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Tampa Hard Rock Live Limit Poker

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  • Tampa Hard Rock Live Limit Poker

    Well, after all these sessions of hard games like Omaha and no limit at Ocala Jai-Alai, I knew I would be much more comfortable to be back at a 2-4 game where there is never much chance of losing much money.
    However, I did not expect to be at a table with the worst players of any I have encountered ever anywhere. It was an amazing day and night. I had really very poor cards, and I still walked away with $103 profit playing about 7 hours in all from 4PM until 12 midnight with an hour off for supper.
    I encountered the worst player in my entire life. He bet or raised every hand and showed on the river. Sometimes he had bet on cards that did not beat the board. He did get lucky in some cases and had everyone fold to him. But in the end he could not win.
    I was not in too many hands with him because I went through a period where I was dealt a 5 for most of my hands and often it had a nine or eight with it, so for a long, long while I played nothing including folding blinds. The guy to my right looked over at me and said, " You sure are tight!" and I talked about my bad cards. However, this guy really was a pot builder. There was no question of overcoming the rake. And others helped as well. The only unbet hand I saw resulted in six players turning over cards that for the most part matched nothing. A pair of 3's won the preflop dollars. Most other hands were bet liberally so all one had to do was wait, play decent poker, and hope the river did not take the win away.
    Soon after my long dry spell, I held QQ and raised in middle position. The dealer and three other players were amazed to see me bet, and I did limit the field as four of the five behind me folded. The queens held up.
    I was amazed at how many AA help up in this environment, but many did, including one that I held. My KK won a huge pot when the guy just after me flopped Q-7 two pair and I caught a runner runner pair of eights. He still bet and was surprised that his counterfited sevens did not win. I had raised preflop. He was my only opponent and I was pretty sure I was beat on the turn, but the money in these pots by the turn usually meant calling to the river. l
    Another great paying hand was 3-5 in the blind that flopped open ended draw. I caught the nut on the river. I bet. That guy who raised everything raised. A good playing woman to my right called the raise with two pair and I went to $12. It was the one time I saw wild guy fold, but she grumbled and called me.
    It was delightful to be in a real casino. During my dry spell I lost all my attention to poker watching a beautiful blond give a guy a massage at the next table. She was really attractive. However, it is ironic that attractive girls generally offer the massages, but the fellow who pays for one never sees her during the entire time she is loosening him up. So big, ugly guys might be as good a choice. No casino ever has that.
    I also liked when late at night half the table was Black and they were all young folks, not too much older than the students I taught. I miss that community and delighted in having it. It was not very verbal, not much banter, but two young guys interacted with me, teasing me in a very respectful way, and I loved it. There are too many old people in Florida. I get tired of that. One guy was one of the better players at the table and he moved twice to get to the left of me. And that worked for his game, except when I raised my pocket kings and he lost his two pair on the river.
    There were plenty of beautiful women around as waitresses and players and some on the floor. None dealt. Only men dealt and they were for most part very good. The dealer was important in this game, because half the players did not know when it wasn't their turn or how much to bet. They needed to be reminded. One dealer got a bit testy after so many reminders that were ignored. "It's 4 dollars. It won't change." and then " Look, this is a 2-4 game so the bet is always going to be 2 or 4. After 4 cards it is 4. It won't change." He was not obnoxious, but his attitude was a surprise to some.
    One dealer late in the night was so animated and such a character as he called the game that it was excellent theater. He was a big, husky guy with a gravelly voice and some Southern or Western accent I could not place and he called every detail of the game and speeded it up a bit. I did not win much during his stay. Probably a good thing as I could see myself overtipping this guy.
    Generally, all the people playing and dealing and working the floor were friendly and helpful. No gasconade here. No grumbling. None of that. Defeat was met with laughter or stoic quiet. There was one guy who was totally quiet and played like it was no limit. Otherwise, it was just fun.
    Normally, I would have been disappointed to have picked this day because it was the last day in a promotion that gave $150 in gas to any player who played 20 hours between Sunday and this Thursday. So there were lots of no limit players there just to make up the time they needed for the gas cards. I had to stay out of their way. But generally they did not play anything at all except blinds. They were not there to play, but to get hours. They told us that. However, casinos need to think about their promotions. Here they cut their profit by giving seats to tight players, and did not attract folks who come rarely to the casino. One dealer did say they were thinking of a new promotion, probably involving high hands. That would be great!
    Already they are so far ahead of Turning Stone which offers only one bad beat. Here there were two, a major where quad tens needed to be beat and a mini where quad deuces needed to be beat. And there was the same $500 for a royal that I encountered at Ocala. And, of course no $2 charge just to play. They had a full room and every game anyone could want including some 7 card stud if there was interest.
    I went to supper about 9. The buffet was expensive by Vegas standards and not that good. Perhaps late in the day the food has just been there too long. I had to be selective, and I just stopped eating some things that were too dry or tasteless. The drinks were terrible. They had no juices. The tea was a powder. I sent it back. The lemonade was fine. The water they brought me was carbonated. Either it was a soda or was club soda. The coffee was good and I needed that because I was running on little sleep.
    I best liked the skirt steak done on the grill and the hard iced cream with plenty of toppings.
    Some of the buffet choices cost extra, a pattern hard to follow when the base price is $27. However, with the Player's-Club discount and $5 in points for giving them my email I managed $18. Not bad. I got enough to eat. I went to eat when the table changed to all pretty good players and came back to find new faces, almost all of them terrrible players.
    My early 5 hour play with bad cards and a couple bad rivers had cost me $36, so I liked not having to grind the profit back.
    At the table there is no free alcohol. I read that is illegal in Florida. Probably a good thing since so many people come in cars. However, they would put four olives in a spicy tomato or V8 mix so I was well hydrated. Ocala charged me $2.25 for orange juice. After that I just filled my Ocala cup at the water fountain.
    Outside drinks are allowed in Tampa. I brought in my dollar McDonald's coffee. In Ocala they have a sign that no outside beverages are allowed. I saved my orange juice cup so no one gives me any grief there. But I like the free drinks being part of the EV.
    Other hands I remember:

