driving from el paso to tucson on interstate 10, i drive through a narrow mountain pass surrounded on both sides by giant boulders precariously stacked upon each other. it seems that the slightest breeze will cause them to come tumbling down upon me. it's an unmistakable feeling of deja vu. walt disney must have been here. one of the rides in frontierland in the original disneyland had this same mountain pass! all right!!
if i were to stay in tucson for a couple more days, i'd probably have another "hoo boy! have i got a casino for you!" but i'm moving on to phoenix, and can't put in several sessions to confirm my initial reactions. but i sure liked what i saw at the desert diamond casino, just south of tucson. you take the nogales highway south from interstate 10, and exit at valencia. there's a sign right on the highway which tells you where to go. a couple miles on valencia, another sign, a right turn, and you're there. :) note: the distances on the nogales highway are all measured in kilometers, rather than in miles!
the poker room is separate from the main casino, and adjacent to the bingo parlor. it's a pretty large place, with about 30 tables. they spread 1-4 stud, 3/6 stud, 2/4, 3/6, 4/8, 6/12, and 10/20 half-kill hold 'em, 4/8 half- kill omaha/8, and a couple other games. you'll almost certainly find what you want here!
i'm greeted almost as soon as i walk in, and am immediately seated at a 6/12 hold 'em game, where they use yellow $2 chips. the two fellows sitting to my immediate left notice my barge chips on the table, and one of them asks me, "do you barge guys mint your own chips each year?" :) both of them read cardplayer magazine, and knew of barge and this newsgroup! in fact, when i told them that my name is "tiger123" one of them actually remembered seeing my name in the magazine! (my screenname has appeared a couple times - nolan dalla has acknowledged my assistance now and then; lou krieger based an article on one of my posts at rgp about rules; mike caro once quoted an entire post of mine composed completely in words of one syllable, etc.)
hey dominick!! hey john!! i hope you find the newsgroup! you're now as big a celebrity as i am! };) it was my pleasure meeting you both! and dom! that fruit cup was *delicious*!! thanks, again!
the room has pretty high ceilings, so smoke isn't too much of a problem. the seats next to the dealers are no-smoking seats, but that doesn't stop the determined smokers from sitting in those seats, lighting a cigarette, and keeping the lit cigarette in an ashtray one foot away from the table. :( cigars and pipes aren't permitted. i thought that the dealers were, in general, pretty good. i didn't see one mistake in four hours of play. that says something, doesn't it? and i thought that the seating control procedures were almost as good as those which i found at the biloxi grand! :)
here's a new one for me: alcohol is not permitted in the cardroom. in fact, it's not permitted anywhere on the casino premises!
some of the usual stuff: cash doesn't play. as a new player in the 6/12, i was required to post (so i waited one hand - i know that much, even if "i don't play hold 'em!"). the rake is 10% to a maximum of $4, but they take an extra dollar for the bad beat jackpot - the fact that the jackpot money is co-mingled with the rake seems quite odd to me. there is food service at the tables, and little side tables for drinks, ashtrays, and food.
i had a chance to speak with shift supervisor ed mcdade, who actually invited me into his office for a little chat. the rulebook, which is not available to players, is derived from an amalgam of various rulebooks, including the las vegas hilton and the common rulebook in los angeles county. they've got a random seat giveaway. they run a $22+3 no rb hold 'em tourney on sunday mornings; the tuesday and thursday tourneys ($12 + 3 and $27 + 3 respectively) alternate among hold 'em, omaha and stud.
the hold 'em jackpot was hit while i was there, but not at my table. at the 3/6 table right next to mine, one player held an a q offsuit. another player had pocket kings. the board was a 2 a j a. four aces with a queen beat aces full of kings. it was worth more than $14,900!!
quality of play? what can i say? i won $192 in less than four hours! i bought myself a souvenir baseball cap, and i'm going back for the tournament tomorrow! :)