Friday, May 18, 2012

Life in the slow lane

Above: The poker room at Harrah's Casino New Orleans is packed on weekends.

Parking in New Orleans is expensive. At my hotel, it was $34 per night or $40 if you use valet. At Harrah's the parking was "only" $30 per night, but you can get your parking ticket stamped if you play. They have a new arrangement, however. The free parking is only good for 24 hours. After that, you have to take your car out and get a new ticket. Ouch.

I arrived Saturday night and signed up to play poker to get the free parking. I was tired from the 400-mile drive and would have preferred just watching sports on TV in my room. There were 33 ahead of me on the $1/2 no-limit list, so I also signed up for $4/8 limit as well. (It had a short list.) I got a Starbucks and waited and pretty soon they called my name for the limit game.

I cut my teeth playing limit poker back in 2004 when I began playing at casinos. It's fun, but hard to beat the rake. Still, there's something interesting about it.

The game was mostly tourists with two regulars whom I was able to spot early. Nobody raised preflop unless they had A-A or K-K and sometimes they would limp even with those hands. They would call down to the river with bottom pair or any kind of a draw. That's how limit games roll.

A guy with headphones and a hoodie arrived at the table. What, no sun glasses? "Hi, I'm Jason. When I bet, you fold," he announced. I felt like saying, "Hi, I'm Dave. When I bet, please call," but I didn't. He turned out to be a nice kid just having fun.

My favorite hand was when I picked up A A. I raised and got three callers. The flop was A K 4. I bet $4 and two of the villains called. In cases like this, one of them is likely to be on a heart flush draw. The turn was the K giving me the nuts unless one of them has the unlikely K-K. Now I'm hoping the flush draw gets there. I bet $8 and both of them called. The river was a brick (that I don't remember) and I bet $8. Again both of them called. I flipped over my cards and the dealer pushed me the pot. I'm still not sure what either of them had. Maybe one had a king and the other a raggy ace.

Here was my favorite hand of the night. Another head-phones guy came to the table and he started raising every pot. On one particular hand, he got one caller. The flop was 8-7-3 rainbow. Head phones bet and the other guy called. The turn was a jack. Again head phones bet and the other guy called. The river was a 5, so the final board was J-8-7-5-3, rainbow. Head phones bet, the second guy called and said "Straight!" as he turned over 10-6. The dealer looked and looked and said, "There's no 9. You have 10 high." We all waited for head phones to turn his cards over. He looked and looked and looked some more and mucked! He couldn't beat 10 high!

The guy had called a raise with 10-6, couldn't read the board, yet won a nice pot. Limit poker, ya gotta love it.

* * *
Seen on a tee shirt:
Nice hand dipshit

* * *
Seen on a tee shirt:
You can't laugh at yourself?
Let me help you

Above: I believe that Harrah's Casino is the only one in New Orleans. They stay busy.

Photos taken with my point-and-shoot.


  1. The guy in the last instance was playing The Grump (2-4), of course!

  2. Those parking rates are INSANE!! My brother did well at those poker tables while he worked in New Orleans... Congrats on the chasers while holding the nuts - always a great feeling... :)

  3. Enjoyed N.O. many years ago. Stayed in a hotel in the Quarter. The remembrance is unique foods and Preservation Hall. The bass player one night was a guy named James Prevo (my first name too). I introduced myself to a total lack of interest. I'm guessing he thought back to ownership. My clan were poor Midwest dirt farmers.

    Even with the parking rates, it looks like you had a great trip. You're really making retirement work well. Thumbs up!

  4. Slow lane? I've seen those tournaments on TV... it ain't no breakdown lane. Looked fast lane to me. hahaha