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Longer Lasting (AC Trip Report Pt 3)

I'm at the office. It's Sunday. I was hear for four+ hours yesterday, and I'm here again. Joy! But you don't want to read about that, my friends. So, let's get back to Atlantic City.

When Roose, Ruff and I decided to finally sleep Friday night, I set up my usual routine. I'm a terrible sleeper, but with the aid of a bandana used as a blindfold and my iPod to block out noise, I can make due. When traveling with Roose, the iPod is a must. The man snores like a Mack truck, but amazingly, he was the first to sleep and his snoring was not instantaneous. This was a real surprise, and I looked over to see him curled around an extra pillow. Whatever the case, I put my head down and, according to Ruff, I was asleep in about 10 seconds. I guess a long day of work, followed by three hours of driving and 7 hours of poker will do that to you.

In the middle of the night, I knocked my iPod off of the bed. I made a brief attempt at feeling for the iPod, but I was exhausted, Roose was amazing still silent, and I just drifted back to sleep.

I woke up the next morning at around 10am or earlier. I immediately went feeling for my iPod under the bed. In the process, I accidentally hit something that made a loud noise. I then hit something else. It was the worst attempt of silence ever, but I eventually found my iPod a good 2 feet under the bed. After rescuing it, I headed to the bathroom, where I broke one of Roose and my unspoken rules of wifeless AC: I showered.

By the time I got out of the shower, everyone was still lying in bed. I crawled back into bed myself, confident that we would be up in time for the 2pm Showboat tournament. At the exact moment that I resettled myself in bed, Roose shot up from the other bed. When Roose wakes in AC, its like the WWE's Undertaker getting up from a knockdown. Basically, he bends at the waist, his back flat as a board, as though he was some Voodoo zombie suddenly awaking from the dead. It's rather comical, especially since you know what's going through his head during his morning resurrection: POKER!

Roose and I decided to walk around the casino while Ruff slept on his cot. We were both in need of food, but nothing particularly appealed to us. We agreed that the buffet was no good, since it would make us sluggish during the tournament. The line for the diner-like Seaside Cafe was long, so we continued walking. We eventually opted for Adam Good Deli, downstairs in the Trop, by the Hooters, where we ordered egg & cheese sandwiches, clearly made from some egg alternative. The food was passable, certainly not good, but passable, and we continued our trek around the casino.

I hadn't played any table games or slots yet, so Roose and I sat down to two Wheel of Fortune slots and played $20 each, going spin-for-spin in a prop bet race to see who could hit Spin the Wheel first. The winner: the fucking slot machines, which took all of our $40 without a single god damn Spin.

After that we headed to the Asian game pit to play my personal favorite table game, Pai Gow Poker. It was still early morning and slow, so Roose and I got our own table. We joked around with the dealer and pit boss, who looked bored out of his wits until we sat. The dealer sucked. She paid me out to the tune of $200 profit, but she was just plain stupid. On two ocassions, he gave Roose bad advice, incorrect advice, to be precise, causing Roose some dough. On the first ocassion, after telling Roose to split his low two pair (if you don't know Pai Gow, just nod along), Roose pushed, instead of winning the hand outright. After Roose showed his set hand, the pit boss said, "You set it wrong. You should've kept the two pair." Shitty dealer chimed in, "Yeah," as though the advice he gave 20 seconds before was from some other shitty person. I told the dealer that he gave bad advice, and he looked confused, as though he did no such thing. "No, I told him to keep two-pair." Whatever, man. He was fun anyway, even if he was a fool. I believe Roose ended even.

From there, we met up with Ruff. We decided to head over to the 2pm Showboat tournament, instead of the 2pm Hilton tournament, which supposedly has a worse structure. Showboat tourneys are great, with 10k chips and reasonably escalating blinds. Still, they become a push-fest late in the tournament. We agreed to a $10 last longer bet, with the winner netting $20. The tourney was $100 buy-in and after getting our seats, we went over to the Chelsea Market sandwich place in Showboat so Ruff could eat. My stomach already felt like crap from breakfast, so I just hung around. Roose had an Italian hero, because Roose wants to be Italian so freaking bad.

After 2nd Breakfast, we headed to the Asian pit at Showboat to show Ruff some Pai Gow Poker. Unfortunately, it is always so crowded at Showboats two Pai Gow Poker tables, so it looked like all was lost...until I saw the empty Asia Poker table. I never played the table game Asia Poker before, but from the layout, it looked conspiciously like a hybrid of Chinese Poker and Pai Gow Poker. Each player receives 7 cards, and arranges them into three hands, in declining strength. The first, strongest hand has 4 cards, and can be a flush or straight. The second, middle hand is 2 cards, where flushes/straights don't count. The third, weakest hand is merely one card, so flushes/straights also don't count. It was actually very enjoyable and had an interesting skill element involved. For instance, I was dealt this hand: KKQ8732. That's a pretty shitty hand, and at first I was going to set it as KK32/Q7/8. However, with some guidance from the dealer and pit boss, I changed it to K832/K7/Q, and amazingly won. To win, you must beat 2 out of 3 of the dealers three hands. In this instance, I won the K7 and Q hands, but had I kept the pair together, I would've lost the KK and the 8 hand, losing $25 in the process. When we left, I was up $100.

