I've been looking forward to this past weekend for a long time. And before I delve into details I'll give you the quick poker score:
I was down $550 but had a hell of a lot of fun.
Ok, there it is. I said it. On to the details...
I hopped a bus with Darko at 6:30 from the Port Authority. PP, W and Viv would meet us later in PP's car. Although they left an hour later than us, they somehow arrived only 10 minutes later. Strange. We managed to snag a 2 bedroom suite at the Fairfield and, as we were quite hungry from the trip, decided to go right to dinner. I believe I blew any opportunity I will ever have to influence the group again by managing to convince them to go to the Atlantic City Bar and Grill across the street. Hey, the valet guy said it was good! Ok, maybe he wasn't the best source of information on culinary options in the city. Yes, the place sucked but I have to cast blame on my dinner mates. When you go into a questionable establishment, you should order the safe food. I had the Alaskan King Crab legs. They were actually very good. PP ordered Spaghetti and meatballs and a sausage that looked like a turd. It was OK. The rest of the crew had steak and seafood. Now I know steak is hard to make well and, predictably, it sucked. But I refuse to take blame. Learn how to eat people!
From dinner, we went right to poker. We went to the Borgata where I played in a very quick 5-10 Limit HE session (15 minutes) that broke up when all the players left after 15 hands. In that span, I managed to lose half of my 200 buyin. Grrr.... I joined up at a 1/2 NL table and proceeded to lose more and more money. When I finally pushed all in with my last $45 with AA and was called down by JT (the bitch flopped trips), I knew it was time to cool down. I walked around playing "Spot the Familiar Face". At the Borgata and at the Taj, I always manage to see a few faces I recognize from the poker rooms in the city. I got waved over by Darko, who was sitting at a pretty loose and weak/tight table where he was scoring big. I took the seat next to him and managed to double up my $200 buyin early on when I had AK and the flop was K72 rainbow. I had called a pre-flop raise in early position and when I checked on the flop, he bet out about $45 into a $40 pot. I did my bit of Hollywood and finally pushed all in on top. He squirmed, but made the call with QQ. I felted him and he rebought again. He and his friend were drinking a bit and they were true "Matter of Time" players. Sure enough, they ended up dumping all of their chips off before the night was over and I recovered by $200 loss from the other 1-2 table. We headed back at 6AM with everyone but me leaving up for the night.
I woke up at noon because my body wouldn't allow for any more sleep. Everyone else didn't have that issue as they were passed out cold. I took the quietest shower I could and quietly dressed and left to walk to the Taj. I hate the room at the Taj. It's loud, dirty and has a much older clientele. BUT, they spread Omaha/8 on a regular basis. I've been playing 2-4 O/8 the last few trips but I wanted to step it up a bit and I opted for the 5-10 table. The truth is, there's not much difference in the two games...UNTIL there's a kill pot. That's right. The 5-10 has a full kill which means it turns into 10-20 when a player scoops a $75 pot (which happens quite a bit). So some of the pots turned out to be $300 or more. I managed to scoop a $300 pot early on when I rivered a miracle King to make the nut straight with no low on board. I won some other nice pots and left the game for dinner up $200. Yay Omaha!
We had planned to go to dinner at Buddakahn, near Caesar's, at 5:15PM. The early Floridian time was set up because most of us had tickets to see "So You Think You Can Dance - The Tour" at the Boardwalk Theater (Viv's idea. We love you Viv!). So when I left the Taj, I assumed I was on my way to dinner. On a side note, there is absolutely no phone service for Verizon customers inside the Taj poker room, so my phone wasn't on to save power. When I left the room at 4:30 and got out onto the boardwalk, I turned it back on and got 3 messages from the group! They were trying to warn me that they had changed plans and were only eating breakfast at 4:00pm and were going to eat a late dinner instead! What planners I have for friends. If they had been in charge of WWII, this blog would be written in German. Anyhow, I got to Sonsie where they were, and scarfed down some leftover hamburger and fries. We killed an hour and a half playing 2-4 Limit where I managed to donk off $100 playing every hand given to me. It's 2-4! Who cares? We were actually trying to hit the bad beat jackpot, which was up to $61,000. The deal was, if any one of us hit the jackpot, then the winner would get 50% of the winnings and then split the remainder amongst the other participants. It occurred to me, as I was playing, that we hadn't discussed how taxes would work with that but that's not really important, is it? It's not like we're going to hit it anyway....
We walked a block after "dinner" to get to the convention hall and there was a line of 14 year old girls waiting to get in. This is very popular with the tween crowd, evidently. I felt like Grandpa Jones in there. A lecherous Grandpa Jones, might I add. Some of the older girls were quite hot and Darko had to remind me of the Statutory laws in the state of New Jersey. "15 will get you 20". Goddamit! The show, while not my thing, was surprisingly professional. All of the dancers are super talented (and quite hot). The issue I had with the show was it's ADD and twitch-like nature. It was like watching TV, but on stage. None of the dancers danced more than 45 seconds and when they did, it was only to show off as many complicated dance moves as possible. But really, I can't complain. I'm not really the intended audience. I was only there to support Viv, really. There was a group of two young girls seated in front of us with matching purple shirts reading, "Marry Me Neil!" Neil was one of the dancers in the show who had a habit of dancing topless as often as possible. The girls were besotted, unaware that Neil was most likely as gay as Liberace, holding up posters proclaiming their love and taking pictures whenever possible, not to mention squealing like the 'pig-man' from Deliverance. During intermission, they left their seats for a few minutes and I got a particularly cruel idea in my head. I offered PP $50 if he would tell the girls when they returned that Neil had seen their posters during the show and had come by during intermission to get them on stage, but since they were gone, he had to leave. The look on their faces would have been worth the money by far. PP, thankfully, has WAY too much integrity to break the heart of 14 year old girls.
