Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cleveland Horseshoe "Trip" report

"Trip" in quotes, of course, because Ohio's first casino doors are two blocks from my downtown work parking spot. I woke up to a beautiful warm morning, hopped on the motorcycle, and drove to work. Except I didn't have to go to work, I took a right instead of a left and headed towards Public Square.

One of the more surreal experiences of my life was walking into the room for the first time - living in this town my entire life and then stepping into the neon energy of a completely packed casino in the middle of downtown Cleveland. I would have sooner believed there was a teleporter that brought me to Vegas than there was a casino in the old Higbee building.

Speaking of the Higbee building, I had a total "Christmas Story" moment 15 minutes after I walked into the set of the old movie, where Ralphie and brother Randy went to visit Santa. I walked up to a short line of people standing in line for a Total Rewards card. When I tried to step into the line, a polite casino worker stopped me and said "Sir, this is the start of the line, you have to go back to the end". She pointed to her right, and I saw what looked like an endless single file line of people stretched back along the wall.

"All the way back to Terra Haute", I thought, as I sulked to the back of the line.

No matter - I got my card 45 minutes later and made my up to the top floor. The poker room is separated from the rest of the casino - which helps to dull the din of the slot machines. I arrived early enough to be seated, at a new table, not 10 minutes after putting my name in.

The dealers were a mixed bag. The woman who started our table took her entire shift just preparing the table. She literally didn't deal a single hand. The next dealer wasn't a whole lot better, and my tablemate - a floor shift manager of a poker room in Pennsylvania, noted we were getting dealt about 12 hands per hour. 30-34 is the norm. So there will be a bit of pain before our dealers are experienced enough to play at a reasonable speed.

I won't complain too much about the dealers, though, because one of their mistakes saved me about $45. I held pocket aces and raised to $18. Two players called me, both with position on me. I bet $25 on a king-jack-x board, two hearts. Both players liked the flop enough to call.

The turn brought a nine. Queen ten just got there. I had to act first, and took a few seconds to contemplate my move. I looked down at my stack for a second to make sure a bet wouldn't commit me if I decided to bet-fold. When I looked up, the player on the button had slid $65 across the betting line.

I was about to speak up - "uh, I haven't acted yet in the hand", but before I could, I glanced to my left. My other opponent had already cut out $65 in chips, and had about $40 behind. He looked like he was going to call.

I didn't think I was ahead of both these guys, so I folded instead of arguing. One of these guys had hit their straight. They showed down a river (after shortie got all in) - KJ two pair vs. QT straight. They had both cracked my aces, but the dealer blunder saved me a bet.

I took it as a good omen.

I played well, overall. No mistakes. My few limps were behind several limpers, in position. I punished limpers with weak aces and a few connectors and won easy money with cbets vs. the fit-or-folders. Then my cards dried up for about 2 hours, and I patiently folded (ok, maybe not so patiently, but I kept folding), until the last orbit of my afternoon, where I punished one more time with a raggy ace, and then again on the very next hand, this time with queens. No callers either time. I waited for the blinds to reach me and left, a small but satisfying $71 profit.

Stepping out of the casino, back into downtown Cleveland, was as odd a feeling as it was stepping in. We have a casino in Cleveland!


~Coach said...

Congratulations - that's going to be pretty convenient for you... :)

Gary said...

Wow. Still can't believe there's a casino in C-town. I lived in Garfield Hts for 6 years - to think there'd be a poker room just 12 minutes up the I-77!!