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Funtime Poker (AC Trip Report)

8:10 AM on a Saturday. That's when Alceste was supposed to pick me up for our trip down to AC. That's right, folks. I woke up BEFORE 8 am on a Saturday. Aside from maybe golf, I don't see myself waking up that early for any reason other than poker. That's for sure.

So, I'm still cleaning the crust from my eyes when Alceste pulled up. I piled into the car, wearing my High on Poker t-shirt, a white hoodie, my green cargo pants with a dozen zipped up pockets, and my backpack, stuffed with random assorted crap. I swear, I travel like a hobo or a boy scout, always prepared.

We took the drive over to pick up Dawn Summers and when she finally came out to join us, he boyfriend was in tow. Since Dawn recently bought a Beamer, let's just call the boyfriend Beamer too, since it matches nicely with his real name and I'm not sure if his name is public. Beamer, as it turns out, was a very affable guy and I wholly approve.

The drive down to AC wasn't too bad, and we arrived in 2.5 hours or so. Our first stop was the Official Atlantic City Casino/Hotel of HighOnPoker, the Showboat. It was about 11:10am when I go to the poker cashier cage and bought my way into the 11am tournament for $125. Alceste also bought into the tourney, but Dawn went for cash and Beamer decided to search out some blackjack (shiver).

The tourney started off well enough. There were maybe 5 or 6 people already sitting and the other seats were all dead stacks at my table. After a hand or two, I was dealt KK and decided to simply call the 300 raise from an EP player. I got the sense that while I was away, people were stealing the dead stacks' blinds like mad, so I hoped to conceal the strength of my hand and maybe let the raiser catch a pair. Now, normally, I raise with KK here. I'm not stupid. But the stacks were 15,000 and the blinds were 50/100, so I felt like changing things up.

The flop came down Q8x. I figured I was good, so when my opponent bet out (300 again, I think), I decided to just flat call. There wasn't much that could hurt me, as there wasn't even a flush draw out there. The turn was another Queen, and this got me very nervous. My opponent bet 500 or so, so I decided just to flat call. He might have KQ, AQ, hell, QJ, so I didn't need to lose too much on this hand. If I raise, he has the option of re-raising me big, and I don't want to give him that chance.

The river was another Queen. Ah. I can't tell you 100% why, but for some reason, I knew that he didn't have the case Queen at this point. Ok, maybe I figured, odds-wise, that it was unlikely, but it felt like more than that. My opponent bet out 1,000, and I barely hesitated before raising to 5,000. I figured if he had the Queen, he'd push, so when he called, I knew I was good. I showed my KK for QQQKK, and he showed his counterfeited 88, for QQQ88. In case you missed it, he flopped a set of 8s and turned a full house, so that river was tragic for him. I had 4 outs and I didn't even know it.

I still was only up a small amount, though, and I ended up giving it back to a calling station that I did not realize was a calling station when I decided to try to push him off of a hand. That sucked, but lesson learned. Amazingly, though, I was the only one who learned the lesson, as I then watched three other players try to push him off of hands, including one that he won with 22 and all overcards on the board.

Our table broke when I was still at about 12,500, but blinds were escalating and everything went to shit at the 400/800 blind level. I was in the SB with my 12,500 or so and called the extra 400, holding 67o. There were three late position limpers. The flop was 58J, giving me an open-ended straight draw. It checked around. The turn was a 9, giving me my straight. I bet out and faced a raise from late position. I had already seen the guy raise another players' bet and I didn't think that he would play the only hands I feared from LP (QT and T7, the only two better straights). I called and when the river Ace came out, I pushed for a modest sum. He called and showed QTo and I was out.


I put my name on the 1/2 NLHE list (3rd on the list) and found a spot at an empty blackjack table, where I took out a magazine and killed some time. I was called for a 1/2 game about 15 minutes later.

I sat down around the 7 seat. About that same time, a guy in the 3 seat was moving to the 4 seat. Whenever I sit at a new table, I look at stack sizes first, then at the players themselves to get a feel for (a) how their day is going thus far, and (b) whether it looks like they have a clue. I want to sit on the left of the bigger stacks/better players. I also want to avoid being to the right of the looser players, since it can significantly limit one's ability to know when it is safe to act. So, when the 3 seat, who we will call Marty Gras, in honor of the Mardis Grah beads he was wearing (they give them out free at the New Orleans-themed Showboat entrance), moved a seat over, I decided to change my seat as well. I changed mostly because the guy on my immediate left looked like a loose cannon, a squat, bald, angry/goofy looking (that's one helluva combination), Hispanic guy in his mid-30s. To his left was a chick and a rock-ish looking older gentleman. When I moved, I had Marty Gras on my immediate left, which wasn't necessarily ideal. But at least I had better position on the hispanic gent, who had a decent stack, and the players near me didn't particularly conern me.

