Sunday, July 23, 2006

Atlantic City Part II

Thursday night's antics were written up in Part One, Here.

Friday morning I woke up around 10am and figured I'd head over to the Borgata after checking out the action down in the Tropicana's poker room. However, the Trop's 2-5NL game was pretty good, so I sat down and stayed.

Kirk Acevedo, of Oz fame, was sitting in the 7 seat, while a gregarious school teacher from the Bronx sat in the 8, and a Russian with a booming voice was in the 10 seat. He'd shout things like "OK, SHOW US THE FLOP!" and "FLOOR, WE NEED TO CHANGE THE DEALER" at completely random times, and made for an enjoyable table. I was in the 3 seat, and the other seats were filled with fish who basically watched the four of us tangle for 8 hours.

I continued the frivolity by dropping the hammer early, when I called a raise in position with 7-2 offsuit, and then bet the 4 way pot when it was checked to me. As my opponents folded, I tabled the Hammer, and the schoolteacher laughed in appreciation and respect.

Early in the session a rookie UTG raised to $25, and I was next with KK, and a $400 stack. I made it $65 to go, and everyone folded back to the noob, who called reluctantly.

After the T-8-3 two spade flop he checked to me. I bet $100, and he thought for a solid minute before saying "$170 more back to you," as he pushed all in for $270 total. This kid was so nervous his head was literally shaking, which I read as strength, but my problem was I couldn't be sure he had TT and not JJ or QQ... After significant thought, I called, and was shown a set of tens. Blammo.

I rebought for $500, and spent the next 5 hours playing tremendous poker - just grinding away - relentlessly attacking pots, and dodging bullets. At one point, when Acevedo left, two guys sat down and I just started laughing: one was a dead ringer for the Bizarro Barry Shulman (Actually, he was 85% Shulman and 15% John Madden), and the other was a perfect Bizarro Johnny Chan, complete with vintage 1988 Chan haircut, and sunglasses. I stared at them in disbelief, wondering if this was some kind of Imperial Palace Dealtertainers act, and looked at the other players at the table for someone to appreciate the beauty of this gem, but alas, the other schmucks were lost in their own fish-itude.

I built my stack back up to $1050, which put me up $150 for the session. The Russian was now 1/2 drunk, and seemed eager to battle me for table dominance. When 6 players limped, I raised to $40 from the BB with AcKc, and only he called.

The 6s4c6c flop was solid for my hand, and I bet out $65. The Russian thought for several seconds before calling.

The Qh came off on the turn, and I fired out $150. Again, he thought for a minute, and called.

The river was the ten of spades, and I tried $150 more. This bet probably wasn't the right amount, as I can't really get him to fold a better hand, but I thought he was on a flush draw, and I didn't want to have to check-call a big bet, so I made it as a kind of blocking bet.

He insta-called, and when I said "Ace high," he slammed his Q-9 offsuit on the table emphatically. Nice flop call fucko. I knew it would just be a matter of time before I got my money back from him.

I didn't have to wait long for the opportunity: while the Russian was arguing with the dealer, who had ruled that an opening raise to $17 was not allowed (ie, the dealer said opening raises had to be in $5 increments, which was contrary to what I was told the night before), I decided to fuck with Karma by jumping into the fray.

"That's not true, you can open for whatever you want," I told the dealer.

"No, you cannot," he said.

I looked down at The Vortex: 6-8 offsuit, and, as the Vortex himself would have wanted, announced, "Raise: $17 straight - call the floor if it's not a valid raise."

The Russian laughed, as I'd come to his defense, and called from the SB as everyone else folded.

"I check in the dark," he told me, before the 3s-5d-9d flop came down.

"OK, I bet. $30," I responded, and he called quickly.

"I check in the dark again," he calmly tapped the table before the turn came out... In slow motion, like a dream: the seven of clubs. My money card.

Now, I'd been tangling with the Russian for 7 hours at this point, and I figured I'd have to start a bigger dick contest with him - bait him into proving to me that he was the boss of this table.

I bet out $50 - just continuing with my preflop raise and flop continuation bet - you better raise me.

"Raise: $100" He min-raised me.

Attaboy, perfect. The bigger dick contest is on, but right now I'm Johnny Fuckin' Holmes - BITCH! The key here is to threaten his dominance: make a DYKWTFIA (Do You Know Who The Fuck I AM?) raise right back in his face.

"Raise. $300," I retort, sliding out two stacks of red.

