Friday, September 14, 2007

The oddity of casino laws: La Center poker

I went to Portland for three days this week for a training class, which left me with evening free of family obligations. Time for poker. But where?

Other than some pointless strip club poker (free chips, free rebuy, skanky distractions), there's no legal poker in Portland. The nearest spot is 15 miles north, in La Center. Otherwise, it's 100 miles either way to Spirit Mountain (south) or Lucky Eagle (north).

They way the laws must be written, it sounds like Clark County has banned casinos, except they've left it up to municipalities to determine whether they want casinos within their boundaries. La Center is the only town that allows it, and it appears they've strictly zoned it. There's no casinos within 100 miles, but there's four of them here so close together, that with a baseball and good arm you could stand at any of them and hit any other.

Tuesday night, I played at Last Frontier, brought my super tight game, and ended up down $142. The game was $3/$6 full kill, which means that when a player wins two hands in a row, the bets jump up to $6/$12 for the next hand. My sets ran into straights, my flushes ran into boats, my AK and AQ never hit, and I mis-bet a $6/$12 hand, giving away weakness when I asked to pull back a $6 bet on a $12 round. Several hands were short-handed five or six player games, and my aggression only served to cost me money.

Frustrated, I wandered over to New Phoenix, which had two full tables, then to Palace, which doesn't have poker, then to Chips, where I got into a standard $3/$6 game, decided to play a little looser, and won $40. Still, being down $102 for the night was frustrating.

Wednesday night, after studying for my Thursday exam for a few hours, I tried to decide whether I was up to driving 15 miles to play again. The slightly looser play seemed to work the night before, so I decided that if I could double a $1 buyin at PokerStars' 2¢/4¢ limit tables, I'd be able to do well at the real thing. In 40 minutes of play, I was up $1.04, and hit the road.

Chips La Center had two full kill $3/$6 games going, and although I signed up, I really didn't want to play a full kill game, so I wandered around again, but didn't find anything better. All of the pai gow games charged 5% commission, so no go there.

I returned to Chips, and the waiting list had gotten long enough that they opened a third $3/$6 table, no kill. Nice. Two hours of play, and I was up $158, plus a comped dinner. Yeah, a comped dinner doesn't mean a lot when the office would otherwise pay for it, but still, that's cool. The change in my game? Looser, but not crazy loose. Luck helped a lot, too. I played A2o in late position, hit an ace on the flop, and won with it. An early position 98s hit two pair on the flop and won, as did Q8s on the button, which rivered a full house to beat a flush. Mid-position pocket fives hit a set, and beat a flush when the board paired on the river.

Is my game back? It's too early to say. I'm looking forward to Vegas later this month, though.


Poker In Portland said...

Portland now has legal poker. You can play tournament style poker for cash at Aces Players Club. More info can be found at

Very nice poker room with a casino card room feel. Six no limit holdem tournaments a day starting at noon.

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Jhon Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jhon Stephen said...

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