Wednesday, December 27, 2006

AC in Christmas (or How I got Clubber Lang'd into submission)

AC is a wonderful place. It has everything Las Vegas has, minus the shows, glitz, good food, pretty drink girls….uh, what was I saying again?

So we had the annual Christmas in AC pilgramige to AC this year with many Wall Street Poker members taking part. Sean and Tae were staying at the Showboat, playing in two days worth of tournaments. Wendy and Paul stayed at Paul’s parents condo about a mile south of the strip. Matt and I stayed at the Tropicana. Even Dustin and his father made it down for a two days. The weekend started off on a good note as Matt and I, along with Paul and Wendy, got off of work on Friday and made the trek down. There was some traffic, but not an intolerable amount. When I got to the hotel, I was given a room in the North Tower. The woman at the front desk then gave me directions on how to get there. “Go through the casino floor. Find the North Tower escalators and then go over the walkway to the North Tower elevators”.

Whoa. Stop right there. Did she say “walkway”?

“Did you say walkway”?

“Yes, I did”.

“Is there any room closer to the poker room”?

“The South Tower is the closest to the poker room”

“Is there any chance I could get a room there”

“Sure.” She clicked her keyboard for a bit. “Here you go. Room 1562, Oceanview”.

“Thank you!”

The South Tower elevators, it turned out, let you off about 10 feet from the poker room, so my weekend was starting with a bang already! Of course, as you will find out my gentle snowflakes, this was the highlight of my weekend.

So Matt and I get to our room, unpack and then head directly for the poker room. I was a little tired from the trip and it was nearly 11:30pm when we got downstairs so I didn’t think No Limit was the game for me. I sat down at the 4-8 table and played until 2:20am, playing particularly well and dragging $173 in profit. Matt got up around this time as well and we headed off to bed. Wendy and Paul, who joined us shortly before midnight, ended up staying until 6am! This pattern would be repeated all weekend which made for some pretty late breakfasts, I have to say. But at least I was up a bit and tomorrow was another day.

I got up around 10:30 and tried to rouse Matt but it wasn’t happening. We finally woke up and ambled over to the Taj Mahal, where Matt’s always wanted to play. The room was crazy busy with tables full as far as the eye could see. Matt and I both sat down at separate 1-2 No Limit tables and the game was on. The table I sat down at was awful for me. I got no cards and when I did I was check-raised incessantly. I never had even close to the nuts in those situations and I had to give up my hands. I stole one or two pots, but not enough to keep ahead of the pace at which I was bleeding chips. In my mind I was thinking “Salami South” but I just wasn’t hitting what I needed. After giving up all my profit from the day before, I decided to get up and go back to a limit table. I got into a 5-10 limit game where my cold run of cards continued. In two hours, I gave up nearly my entire buyin of $200 and I decided to go next door to the Showboat to find Sean and Tae. Wendy and Paul, having gotten up at around 2pm, met us at the Taj around 4pm and played 1-2NL. When I left the Taj at 6:30 to find Sean and Tae, both Paul and Wendy had big stacks in front of them. The night before as I found out, both Paul and Wendy didn’t leave until 6 or 7 am because they were on fire, dragging dragging nearly two thousand dollars between them! Sean and Tae were at the Showboat where Tae was deepstacked in an 83 player tourney. She eventually busted out 16th there but she did pretty well. Sean and I chatted and I tried to sit in a low limit 2-4 game while waiting to be joined by the rest of the crew. Matt finally wandered in a bit later but Paul and Wendy never made it. Turns out they game up some of their gains for the night before, but not too bad. I, on the other hand, was busy making back my losses. I got a long rush of cards which let me take $200+ in profit from the 2-4 table. Sensing I was on a streak, I moved to the higher limit 3-6 table and made another $200. Boom, just like that I was up for the trip again. It would be the last of my winnings.

We all had dinner back at the Tropicana (HOOTERS!!!), where Wendy and Paul announced they were tired and going home. It was 2:15am and Matt and I went upstairs to sleep. Wendy and Paul, like petulant children too close to the cookie jar, snuck into the Trop poker room and played until 6am again. It was a bad decision as they both suffered significant losses (Wendy more than Paul).

