san pablo is a town some ten miles north of oakland. after exiting i80, you go about a mile north on san pablo boulevard, and you arrive at ladbrokes casino san pablo. there's lots of parking space and there are guards stationed in the towers that dot the parking lot.
the exterior of the casino reminds me of a desert palace, with moorish-like designs and doorways. this decor is continued inside the casino. there's a little gift shop on the left as one enters (they don't sell baseball caps :( ), and a full bar directly in front of you. the gaming area is off to the right. the poker room has about 45 tables or so. there's an adjacent area and a separate "golden gate room" for asian games. when i arrive at 12:30 pm, the daily 11 am daily tourney is still in progress - none of the 59 entrants in this limit hold 'em event have yet busted out. the room spreads a $13 buy- in, $10 multi-rebuy tourney each weekday.
there are one or two 3/6 live hold 'em games going, and a 2/4 and a 4/8 stud game going. there's a list for 8/16 hold 'em. there are several video game machines near the bar area.
i'm soon seated in a must-move 4/8 stud game. $1 ante; $1 bring-in, and they take $4 from the rake for the drop. they've got high hand giveaways, and a progressive jackpot for each different form of poker. the room is spacious and very quiet. some dealers actually carry a miniature croupier's rake, to help them pull in stray antes and lazy bets (a betting line would prevent this....). dealers at stud call all pairs, and possible straights and flushes on sixth street. dealers carry their own racks and keep their own tips. cash does not play. i didn't play any flop games, and i didn't notice if they use the dead button or the forward moving button rule. they use those dratted speed chips here.
i couldn't do a thing in the must-move game, or the main game when i got there. if i raised with the high pair, i'd get fifteen or sixteen callers every time. the only time i won a hand with a high pair was once, at the very end of my session, when i raised with split aces **and every player folded**. this was the only time during my four-hour session when a hand was over on 3rd street. "no flop, no drop." in other words, they didn't rake that pot.
i played some *monster* draws. in one hand, i'm the bring-in with the jack- ten of clubs in the hole. it's not raised. i get the ace of clubs on 4th street and bet. five callers. i make the king of clubs on 5th street, bet, and don't lose anyone. someone makes a running pair of sevens on 6th street; guy in front of me has four cards to a small straight; i get the spade queen, and the guy behind me has three diamonds to the queen. the diamond ace is dead. the sevens bet; the small straight raises, i make it three bets, and the diamonds cap it. four players. i have a made broadway (which is appar- ently not the best hand), with a gutshot draw to a royal. and clubs, including the queen, are live, live, live. the sevens check; the small straight checks; i look at the four of hearts and check. diamonds bet; the sevens leave; the small straight calls, and i throw my hand away. a huge pot is won by a diamond flush to the queen. ::::sigh::::
i have split aces with a suited trey. bring-in; a limper; i raise; two callers and the limper call. i make a suited six on fourth street. bet and all three call. i make a running pair of sixes on fifth street; nobody is showing anything onboard. my bet only gets one call; he's got a jack, five, deuce rainbow. i get my fourth heart on sixth street - he makes an offsuit eight. bet and call. i bet my two pair/four-flush blind, and he calls me. aces up lose to three tens in the hole. ::::sigh:::: i won't bore you with more.
towards the end of my session, a tall, very pretty, willowy blonde sits down in the dealers's box. "hiya, cheryl." "oh, hi." "i guess you don't remember me." - no response - - i open my jacket to expose my "taj poker" logo t-shirt. "maybe this'll help. hiya, cheryl!" she finally looks at me. "oh!!! what are *you* doing *here*???" cheryl was one of the original staff of the taj mahal poker room when it opened in 1993. she was one of the best (and certainly one of the fastest) dealers in town. but she moved to northern california some four years ago, and only comes back to new jersey once a year at christmas time. she loves living out here! :)
i get creamed at this place, and book a big loss. i don't know how this one happened. :(
hope my luck changes in time for tomorrow's stud tourney at lucky chances!