Monday, December 3, 2007
Fiftieth of a hundred plus
Sunday December second, two double ought seven, I awakened early to a very cold morning. A sub forty degree morning. Which is unusual for me in both ways. Early and cold. It wasn't so early that I could drive down to the garden and play in their four thirty AM tournament, but still before CBS's Sunday Morning would come on, and all the political shows that come before the football pregame shows. I decided I would try a new venue on this day, and trek nearly a hundred miles into the desert east towards palm springs to play on the reservation at their eleven AM tournament. Five dollar entry fee with re-buys and an add-on at the first break was mentioned in their advertisement in the magazine and on their website. And maybe it would be warmer in the desert. The local news told me it would not be warmer until Tuesday. Oh well. I got up and made some breakfast, even my tri-weekly pot of coffee, showered, and waited for eight thirty or so to take off motoring to the desert. It is still cold. Punched on the seat warmers and recycled the air warming in the cab for the two hour drive that lay ahead. The seat warmers proved too effective while wearing a jacket and something had to give. The jacket would not easily come off at ninety miles an hour, so I punched the button of the warmers until it cycled to off. Traffic would slow right before every highway patrol sighting. I was cruising with a good group of cars out of the city today. No music, but various talk shows were punched up on the AM side of the radio. Religion, politics, pre-game football, horse race handicapping, computer repair, cars, were all being discussed on the dozen or so stations that I was flipping through with a button on the steering wheel. I should have listened to music. I arrived earlier than expected, parked in a lot in back of the casino fortuitously near the poker room entrance. Went in and asked how much. Eight dollars she says. The receipt says five dollars. I guess that the other three is a service fee, but I still wish it was accounted for on the receipt. Ten tables in the back are starting to be set up. I don't want to wait for an hour in here, and don't want to play in a cash game, so I wander back through the rows and rows of slot machines of the main floor. This has got to be the first time I had seen so many free machines at an indian casino. Maybe it was the time of day, maybe it was the day of the week, but it is more my experience for these machines to be two or three people deep instead of the machines out numbering the people ten to one. Not taking the hint, a few minutes later I popped a bill into a one armed bandit, without the arm, and start punching up twenty five lines at a penny a piece with an extra daub at bingo against other slot players somewhere. As I steadily lost three quarters of what I slipped into the machine, I hit a minor jackpot to bring me up to half of what I put in, and cashed out. Wandered around some more near the buffet and all the restaurants. Don't know why, I was still full from this morning's breakfast, and I had made the coffee too strong. With about twenty minutes before start time, I go back to the poker room, grab a magazine off the rack and flip through stories on how to play wild games, and how not to bluff the river in a limit game and other none-such. Plasma screens showed various football games also. Two showed the countdown and the blind structure for the tournament. Good, I would not have to crane my neck one way or the other to see them, like the place on the lake with only one tournament screen. Ten tables are set, and more players want in, but will have to wait until someone busts out during the first hour before they can be sold a seat. With all the re-buys and add-ons purchased this morning, the prize pool should be a few thousand. I wasn't going to get that far. Most of the folk were limping into every pot. If someone did raise, there were not many challenges. No one ever challenged my raises. Great, pegged as a rock my first time here. Must have been all the folding the first hour when they were limping in. You have to give some action to get some action, and I wasn't giving much. Bought the add-on at the break [and the end of the re-buy period] walked back to my car for a bottle of water. Yes, I could have asked a waitress to bring me one, but it was break time, and I needed to walk anyways. Coming back from the car to the elevators, two employees were emptying trashcans, the same two were their when I first drove up too. One had a caution sign and she said halt, entrance closed. I stopped. She smiled and said, 'Just Kidding' and waved me through. About eight people were waiting for the next elevator, and I did not want to be late back from break, so I backed up and looked for the stairs. None were marked, but I found a door that led to a staircase. Down to the first floor I went and out the double doors of the first floor, that seemed to be emergency doors, without alarms. I went through them and back into the casino from the cold wind outside that I found myself in and headed back into the poker room on time and with refreshment. Either the employees or the cameras did not like me taking the stairs, for a security guard came through the poker room a minute later and stared right at me. I smiled and tended back to my magazine at the table waiting for the next hand. He moved on. During the second hour, all though most of us had ten times our starting chips, the blinds were increasing every fifteen minutes too. When they reached the one and two thousand level, I had about seven thousand left and was feeling very frustrated. The times I did have a medium pair or better and raised first in a pot, I would not get any callers. Then I re-raised another, half a dozen would call all-in and being sure to be drawn out on, would have to drop out of the raising war. Lovely. I didn't last longer than the second break. Went all-in with a pair of nines and was called by three hands, an ace queen, a king jack, and a king ten. The table chip leader paired his ten, and I couldn't catch a third nine to pass him up. Before the flop, as we were all in and showing our cards, he mentioned that I had the best hand. I just nodded and thought, yeah, but not the favorite. As the river came and chips moved to the holder of tens, I picked up my jacket from the back of my chair, and the free magazine from before, and my water bottle, and headed for the exit. Took one last look, five full tables left. Fiftieth place of the hundred or more that started. I can beat this room, I'll be back. Motored out of the lot and onto interstate ten, tuned to an NFL game and listened to their action all the way home.