Wednesday, January 17, 2007

MLK in AC - A Carnivore Fest

Another holiday weekend in AC. MLK day and the markets are closed on Monday. But the action is loose and fishy on the beautiful Jersey Shore. That, and temps of 65 degrees in the middle of January on the beach. What a time!

This weekend was all about the poker with only one fine dinner to distract us. There was a bit of drama getting there, though. It was officially a half day in the bond markets on Friday, so I was home at about 4:00PM. When I got home, the lack of sleep I had been getting (we played poker at my place the night before until at least 3AM) caught up to me and I absolutely crashed. I called up Paul and told him I was going to take a bus in the morning and meet them there. Then I cuddled up with a couch cushion and went flat unconscious. I was woken up at 6:30PM by Matt who told me that plans had changed. Paul was getting out later than expected and now they were going to be leaving at around 9PM. At that point, I had gotten enough of a nap that I could handle the ride, so I joined Matt and Paul and we went to pick up John. The four of us made it down in 2 hrs. and 10 minutes flat.

We immediately hit the Trop because it’s the closest good room to Paulie’s apt. and we hit the tables. I was still feeling a bit tired and I didn’t trust myself with no limit, so I went to the 4-8 table. The room was absolutely packed and I had to wait a bit to sit down but I finally did. Oddly enough, the exhaustion I was feeling didn’t translate into bad play. Oh, I lost my whole buyin of $200, but it wasn’t because I played poorly. I folded my bad hands, pumped up my good hands and didn’t hit a single thing. In 2 hrs. and 20 minutes, I won exactly one pot and even that was a fluke. That’s quite an accomplishment for limit. But I didn’t feel badly about it at all because I know I was playing well. If I was chasing what I shouldn’t have, I would have been felted in an hour flat. The one hand I won was AcJh. After a pre-flop raise by me and a few callers, the flop was Kh Js 5s. I had a gutshot straight and a backdoor flush draw. Not a good board considering there was a spade flush draw on the board. But I was given a gift when everyone checked the board. A 9h gave me a better flush draw and I checked, calling an unraised bet. Lady luck hit me when a small heart came on the river. I had a Jack flush, which was enough to stand up to a weak pair of Tens. Other than that piece of trash win, I couldn’t hit a thing.

After getting busted out there, I joined Matt and John at a 1-2NL table. It was 2AM and I was feeling good about my poker. I was up about $80 when I picked up JJ under the gun. I made it $10 to go, figuring I’d pump up the pot and if I hit, I hit. I got a few callers when Matt raised to $25. We all had had a conversation in the car about giving a warning to other players if you have a big hand. That warning was going in for a *big* raise if you’ve got a good made hand. I figured Jacks qualified. If Matt had me beat with Queens or higher, than he had my money. I moved all in saying, “Ok Matt, let’s dance”. Matt called! I didn’t want him to because I was happy just taking down the $60 in the pot. He showed AhKh. Not an awful call, but not a good one either. He would be crushed to my Aces or Kings and only a 50/50 to my underpair. As it turns out, he didn’t hit and I doubled through him. I couldn’t quite hold on to the lead I had and ended up giving away most of that profit. By the time I left at nearly 4AM, I had made $60 and we got up to go home to Paulies.

We woke up at around noon and finally dragged our asses out by 2PM. This time, we went to Caesars, whose poker room I love. We mostly went there because we had dinner reservations for 7:15PM at Mortons Steakhouse, which is right next to the poker room. I played limit again, this time because there was a waiting list for 1-2. The first table I could get on was 3-6. The *instant* I sat down, the table next to me erupted into a cacophany of exhultation. In plain English, they went apeshit! Turns out they hit the bad beat jackpot to the tune of $83,000. The “loser” of the hand got 40,000. The winner got $20,000 and the remaining players at the table got about $3,500 each. Not bad for a 2-4 limit table! The hand was Pocket Queens vs. Pocket Aces with AQQ on the board. Wow! They were all hugging and kissing each other and I don’t blame them. The room didn’t calm down for another 15 minutes. It’s amazing though, how nonchalant the players at the other tables were. They were actually getting annoyed that play had slowed down at their own low limit tables! Funny…

My session at Caesars was a break even affair. I left the 3-6 table to go to a 4-8 table which eventually went back down to 3-6 to attract players and finally broke up! I only had 30 minutes to dinner so I went to 2-4 and ended up this little session with a net loss of $4.00. Fun entertainment for nearly 3 hours of play.

Dinner at Mortons was a trip. John and I shared a double-porterhouse done medium rare. The problem with anything above rare is that the ovens there aren’t hot enough so only a small portion in the middle is actually cooked the way you want. The outside edges are well done. It wasn’t Luger’s to be sure. Paul had the Cajun Rib-Eye (te best choice) and Matt tried to order the double porterhouse for himself, well done. The cut is 96oz. and obscenely thick. The waiter double checked to make sure that Matt really wanted it well done. It is very thick, the waiter said, and it will take a looong time to get well done. Matt didn’t care. He’d ordered this at Luger’s before (with stares of disbelief, no doubt) and it always came out great. The waiter was finally convinced and went to place our order. A few minutes later, the chef comes out and starts trying to convince Matt not to order his double porterhouse well done! “It’s a beautiful piece of meat”, he begs. “Please don’t do this”. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. But the slayer would not be swayed. Finally, he was convinced to order the single porterhouse and then another on should he still be hungry. I am amazed to report that Matt did just that and polished off both steaks as if we eating for three. It was a culinary feat of legendary proportions.

