AC Trip Report (Poker Week Days 3 & 4)
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Heads Up Challenge
Wow! This thing has taken off. Remember to check out the new Heads Up Challenge blog, which is a running scorecard of the Challenge. So far, several matches have occurred, including GCox v. TripJax, GCox v. DoubleAs, GC v. WillWonka, TJ v. DA, TJ v. WW, and WW v. DA. Ooooh weeee! I’m aching to get in there. The best record so far belongs to TripJax, followed by GCox, DoubleAs and Will. The challenge is still early though, and maybe experience in Challenges have helped the two SNG Challenge alum.
I will never be able to type all of the things in my head. I will try to give a chronological account, and gloss over a lot of the details. My apologies beforehand.
Roose called me up at 9am on Monday. We agreed that he would call me at 10 and pick me up at 10:30am, but he couldn’t sleep from all of the excitement. As a result, I rushed into the shower, ran some last minute errands for fiancé Kim, and met Roose outside of my apartment in 30 minutes. We were 45 minutes away from my apartment when Roose asked me if I brought the namesake. I had prepared some prior to the trip, and had the Altoid box ready to go (a must have for any namesake partaker). Unfortunately, in all of the rush, I forgot to pack it. This didn’t phase me much. I like namesake, but I LOVE poker, and I knew that would me my major vice this trip. Roose, however, didn’t feel the same way. We’ll get to more on this later.
We arrived at the Tropicana Hotel within 2hrs and 15mins. This is record time from NYC. I clicked into casino speed (the natural, faster pace that I walk whenever in a casino), and hustled to check-in. We had about an hour to wait, and what do we do when we wait in a casino, boys and girls? Roulette of course. Roose was riding hot. In a short while, he was up $260! His numbers were coming, and his cluster bomb technique really impressed. Basically, he placed one or two chips on a given number, and then straddled that number and each of its neighbors. In the end, it looks like a cluster of chips all surrounding black 29, or red 3, or whatever. I didn’t have his luck though, and lost $50. This was the beginning of a slippery slope.
Check-in shall be known as the Roose Debacle #1. Roose likes some namesake with his gambling. At the end of the night, it can take some of the adrenaline edge off. So, when a charming young black lady was getting us our room keys, Roose leaned in and said, “Can I ask you a question?” She didn’t respond, and he asked again. I said to Roose in a full voice, “She’s not listening to you. The answer is no.” He waited a few seconds and asked again. Still nothing. That is when we realized that that the Trop must have invented a way to block sound from passing through normal air. We were within arm’s length of this woman and she wouldn’t acknowledge a word we said. Theory number two is that she was deaf, and could only respond when looking at our lips, as she was typing away on the computer when Dave asked his questions. Which begs another unanswered mystery: Why do hotel check-in people type a novel just to check you in?
Finally, the check-in lady looked up. Roose took the initiative, leaning in close. “Do you smoke?” She looked at him quizzically. He hinted a little further, but then I realized it was time to abort the mission. “Thanks for the keys. Excuse my friend.” I pulled him away. This is not how you score drugs in AC.
After check-in, Roose and I went to our new home base. The rooms at Trop are nice, and frankly, I don’t need much more than a bed, a door with a lock, and a toilet. As it turns out, we didn’t even need the showers. Roose and I don’t like to shower when we gamble. It makes us feel…clean.
We were in that room for less than 10 minutes before we decided to explore. We were starving by this point, and headed to Trop’s new building, with its Havana theme. It’s a nice set up, and we noticed that Batman Begins was playing on an Imax screen there. Being a closeted comic book fan, I told Roose we should see it. He agreed, and we tentatively agreed to catch the 10:15pm showing, if we were done with the 7:15pm tourney by then. We’ll get back to that in a moment.
