Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Atlantic City Slaughter

What a debacle this trip was. I should have known things were going to turn out like this when Matt missed the Garden State Parkway turnoff on the Jersey Turpike and we ended up going twenty minutes out of our way (in both directions)! But we finally did arrive in the city of dreams with Wendy in the back seat, and got right down to business. After checking in at the Sands, we dropped our stuff into the room and headed out to see if we could get into the 5PM tourney in the hotel. The poker room at the Sands is pitiful; small, ugly and uninhabited. Only 9 people were signed up at the time and we decided not to even boter. Instead, we took a cab over to the Showboat to get into their 7PM tourney.

We arrived, signed in, and still had an hour to kill before the tourney started. So I sat myself at a 1-2 No Limit table and proceeded to get my freak on. Instead, what I got was a beat down. My 6th hand at the table, I get pocket Aces in middle position. I love getting monsters early on before a table image is established because it's easy to manipulate the table into thinking you're bullying them. This is the tactic I tried as I made a raise to $12. I got only one caller, unfortunately; a semi-drunk kid of 21 who looked like a football player. He had been very loud and obnoxious and his friend was behind him telling him to calm down and apologizing for him. I was a bit annoyed that he called but he was acting like a loose player and I was hoping the flop would be something I could sting him with. The flop came down and I was dismayed. KQJ rainbow. The odds that this idiot was now beating me were enormous. Two pair was an easy read as he checked to me. I bet out $15 just to make sure and he started singing "I'm gonna outplay you" and re-raised me to $30. Now I knew he had something because he was representing a bluff. I made the call just to see the next card thinking an Ace or Ten would help me enormously but it was a blank. He led out the betting again and I folded. He showed me 9sTs for the flopped straight, much better than I thought. This hand was indicative of how the rest of my night would go. I would consistently get great cards and the flop would kill my chances of taking it down.

So I dropped $100 at the table waiting for the tourney but finally sat down for the event. The tourney did not go well at all and I only lasted about 45 minutes, never getting my chip count even past the 10,000 I started with. {Sigh}. I decided to switch things up a bit and moved over to the 3-6 Limit table which also didn't go well. I played there a few hours, losing $150 in the process, and seeing nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. None of my pairs flopped sets. None of my flush draws hit. None of my straight draws hit. If I had dragged only 2 of 3 of these draws, I would have been up. But this is how it is sometimes when the deck is cold. By this time, I was a little frustrated but I bought into the 11PM tourney and tried to clear my mind.

8 hands into the 11PM tourney, I get 55 in late position. Someone raises the 100/200 blinds to 400 and I call along with two or three other players. The flop comes K75 rainbow and I feel good because I finally hit. The original raiser bets 600 and I raise to 2000. Everyone else folds except the raiser, who calls. The turn is a 5 to give me quads and I start to think my luck is changing. If I'm REALLY lucky, he's got KK or 77 and I can double up quickly. He checks and I bet 2000, which he calls! Now I'm happy. Is he "slowplaying" me with the second nuts? The river is irrelevant to me and he checks again. I make a mistake by getting greedy and moving all in and he folds, leading me to believe he has AK. If I was smarter, I would have come in for a weak bet, 500 or 1000 and goaded him into check raising me all in. But I still made just over 5000 on that one hand and I was now the chip leader at the table, and probably the tourney, for a little while at least. This chip count was the best I would be able to do and I couldn't capitalize at all on my advantage. Every, and I do mean every, time I raised, I got re-raised aggresively from players behind me. Most of these were on hands I was trying to steal blinds from and I was forced to fold all of them. A prime example is when I was one off the button with A4. After everyone checked around to me, I bet 1200 with blinds at 200/400. The button folded and the small blind re-raised to 3000! I had to fold, of course. 10 hands later, in the same position, I did something similar with AJ and got reraised to 5000 by the big blind! Again, I had to fold. Just like that, my 5000 chip advantage was gone and I kept getting banged around. I finally tried to double up with KQ and got taken out by AT. Not my day for sure.

