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Fox Hunting (Foxwoods Trip Report Pt. 1)

When time allows and Roose is free, there is only one thing that will safisfy our collective poker itch: Atlantic City. But this is not a story about Atlantic City. This is a story about our attempt to try something new, something different. And that something is known as Foxwoods.

In the New York City area, there are two legal poker destinations within a three hour drive. The first is my second hometown, Atlantic City, home to around eight to ten poker rooms of various sizes, the most opulent being the Borgata, a hotel that is isolated from the other casinos by being in the car-accessible Marina portion of AC. The others are either scattered among the Marina area (Harrah's) or on the Boardwalk, where all casinos are accessible by foot, about 45 minutes from one end to the next, with poker rooms scattered in five to fifteen minute increments. The joy of playing poker in AC is the variety of rooms. For some, that may not be important at all. I think specifically of the Borgata loyalists, who praise Borgata for its newest, biggest room, widest range of stakes, and copious amount of wannabe hotshots staying at the best casino hotel AC has to offer. But for a guy like me, who enjoys tournaments under $200 buy-in and a tad of variety in scenery, AC is like a buffet of poker delights.

The second NYC destination for poker is Foxwoods Casino Hotel, located in Connecticut, about the same distance away as Atlantic City. Unlike AC, a city that has legalized poker, Foxwoods is owned by Native Americans, who, in exchange for the slaughter of their people and the rape of their land, are now allowed to own gambling halls. Sweet deal! All us Jews got were control of the banks, entertainment, jewelery, textiles, and kosher food markets. Whereas AC has a slew of casino/hotels, Foxwoods has allegedly "six" casinos, but as far as I could tell, it's really just two attached hotels and one separate hotel, with a series of casinos set throughout the hotels. It's like saying the Tropicana Hotel in AC has five casinos because there might be five different casino areas within the one hotel. The casinos themselves were traditionally just known as Foxwoods. The "new" casino, MGM Foxwoods, is on the same general property and is connected to the other buildings, but somehow stands apart, in name and perhaps ownership, mostly. I don't much care about the structuring behind Foxwoods/MGM, but I only point this out to make it clear that the MGM was the real reason we were heading to parts unknown. For a brief moment, it seemed like Foxwoods was moving a tad closer to the multiple-casino appeal of AC or even Vegas.

In reality, MGM doesn't have a poker room. Hmm. So, if we were to play at the Foxwoods, we'd be playing in the same room the entire time. Wifey Kim had an event with the girls, and Roose was able to get a night free, so we planned to head to Foxwoods to check out the new MGM and play some poker. After booking a room at a nearby Ramada (Foxwoods was sold out and uber expensive anyway, and the Ramada was an easy 15 min. distance by car), I discovered that the MGM was poker-less. But, it was all about changing things up, so we left our plans as is.

I woke up early on Saturday to meet Roose at his home in Bayside, only to be greeted by Roose and his buddy (mine too, thanks to Roose), TwoDiamondPhillips. Roose mentioned that TwoDiamond (or "2d", in poker blog parlance) would be joining us, as Roose always does, i.e., after the fact, without letting me know. 2d is a funny mofo, though, and we'd played together a bunch of times, so I was glad for the additional company.

The drive to Foxwoods was smooth. We arrived at our hotel and dumped off our stuff before making it over to the casino, arriving in the afternoon. The night before, I checked out the tournaments offered and saw that the selection was a tad weak. So, let's begin our list of the reasons why AC is better than Foxwoods with:

REASON #1 WHY AC > FOXWOODS: Tournament selection.
The tournaments offered Saturday noon until Sunday evening are as follows, taken from Foxwoods website: Saturday, 12pm, $560; Sunday, 9am, $120, 12pm, $340, 6pm, $120. In other words, for under $200 I could either play the 9am Sunday game or the 6pm Sunday game, which logically is too late to play and then drive home 3 hrs on a Sunday night before a work day. So, one tournament. In AC, I can name a half dozen off the top of my head, and that only includes two of the eight or so hotels.

We were locked into the early AM tournament on Sunday, so I decided to start off with some 1/2 NLHE. I signed onto the wait list, which leads us to reason #2.

REASON #2 WHY AC > FOXWOODS: Poker room options.
With more poker rooms throughout AC, there is always a place where you can jump into a game quickly. At Foxwoods, some tables had lists of easily 20 players. The 1/2 NLHE had about 8 players when I signed up, and I expected a long wait. I will give Foxwoods this, though. They are quick, as once we reached 10 players, they started a new table. I don't mean to just piss on ole Foxy. Some things about it were good. But I still think that multiple poker rooms in the area would lead to less bottlenecking as all poker players head to the same place.

I wandered around for 20-30 mins while Roose and 2d decided to sign up for a $120 SNG. I opted to skip it, since I didn't know how the structure would be and I didn't want to wait to play. Once I was in my cash seat, the other guys waited for another 40 minutes before their SNG kicked off. Eventually, I found out that 2d took 3rd for $200 and Roose busted out of the money.

