Chicago, at night
And that same black line that was drawn on you/it was drawn on me/now it's drawn me in/sixth avenue heartache
CHICAGO -- Boy, if I don't fly on an Airbus ever again it won't be soon enough. My free ticket on United put me on an A319 into Chicago. When I got on, the plane's interior was very nice. Very streamlined lights and seats and other cabin fixtures. But up in the air, the plane kept making subtle rocking from side to side that made me think these things aren't as stable along the horizontal axis as the Boeings that I'm used to flying. I don't know a thing about planes but I never seem to feel this kind of thing in other planes.
I've done a marathon trip to four poker rooms in the area - Resorts (formerly Harrah's) in East Chicago, Ind., Trump Casino in Gary, Ind. (pretty much just down the street from Resorts), Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Ill. and Argosy's Empress in Joliet, Ill.
It was quite a ride, from O'Hare, right by the city and probably one of the most spectacular skylines you can ever hope to see. Passed by U.S. Cellular Field (home of the White Sox), which was great. The roads are pretty terrible in this area. If you don't get caught up by a bit of construction, you'll be on roads that look like they really need it.
After an hour, I was on the Chicago Skyway and into Indiana. I passed the Horseshoe, but didn't go there because I wasn't sure if there was a poker room. Made my way to Resorts. The poker room is on the top level of the riverboat. It looked really nice. I was so ready to play, as $5/10 was the lowest limit they had there. But it was pretty full and they gave me a beeper, telling me another table would go up soon. So I went and grabbed a burger and a malt. By the time I was done, I was ready to play! So I left the beeper at the casino cage and went down the street to the Trump Casino.
The Trump is a boat that is right next to the Majestic Star Casino, but I was told there isn't a poker room there. The Trump was a great place to play but it looked a little run down. The poker room is in a front section of the boat, a place that in other ferry boats usually is filled with spectator seats.
They had $3/6 full kill and I sat down to play. There was some middle age lady who kept going on tilt and complaining nearly every hand. One time, the dealer exposed the ace of diamonds for her hand, she looked around and then took it and put it back in her hand! The dealer was like "Um, you can't have that card" and later he was like "I've never seen anybody try to do that before." Another dealer dealt a misdeal and she steamed, saying, "Look what I have to throw away" -- she flipped up her cards and it was A8s. She was serious!
I made a catastrophic mistake -- this one guy who was the Kill position didn't post his $6 for the kill and the dealer didn't notice it and the betting came around to me, and, of course, I had AA. I tried to get the dealer to rectify the situation without tipping off my great hand. That didn't work. I won the pot, but I could have won more!! Oh, well. I was happy to cash out money there.
Today I went with my folks to the Hollywood Casino in Aurora. I hadn't been there in 7 years, so the promotions desk told me today. Back then it had first opened and I had a balance of at least $25 in cash that I could have cashed out. That was long since gone from their system. Hollywood was one of the first places I ever experienced a casino -- and one of the first places I played slots and video poker. Needless to say I sucked at these forms of entertainment.
Hollywood has changed itself a bit. Before they had two boats that you could go into. Now the space is turned into a single half-circle gaming floor. The poker room was neat. It had only $5/10 and $10/20 and all around it were large movie posters of poker and gambling movies, such as The Cincinnati Kid, Maverick, Casino and Honeymoon in Vegas. No Rounders, though, which would have been neat.
The play here was good. People were just burning up their stacks, probably because of inexperience in limit. I was a little surprised at the high rake 10 percent up to $6 maximum. And no comps. The room was nice, but the casino is going to have to join the new golden age of poker if it wants to be competitive -- and given good recommendations by reviewers and bloggers.
My dad had a bunch of fun playing 10-cent video poker. He loves it, knows the payouts and which machines to tackle. I would bet he does pretty decent at video poker, but it's nothing like flopping a flush in the small blind and having all kinds of people calling you to the river.
At the end of the day, I made my way to Argosy's Empress Casino in Joliet, Ill. This also was one of the first places I ever gambled and I had pretty fond memories of it. But I went here today solely on business -- to play in the poker room. Unfortunately it was empty and a whiteboard sign said "Poker room will reopen at 6 p.m. Sunday." I asked why it was closed and was told "It's always closed on Fridays and Saturdays." Why? The lady told me it's because there are no dealers and it's a small room.
So I really had no purpose being there. My fond memories of the boat were changed by the thick haze of smoke on the casino floor and also in the entrance hallway. It's no way to live. Plus, how can a casino not have a poker room open on the weekend?
Unfortunately the Empress is the closest casino with a poker room to my parents' house and now that I've played or visited the ones I know about in this area, I'm pretty much through. If traffic congestion from construction wasn't so bad, I could hop on the Tri-State (Interstate 294) to Indiana. But it's a real mess.
So I guess I'm done with live action here in Chicago. I'm up over $100, so I'm happy with that. And there's plenty of online bonuses that I have to do.