Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Spread, slots, spins, and slowness

A recap of my gamblin' activities in Spokane follows.

Friday: After the pre-event dessert, I returned briefly to my hotel, then moseyed over to the bowling alley across the street. The table games were jumping, but when I poked my head into the poker room, it was like entering a cone of silence. Four empty tables, and a lonely looking security guard talking to the cashier. They said that once the 6:30 tournament had finished, everyone bailed out. They did, however, refer me to "Ringo's" casino just a few blocks down the road.

Ringo's offered $5/$10 and $2-$6 spread. I'd encountered spread once before (at the now-bankrupt Northstar Casino, where I watched a few games of $1-$8 spread), but I'd never played. I like it a lot -- the blinds are lower than $3/$6 (being $1 and $2 instead of $1 and $3), and a too-tight player like me will still get action from a few players when I raise to $4 or $6 or $8 pre-flop. I was up for a while, down for a while, and ended +$13 after two hours of play. It was time to go to bed -- the cache machine was starting early on Saturday.

Saturday: After the cache machine dinner, I considered going to Northern Quest, the big indian casino near Spokane. I knew that their only tournaments were 10:30 a.m. daily, so it'd be cash games only. I wasn't dressed for it, though, and as exhausting as the day was, once I made it back to the hotel to change, I decided to go to sleep instead. That was probably for the best -- I play crappy poker when I'm tired.

Sunday: I woke up earlier than I expected, and figured I'd hit Northern Quest on the way home. I wanted to be home by 6:00 p.m., because that's when the rest of the family would be back from visting the in-laws, and my mapping software showed that it would be a 5½ hour drive from the casino to my front door. To play it safe, I'd have to be out of there by noon. No tournament for me this morning.

I arrived at about 9:15 and signed up on the $3/$6 list. Their poker room is one of the nicest ones I've seen in the state. Ten tables, new looking felt, fairly comfy chairs, lots of room. They gave me a pager, and I went and signed up for the players club. I got a free wooden pen set and deck of cards. Yay. I played on the slots (-$20) and roulette (-$24) for a while. The slots were disappointing, because I thought I'd read that this was the one casino in the state with slots that actually take coins instead of tickets or cards; it doesn't. Roulette was fun, because I tried out a new system instead of betting on my standard numbers. Yes, I know it's a dumb unwinnable game, and no systems work -- see my next posting for my amusing take on this.

I returned to the poker room at about 10:00 and waited, read a couple poker magazines, waited, read news on my blackberry, and waited some more. At 10:30, the $3/$6 game broke, and the tournament started with 60 players at six tables, plus 20 alternates. During the first 15 minute level, nobody busted out. The empty four tables weren't being used, because even though there were 15 people on the list (with my name at the top), they didn't have enough dealers.

At 11:00 I bailed, hit the road, and drove west. Almost two hours, no poker seat open. It's a nice looking poker room, but I question how well it's managed.

I stopped in Ellensburg for lunch at about 2:15, and discovered the Wild Goose Casino. I poked my head in, but a tournament had just started at 1:30, and with a 2-3 hour drive ahead of me, I couldn't afford to wait. I had lunch at Perkins instead, and was back on the road at 3:00, arriving home at 5:00.

Net for the weekend, -$31. That's still cheap entertainment.

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