We ended eating at Carmine’s, an Italian restaurant that has several locations. It isn’t quite a chain, ala Friday’s. It’s better quality and held in higher regards. The Trop must’ve included it in their new Havana section of the hotel because it lends an aire of NYC. Of course, two boys from NYC go to South NJ to eat at a NYC restaurant. We had a ridiculous portion of calamari and shared a hot Italian hero, with a couple of beers to wash it down. Because of our impatience, we sat at the bar, and made friends with the white, farmboy-looking bartender. Roose Debacle #2 began. “Hey man, do you know where we can get some pot?” The kid looked simultaneously surprised and scared. “Um, not really, sorry.” He looked ready to move to the other side of the bar. “No problem, man. We just forgot ours at home.” Thanks Dave, for confirming our illicit activities. This, however, did work a bit, as the farmboy offered some advice. “I guess you can get on the street. Try New York Avenue.” So, now Roose is going to take me trolling the back alleys of AC looking for pot? What the hell is going on here? I knew, fortunately, that Roose would not want to go to far from the bright lights of the casino. So we finished our meal, with the bartended noticeably scarce, tipped big, and headed out.
Finally, Roose and I enter the poker room. We decide to sit for some 2/4 limit. This is baby stakes, I know. But I figured we could stretch our bankrolls and play for fun. We were at a table with a group of 3 people (one male, two female) who were just about colluding. Please let me know what you think, as this drove me nuts. If the husband and wife were in a hand with other players, they played regularly. If it came down to just them, post-flop or otherwise, they’d check it down, even with monster hands. It was pissing me off, but the ladies of the group sucked at poker, so I was biding my time. One women, who looked like a cracked out, red-headed Big Bird, kept reaching for her chips as soon as the flop came out. I wonder if she hit it? Sure enough, I used their tells and overall suckiness to eke out a $17 win. He did suffer a terrible suckout from Big Bird, and couldn’t recover. We left when the table broke. Seemed about time, and we headed upstairs. I think Roose was close to even, if not up a little bit as well. After relaxing for 10 minutes, we re-entered the poker room at 5:15pm and signed up for the 7:15pm $20 Rebuy/Add-on Tournament.
To kill time before the tournament, Roose and I decided to try for some craps, but saw that the tables were crowded and high-stakes. So, we left the casino to try friendlier waters at the nearby Hilton. Being the North-most casino on the Boardwalk, I knew it would have less people and lower limits. We settled into $10 min Craps, and Dave was out $100 in no time. He was still playing with Trop’s Roulette money, but he stormed off nevertheless. I played some more and was a little down. When Dave returned he had won $80 or so from blackjack. He and I then proceeded to drop the rest of my $100 buy in and his $80 winnings. On the way out, Roose, who is known to do this, put all of his remaining $100 on black at the Roulette wheel. He lost. I followed suit and split my $50 onto two different spots, Even and 1st Third. Number 33 came out, and we left. I lost $100 in Roulette, and $100 in Craps.
We returned to the Trop for the tourney and took our seats. I’ll tell you now that we both lost. I rebought right away, as is customary. Before the first hand was dealt, I had sunken $50 into the tournament. My table had one guy who was a real loser. I mean, he just didn’t understand how to play, betting and being called down with AK, and getting pissed because the BB hit his top pair Q, and he didn’t hit his A or K. He was ridiculous. As I was in the 3 seat and he was in 7, across the way, seat 1, 2 and I had a great time talking shit about the ATM. We were all waiting for our turn. He must have rebought 6 times at least, and on at least one occasion he rebought on back-to-back hands. All of the players at our table were encouraging the rebuy girl to stay close. We didn’t want our ATM to leave us.
I lost my first buy-in when my TPTK ran into two-pair. I won a couple of hands with large pre-flop raises, when holding AK. I was playing tight, and used this to my advantage later, when I bluffed a couple of hands. Early in the tourney, the players at the table were talking strategy. Someone made a comment about playing 27o (the hammer!), and ATM said, “Whose gonna play that?” The table agreed. I waited for the right moment. Unfortunately, it was 45 minutes later, when I was dealt 27o in middle position. I raised from 400 to 1500 when everyone folded behind me. I should have pushed, given the rule of 10 (I had 3500 or so), but I’ve learned not to push with 27o pre-flop. You think that is something you wouldn’t have to learn, but when you start playing the hammer sometimes it’s hard to stop. ATM was the SB, and I was super happy when he folded. The BB folded and I double-checked: “Is the hand over?” Once I got confirmation, I showed the table, “Hammer time!” I danced in my chair. ATM said, “I’m not surprised.” Thankfully, I WAS surprised that he folded.