It took him less than 8 seconds to announce "I'm all in," which really meant he was playing for my last $290, since he had me covered. Hook line and sinker - revenge will be so sweet.

I quickly slid my remaining chips into the pot, standing up, and things happened very quickly: I barely had time to turn my hand faceup and shout "BRICK IT!" before the dealer spiked the 4 of diamonds on the river, and the Russian, also standing, screamed out "YES!" as he slammed his Qd2d on the table.

"JEEZUS," I bellowed, as all eyes in the room turned to our table.

I stormed out of the room, on mega tilt, and steamed all the way through the Trop up to my room. I was going to play the $10k first place guaranteed tournament: $100 buy-in with $100 add-on, and I needed to make some phone calls to my poker pundits to fix my broken will.

I called E-dub, who sympathized with my bad beat story, and offered to send over some Double-Doubles to nourish me for the tourney. Dirty Dave was on his way to Vegas, pulling a miraculous last minute switch after his flight from Boston was cancelled: true addict that he is, Dave took the commuter rail south to Attleboro, MA, then hired a cab to drive him to Providence, where he was re-booked to Vegas! Cha-Ching!

I then called the Vortex, who was supposed to be in A.C., but he told me that he'd cancelled his trip because it was raining, and his wife would be left with nothing to do while he played poker. I told him how I'd got Vortex-ed, and he said "You didn't play it right!" "What? I raised preflop just like you wanted, and then I got $600 in on the turn with the nuts! I can't play it any better!" He laughed, and wished me luck in the tourney.

The tourney structure was very fast: 4k in starting chips, with 50-100 blinds, and 20 minute levels. Subsequent blinds were 75-150, 100-200, 150-300 with a 25 ante, 200-400 with a 50 ante, and then 300-600 with a 100 ante. You could do an add-on for 4k more in chips after the 3rd level, but could not rebuy if you were busted.

After washing my face in the room, regaining my composure, and putting on the Tournament Assassin gameface, I was ready to rumble. I sat down and took 4 of the first 5 pots, raising ruthlessly and continuously: on a mission.

On the 7th hand, when everyone was finally seated at our table, I limped in early middle position with 9dTd, and we saw a 5 way unraised flop: Ts9s3h

The small blind comes to life, betting out 2k! What? I quickly decided he wouldn't do that with a set, and decided to just call, as I might be able to induce a fold if the turn blanked off - I wasn't sure I wanted to reraise him all-in, which would give him the correct price to call if he had a flush draw.

The turn was an offsuit 5, and he bet out $700. I quickly put him all in, for $1300 more, and he called after 15 seconds, tabling KT offsuit, and I had doubled up early.

I didn't really play another hand until the break, when I did the add-on for 4k in chips, and had 12k, with blinds at 200-400. The problem was, between the fish at the table, and the incompetent dealer we had, who went out of his way to slow the game down after I gently encouraged him to keep it moving (he'd pause to scratch his nose in the middle of dealing the cards, he'd take his time chopping out side-pots, he'd look around at the other things in the room - and he knew it was bothering me), my 30BB stack quickly became a 10BB stack, in the span of 2 levels, which encompassed 15 hands! AIYAHH!

Our table broke, and I was playing my small stack lethally - waiting for the perfect moment to step in. I doubled up with A-Ts, then stole a round of blinds, antes and a limper, when I came over the top with KQ and everyone mucked. When my JJ cracked AA by spiking a jack on the flop, I was suddenly the chip leader, and when the button and SB tried to limp in my BB, I put them both all-in with As9c, liquidating the button, who called with K7offsuit. My KK was cracked by a small stack's 8-9 when it made a straight, but I had about $45k.

The problem was, with blinds at 1k-2k, and 4 tables remaining (top 9 paid, with first place over $10k, and a steep dropoff after that), I knew it was still a major crapshoot, which led me to make this somewhat unorthodox play:

UTG, who was the only player at the table I respected, raised to 10k (200 ante, 1k-2k blinds). It was folded around to me in the SB, where I found A-J. Now, in a normal tournament, this is a pretty easy laydown. However, here, as I looked at my opponent's chips, seeing that he had a stack that was very close to mine in size, he said "We're about the same in chips."

Hmmm.. Yes, I know this... and I know that YOU know this, and I know that YOU know that I'm the one person at this table you shouldn't fuck with. There are a bunch of fish here, and we could try to pick off their $15k stacks instead of tangling with each other. Also, the exponential blind structure meant AJ was a playable hand, even in the face of a UTG raise. I decided I'd call, and try to freeze my opponent on the flop.