Now I was steaming a touch and I went to sit with Matt at a 1-2 No Limit table. Amazingly I played from midnight to around 4:30AM and I was actually about even with my $200 buyin. I was very tired and I wanted to go back to the hotel, but Wendy sat down with us and it was now me, Matt and Wendy at the table. I couldn't leave now but I definitely should have. Along with Wendy was a gentleman Wendy had become acquainted with at the other table who seemed like a shark if I ever saw one. He was a big round man with a massive pile of chips and an unlit cigarette in his mouth ala Sam Farha. He was friendly, but initimidating. My problem with new players at the table when you're bodily tired is that you have no table image with them and you're too tired to make good reads on them. It's doubly dangerous to play with them and your mental judgement and acuity is off. I lost about $50 mixing it up in a few hands when I got AQ in early position. I raised to $10 and got 4 callers, including Matt and the new guy, Randy. The flop came Q22 (nice!). I bet out $25 and Randy raised $60. Did he have the 2 or was he just trying to buy the pot, depending on his inimidating presence to bluff out the other less experienced players (myself included). In his hindsight, his body language and mannerisms told me that he had it, but I called anyway. The turn was a rag and I checked. He bet $100, and even said he would show me what he had if I folded, but I called all-in anyway. I was tired and I didn't care and it bit me right in the ass. He had Js2s. It was really loose of him to call my pre-flop raise with that junk but it paid off big time as I made the donkiest play of my life. What a crappy capper to a crappy day. Matt and Wendy stayed on and I took a cab back to the hotel, passing out instantly when my head hit the pillow. It was 5:15 AM and I was sleeping the sleep of the idiots.

The morning came and Wendy and Matt woke up with me at around noon. Wendy spent mosf of the next hour trying to connect to the internet (not successful) but we managed to get out of the hotel in time to go to the Hilton for their 2PM tourney. Matt had to leave us to go home for the holiday (Yom Kippur) and Wendy and I soldiered on. The tourney was an extension of last night and I crapped out on two successive hands in the first blind level. About 15 minutes into the tourney, I get KJ under the gun and I limp in for 50. The 5 seat raises to 200 and gets 3 callers. There is now over 900 in the pot so I call the extra 150. The flop comes Jh7h2h. I have top pair but a dangerous three heart board is staring me in the face. I bet out 600 and get one caller from the 5 seat, the original raiser. I was hoping to chase out heart draws but he stuck around. It's too early in the tourney to get a read on his play so I'm hoping for the best. The turn is the worst card that could come out for me, a King of spades. I have top two pair now. I make a continuation bet of 800 and he raises to 2000! Crap. My instincts tell me he flopped the flush but my mind engages and fouls things up for me. I start thinking he might have AK with the Ace of hearts. It would definitely fit the pattern of play. He raised pre-flop which is the right thing with AK. He called a big bet when the three hearts came. He's got two overs and the nut flush draw, so calling wouldn't necessarily be bad. He hits his King on the turn. Now he's got the nut flush draw and top pair with top kicker. Many players would feel that a raise would be in order there. I got so caught up in this story that I called. The river was a rag and I checked. He checked too; inexplicably as it turns out because he had AhQh! He had the absolute nuts and checked the river. Aaargh! I was down to my last 1150. Blinds were at 25/50 still but I was steaming now and pissed off at myself for playing into that. I was now the big blind and I got QdJd, a good drawing hand. The same 5 seat raised to 200 again and got a few more callers, the same situation as last hand. I called again for the same pot odds reasons and the flop was nearly the same as before: Jh5h3h. I now had top pair and I though the odds of flopping a flush two in a row were minimal. What was worse is that I now needed to chase these folks out even worse than last hand. I moved all in for my remaining 950. The 5 seat called AND the 9 seat! I knew I was dead, but received a slim ray of hope when the Qh hit on the turn. I had top two pair again vs. a more than likely flush but both players checked! If neither has a heart, I could be good here. The river did not make me a boat and the 5 seat bet out 2000. The 9 seat folded and the 5 seat showed down AsAh!!! I ran into a monster and he made the nut flush again on top of that. So I got cracked and went away to sulk and cool down.

Next to the poker room at the Hilton is the PaiGow/Baccarat room, with the attached noodle bar, that caters to the Asian players. I love playing PaiGow as it's a fun and mindless game where the variance in your up and down swings isn't that high. You can play for a while and not lose or win too much. So I sat down and for the first time all weekend, fortune smiled on me. I got a full house my first two hands and straights the next 4 hands in a row after that. Within twenty minutes, I was up $80 which was slightly more than my buyin for the tourney I had just gotten killed in. I was feeling a bit better and decided to play more poker, but this time at the much much slower 2-4 Limit table (a.k.a. "Grandma's Game"). The game was wonderful for my spirits. I caught a lot of flops, made a lot of draws and generally played great. I didn't chase long draws, I pumped up pots when I had the advantage and I made good reads on weak players, taking them for good sized pots. After 5 hours of play at a relaxed table, I quit up $153 for the session. That definitely helped not only my mood but it also alleviated my PnL for the weekend, making it not a complete washout.

Wendy and I finally got onto a bus at 10PM and hit the Port Authority at 12:15AM. A pretty good weekend overall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting ready.. especially as it relates to gambling.