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Lessons Learned (AC Trip Report)

So, in my last trip report, RiverRun mentioned that I had a blogging tell and he could guess from the first line whether or not I had won. Well, now the rest of you can figure it out by the third line of the post. -$205. Great. Let's get to it, then, big boppers.

The plan was like all of Dave Roose and my AC plans. We'd meet, this time down by my apartment where he worked, complain during NYC rush hour traffic, tell a cop to fuck off for refusing us entry into the Holland Tunnel merely because we were in the wrong lane and changed to the right lane in the last minute, ate some god aweful fast food, and eventually arrived in AC, giddy for some poker.

We were staying in the Showboat, the official Atlantic City casino-hotel of High on Poker. Once we entered, though, something seemed amiss. The parking lot was not full, we were placed in the newly renovated tower, and the casino was not swamped with hordes of unwashed masses. I turned to Roose as we headed to our room, I asked Roose if he noticed what I noticed. I surmised, "I know its the end of the summer season, but did you expect this much of a dropoff?" Roose responded, "Dude, the economy is in the shitter." And so it was, and so, AC seemed empty.

After getting settled in, we made our way to the poker room. It was about 10pm or so, and we asked about the 11pm tournament. Sadly, it is now extinct, having been removed from Showboat's schedule probably 6 months or more ago. Still, Roose and I had our dreams, even if they were summarily dashed.

"Put me on the list for 1/2, the interest list for 1/2 PLO, and the 2/5 NLHE list." I decided to get on every list except for the 2/4 limit, mostly because I wanted to play badly, but not that badly. 2/4 limit hold'em is the second ring of hell. I'll play limit poker, but unless the goal is to get shitfaced drunk, 2/4 limit is just too low.

Of course, Roose suggested we play 2/4 limit just for drinks, and I considered the possibility, but I was a man on a mission. So, we bullshitted around until two new tables opened up and we were called for a new table. Oddly, though, as we were looking for our new table, we stumbled upon an ongoing table seeking two players and we were forced into that game. Between you and me, dear readers, I'd rather play at a new table, since everyone starts on equal footing. However, there was a decent amount of money on the table at the ongoing game, and I didn't have much choice anyway, so I settled in to the 10s as Roose took the 1s.

There are posts when I shower you with my golden play, what I like to call my golden shower posts. But this is not one of those posts. This is a post when I splatter you with my shitty play, and hence, we can call this a scat post, for those so inclined.

My first 'error' may not have been an error at all. I would love to hear what you all have to say, since this one cost me a lot of frijoles.

I was on the button with T4c. I hadn't been in many hands, although I probably was there for about 1 or 2 orbits. I was starting to get a feel for the table, but there was really only one guy worth noting, a Puerto Rican guy in the 6s or 7s who was clearly high on something not poker. He was twitchy, couldn't stop prattling on, and was playing like a man trying to lose his money. There were a few limpers and he pushed all-in. At this point, he was a fairly short stack and was playing any two cards. I want to say that he bet $12 or something similar. Whatever the case, when it got to me, he had a caller or two already and I had position. I knew he was soft as ice cream, so I called with my crap cards.

The flop came down 678 with two clubs. That meant I had a double-bellybuster straight draw and a flush draw. That's a decent amount of outs, but I checked, expecting the Puerto Rican to shake things up. When it checked to him, he pushed all-in for 26$ or so. I called, since the pot odds were great, given the preflop callers, and I had tons of outs. I could have pushed and isolated, but I thought I could win a nice pot if I hit, but was sure to lose if I did not. A player in the 3s or 4s called as well. He was a very serious kid, probably in his early 20s, wearing a New York hat and sweatshirt, with a gay, scruffy goatee. I had watched him and he was playing fairly tight for the table.

The turn came down with a 5, giving me the weak end of the straight. Any player with a 9 would be ahead of me. The kid pushed all-in for $221 more. I thought for a while. In the end, I called. The river was dealt, I missed my flush and I announced my straight. "How high?" the kid asked. I showed and announced, 8 high. He tabled his ace and his 9. "Nice hand," I responded, before adding, "but you didn't have to slow roll me." It had gotten under my skin, but I tried to keep my cool. I questioned whether it was my error in the hand. I suppose it must be. Once he pushed, I tried to consider my crap straight. I figured that I had a redraw to the flush if he did, in fact, have a better straight. I also thought he may've hit two pair (on the flop or turn) and I could have still been ahead. I even considered the possibility that this kid was trying to isolate against a terrible player who was already all-in. His push led me to believe that he didn't have a monster, otherwise he would raise less. Ironically, after the slowroll comment he said, "I pushed all-in. What did you think I had?" I didn't respond, even though I thought, "Mother fucker!" Still, his statement told me one thing: it was his M.O. to push all-in with monster hands. Not that I ever got into another hand with the douscherocket.

