Friday, April 13, 2007

Passover in Atlantic City

It was me and Darko, heading out on a cold Thursday afternoon to hit Atlantic City for what could be the last good three day weekend in a while. After a pleasant ferry ride over the Hudson River to pick up John’s car in Hoboken, we were on the rode at 4:00pm sharp. We turned a corner and hit a wall of traffic coming out of the tunnel. The cars eased up, though, when we hit the Cheesequake rest stop and from there it was a straight bullet to poker Nirvana. John and I spent the time talking about strategy and hands an we were revved up to go when we pulled into the Tropicana garage at around 6:30.

We got the front desk, where there was no line, and checked in. Normally, we like to stay in the South Tower because the elevator bank leads directly to the poker room, but they were completely full. Instead, we opted for the Havana Tower, which is near the garage and is the newest tower in the complex. I assumed that would mean that the rooms are the nicest. It was certainly spacious enough, and we dropped off our bags and went directly to the tables.

John opted to play 1-2 while I indulged my hankering for 4-8 Limit. After about 20 minutes where I won three straight pots, a seat opened up at the infamous ‘Pink’ game, which is $7.50-$15 limit and is the highest limit game the Trop spreads. I sat down there and walked away a few hours later up about $200 total. John had dropped some money and we called it a night relatively early because we had been up early for work that day.

Friday morning, we woke up at a decent hour and hit the room again. John went back to his 1-2 battle and I opened up the Pink game with a bunch of locals. Friday was a dream for me. I couldn’t lose for anything. By the time the day was over, I had made quads 4 different times and gotten paid off each time.

I was up over $400 when I left the Pink game. Wendy made her way down to the Trop sometime in the afternoon and we went over to the Borgata to finish up the night. The wait for the 1-2 tables was over 80 people long (!), so we put our names on the list and went to get dinner (Fatburgers rock!). When we came back, the list was whittled down some, but there was an opening for 6-12 limit which I took. I ended up winning there too. Wendy and John were sitting two tables over from me, and I was jealous because they looked like they were having a blast! I walked over to see how they were doing and they each had about $350 in front of them. Then the waitress came over and John, playing table captain, gave out shots of Tequila to the whole table! They downed their shots and went back to taking each others rolls. I went back 15 minutes later because I heard a big ruckus from their table and John, who had had $350 15 minutes ago, now had $1600! WTF?!? Turns out he flopped Broadway against an antagonizer who had flopped top two pair, and all the money went in. Go Darko!

We went home at around 2AM and I went to sleep, ready to tackle Saturday morning. Darko and Wendy were still too wired to sleep so they did some more late night playing back at the Trop. It didn’t go well. Never play tired troops!

I woke up at 9:15a, intent on playing in the 10:15 tourney. I woke up John, groggily at 9:30 and he cursed at me, but eventually got up to play. Good for him, too. Wendy, who is used to waking up as the sun goes down, didn’t even budge. John and I started the tourney on time and by the 6th blind level I had a very large stack as I got paid off on my big hands. John had about half my size but the blinds. But blinds were going up rapidly and even my large stack needed improvement. I got a bit of bad luck when I moved to a new table right after I had been the big blind at my old table and my new spot was…the big blind! Grrrr…. I picked up TT in the big blind and made a large raise when it limped all around. A short stack moved all in with AK, I called, and two Kings flopped. Just like that, half my stack was gone. I got AK in the small blind and the same player made a medium raise. I pushed all in and he squirmed but eventually called with JJ. Needless to say, I got no help and I was gone in two hands. John, meanwhile, kept winning and before I knew it, he was at the final table in the money! By the time it was down to 6 players (out of 89), he was the big stack. The 6th place stack called for a six way chop and John finagled it to get the largest share, $1500, while the rest got $1200. Way to go Darko!

The rest of Saturday was uneventful except for three things. One, as much as I couldn’t lose on Friday, I couldn’t win today (‘nuff said). Two, I ate lunch with Wendy and Darko at the White House sub shop, where I ate a bit of the best meatball sub I’ve ever had. Three, I played in a 4-8 game with a bunch of locals at Harrah’s where I had a hell of a time and I never had so much fun being called a ‘cheap fucking Jew’ in my life. To be fair, these words were spoken by 84 year old Edith Goldberg, and it was in complete fun. The whole table had a good time. While I was playing, the table next to me, where I would have sat had the 4-8 table not opened up, erupted. They hit the bad beat jackpot to the tune of $106.000! So close…

The other highlight of Saturday was teaching table games to John. We played Pai Gow, Let It Ride and Carribean Stud. I hit a straight in Let It Ride and got paid out $150, which was nice. I enjoy the zen-like experience of Pai Gow, but John’s inner action junkie couldn’t take it for too long. Wendy, meanwhile, continued her very harsh losing streak.

We got to bed finally at 5:30am and woke up to check out. Wendy, who had been arguing with the front desk the entire weekend about the temperature of the shower water, called up one last time and somehow managed to get the whole weekend comped! It was a nice way to end a pleasant weekend. John and Wendy stayed on one more day but I took the bus home at 3:00 pm to catch the Sopranos season premiere. What a nice weekend, even though I only finished up $3.50!! Damned break even poker!

Seen at Good Look last night…

After band practice last night, which was at Smash Studios at 36th street and 8th Avenue, I figured I’d go to the Good Look club to spend a few hours since I was close by anyway. I walked in, got acclimated and notice Darko and Vivian at the tables! We all joined up together at a ridiculously tight table and grinded it out for about 90 minutes. I lost about $100 chasing an open ender and a nut flush draw with proper pot odds when I got 25o in middle position. Ah! Just the hand I had been waiting for! The Darko!!! It limped one caller to me and I made it $25 to go, leaving me with $36 in my stack. Instead of taking down the pot on a tight table, to my horror I got 3 callers! A new guy, who was bragging how he made $25,000 the night before at a 10/20NL home game, said, “I know what *you* have”. Oh really? The flop was a dream for the Darko hand. 345 rainbow!!! I had flopped top pair with an open ended straight draw. I was going all in obviously and I got my short stack ready, visibly. The guy to my right checked out of turn and I put in my money but Mr. 25,000 reminded me that it was his turn to act. I apologized and took back my bet. He checked, the guy to my right checked and I pushed all in for $36 more. The button folded, Mr. 25,000 folded and the guy to my right was about to fold but calmly said, “I call”. No one turned anything over until the turn and river both came. They were blanks, but overcards. I sheepishly said, “I have a pair of 5’s”. The other guy turned over A6, for Ace high and I flipped over my 25o for the winner! SHIP IT!!!

The best part about this hand was I had killed all of this guys outs, pretty much. His Ace was dead because it made me the straight. His 6 was dead because it made me the straight. His 2 (for his own wheel) was crippled since I had one. His only good outs were 7’s. That’s a shame….Really….

John just shook his head and said, “You’re a sick man”.