Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. - Steven Wright
We gently toasted ourselves in the warm Dallas air that reminded me of a convection oven. I had been anticipating the trip to Oklahoma all day as we grilled and smoked three of the main food groups – beef, chicken, and pork. Although, I love BBQ – we just couldn’t get on the road soon enough. Plus, true enjoyment of BBQing (at least for me) involves beer and I did not want to start consuming so far in advance of the journey. After initially thinking I would sport the smoke laden clothes I had been in all day to the card room, I showered and changed at the urging of my lovely wife. She thinks most poker players are slobs and constantly worries about me becoming one or resembling one. So, sufficiently cleaned up, we wolfed down some more tasty BBQ and left to obtain beer and friends before heading up into Okie land.
The approx. one hour drive up I-35 from the Colony went by swiftly as my friends and I talked poker the entire way. They are solid players that have enjoyed some success in tourneys, as well as, cash games at the Winstar. One thing they reminded me of was how good the food comp is. A player gets $8.80 for each 8 hours played but can use the first $8.80 as soon as one is seated at a table (and every item on the poker room menu is at or below $8.80).
I couldn’t help but smile as we walked into the poker room. I had forgotten how massive this poker room really is. The Chickasaw Nation has done a great job on their poker room at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, OK. They have 46 tables and were spreading 1-2, 2-5, and 5-10 NLHE (as well as a couple levels of Omaha). It was amazing. I was completely surrounded by poker and poker players. I was literally immersed in the sound of chips, the murmur of the masses, the announcement of available seats, the friendly and competent staff…..it was almost (gasp) like Vegas but bigger.
This room is THE north Texas destination for poker players. My only complaint is about the beer. It has the lowest possible alcohol content and, here’s the worst part, you have to buy it. It is not provided for gamblers the way it is everywhere else I have played.
I am seated quickly and within a few orbits, I had sized up the table. There were no players I perceived to be my superiors and several that seemed to be fish. It was time to go to work. As usual for live 1-2 NLHE, there was a lot of limping and I started making raises in position followed by C-bets on the flop. They worked to perfection but before long, some of the observant players starting playing back at me (perfect). I double up within the next 30 minutes and now I cover all but one player at my table. I increase the size of my opening bets to build bigger pots and enable me to apply more pressure post flop. I am ready to play for their whole stack and continue using SPR to my advantage. A few players bust but the table fills right back up with fresh money. I feel confident and in the zone. Rather than bore you with actual hands, I will simply say that time flies by and before I know it, my crew is telling me it’s time to go. So, I rack out (up 4 buy ins) and we head back to Texas. The ride is uneventful but gives us all time to unwind and allow the charge that comes with playing poker to subside before settling in for a peaceful nights rest. As usual, I can’t wait to do it again.