The flop came 7-5-5, which should have been a clue for me to check-fold, as now there is now way I can get him to laydown a medium pair like 9's through J's. Still, he couldn't call a bet with AK AQ, and I counted out 15k.

He thought for a long time, and I was pleased with my brilliant plan - until he uttered "all-in."

I was getting a nice price, but it would cost 15k of my remaining 19k to call, and I released my hand, as he showed me QQ. In retrospect, this raggedy flop was a poor one for me to bet at, as he'd call with hands worse than QQ.

Three hands later, everyone folded to me in the cutoff, and I moved all-in for 19,400 with 3-2 offsuit. When the button called after 30 seconds, I let out a sarcastic "faaahhhhhhhhhkk," and he showed A-J, which held up, and I was out.

Now, sometimes I'd be furious with myself at the way I blew up in the span of 2 hands in this tournament, but the massive blind/stack ratio, large number of players remaining, and top heavy payout structure gave me the perfect set of circumstances to take a few shots: there's no way to win this thing without taking a bunch of risks, so I wasn't upset as I thought about my play.

I returned to the board, and asked for a 2-5NL seat. The floorman told me "go buy chips."

"Where is the seat?" I asked him, wanting to see the table composition before I bought chips.
"I have 4 tables," he explained.
"OK, do I get to choose?"
"No, you'll be right here," he showed me an open seat two to the left of my nemesis: the Russian!

I licked my lips, eyed the 8 person line at the cage, and sat down at the table with cash for a full buy in.

After only 30 minutes, I played an interesting pot when 4 people limped to me in the SB, where I completed with Ts3s, and the BB checked.

The flop came Jd-Th-3h, and I bet out $30. A calling station in middle position called, as did an Enigma in the cutoff-1, before the Russian in the cutoff raised to $100. He had about $300 left, to my $430, and the Enigma had us both covered.

I'm in an interesting spot here, as I may be up against JT, but I'm not folding, and although I can raise to price out a flush draw, I think I can get a bare jack to overcall if I just call, and I also think that the Russian or the Enigma will call me on the turn with a flush draw, getting a much poorer price to do so.

I finally smooth call, an the MP calling station folds, but the Enigma calls.

The turn is the beautiful ten of clubs, which means I'm committed, and will either get stacked by JT, or rake a nice pot. I bet out $150, and the Enigma calls quickly, but the Russian is fuming. He's cursing to himself, and now I think he just had a big jack. He finally mucks, to my dismay, after chiding the dealer "You can't find nothing but TENS in the deck?!?!?!"

The turn is a brick 6, and I slide my last $182 into the pot, counting it off.

Enigma goes into the tank, holding his cards up, staring at them, and he's about to fold them, when he has a second thought and pulls 4 red chips off of a stack, sliding the remaining tower forward along with a second stack, calling.

I slyly spread my beauty: TEN-THREE-SUITED, and rake a sizable pot.

The only other story worth mentioning was a six-sigma character who joined our table, talking 100 miles a minute, and raising with impunity, pulling out things like blow-pops, and Fun-dip from his bag, and throwing them on the table, sliding them toward other players or the dealer. He'd also pick up the house phone behind him when he was in a hand, having a mock conversation with himself: "Yeah, I raised, he called, and I have shit. What do I do know?" He later pulled out his cell phone and showed me naked photos of his girlfriend.

I finished the evening session up $347, and managed to get my room rate cut in half by persistently nagging the woman in charge of the poker rate, and snagging a reduced rate which another player had reserved but not shown up for.

In the morning, it was raining again, and the depression of Atlantic City was taking it's toll on me: that's what happens when you go solo! I packed my stuff and stopped in the poker room, planning to play if the game looked good. There was a list going already, at 10am, so I jetted over to Bally's where I picked up a bus home. In an odd coincidence, the last guy onto the bus decided to sit in one of the few last vacant seats, the one next to me, and I recognized him from Playstation. Halfway through the trip, he turned to me and said "Were you playing at the Taj?"

"No, I know you from Playstation." He grinned, and extended his hand, figuring it out.

"How'd you do last night?" I asked him, as he'd come down to play 15-30 Omaha hi-low.

"I'm on the bus," he smiled sheepishly.

"I hear you bro. I hear you."

Final tallys:

Thursday: 5 hours + $136
Friday Day: 7.5 hours, -$900
Friday Night: 3 hours, +$347

Total: 15.5 hours, -$417

until next time,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I honestly think I would have stabbed the Russian in the heart after that suckout.