Tonight was one of the most fun and exciting days of my life. I didn’t win the lottery, I didn’t go skydiving, and I didn’t go on a vacation to the Bahamas. No, all I did was go to the casino.
I started the day as any other, but it all began shortly after I sat down at my desk and started to 10-table the $100 NL tables. One of the players at one of my tables noticed that I was in a nearby city, only about 30-40 minutes away, and said something along the lines of “Boy, I sure wish I lived in Nanaimo… you’re so lucky to have a casino there”. I replied stating that there’s no poker there – a fact I knew well considering I phoned the casino once every few months asking if they had poker yet, to which the answer was always a distinct “no”. However, he quickly convinced me that they had indeed added poker tables, and so I phoned the casino immediately to check. They confirmed it: they added two poker tables.
Now, before I continue, I cannot stress how badly and long I’ve wanted there to be poker here. The closest casino to play poker here is in Vancouver, which is a ferry ride away and simply not feasible to visit unless done very infrequently. I’ve also never played poker live before, and always wanted to try it.
I was going to head out the door that minute, but the casino lady told me that people don’t really show up at the poker tables until the evening. So, I impatiently waited for several hours, then made my way out to the casino.
The tables are different because they are actually video poker tables. Now, don’t get this confused with those lame fake table poker games where you play against the house. These tables are exactly like real poker, only there is no physical dealer, no physical chips, and no physical cards. You physically sit at the table with the other players, but there is a small monitor for each player on the table, and the game is played from there. It’s neat because to view your cards you actually have to physically cup your hands over them, upon which they will roll over and you can see them.
While I must admit that I’d be a bit more authentic and fun to play with a real dealer, real chips, and real cards, I actually much prefer this new high-tech option. For one, no dealer means NO TIPPING, which really takes a large chunk of your cash. No dealer also means AUTOMATIC SHUFFLING AND DEALING which makes hands go 15x faster, which is absolutely awesome. Finally, it allows fish to play easier since they aren’t fumbling with chips, and also easily displays the stack amount and pot size – just like online poker.
While I had never played poker in person before, all my many years of experience had me more than prepared, and I felt right at home within seconds. Both tables are $1/2 No-Limit Hold’Em, with a $40 minimum buy-in and $200 max. To play, you need apply for a card, and then take that card and load it up with cash at the cashier, then take it to the table and swipe it through.
So of course I bought in for $200, and had an absolute blast. 2-3 hours later I lost my stack to a couple of young donkeys who sat down, not knowing how to play, inevitably sucking me out. So I left for some grub, then picked up Lisa to show her all the fun. By the time I came back to the casino (throwing another $300 onto my card), the table I was on was empty, so I went to the first table, depositing again with $200. This was the “main” table, and it was quickly obvious that 3 of them were definitely regulars. One of them was a young asian guy who was extremely talkative and…. outgoing?
I made several good bluffs, showing my cards each time, early on, and I quickly gained their respect. The asian guy (his chosen name was Hush on the screen) could tell that I was not just another casino fish, and since my name read “T. Cruz” by default, he would later say things like “Watch out for Cruz, he knows what he’s doing” and under his breath “I’ll have to look you up later…”. Another one of the regulars, a woman, made two good bluffs against me, but I sensed them both times, calling down with marginal hands each time and winning. She tapped to me and said good hands.
One hand I was in was particularly crazy. I limped in with 77 and caught a 7xx safe board. The pot was around $16 or so, and Hush bet around $12. The lady called, and the player to my right, a young-looking teacher, raised to $24. We were only 5-handed and the table was very loose, so I reraised to $40. However, this wouldn’t work… the panel wasnt’t responding to me, and my time started to run out! The warning 10 seconds came on, beeping and flashing red, and I was going crazy and saying “Ahhhh!! What do I do?! Help!”, and the lady was very nice and leaned over and made it call for me. Now, I had wanted to raise, but as long as my hand wasn’t automatically folded I was very happy. It turned out that I couldn’t raise to $40 since I had to bet at leastt double $24, so $48. I’m so used to online poker that I completely forgot about that. Anyhow, it was checked to me on the turn, as it was unfortunately obvious I had a huge hand, and i bet $65 into the $90 pot, and took it down. That was fairly exciting.
There weren’t many players, I learned, that night, which was puzzling since it was a Friday, but 1-2 new players would come every 20 minutes or so and sit down, donk all their money away, and leave. Each and every person lost their money except for the regulars and me. In fact, Hush had $700, which is nearly 4 full buy-in’s (remember that the max buy-in is $200), another regular Julius had $500+, and the lady had $350. All the bad players could come and sit with $50-100 which is typical, and lose it all within 15-20 minutes.
That’s another reason why I wanted to play live so badly. While there are certainly bad people online, the fact is that there are much worse ones in casinos. People who see poker on TV and think “I can do that”, macho-masculine guys who want to show how tough and brave they are, and random slot machine and roulette players who decide it would be fun. These people are absolutely horrible and easy money.
I found myself reading people quite easily, even the regulars. By the way, the 3 regulars were indeed good players, that was easy to tell. I’ve always thought I was good at noticing small things, and so it was fun to make good use of it finally.
A couple hours later, I left the table since the casino was closing soon (closes at 2am), and left probably $50-60 up, so still down $150 for the day. Which is more than fine, since I played absolutely great – I can’t help it if I get unlucky.
I enjoyed the second table immensely more than the first since the regulars were all together and having a lot of fun. I can’t wait to go again. I’ll probably be going tomorrow, and might go nearly every day. Well, that’s the plan for now.
I also made a rule for myself. The rule is that I won’t go to the casino unless I’ve worked at least 5-hours that day already. That will help limit the hours I play at the casino, as well as force me to work on my sites to make my bread and butter. Man, what a blast… and get this, the casino is only a 5-10 minute drive away from me!
I was going to include in this post my reattempt at beating the $100 NL games online by 10-tabling, but will save that for a future post since this is already so long.
MAN I’M STOKED! I HAVE LIVE POKER ACCESS AVAILABLE TO ME 7 DAYS A WEEK AND ITS ONLY 5-MINUTES AWAY!!!!!!!!