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Two Bus Tickets to Paradise (AC Trip Report Pt. 1)

Where to start, where to start? Poker. I love poker. That's a good a place to start as any. In fact, I love poker so much that when I heard wifey Kim had plans Saturday night with co-workers, I immediately knew what I wanted to do: poker. But where?

God damnit. The bane of a NYC poker player's existence, particularly lower limit players, is the lack of a good game. Sure, there are underground rooms, but the stakes are generally higher, the games play higher because of the NY action junkies, and you have to factor in the risk of getting robbed at gun point or losing your stack to a police raid. A cointoss at an NYC underground game is not 50/50. It's 49.9/49.9/.2. 49.9% of the time, your hand will hold up. 49.9% of the time, you're opponent will win. And .2% of the time, you'll lose your entire stack and whatever is in your pockets to a gun-toting opportunist or a badge-toting opportunist.

AC, the bastion of the NYC-based poker player. If I were to go with one of my friends with a car, it'd be roughly a 2.5 to 3 hour drive, depending on city traffic. But none of those degenerates were available, so I went with plan B, the bus. I was accompanied by wifey Kim's brother, bro-in-law Marc.

All I can saw about Academy Bus is that it is AMAZING. If done right, a trip to AC via bus is faster, cheaper and easier than any other form of transportation. A bus! I hate busses. In NYC, I routinely refuse to take busses. But when poker calls, a man can be willing to do desperate, desperate things. Luckily for me, my desperate thing was taking a bus.

The bus fare costs $35, but when you arrive at the destination casino, you receive a $20 voucher. Bring it to a cashier's cage and you get...$20. That's it. The cash. No play-though. No nothing. Just go to the window and take your $20. So the trip costs $15 round trip.

One of the reasons why I avoid busses is that I hate people. We opted for an 11am bus, which would drop us off at Caesars and then the Hilton. It wasn't our ideal destination, but the time was right and once we were in AC, we could walk wherever we wanted. The bus, it should be noted, actually stops in different places depending on when it leaves NYC. Since the busses leave every 30 minutes on the weekend, if you plan accordingly, you can get dropped off wherever you want.

When we got on the bus, Marc and I both grabbed our own 2 seats, across the aisle from each other. My real concern is getting stuck next to a fat dude or smelly hobo. I figured if the bus started to fill, we could double up, but for now, I wanted space.

By the time the bus left, most people still had their own rows. The space was fine, the seats comfortable. 2 hours and 20 minutes later, after spending half the time playing Chinese Poker (I won $2), we arrived at Caesars.

Caesars sucks. The table game limits are needlessly higher than most places, and the place has a snooty feel. I certainly wasn't interested in sticking around, so we began to beat feet over to the Official High On Poker Atlantic City Casino/Hotel, the Showboat!

The walk was cold and probably the length of about 12 NYC street blocks (more than .5 mile), but we kept moving at a fast pace, only stopping once for a surprisingly good slice of pizza from one of the random Boardwalk eateries. We left NYC at 11am, and it was about 1:50 by the time we entered the Boat. Fortunately, the poker room is right by the Boardwalk entrance. Marc went to the desk to sign up for 1/2 NLHE and I went to the cashier's cage to sign up for the $125 tournament.

Quick question: Usually, the Showboat's 2pm tourney is $100. According to a dinky, computer-printer sign, it was raised to $125 ($105+20) because the room expected an influx of players. Any idea why? I asked a handful of people and no one seemed to know why the Showboat expected more players, especially given the economy. The best answer I heard is that the room probably noticed that the tourneys have been busy lately. I can see that as a possibility. When people are strapped for cash, they may be more willing to have capped losses of $125 rather than play a cash game. Also, in a tourney, a win could next 50x your buy-in, whereas it's near impossible to do that in one day in a cash game. Sure, the reality is that you'll lose more often in a tourney, but that is logic that desperate gamblers might not consider. Anyway, it's just a theory.

The line for the tourney signup was long, and as I waited, I chatted with two other guys on the line. After paying and hitting the head, I grabbed my seat, only to see that the two guys were at my table. I guess I shouldn't have wished them good luck earlier.

Showboat allows late signups for an hour, so our table only had 6 players to start and 4 empty stacks. In no time, we were up to 8 and then 9 players.

I was seated in the 2 seat, and the 6 seat is every player's wet dream. It was like he hated his chips and couldn't give them away fast enough. He played the first 5 or 6 hands straight, mostly with crap and often making absurd calls along the way. He was in his mid to late 50's with longish dark grey hair and a khaki colored windbreaker. He had a generally perplexed expression on his face the entire time. If he was in a pot and I had marginal cards, I was in too.

The guy on my immediate left was a fat white dude, probably in his early to mid 30s, with a bald head and a ginger goatee. When he first sat down, he was breathing heavier than a fat kid chasing the ice cream truck. I was worried I was going to have to give the guy CPR, but he finally calmed down and proved to be largely harmless. He was an average to weak player, which became most apparent when he started complaining about the 2 seat getting lucky. A good player, and by 'good' I mean predatory, is happy to see the town idiot gather chips. It's like stuffing a suckling pig before slaughter. Still, it was good to make 'friends' if for no other reason than he was to my left so it helped if I knew what kinda guy he was.