After the show, after dancing our way (Ok, just me and Viv) back to the hotel on the boardwalk, we decided on a course of action. I wanted to stick around and keep playing Omaha, but the rest of the group went over to the Borgata again. So it was just me, all alone, playing Omaha. It was a good decision at first, as I went up $300. It was 2AM and I was getting just a twinge tired and I said to myself I was going to leave. But I didn't, because I am retarded. I got involved in a big pot where I was invested $100 and I lost a heartbreaker. I had Ad5dQsJs in my hand. I was in the BB in a kill pot. The bet was raised pre-flop and so many people called that I felt I was pot-committed to call with my $5 discount. The flop came Qd-5s-7d. I had flopped two pair with the nut flush draw. Good enough to bet out in my opinion. So I did and no one raised. A good indication I was ahead at the moment. The turn came with Kd, giving me the nut flush. I made a show of being frustrated by the diamond and checked, hoping to check raise someone else who was staying in for the flush. Well, it checked all around and I felt ill. The river was a Q. That gave me a boat. Now I felt safer, so I bet out on the river. I got a re-raise from the player to my left which everyone folded too. I made a crying call and he showed the inevitable KQ for the higher boat. To be fair to me, it was a 3 outer he was drawing to, but he scooped the sizeable pot and put me on tilt. This started an 8 hand slide which cost me $600. I want it to be known that I was NEVER behind until the river in each of the big hands I lost. For instance, there was the one outer a guy hit to make quads after I had flopped the nut boat. He scooped $300 on that one and I sighed. I know from CK that Omaha can have some sick variance but this was the first time I had been exposed to it. I left at 6AM DOWN $500 rather than up $300 as I was 4 hours previously. Crap. I walked to bed with a sick feeling and fell asleep.
We woke up in the morning as a group, the Fairfield hotel service waking us up despite the large "DO NOT KNOCK" sign that W had made up. We trudged over to Sonsie again (the BEST french toast ever) and spent the rest of the day playing 1-2 NL at the Tropicana. I had gotten a message that the IHO girls were in town for the day but, sadly, I wasn't able to play with them at the Hilton. Yes, I know it's next door. So sue me. Meanwhile, I played very good poker at the Trop and even though I went down another $50, it doesn't negate the fact that I made the right moves at the right time. It also put into focus a revelation I had about my cash playing. I've been making some SICK reads, being able to lay down hands at will when I know I'm beat.
Example: I'm at the Borgata with KQ and I call an $11 raise pre-flop. Three other people call and the flop comes K73, rainbow. The raiser checks, I bet out $15 and it folds to the raiser, who re-raises to $45 after some thinking. I go into the tank and I start thinking about it. He raised preflop, so he has something. If he's got a pocket pair, he must not feel bad about the board if he's coming over the top on a check raise. I put him on AK and fold my KQ heads up. He tables AA and the table goes wild. Like I said, sick read.
So my revleation goes something like this. If I can read when I'm beat, then I should be abel to read when I'm ahead. If that's the case, WHY AREN"T I RAISING OR BETTING MORE?!?! You know, that's easy to say and harder to execute, but Sunday I was doing it. For example, I had Ad2d in the SB. There are a few limps and the cutoff makes it $12 to go. Whenever I'm in early position with a weak hand like I had and there's a raise from the cutoff or button, I immediately look to my left at the players behind me. If they are reaching for their chips to make the call before I do, it gives me lots of information about the pot odds I'm going to get to make the call. I see at least three players start immediately picking up two red chips and I know I'm going to be getting 5-1, so I call. The players do, indeed, call and the flop comes A5J with 2 spades. It's a ragged board and I hit my top pair. I want to see where I'm at, so I bet out $21. Everyone folds to the raiser who flat calls. There's enough in the pot for him to raise if he's got a big Ace, so I immediately put him on the flush draw. When the turn comes a rag, I push out $40 without hesitating. This would force him to put in $40 to win $130 with no more money to come (I'm not betting out if another spade hits). That's less than 4-1 on a 5-1 draw. I don't think my opponent is sophisticated enough to understand the exact odds on this but he instinctively knows it's a lot and he ends up folding. Game, set, match. I am going to be doing a lot more of the larger betting at the cash tables from now on, provided I have a good read on my weak opponents. With the Wall Street Crew, it's just going to get me in trouble when they trap with their flopped sets, those bastards! :-p
The car ride home was capped by take out White House Subs (Best meatball subs on the east coast). I crashed hard when I got home and woke up at 10AM (no work on Columbus day for the Fixed Income Markets. Suck it Equity guys!!!). I had to get an upper endoscopy at 2:15 and I was really nervous about it. But it seems they give those doctors the BEST drugs. I got an IV for the procedure and I was knocked out in about 30 seconds. I woke up 30 minutes later not the least bit aware that a tube had been stuffed down my throat and a camera looked inside my stomach while another tube took a biopsy of a bit of my stomach lining. Best 30 minutes of sleep I ever had. It looks like nothing is wrong with my stomach which is making the Gallstone diagnosis much closer to 100%. The good news is that after the gall bladder is removed, I'll be able to drink like a normal human being again, maybe even a college student! So I'm debating getting the surgery BEFORE my Vegas trip rather than after like I had thought. What do you think crew? Should I do it in late November (post Thanksgiving)?