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Cash for One (AC Trip Report Pt. 3)

There was still time to jump into the $120 7pm tournament at the Showboat, but after finishing the 2pm $100 tournament in 8th or 7th place (out of 57 players, with 5 spots paying), I felt inclined to play some cash games. My goal was to play for an hour or so and determine if I wanted to leave AC earlier than anticipated.

On the way to AC via bus, I thought that the round trip drive would take 6 hours total (3 hours both ways). This was clearly an over-estimation by design, so that I would be happily surprised when I got to AC or home a tad faster. As it were, it took me 2:20 to get to AC. Even so, during that bus ride, I did the math. 6 hours of driving time meant I had to spend at least 6 hours playing poker to make the driving time worth it, and realistically speaking, I expected to play a lot more than that. However, after the 5 hours of tournament play, I felt almost satiated with poker. I could still play more, but I no longer felt the urge that caused me to take an expected 6 hour round trip.

I also was not tilting, so I saw no harm in sitting at a 1/2 table. After all, the tournament was disappointing as far as the payout (or lack thereof) was concerned, but I still felt like I was playing well.

Within the first hour, I lost a good $100 playing 1/2. I immediately found my nemesis, a pixie-like Asian guy in the 4s (I was in the 8s). He was quiet, had headphones on, and looked to be a sharp player. In an early hand, I made an ill-fated check-raise bluff on my nemesis, fully expecting him to fear that I had AK on the KJ5. Lord knows that was the way the hand played out. I checked the flop, he bet $15, and I raised to $45. He took a whie and raised to $100 total. I folded begrudgingly, even though I knew I was beat. He admitted 55 for a flopped set, and said that he hoped I had AK. "I did," I responded, "but I had a vision that you hit two pair, Kings and Jacks. I guess I was close enough."

Part of that situation was just bad timing, something that has been plaguing me lately, but I was extra-conscious of the fact that I may have been on some form of latent tilt. While I am still unsure to this day, one of two things happened in that hand: (1) I had bad timing that can be blamed on luck, or (2) I was forcing the action too early. For now, I will assume (2), since that is the only one of the two that I can actually work on.

I recommitted to playing smart from there on out, even though I was building a loose table-image. My neighbor to my left was a 20-something, shaved-headed, skinny kid from Delaware. He had one earbud in and was singing along with his rap music in a way that made it perfectly clear that he was seeking attention. He also had one of his top front teeth missing, which was not a pretty sight.

When I initially sat down, he had one of his buddies sitting behind him drinking a beer and lightly watching the game, with two other guys milling around. By the time my neighbor and me made friends, the two standing buddies left, but the other guy was still nearby. Our conversations went all over the place, from poker to where we lived to drugs and hookers. I just played along, sometimes egging him on, but overall having a great time. We were both drinking Coronas, but even though he claimed he was hammered, neither of us were drinking quickly.

Meanwhile, I continued to lose pots against my nemesis, although for the most part, the pots were small. In fact, I only got into one big hand over the next few hours.

I held QJo in the SB. A EP/MP Asian guy in his 40s sat in the 1s or 2s. He was reading a paper most of the game, spread out like he was sitting at his brunch table. In this particular hand, he tossed his $6 raise out nonchalantly. The action folded to me and I flat called, since it was such a small bet. My hip hop neighbor, Ole Toothy, decided to call from the BB as well.

The flop came down a beautiful AKT, with two hearts, flopping me the nuts. I opted to check, since I was confident that someone would bet. Toothy obliged by betting out $10. Then, to my excitement, the Asian Brunchmaster slowly raised to $30. I considered the action very slowly. Toothy was likely going to fold to my re-raise, and Brunchmaster only had another $65 or so behind. I bet out $100. Toothy folded and Brunchmaster called. We agreed to flip over our cards. He had A7h...and rivered a heart.

And that's how I was down $200.

I like to think that I didn't tilt over this one either. I just shrugged it off. In fact, Nemesis, across the way, catched my eye and gave me a sorta, "What can you do?" gesture. Even though he and I were gunning for each other, we developed an understanding that we were also probably the best two players at the table. There was respect from all the way across the table.

I don't recall too many other hands, except for one that I found particularly fun. An older Caucasian gentlement with a bald head and white beard was sitting in the 3s and decided to limp in a hand. I had AT or something marginal and decided to have fun when the action folded to me in one of the blinds. "I raise!" I announced loudly. Then I threw four intimidating white $1 chips into the pot. I enjoy this move, mostly because it loosens up the vibe at the table. Everyone will call, and as long as your hand has some potential, its worth it to sweeten the pot and throw people off of their usual game.

The flop came down with all unders, so I bet out. "BET!" I tossed $4 into the pot. I knew it would get a call, but I figured that I could lose $4 without fear, if it came to that. The White Beard called. The turn was a Ten, giving me top pair, top kicker. "BET! But this time, I have to put some meat into it!" I tossed $6 into the pot. He called. The river was a blank. "Okay, I have no choice now." I bet $12. He called. I showed my hand and took down the pot. I didn't win a ton of money in the hand, but it was fun, and I probably got more out of it than I would've if I raised preflop and then continuation bet the flop (assuming I even got a call preflop).

I also had another altercation with Brunchmaster. We played a hand where I held KJc but failed to improve after flopping a flush draw on a Q-high flop. After calling a flop bet and a small turn bet, we checked the river. He was last aggressor and in position to show his cards first. He flipped an Ace and said "Can you beat Ace-high?" I chucked my cards into the muck. Then he flipped over his other card, Queen, for TPTK. The dickhead slowrolled me. I wasn't going to let that slide. "Oh, so that's how its going to be? You are going to slow roll me? Okay. That's the way it is!" I was joking around, but I meant every word.

