Sunday, June 15, 2008

Four dead in O-Hi-O (Trip report, part 2)

I took down a nice cash the night before but rather than go back and mop it up again, I decided to point the car North to the Mountaineer Casino and Racetrack (Thoroughbreds) in Chester, WV. Mountaineer had twice the number of tables as Wheeling Island and was closer to the airport, so I made it my Saturday Night destination. Taking a nice leisurely route, I stopped off at Bob Evans for breakfast. What a mistake that was! I order two eggs over easy, with back, and two biscuits with gravy. Suffice it to say, my Northern city stomach couldn't handle the thick sausage gravy very well. 'Nuff said. It was raining again on my trip up so I didn't get to do any morning site-seeing in Wheeling. Having driven through the town, though, I have to say I probably wasn't missing much. All of the towns along the Ohio river that I saw were old and shabby and run-down. This place had it's heyday many years ago and those jobs 'ain't coming back'. The steel mills are still there though, and they're impressive lookings. Along with the large coal mining operations you can see from the road, you get the impression there's a whole lot of working class folk living in these here parts. And judging by the number of people in the area who seem to think that overalls is a good casual 'look', I'd have to say I agree.

I got to the East Liverpool Motor Lodge (in East Liverpool, Ohio) as around 1:00pm. East Liverpool, by the by, is the home of Kent State University, hence my title for this entry. I trusted with this booking. The comments gave it a decent review and I overrode my instincts to think that any hotel labeled as a Motor Lodge was one that rented rooms by the hour. Luckily, TripAdvisor.Com came through again. The place was respectable enough for me. My room wasn't ready, though, so after guaranteeing the booking with my credit card, I went right to the casino. The combination of the rain, and the large horse racing track, and the misty fog, made for an impressive sight when I arrived. It looked a bit more like an English countryside than West Virginia. The hotel and the casino was on one side of the racetrack, oppositie the Grandstand, and oddly enough, the poker room was in the GrandStand. Strike number one for this place. The hotel is separate from the poker room and you have to drive between them! There's a shuttle, of course, but who know how long that would take. So if you wanted to play cards and your wife wanted to play poker, that could make meeting up for dinner and interesting proposition. Also, the room itself had low ceilings. I hate low ceilings. They make me feel claustrophobic and make the room look smaller. Strike two. There were plenty of tables going when I got there and the place got full at about 11:00pm, but by 2:30am, was only down to 20 tables, on a Saturday Night! One of the locals told me that was because it was painful for people driving in from other cities. This place was really in the middle of nowhere.

I was seated at an Omaha/8 $3-$6 table and stayed there all night. Through 4 buyins. Goddamn it! Why don't I listen to myself?!? NO LIMIT ONLY! The siren song of O/8 remains irrestible, and deadly, to me. Like red-headed Russians, they're a lot of fun but inevitably crush your soul. (<---Ex-wife reference for those not in the know).

Still, I had a wonderful time there. O/8 is never *that* bad a thing.

The third bad thing about this room was that there was no food allowed at the tables. There was drink service, and a food stand nearby selling crap on a stick, but you couldn't bring the food in. Don't know why that is. The room is kind of crappily run and the floor personnel aren't that great. They were doing a promotion where if you got 4 of a kind at any game, you'd get a free T-shirt or visor. I got 4 of a kind Jacks in Omaha and was rewarded with a T-shirt that must have cost 25 cents to make, if that. Amazingly, after our 5th four of a kind at the table, the floor CUT OFF THE T-SHIRTS! Not to everyone, mind you, just the O/8 players. But after some of the regulars bitched and moaned, they relented. Amazing. I guess you can do anything when you have a monopoly.

I left the casino, over the Newell toll bridge (Two guys in a little shack at one end of the bridge, I shit you not) and fell into a peaceful sleep.

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