Sunday, May 16, 2004

Kill the Greeks!

I probably need a headline that isn't so inflammatory.

Awaking at the ripe time of 9PM on Friday night, I decided that I wanted to see Saturday's Tiger game ... and that I wanted to play some poker, too. So, after the three-hour drive to Detroit, I arrived at about 1AM at the Greektown Casino in Detroit (link at right). Hdouble pointed out that I'd be arriving at prime time, meaning that there would be a number of drunks there who wanted nothing more than to toss off some money. He was right.

I gave my name to the floorman (initials, actually; they want initials at Greektown, so I told them "L.G.W."). The lists for both $3/$6 and $5/$10 looked like they had about fifteen people on them, so I was prepared for a goodly wait, but I got on in fifteen or twenty minutes ... enough time to watch ten hands or so at the $2/$2/$5 No-Limit table. (I really have to learn no-limit.) The biggest bet I saw while I was there was $100, a stack of red, by a fellow who was bluffing a paired board with a busted flush. I don't know why he showed when his opponent called, but he impressed me.

I sat at a short-handed $5/$10 table, their "must-move" table, but after about five hands they broke the table and I was in the "main" table, which I guess it was, because it was the only $5/$10 table that went all night. (There were also two $3/$6 tables, two $10/$20 tables, and the $2/$2/$5 No-Limit table that went all night, and maybe others I didn't see.)

I liked my new table. The drunkest guy on the must-move table came with me, as well as, later, a couple of guys off a broken $10/$20 table who didn't respect the $5/$10 game and so played stupidly. There ended up being three guys who, whenever any one of them raised the pot, they all re-raised and capped the pots. I made a $200 profit on one hand on a split pot because those guys enjoyed raising so much. (It didn't occur to me to suspect collusion until much later—basically, now—but if they were colluding, they were horrible at it. They all lost hundreds of dollars.)

The drunk guy was even funnier. When I first sat down, he said "Welcome to the table of What's Happening," a clearly drunk-ass thing to say. Several of the other people on the table liked it, though, when I said "Thenks, Rerun." Whew: My 1970s TV reference didn't go over everybody's heads. Rerun didn't seem to have the "best five cards" concept down, either. Twice, he had a low pocket pair, and both times there were two high pair on the board, say KKQQ3. Both times, he was adamant that his pocket pair (sevens, say) should beat the player who had (say) AT for two pair and an Ace, versus two pair and a seven. It didn't help much that one of the times it happened, the dealer was inexperienced, and while she made the right decision, she really confused the matter getting to the right decision.

I ended up making nearly $500 off of the capper brothers while they were there, which is an incredible 50 big bets at $5/$10. As they started busting out, my cards started going cold, and so I got whittled down to a $300 profit before rebounding when the sun came up, for a $406 profit. I went to lunch, and prepared for the Tiger game.

It works out best, when I do this, to leave the car at the casino and take the People Mover, Detroit's miserable excuse for a light-rail system, three stations up to the area of the ballpark. (Parking at the casino is free.) While waiting on the platform for the train, a 70-something fellow and his two fiftyish stepsons came onto the platform and noticed my Tigers cap, and asked me, "Aha, you look like someone who's going to the Tiger game. So, you could probably tell us what station to get off at."

I told them, and talked to them a little bit. The casino had just comped the three into the casino's luxury box, given four tickets. They offered to sell me the fourth ticket, and although I demurred at first, they persisted. They asked how much I expected to spend at the ballpark, and I told them $20. ($25 or so for a ticket would have been more accurate, so I lowballed them; sneaky me.) "Fine, said Frank, $20 it is." Well, now I couldn't pass it up. The seats weren't spectacular—I probably would have got a better seat for $25, in the lower bowl, but these seats included free food and free booze. Ahh, if only I were ten years younger, I could really have made them rethink that policy. (I think the casino is stretching the law a bit: It is illegal to give away liquor in Michigan, but booze was included in the comp.)

Texas 6 @ Detroit 1

Unfortunately, the Tigers lost. This was a day game after a night game, and so the Tigers had a lot of their second-stringers in the lineup. Both the second-string third baseman (Greg Norton) and the second-string second baseman (Omar Infante) made mistakes that weren't counted as errors, but cost the Tigers outs and probably runs. Texas' pitcher, Kenny Rogers, has a great motion to first base, and he was able to pick off Carlos Guillen, our first-string shortstop, which cost the Tigers at least one run. It ended up, overall, one of those games where a whole bunch of little things add up to a disappointing loss.

At least the brats with chili and onions, the Labatt's Blue, the chicken fingers, and the well-stocked dessert cart were all free.

Sunday: Go North, Young Man

Gil already said that he expects to want to go to Litte River Casino in Manistee today; I expect to agree. So, maybe I'll get to add to my tally with a big ol' win against disappointing competition. That's what happened last time I was there on a Sunday. Wish me good cards.


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