I have been making many trips to Atlantic City trying to get 150 hours of play to qualify for the Harrah's WSOP Freeroll. So, while this is my first public trip report, it was my eighth (or ninth or tenth...bad record keeping pre-mid-February) AC trip of 2009.
When I was only making trips to AC every other month or so, driving was fine. Once I started going almost every weekend I needed to find less stressful transportation from DC->AC. I looked into bus junkets, but the little information I could find online did not appeal to me. In mid-February I tried taking the train and found it to be a comfortable way to travel although it does increase the length of the trip by two hours. At least my time on the train is spent reading or watching videos.
I booked the trains for this trip over a week in advance in order to get lower rates and a AAA discount. The plan was to catch the 6:30 train Saturday morning and the 19:44 train out of AC Sunday evening. On Wednesday a comped Friday night room at Bally's became available on the Total Rewards website. Traveling Friday evening and not having to wake up at 5:00 in the morning on Saturday sounded good to me so I switched train reservations to spend two evenings in AC.
On Friday I caught the 19:22 train at New Carrollton, MD, and got into AC around midnight. Checking in at Bally's I request a non-smoking room with two beds. Told I have to take a smoking room. Even before I quit smoking a few months ago I would never stay in a smoking room. Ask if non-smoking is available with one-bed. Tap, tap, tap..."you're in luck sir, we have a very nice suite in the garden tower that is non-smoking." Get to the room (first time I have not been stuck in the Claridge tower at Bally's) and it is sweet. Living room with a giant flat screen TV that can be rotated to face in the bedroom or living room (only 10 channels and I never found ESPN). Bathroom with TV in the mirror (that cannot be seen from the throne or shower/bathtub area). Bath with water jets. Very nice...and they say casinos hate poker players :) In the morning I discovered my "view" was a roof and all the other rooms with the same view. Looking up there was a little bit of sky, but I wasn't here for the view anyway.
Once I got the room set up I went downstairs and played some 1/3. Why did I not go over to Harrah's to earn some hours? Because I knew I only had an hour or two and the travel to/from Harrah's would have cost me about an hour. Sat down at a wild, action-packed, Friday night table. Lost $50 on the river shortly before leaving, and that is what I finished down for the session. No big deal...just not being patient and playing a bit loose on my first night.
Hit the Wild West buffet in the morning instead of the 6ix bistro. The bistro has fine food but horrible service...not even the normal NJ rudeness, more incompetence. The buffet is decent if not a little uninspired. As long as I have an omelet station I'm happy. On the way back to the room I stop and get my new platinum card that I have qualified for with the poker hours already put in. Bad beat: platinum expires 03/10 instead of 03/11...I think if I had earned my 4000th tier point in April I would have had platinum until 03/11 so I am a bit miffed that I am being punished 11 months for being efficient. Oh well...might write a note to Harrah's to see if they will do anything about it. Get back to the room and relax in the jacuzzi-ish tub reading Sklansky and Miller's NL book. Very slowly making it through that book. Checkout and am on the Total Rewards shuttle to Harrah's a bit after 10:00.
No suite upgrade at Harrah's, but the self-checkin kiosk attendant manually gives me my room preference (machine thought I wanted a nice Waterfront or Bayview room, but this degenerate poker player likes the Harbour tower rooms that are right above the poker room). Unpack and am seated at 1/2 right at 11:00. I do not move from the one seat until 03:00 the next day. Had a fun table and didn't do anything stupid (poker wise) outside of bleeding off some chips out of boredom. Suck-out: Virginia Tech NIT game on TV right next to table...bad-beat: Tech down by 20 at the half. This caused the coronas to start coming to me before noon. Actually, I was drinking the coronas at my metabolic rate for 8+ hours so no big deal. Got a Jameson in the 22:00 timeframe. Before I was finished our fun table decided to do a round of tequila (actually, one abstainer, one kamikaze, and eight tequilas). The worst drink I have ever had still got me drunk. When we did another round of tequila a 1/2 hour later we were smart enough to ask for the Cuervo, but my taste buds were still reeling from the first shot so this one wasn't a whole lot better. At least I still had some Jameson to wash it down. Last corona finished before two. Realized I forgot to eat at some point in time (poker or alcohol destroys my sense of time, so both together and I'm can barely remember the day). Ordered shrimp cocktail and chicken tenders off of the poker room service menu. Food was good and necessary and helped soak up the alcohol. Due to the drinking and salty chicken, I pounded 10 oz water bottle the last hour or two of the session.
