Poker in Sint Maarten

Well, after loosing $200 in a hand where I was an 83% favorite (see the previous Poker in St. Maarten recap), I have been in action twice again at Casino Royale, just across from where we’re staying. The reason I prefer playing there, instead of the Atlantis is that you have to drive to get to the Atlantis and back, as well as that there is an awful lot of crime on St. Maarten. The drive from Maho to near Cupecoi, where the Atlantis World Casino is located, is through a very dark couple of roads near Mullet, where nobody lives and it’s a know fact that people who win big, occasionally get robbed at gunpoint when they are on their ways home. I am the careful type of guy and always look around for trouble or shady persons in such situations, but still… why should I risk it when I don’t have to.

Cash games

Back to playing poker, as I really have some catching up to do. The second night was my dad’s birthday, so after eating out at Rancho’s and a Monte Christo (Cuban) cigar at Soprano’s Piano Bar, I sat down at the table with $200, which is twice the minimum buy-in amount. When I took place, nobody, but Freddy the poker room manager, was there. Since it was just him and me waiting we have been chatting for a while, which was very interesting. Freddy is an older (70+) fellow, who has been teaching dealers for a long time around the world. He’s appears to be a well-known person in the world of poker and has been playing with some of the major Vegas legends, but also said to know Dutch player Marcel Luske very well, as he brought the Poker Classic to St. Maarten in 2004. He started managing the poker room a couple of years ago, when he came to Casino Royale, which at the time didn’t have poker in it’s assortment of games. Now a days he kills time at the tables and teaches the lovely dealers all about the game.

After a while, a few others filled up some empty seats, including the New Yorkie who took my chips the day before showed up and the table was nicely filled up. I have been playing for a couple of hours and managed to make a $119 profit, but have failed to remember details about the hands I have played, although I remember I was simply hitting big hands in a short while.

The Straddle’s

Yesterday, we went eating at Bajatsu’s, on of St. Maarten’s finest restaurants. I had a nice Mahi Mahi fillet and enjoyed it a lot. Afterward my dad and I went to the casino again. This time there was action at the table, right from the start, which pleased me a lot.

Between 4 and 8 players have been playing all night long and the shifts made me to have to adjust my game. Unfortunately things started out bad for me, as I was not adapting to changes and played very loose. I soon managed to loose a lot of my stack, getting as low as only $50! At a certain moment I though, oh well… push or fold and see where I will strand. So when I had Qx 9d I moved all in on a Q high flop, all of diamonds. I was called twice and when the turn brought the fifth diamond for me, I had the flush, but was convinced that someone else would have a better diamond than my 9. Another diamond on the river and the two other players seemed satisfied splitting the pot, but sad when I showed them I had beaten them with my 9.

So I was back in the game, now with a $150 stack. Only two hands later I got dealt pocket Jacks. I raised a straddled hand, which was a common thing this night, to $40. One player called, but another re-raised me to $80. I immediately thought he must have aces, but still wanted to see the flop for $40 more. The flop was Ace high of all clubs and I pushed all my chips in, as one of my Jacks was of clubs. The second player folded and the third instantly called me with Kings, one of them clubs. He won the hand with completing his flush on the turn.

With $200 down the drain and no cash in my pocket I had to get back to the hotel where I kept the rest of my money in the safe deposit box. I grabbed it, hassled back and took place at the poker table once again. By this time, I made up my mind and decided to play tight as hell, resulting in a nice $114 extra when I left the table 2 hours later. I just managed to pick up small pots without risking any large amounts.

My dad was there all along and learned a great deal about the game of poker. It’s still a bit fast and confusing, but I am sure to introduce him playing a home game with the buddies soon.

Tournament or cash game?

Since there are quite a lot of poker tournaments going on in all the different casinos around the Dutch side of the island of St. Maarten, for instance at the Princess Casino and at the Atlantis World Casino, I have been trying to decide what I will do tonight. By the looks of it, it’s going be Casino Royale once more, as I don’t really feel like crashing the tables already at 20:30. This afternoon I drove over to Hollywood Casino (where I played some cash games last year) because they advertised with a $7000 guaranteed, but it appeared to be a “winner takes all” tournament with a buy-in of $220. Now, IMO that’s a bad concept and that’s probably the reason why only 3 to 4 tables will fill up there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game itself appears to be rigged somehow, because it doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Tomorrow I will fly back home, so you can expect an update the day after, that will also include a Sint Maarten Poker Guide.