Last year Sugarhouse Casino erected a large white tent to host a full room of poker tables. The tent is entirely appropriate, because inside it’s a circus.
In other words, I had never been more at home! The Village plays exactly like Sugarhouse. Seven way pots at 2/5. Three bet pots multiway ways. Inexplicable folds after committing bets. If I ever leave for the East Coast again, I see where I am going.
It’s not just the casino, it’s the city. I had never been to Philadelphia before, and was amazed to find myself completely comfortable. The urban decay is both controlled and fought against with good transportation and a fun and exciting downtown. The weather feels like home and I even had flashbacks to growing up, walking to school in the endless drizzle. The history and Americana of the city is of course second to none and puts my thoughts in perspective. When I sat outside Independence Hall, as much as everything changes, I knew the Framers would recognize this America, for better or worse. The people were friendly. Hell, even the strangely exuberant protest march against phantom “rape culture” is a mass delusion my current city’s denizens would easily get in step with, so no political culture shock should I go.
While all this is good, it wasn’t a great two nights of poker for me. I was coolered in three week-ruining pots. However, playing in games where people will ship 250 bbs for a gutter, or play so face up I might fold KK pre without much thought is very enticing. In one painful hand, a guy decided to felt himself with Ace rag, calling a flop raise, then pairing his kicker to painfully crack the top of my range. This hand, a loss in a setup spot the following orbit, and all the accumulated tilt may have upset me, as I did not stay for a full session. I needed a break, and relaxed the rest of the evening. Places like the Village and Sugarhouse, as good as they are, can be taxing, as the tendency for players is to simply realize their equity and create big swings many locations only offer in PLO.
That said, the more I play poker, the more I realize the games are always good for a strong player, and that complaining about action is silly. Frankly, however, the easier the money, the better. They don’t call it a grind for nothing, and everybody needs a paid holiday. Sugarhouse’s games puts the Resort in Casino.
Should you go to the City of Brotherly Love, there are a few stops you simply can’t pass up, even if you are a miserable poker addict who never gets out tourist. Reading Terminal in City Center is a food heaven. An undercover market renovated from a former terminal in 1990, it is more than a farmer’s outlet. Reading terminal is full of small cafes, restaurants, grocers, and other purveyors who offer all kinds of traditional American food. I went every day for coffee and meals. I even tried cookies, something I never eat, because they were obviously of the highest quality.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolutionary War is a beautiful and sad memorial, because it is so somber and simple. Like many other similar, monuments, a flame burns forever in front of the sarcophagus. It is a symbolic light of course, but equally meaningful would be the process of its extinguishing. Only we can decide to turn the power off, through neglect and weakness. The flame can, in other words, easily go out.
I myself regret not serving in the armed forces. At the time of my youthful decision (I went to the recruiters and tested), the wars we had recently fought did not appear particularly moral or valuable, and the services were cynically pitching themselves as a career, as if a potential duty to the nation was really a money making enterprise. The recruiters themselves were pushy and rude. I have always resisted authority, and so between all these factors it was easy find myself following another path. There is not much for me to do now but appreciate those who have taken up arms for their country.
These great centers of our culture are worth visiting, even for the lonely poker player. We have to remind ourselves sometimes of what is truly important, and it is decidedly not cards. Nice to be in a place where there is a rich amount of both.