Thursday, August 09, 2012

The quirks of St. Louis and Missouri casinos

Watch out now. I had a winning session last Friday night!

After three thudding poker games in a row, I decided I was only going to play some Omaha/8 so I couldn't make some donk all-in call or bluff in NLHE and lose all my chips in one feel swoop. (I have gotten rather good at that lately.)

I tried to get into the 5/10 full kill game at Ameristar, but check this out: I get there, put my name on the list and they forget to call the names as the players leave. By the time they realize this and call me there are four guys leaving the table as the game breaks up. OK, now I see why everyone who plays across the Missouri River at Harrah's disses the Ameristar poker room.

I saw there's a 4/8 O8 game with half kill going at Harrah's so I darted over there. I had to wait awhile so I chilled out to some 3-6 LHE (been a LONG time since I played that.) By the time I got in the O8 game players were dropping like flies, but I ended up playing a Mizzou fan heads up and cleaned him out.

Welcome to the SEC!

I promised a post about the weirdness of the rules in the area's casinos because this place is quite quirky. Here are some of the oddities:

-- No free drinks! What?! You must buy your beer and liquor here, though you will pay a little less than you would in most bars. Example, a Blue Moon in a 20-oz glass is $3.75 or so. As a trade off, they have free beverage stations where you can grab a cup and fill it up with various soft drinks or coffee. No lids, though. They wouldn't want to make it easy for you to leave the casinos with the drinks, now would they? I assume the policies on the paid alcohol and free non-alcoholic drinks must be written into the state casino gambling laws. I understand that you must also buy your drinks in Illinois and Oklahoma so this seems to be common in the Midwest.

-- No buying chips at the tables. And by tables, I mean poker tables. You can buy chips at the table games all day long, but in all of the poker rooms in the St. Louis area you must buy chips at the cage. Why? No clue. This is really annoying at Ameristar because there's no cashier's cage in the poker room. You have to walk about 100 feet out and then back in. On the other hand, at Lumiere Place for some reason you can buy chips at the desk. Why not at Ameristar? Who knows?

-- Cash doesn't play Of course, this is common in several jurisdictions, and really it's not a bad rule because it reduces the chance of you getting passed a counterfeit bill.

I hear rumblings that a new rule may take effect that all electronic devices will be banned at the poker tables. I rarely listen to my iPod while playing anymore, so it wouldn't effect me much, but I'm sure this would highly tick off a number of players.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Online casino musings

Greetings from St. Louis.

After my lost foray to Lumiere Place, in which I made multiple boneheaded blunders I decided to cool my heels for awhile so I haven’t been to the poker tables much lately.

I’ve written plenty on Missouri Watchdog about state politics in the past couple of months, but I can’t say I’ve heard a whisper of discussion about online poker and online gaming in general. It’s not quite Alabama, but the Show Me State definitely leans right.

I am curious to see what happens with online gaming. We know they’ll eventually legalize poker, but what about other online casino games?

Considering what happened to online poker I was surprised to see that several online casinos are heartily operational in the United States. This official site for a number of the online casinos lists quite a few available to American players.

It’s got a listing for which sites offer the top games, such as craps, blackjack and roulette. I must admit I have developed a liking for video poker. If you’re going to play a casino game, but don’t want to buck huge house odds, that’s one of your best bets.

I honestly could see some state legislators or members of Congress just as apt to vote for casinos in general – just because that’s what they know. You know there have to be a number of lawmakers who have sat down at a blackjack table in their day who have never played a hand of casino poker.

Will the argument that poker is a game of skill really matter to them?

I think the fight for personal liberties will win the day over the skill vs. luck debate.