Just a quick TR about yesterday's poker fun With no football to watch and no way for me to gamble on Nascar, I decided that the best use of my time Sunday would be a ride up to The Silver Star at Pearl River and play a little poker. After I got my walking, paper reading, and lunch taken care of, I got some tires turning for the hour long ride up to Choctaw, MS. The first thing that caught my attention as I made that last 4 miles from Philadelphia to the casino was how barren the billboards were. There are at least a dozen huge billboards in that last little stretch and they are usually full of information about upcoming promotions or concerts going on at the casino. Sunday, there were only 3 or 4 that even had anything on them. Only two of those were casino related. That is a far cry from what things looked like in the past. I guess PRR is spending their advertising dollars elsewhere. I pulled onto the property about 12:50 which was pretty good time. Once parked in my usual spot on the second floor of the parking garage, I entered the casino and made my way to the poker room. In the not too distant past, they moved the poker room from the Atrium area out to the promenade that connects The Silver Star Casino to the former Golden Moon Casino (now the concert venue). The Poker room is now in the old arcade room across from the Fajitas tex-mex restaurant located just before you get to the escalators. That new location gave me the opportunity to walk from one end of the Silver Star to the other. A surprising thing to me was that the table games were absolutely packed while the slot machines had a lot of empty spaces. Usually, it is just the opposite but not this day. I made a quick swing by the dice pit to see if either of my old buddies was working today. I was glad to see my friend that has worked as a pit boss or shift manager for the Silver Star since they opened. We go back to our high school days. He is currently battling cancer and it was nice to see him looking so vibrant and healthy. That set my mood in a positive frame so I was ready for some cards. Once in the room, I saw that they had two 3-6 hold-em games active and one 1-3 no-limit hold game going. There was an interest list for 4-8 limit and 3-6 Omaha with 3 or 4 names on each list. There were two guys in front of me for a 3-6 seat. They called for the guy at the top of the list about 30 seconds after I got on the list. I knew the guy working the sign-up lists and he told me that if the next guy on the list did not arrive in 5 minutes, I could get seated. I scoped out the two tables and soon had a clear preference for which one I wanted. Table 3 had 10 players and I knew at least 5 or 6 of them to be regular players that were pretty rock-like in playing style. Table 5 had 9 players and I did not recognize a single face. Of course I wanted on the table without anyone I knew to be a regular. When the guy they called did not make it in the alloted 5 minutes, I was on the preferred table. By the time I went to cashier and got me a rack of chips another seat opened up and I had a choice of seats. Choice one had a lady in her thirties to my immediate left and a lady in her 60's to that lady's left. Neither had a big chip stack so I figured that they had not been winning a lot. Choice two had the two biggest chip stacks at the table to the left of the available seat. Their stacks led me to believe that they had been doing some winning. Of course I took choice one. Always try to get what you perceive to be the strongest players to your right if possible. There had been one seat that had chips there but no player and soon it's occupant returned. It was an older guy who plays often and is actually a pretty good player. I knew I needed to keep an eye on him. I actually brought one of those little small pocket notepads to try and keep up with any memorable hands since my own memory is so hit and miss over the course of a day at poker. During the first orbit of cards that I played, I saw winning hands shown down that consisted of 3-3, 6-6, and 7-7 with at least 3 players staying to the showdown for each hand. That was good news in my mind. If these folks were playing those kinds of hands all the way to showdown, there was a good chance to come out ahead on this table. (FYI- an orbit of cards takes place when the dealer's button makes a complete circuit around the table.) I know all you old hands know that but there are some readers who don't play much poker. I usually have pretty good discipline about playing good starting hands so this should be a great table. I won a small to medium pot without having to even show my cards and got a little ahead. My card discipline had a couple of early challenges to it though. In the space of about 10 hands two things happened, I folded the J-4 of diamonds and watched 3 diamonds come on the flop. The winning hand was two pair so I would have won. A couple of hands after that, I folded 2-4 of spades and again saw three of my folded suit come on the flop. Again that missed flush would have won handily. Some people would have taken that as a sign to start playing any suited hole cards. Thankfully