Here is why. Earlier on, I had AKo UTG, and following the rule of 10, I pushed. He was in MP and called my large raise. All others folded. He held K8! This guy was calling with anything.
So, we hit the rebuy period and I was moved to another table. I was still shortstacked because of the high blinds and pushed with QJs. A hot chick at my table called reluctantly. The BB moved all-in. I had the BB covered, and hot chick had me covered by a minor amount of chips. BB had A9o, and hot chick had…QJs! The BB won, and hot chick and I split the side pot. I finally had to push with 66. Someone called with TJ. I hit my straight, with a board of 789Tx. See the problem? He hit his straight too, and I was sent packing.
Roose and I headed to the Havana section of Tropicana to get some food from a NY-style deli. We grabbed sandwiches and headed to the counter. Roose Debacle #3 began. As is his custom, Roose leaned into the counter-girl. “Do you know where we can get herbals?” “Herbals?” she asked. I never heard the term before (or at least hadn’t heard it commonly used), and realized there was a communication problem. This was GOOD because the counter girl was a 20-year-old white chick who looked clean cut. That isn’t to say that she doesn’t partake. It just means that she isn’t hooking up a couple of strangers at her job! I gave Roose the food and told him I’d cover the tab. He left and I smiled and backed away slowly.
After dinner (about 10pm), Roose and I decided that Batman Begins would only tire us out. We needed liquor, damnit! We headed to the Tango bar, by the casino and ordered two beers and two shots of tequila. I saw Roose’s brain at work and cut him off at the pass. “Do not ask the clean-cut Asian bartender for herbals, Dave. It ain’t gonna happen.” He conceded finally, until we heard a bar-back opening a bottle of wine saying to no one in particular, “I’m the Weasel. I’m the Weasel.” When he saw us looking, he asked, “Do you know why I’m the Weasel?” We shrugged. He said, “Because I make the bottles go pop!” Okay, Roose, here’s your chance. The bar-back was a black male in his late 30s. He looked like he had a hard past, and would probably at least know someone who’d know something. Roose cut to the chase. “Hey man, do you know where we can get some green?” “Sorry guys, I quit. But if you are looking, the best advice I can give you is to find some hookers.” This was the best advice we had all night. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I’m not versed with hookers. I sure as hell wasn’t looking to buy any services, which the Weasel suggested as a way to show them we weren’t cops. Regardless, we thanked him for the advice. I pass it on to you: “First you get the hookers, then you get the drugs.”
We returned to the poker room at 11pm and sat at 2/4 tables. Roose and I were sitting back to back at two different tables until a spot opened and he came over to sit right next to me. This was the best time we had all night. We finished off our time with the Weasel with another shot of tequila. With a nice booze basecoat, we kept the drinks flowing. I must have had 8 rum and cokes while playing. My chip stack was dwindling, but we were having a great time. I’m a chatty guy, and a wiseass to boot, so I was talking up the table once I got comfortable (read: drunk). I eventually got a bunch of the players’ names and we were joking back and forth. One guy, Danny, told me I looked like Dave Atell, the comedian from Up All Night on Comedy Central (now off of the air). Atell is a funny fucker, so I was flattered in a way, but he’s also fugly. When Danny started calling me Dave (for Atell, not for Roose) I finally fired this gem at him, “Hey, you can call me whatever you want, Deusche…um, I mean Dan.” This is the offensive fucker that I can be. But we were all laughing, so it was cool.
Along with Dan, there was a slew of people coming and going at the table. A very notable character was Mohadeeb, a nickname I made up for the Indian guy who had no idea what he was doing. He rivered flushes on me twice, once after calling my pre-flop bet when he was yet to act, holding 8d2d! This is fine by me though, because if you can play with a guy like this long enough, his chips will surely become yours. Roose was pissed after a couple of Mohadeeb’s suckouts, but I think he too profited from the loose action.
At about 3am, I quieted down for a bit. Before this, I was losing steadily. My stack dwindled from 100 to 60 to 50 to 40. I was drunk off of my ass, and Roose and I were cracking up even though we were getting our asses handed to us by the gods of variance. My cards were utter poop. 9 high and 8 high hands were the rule, not the exception. All that said, I don’t think I ever had more fun playing poker. At 2/4 it wasn’t about the big stakes, but about having fun.
