Friday, February 25, 2005

Don't Rock the Boat!

February 9th found me resigned to not being prepared for the trip. I headed to work knowing that I would have to rush to the airport as soon as I finished work. Fortunately, I was able to EO several hours early and make it to the airport with time to spare. The flight to Newark was uneventful, as all flights should be. We walked along Broadway and Times Square as we waited for check-in time. Sometime that day we learned that the Norwegian Dawn would be late getting into port (again). I seems that this ship has been running late for about 2 months. It is operating on one engine and the cruise line is hesitant to cancel a cruise in order to replace the other engine. When we finally got aboard and the ship got underway, it was dark. What a sight as we glided down the Hudson past the impressive NYC skyline.
Our fist order of business was a coctail reception for those passengers who had booked their cruise through Classic Gaming Cruises. Mingle and drink, what a way to kill an hour. I decided to get into an island state of mind and consumed a couple of Mai Tais.
Once we cleared the Hudson and entered the Atlantic it became clear that this was to be a rough cruise. The ship it was a rocking! The water was sloshing out of the swimming pool. I can only assume that the stabilizers were not deployed because of the drag that they create. They would have only slowed us down, so off we go into 18 foot seas.
The first full day of the cruise found me dealing a tournament. I made it through one table and started to deal the second table when all of a sudden I became extremely HOT. I frantically looked around for an available dealer who could relieve me. I barely made it to the rest room. The rough sea had won. I have never been sea sick before and I never hope to be sea sick again.
In order to compensate for our reduced speed, the itinerary was changed. We visited Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Martin and Tortola.
As it turns out, there were four chip collectors on staff. Brian Freirmuth (Borgata, Bellagio), Frank Luo (Bellagio), Gene Trimble (Palms) and myself (Palms). When we docked in PR, Brian Frank and I headed out for a chip run. Time did not allow us to visit every casino in PR. We made it to El Casino in Old San Juan and then took a taxi to Isla Verde where we visited El San Juan Hotel & Casino, the San Juan Inter-Continental, Casino Del Sol, The Casino at the Ritz Carlton and Embasy Suites H&C. Without a doubt, the nicest was El San Juan Casino.
St. Thomas doesn't have casinos, so we took an open air taxi ride around the island. This trip included a stop at the Mountain Top with the obligatory Banana Daiquri. Several stops along the way afforded us the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and vistas. I personally believe that this was the nicest place that we visited.
St. John proved largely forgettable. Nothing stands out in my memory. I guess I will have to review the pictures.......
St. Martin proved interesting. We docked early and Frank, Brian and I were the first three passengers to disembark. In this case, the early birds DID NOT get the worm. The casinos here don't operate around the clock. We arrived down town to find none of the casinos open. With several hours to kill we decided to head to the French side of the island. The busses were cheap enough. We browsed the open air markets and then headed back to the Dutch side since that was where the casinos were. Just over the border we got off of the bus at the first casino. It was set WAY back from the road. As we walked past teh guard house we were informed that the casino did not open until 2PM. We walked the remaining distance anyway in order to take a few pictures. On the way back out the skies opened up and the rains came. Back on the bus. The driver dropped us off and told us that we would find a few casinos severl blocks down the road. More walking in the rain only to find the place closed. The next place closed etc.etc. Back on the bus. The driver told us that the Atlantis was open 24 hours, but it was not on his route. A small bribe convinced him to deviate from his bus route and he dropped us off in front of the apparently open Atlantis casino. Once inside we found that the slots were indeed open , but the table games would not open until later in the evening. The change girl had no chips to sell and no one was inside the cage. I asked to speak to the casino manager only to be told that there was not a manager on duty. This is not how things are done in LV! lol. While we waited for Brian to get a small hand-pay on a machine, Frank finally found someone who would sell us a few chips. Once outside, we remembered that we were NOT on a bus route. We finally found a cab and headed back to tourist area near the docks. By then the casinos there were open and we bought some chips. Between there and the ship we stocked up on Diet Coke and Bacardi. Once onboard we drank away the aggravation of the day. There was a party by the pool and we all sat around and played cards and took in the sights of people on vacation.
Speaking of cards...I learned a new game on this trip. Big Duece. As addicting and frustrating as poker, I fell in love with this game. I'll have to find some locals who play the game. I did find it online and have been practicing.
Tortola found the pier full so we were tendered onto the island. Only spent about an hour ashore there.
Amazingly, on a 10 night cruise, I never stepped foot in the ocean, the hot tubs or the pool. I was either dealing or playing cards. Oh well, that is what a (working) vacation is for. Do what you want and take things as they come.
Several times during the cruise we debated about changing our return flight. Chances were that we would be late getting back into NYC. Our flight schedule was tight even if we got in on time. You guessed it, we were late. OJ had nothing on us as we took a cab to the airport and literally ran to the counter. The flight was already closed. The nice people reopened the flight and tried to get us seats. The flight was oversold and some of our seats had already been given away. Four of us got on the plane and four others were left behind.
The next poker cruise is to the Mexican Riviera at the end of April. I'll be skipping that one. The one after that is to Alaska. I think that I will do that one.
If a poker cruise sounds like something that you may like, give Cathy a call at 877-736-8516. Tell her I sent you.

