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Old 11-13-2011, 11:32 PM   #26
vanelli56
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Jj, thanks for the great story... Be sure to let us know how your next cruise turns out.
Maybe that same guy with the tag will be back. Lol
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:54 PM   #27
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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So you just check it down post w/o top pair?
It's not necessary. If they hit the flop at all, they'll bet it. If they didn't, your Ax or whatever is good and you can safely bet for the rest of their stack.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:02 PM   #28
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

What do you think would be the best course of play at tables like these.... Wait for big pocket pairs, and just shove all in, and hope for a coin flip, or value bet the table on each street as long as no scare cards come out?
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:59 PM   #29
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

great thread. do any of the regular cruise ships have >1 poker table?
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Old 11-15-2011, 02:50 PM   #30
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Do all cruise lines have a poker or casino room? If not, which ones do you recommended
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:10 PM   #31
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

As far as I know, Disney is the only major cruise line without a casino. Norwegian, Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean ships all have them. The focus is on slots, BJ, and table games like Caribbean Stud, but all of the ones I've been on have at least one electronic hold 'em table. Some larger ships may have two. I've never seen a live dealer, however, for poker on a cruise ship. Some people have reported bringing on their own chips and cards and having their own home game on the ship (finding a semi-private spot on the ship). I like poker, but that seems like more trouble than it's worth when I'm on vacation. plus, I believe it's strongly discouraged by the ship staff, since they'd rather have you playing on their own tables.

JJ
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:11 PM   #32
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I was on a Royal Caribbean cruise (Explorer of the Seas) around Canada and New England earlier this month. The onboard casino had one poker table and ran a full ring 1/2 game every night. They also ran a series of ST Sats, with the winner of each qualifying for a final on the last day of the cruise, playing to win another cruise vacation.

The games were well run with competent dealers but a rather hefty rake (10%). You might expect this to mean that the game was hard to beat, but the games were so, so soft that even the fish from the ocean below could turn a profit. Certainly the softest game I've ever played at.

It transpired that I knew the manager of the onboard casino (she worked at my local casino before finding her sea legs). She said that it was very rare for a cash game not to run on any of their cruises, usually 2/5. The ship had 2,500 (mostly American) passengers, so I guess the odds that there will be 9 people wanting to poker are pretty good.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:08 PM   #33
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by jeffthx View Post
I've never seen a live dealer, however, for poker on a cruise ship. Some people have reported bringing on their own chips and cards and having their own home game on the ship (finding a semi-private spot on the ship). I like poker, but that seems like more trouble than it's worth when I'm on vacation. plus, I believe it's strongly discouraged by the ship staff, since they'd rather have you playing on their own tables.
I just returned home from a two-week transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to New Orleans on RCL's Voyager of the Seas and their casino had a live dealer. However, since the rake was 10% with a $15 max, all the regulars got together after a few days and held our own rakeless games every afternoon in the cardroom. We all "bought" chips in the casino and then just took them upstairs to our own game. The ship's staff never said a word to any of us throughout the cruise. (Even so, I still occasionally played in the casino in the evenings because the play of the other casual players was bad enough to offset the horrific rake.)

Interestingly, I was on Voyager's sister ship, Mariner of the Seas, for a 30-day cruise around South America earlier this year and that casino did have an electronic table in lieu of a live dealer. Coincidentally, many of us started our own game in their cardroom to avoid the rake as well, although we played with cash rather than chips. (And the rake on the Mariner was "only" $10 max as opposed to Voyager's $15.)

I took a Holland America transatlantic cruise this past April/May and that ship had one electronic table in the casino. Since the max rake on that cruise was only $6, no private games were played.

I will be flying to Rome next week to take a two-week transatlantic cruise to Ft. Lauderdale on Celebrity's Equinox and will report back what the poker situation is on that line.

As is evident from the above, I cruise quite a bit on various lines and can confirm that poker tables on cruiseships have the softest tables you will ever come across in your life. It is impossible to overstate how bad the players are. Many have never played and just want to experience what they've seen on ESPN. Not only do they not know what they're doing, they don't even care about losing their money. They are just there for entertainment.

Last edited by MMOB; 11-15-2011 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:01 PM   #34
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

17 days till my cruise out of charleston sc, to the bahama's via carnival fantasy. Been a while since I've actually played any poker, so hopefully it will be like riding a bike. From what people have said here, play ABC, dont bluff, play for value, expect to get a few bad beats on the river. But other wise, sit back and make some money. I just hope being that the cruise is in december, there will be enough interest in the game to make a full table.
Anyone been on the fantasy lately?
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:34 AM   #35
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

going on a cruise this sunday 12/4. western caribbean on the norwegian star. anybody ever on this cruise and or ship that can offer any insight on cash games, tournaments, number of tables, rake, action, etc. thanks in advance.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:20 PM   #36
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

I would LOVE to hear back from folks about their experiences and results.

I'd love to go on a cruise but would need to pay for it out of winnings...
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:30 PM   #37
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Just got back from the Carnival Triumph cruise out of Galveston. They had one poker pro table set on 1/2 nl with a 7% rake max $6 that broke the first night after about an hour of play. After about 2 hours, they turned one of the seats off and the table was working again.

The play was as awful as I had heard but there was relatively little dead money. The really awful players only bought in for the minimum of $20. The players who played for most of the cruise were about at the level of fish I've encountered in Oklahoma or Vegas at 1/2 tables. The table overall was very loose and passive with pre-flop raises being relatively rare and about half the table seeing every flop. Properly sized c-bets could be effective but had to be used rarely since most players would call with any pair or any draw for anything less than $10 and some would call anything up to pot size with mid pair. Obviously this meant there was a ton of value from waiting for premium hands and value betting them constantly.

I enjoyed the poker and despite losing 3 buy-ins drunkenly trying to bully a table full of call stations still ended up a decent amount at the end. I saw 2 or 3 other players who also seemed to be winning consistently with ABC poker out of a total of maybe 25-30 people who played for more than a little bit. I also never played late at night when I heard the game got a little more juicy. It seemed to run pretty constantly from mid morning to late at night though it did get pretty thin at meal times and during the floor shows.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:08 PM   #38
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

I just got back from a week on the Carnival Legend this past Sunday. I played poker every day. I ended up about $150 in the black for the week, so I'm happy to turn a profit. However, the week did nothing to disprove my theory that these tables are not completely random with the hands that are dealt. There were far too many action cards and fully made hands compared to anything I've seen live. Flushes were beat by rivered full houses on a regular basis. There were 4-card straights (or flushes) on the board constantly. Maybe my mind was magnifying things a bit, but it just seemed rare that a simple pair would win a hand.

The table allows you to see your stats for the session, which includes the total number of hands dealt per hour. It typically would fall between 30 and 35. With a $6 maximum rake, this table was only making about $200/hr for the casino. Compare that with the hundreds being lost every 10 minutes at the standard gaming tables (and slots), and it's clear that poker is a very low priority for the ship. On my cruise, there was only a game going on from about 8pm until 1-2am each night. During sea days, the casino is open, but you usually only see the slot lizards on their stools during the day. During port days, the casino has to be closed, so people only start playing after they've had dinner, watched a show, etc.

The play was among the worst I've ever seen. This poor play was constantly rewarded, however, by people who would make their hands on the river. I understand that getting screwed by the river is part of the game, but there was so little folding going on that you were guaranteed to watch your opponent scoop the pot that you helped to build on a very regular basis. When people are on vacation and spending the day drinking under a Caribbean sun, they seem to no longer have any regard for money (or logical poker play). After 3 days of getting really irritated by this, I changed my perspective on it mid-week, and just decided to go with it. I knew that I was rarely going to be beat by skill, and I had to be prepared to be beat by the table itself. I was also playing with several retirees (very friendly, nice people) who have enough money to call like crazy and keep rebuying. They also knew when to walk away after they built up their balances, so it was hard to get your money back from them after they rivered a straight flush over your ace-high flush.

The previous poster's observation about people buying in for $20 was right on. I couldn't believe how many people would put $20 on the table, lose it, buy in for another $20, etc. They would occasionally double up, but 90% of the time, they would play it out until it was gone, just like putting money into a slot machine. I actually saw one woman from Canada take $20 and turn it in to $350 over the course of a couple of hours. She did this with absolutely no skill or awareness of the game. She was wasted, didn't know what hands she was in, what she had, etc. She just kept calling and catching cards. She was also a "WHOOO" girl (in that she screamed "WHOOO" after everything she did, including ordering drinks, losing hands, winning hands, falling off her chair, etc). She was easily in the top 5 most annoying people I've ever played with. Toward the end of her run, she lost $275 of her stack to an older gentleman who refused to high five her after she put her hand in his face at the end of the hand. Two hands later, she went all in for her remaining $75 with 8-3 on a 10-8-3 board. I was in the big blind with 10-8, so I called. Thankfully my hand held up, so I was able to clear her out and she finally left. The only downside to this is that she still only invested $20 to begin with, so she was able to sit and annoy everyone for more than two hours and it only cost her a little more than the equivalent of a couple of drinks.