We were on our way to the poker room for the tournament when I realized I forgot my new red hooded sweatshirt at the Asia Poker table. I told the guys to go without me and I headed back. The pit boss, who was friendly during my run, was happy to see me back so soon, until he realized I was there for my sweatshirt. I headed back upstairs, aware that I was now at least 5 minutes late to the tournament. Just then I felt the need to use the bathroom, and, having resigned myself to being late to the tournament, I decided to take my time.

When I got to my tournament seat, a woman was simultaneously looking around, right behind the table. I put down my stuff as a floor person told her to take my seat. MY SEAT! The seat that was listed specifically on the ticket I got when I paid $100 to play the tournament. Hell no, I said, or more likely, "This is my seat. Here's my ticket." If I was a minute late, I'd probably have a lot more to complain about. Still, I got my seat and settled in.

This was another one of those tournaments where I barely had a showdown. In fact, I don't think I showed my cards at all during the first couple of hours. Roose, Ruff and I were all doing well, but eventually, down from 90 players to about 30, both of my boys busted, netting me the $20 last longer bet. I, meanwhile, was about average in chips, from making steal attempts when necessary and winning a couple of cointosses in my more desperate hours. I apologize for the lack of particular hands, but I just don't have it in me a week later.

One thing was certain, though; I had my nemesis, a big stack regular who was the only player giving me any sort of trouble. He was happy to re-raise me and call me, which put me in a tough spot. However, late in the tournament (30 or less players), he had a complete meltdown and lost his whole stack in two hands to a moronic chick. He was a huge chipleader at the time with 70k+, compared to the nearest guy with maybe 40k. With AJ, he saw an AJ6 flop against the chick. He checked the flop, she pushed for probably 40k, and he called. She had 66, and he suffered a cooler. In the very next hand, he was clearly frustrated and open-shoved with 77. The chick called again, this time with KK, and that was all she wrote. It was actually quite humbling to see, and everyone at the table agreed (once he was gone) that he was playing exceptionally well until that blowup.

Over time I had worked up my stack to the point where I have over 110k, easily the chipleader at my table. We were down to 20 or so players, and I felt good to make the money (top 9 spots paid). But, well, I didn't. I suffered some losses to suckouts or cointosses, and then eventually busted around 16th. It wasn't too frustrating, considering the circumstances. Even though I had a little over 10% of the chips in play when we were down to 20 players, I still have to contend with the blinds, which by then were up to 4000/8000. Being chipleader is fine and dandy, but its a lot less impressive when you barely have 10x the BB. Right before I busted, Roose came by to tell me that he, Ruff and a mystery guest were heading back to the Trop. Luckily (I suppose) I busted so quickly thereafter that I caught them before they left. I met them in the parking lot and off we went.

The mystery guest, by the way, was Robbie Hole. On our trip to AC on Friday, Roose and I were chatting with Hole via cell phone. Hole seemed disappointed that he couldn't join us, but in actuality he was planning on stopping by anyway on Saturday. Seeing him there was a great surprise. Roose and I intended to just have a weekend of poker, so when Ruff and Hole joined, it was a nice change from a poker weekend to a guys' weekend...of poker.

Back at the Trop, the four of us discussed what to do. We needed food and opted for Adam Good Sports Bar, which was actually pretty adam good. I had some sliders (mini burgers) with chicken soup, since I was still feeling ill from AC's food and/or adrenaline rushes and/or excessive gambling. Post-dinner, we decided to check out the Trop poker room, but Ruff and Roose were really interested in the Borgata. Still, I had to put in 4 hours of poker to keep our $129 poker room rate (as opposed to the usual $369 rate), so I grabbed a seat at 1/2 NL.

My table was pretty great, mostly because there were really only three good players, myself included. The other two were an early-20s caucasian kid who played with intelligent aggression and an Asian guy to my right who played a wide range of hands excedingly well. In fact, both of them played a wide range of hands, so I did my best to keep out of their (and their big stacks') way. On the other hand, the 1 seat was a drunk hillbilly with a huge stack and some weird plays. He re-raised me a couple of times preflop and forced me to fold because of position. At one point, I finally said to him, "Should I be taking this personally?" After that, we had an official rivalry going. His wife was sweating him, and I heard him ask the floor if he could get a table at the Palms. By then, I had already gotten a feeling for his play, and I was upset that he'd be leaving with his chips intact.