A while later, I decided on a whim to play K4s in LP for a limp. I flopped a 4, but we checked around. I turned another 4 and I bet out. Brunchmaster called. I bet the river and he called again. At showdown, I flipped over my King. And then I waited about 10-15 seconds. And then I flipped over my 4. He looked mildly perturbed. I just yelled over, "I learned it from watching you." Nemesis chuckled and gave me a reassuring smile.

I never got full revenge on Nemesis, but other players did. Meanwhile, I was getting pretty hungry. It was about 8pm when I first felt hunger pangs, so I asked the cocktail waitress about the food options. There were a couple of crappy sounding sandwiches available and a beef & vegetable soup. I opted for the soup, which was delivered promptly about 50 minutes later. It was adequate.

I was also making regular piss breaks thanks to the slow drain of Corona going down my gullet. Each time, I would take my backpack with me to the bathroom. It occurred to me later that anyone watching would either think I am carrying extremely expensive valuables in my dinky backpack, or I was taking regular cocaine breaks. Neither was true. I just didn't trust leaving my poker bankroll and other items alone in a room of people trying to take each other's money.

At around 9pm, I started to consider how I was going to get home. I had printed out a schedule of bus times and saw that an 11pm bus left from the Showboat, and decided that would be as good a time as any. I hadn't seen anyone in AC, but I had played poker, and I felt satiated. Meanwhile, I won back a few bucks and come 10:30, cashed out -$110 in cash games. My total for the trip was -$210, which is a modest sum.

After cashing out, I took a break outside of the casino to have a smoke. I walked a bit in the calm air and enjoyed the view from the boardwalk of the moon shining off of the ocean. It was a very peaceful experience and I reflected on my solo trip to AC. Everything was easy, and I no longer had any excuse to not go to AC in the future.

I eventually headed inside and stopped at Starbucks for an iced tea and large chocolate chip cookie before heading over to the bus. I decided to forego the crappy sandwiches at Chelsea Market even though I was fairly hungry. The walk to the bus parking area was calm and quiet, but the casino patrons took on an aire of sadness. A man with Downs Syndrome sat staring at a machine. As I passed him, I realized that the machine was out of order. His elderly mother was at the next machine over, feeding the slots.

I had some time to kill when I realized that the bus was really leaving at 11:10, so I made a pitstop into a bathroom on the casino floor. It was empty when I entered, and I found a stall where I could shed my layers and apply some Gold Bonds for the ride home. I was making an awful lot of noise moving around in the enclosed space, so I was glad that the bathroom seemed silent when I was packed away and ready to exit my stall. I openned the door and, to my surprise, three guys were in the bathroom. Two were at urinals and an Asian man was washing his hands at the sink. He looked at me like I was a crazy man, probably because I was still somewhat discombobulated and I was making so much noise in the stall. I washed my hands in the sink opposite his and noticed him staring at me through his mirror. As I left the bathroom, I caught sight of him right behind me. Even though I had nothing to fear, I intentionally juked right quickly and cut down a row of slot machines out of his sight. I was halfway to the bus depot when I realized that he may've been staring at me because my fly was open and he didn't know whether to say something.

On the bus, I grabbed a seat about 4 rows from the back. I dropped my bag into the inside seat and took the outside seat. The bus was about 1/2 full. Most of the rows were occupied except for a few behind me. As I waited for the bus to leave, a middle-aged couple took the seats behind me. Through my earbuds, I could hear them arguing loudly.

Him: "I don't care what you say. Next time, you stay upstairs and I'm going to play!"
Her: "Fine, but I don't see what good that will do. Your tables were all taken."
Him: "I don't care. I am going to play next time and we'll see how you like it."
Her: "That's fine, but your tables were all taken."
Him: "I am going to play next time! I didn't come all the way down here to leave early!"

It was like listening to a child throw a tantrum. All-in-all, it was quite pathetic, and I did my best to ignore their arguing. I tried to picture the context of their argument. Perhaps they are on a budget and they come down weekly to gamble their "allowance". Maybe they had a room, but she lost so much that they didn't have enough money to play anymore. That would explain the "upstairs" comment.

Whatever the case, I went back to my iPod and Starbucks cookie. A short while later, we left Showboat, only to arrive at another casino. More people got on, and I realized the problem with sitting near the back. People will naturally keep walking until they find an empty row. When they get to the back, they resign themselves to sitting wherever, and usually sit down in the back. I didn't want to share my space, so I kept my head down. I was counting on my clean-shaved head and Superman t-shirt to portray someone a bit off-kilter. A guy stood right by my row for a few seconds, but I decided not to offer him my seat. If he wanted it, he would have to ask. He eventually asked the guy across the row from me.

The ride back was uneventful. I arrived back in NY at about 1:30am, about 2 hours and 20 minutes after leaving AC. I headed home via subway and was in bed by 2am.

Going to AC alone was a fun experience, but not one I expect to repeat anytime soon. Still, its good to know I have options. Thanks for all those who encouraged me to go, and an extra thanks to those who offered advice as to transportation.

And with that, we end another trip report. Expect another one after my AC trip with Roose scheduled for some time in April.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:26 AM,


At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A man with Downs Syndrome sat staring at a machine. As I passed him, I realized that the machine was out of order."

Am I a jerk for laughing at this?

Awesome trip report! Good read.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I love the slowwwww roll...except when it is done to me...haha!


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