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Dirty Slots (AC Trip Report Pt 1)

I've got so many posts to write, I don't even know where to start. But I'm especially excited for this year's Xmas in AC post, that I can't wait any longer.

Wifey Kim and I spent the weekend in her friend's upstate ski home, getting reacquainted with some of wifey Kim's friends from college. From there, we headed downstate into New Jersey, with our final destination as Atlantic City, our X-mas spot for the last 7 or 8 years. The tradition started at my insistence when the usual Jewish X-mas tradition, Chinese food and a movie, seemed stale. The first year, it was just me, wifey Kim, and two of my high school buddies. The next year it was just me and wifey Kim. But after that, my parents began to join with Roose's parents, and Roose came along as well. Every year, it seems like we have a new cast of characters joining us, and it couldn't be more of a pleasure.

The trip started off smoothly. I drove through the twisty mountain roads through a misty, constant rain until we were on the highway and moving swiftly. Wifey Kim took over the driving about 1 1/2 hours from AC to give me a break. I slept for about 30 minutes and when I came to, we were mere exits away from the AC Expressway.

Our arrival at the Tropicana Hotel was delayed by a pitstop at a local Rite Aid drug store. Wifey Kim had caught my killer cold, so we needed to restock on tissues and I needed some toiletries. Finding the drug store was amazingly easy thanks to the GPS unit in the car. I have been a fan of the GPS map technology from the start, and if I owned a car I'd definitely have one. There is something wonderful about not worrying about directions. The ole GPS takes care of all that.

After the pitstop, we headed to the Trop. We chose the Trop using the High on Poker AC Hotel system; it was the cheapest hotel/casino on the Boardwalk. It also happens to kick ass. It was the location of a series of Thanksgiving dinners with the High family when I was around 11 years old. Back then, they used to have a mini-amusement park indoors. Now, its wall-to-wall slot machines, aside from the new Havana-themed Quarter. The Quarter is a long, two-story hallway-like mall with a variety of high to middle-end stores and a bunch of restaurants.

As we approached the front desk, I prepared myself for a technique I had only read about. I took a single $20 bill and placed it, neatly folded, underneath my license and credit card. As I got to the counter person, I handed the items across the desk. "Any chance I can get upgraded to a junior suite?"

I had often tried to earn free upgrades. In the past, Roose and I have been generally very successful. But the pre-tip (really a bribe) was something I never did before due to the simple reason that I was scared that the person would say, "No" and still have my $20. Dr. Felter, a reader, sent me his personal trip report from his recent Las Vegas trip, and he pulled off the $20 upgrade. That, combined with the holiday season led me to give it a go. I figured if it did not work, I would simply say "Merry Christmas" and think of the tip as a generous gift.

I didn't have to say Merry Christmas though. The woman typed some things in the computer and turned to me: "We have a suite with an ocean view and one with a jacuzzi tub. Which do you want?" The answer was obvious, jacuzzi. I don't see what the big deal is with a view. The window is usually the last place I am looking. She moved my credit card and license and saw the $20. "Just so you know, this is a $150 upgrade." By then, I already had my keys, so I responded in kind: "Well thank you very much, then." I don't know if she wanted more than $20, but the first rule in hustling is to shake down the person BEFORE you give them the goods.

Wifey Kim did not even know about the $20, so she was amazed at how easily we got the upgrade. I filled her in on the walk to our room. Once upstairs, we took some time to wind down. Eventually, we hit the casino floor, where Dave Roose was finishing up a Pai Gow session with Robbie Hole. Eric & Heather, friends I met through Roose and Hole, were also in town for the night. After the Pai Gow, wifey Kim and I found a Roulette table, where I sat back and watched wifey Kim do her thing. Okay, so I pestered her with numbers, but it was fun for both of us. We were down about $40 when we decided to put enough chips on to let us leave -$60 even if we lost. We didn't. Wifey Kim hit, so we pulled more money off of the table, and bet whatever was left over after breaking down $20 increments. She hit again. She proceeded to hit one or two more times until we were up $40. Roulette is fun, but once down and then back to even, I always feel satisfied. Since we were up $40, wifey Kim and I decided to walk.

We found everyone by the poker room at a Roulette table. It seemed like that session was ending, so we looked for more gambling. Heather wanted to play some Wheel of Fortune slots, as did wifey Kim, so we made our way to a nearby wall of $1 machines. I tried to set a prop bet with Heather to see who would hit a Spin first, but her machine took 5 bets and mine took 3, so we couldn't work it out. On her first spin, though, she hit some sort of combination for $155 profit. She cashed out immediately for $175. We walked around some more. I don't remember what we did, but a short while later, news came around that Heather hit another WoF machine for about $120 profit.

Wifey Kim and I hadn't eaten, so we decided to grab some food around 8:30pm. We checked out PF Changs, but the wait was over an hour. Right next door was Cuba Libre, so we popped in and found that we could be seated immediately. We ordered arepas to start, which were quite bland. Wifey Kim ordered ropa vieja for her meal, essentially slow cooked brisket mixed with stewed vegetables, and I went with guava bbq ribs. Both meals were delicious, although they came within 10 minutes of the arepas. We shared a half-pitcher of sangria, but I did most of the drinking.

After dinner we hung around with the crew a bit longer. We eventually headed upstairs, where wifey Kim fell asleep. I snuck downstairs for some more poker and found Roose. We sat at a 1/2 table that looked prime for the taking. There was one loud Asian guy in the 8 seat that knew what he was doing and a nerdy lawyer in the 10s who had amassed a lot of chips.