I was not one of those people and I continued with my fairly tight disciplined approach. Poker is often a game of ebb and flow. I had experienced a little ebb and now it was time for some flow. The flow was mostly my chips to other players due to a couple of big losing hands I suffered that were very similar in nature. I had slowly chipped up a little and was ahead when I played a K-8 suited from the button. (best position on the table) The flop came with a King and a couple of rags. It was checked around to me so I bet and got 6 callers. The turn was another King to give me trip kings. This time a guy bet out and I raised him. The bettor and one other guy called. The river showed a queen. The guy bet again and I raised again. This time he was the only caller. On the showdown my hand read like this..K-K-K-Q-8 while his hand read like this K-K-K-Q-9. Yes, I had lost a pretty good sized pot by getting out-kicked on the last card. Yuuck. The second stack-busting hand started out with me playing A-K off suit from middle position. This time two kings came on the flop and I was feeling pretty good since I had the best possible kicker. I did a little slow playing by checking and then only calling a bet on the flop bet. A 6 came on the turn and put two hearts on the board for a possible flush draw. This time I raised when another player made a bet. (I like to wait until the turn bet to start raising because the bets are doubled in size then) I got a call from three players. The river was the deuce of clubs. Once again I raised but out of the blue, a guy re-raised me. While I considered re-re-raising him, I thought better of it and just called. At least I was smart on that decision as he tabled his K-2 for a full house. Dang River ! Those two hands took me from comfortably ahead for the day to being behind for the day. Double Yuuck ! Taken down by three Kowboys twice in less than an hour. Making things even less palatable were the size of those two pots. They were both pretty substantial. All I knew was to try and play as good as I could and get those chips back. No tilt for me. Basically I just tightened up and took very few chances for a little while. Eventually I wound up playing K-9 suited and was rewarded with a 9 on the flop for top pair with the next best kicker possible. Everyone checked so I bet and got called by just about the whole table. The turn came with another 9 and now I had trip nines with a really good kicker. I am betting and I got raised so I am thinking "what the hell?". I called as did several others. Well guess what the river was ? Hardy Har Har...The river was an upside down 6 (which is the fourth 9 in the deck). The guy who raised me bet and I raised him. Another guy called the two bets and then the guy who had raised me on the turn called while saying "show me the 9". I was more than happy to do so. Quads Baby ! As it turns out, both of the guys still in the hand had a full house with medium sized pocket pairs. This pot was the biggest one I saw in the 5 hours I played and thankfully I won it. It took me the next two hands to get all the chips stacked up. I went from being behind to being well over a rack ahead. The only thing missing was the T-shirt you usually get for hitting Quads. They were out of them. Who cares ? That was the last thing I wrote in my little notebook but I can describe that last hour of play strictly from memory. One big change was the makeup of my table. When I started play, all the recognizable regulars were on the other 3-6 table and most of the unknowns were on our table. As the afternoon rambled on, more of the Sunday regulars stumbled in and took seats at my table as the less dedicated players left. By the time the clock struck 5, every seat was occupied by people that the dealer knew by name. It was a good thing I hit that huge pot because the game had gotten tougher. I knew that I had to leave by 6 (to watch The Walking Dead of all things ) so I was looking for something to play. I was hovering in that +90 to +130 range for that last hour when my last hand came. I limped in with the A-9 of spades and hoped to get a lucky hand to go home on. The flop had two spades which gave me a draw to the nut flush. That was good enough for me to try and finish with a flourish. I actually raised on the flop in hopes of building a pot that I felt like I was destined to win. The turn was a heart so I checked and called. When another heart came on the river, I folded my Ace high and headed to the cashiers window. BTW-that is another improvement in the newly relocated Silver Star Poker Room. They now have their own designated cashiers' cage inside the poker room. You don't have to negotiate across the casino floor trying to balance 3 racks of chips as you go to the cage. Additionally, there is never a line to cash in your chips. I liked having that cage and quickly took advantage of it. That last hand cost me some chips so I wound up winning $91 for the day. Not a spectacular win but still an enjoyable day. All my favorite dealers were there Sunday and my tablemates were pleasant and fun to play with (except for one slow-rolling twit).