I got up at around 9:30 to meet Sean and Tae downstairs for brunch. 9:30 is an ungodly hour, I know, so it was just the three of us. Wendy and Paul slept in again while Matt got up around 12:30. Brunch at the buffet, by the way, is not it’s cracked up to be. After breakfast, Matt and I hit the Trop poker room again where I managed to eke out a small win at the 2-4 table after sitting for 4 hours. At 4:35p, though, I got curious about where Wendy and Paul could be. Turns out that Wendy wasn’t feeling it at the Trop after her slaughter from the night before so they went to the Hilton next door instead. I convinced Matt to come there with me so we could all be together.

The Hilton sucks, by the way. This is not a statement of conjecture either, no matter what Wendy and Paul say. The only positive about the poker room at the Hilton is the big beautiful bay window which no other poker room on the strip has. The negatives abound, however. The dealers are rude and clueless and the room is run poorly. It’s no wonder that there were only 4 tables going when we got there! The Trop, next door, had about 40 tables running!!! As a result, the Hilton only had 1-2NL or 2-4 Limit to offer. I put my name on a list of interest for 3-6 Limit but we were never able to get enough people to start a game. So instead, Matt and I were forced to wait more than 20 minutes to sit at a table. I was going to play either game, depending on which one came up first and 2-4 was the winner. After 4 hours of limit, I managed to drop $75 and played in the $50 tourney with Paulie. This was the beginning of the end for my weekend. The tourney structure is set to go long, with 15,000 in starting chips and 15 minute blinds starting at 25/50. About 20 minutes in, I look down in 4th seat at pocket Aces and proceeded to give a clinic on how NOT to play Aces. Paulie was to my left in 5th seat. (Note: As I tell this story, see if you can spot all the mistakes as they’re being made by me. Play along at home!) The guy in 3rd seat made a 3x the BB bet and I smooth-called. Paulie called along with 2 other and the flop came KJ6 with a spade draw. I had the Ace of spades in my hand. The original raiser bets 600 and I decide to drop the hammer and bump it to 1500. Remember, blinds are 50/100 right now. Paulie raises to 3000. Or at least he tries to raise. He puts out 3 chips and the dealer incorrectly says it’s a call because Paulie didn’t say anything. Everyone at the table, including me, told the dealer that it should be a raise but he didn’t budge and time was ticking so we dropped it. The other guys get out of the way, except for the original raiser who calls. The turn is a blank. The raiser checks. I bet another 1500 and Paulie raises to 3000 again, this time calling it out in a loud and steady voice. The guy to my right calls. I call. The river is a J. The board is now K-J-6-rag-J. The guy to my right checks, I check, Paulie bets 5000. Guy to my right folds and I call. Paul has KJ for the boat and drags a monster pot. Ok, did you spot all the mistakes I made in that hand? If you did, good for you! Don’t f*cking do it like I did, ever! I was a bit tilty as you can imagine, but my next hand UTG is Ad8h. I call the 100 and a few other folks limp in with one pre-flop raise to 200 getting calls all around. The flop is 689 rainbow. There’s about 1400 in the pot right now and I decide to take advantage of my steaming table image (since I had shown the cracked Aces the hand before). I move all in with my remaining 4100 saying, “Might as well take a shot”. It wasn’t a complete lie since any 9 or any over pair beat me. I get a call from a guy who says, “Yeah, might as well”. He had taken a big hit early as well and only barely outchipped me. Everyone else folded. Doubling through here would put me right back in the hunt so I was VERY happy to see that he had 77 for the outside straight draw. I was ahead 2-1 in this scenario but a Ten on the turn and then a 5 on the river crushed me. The guy laughed and said to me, “Hey, I made it both ways. Which way you wanna lose?” That hurt. So I say to the mean man who bet his tourney on a 1 in 3 shot in the second round, I hope all your teeth fall out except one and may that one hurt like hell. Paulie used my chips like a champ and eventually chopped 3 ways for the tourney win and a $400 payout. Seriously, he was on fire the whole weekend.