Marty had been waiting for a seat when I was waiting, so I had saw him earlier and he appeared to be a rather fun-time type guy. From our conversations at the table, that seemed accurate, too. We buddied up pretty quickly. He was all about having a good time. He wore sunglasses, but clearly wasn't taking the game too seriously. According to him, he was just killing time waiting for a free mp3 player drawing. He asked, "What's an mp3 player anyway? I'll probably just give it to my nephew." He was also allegedly up several grand from table games.

To my right was a woman in her 40s or so, who seemed all business, but after a while, she got into the fun, too. I will admit, I was a bit bored at the table, so I started the gimmicks, meant largely to loosen up a table. I started with the classic min-raise toughguy. Basically, I announce "RAISE" like I'm a tough guy and then violently through $4 into the pot. It is truly remarkable how often I win those pots, particularly after getting many preflop calls and some flop calls; I guess people just get thrown off their game by the antics. But they all laugh, too, and that's key.

Yesterday (Monday), I received an email from one of the players who joined the table in the 1 seat about a half-hour to an hour after I sat down, who we will call ASG. He arrived just as I started the min-raise toughguy routine. This is what he had to say about the table:

"I can honestly say it was an enjoyable time playing with you on Saturday. Too many of the 'pros' don't realize you can both keep people at the table and not notice your skill just by not being so serious all the time. Most of the casual players are just looking for a good time and some free drinks (myself included) so being a little sociable goes a long way. It was even memorable enough that I remembered to check out your blog. Some good reads in there."

Thanks, ASG! He really hit on the point of the antics. It's to enjoy my time at the table, and hopefully make it a fun experience for everyone. After all, you can't call your opponents out as slowrolling cocksuckers every time you play, or you'd be miserable.

Amazingly, though, the min-raise toughguy gimmick had an unexpected result. It basically caught on like wildfire, and soon three or so other players were stealing my gimmick, raising preflop to $4 and/or continuation betting $2 or $4. In fact, it sorta ruined the table for a while, because it dried up the action. So, it wasn't a 100% success, but it was fun nonetheless. Eventually, things loosened up again, mainly when I raised an actual amount larger than $5 and got some joking flack from the min-raise toughguy disciples. But whatever the case, the mood was set, and aside from the angry squat Hispanic across the table from me (who I would catch at times glancing at me with the mixed look of, "WTF, man!" and "Nobody loves Eeyore.") , it was a real funtime table.

Sadly, I spent most of my time down about $100-150 from my $300 stack, but eventually went on a late tear, peaking at probably only $150 or so up, and ending at $55 profit at cash (-$70 total, because of the $125 tournament loss). Meanwhile, Alceste was continuing the tradition that whenever I play a Showboat tourney with friends, one of us inevitably makes the money. He made it to the top 5 spots, ITM, and then did a five-way chop. At the time, he was the bigstack with all of 10.5 BB, so it was a no-brainer chop. He took down close to a grand for his efforts.

It was already 3pm or so when Alceste finished his tourney and I was feeling hungry. The only thing I had to eat was an egg sandwich at 8am. Normally, I eat very regularly. Eating is one of my hobbies. I even do it at least 3x a day. But when I play poker, skipping a meal or waiting to eat is no issue. So, I was definitely hungry at 3pm, but I should've been fucking starving.

Dawn got up from her cash game as well, and the three of us went to Showboat's House of Blues restaurant, where B joined us halfway through our meal. He had actually been at the very other end of the Boardwalk, at the Tropicana, before returning to join us. The food was decent, but not great. The blackened chicken sandwich I ordered lacked flavor; the fries were fries. Alceste's catfish nuggets looked good, but the mac & cheese also lacked flavor. Dawn did not seem too impressed by her buffalo chicken fingers, but they tasted ok to me. And yes, I have no shame when it comes to eating off of other peoples' plates.

