Well, our poker interest got checked, raised, and even check-raised ;)
Warning: much lingo to follow:
After playing each other in our two person tournament with rising blinds Tuesday for about 3 hours I went to bed and had dreams about sorting chips. Last night I asked that we take the night off from our 9 card cavalcade. (2 each and 5 for 2-player hold 'em).
On the way home H asked if I was still "burnt out" from our Tuesday tourney. I thought, "hmmmn." When I got home I suggested we go down to the city of Commerce. The Commerce Casino is one of the largest card room casinos in the L.A. area. I figured we could head down, look at how it actually works and at least get dinner (probably a buffet).
We left at about 6:30... Now the casino is about 10 miles down the highway at our back door. Granted, the highway out our backdoor is Interstate (the) 5. Which meant the 10 mile trip took about 50 minutes.
The casino was fairly easy to get to. The parking lot seemed smaller than it was. We found a spot fairly quickly that wasn't too far from the casino. It's a nice place. It's definitely a casino. But I like the flashy lights. Oooh! Shiny things! We wandered around a little and then found our way to the buffet. It's just not a casino without a buffet. $21 for two people. Gotta admit for the food that was there and the size of the buffet.... it was a little pricey.
We finished up dinner and wandered out to an elevated area to watch the play for a few minutes. At first it was cards and chips flying everywhere. But after a few moments we could follow it. Blinds, pocket, flop, turn, river, showdown. Got it. though at this point we had no idea how to get to a table, get chips, etc. Casinos are definitely designed to be intimidating.
We wandered over to the concierge's desk next to the poker area and she gave us the casino rule book. This was a 30 or so page pamphlet that was, "Commerce casino for dummies" It wasn't actually a dummy book. It gave the rules of the tables, basic rules of the games, and a nice glossary. We meandered over to a deli in the casino on the far side of the poker room and scoured the book.
As we'd eventually learn, Commerce had tables at $1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and $9. The amount was the 'big blind' (or forced main ante). I decided I was willing to drop $20, maybe $40 at the $1/$2 table. For those who've never played before. A $1 table is really a $1/$2 table. The $2 table is a $2/$4 table. That means for the first three rounds the initial bet is the first number and then for the the 4th and so on (turn, river) it's double. Heather wasn't sure... but she figured she'd think about it. I went to the cash machine and pulled $60. She opted to play.
To get into a table you go to the white board and tell the attendant the game you want to play, the amount of the table you want to play, and your initials. The initials go up on the white board under the game and amount. Then you wait. One by one a seat opens and the next initials on the white board are called. This was a challenge because the attendant had a thick Spanish accent. "Tee Aich 3 holdem". We signed up and waited about 20 minutes. It seems that $3/$6 is very popular. To buy into a table you have to be able to buy in at (at least) 5 times the table value. So a $3 table means you have to commit at least $15 to sit.
Finally they called my initials and pointed me into a morass of tables. You have to move quickly. By the time I got there someone had taken my chair. Fortunately, another table opened quickly. H and I had coordinated how we would meet up or look for each other at random times. Which was pointless because we wound up at the same table. She was right of dealer. I was right of the person on her right. We bought in chips and played. (Buying in is putting a 20 on the table and watching the dealer count out 4 stacks of 5-$1 chips and then knocking one set over.)
To jump in you have to post blinds before the deal even if it's not your time to do blinds (or you can wait). I posted blinds and looked at an 8 and 6 offsuit. I folded. Which sadly was a dumb way to start because I'd posted blinds and could have checked to stay in. To add insult to injury. I would have flopped an 86 pair had I stayed in. To give me further indignities the turn was an 8 making me stare at a lost full house. Great way to start.
The first dealer was a big burly guy. Really imposing. We went thru 3 dealers during the night. I quickly watched 20 turn into 6 while I watched H go from 20 up to 45 relatively quickly. The 50ish Asian guy between us was a hoot. All I can say is crazy-mo-fo. He'd flip cards at the wrong time. Just a funny guy. My 6 dwindled to 4 and I dropped a second 20.
My most pleasing hand was where I flopped a strong straight. I performed a check-raise. This means the first time the bet came to me I passed for no money. by the time the bet had gone around someone put money in and when it was my turn for the round to match it to stay in, I raised. The Asian man was very funny pointing it out very loudly. "Ooh! Check-raise! ooh, you see that!" There was one very quiet but serious Asian grandmothery type at the table. She wasn't going to let me get away with that. She matched me.. It was my big pot for the night at $27.
Heather did really well until she got into a bidding war holding pocket queens. By the time she realized she could be beaten she'd over committed to the pot. It was a nasty hit to her pile of chips but really her only mistake of the night. She was cool and killer most of the rest of the night. I spent a lot of time folding a lot of really horrible cards. To which after three or four folds the guy across the table looked at me and said, "You see that... he's patient..." Which I took as a compliment
I had one more nice $20ish hand and left the table with $45.50. I was pleased. Not a lot over where I came in. But I won a couple of bucks. I think I tipped about $1.50 throughout the roughly 90 minutes we played, so it was actually closer to $47. I figure.. it's good for a first timer playing "for real" Heather's $20 left the table as $3.00. But I think she pretty much played well.
Neither of us were really playing for anything more than the experience. I figure $21 for dinner, $10 lost at the table. $31... You're looking at cheaper than dinner and a movie. And here, we got an education on a hobby we've developed.
I think we'll wind up going back again. Though, I plan to stay at the same level tables for quite some time. I'm not ready for tourney play by a long shot. It was loads of fun. I am psyched to play far more often at home and hopefully can get a home game going with more than just H & I soon.
Until then... the button passes to you.