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Table Game Primer (AC Trip Report Pt. 1)

What a weekend! The good news, I won over $700 at poker. The bad news, I lost over $200 at table games (drat that craps!). The good news, I chopped the top four spots in a tournament. The bad news, it wasn't the WSOP Circuit event, where I busted out at approximately 179th out of ~830 players.

That's the long and short of it. Now, get comfortable, because I took notes. Let's get this trip report started:

I barely slept Thursday night. I had taken the day off from work and spent my time doing tedious errands, all the while not giving the trip a thought. It was like it wasn't real, or maybe that I couldn't believe that the trip was here. I really look forward to my trips to AC. The ability to play live poker in a safe, clean, accommodating environment is a pure joy to me. More importantly, AC poker rooms have something that the NYC clubs will never have: the casual player.

The casual player is not a donkey. He is not a fish or an Internet player on his first trip to a brick and mortar casino. The casual player is the guy who just likes to play. He thinks he's good, and he might be, but can often go the other way too.

The casual player is drinking and having fun. He's playing a game and wants to win. He might tilt, but what's it to you? He might sometimes suck out, but we are playing poker, after all.

I'll tell you what he won't do, though. He won't act like a douschebag. He won't be looking to exploit your weaknesses. He won't be trying to tilt you. He won't be an overaggressive dickwad. But, hell, if he is all those things, that's cool, cause you can beat him anyway.

Okay, weird start for a trip report, I'll admit. I'm on little sleep and lots of poker, so bear with me. My point is, in a casino, these casual players are scattered amongst the sharks, internet pros, wannabes, angle shooters, and addicts. It's a regular pot potpourri of degeneracy, and the casual player is the one who legitimizes the whole parade.

Love that Poker! So, let's get to this one more time.

Randy Hole picked me up at about 1pm on Friday morning. The ride was quick and smooth, and we arrived in AC around 3pm. Our hotel, as per usual, was the Showboat. It fit the HighOnPoker criteria for picking an AC hotel: it was the cheapest casino/hotel on the boardwalk for that weekend. Really, all of the hotels are interchangeable. I love the Showboat, and I know it like the back of my glands, but if I can save $10 by staying at Bally's, then hell, as long as it has a casino on the strip, it'll have everything I need.

All casinos in AC have poker rooms or are close enough to a casino with a poker room. It's no Vegas, folks. You can walk from one hotel/casino to the next in no time. From one end of the Boardwalk to the other, the walk might take 20 min. Perhaps 30 tops. And if its not unbelievably cold, its a nice walk on the Boardwalk. Realistically speaking, though, you'll only have to go for a 5 minute walk to find poker, and more often than not, you can go there via interconnected casinos.

So, Showboat was the cheapest and most willing, and in my book, that's a winner for a hotel room or a date! That killed 'em in Scarsdale! One thing I have learned is that Showboat's suites are inaccessible on weekends, even with the greatest shmoozing, so we settled into our normal room. And then we went to gamble!

First stop, Pai Gow. Randy was actually on his way from NYC to South Carolina to visit a friend. When he heard about Roose's and my plan to play the WSOP event, he figured it'd be a good time and a good waypoint to his final destination. When Roose found out his holiday party was Friday night forcing him to drive to AC at 10pm, Randy and I headed out at 2.

Pai Gow, how do I love thee?! The sad truth is, I like games of chance that are entirely out of my control. There, I said it. Pai Gow is one of those games. Even though you receive cards and must set them in two poker hands, the cards really play themselves. So, while it feels like a game where I get to apply poker knowledge, it really is just a game of fate doled out by a series of cards that practically arrange themselves. It takes about 2 minutes to learn all of the nuances of the game, but it sorta feels like poker and most hands are pushes, so money lasts.

I sat down and bought in for $500. I planned on playing $100, but I wanted to up my visibility and my newfound cash bankroll allowed me access to the largest stack of $100s I've ever had available on a casino floor. After 30+ minutes, I found myself up .25. Yes, a quarter. Seeing that I had my fun, I stood up and tossed my profit to the dealer. The two players at the table asked me to stay, but I wasn't gambling with their money so off I went.

The next stop was craps. I decided to back Randy 50% to make it easier for him to play. He wasn't there for the gambling, but we were having fun, and his action was as good as mine in craps. Long story short, I dropped $240 when it was all said and done. Terrible rolls by Randy and I didn't help.

With lighter wallets and the evening approaching, Randy and I decided to head over to Harrah's, the location of the Circuit event. Dave Ruff and Timmy Bones were also in AC for the event, and we arranged to loosely meet them at Harrah's. When we arrived, Randy and I signed up for a $50 ($38+12) single table satellite to the $300+40 Circuit event. We were numbers 3 and 4, and it didn't look like there were people clamoring for these single table satellites, so we settled into the only open game, 2/4 limit, to kill time. Within 2 orbits, I was called over for 1-5 spread Seven Card Stud. I left Randy for more senile competition.

I was the youngest player at the Stud table by 20 years, easily. I chatted it up lightly with my partners, and started off tight. When I saw that most hands were checked down or faced $1 bets, I played more hands. I don't remember any with particularity, but I do remember that I was the only one betting out $5 at a pop. As I played, I saw Ruff and Bones stroll in. They put themselves on the same satellite list, which cut both ways. On one hand, one of us was likely to win if we were 4 out of 10 players. On the other hand, only one of us could win. While we waited for the tourney to be called, Bones and Ruff hung out at my stud table, railbirding me. It's honestly something I don't think I can do, wait around for poker patiently. But it was fun having the company, and by the time they called the tournament, I was down $21 but having a great time.

Next up...the Single Table Satellite, Roose's arrival, and more pokery goodness.

posted by Jordan @ 1:10 AM,


At 11:38 AM, Blogger TripJax said...

Keep'em coming. Loves me some trip reports...

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me where the Straddle Club is?

At 12:43 PM, Blogger cmitch said...

I'm with tripjax - trip reports make Mondays bearable.

I think that I would have to drink heavily to play 1-5 stud with a bunch of 60-70 yr old rocks. It must have been mind numbing.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovin' the trip reports..

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cant tell anonymous where straddle is but if ur not ask on the latest entr and i will


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