I had no plans to head back to Atlantic City this weekend. I swear. In fact, AC was shut down as recent as 10:00 am Friday morning. But, early Friday afternoon, Governor Christie lifted the evacuation, and I happened to log onto my account at Harrah's to check weekend rates: Ceasars AC, Friday/Saturday, fully comped. I mean, how can I pass up on that? So, 6:00 pm Friday night, I hit the road, unsure what exactly awaited at the Jersey shore.
Traffic on 95 was light. By 9:00, I hit the AC expressway. This is what it looked like:
Not a car in sight. Sort of creepy.
Ceasars was likewise as empty as I've ever seen it. A few random people here and there, donking slots. One pit open with a few tables of blackjack, et cetera, with degenerates playing heads-up against the dealer. Poker room closed until noon Saturday (indeed, only Borgata opened its poker room Friday night). I donked some Mr. Cashman for a couple of hours, and called it a night.
Saturday morning, I headed out to the boardwalk, expecting to see devastation. I saw nothing of the sort. The boardwalk was fully intact, as was the Steel Pier and even the various "beach bars."
Later on, at dinner at the bar at Mortons, some locals were in fact complaining about the National news media's portrayal of the city. While the news showed pictures of the AC boardwalk that had purportedly been blown down and washed away, that particular section -- at the far North end of the boardwalk -- had apparently been condemned for over 20 years. While it was in shambles, its current state had little to do with Sandy.
I headed over to the Golden Nugget to see if the noon tournament (the $10,000 guaranty) was running. According to the poker room manager, the tournament was indeed a go . . . with one minor exception: "there will not be a guaranty this week." Um. What exactly is The GN's definition of a "guaranty?" I can't say I was surprised. I also wasn't going to plunk down a $170 buy-in to play with the 12 runners the tournament eventually pulled. Off to other pursuits...
Eventually, I decided to play the 2:00 pm tournament at The Showboat. The $65 donkament drew 38 runners. I busted twelfth. I was actually building a fairly nice stack, and was up to $48,000 chips, when the following hand occurred and put me on tilt for a good hour:
Blinds were $400 / $800. I was in the big blind with $48,000. Two players limp into the hand, including an Old Lady on the hijack. As an aside, Old Lady was annoying. Like, a lot annoying. She talked non-stop, asking in depth, probing, questions of everyone at the table: "where do you live . . . what do you do for a living . . . are you married . . . what's your wife think of you playing poker the week after the hurricane . . . how did your house hold up to the damage . . . Oh, you're divorced . . . do you split custody of your kids . . . . how old are they . . . why do you only see them twice a week if they live in the same town . . . And, she was sitting next to her old bag friend, who, if possible, was even MORE ANNOYING. Old Bag Deuce was playing Blanche to Old Bag One's Rose:
Old Bag Deuce thought she was clever, witty, and that she still had game. She was hitting on half the table: "Oh, I like THAT one . . . he seems nice . . . I wonder what HIS deal is . . ."
Anyway, back to the hand. The action limps around to me in the big blind, and I look down at AK. I pause, and raise the action: "$4,000 on top." The initial limper folds. Old Lady One dumps in another $4,000 chips without hesitation. She started the hand with about $12,800. She limped in for $800, and then called off a third of her stack to a raise from the big blind. Whatever. I was tired of her yapping. I was putting her "all in" on the flop no matter what.
Flop comes down J 2 7. She checks, and I bet $10,000. She sighs, and says, "I have to call." She does, and flips the almighty K 8 off. Yes, clearly Rose just "had to call." She had to call a $4,000 raise from the blind, and she just had to call off the rest of her stack on the flop. Of course, you know how this story ends . . . with Rose hitting her three-outer on the turn and taking down a monster pot with a pair of 8's.
It wasn't losing nearly half my stack that had me on tilt. It was having to listen to Rose continue to interrogate for another hour, while Blanche eye-fucked the rest of the table with her glaucoma-cursed view-finders. I ended up getting my money in on the flop with an open-ended straight draw fifty minutes later, and was almost happy when I missed. I'm never watching a rerun of the Golden Girls again.
Saturday night, after dinner, I went over to Bally's to play the $1 / $1 NL game. It was interesting. First off, the entire premise had me confused. It's $1 / $1, yet you need to call $2 to see a flop? So, what? You're saving a dollar if you fold your big blind? That seems reasonable. With a $50 to $150 buy-in, the game was dominated by short-stacks. I lost a decent sized hand early on with Pocket 77, when a short stack shoved his last $16 and another short-stack, who had about $35 behind, called. I think I forgot I was playing a shitty cash game, and not the late stages a tournament (where I think a call with 77 is a reasonable play, when you're big stack and facing two short stacks). Anyway, the flop was 6 high. Short-stack two shoves his last $15 or so, and I of course call. Initial shover has nothing, and short-stack two has TT and takes the pot.
An hour or so in, I was sitting on $120 of my buy-in, and most of the short-stacks were long gone. We were playing 5 handed, one of whom was a dealer from Borgata and a fairly competent player. This hand took place between the two of us:
I'm cut-off, and look down at QQ. It folds to me and I raise to $10. Borgata just calls from the button. Flop is 9(s) 5(c) J(s).
I lead the flop for $15. Borgata RAISES to $40. I tank. I tend to rule out an over pair (Borgata likely would have re-raised). JJ is within his range, and his raise would be consistent given the coordinated board (same with a set of 5's or 9's). I had been C-betting every raise, and he could have AJ and be putting me on air . . . or a draw, and raising for information. Or, Borgata could be on the draw (a raise with a draw would be a bit unusual for a $1/2 game, let alone $1/$1, but this guy was a dealer and a fairly decent player from what I could tell). Ultimately, I had $95 behind, and just had a gut feeling my overpair was good.
I shove, and Borgata snap calls and flips Q(s) T(s) for the open-ended straight flush draw. The turn bricks, but the river is the K of diamonds and I'm done for the night.
Still not sure how I feel about the hand. Had I been deeper, I probably flat call and reevaluate on the turn. And, perhaps a turn-bet gets Villain off his draw with only one card to come. Who knows . . . Given my stack size, I don't really hate my shove. Not sure if a fold in that spot is too soft. Any thoughts?
As for Borgata's play . . . I give him credit for playing the hand well. I like his flop raise. When he called my shove, he explained, "I have to call with that draw . . ." No explanation was needed. I haven't done the math, but I suspect he was actually favored to get there by the river. I would have called in that spot myself.