Anyway--I've gone on too long. The advice I would give you is to try and stick with basic poker, but know that your fellow players will rarely act the same way that live players would on land, and the table appears to be set up to drive betting up so that the $6 max rake is hit on almost every hand. The amount you have to bet to pull off a successful bluff is ridiculous. More often than not, you'll need to risk $50 on a bluff instead of $15. I'm not a highly aggressive player, but when I would see people try to use aggression to push people around, I would regularly see them bluff themselves into a corner after getting called all the way down. Other ships may have different games and rakes in place, but the standard on all of the Carnival ships I've been on has been $1/2NL with a $6 rake.

jj
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:53 PM   #39
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffthx View Post
I just got back from a week on the Carnival Legend this past Sunday. I played poker every day. I ended up about $150 in the black for the week, so I'm happy to turn a profit. However, the week did nothing to disprove my theory that these tables are not completely random with the hands that are dealt. There were far too many action cards and fully made hands compared to anything I've seen live. Flushes were beat by rivered full houses on a regular basis. There were 4-card straights (or flushes) on the board constantly. Maybe my mind was magnifying things a bit, but it just seemed rare that a simple pair would win a hand.

The table allows you to see your stats for the session, which includes the total number of hands dealt per hour. It typically would fall between 30 and 35. With a $6 maximum rake, this table was only making about $200/hr for the casino. Compare that with the hundreds being lost every 10 minutes at the standard gaming tables (and slots), and it's clear that poker is a very low priority for the ship. On my cruise, there was only a game going on from about 8pm until 1-2am each night. During sea days, the casino is open, but you usually only see the slot lizards on their stools during the day. During port days, the casino has to be closed, so people only start playing after they've had dinner, watched a show, etc.

The play was among the worst I've ever seen. This poor play was constantly rewarded, however, by people who would make their hands on the river. I understand that getting screwed by the river is part of the game, but there was so little folding going on that you were guaranteed to watch your opponent scoop the pot that you helped to build on a very regular basis. When people are on vacation and spending the day drinking under a Caribbean sun, they seem to no longer have any regard for money (or logical poker play). After 3 days of getting really irritated by this, I changed my perspective on it mid-week, and just decided to go with it. I knew that I was rarely going to be beat by skill, and I had to be prepared to be beat by the table itself. I was also playing with several retirees (very friendly, nice people) who have enough money to call like crazy and keep rebuying. They also knew when to walk away after they built up their balances, so it was hard to get your money back from them after they rivered a straight flush over your ace-high flush.

The previous poster's observation about people buying in for $20 was right on. I couldn't believe how many people would put $20 on the table, lose it, buy in for another $20, etc. They would occasionally double up, but 90% of the time, they would play it out until it was gone, just like putting money into a slot machine. I actually saw one woman from Canada take $20 and turn it in to $350 over the course of a couple of hours. She did this with absolutely no skill or awareness of the game. She was wasted, didn't know what hands she was in, what she had, etc. She just kept calling and catching cards. She was also a "WHOOO" girl (in that she screamed "WHOOO" after everything she did, including ordering drinks, losing hands, winning hands, falling off her chair, etc). She was easily in the top 5 most annoying people I've ever played with. Toward the end of her run, she lost $275 of her stack to an older gentleman who refused to high five her after she put her hand in his face at the end of the hand. Two hands later, she went all in for her remaining $75 with 8-3 on a 10-8-3 board. I was in the big blind with 10-8, so I called. Thankfully my hand held up, so I was able to clear her out and she finally left. The only downside to this is that she still only invested $20 to begin with, so she was able to sit and annoy everyone for more than two hours and it only cost her a little more than the equivalent of a couple of drinks.

Anyway--I've gone on too long. The advice I would give you is to try and stick with basic poker, but know that your fellow players will rarely act the same way that live players would on land, and the table appears to be set up to drive betting up so that the $6 max rake is hit on almost every hand. The amount you have to bet to pull off a successful bluff is ridiculous. More often than not, you'll need to risk $50 on a bluff instead of $15. I'm not a highly aggressive player, but when I would see people try to use aggression to push people around, I would regularly see them bluff themselves into a corner after getting called all the way down. Other ships may have different games and rakes in place, but the standard on all of the Carnival ships I've been on has been $1/2NL with a $6 rake.

jj
I love the Legend, my first cruise I ever took. Did you do the 7 day cruise in the Carribean?
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:01 PM   #40
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Might awsell post, my ex partner and i went on the Pacific Jewel earlier this year for new y ears eve, (Australia BTW) around new caledonia, isle of pines etc, they had a smallish casino on board, and had two electronic poker tables, i was itching to play a lot but no one was really playing only late at night the table would eventually fill up, was fun though first time playing on electronic tables. Lost about 130 bucks but good night.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:08 AM   #41
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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I love the Legend, my first cruise I ever took. Did you do the 7 day cruise in the Carribean?
Yes-- They were all ports I'd been to before, but I wanted to leave out of Tampa this time (we were down visiting family in Lakeland). Cayman, Belize, Cozumel, and Roatan Honduras were the ports. Cayman was too rough to anchor, so we got an extra sea day out of it. I liked the ship. We've been on 6 different Carnival ships, and I would rank this one behind the Liberty and the Dream (but still a great vacation overall).

