Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Poker Tournament Story

So hey. I've got a little time off from the Thanksgiving holidays. And I've been good, too, with a ton of work done at the day job. For the year, I'm up in my house game, and down only a few hundred in casinos. Clearly, it's time to try my hand at a small money hold'em tournament, especially seeing as one of my regulars in the home game has won big at them. And it's off to Atlantic City we go!

The scene was the Showboat, home to a cautionary tale bus terminal, low ceiling garages, somewhat attentive wait staff and big dang poker room where I had harpooned a few whales in cash games before. The regular and I make the drive down and get there around 5ish on Black Friday, and the streets are choked with shoppers. The plan is to play a 1/2 no limit cash game until the tournament, then see what we can do in that. Cost should be $100 for the tourney, and whatever the night holds for us in the cash games.

There's a private tournament happening for a $250 buy-in, and they wind up not having enough people for it. Since that's way too rich for my blood, we choose to stay with our lower money one... but this also means that there's a huge line for the window to get in. There's also, and here's the fun part, one person working, despite the presence of three windows. Outstanding work, Showboat!

I head over to get in line at 6:25. I ask a pit boss about buy-in conditions, but she doesn't know anything about the window. Again, outstanding work, Showboat!

Twenty minutes later, I call my friend on our cell phones, so that he can buy in without taking the line wait. As I get to the window, I'm told by the cashier that -- ha ha! -- I need to be a Total Rewards Cardholder to enter! And no, they don't do that here, they do that down the hall at check-in! Well, what the hell, there's nothing quite like dashing through a crowded casino when you are furious, so I go and get my card and get back to the window, jumping the line... only to be told that registration for said tournament is over. But I can be an alternate! Yay, Showboat!

Forty minutes later, they call for alternates and seat me, along with a whopping three other people; they also deduct $500 from my stack for all of the blinds that I missed thanks to all that fun at the window. We can't wait until the table fills up, you see, we have to go now... and so my pocket queens out of the box don't make nearly as much money as you'd hope, really. I get crap cards for 30 hands, have my blind stolen repeatedly from a guy who's got a big stack and re-raises everything, then get Ace-Jack suited for an Ace-King-8 flop. I push everyone off except a woman who hasn't played a hand all night next to me. On the turn, there's another king, and she's all in. I think it over for a minute and fold, she nicely shows me her Ace-King, and we go to break down 4K chips and short-stacked. Fun!

After the break, I get A-10 suited. The guy to my left goes in for 2K, and the whale goes for 3K. I figure it's now or never, especially considering the cards I've been getting, so I go all-in. The non-whale folds, the whale calls, and his jacks stand up. And thus ends that fun 90 minutes.

My buddy and ride is still live in the tournament, so it's back to the cash games for me... and it's one of those nights where you feel like you're broadcasting your cards on your forehead, along with the flashing DONKEY sign. I get about 10 good hands in the next four hours, win on three of them, lose on the rest, lose a little more than I was really prepared to lose, and become more or less convinced that, like golf, poker is something I enjoy but probably need to stop playing, if only for the sake of my sanity and bank account.

My buddy craps out of the tournament in 16th place, which is to say, after a lot of play, but no payday. He also gets hammered in the cash game, and we drive home knowing that the Bus Terminal of Broken Dreams exists not just for people without cars, but also for all of us, really.

(Translation: I'll go back in January, assuming that the house game doesn't wreck me. .. and, um, not to Showboat. Seats open for next Friday night, folks!)

2 comments:

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CMJDAD@gmail.com said...

Damn, Shooter, you got whacked! I'll be there Friday night. Hopefully your misfortune will carry over. CMJWife wants a new back splash in the kitchen.