At some point post-midnight (I think) Cardgrrl sat down two to my left. Cards dictated that I not tangle with her, which is probably good for me. Instead of telling the whole table that she's so good at poker she writes about it, I was subtle and asked her about the bus junket. Unfortunately that was a little too subtle to get her to realize the drunk guy reads her blog. Since our paths have crossed my last two trips to AC I'm sure I will run into her again.
Big hand of the session, two-limpers ahead of me and I raise to $15 with JJ and get two callers. Flop come J, 6, 5 rainbow. 9 seat bets $30, 10 seat fold, and I pop it to $90 in case he is on a straight draw. Guys comes over the top all-in. I verify that I really do have top-set and call. Of course he flips over 66. No 1-outer on turn or river and > $1000 pot shipped my way (both of us had healthy stacks). Felt good to be on the right side of set-over-set for once. After sixteen hours I hit the wall and go to bed. All profit is the set-over-set hand...other than that I tread water. Still, it was nice to have two full racks of red and a handful off red and green to cashout.
Only slightly hungover then I wakeup a little before 10:00. First time I have awoke after eight in Harrah's, so I checkout the buffet for the first time since the cafe is mediocre at best. It's $6 more than the Bally's buffet, but it quite a bit better. Got my mandatory omelet, but also smoked salmon, grapefruit and bread pudding. I only eat twice a day while playing, so I really load up on breakfast. Good buffet, just annoying that it doesn't open unit 9:00.
Check my bag with the bell desk and sit down to 1/2 at 11:40. Fishtastic table and build a couple of towers of red. Around 13:00 I am dealt AhQh on the button. Just me and the BB. Flop ThJhKs. Jackpot! Nut straight, re-draw to nut flush. Check-check. 8s on turn. Call a bet. Rived Kh for the royal. Unfortunately no boat for the BB. He calls my medium bet with 7h9h afraid of the boat himself. Ask about the high hand since it was so early in the day...bad beat (if there's such a thing as a bad beat on a royal): someone hit a royal at 7:00 so I get the consolation prize of $50 on my card instead of $200.
In the last 1/2 hour of the session I run QQ and KK into AA. Karmic payback for set-over-set the day before I guess :) I get away from QQ-AA pre-flop but still played the hand poorly. I raise, guy that would only raise with KK or AA re-raises, so I know he has it, but I want proof for some inexplicable reason. So of course I raise again and I finally decide the fourth re-raise means AA. I fold and we both flip up. Less than two orbits later I get KK. Aggro-donk trickster raises to $11, two callers then I re-pop it. He re-raises and it folds to me. He is just the kind of player that would represent AA here since I already showed I can fold KK. That was my thinking when I shoved :) Of course he flips up AA and no card high than a 7 comes on the board...bye-bye stack five hands before leaving. I'm playing to the BB before I leave to catch my train. Last hand I limp UTG with QJs (last hand limp leak!). Aggro-donk pops it to $10 and BB calls. I figure WTF, I'll call for the last flop of the night. JJT flop. BB check, I check, aggro-donk checks. Turn 7..check around. River 2. BB bets $35. I start worrying about 89. I was seeing all kinds of monsters under the bed yesterday. I just call. Aggro-donk calls. Aggro-donk had AA. BB had a T he thought might be good. Trip Jacks crack aces and takes it down! I rake the pot right into a rack and leave without any shame whatsoever :)
Bad beat #1: missed free train shuttle so had to $15 cab it to the station. Bad beat #2: train leaves late and arrived 10 minutes late. Only had a two minute layover but Amtrak train is still there. Run up stairs and train leaves as I'm running down the stairs to it. A bit over an hour until the next train...lame. Bad beat #3: jackass merges on highway and starts tailgating me in the right lane. Speed up to put some distance between us even though I know troopers tend to hang out around the next bend. Sure enough, $131 fine unless I want to go to court. Court date: 10 am the day following the freeroll. First time to be pulled over for speeding since 1996.
After the weekend I should have about 144 hours logged, which means I need to head back to AC this weekend to get the last six hours. I had the poker desk book me a room for next Saturday night for the poker room rate of $109 + taxes + more taxes. That's less than the fleabag hotels in city limits. Hopefully this rate is available during the busy summer months.
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