A change of location today, as I moved hotel from the Excalibur to Harrah's for the rest of the week.
Had a relaxing afternoon, and then headed out at 8pm to the next room on my itinerary – the low-rolling mecca of the center-strip that is O'Shea's. There were two tables in play (both 1-5 spread) which suited me just fine.
Again, got immediate seating (tables are just 8 seats) and bought in for $100. Having never played O'Shea's before, I soon realised that this may have been a mistake as it made me look like some kind of whale (now there's a first!), but no problem. I was sat with my back to the strip but kind of almost literally on the sidewalk (in fact, I had a bet with the guy sitting next to me as to whether he could get a stripper card from a card guy without leaving his seat – he couldn't but only because of the steely gaze of security).
My first big surprise was the speed of drinks service. Sure, its all served in plastic cups, but they have a reasonable range of draft beers, and once I discovered they served guinness I was set for the night. And it blew away the speed record – 6 minutes from sitting down to sipping my first beer!!! And this was no fluke, drinks service continued fast all evening. And its the first time this trip that I met a cocktail waitress who seemed to be genuinely enjoying her job!
My second big surprise was the dealers, who also seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves! Doubly surprising, as for a sizeable proportion of hands pots were too small to earn much of a tip. In fact, I got the general impression O'Shea's staff were used to getting stiffed and so were thankful for anything they got.
My third big surprise was how much I enjoyed the game itself. It felt like a good compromise between limit and no limit, where I could continue my low-rolling ways yet from time-to-time bet big enough to make my draws pay off or take down a pot with a bluff. It seemed to play for the most part smaller than 2-4 limit, and limping in pre-flop for a dollar was common. I was all nostalgic for a while as I was brought up on 1-3 spread at the Excalibur, but actually from a poker point of view this game played better.
The thing that did not surprise me at all was the general looseness of the play, and the fact that drunken high spirits is not only tolerated, it is positively encouraged. A super-nit could make some money here, but that would feel like cheating. The guy sitting next to me asked the cocktail waitress if he could have a shot of southern comfort on the side, and she told him only if he downed it right away … and she brought what must have been a quadruple measure. The cocktail waitress was genuinely feeling sorry for me, particularly when I started to order tequilas; “hey, honey, you don't have to keep up with these guys ...”. How little she knew.
Not many memorable hands. They had just that day introduced a bad-beat jackpot, $5000 for losing with quad fours, and everyone got excited when the board showed 76443 (4 clubs), and even more excited when the guy showed 85 clubs for the (6 card) straight flush. Unfortunately no-one had the quads, and straight flush guy had to make do with $100 high hand jackpot.
Stayed within $40 up or down of my original buy-in all session, and finally racked up and left around 1am, down $29.
OMG! There's that number again!
In cash games I was $29 down on day one, had $29 left on day two, and was $18 down = 2 x 9 on day three. I arrived on 29th August. And up to the end of day three I had 29 complementary drinks during play (honestly, it would take me a month to drink this much back home!). In the tournaments, if you include waitress tips but exclude the dealer tip (OK, OK, cut me some slack here), I am exactly $290 up. Hmmmm … is someone trying to tell me something here? Tomorrow, the date (in European format, at least) is 2/9/2009, so just to be on the safe side I have decided to appease the poker gods and play every 2-9 I get dealt.
The tournament win is still masking the unfortunate fact that I have had 4 out of 4 losing days at the cash games and I am currently standing nearly $150 down after 21 hours play. Or perhaps $3.86 per drink is a more positive way of looking at it.
Tuesday 1st September
O'Shea's, 1-5 spread, 8.00pm – 1.00am (5hrs)
Time to be seated: immediate
Time to drinking first beer: 6 minutes
Total drinks consumed: 2 x Budweiser, 5 x Guinness, 2 x Tequila
Cocktail service: 9/10
Room management: 7/10
Ease of competition: 7/10
Fun-ness of dealers: 8/10
Fun-ness of table: 9/10
OVERALL RATING: 9/10