What a fantastic weekend we had in AC! I wasn't sure if I was going or not, but Ali and I went to a little housewarming get-together that Christine had and she made such a convincing case to Ali that I got the go-ahead! The list of attendees was distinguished indeed. Viv, Darko, Paulie Walnuts, Frances, Christine and her husband Matt, W, as well as Ali and I. I was so excited about spending the whole weekend that I completely forgot that I had promised my band's bassist that I would fill in on the drums for him and his other band, The Botz, on Friday night. The show was excellent, by the way, and I rocked the skins. Just saying.
So Friday night was out for me, but Ali and I got up early Saturday morning with excitement and made the 8:30a bus down to the land of scooped pots and bad beats. Or rather, I woke up with a bounce in my step and I had to drag Ali out by her hair. Nah, just kidding (but not really!). Beach traffic was heavy going down, but not too bad and we arrived at the Borgata just under 2hrs and 45min later. When we got to the poker room, Darko saw me and immediately launched into his bad beat stories. Friday night, evidently, had not been good. I wasn't going to let it cast a spell on me. We went up to our room, put down our stuff and got ready to go! Ali went to the pool and spent the afternoon laying out in the sun. I proceeded to the poker room and prepared myself to make up for many months of lost time.
Just as I was about to take a seat at the 1-2 NLHE table, Paulie saw me and said, "you don't want to play 1-2".
I said, "I don't?"
He said, "No, you want to play 5-10 Limit HE with me".
Oh, OK. I guess a friendly session of low limit donking is better than actually making money. So I took the seat with him. Darko joined us too, because lord knows he needed a break from 2-5 NLHE. The session was uneventful and I ended up losing about $80 in a short 3 hr. session. The most eventful hand came against Darko. I had AdQd on the button and there was maybe one call in the hand. I raised to $10 on the button and Darko called in the BB. The other player came in and the flop was Jh-7h-7s. Craptastic. Darko bet out, the first player folded and it got to me. I didn't believe Darko. Really, how many times have the readers of this blog thought that to themselves? Really? So I called with my two overs to the board. Turn was a Kh. Three hearts on board, a pair of 7's and two high cards and Darko fires another bet. I call with nut no pair. What? It's DARKO! River is a 4h. Darko makes another bet. 4 hearts on board, two high cards and a pair of 7's and I have Ace high. I pause for a few seconds, start agonizing and then say, "Hero call". I put my call in and Darko angrily insta-mucks! I scoop the pot and show my nut no pair just to rub it in, eliciting a few oohs and aahs from the peanut gallery. I love this game!
We play for a while until Ali comes and gets me and the group of us go out to dinner. 6pm at Izakaya and it was pretty good. Not spectacular, but the Kobe Beef fried rice was amazing. The drama of the dinner was when we came to split the bill. Normal people (I stress the word 'normal') would split the bill 9 ways. But we're not normal. Anything but. W grabbed the bill and immediately started carving out her piece. Except she also split some stuff with Darko except Darko drank sake and she didn't. At the end of these high finance gyrations, W proudly announced that she and Darko owed $93, including tax and tip. I'm not saying I don't trust W's math skills, but...Ok, that *is* what I'm saying. So I took the bill and calmly weathered her insistent protests that she was correct and added up the figures again. WITHOUT Darkos Sake, the bill came to $98, *before* tax and tip. This was after 3 passes at the bill by W and one pass by me. She didn't believe me but after we went through it together, it turned out I was right (shocker!). In the end, W's individual carve-out of the bill was $3 less than if we had just split it 9 ways. Just saying...
Regardless, we all had a marvelous time at dinner. Ali and I went up to the room afterwards to nap a bit and we got up at 9:45p to go out to MurMur, the Borgata nightclub. Amazingly, nearly the whole crew, with the exception of Darko and Matt, came out and it was a blast rocking out on the dance floor. I'd have to split the highlights between:
A. W, Ali and Christine doing the 'Wall Street Sandwich'.
B. Paulie and W showing us how it's done on the dance floor.
C. The MurMur dancing girls.
D. Ali and Christine getting up on the dance floor riser to shake their thangs (plural?).
We rocked out for a solid two hours before W couldn't handle it any more and got us all up top to go play some more poker! Hey, I know who I'm here with. Frankly, I'm surprised we made it two hours. P.S., for future reference, the DJ at the Borgata sucked it and they really need to lighten up on using the smoke machine. For god's sake, we're not doing a stage show of CATS out there!