jj
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:15 AM   #42
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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great thread. do any of the regular cruise ships have >1 poker table?
In the main casino, typically not. If there were multiple live game tables with dealers etc then it would be for a special tournament or something of the like. But even with tournaments they spread them into like STT's 2x daily for the first 4-5 days then the finale on the last day.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:59 AM   #43
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Yes-- They were all ports I'd been to before, but I wanted to leave out of Tampa this time (we were down visiting family in Lakeland). Cayman, Belize, Cozumel, and Roatan Honduras were the ports. Cayman was too rough to anchor, so we got an extra sea day out of it. I liked the ship. We've been on 6 different Carnival ships, and I would rank this one behind the Liberty and the Dream (but still a great vacation overall).

jj
Funny we did this last December, and had to cancel port to Cayman islands, they told us it rarely happens, but the week before ours was canceled too, and then yours. Guess December is bad time to port in the Caymans.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:11 AM   #44
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Anyone speak to the play on actual "poker cruises"?

I assume it's substantially better....
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:06 AM   #45
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Anyone speak to the play on actual "poker cruises"?

I assume it's substantially better....
I haven't been on one in about 5 years (pre-"recession"), but the play on the poker cruise was still pretty bad. The players knew how the game worked, but they were still bad. Imagine picking the one biggest whale from your card room, and playing in a game with 8 of them. Other than myself, there were only 2 other people with the poker group under the age of 50.

This was with a company that no longer exists; I would imagine that due to the economy and players overall improving, that the poker cruise games will be better these days. However I would assume they are still softer than your average live game.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:14 PM   #46
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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I haven't been on one in about 5 years (pre-"recession"), but the play on the poker cruise was still pretty bad. The players knew how the game worked, but they were still bad. Imagine picking the one biggest whale from your card room, and playing in a game with 8 of them.

Ooooooh. Tell me more!!!

Corroboration? Anyone?
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:14 PM   #47
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

Don't think it's been mentioned before but you should be very keen on listening to OPTAH/open collusion and alike situations. Usually the supervisor is not hanging around the table much, and you need to bring things like this to their attention, and explain why it is not aloud if they seem to shrug it off, since most of them have no experience with real poker before.
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:23 PM   #48
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

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Don't think it's been mentioned before but you should be very keen on listening to OPTAH/open collusion and alike situations. Usually the supervisor is not hanging around the table much, and you need to bring things like this to their attention, and explain why it is not aloud if they seem to shrug it off, since most of them have no experience with real poker before.
Oh yeah-- This was a constant issue. Anyone with any real awareness of how to act at a poker table were in the minority. Most of the people I encountered were micro-stakes home-game players and/or people who watched it on TV and were used to seeing lots of open commentary while hands were being played. If you're playing cruise ship poker on a non-poker cruise, don't expect to experience any game play (or etiquette) that resembles anything you'd see in a real poker room. You're on vacation, and so is everyone else. They won't care about the rules, and it will take an extreme act to get a casino person over to the table. In our case, it was a guy who was using the bottom of his beer bottle to work the touch screen (despite being told repeatedly by everyone that using the corner of your room card is the best solution for the screen). Apparently they don't like it much when you keep banging a bottle on the glass screen loud enough to be heard across the casino.

jj
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:04 AM   #49
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

cruised on the norwegian star 12/4 - 12/11. they had one table and it was 1/2 nl cash game which played from approx 10pm - 2am each night. rake was 10% capped at $25 and i just couldnt bring myself to play into such robbery. they also ran a $60 rebuy on the two sea days. also robbery. they took 25% of entry fees including all rebuys and add ons. they had a little under 30 players the first tourney and a little over 30 the second. from what i heard the play was weak but with so many other entertainment options onboard didnt seem like it was worth the time unless you never get to play. bottom line is poker is just like anything else on a cruise. overpriced. the only value is your cruise charge but once onboard you overpay for everything. with that said a cruise is an excellent way to relax but if you want to play poker for a few days go to vegas.

Last edited by Rosebud22; 12-13-2011 at 11:13 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-13-2011, 01:09 PM   #50
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Re: Cruise Ship Poker Thread

I've heard people talk about running their own "home games" on the cruise. How does that work out? Anyone run into problems with the powers that be?

I'm curious where they are held- if they can be semi public or if they really need to be on the lowdown.

I know the cruise wouldn't like it but I wonder if they really care at all.

Thx
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