I only worked one day this week (Wed) Things were just as I remembered them. The poker explosion continues. Looks like the Pan game is on for Saturday evening and then back to work on Sunday afternoon.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The world comes to Las Vegas.

Before I moved to Las Vegas, I visited here about 3-4 times a year. Like so many million other people I made the trip to the Gaming Mecca with a sense of excitement mixed with just a touch of dread. The excitement is obvious, the dread came from knowing that I would likely be headed home with a much lighter wallet. Oh well, I'd get home and start saving for the next trip. Eventually, I reached a point where I couldn't stand my occupation (I hesitate to use the word career) of over 15 years. Distribution Management had sapped the life right out of me. Screw it! I quit! I packed up the Buick and headed West. The world would now come to visit me.
Last Thursday found me picking a freind up from the airport. Ironically, another friend would be arriving later that night. One friend I hadn't seen in 7 month and the other I hadn't seen in at least 4 years. Consequently, I spend the weekend playing Tourist. The slot machines that had punished me on Wednesday evening seemed to taunt me. I have now had 4 consecutive winning days on the evil contraptions. I should jump back on that wagon! NOW! Thursday night found me playing $2-4 HE at the Palms with yet another friend who happened to be in town for a Casino Chip Show. I managed a $59 win even though my nut flush on the turn lost to my friends King high straight flush on the river.
I went back to work at Noon on Sunday. The room was rocking and full. When the game started, the $2-4 and $4-8 games stayed full. There were 4 NL games in progress when the game started but almost immediately 14 seats opened up. One game consequently closed. I was moving through the lower side during most of the game. I think that it would have been a good idea to just close all of the poker games for the duration of the Big Game. More attention was being paid to the TVs around the room than was being paid to the cards. Games came to a screaching halt when a big play took place on the field. I took a 1 hr EO and headed to the sports book to watch the last 2 minutes of the game.
The cruise is coming up with alarming speed. I should be packing and taking care of other little chores but here I sit. I work today and tomorrow at noon. Tomorrow night I fly to NYC on the red-eye. I would imagine that there are some things that just won't get done prior to my departure. Crap, I just looked at my vehicle registration and noticed that it expired on 2/5. I guess I'll have to get a smog check on the way to work today and try to renow online when I get home tonight. I really thought that I had until the end of the month. Oh well. Need a hair cut. Need to pack. etc etc.
Back in the box in 3.5 hours.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Damn, Damn, Damn

