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My First Time at a Casino

Monday 1 February 2010 by legendary_totoro

Well, I’m more of an internet guy as far as poker is concerned mostly because it’s more convenient and we don’t have casinos in Tahiti anyways. But I’ve played in live games with my local friends but it never reproduced the ambiance you guess at by watching televised poker games which are held at arranged rooms in casinos.

First of all, the Sky City casino is right next to the Sky Tower which you can’t miss if you’ve ever been to Auckland. Well even if you haven’t, just imagine your average down-town with a big thin tower right in the middle : that’s as obvious as your nose in the middle of your face or a troll among hobbits...

This is, to my knowledge, the only casino in the city and the perfect place for gamblers. The building is divided in two parts :
- Downstairs for the food court and the daylight activities
- Upstairs for the casino

On the upper level, there are 2 floors dedicated to gambling. The first one holds tables with roulette, blackjack, baccarat, coin machines and carribean stud. The second floors holds more coin machines and tables for poker tournies and cash games.

Caribbean Poker Stud

I discovered this game here and wasn’t too thrilled at first because of the huge rake :
- every player contributes a $2.50 for the jackpot (or else, he can’t qualify for it)
- for each hand being dealt, the minimum ante is $10.
- every player is dealt a 5 cards hand and plays it or not
- if you want to play the hand, you have to pay twice the amount of the ante you put.
- everyone is playing against the dealer with his 5 cards
- if your hand is better than the dealer’s, he gives you the ante back and more money according to some chart depending on the strength of your hand (1 pair 1:1, 2 pair 2:1, trips 3:1, etc) but only if he has AKxxx or better.
- if you ever hit a flush or better, you automatically receive cold hard cash (I think a flush was $300ish).

Put it simply, you’re paying $12.50 just to get cards. Then you’re paying at least $20 to gamble against the dealer... So, you’re basically playing to hit flushes or better, or to get the jackpot which I don’t remember how you hit it...

I first bought in for $200, got some 2 pairs rapidly and got up to about half my buy-in. Then I kept trying to play because the night was still early. Of course that wasn’t a good decision and my stack started to dwindle. Eventually I ran out of chips and thought a $100 rebuy wouldn’t be that bad. I started again to get some 2 pairs, and even hit trips once (though the dealer didn’t have a qualifying hand to pay me off) and made my stack grow back to $200ish.

Then, as the gambling demon strengthened his grip around me, I stayed at the table but got card dead, and hit zero level again. I was somehow satisfied with my decisions so rebought yet another time for $100. Still, the deck wouldn’t hit me again and slowly but surely lost it all again. Minus $400 for the first night sure was enough and I went back to my hotel with an empty pocket.

Roulette & Black Jack

The following night, I went back to the casino with but one goal : regain some of the money I previously lost. I took a look at the roulette tables and waited for a spot to get freed. As I was looking how to play the game I pondered about what kind of strategy would be paying me off. At the same time, the female players who were a majority at the table started to put chips in a chaotic frenzy...

One of them eventually hit the winning number and color and when I saw so little rewards she got, I decided it wasn’t a game for me and went on to watch some blackjack tables. During the few moments in between, it occured to me I didn’t know this game very well if at all so didn’t even bother to watch a hand and headed straight to the NLHE cash games level.

Note : Of course I know the principles of blackjack : you try to hit 21 or just something better than the dealer/bank, but I don’t know the subtleties and don’t have a strategy or a winning approach towards it.

See next page, how I fared in NLHE...


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