Hey reader! Nowadays, I’m lucky if I post once a month, but with all the poker I played in the last month, the itch to write has returned. Sadly, with the amount of work ahead of me (and no poker in sight), the posts will continue to be few and far between.
No, I won’t apologize for the gap in posts. No, I won’t write a post saying how I intend to write more in the future. Those posts are by far the most annoying ones to read. Listen, buddy, if you don’t want to post frequently, don’t. There is no need to apologize to me. Similarly, if you intend to post in the future, don’t write a post about posting. Just post a god damn story.
This is my god damn story.
President’s Day weekend was a great one, mostly because of my plans Sunday night. My good poker buddy Andrew (what’s up, Rew?) had a free room at the Borgata in Atlantic City and wifey Kim had something or other going on that allowed me to head to AC without her. The menu: pok — okay, do I really have to say it? Fine. — poker.
I had made up my mind that I had to up my stakes and play some 2/5. I recently began tracking my results again (after losing my old spreadsheet when my laptop crapped out), and while I have not been exactly tearing up the poker world, I know that my wins have totaled multiple five figures at the 1/2 level (and similarly sized smaller tournaments), so the only thing holding me back from making the next step was the fact that my bankroll was super short from raiding it for other purposes.
I want to make money playing poker, but to make money that is worthwhile on a consistent basis, I need to increase my stakes. So, the plan was to play 2/5.
We arrived in AC from the Greyhound bus, and after playing through our $25 free plays at Bally’s (I lost it all, Andrew won $40), we made our way to Harrah’s at Andrew’s request. I like Harrah’s, so I wasn’t going to argue.
Andrew placed his name on the list for the 10/20 Omaha Hi/Lo, Stud Hi/Lo mixed game, and then sat at 1/2 while he waited. I eyed the 2/5 table, but, as per usual, decided to stick with 1/2. It was a smart move. 2/5 at Harrah’s is usually filled with the same regulars. I’d rather play 2/5 at Borgata, where there are more tables open and a greater likelihood to be seated with non-regulars.
My 1/2 session at Harrahs went well. The best part was looking over and seeing Bacini Mary coincidentally at the same table. I love Mary. She is a solid poker player, but (much more importantly) she is such a nice person. I am not always the easiest person to get along with, and at other times, I’m downright obnoxious, but Mary seems to get my obnoxiousness, and that makes her a-okay with me in my book.
I didn’t keep notes about hands, but from around 12:30pm to 5:30 pm, I scratched out a small profit of a bit over $100. I felt that I was playing well, but the table was getting boring and we still had to check in at the Borgata, so we made our exit to our next destination.
The room at the Borgata was great. Its the highest quality casino in the area, except for maybe Revel, which I have never visited and which is now coincidentally bankrupt. Once we dropped off our stuff and I changed (it’s amazing how poker can make a man sweat), we headed down to the poker room.
I sat down to 2/5 NLHE with a $300 stack and enough money in my pocket for several buy-ins. I planned to only rebuy once, so that I would cap my losses at $500 (counting the $100 profit from 1/2 at Harrahs). On the second hand I was dealt, I lost my first stack.
I was dealt 5c 7c in the BB. There were a slew of limpers, so around $30 or $35 in the pot. The flop was all clubs, with the high card being a Jack. The SB bet out $20 and I decided to raise to $60. It folded around to him and he thought for a while before pushing all-in. Usually, this is a sign of strength: act like you are confused about calling and then push, because in reality, you have the nuts. This time, something felt different. I stared him down, subtly, and got the distinct sense that he did not want to be called. He was giving off the no-tell tell (where a player goes into lockdown to avoid giving off any tells because they fear a call). So, I gulped and called. I put him on maybe an Ace of Clubs with an offsuit Jack for top pair, top kicker with a draw to the nuts. I also thought he may’ve flopped two pair. In fact, he showed a better flopped flush, with his highest card as a Ten of Clubs. He explained, “I didn’t want you to call.” I responded, “I know! That’s why I called!” Then I realized that I was giving away too much information and immediately softened my statement by saying, “Ah, who are we kidding! I had no idea what you had there. I was just gambling. Nice hand.”
I consider doing a cut-and-run to lick my wounds, but before my brain could process everything, my hand had placed another 3 hundred dollar bills on the table. I guess I was buying back in.
The session at 2/5 was about 3.5 hours, and over the course of the next 3.25 hours, I won back most of my $300 loss, eventually cashing out down a little under $100. I felt proud that I did not completely lose my shit, and I was okay with taking a loss. It was good to remember that 2/5 is not full of sharks. It’s the same game of poker and there are the same poker archetypes. There may have been a few particularly good players, but you can find that just as easily in a random 1/2 game.
Andrew and I had dinner at the Borgata’s food court. After, we returned for more poker. He found another Omaha Hi/Lo game. I returned to the slums of 1/2 NLHE.
This new table was just weird. A homeless-looking woman wearing a ratty black coat, snow cap, and scarf was hitting everything and getting paid. She really did appear homeless, but her demeanor was fairly normal. I joked about keeping out of her way, and when she finally left, I think the entire table was relieved. She was putting such a hurting on the game that everyone was getting gun shy. Once she was gone, though, the fireworks flew.
I made most of my money on pocket 3s. I called a raise preflop. The flop was 36Q with two spades. I bet out and got calls from a couple of Asian gamblers. The turn was another 6 for a full house. I checked. One Asian open-pushed. The other called. I called. Ka-ching!
That hand alone probably made my night. When I eventually cashed out, I was up around $700 from that one table.
The next morning, Andrew wanted to play some more. I wanted to get the hell out of dodge. After all, gambling on the same day as my exit has always felt desperate and the results are usually not good.
I may’ve lost at 2/5, but I had a moral victory. Perhaps more importantly, I had an actual financial victory as well.
I don’t have a date in mind for my next poker trip, but the jones is back. Beware!
Until next time, make mine poker!