Friday, August 7, 2009
Down to the river: Poker in Vicksburg MS
On my trip to Vicksburg last weekend, I found out that there are four casinos in town, but only one has a poker room: the Ameristar Casino. The room had 12 or so tables. When I got there they had a waiting list, but shortly opened a $3/$6 limit hold 'em table. They also had no limit going ($1/2 and $2/5) and an Omaha high/low game that was $5/$10 limit.
I jumped in the 3/6 limit game and played for about two hours and thirty minutes. There was a sign that said "Welcome to the new Ameristar Poker Room." The card shuffler at my table was broken, but everything else was new, so, apparently, they've recently refurbished the place.
There were TV screens that showed the waiting list. I like that. So many places have a list scribbled on a piece of paper. You have to look over someone's shoulder and can't read it.
The dealers were, for the most part, competent.
The players weren't very sophisticated. There was virtually never a pre-flop raise. Some players were in every hand. I know that's how limit games are, but this one seemed worse than normal. If a player caught a piece of the flop, then he generally stayed to the bitter end. Example: I raised preflop and three players called. The flop was ♠Q ♣6 ♦2. I bet again and a guy called. His hand: ♥9 ♦6. I'm not making this up. He called a pre-flop raise with 9-6 offsuit. I don't remember the turn, but I bet and he was the only caller. The river was the ♥6, giving him trips. I bet and he raised. I re-raised, and this time he only called. I turned over ♥Q ♦Q for the boat.
I won another big pot with K-K. No ace came, and, in fact, a third king came on the river.
They say that when you avoid losing money that it's the same as winning money. In late position, I held: ♦K ♣10 and limped in behind three others. This is a pretty cheesy hand, even in a limit game, but I had position. When it got to the big blind, he raised. This was the first time anyone raised pre-flop (other than me). There were some callers, but I folded (even though I was getting 7:1). The flop was 10-X-X. Notice I would have hit top pair, second kicker. If you stick around and hit your hand, you just keep getting sucked in further. There were two more cards dealt (I don't remember them), and the pre-flop raiser turned over what I knew he had: ♣A ♠A to win a good-sized pot. I had saved $18 by folding.
I checked out, up one rack of white. This was enough to pay for my hotel and gas money.
Overall, I'd give the poker room a 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. It gets good marks for friendly staff, being new and nice looking, and weak players (at least in the game I played in).
Below is a poker-room shot taken with my phone: