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I Wasn't Even Supposed to Be Here Today (AC Trip Report Pt 5)

I'm almost at the finish line. Holy shit!

I woke up at 9:30 on Sunday morning. I missed wifey Kim, but I had to concentrate on my date with destiny. Er, more accurately, my date with Roose. We got up, shortly followed by Randy Hole, and prepped for our day. Bags were packed, and we worked out a strategy. Roose was ready first, so I sent him downstairs to wait at the Mansion Cafe line, the diner-equivalent restaurant at Showboat. Randy and I stepped out of the room, and barely glanced back to see if we left anything. Whatever we left couldn't be that important anyway. I know my copy of Bluff, left on the nightstand, wasn't worth its weight in horse manure. Every time I leave AC or any gambling locale, I have 2-3 poker publications, and every time, they sit in my bathroom magazine rack for 4 months until wifey Kim tosses them out. Whatever!

So, off to the Mansion Cafe. When we got there, Roose was next up. We got our table and put in our orders. I got 2 eggs, scrambled, with a bagel and cream cheese. I also got the official breakfast drink of High on Poker, chocolate milk. Nothing preps me for the day better than chocolate milk! As we waited for our food, I printed out my $9 comp. Sadly, it would cover most, if not all, of my meal. Sad because the night before, I beat Roose in Rummy 500, and the loser was to pay for breakfast, after both of our comps were used. Roose, meanwhile, was sent to the poker room to sign up for the tournament. I told him I had my doubts, and he protested briefly, but didn't make a big deal of it. I figured it made more sense to play cash games since I could win more, and when he was done in the tournament, we could leave.

After breakfast, Randy left for North Carolina to visit his friends Eric and Heather, two great people I've gotten to know from the Roose home game. I hit the bathroom as Roose went to the poker room to grab his seat. When I was done with my business, Roose and I shot the shit near the poker desk. "You should play, man. I feel more confident when you play." I was a bit surprised. Why would Roose feel more confident when I played the same tournament. It wasn't like we'd be at the same table, and it wasn't like I was dead money. No, I suppose it was more of a habit thing. Whenever we play these tournaments, we play them together. The 1/2 games had a waitlist and Roose went to take his seat. I spoke to the woman at the desk and asked if they were still taking tournament entries. Indeed they were, until the first break, so I signed up last minute to assuage Roose's concerns. It was $53+12 (formerly $50+15), with 10k in chips and starting blinds of 50/100. I grabbed my seat a couple of hands into the event. There were 84 players.

My first table was great. My reading abilities have come a long way, and I began to get a feel for my competition. There were two rowdy black girls on my right. I joked with them the whole time and we really were enjoying each others company. There was a skinny older guy with a poneytail, goatee and hunting camoflauge cap on across from me, and I noticed that he was one of the few other loose players. I also noticed that when he pushed, and push he did, he'd have a premium pocket pair. Otherwise, he had marginal hands when he was raising. The rest of the table was a blur, but it was a friendly group, and we were all having a fine ole time.

After a short while, I was dealt KK. I hadn't played a hand in the 2+ orbits since I arrived, so when I raised it up, I was glad to get one caller. The flop was QJT, and I bet out approximately the pot size. I was called. The turn was a blank, and if I felt that I was still ahead, so I bet the pot. He called again. The river was another blank, and I made a large bet. This time, my opponent folded. This was also about the time I realized that the table was playing pretty tight.

Showboat has great tourneys, but they changed things up, so blinds felt a bit fast. It was 50/100, 100/200, 200/400, 400/800, 600/1200, 800/1600, 1000/2000 and so on. 20 minute blinds were okay, but not great. I really didn't care much about the tournament either. I was already in the hole a decent clip, $240 on craps, $21 on Stud, $170 on the WSOP Circuit, so the $65 entrance fee didn't phase me. I was ready to switch to cash games if I busted.

I started to raise with a lot of hands, and usually was able to take it down pre or post-flop with a continuation bet. In this way, my stack grew to a respectable size. I barely hit showdown and I had a couple of instances where I won 3 or more hands in a row. Cue the internal NBA Jams voice: He's on FIRE! I got along great with the table, too. One of the black girls grabbed for my Buddha card cap, claiming that she wanted its luck. "Woe! Slow down their honey. Buddha's luck only lasts for about 20 seconds in the hands of a woman. Then he needs 20 minutes to recuperate." I grabbed back Buddha and jokingly slapped her hand. Later, a dealer said that she had great hair. "Don't listen to her (the female dealer), honey. She said the same thing to me" as I lifted my hat to show my bare palatte. Ah, witty table banter. Gotta love it.

I've just listened to my audio notes to remember my other significant hands. I played two hands against the hillbilly with the camoflauge hat. In one, I had AJo and limped in early position. He made a bet in late position, and knowing he was loose, I called. The flop was J-high, and I checked, hoping he would bet. He checked. The next card was negligible, so I bet and he called. The river was a blank, and one more pot-sized bet helped me take it down. In a later hand, I called his preflop raise with AQ, only to hit TPTK again. I bet out and he called me down the whole way with AK. I had a feeling he had AK, so my bets remained low enough to induce the calls the entire way down.

I took out one player with A9o. The blinds were already 200/400, so I raised 3x the BB with A9o, hoping to pick up the blinds. An Asian guy on my right had already limped in. He called my bet, and we saw a 9-high flop. Yes, I kept hitting TPTK, now that I am looking back. At least that was the case for the first hour. He checked and I bet the pot. He called. I was always betting pot so everyone knew that if you wanted to play with me, you'd have to pay. The flop had 2 spades, so I hoped that no spade would come out. Instead, an offsuit Ace was the turn, giving me top two pair. Suddently, my opponent bets out, and I push him all-in. He calls pretty quickly and shows AJs. The river was a blank and I bust him.

At the first break, I had over 28,800 chips. I was in good shape, having almost tripled up my starting stack. I know I just mentioned a group of hands that had me with good cards, but most of my money came from taking down the 200/400 blinds and limpers. If the mood was right, any two would do.

After the break, my table, well, broke, and I ended up at a table with a slew of big stacks. I went from top dog to middle of the pack, and did my best to feel out the group and keep the aggression going. This is another of those times that I don't remember a bunch of hands. I made a raise in late position on one hand, only to have the prohibitive chipleader hem and haw. He shuffled his chips as he decided what to do from the SB. He decidedly folded and the player to his left pushed all-in. When I folded, the chipleader, who I'll just name Asshole, stated loudly, "I knew you had nothing." "Well," I replied, "next time you think I have nothing, the correct move would be to raise. And besides," here comes the fun part, "if you raise me there, I call in a heartbeat. It's this guy," motioning to the BB who pushed, "that I was worried about. You, I call." The very next hand, I'm dealt KK, and I make the same raise. The SB hems and haws again, shuffles his chips and folds. The former BB pushes, and when it folds to me, I call. He has 88, and hits his eight on the turn. I lose a good portion of my stack.

I got into desperation mode, eventually. Roose was moved to my table, and had the pleasure of seeing me at my best, when I'm playing for all of my chips. I was in the BB with 29d, a miserable hand, but I had less than 5x the BB. The Asshole raises big, and when it folds to me, I'm glad to call. "I've got you dominated." I quip, as he shows his AKo. The flop is 262, and I take down the hand. I get all-in with 33 against the 88 guy a short while later. He shows A8 and doesn't hit anything. I double up again.

This was really the survival portion of the game. Blinds were high and I was under 10x the BB for most of my time there. The action was loose, too, so I didn't want to take too many shots at the pot without at least playable hands. Meanwhile, Roose and I were still hanging in there and the rest of the field thinned to two 6 player tables. Actually, I believe this is where I pushed with 33, and the KK hand was a while before. I remember after the hammer fold, that Asshole was going on about me. When I shamed him into shutting up, he said, "Whatever. It was a good play. You are a good player." He actually seemed sincere. If he was paying attention, I'm sure he saw that he and I were the best players there. I responded, "Yeah, same to you," in case his comment was tinged with sarcasm.

I was able to make it to the final table with Roose, but the payouts were only to the top 8 players (10 at the final table). In one of the first hands at the table, I held 99. An early position player pushed, and I had played with him earlier. He wasn't a very good player at all. The Asshole had been moved to the other table (out of 2) not too long ago. When he returned, he had 34k, less than 10x the BB. He pushed all-in as well, and the decision was to me. With 99, I called, hoping to be facing to Ace-highs. As it turned out, the first player had JJ and Asshole had A8 or A6. The flop was unimportant. The turn was too. I heard Roose in my left ear, "Nine." And then it was dealt out, the sweet, sweet 9. I knocked out both players, and Roose and I were in the money.

Roose and I celebrated making the final table during the final table break. I had 160,000 now, the big stack at the table, but blinds were escalating rapidly. I played fairly tight, unless I had cards. I busted two more players. Roose may've misplayed KQ, raising in early position only to be re-raise all-in by two other players. He called, and was facing JJ and 66, but didn't hit. A few hands later, he was sucked out on in 6th place. GG, Dave. 5th place was the hillbilly with the camo hat. He was joking the entire time that he was the shortstack but would chop the money evenly. "Buddy, I don't mean to insult your salesmanship, but try not to mention you are the shortstack in that sentence and you'd get a lot farther." He didn't get a lot farther. 5th it was.

With four left, it was me, a tight old guy to my left, a red headed younger guy across from me, and a loose chunky Hispanic guy on my right. The old guy was super short, and Red had chipped up, so Red, Chunky and I were already talking about an even chop in the top 3. While this happened, Old Guy started to push all-in a lot. He sorta had to. He picked up some blinds, and also doubled up in cointoss situations, when he was heads up with Q6 vs. two other uncoordinated cards, and again with some low pair preflop. I saw his stack get healthy, and decided to try to make a deal happen sooner. If we split the top 3 spots evenly, we'd all get 1120. I suggested we all toss $100 more to fourth and give him what amounted to $750. As we talked, old guy stole more and doubled up more. Suddenly, I realized that he had me covered. Not long after, he had everyone else covered.

Oh, I dropped the hammer. In the SB, it folded to me and I pushed all-in against the Old Guy. He was only calling with good hands, although who knows what he was pushing with. He folded and I tabled them face-up, calling over Roose to witness my act of brazenness.

As I was saying, Oldie actually surpassed us all at this point, and Red, the former big stack, realized what was happening. "Let's slow down a second." I agreed, as did the dwindling Chunky Hispanic. "Four way chop?" someone proposed. I took out my cell phone calculator and did the math. Split 4 ways, we'd each get $929 and change. DONE! We drew high cards to see who officially got first place, since Harrahs/Showboat report taxes (but don't withhold) for wins over $600, i.e., 1st and 2nd place, officially. I ended up picking the card for 2nd place and received a tax form. When we got our money, we each tipped the $29 and change to the dealers. As we congratulated ourselves, Roose still grumbled about being sucked out on.

Thanks to that win, I was up $400 or so on the trip. The tournament win was my largest tournament win live or online, and I was very proud of my results.

The ride back to NY was, well, a ride back. We sped most of the way and got home in no time.

AC poker, gotta love it. I wasn't even supposed to be in that tournament, but Roose convinced me and we both cashed. Pretty sweet. I love this game, and if this trip taught me anything, it is that live poker is my game. Even when I lost, I never tilted and I knew that I could win. I accepted luck as just that, luck.

Someone joked about a blogger event in AC. Well, AC isn't Vegas. They won't give us our own private tournament. But we could all storm one of the many tournaments in town. I'd really love to get together with some other bloggers. The Bash was great, but I can't usually do Vegas, since it's a large money and time commitment. The bottom line is, I don't have the time or the ambition to be the sole planner of a trip. I tried to get the ball rolling for Foxwoods, but got no interest. I'd try the same for AC, but I don't have it in me. Any volunteers? I'd certainly help get the word out, at the very least.

That's all for now. Until next time, make mine (live) poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:09 PM,


At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats awesome...good thing you didnt leave congrads man

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Littleacornman said...

A top read as always.Congrats on the tourney cash too.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Id be up for some tourney action in AC for a weekend. Nothing is like the Vegas get together though man.. you MUST come.. Gary commands it!

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm super free post Friday any day in AC is very pliable in my mind and love to storm tournies with crowds it gives u more people to root for

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job in the tourney, and I'm totally with you. I'm in my natural element playing live. Online I just am not as confident in the entire situation.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger MrGoss said...

Round trip Dallas to Altantic City = $385 with two week advanced purchase.



At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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