Ali went upstairs to go to sleep and I ended up at the 10-20 OE game with W, which I played for the rest of the night. I ended up even for the session (minus $10), but W was down a buyin, mostly on crap luck. She was in the stud round when her worst beat came. W had a Jack in the door to a woman who had an Ace in the door and had raised coming out the game. W had called with 9-10 underneath and caught a Queen on 4th street. The woman with the Ace caught a 5 and bet out again. I put the woman on a low draw rather than Aces and so did W, who raised. My suspicions seemed confirmed when the woman flat called. The woman caught an Ace on 5th street and W caught a King. So, to recap, it's 5th street and W has (9-10) JQK. The woman has (XX) A5A. The woman bets out, W raises and the Woman calls. 6th street is a blank for W and a 4 for the woman, putting a wheel possibility out there. The woman leads out and W flat calls. Same betting pattern on 7th street and the woman shows (3-5) A-5-A-4 (5) for a full house to W's unimproved King high straight. To W's credit, she played the hand properly. The woman should have folded her two pair on 5th street when it was obvious to all that W had a straight. Even worse, it's possible W had Broadway, putting the woman's 4 outs to improve down to 3 outs. But her 4 on 6th street pretty much insured she would try drawing to a boat or a low and it was just bad luck that W ended up losing all of the pot.
I went to bed at 4am when the 10-20 game broke up and W, Viv, Chris and Matt stayed behind to play. I woke up at 10:30a with Ali on Sunday and got brunch. I invited Darko by email because he had gone to bed early, but it seems he got up late in the night, played for a while and then went directly home to NYC. When I emailed him at 11a saying we were getting buffet brunch, he wrote back saying he was already home! After brunch, I went back to the tables and Ali returned to the pool/spa area. This time, I did sit at a 1-2 NLHE table, a wise decision on my part. Paulie joined my table two hands in just in time to witness my first double up. I have 66 in late position. It limps around to me and I limp. SB completes and BB checks. Flop is K65 rainbow. It checks around to me, who's last to act. I have an incredibly strong hand here. The absence of a PF raise would normally indicate that KK is not here, giving me the nuts at this point. I'm a little scared of a straight draw, but this is early on in the table's life and I don't want to be too strong at this point because I don't know any of the players. Turn is my scare card, a 4. This time, the SB bets 15 and UTG calls. I call too. River is a 5. Bingo. I have second nuts, for all intents and purposes. The only hand I think I'm losing to here is 55. SB bets out 15 again and UTG calls again. This time, I raise an amount I think will get called. $30 more. SB, an old guy with white hair and a $300 starting stack, says, "I'm all in". UTG folds and I hesitate for a second. I figure if I'm losing to quads because he slow-played his 55 on the flop, then it's destiny. The bottom line is I'm only in with a $200 starting stack and it's not enough to worry about. There's no way I'm folding second nuts for $170! So I call and he shows K5 for the full house! I show him the bad news and his jaw drops, but then he gives me a smile to say, "hey, that's pretty good". So just like that, I double through and I know it's gonna be a good day.
In the course of the 4 hour session, I was hit by the deck pretty hard. I got AA four times, KK three times and JJ once, plus AK and AQ twice a piece. Even better, I won all of the pots with those hands except for one KK where I got away on the flop. The KK hand was the next hand after I had showed AA for the third time. The guy to my right raised to $12 and I smooth called in LP. No other callers and the flop was AdTdx. He leads out for $20 and I insta-mucked, showing my hand. He flashed AK and I was happy with how I played it. Four years ago, I would have had problems laying down KK under most circumstances. Now, it's just another hand. Yay for experience!
I had doing well at the table, winning small to medium sized pots with my big hands when I decided to get frisky. I had been showing such big hands that I wanted to mix it up a bit. My chance came when I had 35o on the button. What I had is irrelevant. The point is I was on the button and it folded to me. My plan was to raise to $11 and get the blinds and then show trash. The players aren't going to remember that I was blind stealing. They're going to remember that I showed 35o! But my plan was foiled, somewhat, when the BB called. He was an old mouth breathing gentlemen who didn't talk and had just sat down a few minutes ago. The flop was K76 with two spades. I don't have a spade. Again, that's irrelevant. The BB checked and I figure, "hey, he doesn't have a King. I'd better fire". So I bet 16 and he calls. Turn is a T. He checks. I bet 35. He calls again! Spade draw? That's the only thing that makes sense to me. So when the river is a Queen, no spade, and he checks AGAIN, I fire out 50. He calls again and I announce "5 high". The table bursts into laughter, except for the mouth breather, who had made a crying call but was puzzled when I announced my air and he turned over AA. Note to self: get a read on new players before trying to bluff them. Any smart player, once the Queen comes on the river, is going to give up AA. But then again, any smart player is going to bet out AA way before the river. Instead, I hung myself on a bluff. The good news is that his play told me everything I need to know about him and I was still able to use the play to establish myself as a loosey-goosey player, eliminating the 'card rack' image I had obtained by getting all those high pairs. It paid off handsomely when I got my $100 back from the mouth breather on 4 or 5 hands which all played out the same way. He flopped middle or bottom pair and called my bets all the way down when I had top pair. Or he led out and I called. The ones where he led out were more satisfying because I knew that he was only leading out with crappy holding because he was heads up against me. Remember, when he didn't 'know' me, he check-called every street with AA. But now he's betting out with J9o on a board of KQJ?!? Sweet!
