Tales from the West Side
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Monday, January 04, 2010
I took my confidence up to the Harrah’s Cherokee poker room the weekend before Christmas. I was originally going to drive up Friday after work and stay until Sunday morning, but when making my reservations, I decided to drive up Saturday morning and just spend Saturday night. What a great decision that turned out to be due to the snow storm that hit the area Friday night. The roads were clear Saturday but I counted almost 20 cars that were stuck or abandoned in the fairly short distance from the NC state line to Cherokee. While driving in Georgia, the sun was shining and I had no idea that I would even see snow on this trip. That all changed as soon as I was about ¼ mile in to NC. It was bizarre, I looked in the rear view mirror and could see bright sun shining on the Georgia side with no snow anywhere, but on the NC side, it was grey with snow all over the ground.
The first thing I did when I hit Cherokee was head to Pizza Inn to get my beloved Taco Pizza and as usual, it didn’t disappoint. I had a great waitress and she kept me hooked up and even brought me 4 pieces of chocolate chip pizza for dessert. I could only eat 2, but she was sweet for trying.
After lunch, I checked in to my room and then drove a mile up the road to Harrah’s. It has changed so much since we buzzed through it some time last year. The new lodging portions under construction look like it triple its current size within 2 years. The poker room is easy to get to from the side and you don’t have to walk through the smoking section. They have 5 or 6 PokerPro cardless tables by PokerTek.
I went to the cage and loaded $400 on to my players card and sat down at a 1/2 table. I bought in for $100 to get a feel for the game. Half the table were regulars and all had more than a buy-in in front of them so I decided to wait for premium hands. Apparently, that’s not what is necessary to build your stack at this table. My first buy-in plus early profit went to the one of the old timers after we had a 3 way all-in pot while I’m holding pocket aces. His pocket sixes caught up on the river after our money was in on the flop.
Reload again and burn through most of that one with pocket kings that fell to 3 of a kind on the turn or rivered flush, I’m not sure. I gave the rest of my stack away when I pushed with pocket queens preflop and they get crushed by A6. Reload again and work my stack up to about $120. 2nd to act makes it 12 or 15 preflop and I call with AK. The guy to my left and 1 other calls as well. The flop comes A, J, 10 and the intial bettor throws out $50. I have 2 choices, fold or push. I’m thinking this is just a continuation bet, so I throw in my last hundredish. The guy to my immediate left min raises. Uh oh! The next guy agonizes and then folds and it’s back to the original raiser. He goes all in. Double Uh oh! and is immediately called. So I know I’m up against at least 1 set and probably 2 pair. The virtual cards are flipped over and sure enough, I’m in 3rd place but not drawing dead. It turns out the initial bettor flopped a set of jacks and the guy behind me had K,Q for the straight. I’m looking for 3 outs for a chop with my top pair top kicker. The straight holds up and I sink my last $100 in for another buy-in.
A different one of the regulars had run his stack up to $1200 thanks to flopping 2 flushes and a straight, but he was bleeding them off easily. I was really hoping I could use my last buy-in to get my share. I folded my way down to around $80 and then get pocket jacks. I raised it up to $10 and get 3 callers. Oh joy. The flop comes 6,J,6. Oh joy indeed. I check and then the next guy takes a stab. He gets called by the next 2 so when it comes back to me, I just shove my last $70. One guy drops, but the other 2 call. My hand holds up and I’m sitting with almost $250. I wasn’t able to do much more after that and I finally cashed out when my stack was back down to $200 even. That made me a $200 loser over the 8 hours of play, but other than maybe the AK hand, I think I did everything pretty solid against these guys. As I was leaving, I glanced over at the previous big stack and he was now down to $400 and getting attacked by the other stacks. I had had enough for the day and couldn’t hang around any longer to try and get more.
I am going to try to try and hit the casinos in Tunica,Biloxi, and Cherokee more often next year. Most likely, my next trip to a casino will be in southern Indiana. My brother and his family just moved to Cincinnati, so it looks like I will be able to check out a mid-western casino this spring. He and I will hit up Hollywood Casino and their new WPT poker room. It looks like they do $1/3 NLHE. The next closest to him is the Belterra Casino. It does a $1/2 NLHE with a $50 min and $300 max buy-in. The Horshoe is just a little bit further and does $1/2 and $1/3.