After our meal, we decided to change scenery, and headed over to Harrahs, a hotel away from the main Boardwalk stretch. Upon arrival, we headed to the poker room, where Alceste and I were seated at the same 1/2 NLHE table. We each bought in for $300 at the cage before returning to the table and realizing that maybe two or three other people at the table of 9 had stacks over $150. There were a couple of players who bought in for $60, the minimum, and would just reload every time they went busto. That's not a bad table to be at if you don't mind $60 swings and you like to gamble, but it isn't ideal, either, since potential wins are capped and you don't have the opportunity for more complex play/decision-making. Frankly, we should've both requested a table change, but since our table was already not full, it would take a while before the casino would let us move and the competition seemed butter-soft.

I lost my first hand with QQ. Preflop, I raised to $12, I think, and got one or two callers. For the record, after this hand, I did not get any other two-digit preflop calls besides on debacle of a hand we'll discuss in a minute. Any other time, if I bet $10 or more, everyone folded. It was really a shitty table, in hindsight (hell, I knew it at the time, bad). The flop was J65. I don't remember the exact betting pattern, but I ended up doubling up a player with 66 (for a flopped set). I remember when he raised me, I thought that this was the kind of chump to make that play with TPTK. I was right, probably, but this time, he actually had a set, so I was down $150 or so pretty quickly.

I fought my way back with small pots, all the time chatting with the table and having fun. It was just one of those days. I was trying to enjoy myself and succeeding. My neighbor to the left was a tough-looking guy in his late 20s/early 30s. He wasn't big, but carried himself in a manner that let you know that he wasn't one to fuck with. We became buddies quickly and chatted for most of the game.

I was recovering from my early losses nicely when an Asian gentleman wearing a black sportscoat over a black t-shirt sat down next to Alceste. Rumor had it from my side of the table that he was a dealer from Borgata. Alceste raised from EP to $7 and I raised to $21 with my TT. The Asian guy called from the BB and everyone else folded. The flop was T64 or something similar. Now, Asian guy was one of those short buy-in guys, and he only had less than $50 left behind him, so when he checked to me, I checked as well. I was hoping he'd hit an Ace and think he was good, or would otherwise just bluff the turn, because obviously, if I checked in that situation, I must have missed my two over cards. The turn was a 9 and he pushed. I practically insta-called. At showdown, though, he showed his 78o for the Ten-high straight. If I bet him off of the hand on the flop, I'd be counting his money. As it were, he caught his 4 outter and I paid him off. LEMON!

About 2 hands later, he left our table and went to the table right behind us. Some of the players were calling it a dick move (to take my money and run), but it didn't bother me. These things never do, since I accept that people can do whatever they want with their money, even if the money was formerly mine. BUT, this was another funtime table, with a lot of lighthearted smack talk, so I got up with a stack of chips, walked to the Asian's new table, and sat in the seat immediately to his left and stared him down. He looked at me, kinda guiltily as I stared him down for about .5 seconds before laughing and telling him good luck; I then returned to my table. I was just busting chops and having a good time. After all, if you are not winning, you have to do whatever you can to enjoy yourself.

Paul-in-the-Hamily was also at Harrahs, coincidentally, and he joined us for our last hour or so at the table after Alceste spotted him and I called him over with a "Pauly! KA-KAW!" It's the signal. Paul's addition just made for more funtimes at the table, as I treaded water.

With that in mind, the drinking began in earnest around 8:30, since we had agreed to a 10pm exit time. By 10pm, I was down $144 at Harrahs, which really equals my initial loss of QQ v. 66. Amazing how in the end, it all can really come down to one significant hand.

The ride home was easy. The company made for a good time as we chatted about all sorts of random shit. I got home a little after 1am, satisfied by the poker, even if my pocket was $214 lighter.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:50 PM,


At 12:19 PM, Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

If you ever get the itch to head east to Foxwoods or Mohegan, let me know.
I'm pretty sure I can convince Joe (Unimpressed) to tag along too.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Dawn Summers said...

YAY!! Mohegan Sun trip!!! MOHEGAN SUUUNNNN!! I didn't see Paul in the Hamily at did I miss that? I mean, him. Sorry, Paul.

Ah, good times, good times.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Walnuts said...

I sat at the same table until 3am when I went all in with an Ace on a A77 board vs a loose caller with pocket 7's for quads. Somehow runner runner Ace's didn't come : (

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Riggstad said...

AC trips = mandatory call to Riggs.

Just sayin' :)


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