The 35o hand also paid off really nicely about 20 minutes later. A heavy set middle aged Latina woman sat down to the table and immediately started giving off attitude. Not of the sterotypical 'spicy Latina' variety, mind you. More of the 'I'm a regular in the poker room, I know all the floor people and I want to have everything my way' type. She hadn't shown down a hand yet, but she was a somewhat aggressive player. I laid down AJ pre-flop to her when I raised to $12 and she re-popped to $35. I don't fight battled PF with AJ. I just don't (sorry, CK!). Which is why when I got my fourth AA in the hole a little while after the AJ raise, I was delighted when she called my PF raise to $11. We were heads up and the flop was Ad-Ts-4h. Again, I check the flop and she checks the flop as well. The turn is a 3h. I check again (if she has 2-5, god bless her!) and she leads out with $20. I debate what to do here. I want to felt her if at all possible but I can't quite figure out what she has. I finally put her on AK and decide to see what the board is on the river. I call and the river is a King! Sweet. Since I put her on AK, I'm confident she'll bet if I check, so I do and she fires out a nice aggresssive $60. So aggressive, in fact, that I'm confident she'll call my all-in if I shove. So I do. "All in," I say. She looks almost happy and says, "I call". I flip over AA with super-confidence and she starts cursing up a storm, flipping over TT for a soul-crushing set over set on the flop. I have her covered and double up again to $600.
At this point, things get heated when I push out my stack to get paid (I have her covered by just a little) and offer up a "sorry about that". More in sympathy than guilt, because we've all been there. But she takes my "sorry" as a huge insult and starts yelling at me!
"How can you say that? That's so stupid! Just take the fucking money and shut up about it."
I think the cursing is over the line so I start to get pissy. "Ok, ok. I'm sorry I was being gracious and magnanimous."
She comes back with the ever original, "If you're so sorry, how about giving me my money back."
So I do the most insulting thing I can think of. I toss her a white chip.
She throws it back at me and the vibe of the table, which had been relatively friendly, turn sour. I take that as my cue to leave, which I do knowing that Ms. Latina is going to be pissed I'm leaving with her chips. Cest La Vie lady.
I only played another hour or so with Paulie at 3-6 Limit before Ali and I left with Christing and Matt to go back to the city. But even the 3-6 game wasn't without drama. Remind me never to play in a 3-6 game again, by the way. I sat down with a rack of white, but quickly realized that I should have gotten a stack of red and a stack of white instead of 5 stacks of white. So every time the very very old man to my left would bet or call with a red bird, I'd reach out (his bets were already over the line, FYI) and change up his red for 5 whites. After my third time doing this, he exploded in rage! Then the guy to his left started yelling at me too. "This isn't a ktichen table. There are rules here. Get your change from the dealer! Etc..". The dealer, who knew perfectly well what I was doing and didn't care as long as I didn't short the pot, gave me a look that said, "Sorry you have to go through this. It's a 3-6 game and these people are crazy". The man to my right also gave me the "shhh, don't exacerbate it" signal. So I wisely shut my mouth without trying to explain to these morons that we'd all rather I make change on the FLY vs. stopping the game so the dealer can NOT DEAL in order to chip me up. Is being cranky a pre-condition to aging, or is it something you've always had and it just gets magnified. I can't tell. All I know is that I do NOT want to treat people like shit when I get older, just because I'm old and don't care. I really don't.
The ride to New York was pleasant because Christing had driven and being in a car with friends is much better than being on a bus. Especially if your'e not driving. Traffic was thick, but not crazy. It took about 3 hrs to get home and we got a rebate on the time because Chris dropped us off a block from Wall Street rather than us having to take the subway from the Port Authority if we had taken the bus. Ali, feeling very relaxed because of the awesome hot stone message I had purchased for her at the Borgata Spa, proclaimed it an "amazing" weekend in which she'd had lots of fun. Hmmmm. Greasing the way for future trips am I? One can only guess.