They say that sometimes the adventure is in the journey and not the destination and there appears to be some truth to that. A little bit of background – my wife Diane and I went to Clearwater Florida last weekend to visit our friends from Revere, MA who winter in Florida. While there I took the opportunity to find a local casino (within 30 miles local) to try my hand at face to face play. I thought I was fully equipped for the journey. I had a Garmin 700 series GPS as my copilot and a Benjamin in my pocket for the buy-in. We just got the Garmin and I thought I knew what I was doing as we had used it a couple of times before traveling to Florida.
Friday evening, I took off for the casino. As I approached the US Route 75 North and South ramps from Route 60, I was in the right two lanes that actually go to the Tampa International Airport. I did not give myself enough space to move to the left most lanes and I ended up spending about 20 minutes trying to get out of the airport and listening to the GPS device say “re-calulatiing” about a dozen times.
As there was construction going on, apparently the GPS maps were a little off. I ended up going US 75 South after exiting the airport and it turned out that75 South is on a causeway. I really needed to be heading 75 North and there were no exits or turnarounds for 10 miles. I should have taken a hint by my driving luck that I might be having “a not so good” night. 20 minutes more and I was finally headed US 75 North to Route 4 East towards Orlando and to my poker destination of The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5223 North Orient Rd, Tampa, FL 33610.
The first thing I did upon my arrival at the casino was to find the poker room and then sign up for a limit table. I chose the table with limits of $2 and $4 with the small blind $1 and big blind $2. The minimum buy-in was for $20 and that is what I did. There were a total of eight players at the table so that meant that I had to put in at least $3 every eight hands. The buy-in would give me the ability to play in at least 48 hands. And for the most part, that is what happened. I saw about 48 hands without even catching a pair. I did have suited cards a couple of times but was pushed out of the play by the raising and re-raising that occurred before the play got to me. I ended up buying in again for another $20 and again went through almost 48 hands again without getting something to write about. My best made hand,was a pair of kings, and I made the mistake of limping in pre-flop. After the flop which was Queen, Eight, Four, I would raise and get called. After the turn, a two was shown, so I raised and got called. On the river a Seven and again I raised and was called. My opponent showed pocket Queens, making three of a kind and won the pot.
On the whole, it was not a complete waste of time as I learned how to get into the game; learned a little bit more about how to handle my chips and how call or bet. I even learned about some of the hows and when to tip the dealer at a live game. Generally, you only have to tip the dealer when you win. On small pots, you usually toss the dealer the equivalent of the small blind. As the casino gets a portion of the bets, called a RAKE, you need to be careful that you don’t over tip and end up with no profits at all. Online, it is software that does the dealing so we do not tip the dealer, although we may still complain about the dealer.