Poker in Sint Maarten

On my last poker night in St. Maarten I went to Casino Royal as planned, after deciding earlier that tourneys where starting way too early and I would have to miss my seafood linguine at Pineapple Pete’s.

So I got in a little over 22:00 and it was just Freddy and one of the gorgeous looking dealers sitting at the table. I was surprised because it looked crowded to me in the Maho Beach area, as well as at the blackjack tables.

Anyway, I sat down and listened to some more of Freddy’s interesting poker tales. After about 30 minutes, a guy from Chicago, which I played with before, came in and we started playing poker with just the three of us. This lasted for about 1 hour (!) and I went from $200 to $50 to $200+ before more people joined us. Within no time the table was almost filled up entirely, so I changed gears and played conservative until I had to pick up my dad at Lady-C. I left with $290, a $90 profit for the night so far. I stood up, but promised to be back ASAP.

Session 2

By now, there were still 8 players playing, including Kazim, the guy I have been playing and chatting with from New York. It was good to see him, as he’s a nice guy, but also has an interesting style of playing poker. He is unpredictable as it gets, as he calls ATC (any two cards) no matter how much you’ll raise. More about this later on…

I took my seat and bought in for $200. After a few folds, one player went broke and two others left, leaving the table with only 6, including me. Only a few more in the game, the US dude got sucked out by Nate (a Canadian who’s the waiter/bartender at Soprano’s restaurant). His pocket Queens were beaten by Nate’s trips fives on the turn for a pot well over $200.

A big guy started complaining somewhat and got up as well, leaving me just with Freddy, Kazim, Nate. This turned out to become one of my extraordinary poker experiences ever.

Meet the Mississippi straddle

Straddling had already become a very common action at Casino Royale, but from this point we introduced a couple of new table actions: the reverse straddle, blind calls and blind raises. Let me introduce you the reverse straddle first:

When nobody straddles, then the button can do it, this is called a Mississippi straddle. In such a situation, the poker player sitting to the right of the button can do a reverse straddle. Quite frankly, I am not sure if it stops there or if more reverse straddles are allowed.

Since we were officially playing $2/$5 stakes, you would have to call for at least $10 now because of the straddling that kept going on continuously, but what we also started doing was all but decent poker. We started gambling, i.e. calling, as well as raising before we even took a look at our cards. Even pocket cowboys were no guarantee to win anymore, as you never knew it if someone hit a monster with his crap hands. Not that this would have been any different for Kazim at a full table, but with 4 players left, hand selection obviously didn’t exist any longer. One time, I had an open ended straight and flush draw on the turn, so I called an all-in and lost big time. I was already in this hand with a lot of cash, as I had a gutshot and flush draw on the river and initially started betting. So, this joking around cost me my full buy-in of $200 and I had to re-buy, even though we would only play one more orbit. Now two things could happen, I could loose some more or I could win a little.

With just four more hands two play, I firstly won approx $75 from Nate, but I can’t recall the hand’s details. I folded out of the 2nd and 3rd hand, but raised the last hand to $30 with AT. I had the intention to steal the blinds and call it a night, but was called by Freddy. The flop came AA4 and Freddy made a $30 bet. I called and the turn brought a blank. Freddy started betting again, now for another $30, so I raised him to $60 where he went all-in for his last stack of chips. I had to put in just $15 more to call, which I obviously did. He showed A6 and the river didn’t help him, nor the board, so I won the hand and all his chips + the blinds.

I came back to where I started the second session earlier, in just 4 hands of which I played only 2. We quit, went to the cashier and exchanged the chips. I received $390, meaning I had a total profit of $80 over the whole night. That’s how crazy poker gets sometimes… I love this game!

Will it be goodbye or farewell?

And that’s where my poker adventures in St. Maarten/St. Martin have ended. I have learned lot of things during my days, I had a nice profit, got to hang out with some nice fellows, but most important of all: I had a good time and a lot of fun!

I will soon add the Sint Maarten Poker Guide, which will give you some insights where to play tournaments, where to hit the cash games tables + tips as well as some of Sint Maarten’s non hot spots to please the wife and kill the day.