My pain, on the other hand, was just beginning to grow. I was so steamed from how stupidly I played those Aces that I had to go downstairs and sit amongst the slots for 40 minutes just to cool down. When I finally did make it back, I dropped $200 on an awful 3 hour run at 2-4 limit. It clearly wasn’t my night. I went to bed angry that night my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.

Wendy made back her losses and then some at the Hilton and took a bus home that night to be with Breck for Christmas day. The jews went off to bed and woke up Christmas morning for more poker at the Trop.

I tried 1-2 NL again, but got killed for a hand where my top two pair were outdrawn for a flush. So off I was again to find a limit table. Why is it called “limit”? Because it limits your losses as it turns out. Instead of hitting the 4-8 table, my curiosity got the better of me and I tried for the highest limit game the Trop offers, $7.50-$15.00. They call it the “Pink Game” because it uses $2.50 chips which are pink in color. I got a rack of Pinks ($250) and sat down. The Pink Game has the feel of being the featured table at the World Series because it is the most prominent table in the room. It’s the first one you see when you walk in, right next to the brush desk and there are always curious railbirds looking on. I held my own for a while, dragging some pots, giving some up and eventually climbing into a small $75 profit. But then Paulie sat down with me after giving up on his own 1-2NL table and it was all downhill from there. Here’s an example of how things went for me. I went to the bathroom and missed the blinds and when I got back, 2 other people had also returned. I opted to post my missing small and big blinds ($12.50 total) as did the other two players who returned. After you count the big blind and the small blind, who will definitely complete his bet no matter what he gets, you’re looking at $50 in the pot before we even get dealt cards! I’m hoping to walk into a monster but get dealt 2s5s instead. Okay, not bad for a cracking hand. The big blind pumps the action by raising and everyone completes their bets. There is now over $100 in the pot pre-flop. The flop is beautiful for me, but a bit scary. 2h4d5h. I have two pair but there is a flush and straight on board. The big blind bets again and I two bet it, hoping to drive people out. A few fold and a few call. The turn is an 8s. The big blind bets again and I call. Everyone else folds. The river is a rag. He checks, I bet, he re-raises me! What does he have? A flopped straight? A set? He DID reraise pre-flop so I just call and he shows…82 off-suit. He pumps the action for fun and walks into two pair. I was livid. That was the biggest pot of the night at nearly $200 and it didn’t go my way. Instead, some idiot gets rewarded and I feel like an ass. I would shrug it off except that the entire weekend consisted of similar scenarios. Me flopping monsters only to get outdrawn by trash. I felt, and still feel today, like a punch drunk boxer. I dumped $370 into the Pink Game before I called it quits and drove home with Paulie in the rain. The weather matched my mood but I couldn’t be too upset because I got picked up by a dealer (a woman too as Paulie likes to point out). Here’s the story to end this sordid tale.

Towards the middle of my run at the pink game, a woman dealer sits down to deal and chat with us. She’s a heavy-set latino girl, about 25 or so, but with a cute face and fun personality. Paulie and I are kidding around with her, joking that she should come up to Manhattan with us for New Year’s. I tell her to take a bus to meet us and Paulie says that he’ll come down and pick her up personally! Anyway, we have a nice little flirtation going and she leaves to go home when her dealing shift is over. We all wave good bye to her and I get back to the game. 30 minutes later, a floor man taps me on the shoulder and says, “You have a phone call”. “Who me?,” I asked. “Yes, you”. I pick up the phone and a woman on the other end of the line who sounds vaguely familiar says, “Hi!” very enthusiastically. I have no idea who it is. We go back and forth with “Who is this? Who is THIS?” when it finally dawns on me that it’s this dealer. She doesn’t know my name so she can’t say who I am but she called up the room after she had left and asked for “the guy in the pirate hat that says ‘the beatings will continue’”. She was friendly enough on the phone and asked if I was spending the night at the hotel. Unfortunately, I had to leave that night to work tomorrow, but who knows what could have happened. Maybe I’ll call the room at the Trop today and ask for Christina…. J

Signing off for now…

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