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Late to the Party (AC Trip Report Pt 1)

On Christmas Eve, I was toiling away in my office while Mama High was playing slots and Davey Roose was driving bro-in-law Marc to Atlantic City.

On Christmas Eve, I was meeting wifey Kim at the Port Authority bus terminal for the 3pm bus while Mama High was playing more slots and Davey Roose and Marc hit up the casino for some table games and poker.

On Christmas Eve, I had to wait for the 4pm bus, not because we had arrived late, but because even 30 minutes early, we were 54th in line on a bus that could only fit 50. Shit. It felt like it was going to be one of those trips.

For all the waiting at the Port Authority, the drive was actually pretty easy. I spent most of the ride playing around on my iTouch and reading the terribly cheesy free gambling “magazine” available at the bus station. Wifey Kim was taking her first trip by bus, so I was a bit concerned about how she’d take it, but true to form, the bus was swift and as long as you can control who you are sitting next to, it really isn’t that bad.

When we arrived at Bally’s, wifey Kim quickly got our $25 play through vouchers and met my parents, who were waiting with the car. It was already 7pm, and we had 7:30 dinner reservations at a nearby restaurant in what passes for AC’s suburbs, a good distance from both the casinos and the squalor that surrounds them. The restaurant is called Rafici’s and the food is essentially Italian. Over the last five or so years that the large group has been doing AC for X-mas, it has become our X-mas Eve tradition, and with good cause. The prices are reasonable, the food is good and the portions are plentiful.

Our dinner party was smaller than usual at just 8 people. That 8 was me, wifey Kim, Roose, Marc, my parents and Roose’s parents. As we all sat down, talks of prop bets from the younger generation got into full swing. Last year, the parents got in on some of the action, but this year, they mostly kept out of it. That is, until they started opining on certain prop bets thereby killing my action.

The four of us (me, Roose, Marc and wifey Kim) settled on three bets: total check, first person to be served their entree, and the time that the first entree reached the table. As I scanned the bets, I was not too thrilled with wifey Kim’s picks. She had the lowest bill, the quickest first plate, and had picked herself for first-served, which in and of itself was the only safe bet. She swept all three. God bless that woman. I should have never doubted her.

Dinner was great. My salad (free with entree) was blah, mostly because the dressing that I chose. The veal parmigiana made with fra diavolo sauce (by my request) was excellent, although I had a dejavu moment when I realized I ordered the same thing last year only to realize that the spiciness of the sauce covers the flavor of the suffering baby cow a bit too heavily. I like to taste the suffering.

We returned to the casino, where wifey Kim and I finally dropped off our bags and then hit the floor. We started at roulette, but wifey Kim left relatively quickly after losing $40 or so. She just wasn’t feeling the game and moved to the slots. I stuck around with Roose before walking away, down $100.

That’s pretty much how the table games went for most of the evening. I wasn’t able to win in anything, but the losing was relatively slow, so at least I got to enjoy myself.

A little later in the evening, I joined wifey Kim upstairs to unwind and take a break from the table games. The boys were heading over to poker while they waited for our final member, Robbie Hole, fresh off a long day of work. Wifey Kim know of my love for poker and gave her consent. I was off to play.

Naturally, AC during X-mas is a different crowd. The room was filled with predominantly Asians and Jews. Fortunately, both like casinos, so the room was fairly full, given the fact that it was a Thursday afternoon. The Trop’s poker room not-too-recently lost a big portion of the room to slot machines. This is such a disappointment, its hard to express. But at least there were lots of games going.

I put myself on the list for 1/2 and waited for a while before getting a seat. I played for several hours, eventually walking away down $49. It was one of those card dead sessions where the best strategy will still result in a net loss. I had fun, though, chatting with my fellow players as I folded, folded and folded.

I had one “confrontation” that was a bit odd. I had been folding forever, and finally played two back to back hands. Immediately before the first of the two hands, a player moved from one side of the table to the seat to my immediate left and won two pots right off the bat. I then raised the next hand. I don’t remember how that hand ended up. Regardless, the very next hand, I raised preflop again. This must’ve been the first two back-to-back hands I played all night, and I was well into hour 2 or 3. When I raised the second hand, though, one of the players across the table felt the need to comment. “Oh, I see what you are doing! Someone’s playing loose!” Wha?, I thought to myself. I was playing the opposite of loose. I rarely ever played this tight. Now I play two hands in succession and I’m loose. O-kay. He continued, “This is the fourth hand you played in a row!” I looked back at him with a quizocal expression. I finally piped up after folding my hand to someone’s flop bet. “Are you serious? That’s like the second hand I’ve played in the last hour.” “No, man. I’ve been watching you…oh wait. I get it. Sorry man, didn’t mean to ruin your image.”

I had never been so confused in my life. I mean, I know I didn’t play four hands in a row, so where was this all coming from. His mention of “image” let me know that he knew the game somewhat. His confusion over the amount of hands I played, then, was either straight up error on his part or perhaps a bit of a mental game. I simply replied, “You need to work on your counting.” And then I went back to folding.

In hindsight, this kinda reminds me of the near-fight I had in New Orleans. Then, it was a player insisting that I was playing too tight. Admittedly, I need to get over my own ego sometimes. I can let people think incorrect things about me or my game. I don’t need players to see that (a) they can get under my skin and (b) I feel the need to justify myself. In reality, I try hard to cultivate a donkish image, so if it pays off, I shouldn’t complain. After all, when the guy said I was playing loose even though I was playing tight, well, that’s exactly what I want. I don’t just wear the poker uniform for comfort. I wear it because I want to create the image of a degenerate. In reality, I’m a NYC lawyer with a stable family life, a decent income, and an understanding about money, people, and math. But if you were to see me in a poker room and know nothing about me, you’d see a man-child wearing a superhero t-shirt, cargo pants and an oversized hoodie. I may even be wearing sunglasses and a hat at a 1/2 table, like the Phil Douchemuth wannabes that I love to see at a table.

When I was tired of folding, I gathered the troops and we went upstairs to hang out before hitting the sack. And that was about all for my first of two poker sessions.

Part 2 will have my second poker session and little more else. Stay tuned!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:14 AM,


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