I'm a big fan of getting info, in any way you can. In one hand, I bet out with AJ to $12, and my Drunken Hillbilly Nemesis raised $40 on top. I'm not calling $40 more out of position, but I took my time, since I wanted to get some info for my trouble. "Damn. You keep doing that to me." After shooting some talk back and forth across the table, I asked him (as though it would help my decision), "So, when is your Palms reservation?" "10:30" I waited a bit more. "Okay, I fold." I knew I was going to fold, but I really just wanted to find out how long my drunken nemesis would be at the table. Sadly, I never got my chance to stack him, but I was happy that I turned a $12 loss into a fact-finding mission.

Over the course of 5 hours of play, I ended up winning $365, mostly from about 3 hands. That's the way NLHE poker is at times. You can play for hours, but it all comes down to a few hands. In fact, I spent the last 2 or 3 hours simply folding. My cards went to shit, I had a nice stack, there were a couple of dangerous aggressive players who had comparable stacks, and I was merely trying to kill my 4 hour requirement. It was probably one of the boringest sessions I've had, saved only by the good company at the table.

As I've mentioned, there is an interesting push-and-pull in poker-table social situations. My drunken nemesis is a perfect example. We were gunning for each other, but when he got up for dinner he said, to me specifically, "It was a pleasure playing with you." It sounded 100% sincere, as opposed to sarcastic or mean-spirited (like "It was a pleasure taking your money"). I returned the compliment. In truth, even though we were playing off of each other and trading words, we acknowledged it for what it was: good fun. Similarly, the white kid who was playing well was my nemesis early on. We were clearly cognizant of each others' skills and while we didn't have any confrontations of note, there was a competitive thing going on. But sure enough, after a couple of competitive hours he says, "From what I hear, you probably play as much as me." I responded, "From what I see, I'd say the same." By the end of the night, we had built a comraderie. The same was true between me and the Asian kid who was playing well. Even though I took some pots off of him, we were buddying up.

I'm a crass sonuvabitch, and at times, I just can't control myself. Honestly, I think back on ocassions and think, "I shoulda kept my mouth shut" or "Why did I act like such a dousche?" At the poker table, anything goes, and its amazing that my usual antics are not only accepted, but in many ways celebrated (by profit and at times by mutual admiration by fellow players). I love poker for the money, the challenge, the gamesmanship. But I also love the social aspect of the game.

During my 5 hours at the NLHE table, Roose, Ruff and Hole came by. They weren't enjoying Trop, so I told them to go to the Borgata without me. I had 4 hours to complete. I didn't mind it either. At the table, I was all alone anyway.

After I had my fill of poker, I went up to the room to unwind. I turned on the TV and caught the middle of Real Sex 32 on HBO. Amazingly, the crew was just discussing this episode over dinner that night. Robbie Hole had done a street interview for Real Sex about 4 years ago, along with his female friend. They claimed they were dating for the sake of the interview. About that same time, HBO stopped making new episodes of Real Sex until this year, at which point they used about 10 seconds of Robbie Hole's interview. They were discussing masturbation, and Robbie, in his wacky-ass self, responded that his girlfriend, "goes like this - wobba wobba wobba" moving his hands in a weird fingers-flexed, open-and-close motion. It literally makes no sense, but the absurdity of it is hysterical. Sure enough, within 5 minutes of turning on the episode, I saw Robbie's TV premiere. What fine luck. If you get a chance to see it, its after the Masturbation-athon segment. Robbie is the shmuck wearing the bright yellow shirt.

The guys got back to the room and we went looking for drinks. None were found. It was probably 4am and all of the bars were closed. It was goddamn shocking. We played some stupid table games, where I lost another $20 or so, and then called it a night.

The next morning, Roose wanted to play more poker. I was okay with some more cash games, but I didn't have the patience or time for a tournament. Eventually, we opted for table games, where I lost $50 at blackjack and Roose won a couple of bucks at Roulette.

Before leaving AC, we had one last stop, the White House Sub Shop. It was recommended by Jamie of the Wall Street Poker Game. I'm not much of a meatball sub guy, but since he recommended it, I gave it a whirl. It was pretty good, but not as amazing as I hoped. The sauce lacked flavor, or maybe my tastebuds were dead from a hard weekend. Roose got...wait for it...the Italian hero, because Roose wants to be so Italian that it affects his freaking eating habits.

The rest of the trip was merely a drive home. Nothing too exciting.

I love AC, most of all when I can enjoy it with some friends. I'll be back for X-mas, but before then, I'll be in Vegas for the WPBT Winter Gathering. It's going to be a fun end to 2007.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:31 PM,

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