I think those of you who have been following my trip reports can understand why I’m looking forward to heading home. It’s been a long trip and I’m very much looking forward to seeing my wife and getting back to my normal routine. Not to say that I’m over AC or anything. Quite the opposite. I really like it here and look forward to my next trip, which will actually be in eight days when I come out for the Red Chip Poker East Coast Meetup. The Red Chip site and forum has such great people and I’m looking forward to seeing those people I met at the last meetup, putting faces to names I only know from the forum and making some new friends. Plus, the Poker Stars Festival will be at Resorts in AC so the games should at least be plentiful.
There was an unusual, exciting, and entertaining happening in the Harrah’s poker room yesterday. A young man showed up, about 30 years old, with 100k in cash on him. Everyone knew he had a 100k because it was in cash and he was flashing it around. He was obviously in the room to get an attention fix. Flashing that kind of cash around seemed to me like a good way to get yourself robbed and murdered. In his defense, he was pretty drunk and not in the best state of mind. He told everybody who would listen that he had won the money in baccarat and sat down at a 1/2 table to play. To everyone’s surprise (and to many’s delight), he decided to play every hand blind for $500 (the table max). And I literally mean every hand. Blind. For $500! Things in the room where pretty chaotic and you could feel the buzz in the air as soon as you entered the room. This went on for quite awhile. I had never seen stacks on a 1/2 table like these. The lucky guy in the seat next to moneybags had a stack around $8000 . . . in a 1/2! Crazy. Moneybags was also downing a good amount of Johnny Walker Blue and tipping the waitress with $100 chips. But after about ten drinks, the floor man cut him off. I think you can imagine the disappointment on the waitress’s face. He played for a little while longer, but was getting pretty belligerent, shouting, cursing, and taunting the players at his table, and eventually got bored and left after dumping around 15k to 20k.
With moneybags gone, things started to calm down. Big winners were congratulated. Those who had gotten their money in as huge favorites but still lost were consoled. Just when things felt like they were back to normal, moneybags strolled back in holding a stack of twenty $1000 chips in his hand (He still had eight 10k straps of cash hanging out of his pockets). He proclaimed to everyone that he had just won back all the money he’d lost in poker in a single hand of baccarat. It was very obvious that he was just trying to save a little face and giving a big fuck you to all those who were snickering about all the money he’d lost at poker. But the big question was is he going to sit down at another table? The room was once again buzzing. All the games that had an open seat were staring him down intensely, wondering if there table was going to be the one he sat down at. It felt like we were all eagerly grasping lottery tickets while the numbers spin around the tumbler and get slowly announced. Which table held the winning lottery ticket? He teased us all by walking from one table to the next, looking the players over, and eyeing the empty seat. I looked over and noticed the seat to my right was empty. I’d be in the perfect position if he sat at our table. But it wasn’t to be. He sat down at a nearby table and once again began his $500 blind betting pattern. But it just wasn’t the same for him this time. The luster had gone and people weren’t quite as impressed or giving him the attention he craved. Amazingly, people were already getting used to the situation. There wasn’t a giant crowd around the table this time. Players who didn’t have friends at moneybag’s table quickly got back to focusing on their own games. So without the attention he so craved, moneybags left for good after only 20 minutes.
The question I kept asking myself afterwards was, if he had sat down at my table, would I have been one of the people who played against him, or one of the people that sold their seat (seats at his table were getting about $100 to $200)? For me personally, I think I would have sold my seat. Not out of fear or anything like that, but simply because I wouldn’t want to put the bankroll I have worked so hard at building at risk. I guess I could risk taking a single $500 shot. But at this point it doesn’t seem like a very smart move to risk say $2000. I can’t help but think of all the work I’ve put in to earn that money and all the work it would take to earn it back. Plus, I know to some this will sound silly, but I don’t want to win lottery-style. The gambling part of poker isn’t what appeals to me. It’s the idea of studying hard, really dedicating yourself to learning, then getting rewarded for that work that has drawn me to poker. This is why I’ve never bought a lottery ticket. Winning a million dollars out of pure chance doesn’t sound nearly as good as the satisfaction that would come along from legitimately earning it.
Overall, the trip was a slight loss for me. So slight that for all intents and purposes I would call it a break even trip. I had a solid session during the day at Harrah’s and not only won back all my losses from the first night of the trip but won enough to put me significantly ahead for the trip. But then I went to the Borgata. I had considered just going to bed early and not playing an evening session. It had been a rough week and I thought it would be good for my state of mind to book the win, go back to my room to work on the blog, do some studying, and get a good night’s sleep before the long drive home the next day. But I convinced myself that I needed to put in more volume, especially considering that I hadn’t played as much earlier in the trip as I had planned, and headed over to the Borgata about 9pm. I’m sure you can guess how things went.
My table at the Borgata was actually pretty good. Lots of limping and lots of players calling sizeable preflop raises with shitty hands like A9o OOP or low unsuited connectors. I took two bad beats very early. One with AA against T9o when a player called a bet on the flop with only a back-door straight draw. He called another bet on the turn when he picked up a gut-shot. Then of course he hit the gut-shot on river. The very next hand I picked up QQ and the same player called three barrels with 3rd pair on a dry board and of course hit trips on the river. Ugh. Those two hands got me down to 1/3 of my original buy-in. I slowly began rebuilding my stack and eventually got back to 1/2 of my buy-in when I got all in with QQ against AK and lost the flip. C’est la vie. I probably should have immediately went south for another buy-in, the game was obviously really good, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I was ready for the trip to be over. So back to the room I went.
Like anyone, I don’t like having a losing trip. But what usually happens after a loss, and this is definitely the case this time as well, I come home inspired to work harder on improving my game. When I win, it’s real easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’m a fantastic player who shouldn’t change a thing. I’m a natural, the game is super easy, and the winning will never stop. Losing makes me think very closely about what might have happened to cause the loss. Was it simple variance and bad luck or are there leaks in my game that have been hidden by run good? I’ve already recognized some considerable problems with my play that I look forward to exploring and correcting in the coming months.
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