After dinner, the crowd wanted to stay at Caesars. I had wanted to hit the Showboat for the 11 PM tourney, but no one else was interested. Matt, especially, wanted to see what the competition at the 2-5 table was like. So they all stayed and I left. Scott Levy had just driven down and met me at the Showboat with his friend Adam joining us later. We all registered for the tourney, which was surprisingly light and proceeded to play. I went card dead at a tough table and couldn’t make a stack. I finally tried to steal a pot with a semi-bluff on the nut flush draw but my opponent had flopped top set of Kings and I couldn’t hit the heart I needed. Scott made it all the way to 7th place and nearly monied when he pitted his Jacks against Aces and got felted. He was the *true* bubble and they were paying out 5 places and they all put in a few dollars to give the 6th place finisher his money back. Almost Scott!

I got myself into a 1-2 NL table and did a lot better than I had previously, turning $195 into $431 before I cashed out and headed home at 4:30AM. Scott, Adam and I were renting a room at Resorts (not the same since Merv died J ) and it was time to hit the hay. When we got up, Matt had already driven home an we met Paul and John at the Tropicana. I sat down with John and Scott at another 1-2 NL game, which Paulie joined as well once Scott had busted out. It was a fun table, with John taking the role of table captain. A shared role actually since there was an Irish guy with a neon blue shirt who we took to calling “Blue”. Blue was being a bit reckless but doing quite well. I was up about $60 when I looked down at KK in the small blind. I made it $12 to go and got a few callers. Paul raised to $25. I sensed a similar situation that happened between Matt and I with my JJ so I raised to $100 when it got back to me. Everyone else folded and Paul said, “I’m sorry Jamie, I’m all in”. I knew he had AA, but I only needed $30 more to call a pot of $250 or so, so I completed my bet. It was indeed KK vs. AA and Paul, who was running ice-cold all weekend, looked like he was going to cry when my King flopped. He didn’t hit the Ace and I felted him. I didn’t feel good about it. After that, I couldn’t win too much. I made what would have been a very good bluff on the guy to my left but he had a boat, so that didn’t work! My other big hand was a heart-breaker. I had been playing tight the whole time and I noticed I wasn’t getting too much action on my bets. So I decided to try to loosen up a bit. I was in the big blind with 63o when John, who was in the cutoff seat, raised to $12 with his patented “I sense weakness” quote. A few people called and I made the insane call for $10 more. The flop came 663. I nearly had a heart attack. My dream flopped boat had happened at last! I was first to act and I checked. The guy to my left bet $15. A few people called, including John and me. The turn was a Queen. Now I led out the betting with $50. It threw everyone for a loop. I was representing either a complete bluff, or AQ. The guy to my left, who had led out on the flop, called and everyone else folded. John was dumbstruck, but he called, hoping for “one more card”. I put the guy to my left on either a 6 or an over pair. I was royally pissed off when the river came out as a 3! Goddamn it!!! My perfect boat was now chopped to anyone with a 6. Luckily, there was only one more in the deck. The only thing I was now scared of was QQ, but there was nothing I could do about that. I moved all in, got called by the guy to my left and John folded, showing TT. The guy to my left had 6T. CRAP!!! Only a Queen, Ten or 3 on the river could have screwed me and I had to chop the pot instead of cashing in on a monster. John was pissed too that I called his raise with my garbage. Sorry big guy, sometime you gotta mix it up. Anyhow, John made huge dollars this weekend by playing fantastic poker. I personally witnessed a brilliant move when a guy to my left, Bryan, raised pre-flop and John re-raised him. Bryan makes a huge re-raise for another $125 and John folds, showing pocket Kings! Bryan, who he had befriended that night, did indeed show pocket Aces and John dodged a huge bullet since Bryan had about $400 in his stack to John’s $600. John talked to me about later and reasoned that the huge reraise was the giveaway of AA. I think the most brilliant move was being friendly enough with him that he essentially gave John a $250+ ‘gift’ of telegraphing his huge raise. Wow!

I went upstairs to take a nap at around 11PM and came back down at 12:30. Scott wasn’t feeling all that great so he stayed in for the night but John was still plugging away on the 1-2 table. I found a juicy 4-8 table and played another 5 hours or so. I was exactly even when I walked away at 5:30AM but John wouldn’t leave. He played through the night and Scott and I picked him up at 1PM to go home. He wanted one more hand! We finally pried him off the table and had an uneventful ride home. Exhaustion set in but we were happy the trip had been good. I’m still full from Mortons. My final PnL for the weekend (Poker only, no meals or hotels): +$39. ;-)

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