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Old 12-12-2005, 11:27 PM
JoeU JoeU is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Connecticut (the wonder of it all)
Posts: 380
Default Cardplayer Cruise Trip Rport

Hi Everyone,

I just got back from my first Cardplayer Cruise to the Mexican Riviera and I thought I'd share some of the highlights/lowlights of the trip. I'll only include one "bad beat" story. It's not really a bad beat, its more like "the right cards at the wrong time".

The Mrs and I get into San Diego just before noon on the 1st, a day ahead of the boat. We usually do that to make sure we're at the port and not stuck in some airport on the day we leave. As soon as I get off the plane, I ask the information desk how close the closest casino is. I guess Viejas is the winner at 40 minutes away. So with no car and no local casino, we head off to the hotel to check in. We drop off the bags, and walk to some "seaport" type of area with resturaunts and shops. Our hotel was across the street from the pier, so those of you from SD will know what the area was called. We had a great view of the bay, and all the carriers in port. We get a bite to eat, do a little walking, and end up back at the hotel at 6:00. I promptly fall asleep (we were up at 2:30am ET to catch the flight).

I wake up at about 5:30 local and look out our balcony. There, I am hit by this image:

Pretty cool to see the ship up close and personal like that first thing in the morning. It really gets the juices flowing for the upcoming trip. We get a few more winks in, pack up and check out to get on the ship.

We have been on this boat before. The Carnival Spirit entered service in 2001, and we were on it in November of that year for my best friend's wedding. He was married on the ship. She looks a little worn. Thats expected for a ship that has carried around 400,000 passengers since I was last aboard. The layout of the ship came back to me in an instant, which made getting around very easy for the rest of the trip.

The Ports

This was fairly nice. Sort of Cozumel West, but more built up. I would say Cancun West, but I've never been to Cancun. We went horseback riding on Revolcadero Beach through a company called Shoretrips. We booked 2 excursions through them, this one and the one in Manzanillo. The horseback riding was great. I had never been on a horse, so this was a treat for me. It was hot, even on the beach, but that didn't matter. We still had a blast. We were gonna do the Senor Frogs thing, but never made it because we were exhausted from the riding.


Ziuha is a little fishing village, and Ixtapa is a resort town just outside. The boat anchored in Ziuha Bay. This was the rest and relaxation part of the trip. We caught a cab to Playa Ropa and spent the day on the beach. Here is a picture of the boat anchored in the bay:


We went scuba diving here through Shoretrips. My wife had never been, and I only dove once in St Marteen 4 years ago. The day was overcast, which made it a little murkier underwater, but the fish and coral were still amazing. We saw puffer fish, moray eels, stingrays, and schools of colorful fish. Definitely worth the trip.

On the way back to San Diego, our cabin faced the west, so we got some good sunset shots. Here's one for the report:

We also saw whales from the ship on both sea days coming back, but I didn't have the camera handy for that.

The Poker

The poker was good. There were approximately 400 people on the ship booked through Cardplayer, and about 250 were players (the other 150 being either dealers or non-playing spouses). They had two poker rooms set up, one onthe second floor and one on the third. They were both at the back of the ship, next to the dining room. This location made it easy to jump into a game after dinner or while checking the menu for dinner that is posted outside of the dining room. It was 3 floors from my room, and only about a minute or two's walk.

The games I played in were fairly soft, although my bankroll would say differently! Thy regularly spread hold'em games of 2-4, 4-8, 6-12, 10-20, and 20-40. They spread 4-8 and 10-20 omaha. The had 1-2 and 2-5 NL games, and a 20-40 HO. On the last 2 days of the cruise, FeliciaLee and I convinced them to spread a 2-4 HORSE which was an instant success. there was a list for the last 2 days of the cruise for the game. On the last day, we changed the Hold'em to Crazy Pineapple, thus making it a 2-4 CORSE. Here are some photos from that game:

(Felicia is probably gonna hate me for this one!)

The dealers and floor were absolutely top notch. Very efficient and very friendly. Linda Johnson was always around, mingling with the players. I didn't see Jan Fisher or Mark Tenner as much, but I would assume they were around. Mark also taught 2 seminars during the cruise, one on Hold'em and one on Omaha. I didn't make it to either, and I wish I did. Linda taught a beginners class that my wife and I attended. It was held in the chapel of the ship (yes, the same chapel my best friend was married in!). They also held a welcome aboard and going away party for the Cardplayer guests, complete with hor'deurves (sp) and free drinks. Many people with the group were past cruisers with Cardplayer, and I could see how they would get the repeat business.

Ok, stop reading here unless you want to read my misery.

My "hand of unfortunate timing":

In the 2-4 HORSE, we're playing hold'em and in LP I'm dealt Q [img]/images/graemlins/spade.gif[/img]Q [img]/images/graemlins/heart.gif[/img]. An old guy who played absolutely any 2 cards from any spot calls UTG, an unknown lady in MP raises, I 3-bet, all fold to the old man who now caps, we all call. 3 to the flop for 6.5BB

Flop: 8 [img]/images/graemlins/heart.gif[/img]8 [img]/images/graemlins/diamond.gif[/img]4 [img]/images/graemlins/spade.gif[/img]

They both check to me and I check behind smelling a trap from the old man. Same situation:

Turn: Q [img]/images/graemlins/club.gif[/img](8 [img]/images/graemlins/heart.gif[/img]8 [img]/images/graemlins/diamond.gif[/img]4 [img]/images/graemlins/spade.gif[/img])

UTG checks, lady bets, I raise, UTG calls, she 3-bets, I cap, all call. Nervous and confused to the river for 18BB

River: 6
[img]/images/graemlins/diamond.gif[/img](Q [img]/images/graemlins/club.gif[/img]8 [img]/images/graemlins/heart.gif[/img]8 [img]/images/graemlins/diamond.gif[/img]4 [img]/images/graemlins/spade.gif[/img])

UTG checks, lady bets and I stop for what was probably 10 seconds, but seemed like 5 minutes. I say out loud "did you flop quads???". I get this sinking feeling that my gut is right about 4BB's too late. I say, "ok, I just call because I think you got quads, I'm queens full". The old man had mucked as I was saying I call, and she turns over 88.

My other misfortune was that ina 2-4 game that was playing loose, everyone manages to fold to the SB who was the loosest goose in the game. He asks for a chop and I say yes ( I always chop). He turns over AJo and I turn over KK [img]/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]! Talk about running bad.

Overall, it was a great trip, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Let me leave you with one final pic to show my misery at the poker table:

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