So, at about 3pm, I get quiet. Roose looks over and asks if I’m okay. I lean over to him and whisper, “Dave, I might have to leave soon.” I honestly thought I’d have to puke. I decided to wait it out and switch to water. I rode through it, but still had some trouble with the cards. I was down to 17 chips or so, and suddenly, I was catching cards. I reached my last chips on a couple of occasions only to ultimately take down hands. As my sobriety returned, so did my chips. It was an odd thing. Part of it was that my luck was improving. Another part was that some of the players were leaving, so we were shorthanded, which is my stomping grounds. I was learning which players would pay me, and which I should fear. As a result, at about 4:30am, I was up to 81 bucks or so. Roose then leans over to me. “I’m up 30. I’m tired. Let’s hit the sack.” I told him no to wait for me. I wanted my money back damnit, and I didn’t want him risking his money because of my insistence. He agreed and went upstairs.
Once Roose was gone, the late-night players came in. We still had a core group of 5 from the original table (well, not the 11pm table, but more original than these Johnny Come-Latelies), and the action was still going well. At about 4am, with sobriety returning and my wits about me, I was back to my chatty self. It really felt like this was my table, and I was holding court. A lot of the players were having fun with it and me, in a friendly way. Danny and I were traded joking barbs back and forth. What I originally saw as animosity grew into a friendly relationship. A Hispanic guy who pissed me off earlier in the night by showing me one of his cards, inducing my call into his full house, also found middle-ground with me. Suddenly, all my enemies were friends…friends with money to be had. I continued my jovial run, enjoying the company and the cards. When 7am rolled around, I was holding $90 profit, and had been at the table for 8 hrs. It went by so fast, thanks to alcohol and the joy of poker. I finally decided to leave when Mohadeeb gave up. I wasn’t tired, but most of the fun people were gone and I have won back the money I lost in the tournament.
Before playing poker, I spoke to fiancé Kim. At the end of the conversation, she was going to bed. I told her that I would leave her a cell phone message before I go to bed. I finally called her at 7am while in the elevator to my room. She picked up and asked, “You woke up early to speak to me?” “That’s one way to look at it,” was my response.
Sunday morning, Roose and I awoke at 10am. On three hours of sleep (four or five for him), we enjoyed a buffet breakfast at the Trop. It was sub-par, which means spot-on in buffet terms. At least we left full. We never win when we play on the morning that we are leaving, but that didn’t stop us. I broke even in blackjack and roulette. Roose won $10 in blackjack and then put $110 on black in roulette…and won. Love that Roose.
The rest of the ride home, etc. doesn’t hold a candle to our time in AC. I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot, but it’s been a long day of blogging. Poker anyone?
posted by Jordan @ 9:02 PM,
- At 7:30 AM, TripJax said...
Quite an uber post. I enjoyed your trip and I wasn't even there!
Is your new employer going to test for the namesake? Might be good that you missed out...
I was thinking about doing the W and L for wins and losses, but what about when we get into the later rounds and play each other more than once? Whatever you guys think works for me though. I set it up with the thought it's a work in progress so whatever changes you would like to make, go for it.
Glad you liked it and glad you had a good time in AC! I had forgotten you were going and was wondering why you were MIA.
- At 8:35 AM, GaryC said...
Wow, helluva trip report, J. Like TripJax, I had a blast and didn't even go. Sounds like you had a great time.
- At 8:40 AM, kipper said...
Good post...now its time to go protect some PCs from Zotob...Ponders why we still have SP2 and 3 deployed to Windows 2000 PCs!!
- At 11:54 AM, STeelerJosh said...
Welcome back J.
Nice read, I laughed out loud about the new air the hotel invented. Sounds like impressive stuff. I am thinking I could use some of that at home.....
- At 2:26 PM, HighOnPoker said...
Hey Trip. I thought we can have Round 1, with W or L, and then under that Round 2, with W or L. We'll discuss on IM later. Happy you guys enjoyed the trip report. I still feel like I'm recovering. I'm aching for some HU too. See you all tonight, hopefully.