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Let the Betting Begin (AC Xmas Trip Report Pt 1)

Every year, while you gentiles are off sharing gifts and holiday joy, the Jewish HighOnPoker clan makes their way to Atlantic City for a little time in our home away from home. The tradition started years ago, when for a period of a few years, the High Clan would spend Thanksgiving in the North East gambling Mecca to avoid the family infighting. Like most good things, even the family infighting came to an end, and the Thanksgiving tradition ended. Then, about 8 years ago, wifey Kim and I decided to change up the usual Chinese Food and Movie X-mas plans and head back to the land of blue hairs and slot machines. A few years later, some friends joined, and then my parents and family friends. This year, we had a full 12 people, ranging from my brother and his girlfriend, to my buddies Roose and Hole, to my bro-in-law Marc, to my parents and Roose's parents, who have known each other since they were kids.

The trip started off with a ton of traffic. My little brother wanted to leave Long Island extra early to beat the traffic, but after picking us up in the city, we were stuck on a random bridge because of an accident. The weather was crappy, a light rain that slicked the roads. I was driving, one of the few times I get to drive, though, so I was content.

Most of the crew left a good hour before us, but since they took another route and didn't hit the accident-driven traffic, they all arrived in Smithville an hour before us. Smithville is a small mocktown near AC with an old school vibe. There is a main parking area and a road winding through the town, with a slew of knick knack shops that could basically can all be called Ye Olde ______ Shoppes. There, the crew stopped for food while I continued to drive to AC. Since we were late, my car, consisting of me, wifey Kim, bro Dave and his girlfriend, instead went to a restuarant called Goodfellows in nearby Absecon, NJ, right on Absecon Blvd. I don't know much about the area around AC, but Goodfellows worked out extremely well. The place is like a Fridays or Bennigans, except it isn't a chain (from what I could tell) and the food was very tasty. It just had that same family-friendly restaurant/pub feel.

After lunch, we drove to the Tropicana, where I had scored 2 nights for free (except for the negligible tax). Having arrived late, my parents had already checked me in. I admit, this steamed me a bit, because I wanted to try the ole folded $20 bill room upgrade. Roose, ironically, got there earlier and secured his upgraded room for the $20 tip. For his Jackson, he received a regular room with a jacuzzi tub and bidet, somehow appropriate for the dirty bastard. As I inwardly steamed, I opened my room, across the hall from Roose. Surprisingly enough, I lucked out, getting a junior suite for free. The room had a separate living room alcove with couches and a nice TV.

Unfortunately, traveling with other people suck. My little brother's room was a regular room, and I considered giving up my palace. After all, my bro had brought the Wii to keep us occupied when not gambling. He also had a bunch of friends in town, so I decided to switch rooms. The junior suite would clearly be Wii and party central, and wifey Kim wanted a modicum of privacy and freedom.

10 minutes later, I tried to set up the Wii and learned that while the Trop had RCA inputs in the front of their TVs, the TV did not let you change inputs. No Wii and no palacial room. Bad motherfuckin' beat. I really need to stop being such a nice guy.

Wifey Kim and I decided to hit the casino floor, and we ended up at a cheap $10-minimum Blackjack table. My mother and Roose's mother were already playing, so I grabbed the sole remaining seat as wifey Kim watched over my shoulder. She got bored quick and left with Roose's wife to go shopping. I, meanwhile, went on a modest tear, before cashing out up $102, happy to leave the table while still hot.

I found Roose and we decided to hunt for cheapo $5 craps. Amazingly, there were two tables available, and we played at both for a while, until I left down $150 at craps, my blackjack profits a distant memory.

I mulled around for a bit, trying to determine how to keep myself busy. I wanted to play poker. After all, I always want to play poker. But this wasn't a poker trip. This was a trip about spending time with wifey Kim and the family, and besides, dinner plans were coming up.

I think I found wifey Kim, and after a decent session of roullete (I think I broke even, she won a few) we headed upstairs to change. We took our time getting ready, since we knew the temptation of gambling was just downstairs. There'd be time enough for that, though.

After showering and changing, we met up with the group. Twelve of us, in total, made our way to a nearby restaurant, Rifici's, located just down the block from Goodfellows. Rifici's has become a Christmas Eve tradition, and this year, we added to the tradition by prop betting on everything. There were over/under bets on when the first appetizer plate would reach the table (must be on the table with the waiter's hand off of the plate), who would have their drink served first, where my mother would sit, etc. It made for a great time, once the parents got over their initial impulse to disuade our degeneracy. By the end of the meal, we were all stuffed and I was a few bucks poorer. My mother, meanwhile, won the largest prop of the night by guessing the bill almost exactly. I noticed she didn't say much about the degeneracy as she was counting her profits.

Back at the hotel, wifey Kim and I putzed around. She was tired, which made sense considering we were up early and she is usually on an earlier sleep schedule than me. The guys were all about to hit up the poker room, but I said good luck and joined my wife to the room. We hung for a while and when she fell asleep, I suited up to play.

I wish I kept better notes, but, well, I didn't. Suffice it to say, I played like crap. I don't remember what happened exactly, but I remember that I was rushing the action. Early on, I made a bad play when I couldn't believe that my opponent had the one overcard on the board that could beat my moderate pocket pair. I was wrong. I lost some more and was generally not pleased with my play, so at 2am, after playing for probably 3+ hours, I stood up and decided to walk. I said to the one table mate I had been chatting to that it was clearly not my night. I wasn't going to fight fate.

After cashing out, I checked on the guys. Hole and my bro-in-law Marc were at the same table, both holding their own. I don't remember where Roose was, but when I found him, he was happy to call it a night too. He, Rob and I went upstairs to unwind. We hung in Rob/Marc's room for a bit and then I finally hit the sack.

This seems like a good time for you all to take a quick piss break and maybe make yourselves a sandwich. I'll be back in a few with the second day, which included someone winning a tournament, more shitty poker play, and even some dirty, dirty slots.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:11 PM,

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