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I Have Been to the Mountain

Recently I had the opportunity to take a little vacation up to Oregon to visit the City of Roses, also known as Portland.  Now as any devoted die hard dice shooter would do, the first question I asked was “Where’s the closest casino where I can throw the dice?”.  As it turns out, there is a casino called Spirit Mountain on an Indian reservation about 2 hours from that Flower on the Columbia (Portland!).  So naturally, I had to send the family on an outing for the day and make my way to The Mountain.  Fortunately, the Indians have a bus that will carry the prospective gambler from Portland right to the front door of the casino and it’s free to boot, just hop on and head down the road.  No in transit beverages served by gracious hostesses, but I bought stale scone, and an OJ at a nearby market for my pre gambling sustenance. 

As I was munching my stale scone and other gambling aficionados got on the bus, I began to wonder if this casino catered strictly to the retired crowd, indeed, I felt as though I was the only person on the bus not collecting social security.  However a few stops later, we had a full bus and some non-retirees on board.

After a two hour bus ride through the lush hills and valleys of Oregon, the bus pulled in to The Mountain.  Turns out, The Mountain is a pretty pleasant place to gamble.  It seems fairly new, has really high ceilings and superior air quality.  Unlike many Las Vegas casinos, which seem compelled by the Las Vegas Casino Code of Conduct to provide a smoke filled environment, this place has breathable air.

So how about those dice tables?.  They have three 12 foot and all three are very soft bounce, dice setting friendly tables.  Most of the stick persons will scoot the dice to the shooter in a preferred set.  However, a couple of the dealers they had there during my visit, while quite friendly and outgoing, weren’t really up to speed on dealing the game.  One dealer, recently back from maternity leave, couldn’t figure out the payoffs on the don’t side or when to make them.  The stick had to call out, “Pay the line, pay behind” whenever a seven rolled on a come out.  So, that just means you have to carefully watch your bets and the payoffs, but you do that anyway, right?   The atmosphere here almost as friendly as Disneyland, none of that grind it out cynicism of Las Vegas.

Since I had to be on the bus schedule, I only had 4 hours for gambling before heading back to Portland.  So that meant a very time limited casino experience, only three sessions.  As far as my own precision shooting, in a word, it was terrible!  For whatever reason I could not make more than a couple of passes in a row before seven out.  I had practiced quite a bit before going but something was off in my stance, pickup, or toss to create a big fat goose egg for my own shooting.  However, I did get to ride on the coat tails or a pure random roller who put together a long hand.  On that first session, as I usually do, I bought in for $300.  When I colored after the hot hand I was up $74.  Mostly I would place the inside numbers using an up and pull strategy.  I placed a number of dealer bets on the line and the hardways.  As many gamblers have noticed, that makes for a much better game.  Oddly enough, I have the feeling that not many dealer bets get placed at this casino.  I didn’t see anyone else place a dealer bet during the entire time I was there. 

The next session, I got the opportunity to work on my betting strategy to use when I am not shooting since my hand lasted about as long my dog’s attention span.  For the most part, I bet the don’t side, I would put money on the don’t pass, if the player established a point, I would then lay the single odds and put a bet in the don’t come.  After that bet moved behind the line, I would then pick up the odds on the don’t pass and put two more bets through the don’t come.  On this day, that was a great strategy because other than one hot hand, the tables were stone cold.  This session, when I colored, I was up $66.  My third session, a repeat of the second one, stone cold table and only the don’t side bettors making money.  Third session I was up $31 for a total win for the day of $171. 

Interesting sidebar: I did see someone lose $500 in about five minutes.  Now of course that’s common in Nevada, but here it seemed a little out of place since the maximum bet is only $500.  A guy walks up to the table, buys in for $500 and puts $100 on all the hardways.  The shooter sevens out right away, guy keeps betting $100 on the hardways.  The next four shooters have one or two roll hands.  Bye bye $500! 

In retrospect I’d say I would definitely go back to Spirit Mountain if I were in the Portland area.  Tables would be great for a precision shooter who is “in the groove” and even if not, you can take money off the table if you’re willing to bet both sides. 

Rubacava

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