I rebought another $200, getting my stack up to $250 so I could play some reasonable poker.

Now, if that last hand was bad, this one is TERRIBLE. I have no excuse for this hand, especially since I ignored Jordan's Number One Rule of Poker, "If you know you are behind, fold." Allow me to explain.

I hadn't been getting great cards, so when I saw AQd in the BB, I raised it up, getting two callers. The flop was a harmless 8-high, so I bet out and got one caller, a mid-20s mole-ish looking guy, two seats to my right, who I had tagged as a general idiot. He knew the basics of the game, but had very little nuance and gave off a definite vibe when he didn't have cards (he seemed prone to selective bluffing).

The turn comes, bringing me a Queen and I think, Joy of joys, my flop bluff just lucked me into a nice hand. So, I bet out again. Preflop, I had raised to $12 and on the flop, I bet $25, so I decided to keep the bet low with a $30 bet. I figured that my hand just hit in an unexpected way, so I wanted to keep my opponent in the hand. He called. The river was a blank. I bet $45. He thought for a while and raised $55 on top. And I foolishly called. He showed 88.

Here's the problem. The entire hand after the flop, my Spidey Sense was tingling like mad. Something about his behavior seemed off. He was suddenly calling down instead of raising. He didn't have the guarded look I saw him take on in other hands when he did not have the goods. I felt in my very toes that this fucker had flopped a set, but I kept blindly betting into him. And when he re-raised on the river, I justified the call thinking that there was a lot of money in the pot. That's just plain stupid. At the very least, I should have folded the river raise. The writing was on the motherfucking wall. But sometimes, our brains and hearts tell us fold and our hands and mouth move to call. And that's how I lost another $100+.

I kept my cool throughout, reminding myself that these were my errors and I could at the very least learn from them. I was down $350+ at my low point, but thereafter, got my play in check and started to inch my way back to a reasonable stack.

Now, when I first sat down, the guy on my immediate right was one of those guys who like to talk poker at the table. He was also one of those guys who clearly knew jack shit, because he was giving up all sorts of information describing past hands he'd played and what he thought of the rest of the table. He eventually ended up on a shortstack and pushed in a couple of hands preflop. He showed his cards at least once and the hands were less than spectacular, even though he was able to win by the river or via a fold when he pushed. I had finally got AKd, though, when he decided to open-push for $48. I figured I was good for a cointoss, if not in better shape, so I called and everyone else folded. He showed JT, and flopped JT. I turned a King, but it wasn't enough to beat 2 pair, losing me another $49.

By then, though, I had inched my way back to about $350 in chips (down $250). I continued along this way, winning chips in small increments until I was down only $105. It was about 2am and Roose and I planned to play the 11am tourney. We were also both starving, so we racked up and left. By then, the table complexion changed a lot. The drunken Puerto Rican was gone for a long time. The kid with the scruffy goatee was gone for a while. The newer players were having fun, as were we. It was a very fun, friendly vibe and I was getting great reads on my opponents, especially Mole Man, who had lost a lot of his big stack in multiple hands against me. I must've looked like I was kicking ass, with $500 in front of me, seemingly accumulated effortlessly, but anyone there long enough knew the true story.

Roose and I decided to head upstairs, where we got room service and eventually passed out.

Before we leave Friday, I would like to mention one decent hand, albeit in brief. I held QQ and raised preflop, getting two callers, Roose and one other tool. The flop was K99 and I bet out. Roose called, as did the other guy. The turn was a blank and I checked. Roose bet out. The other guy folded. I thought for a moment and folded. I know Roose and he had to have a King or a Nine. Later, he admitted that he had AK. So, at least on one occassion, I was able to fold when I knew I was behind. I guess that's something.

The next day, I woke up a good 30 minutes before our alarm clock and decided to break tradition by actually showering. When Roose and I go to AC, we practically make it a point of pride to be degenerates. That means that showering is not only optional, but frankly frowned upon. In fact, since it was merely an over night trip, Roose took exception to the fact that I brought a change of clothing beyond a clean pair of boxers and socks.

We headed downstairs to Canal Street, the only take-out/fast-food-like eating option at the Showboat. Roose got an egg sandwich, whereas I avoided anything hot from the terrible eatery by opting for a bagel. Roose's egg looked like a yellow hockey puck and from the look on his face, tasted even worse. My bagel was decent, but the food sitting in my stomach from 2am room service kept me from eating any more than a half.

We got to the poker room and signed up for the tourney. I took my seat and absent-mindedly read one of the random free poker magazines. I should probably hold up a mirror before I say this, but what the media is pure garbage. Every time I read one of these mags, I think that it's the same fucking articles every time. The reality is, there is only so many ways to write up tournament results or whatnot, but some of these "writers" are obvious hacks who wrote their article in a span of 15 minutes while taking a shit.

