The flight down to see my parents was a pleasure, as flights go. I’m a big believer in Jet Blue into Fort Lauderdale airport. Not only is there more legroom on their airplanes but the TV’s on the seatbacks are invaluable for making a flight go quickly. And, to top it all off, all of the rental car companies in Fort Lauderdale airport are centered in a single terminal. Guess whose terminal? That means I save at least 15 minutes by not having to take a bus to the rental cars. When I landed at the airport, I was at the gate within 2 minutes of touching down, off the plane within 3 minutes of that and at the rental car counter in another 5 minutes. 5 minutes later, I was in my car. The longest thing about the whole trip was getting out of the garage! There was a line of 7 cars waiting to get out. Incidentally, I’m having great success (80% or so) in getting free upgrades to my rental cars. I consistently book online at the cheapest economy rate and invariably the economy cars are all gone when I get there. So they upgrade my car and I got nice Pontiac G6 for the price of a Chrysler Neon.
When I landed and called my parents, they insisted on a late night trip to the diner. “It’s 1AM”, I informed them. They would not be persuaded. So I picked them up and we had eggs and toast while catching up. My parents look good, all things considered, by they were already driving me insane 30 minutes into the trip. I wish I could convey that feeling of frustration and anxiety in writing, but I’m not that talented of an author.
I got up the next morning rather late and had a breakfast of excellent fresh rolls and butter and smoked salmon that my parents brought me from Giorgio’s, the local bakery. After showering and getting dressed, I thought a movie would be a nice afternoon with the parents. The weather was fairly nice, but I figured I could get out to the beach another day. So I convinced them to come out with me and we went to see The Bucket List. Eh. I wouldn’t recommend it. It had moments that I liked and a few very funny lines but it was overly sentimental at the end. That damned Morgan Freeman. Every time he narrates a scene, I get to crying. Bastard. We came back from the movie and my parents had something planned with friends of theirs. You know what that means. Oh yeah, South Florida Poker.
I wanted to take it easy and stay at a single place, so I chose the Gulfstream Racetrack which is only 2 miles away from my parents. This is the place where I can explain the current state of poker in Florida. Currently, Florida allows limit poker (Hold’em, 7 Stud, Omaha Hi and O/8) in limits of $1/$2, $2/$2, $2/$4 and possibly higher, but not much more than $4/$8. No-Limit hold’em is also allowed with blinds of $1/$2, $2/$5 and $5/$10. All of the No-Limit games have a max buy-in of $100 for all limits. As a result, as you can imagine, there is not much ‘play’ in the games. Bluffing is hard because most people with a draw are going to be pot-committed with short stacks in front of them. That’s not to say there isn’t money to be made, but luck is a bigger factor.
The Gulfstream RaceTrack, which races horses in season, is a beautiful facility with one of the nicest poker rooms I’ve ever seen. There is a HUGE room with couches and intimate booths and tables ringing the outside half of the room. A recessed area in the middle of the room houses about 20 poker tables with another dozen or so around the rails in a comfortable environment. I got onto a $1/$2 table for $100 and sat and sat and sat, waiting for hands. I invariably limped into most of my hands and hardly ever flopped anything. For three hours, I floated around my initial buy-in until I took a shot trying to take a pot down with bottom pair and got moved all-in on. The pot was twenty at the time and I bet 17 into it. He moved over the top for 50 more and I had to fold. After that, my stack was down to $30 and I chipped up to $100 again. An hour later, I went on a small card rush with a few well-played hands. The first was 77 in the hole. I had flopped a set of 5’s a few hands before that and overbet the pot, getting no callers on a K85 rainbow board. So when I flopped a set with the 7’s and the board of 7c-Qc-8s, I slowplayed it just to mix things up. The guy to my left bet out $10 and everyone folded to me and I just called. I was trying to build a big pot out of what was currently $12. The turn came down with 8c, making the flush draw and boating me up. Perfect! I checked again in early position and a guy to my left made it $15 to go. He wasn’t afraid of the flush or the 3rd 8 so I figured him for either the 8 or the made flush. Either way, I was in pretty good shape. I check-called his $15 bet and the river was Ah. I bet out $20 this time, trying to make it look like I hit my Ace and he bit, hard. “All in”, I heard. Uh, I call? Yes, he could have had A8, but that was the only hand that logically beat me. But he showed AcJc for the nut flush instead and I dragged a nice pot. The next hand, I got AQo and flopped Queen high and took down another $25 pot. That was about it. I played for another hour and finished the night up exactly $100. Not a huge takedown, but a patient profit nonetheless.
I went home to go to sleep and got up in the morning to eat brunch with my parents. It was raining today (boo), so no beach for me. I felt the need to catch up on sleep and did so while watching the Pats/Chargers game. Tonight, I’m off to South Beach to eat dinner with Darko, who is also down for the weekend. I anticipate going to the Seminole casino tonight to play Omaha/8.
So far, Florida is relaxing. But I would shoot myself quickly if I lived here long-term. Please don’t let me move here.
Oh yeah. Best quote I heard at the poker table last night: “Every poker player dies broke. If he doesn’t, he died prematurely”.