My first seat sucked, so I switched positions to be to the left of a couple of big stacks. That also put me next to the only female at the table. As I sat down, she joked about how she didn't want to sit next to me. She kinda looked familiar and over the next 20 hands, we joked around until I asked if I had played with her before. She thought so too, based on my baseball cap. The reality is that it was a cap I hadn't worn in years. Its essentially a trucker hat with a hunting camo design on it (not army camo). I bought it as part of a hillbilly costume for college, and it sat in my drawer ever since. I figured it was comfortable and added to my whackjob image, so I dusted it off for the poker. Still, she looked familiar, so I just played it off. Her name was Odette, and she was in much the same spot as I. There was a lot of action, but we were both card dead. While we commiserated, I shared some insight into tells.

One player in particular looked like he could not control his tells. I saw him shuffle his cards on a couple of occasions before a fold, and reasoned that he shuffled his cards when he had bad hands. It's a common tell, since most people subconsciously think shuffling their cards will somehow change them. As I said this, the gentleman called his adversary and flipped over top set on the three-flush board to take down the pot. I was immediately eating crow. That is the tricky thing about tells. They are never 100% reliable. He probably didn't like his top set after the flush came, which would explain the shuffling, even though he was very strong. OR, he liked his hand just fine and his shuffling had nothing to do with anything. Whatever the case, I was wrong. I'm just glad I wasn't in that pot.

While folding away, random members of our group stopped by to check on me or fill me in on some news. Earlier, at the Roulette table, after Heather's two slot wins, Robbie Hole handed Heather $20 with instructions to pick a slot machine at random. If she won $30 or more, she was instructed to stop. Any profits would go 1/2 to Rob and 1/2 to Heather.

At the time, I thought Rob was making a big mistake. Logic dictates that it was not Heather who had a magical power over the slots, so Rob may've well played the $20 himself and kept 100% of the profits. But I was fairly sure the deal was more for fun than anything, so I kept my mouth shut.

So, it was quite a surprise when Rob stopped by with news that he was unstuck for the trip, thanks to Heather hitting a nickel machine for over $500. Amazing! He took his half and she went back to more slots, hitting another $400 on a nickel machine before quitting.

Back at the poker table, I continued to be card dead. It reminded me of times in the past when I would see a neverending string of shitty cards. I promised myself that I would stay the course, though, since this was a table where I was not going to bet anyone off of a hand.

The table had a lot of cross-talk, mostly originating from the cocky Asian in the 8s. I had flashbacks of Vegas, where I lost $400 at a table that just didn't feel right. I decided that I should cut and run rather than wait for this "juicy" table to pay me off. The cards weren't going my way, so it was time to go. I stood up at 2am and headed upstairs. I spent some time unwinding before I finally hit the sack. I was down $130 from poker, but I was happy I stopped playing when I did. Tomorrow was a new day and wifey Kim had plans to go shopping with my mom, so I knew I had a good chunk of time in the afternoon for some poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:22 AM,


At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sir are the reason why we pull reverse tells on our table. The School of Caro is just another piece but FAR from absolute certainty. (Card Shuffling included)

At 5:46 PM, Blogger BWoP said...

Big REMON. I left AC on Christmas Eve. This is what I get for dating a Catholic.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

champ, your sense of superiority is comical. I made a read on a hand I was not involved with. I think the reason why this particular guy really was scared of the flush. That all said, I did not make a decision based solely on a read. The School of Caro is VERY useful against unknowledgeable players at a 1/2 NL table. Add my intended table image (loose jerkwad) and reverse tells by the few knowledgeable players are few and far between. Even with that said, I am always conscious of the skills of my opponents, including whether they are crafty enough to put on reverse tells. This guy was not. But I appreciate your sense of self-grandeur. Suck it, bitch.

BWOP, its a shame I didn't see you, but I was probably too busy anyway.

At 2:45 AM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Someone needs to start a HOPsynopsis to go along with the Hoysynopsis....

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen, you made the reference like it was some sort of absolute.(justifying your dismay of hand strength with the flush possibility) Maybe if you re-read that section, from that 1970's book, you would see that tell:

a. Was more focused on Stud

b. Shown as being unreliable at best.

And allow me to add:

c. Caro is a horrible Poker Player. (and yes I have played with him BOTH live and online, sample size being very small of course)

d. He makes his income pimping his products to folks like you and me.

You wouldn't know if you ran into me, cause I run incognito...just another tourist in your eyes.

While you refuse to check the ego, I'll keep it humble while at the table. I find it to be much more profitable to treat my "customers" with respect than to portray an image of being a "jerkwad".

Plus, I run Goot! So you can save the flattery elsewhere.



At 4:52 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Ok, champ, that actually was a bit more of a helpful comment. Let me be frank. I put on the image of a loudmouth, but I have fun at the table, as do my "customers." I used "jerkwad" a bit too liberally. Usually, everyone I encourage an environment where everyone has a good time.

You may be right about Caro, though. I'm sure he makes more money with Caro University and the like. That said, I have personally seen the shuffle tell pay off.

My problem with your original comment was its combative tone, as though you would always stack me off merely because on one occassion, I thought I picked up a tell.

That all said, the POINT of the comment was to show the fallability of tells. So, I think we are really on the same page here. I still think that the shuffle tell is reliable under the right conditions. I always advocate caution when it comes to tells.


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