I was mixing it up kinda early, really just playing a general LAG game since we were shorthanded, but as soon as the marginal hands stopped coming and, more importantly, the suckling pig was slaughtered (I got a taste, but not enough of a portion for my tastes), I tightened up considerably. We had 15,000 chips and blind started at 50/100, going up every 20 minutes. By 100/200, I was up a grand or so, when I had my first significant hand.

I held A5o in the SB. It folded around to the cutoff who raises to 400. He actually stumbled with the 500 chips he tossed and the dealer misinterpreted the bet to be 500. Whatever the case, I got the sense that the guy wasn't confident, and since I could afford the extra 300, I called. The BB, Ginger Beard, called as well, and we saw the flop...


That's about the time the parade music started playing in my head. Ka ching! This boys bouts to double up.

I check. Right? So does the BB, but the LP raiser decides to bet 600. Take your time Jordan. Lean back, pause, two, three. And then let out a sheepish, Call. BB folds and we see the turn.


I check. This is when I set my trap. He takes the bait, 1000. He likely has the Ace, hopefully AK. He might even be fucking around with a pocket pair, so I just want to extract some chips. I raise, 2,100. He takes his time. It's basically a min raise with a little fuck you on top. He raises back, trying to make it 3,000. These fucking monkeys. There is now a 4 minute conversation when every douschebag except for the dealer explains what the bet should be. I get annoyed, I'm all-in.

He takes a breath. I call.

He shows AQ. Whoops!

I lose most of my stack when my opponent hit a three outter on the turn. Lemon. And honestly, it doesn't bother me. Maybe a little bit, but I'm over it quick. I'm joking right away, And here I'm thinking I'm reeling you in. I'm thinking, I'm doubling through this guy. I'm the asshole now. I throw in the asshole. It keeps things light. Most of the table is laughing about it. This is good. It keeps me from appearing like a vulnerable target.

And now, we return to the past tense.

There was only one thing left to do since I was down to around 2,000 chips...rebuild. The blinds, however, had doubled to 200/400, so I was in push-or-fold mode. It folded to me when I was in the hijack (two off of the button) so I pushed with A9o. I generally don't like to push with Ace rag, so it was probably a poor play, but I felt that the table had tightened up and I needed the chips. It folded to the BB, the newest player at the table. He looked like a conservative, square-jawed guy in his 40's, like a clean shaven college professor. He called and showed T7o, and I doubled up after he failed to hit any of his cards. I give him a lot of credit on the call. It was something like 1,500 to call and he had 15,000, so it wasn't that bad of a play, particularly since he would've been taking me out. I was easily among the most skilled players at the table, more a testament to the soft Showboat field then my own skills.

Not much later, I was in the BB with T2o. There were four limpers when it got to me, and no one looked particularly eager to get their money into the pot. The blinds were going up to 300/600 on the next hand, and I only had 4100 (not including my 400 BB). I figured it was time to take a chance. I pushed and they all folded, one by one. I showed my "Championship Hand" as I described it.

I made my final, fatal error when I decided to limp with Q8s in LP with about 5100 in chips and blinds of 300/600. I really don't know why I limped. I was thinking that I was still in push or fold mode, but there I was, limping. The guy on my immediate right had limped too, and we saw the flop along with the SB and BB...

225, with two spades.

I had a flush draw and wanted to play it fast and hard. It checked to the guy on my right and he bet 1200. I decided to push for 4500 total. The flush draw with overs meant I had enough outs that I could handle being called. Ironically, it was the BB who called me. The guy on my right folded. The BB had T2o; it came back to haunt me. I failed to hit and I was sent packing. I was joking the entire time. No need to let it bother me.

I got up and found Marc, who was playing 1/2 NLHE. He was up $380 already and seemed perfectly at ease. I didn't take much time waiting. I headed to the desk and put my name on the list for 1/2 NLHE. There were two names before me, but within 15 minutes I was called. I already had my chips bought and ready to go.

Let's park it here for a bit. Damn, this one was long. Part two will include an assload of hands, since I took copious audio notes.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:53 PM,


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Wolfshead said...

I don't know how they do it now but the last time I was down during a Borgata Open, the Borg cancelled many of its regular tourneys during the day. The Boat might haver been abticipating a fallover crowd if Borgata still did that.

That said i used to play the Sat moerning tourneys at Showboat when the room was stilll upstairs. Very soft.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The A9o push is VERY standard given you only have a 5BB's left. When it's folded to you in that position, you need to push with about 70% of your holdings. Some would argue, and rightfully so, that you can push with any two in that spot.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

A9o might be standard, but I would rather make that play with 79o or K9 than A9, since any AT-AK will definitely call, leaving me dominated. At least with non-Ace hands, there is less of a chance of domination. Regardless, thanks for the comment.


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