Once the tournament began, I began accumulating information on my table mates. I don't remember details, other than a Phil Hellmuth Junior sitting across from me, with big headphones and sunglasses. I thought he looked like a tool, and then I considered that I was wearing a Superman t-shirt, iPod, sunglasses, etc. I probably looked just as toolish, but whereas I was going to the clueless man-boy, he was going for the know-everything hotshot. The rest of my table was friendly, and after a while, we had a going joke. Every all-in resulted in a suckout. This happened a half-dozen times until I had my turn.

I had chipped my way up nicely to about 15,000, up from 10,000, mostly through well-timed plays. I was focusing on position and reading players, and it had been paying off. My biggest early pot came from a hand in which I had KK. I hadn't gotten many good cards, so I knew I had to make them count.

The blinds were already 200/400 (starts at 50/100). I had been betting 3x the BB as my standard openning raise. I was probably up to 12000 or so, thanks to some steals. But now, with my first premium hand, I was faced with the tricky proposition of narrowing the field of opponents without scaring off all of the players. I decided to stick with my standard raise of 1200. However, Phil Jr. was in the SB and was staring me down. I already had a basic read on him based on his appearance (first), then his body language, and finally, what I had seen over the last two levels. A player like Phil Jr. is clearly paying attention, so I tried to throw down some reverse tells. I threw the $1200 onto the table in an atypical fashion for me, forecful as though I were making a point to convey strength. Based on my read, Phil Jr. had at least a rudimentary understanding of reading players, and I hoped he would take the bait, thinking my uncharacteristic show of strength was a bullshit attempt to steal the blinds. It helped that I had established myself as a player who stole blinds and didn't normally act so forceful when he bet. I wanted to appear like I was acting out of character.

Sure enough, Phil is the only caller and we see a King-high flop with two spades. Boom! Top set, not like I needed it. I considered betting, but I could almost guarantee he didn't have a King, in which case he is folding unless he hit an unprobable two-pair or under-set. In either case, if I check it, he bets. If Phil Jr. had shit, he would probably bet no matter what. He had just suffered a bad beat, losing with AT against a shorty's all-in preflop push with A5, so Phil Jr.'s stack was only about 5000-6000 at the beginning of the hand, and I figured he couldn't resist the juiced pot. I checked. He bet 2k. I thought for a moment and looked at the board as though I couldn't believe that he hit his King. I exasperatingly asked how much he had left. It was about 2200 more. I finally pushed all-in, acting as though I didn't want to, but felt priced in. He folded.

On one hand, I could've flat called the flop, but I figured with pot-odds, I want him all-in immediately, and if he has any possible draw, he may feel obliged to call. If I flat call and a scare card comes out or he misses his draw on the turn, it's very likely he goes into check-fold mode. Alas, he probably had jackshit.

From there, I was up to 16,000 to 18,000 or so. And that would be my peak. It wasn't my fault though. No sir.

I get AA in LP and decide to raise my usual 3x the BB. I think blinds were up to 300/600. A shortstack had already limped, so I expected to get his money. To my surprise, the guy on my immediate left pushed all-in after me, and when it folded to me, I happily called, showing my AA. He showed AQs. When the flop came down, I announced, "There are two of your spades." When the river came down, I announced, "And there is the other one." I wasn't per se upset with the situation. Hardly. If anything, I was thankful that I had chipped up enough. After this, I was down to 10k or maybe slightly less.

And I even joked about it. We were all joking and it was a fun time. In one hand, I stupidly raised the minimum to 800 (200/400 round) with 25h, UTG. I felt like switching things up. I got a few callers and stupidly bet the 44Q flop. I only got one caller, the BB. We checked the turn. I bet the river. He called. I looked foolish.

But while we were joking about all of the suckouts after the AA v. AQ confrontation, someone mentioned my 25h in jest. I jumped at the opportunity, announcing, "It wasn't my fault this guy doesn't know how to fold" pointing to the guy on my right. A guy two seats to my left chimed in, "And I had the 4 too, but I had to fold to your bet." So, I added, "See? If this guy knew well enough to raise preflop, I wouldn't have even gotten into that situation. So you both screwed up. Am I the only person here who knows how to play poker?" The dealer chuckled as did the other players. If you can't win, you may as well be having fun while you lose.

So, down to under 10k, I struggled to get anything going. I was card dead and just folded for three or so orbits until I found that my stack was 7200 and the blinds were 400/800. I had just paid my blinds when the table broke.

