last night, i played at sandia casino, just a few miles north of albuquerque. this is another indian casino, but it's located within two huge tents set up a few hundred yards off interstate 25.
the poker room is a large, roomy area, set off from the main casino, and adjacent to a keno lounge and as big a bingo hall as i've seen since i was at foxwoods. the room has 14 tables for stud and flop games. they offer a variety of games at various limits, including 1-5 stud, 1-5 stud/8, hold 'em with a half kill at 4/8 and 10/20, and omaha/8 with a half kill at 4/8. when i arrived at 8 pm, there were two tables each of 4/8 omaha/8 and hold 'em, two tables of 1-5 stud, and one 10/20 hold 'em game in progress. the rake is 10% to a maximum of $4. they've got high hand of the day giveaways, monday night football giveaways, and a bad beat bonus where you get a free spin of the wheel where you can win up to $250. they spread a $30+5 no rb limit hold 'em tourney on sundays, to which the house adds $400 to the pool. stud games play 7-handed. there are several tv screens in the room, and the walls of the room are decorated with banners of various professional sports teams. the room is very quiet, and as open and spacious as any cardroom i've ever seen! they use the forward moving button rule. in a must-move game, the player next up must move or cash in - there's no opportunity for volunteers to go to the main game. cash does not play. seats next to dealers are not no-smoking seats. there's a "subway" sandwich concession in one corner of the room. a pot-limit hold 'em game goes several days each week.
i chat with supervisor lee for a while. he's a chinese-american, about 30 years old, 5'5", medium build, medium-length hair combed straight back and he wears glasses. there's no rulebook available for players (lee tells me jokingly that they don't even let the dealers see it!), but it is based on the las vegas hilton's rulebook. i tell him that my nickname is "tiger" and he volunteers that he was born in the year of the tiger! i pull out my hollywood park "year of the tiger" chip, and lee responds by telling me that he's got a big tiger tattooed on his chest! :) i can't beat that one. i tell lee about rgp, and he promised me that he'd check it out! maybe we've got a new member! :)
after waiting almost an hour, i am seated in the must-move 4/8 omaha/8 with a half-kill. there aren't many red chips on this table, and the pots are gigantic!! i thought that the dealers in this room were very good. i've come to the conclusion that where (1) omaha/8 is a featured game of the room, and (2) dealers keep their own tips, the dealers are consistently excellent. this is certainly the case at sandia casino.
i play for a while and am moved to the main game. as i noted elsewhere, rgp'er dave tall, who plays trombone for the local orchestra, came into the room wearing a beat up, old, isleta gaming palace jacket. he found me at the omaha game, greeted me, and won a spanking new green satin tropicana poker club jacket! wtg dave!!
here's a poker story for you. i'm in middle position with ace-four suited, ace-king suited. it's a kill pot (the killer always acts last before the flop, even if there's been a raise). i raise it, and get a couple callers, including both blinds. the flop comes down deuce, ace, deuce. it's checked to me, and i bet my aces full. two or three callers, and one of the blinds raises. i re-raise. two callers and the blind calls. the turn is a third deuce. the blind jumps on that and immediately bets. what could he have? as i agonize about my play, the blind says helpfully, "maybe she'll [the dealer] turn the last deuce on the river." thanks, buddy. i thought you already had the case deuce, but your comment just convinced me. i muck. the river is a low card (six?). the blind turns over a three-four, and a guy with pocket kings wins the high. :::::sigh::::: i guess "i don't play omaha!" either.... ;)
i book a tiny win and vow to go back to sandia casino tomorrow (today, thursday). but first, i'm going to take a tramway ride to the mountains! :)
and maybe, just maybe, i'll check out isleta, too! };)