I fell off of the No-Slot-Machine-Wagon on my way home from work tonight.The landing was quite rough and I will likely have bumps and bruises for weeks to come. The good news is that I was on that particular jitney for two months and two days.
Work pretty much sucked tonight. I drew the wrong card and started out on break-four. That meant that I only got one trip through our high-side. We had three games going on the high side when I finally got there. Two, count them, TWO minutes after I pushed into my first game on the high side, another game was started BEHIND me. It sucked to be me.
As I was dealing table 9, a HUGE commotion broke out on table 8. As I understand it, the action was down to heads-up and the pot was gigantic. As one of the players was pushing the rest of his chips into the pot, his cards disappeared into the muck. The dealer mucked them. On one hand, the bottom line is that a player MUST protect his cards at all times.......on the other hand, with the action heads-up, it takes a mighty big brain-fart for a dealer to muck one of the hands. I felt bad for the player and the dealer, but I was thanking the card imps that I was NOT in the middle of that DRAMA. The game that I was dealing went from 10 handed to 4 handed as the curious just couldn't resist the urge to gawk at the road kill at the next table. The player with the disappearing cards went just south of ballistic. The cardroom manager as well as security were dispatched to the scene of the crime. As it turns out, the player was SOL because he did not protect his hand. That is a very expensive lesson. A lesson that every poker will learn the hard way sooner or later.

The birth certificate is no where to be found. One is to be second-dayed from Maryland. Hope it gets here in time.

No work until Sunday. Yes, SUPER Sunday. It should be a zoo....or a circus....or a psych ward...or all of the above.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I'm beginning to think that I hate poker.....

I spent Friday night playing $4-8 at the Palms. I won a total of 2 pots in nearly 4 hours. The curse continues. For sometime now I have been disgusted with low limit poker. I can't stand getting drawn out on. Losing to a better hand I can deal with. Losing to 3-8 off-suit that called a pre-flop raise gets old. Sure, that is how I want them to play and in the long run I wouldn't want to be that player, but it sure is frustrating.
Saturday night brought a respite and poker was replaced by Pan; the obligatory caricatures of poker players were replaced by friends and the comfort that goes along with them. I actually won a few pennies.
Sunday afternoon brought poker raging back into my life. I stopped at Harrah*s fully intending to play in their little NL game. The room at Harrah*s was roaring with activity. All 10 tables were full. I have NEVER seen that level of activity there. As it turns out, they were hosting a poker tournament for thier high limit pit players. Consequently, there were a ton of monied players with limited knowledge of the game of poker. Nirvana, right? I sat in a $10-20 limit game licking my chops. **SMACK** back to reality you silly boy. The $10-$20 game played like a $2-4 game full of drunk college kids on spring break. Again, the pathetic hands got there and I was sent packing with a much lighter wallet. Is there a limit where people play SANE poker? I doubt it. Enough of my whining about some gripes (observations)about dealing the damn game.
Before I entered my first game tonight, I visited with a regular player who was taking a break. He was way up in a $2-5 NLH game and asked if I was to be his next dealer. I confirmed that I would be dealing to him next and he made this declaration: Push me any pot over $300 and you get $50. You know how this story played out. I didn't push him ANY pots, let alone a $300+ pot. Story of my
Later I'm waiting to push into another $2-5 NLH game. I notice that there is a rack and a stack (about $600) in red sitting on a side table beside a player. Before I get into the box I ask said player if those were his chips. He said yes, they were. I asked him to place them on the POKER table, not the side table. He said no, and that I could figure it out for myself. It turns out that he had hit one of our high hand jackpots for $599. In our room, you can take jackpot money off of the table...IF you do it immediately. I suggested that he should exchange the chips for cash since cash does not play in our $2-5 NL game. Negatory, good buddy. He left them sit right where they were. I told him that I had my eye on them and that they were NOT to come into play. He said he KNEW that and that he had kept them out of play. Immediately, two or three players spoke up and said that he HAD been alternating between them being in-play and out-of-play. Why the hell had these players witnessed this and not said anything while it was going on? Who the hell knows. Of course he would bring them into play when he had the best of it. How many dealers had seen the rack sitting there and not questioned it? The moral of the story is: What did I get for trying to protect the game? You guessed it........STIFFED by said player.

Where is my birth certificate? I hope that I can find it because in one week I will be on a plane headed for the poker cruise via NYC. I'm going to need that BC. Maybe I'll start looking for it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.................

Site Meter Listed on BlogShares