At my new table, there were a variety of shortstacks and medium stacks. I was moved 2 seats from the BB, so I knew I had to make some magic happen. I folded my first two hands and then was in the BB, 6400 behind and 800 in as my BB. It folded to the SB and after he called (with a similar chip stack to me), I pushed all-in. He had to fold, bringing me up to 8k. The very next hand, when it folded to me in the SB, I tried again with J8o. The BB called, showed QQ, flopped a set, and rivered Quads. The worse part is that the guy was the same guy who avoided busting out when his AQs beat my AA. So, if I win that hand, this guy is gone and can't bust me.

Wah wah wah! The truth was, I was pleased with my play. I lost due to bad luck. The 25h hand was a debacle, but aside from that, I was choosing my spots and playing well. The last push wasn't the best, but I think it justifiable, if not optimal.

After I busted, I met up with Roose, who was playing 1/2. He had busted from the tourney before me and was still pissed as some Crazian player from his tournament.

Seeing me, he was more than happy to pack up his chips. We headed to the cage where he cashed out, and then made our way to the White House Sub Shop for our traditional Leaving AC Italian Heroes. For the first time ever, we didn't have to wait in line. Yeah for the crappy economy! We ate in the car and returned home.

It wasn't the most successful trip, but I made a decent recovery from -$350 the first night to -$105. The tournament was a loss due to luck moreso than anything. Losing money sucks, but it doesn't mean anything in the long term.

The odd thing is that Roose and I didn't even really play that much. I think after losing the tournament, we both felt that any more poker would be loss-chasing poker, aka losing poker. I suppose some self-control should be celebrated.

This weekend, I am heading upstate to Syracuse to hang with some of wifey Kim's friends. Man, wifey Kim is the best. I really don't say that enough here. Whatever the case, these are the same people who attended the Anti-Semitic Wedding and Anti-Semitic Monopoly game, minus the antisemites. I expected a weekend doing whatever wifey Kim and her friends wanted to do, so imagine my surprise when she asked me, "Do you want to play a tournament this weekend?" I was like, "Huh?" until she explained that while she and her friends were hanging out Saturday, her friend's boyfriend and I would be heading to Turning Stone Casino for a $90 Tournament. SHWEET!

Poker, poker everywhere.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:41 PM,


At 8:52 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

My first 'error' may not have been an error at all.

No, it was an error all right. When I read this sentence and then looked down, I couldn't believe you were talking about Tc4c! You seemed to be playing rag cards because you were bored, not because you had position. The Puerto-Rican guy had a short stack so you weren't playing rags for a huge pot. Once the flop came down with multiple callers, The Puerto-Rican guy shoved all in. At this point, you had two choices. Either flat call hoping to play for a big side pot (that is, if you thought your flush or straight draws were good) or re-raise for isolation. Personally, I would have re-raised. With the kid with the big stack on my left and a scary looking board, I wouldn't have been happy. Ok, you flat called. Not a terrible choice. Then the ass-end of a straight hits and the kid pushes all in! How dumb did you make him that he would push all-in on a 4 card straight board without a 9? Knowing his cards, it was absolutely appropriate for him to try to take this down (although all-in isn't the right thing). He had second nuts and was still vulnerable to a flush draw. I think a bet of $120 would have served the same purpose for him. And you call? How? Please explain how you could be so wedded to a Ten high flush draw against an overshove?!?

You're much better than this.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Riverrun said...

I agree with the must of been bored to even get into the situation in the first place. Then once you hit with your rags its harder mentally to get away from them but an overbet shove is a very strong play on that board. I think he does that with the nuts as well hoping someone has a naked 9 or the ass end + FD.

That was the only error I saw, the call for pot odds was fine in my books.

You need to start with a reverse tell in your next trip report :)

At 1:20 PM, Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Yeah, not to kick ya while you're down, but that Tc4c hand history was donkery man. Should've been an insta-fold to dude's push, not to mention you had no reason to be involved up to there in the first place. Jamie's comment is spot on. You're better than that, and can't permit boredom to lead you to bleeding chips! A $221 call with the idiot's side of a 4card straight?! WTF Jordan!? I'd have tilted you if I were villain in that spot too, questioning what (the eff) you thought you were up against.

And wtf is up with the 25h?! A "debacle" is an understatement! After losing the AA < AQ, you didn't have the stack to afford an utg minraise with complete garbage at blinds of 200/400!? (I'd argue, the chipleader didn't have the stack to justify this 9th level donkery.)

Feeling like "switching things up" seems to be a real leak for ya man. Stay patient! Remove these random retarded plays from your sessions, and you'll have a bump to your EV.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Just to be clear, the 25h hand happened before the AA v. AQs confrontation. That all said, I acknowledge the terrible play in the 25h hand and the T4c hand. Thanks for the comments.


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