying to screw us, exactly, but maybe trying to show she knew how to milk the crowd generally. She seemed to be proud of knowing that some knuckleheads "don't want that action" on the DC with a point of 6 or 8. Of course anyone working the dark side is hoping to get to lay odds on 4,10,5 or 9 instead of 6 or 8, but why would you ever give up anytime you have an edge to go back to House Edge?
Just this aggravation wouldnt keep me from going back by itself. I think I needed the practice of dealing with dealers, including this type.
not to mention that laying odds on 6 or 8 pays better, so nothing wrong with working that really anyway.
Its foolish for a player to call No Action when his Dont bet would result in a wager against the Six or Eight, but that is clearly what she meant when she asked Do You Want Action. If she meant odds, she would have said it or asked Anything behind it or something to that effect.
Its sometimes hard for dealers to avoid too much chatter, but if they have a question its best that they do speak up and then learn what you will probably want the next time.