While Roose was losing $120, though, I was losing $410. Nothing was going well for me at the cash games, and I lost several pots to bad river cards. Even worse, though, was the fact that I was utterly card dead and could not hit a flop if my life depended on it. This led to a subtle form of tilt where I was playing too many hands for a limp and then folding AND trying to squeeze edges a bit too much. I didn't lose any monster pots, but it was a lot of -$100, -$100, -$100. Each time, I would rebuy back to the max, so I could benefit off of some of the worse players, but that time didn't come.

In one hand, I held QJh, and limped in LP. A blind raised to $10 and I called along with three other callers. The flop had a King and two unders, with two hearts . The blind bet out $30 and since I was trying to make some mula on my draw and had decent odds, I called. The next card gave me an inside straight draw as well, so when the blind raised all-in for $60, I did the math again and decided that the call was appropriate. There was $40+ preflop, another $60 on the flop, and his $60 bet; I had to call $60 to win $160 with 13 outs once. Someone else can do the math, because that may or may not be right, but at the time, I liked the situation, since I knew that my spending was capped. The river was another King, so when the blind showed his KT, I pretended like I was disgusted by his lucky river and mucked my cards. -$100, just like that.

I lost another hundred plus on a stupid river call, and the old adage, Rule #1 of poker: When you are behind, fold. It all started when I got my first strong hand of the day, AQs, and raised preflop to $12, getting a few callers. The flop was KQx, and when it checked to me, I bet out, getting only one caller. The turn was a blank, so I bet out again, fairly confident that I was ahead based on the action and my opponent's demeanor. He called, hesitantly. The river was a 9, and I thought, shit, he hit his straight. I think there may've been a flush draw that missed out there, but I distinctly remember thinking, 'I can't believe he hit his straight. I checked for the first time in the hand and my opponent bet $100. This was an uncharacteristically large bet for the table, even if it was proportional to the pot. I tried to consider why someone wouldn't just make a smaller bet if he had the nuts here, so I eventually called, thinking, 'He can't have the straight.' Well, he had JTo, so I was right with my first instinct. Another -$100+.

I lost a couple of more bucks when I bet my A9s in position to a bunch of checkers on a QQ9 flop. I got two callers. The turn was another Q, and I thought, well, no one has a Q. I bet out again, was called, and then re-raised. I let it go at that point. Sure enough, one guy had the Q and the other guy rivered a flush. Whatever. More importantly, though, the guy with the Q, an old dude, made some sorta offhand comment that "I knew what [Jordan] had." The subtext of his statement was that he played me, and on some level he had; by that same token, he slowplayed quads...not the most amazing play in the world. Whatever the case, it got me a bit hot and bothered so I stood up, found the floorman and asked for a table change. It was clear my image was shot anyway.

I was down about $400 and basically remained even for the several hours I played at the other table. At least I had more fun, drinking some booze and chatting a lot more with my tablemates than I did at the first table. The conversation focused around a chick several tables away with apparently glorious cans and a tight body to match. After hearing about her for 15 minutes, I ran some recon, scoping out the room while checking out the philly. She was alright, I suppose, but for the sake of keeping my tablemates happy, I reported back that she was a piece of ass. I also added, "She was a bit rude though. She refused to move her hair when I said it was blocking her cans." Amazingly, throughout all of this, a kid who looked like a 19-year-old Jamie Gold (and acted like him too) wouldn't shut up, dropping curses left and right in a way to show everyone how truly awesome he is. More amazingly, the dealers didn't do jack squat, allowing our foulmouthed table to drop F-bombs at will. I'll give Foxwoods credit for that much; they aren't pricks when it comes to dirty language.

After a while, a player who just sat down stood up, saying, "There are much easier tables." I got to thinking that he was right. I called Roose to see if he and TwoDiamondPhillips wanted some grub. He texted back, "We just ate." Later, I would bust his chops for not calling me and TwoDiamond responded, "I said we should get you, but Roose said that you were not leaving that table." "Well, I guess that's true enough when I last saw Roose, but by the time you all ate, I needed any excuse to walk away."

Down $410, I didn't feel so great about the beginning of the trip. The guys hadn't played any cash games, instead playing the SNG and checking out the casino. So, I suggested we play another SNG. It's more poker but a change from the game that was driving me so nuts.

And so, we complete the first part of the trip, a cash game debacle where I couldn't find my footing, couldn't hit any hands, and couldn't stop myself before I self-flagulated myself out of 400 bucks.

Next time, will Jordan make some money back in the SNG??? What is there to do in Connecticut for three degenerates with nothing but time??? Will Jordan and the crew wake up in time for a hearty breakfast before their one chance at a Foxwoods tournament?

Find out next time on, The Trip Report!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:12 PM,


At 4:30 PM, Blogger MyPokerThoughts said...

I've been to Las Vegas a few times before but have never been to Atlantic City. Its sounds pretty good though and I'd like to go sometime.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Unless you are on the East Coast, there isn't much reason to go to AC over Vegas. I prefer AC because I used to go there once or twice a year as a kid. It's mostly nostalgia. They have built up the shopping and a bunch of mega-hotels are openning in the next few years, but if I were from CA, for instance, I would never go to AC. I still love it though. If you need any advice about AC, I'm also your man. Feel free to email me. My email can be accessed from the link in the tab at the top of the site.


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