    I had AK twice. Once I raised and saw AK on the flop, but had few callers and all folded before the river. Once I had it in the small blind, did not raise, and folded after the flop.

    My toughest opponent was an Asian guy who had lived in Vegas and played at the Orleans and at Red Rock. He stacked up a huge profit just getting good cards. He was the only fellow who played a bit tricky and he gave me respect, waiting to see he had the nuts before betting. He had them one too many times for my pleasure.

    I really was going on very little sleep the night before. We were in Tampa because we picked up Ann Marie at the airport. She rented a car and that will free me up to go anywhere I want in my van. So that made the Tampa trip a "free" one.

    The trip home following the GPS was complicated, but there was no traffic. The roads in the early morning hours were empty. Nothing was open along the way. I got home in about an hour and a half. Actually it is shorter than my drives to Turning Stone.
    I also had the number wrong on what it costs me to drive there. It costs me about $24 round trip. It is just 83 miles. That makes it a great spot to go. I may go again tomorrow.


    I did not find the loose and crazy players in such abundance this time in Tampa. I played about 12 hours with time off for the buffet, and Until the last hours I played with players who were fairly reasonable
    I started at 2-4, moved tables to see if I could get easier opponents, and finally decided to give the Omaha game a try. This is very hard poker for me. I manage to get the high fairly well defined, but the lows still confuse me. This was a 3-6 game with a kill that kicked in for the next hand on any pot that was of a certain size, $40 if I remember right. That is fairly high stakes for me, but I enjoyed it.
    The players at this table knew one another and the game was reasonable. There was another table that was crazy aggressive with pots being capped before the flop. Many of those players had come from and Omaha pot limit game, and players came to our table complaining that the game was too loose/aggessive.
    For me the game is fine because it reduces all thoughts of deciding how people play. Luck overcomes all style here. Those who play single dimensioned hands will lose int he long run. What is needed are 4 cards with lots of possibilities, and then it is just seeing how the game goes. Rarely does anyone fold who has any chance of a win.
    I did see that I overvalued two pair. So I had A-J when the flop gave me A-J and I bet it. That is probably a mistake. It certainly would be for smaller two pair hands. Trip is probably the minimum for betting. High two pair make calling a good idea, but it is a better idea if there are other possibilities.
    The players were patient with me as I got confused by the betting. One dealer was especially confusing and gumbling all the time that he was confused. I rely on the the dealer to call these hands and divide the pot. I can't think through much of that as I do in Hold em" Other dealers were wonderfully confident and accurate, but I almost got up and just waited for a new dealer.
    One fine thing is that the bathrooms are right there in the poker room. No long hike. I hope Imperial Palace in Vegas arranges that when they remodel this year.
    This is important because I drink a lot. The orange juice is good and service is good. The V8 is good as well. So I make many trips.
    Overall the room is very nice. I have not waited long for a table. I would like to see more limit games, but generally there are at least 2 in the 2-4 variety.
    A bunch came in from the first night of the local pirate celebration, all in costume and party mode. Many of those were at that difficult Omaha table.
    I think this may become my next favorite game. The pots are huge, but since they are often split in half or in thirds, they look bigger than they are.
    At any rate I had a fine day gambling even if I left with a loss of $45.

    The buffet was better than my first trip too. All the food was fresh and hot and not dried out. I ate at 2:30 while the price was still $15 and this was a good choice. I was surprised the price was still so low on Saturday. The Sunday brunch runs all day at $30. That day I'll eat somewhere else.
    I particulary liked the New England clam chowder and do did many others since after my first bowl it was gone and waiting for another batch. Service was good. I got the right drinks. Perhaps they did have orange juice the other time, and I had not heard that right. It was good. I tried lots of food and it was all good except the waldorf salad. They had few nuts in it and made it with grapes as well as apples. Perhaps Florida is not a place to come for apples as these were lackluster. The fried chicken was excellent. I added Cholula hot sauce. One fine thing about this buffet is every table has a rack that includes assorted hot sauce: Tabasco red and green, Cholula, Texas Pete's, Tapa Tio. I love it.
    My comps did not show up when I swiped my card. It may be that I have to get them right there in the poker room. Sometimes it is like that. However, the same player's club card is used. I can see how yesterday's comps would not be posted, but I don't understand how those from last Thursday would not post by Saturday. Well, eventually I'll go and have a cheap buffet when my points get active.

  • #2
    Re: Tampa Hard Rock Live Limit Poker

    Great story ewey... Enjoyable as always.

    I love a low-limit game like the one you experienced - sometimes it's like bingo.