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One Little, Two Little, Five Little Poker Players (AC Trip Report Pt 1)

Writing a blog for three years, there can be times when the spark of inspiration dwindles down to little more than a cinder. And then you pour 3 gallons of gasoline on the little flame and suddenly you are engulfed in an inspirational wildfire.

Atlantic City was my 3 gallons gasoline.

In the last three years, I have chronicled over 10 trips to Atlantic City, most of which with my perrenial poker wingman Dave Roose. So it should come as no surprise that this one started out much the same as the others.

The plan was for Roose to meet me at my office at 4pm. By 1pm, the text messages back and forth reminding each other of the upcoming trip were coming fast and furious. By 4pm, I was out the door, searching for Roose amongst the sea of cars.

Logic dictated that we leave early to avoid the rush hour traffic. Logic sucks, because apparently everyone else had the same idea. It took us 1 hr. and 30 mins. just to get into NJ. For reference, that's maybe a 20 minute drive. From there, we fought traffic and anticipation, making it to AC, usually a 2.5 hour trip, in a whopping 5 hours.

Along the way, Roose hooked up his iPod and we listened to some recent PokerRoad broadcasts. I used to listen to the PR broadcasts regularly, but other distractions have taken its place. Still, listening to the crew discuss poker actually set me in the right mindframe. By the time we were pulling into AC, I was raring to go.

We made a quick pitstop at the Showboat where Roose and I debated whether to seek a room upgrade. Last year, I had my first successful under-the-table-tip room upgrade during X-mas season, but I knew that the weekend before Memorial Day weekend would be too packed in AC to get anything going. Even so, we chatted up the counter clerk and felt our way around the topic. Sadly, she confirmed our belief and we headed over to our room to drop off our stuff and literally head out the door in under 5 minutes.

The plan was to head to the Hilton for their 10pm $40+10 NLHE tournament. I hadn't played this specific tournament before, but I vaguely remembered from a past Hliton tourney that the structure would be fast and the play atrocious (You can read about the other tournament, in which I made it to the final table only to lose with AA v. 55 all-in preflop and a guy who accidentally called with T9 against my AJ HERE). The lower buy-in also assured me that this would be a donkfest.

During our drive down to AC, Roose let me in on some of the details to which I was not privvy. As far as I knew, Roose and I were going to be heading out to AC solo. But while driving, we got a call from Petey, one of the players at the Roose Home Game. "Hey guys. Are you in yet?" I made small talk about traffic with Pete on the speaker phone. "Well, what are you arriving?" It dawned on me from the conversation that Pete wasn't back in Queens. He was in AC with his wife, children and sister-in-law. The timing was pure coincidence, but since Pete was new-ish to poker (he's been playing for years now, but never in a casino) and since we were in AC, it was the perfect opportunity to introduce Pete to casino poker.

Pete, by the way, is in his 40's, and is a former electrician. He's the salt of the earth, a good guy all around. He also was atrocious at poker when he first started to play. Since then, I have seen his play develop over the Roose Home Game. It helps that its a congenial atmosphere and we often discuss hands right after they are done. Now, Pete has moments of great play mixed in with some less-than-stellar play. But that is the nature of the beast and I can wholeheartedly say the same is true for me. Consistency is definitely the hardest part of poker, once you get down the basics.

A little while before that, though, we received a call from Robbie Hole. "When are you going to be there?", he asked. We told him about our late arrival. "Well, we aren't leaving here until late." Wha?, I thought. Apparently, Roose had invited Robbie Hole and Randy Hole as well. Our little trip had turned into a traveling party and I couldn't be happier. The crew would all be in AC. What could possibly go wrong?

After dropping off our stuff at the Showboat, we arrived at the Hilton poker room where I signed up for the tournament while Roose went to get a players' card. We met up with Pete and he signed up too.

The Hilton poker room had changed since I was last there. It is located two escalators up from the main floor opposite the Asian Game pit. In fact, the Asian Game pit used to be where the poker room now is, and the poker room used to be where the Asian Game pit now is. Looking back, I can kinda figure out the reason for the change. The Hilton, located at the end of the strip of casino/hotels on AC's Boardwalk, always seemed to have trouble bringing in the poker players. The hotel's outdated cheesy gold and glass decorations and trim (think early 90s chic) doesn't make it an attractive place, and its location is far from the huge poker rooms (Borgata and Taj) and too close to the Trop's great room. By swapping the Asian Games (always a moneymaker) and the Poker Room, the Asian Games had more room to breath and the desolate poker room looked a tad more full in its moderately smaller location.

After signing up, I grabbed a random poker magazine and a seat at a random table. I killed time until my guys were signed up. Then we sat around and discussed the game and strategy. All the while, a gentleman across the table was reading another magazine. I was conscious of the fact that he could hear us talk shop, and I hoped that we would not be at the same table, because he knew from our conversation that we were serious players.

When it was time to take out seats, I finally looked at the table/seat numbers. By sheer coincidence, I was sitting in the exact seat I was assigned to. The eavesdropper was also sitting in his correct seat, which indicated to me that he had played this tournament before. Whatever the case, I now knew that with this particular individual, my idiot's image would not work. Fortunately, I was going to rely on a different image anyway.

The tournament kicked off with some of the worst play I have ever seen. But that will have to wait for later, as it is now time for an intermission. When we return, one of these five people win the Hilton Tournament: Will it be Jordan, your humble narrator in desperate need of a bankroll boost? David Roose, driver extraordinare and poker wingman to the stars? Petey Pablo, first time casino tournament player? Eavesdropper Guy, and his crazy strong eavesdropping skills? Jarvis Pennyworth, the butler nursing his jealousy over Jordan's chiseled pecs and many lovers?

Find out next time on....Poker Tournament Survivor!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:25 AM,


At 12:56 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

I can't wait for the next installment.

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're teasing us !! I can't wait. Even if our hero, Jordan, doesn't win, it should be entertaining.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

My guess is Petey. Since when is Jordan the hero?

It's just too good a story to have Petey NOT win. Plus you set it up a bit by talking about his occasional good play, how he's improved, etc. That's just too much backstory for him NOT to be one of the main characters.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger StB said...

My money is on Jarvis Pennyworth. You don't bring in a character at the end (exaggerated character at that) and expect him to not win.

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha...great writing! I'm not even going to guess who will win.

I'd hate to see eavesdropper guy take it. Unless there is some Hollywood type ending in store for us.


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