Monday, August 23, 2010

Dover Downs trip report from 2010-08-18

I realize that things have been very quiet around this blog - my apologies for that - but I was on vacation last week.  My family took a vacation to the shores of Delaware.  This is our 3rd year in a row that we've visited Bethany Beach, DE, so I'm trying to catch up on all things blogger / email / work.  It's been a busy Monday, to say the least, and this trip definitely allowed me to catch up on sleep, relaxation, etc.  Anyway, I wanted to put out a quick entry on the sole chance I had last week to get in a live poker session.

I know that throughout Delaware, the slots parlors have mostly been upgraded to full casinos - most with poker rooms as well.  Spending a week, I figured I would have an opportunity to play.  A quick google search showed me that I would be within an hour or so of 2 poker rooms:  Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs.  I opted for Dover Downs, on the count that it was a bit closer, and has a much larger poker room - on the order of 12+ tables, compared with the supposed 6 at Harrington.

The drive to Dover was fairly uneventful; a straight shoot down Rt. 1 passing through Dover Air Force Base (which was pretty awesome) and into the casino.  Pretty easy direction though annoying with varying speed limits and lights.  It is what it is, though.

The entrance to the casino from Rt. 13
Upon arrival, I snapped a shot of the overall landscape; Dover Downs is nestled between malls, hotels and restaurants.  If you didn't know what you were looking for, and missed the sign, you would not know that the casino was there.  It basically looked like an entrance to any other nondescript place...  no glitzy lights, billboards or anything.  In fact, I think I passed one whole advertisement for the casino on the 1 hour drive.  Certainly, it was clear that this casino is intended to be low-key.

Locating the poker room was no easy task; it is on the 3rd floor of the casino - and finding a bank of elevators to take me there required direction from the casino personnel.  The room was completely away from the table games and slots, in close vicinity to the banquet rooms and staff offices.  It was almost as if the poker room was an after-thought; they converted an unused room into a player's area.

Entrance to the poker room
On entry to the poker room, you are greeted by a large Crown Royal sign, which I am told, is the sponsor of the room.  I'm not quite sure how they mix the whiskey into the poker, but they were prominently advertised in multiple places.  Moreover, the staff was not pushing Crown Royal; again, the Crown Royal features seemed like an after-thought to the room's creation.  Perhaps in the future, there will be a tie-in promotion?

The Dover Downs poker room
The poker room floor space was ample; bathrooms were located right within the room (the two doors on the far side of the room were restrooms) and the cage was in the far corner.  TVs, as is usual fare, lined the walls displaying relevant sports for the area (the Phillies and Orioles were playing on separate TVs).  Apparently, the management intends to expand the room to include at least 20 tables, though the 12 that they had were not full on a Wednesday night.  Perhaps the room gets busier on the weekend?  Regardless, I was able to immediately join a game of 1/2 NL - and bought in for my "usual" 100BBs.

I found out whether I needed to post, and was told that I would not.  I waited until the button passed prior to playing my first hand (YAY - free poker!).  My first impression was that the players were mainly locals, and had somewhat of a clue, but not entirely knowledgeable.  The guy to my immediate right claimed to be a professional, but I saw him [call] all in with a gutshot in a very clear situation where his opponent already had the better straight, and incorrect odds.  FWIW, he sucked out for the chop.

This night would be a night of sheer frustration; I was card dead for the majority - and when I hit my top pair, I would *ALWAYS* be bettered.  Moreover, for the most part, the dealers were very poor.  I can cut a little slack to the dealers since this was apparently their first few weeks working, but there were blatant mistakes which were unforgivable: showing deck cuts (REALLY?!?!??!  WTF?), "trusting the table" on how a pot should be divided, and the absolute WORST: a player stating "raise," but putting out less than a raise.  Dealer caught the issue immediately, but told the player that his raise did not constitute a legal raise, to which the player threw out a $100 chip and said, "Okay; all-in."  Had I not spoken up, dealer would have been fine with this!  Ummm... no...  raiser can only min-raise in this spot.  The rules are universal.  Dealers should *KNOW* this and if they don't, call the floor.  TAKE CONTROL OF THE GAME.  Don't let the players have to run the game.

Anyway, there were two hands of significance for me; one I misplayed, and one I got sucked out on:

Hank Hill
Getting accustomed to the table, I felt as though this was a passive table; many players to the flop, few pre-flop raises.  No "table captain," who knew what he was doing, and no crazians.  The closest to a crazian was a total calling station who reminded me a bit of a bald version of Hank Hill from King of the Hill.  This guy was a complete MORON.  He'd just call and call and call - never bet without the nuts - and always back into the winner.  He wouldn't bet the winner; just call.  This guy was simply lucky.  With his big stupid looking bald head, dopey faced look and moronic breathing pattern - far too many beers in his lifetime and his breathing is labored due to his excess weight.  Anyway, if I haven't already let you know in my description, I HATED this anti-Ed Hardy douche.  Well, as is apropo for the moron (perhaps he thought Dover Downs was meant for people with Downs Syndrome), he called an EP $10 pre-flop raise, as did I with my pocket 8's.  A host of other callers (probably around 4) went to the flop seeing a 6-way flop of 2s 5s 8s.  Top set; woo-hoo!  Bad board because there are likely be be a bunch of people drawing, but I will get paid by a TON of worse hands, assuming my hand holds.  The original PFR'er leads for $15, and moron smooth calls.  It gets around to me, and I jack it to $90.  I figure there is around $90 in the pot already and I would love to get all-in right on the flop; if I'm behind to a flush, I'm not *TERRIBLE*, but I'm at least the aggressor.  It folds around (PFR'er folds as well) and moron shoves.  After thinking about it, I call.  I ask him what he has and he does not speak, just mumbles in his moronic language.  I flip up my set and he still does not react.  The board runs blank - spade on the river and he shows his AsAx for the win (fist pump - dumb ass).  There is no reaction, and it is almost a matter of course from him.  I honestly think he thought his AA was good there.  I would see him win with a range of hands including flopped boats (T8o) to flushes (83s) to limped KK, etc.  Great playing, bud!  I was unable to get any of my stack back, though - I couldn't hit any hands nor overcome his luck factor.

The second hand was where I misplayed a flopped set.  Holding 22, I limped and the player to my right, a straight-forward, okay, tight player raises.  After a host of callers, I flopped bottom set on a rainbow King high board.  An EP caller leads for $10 into the $50 pot.  I smooth and PFR'er raises to $50 (I am playing a $200 stack).  EP donk bettor folds and I decide on flatting or shoving.  I opt to shove for $140 more, and tighty folds AA face-up, after long deliberation.  Totally misplayed; I kick myself still for doing that.  I think he's betting another street if I don't shove right there.  That hand was the difference between break-even on the night and down my $200 original buy-in from MORON.  I wound up packing up at around 12:30, likely ending my Dover Downs experience until next year.

Hey ladies!  How you doin? :-)
Overall, the room was clean, players and dealers friendly, and chairs / table was comfortable.  Clearly, the dealers need more experience, and the room needs more players.  Perhaps next year, I will make it to Harrington so that I can have a full perspective on poker in Delaware.

I leave you with a picture of me ready for war.  This was before the defeat :-).


  1. Good report, thanks for the photos. You want them to play like they did, but sometimes you are just going to lose.

  2. Yeah - I'm used to that online by now. Been at the raw end of plenty of suckouts. I'm just not accustomed to it live. Fortunately, I'd imagine the live players are easier to win it back because they don't learn from their mistakes it seems.


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