Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Off to Tampa!

Random Musings & Plans

I will be Tampa, Florida for work next week.  I'm hoping to get in quality time at the poker tables, seeing that there won't be a ton of work to do after the day is done.  I've been to Tampa before - I usually get over there at least one time when the Poker Meister family travels to Florida to visit Disney World, Universal Studios, etc.  I'll usually take a night and drive the hour from Orlando to Tampa to get in a 5-6 hour session.

This time, though, I'll be staying 5 minutes from the Seminole Hard Rock / Tampa, and hope to get in a solid 4 straight sessions.  They're currently running various promotions - I'm hoping to cash in on some of it!  As a minimum, I'll get 15 hours in which will qualify me for their drawing of 2 winners for a $5300 entry into the $10M Guarantee tournament that they're running.  If I win entry, I honestly don't know what I'd do; the tournament runs Aug. 22 - Aug. 26...  I guess I'll walk down that road when / if I get there...

In the "spare" time I'll have away from the live room, I hope to hit up a bit of online poker.  As you know, I've been playing on the Seals website.  I've also been researching on www.pokersites.com for other sites available to me.  For U.S. players, it's been few & far between, but Seals has been enough to eek out a small profit & keep my skills sharp.

As an aside, I tried to book a room at the Hard Rock, but [even with the poker room "discount"] their room prices are astronomical.  I think I'm staying at a nicer hotel, but it would have been far more convenient to stay and play at the Hard Rock instead.  They don't have rooms even close to the established per diem allowance that my company allows for travel to Tampa.

Regardless, there are 2 other rooms in the area: Tampa Bay Downs and Derby Lane Poker Room.  Given time, I'd like to check both of them out as well, though I'm familiar with the Hard Rock and its loose / gambly players.  My plan is to get the 15 hours in at the Hard Rock, and then venture out to these other places.  I don't know anything about the other 2 rooms though - whether they're sketchy, reg fests, etc.  I'd love comments about them if anyone knows anything.

Hopefully, I'll meet up with a fellow blogger who has more-or-less stopped blogging altogether.  Word is that Cmitch just cashed in the WSOP Even #53 and will be flush with cash to fling around the table...  Perhaps I can grab some of it off of him :-).

The Meat & Potatoes of the Post

At the beginning of each year that passes, it is my ambition to not only exceed the prior year's dollar per hour average at the tables, but also exceed my hours / sessions at the tables.  Last year, through July, I put in 40 sessions for a total 157.5 hours.  For the same time, during 2013, I've put in 24 sessions for a total 108.5 hours.  I have a lot of time to put in if I hope to exceed or at least match last year's output.

For dollars / hour average, I'm far ahead of my average last year - so far ahead that I have a lot more gross earnings in 50 hours less time.  Pace-wise, I have a lot of catching up to do!  If I can indeed get my 20 hours in for the week - and I'm targeting 25 hours as my goal - I can probably at least catch my gross hours for 2012.  Equaling or exceeding the session count will be the toughest part, though.  Perhaps with the opening of Maryland Live! towards the end of the summer (August 28, according to CBS), play will be more conducive to me adding hours because my wife can be convinced to go shopping while I go play... what I call a symbiotic relationship!


  1. Have a great time with some skilled play and at least a little luck!

  2. I live in St Petersburg and generally when I play, It's at Derby Lane. My biggest problem when I go to the Hard Rock is I have to walk past too many Blackjack tables to get to the poker room. Yes, I am weak of will sometimes. It also helps that Derby Lane is 10 minutes from my house.
    Derby Lane has a very nice poker room and a fairly good selection of games, I play mostly 1/3 and find the games generally pretty soft. you won't find as many loose/gambly players here as the Hard Rock, but it's not a nit-fest either.
    The room at Tampa Bay Downs is also nice, but I don't bother to make the 45 minute drive there very often, so I can't tell you much about the play there. I mostly play there if I'm already in that area for some other reason, which isn't very often.
    If you'd like to meet up while you are in the area, send me a PM on AllVegasPoker and I'll give you my phone number. (I assume you're a member there). I am rriddler on AVP.

    Good Luck

    1. I'm not on AVP, but my email is ThePokerMeisterTPM@gmail.com if you want to shoot me an email so that we can put something together.

      Have you gone after the free entry drawing for the $10M guarantee? 15 hours / week seems awfully easy to achieve.

      From where I'm staying, Derby Lane is 18 minutes away, Tampa Bay Downs is 18 minutes away, and Seminole Hard Rock is 18 minutes away.

  3. I played one session at Derby Land and enjoyed my time there. Good luck wherever you play.

  4. I only played at Hard Rock in Tampa one time. I too remember having to walk through the entire casino from where I parked in the parking garage. However, I heard there is a 2nd parking garage right outside the poker room. I cannot confirm...something to look into though if you will be playing four straight nights. -Joe M.

    1. Meh - I didn't find the walk through the casino to be all that difficult. The parking was annoying - yes - but once you find the poker room all the way in the back, you're set for the night.

      Personally, I loathe the BJ / roulette / etc. tables. I think I've played them maybe 5 times in my entire life - all before I ever started playing poker. They're fun to watch as a bystander, but I never found any enjoyment from putting money on those tables. Whether roulette (very linear and easy) or blackjack, I feel like a computer playing an algorithm. In other words, I could set up my laptop to tell me what to do and when all day, and play a more effective EV- game than I could if I were playing each hand myself.

  5. Hard Rock is pretty loose but Derby Lane often is at the higher stakes as well. Bring a jacket to the Hard Rock, it's almost always cold in the poker room there. I haven't played Tampa Bay Downs in a while so I can't really comment on the play there. Derby Lane is actually a bigger room with more tables but both of them are pretty good size. Also if you want alcohol you will need to pay at both places too.

    1. @Neophyte - Yeah, I remember it always being cold at the Hard Rock. What I'm figuring on doing is getting my 15 hours in at the Hard Rock & then checking out the other two places. I'm a little miffed that Hard Rock wouldn't offer me better room rates, but whatever...

      I'm looking forward to a solid 4 days of playing. It's been awhile since I've had that kind of time.


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