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Atlantic City Lesson, Part II September 19, 2008

Posted by Jennifer in : poker,travel , trackback

My boyfriend and I arrived in Atlantic City for our post Labor Day vacation just before the height of Hanna’s aftermath rage on the Northeast. We dropped off our bags at the Borgata, took the jitney to the Boardwalk, and then sprinted through the storm to arrive at the Piers Ceaser, a ritzy new mall with floor to ceiling windows. Pockets of people watched as huge waves crashed right into the glass, scary and surreal. We sat in the AC Continental, an offshoot of a trendy Philly restaurant and ordered wasabi mashed potatoes and drinks. Our waiter gave us a pitcher of martini for the price of just one. The sloshing and the splashing was good for an apocalyptic high.


The storm however washed away just before sunset and the rest of the excitement would wait for the next morning, where I played in the Fall Borgata (NL Texas Hold Em) Ladies Poker Open. I didn’t win too many big pots, but clawed my way up close to the bubble with my usual superiority at blind and ante stealing. About seven hours in, I got a chance to use some advice from Gus Hansen’s entertaining and honest book, Every Hand Revealed, where he divulges stepping up his aggression pre-break: "Last hand before the break. Another excellent opportunity to pick up 8k! Three guys are looking for the bathroom, two guys are looking for their girlfriends, leaving just little ‘ol me to steal the blinds and antes."  In ladies events, where there’s usually many brand new players, I think there’s another reason to push harder before the break. In my first tournaments, I was very excited to get to the dinner break, as it usually meant not only a free dinner, but that I was close to being in the money and could call all my friends and tell them I was still in!  So in the hand before dinner, I had J9s with 9x the BB (plus enough antes to make my effective stack size more like 6x) Pushing there in third seat is a tad too aggressive/desperate for my normal standards, but the dinner break theory and one prefolder tipped me in favor of saying "All in."  A woman who kept complaining about how awful and boring poker tournaments were, called and beat me on the cutoff with 33. Later I saw her by the Cashier. She told me she called because she read that 33 is a good hand heads-up.   I explained that she was probably reading about battle of the blind situations. Then came a money line: "You keep talking to me like I want to get good at poker"!   I gotta tuck that quote away, because when I play in mixed tournaments, there is always at least one guy at my table ready to break out a mini-blackboard and chalk.

In the second Borgata Fall poker Open event I played in, the professor du jour was a quiet suited man to my left, who didn’t speak or look up for two hours….until he won a race against me! I was two off the button and raised with AK, he re-raised on the CO and I re-raised him all in. I don’t remember the exact stack sizes, but it was a trivially obvious play on my part unless he’s the tightest player ever- he obviously wasn’t since he had 99. Someone else at the table asked why I went all in, and I muttered something vague, "I don’t mind gambling." My opponent from the hand said,  "That’s not the right way to think about it. The correct way to think about it is to put me on a range of hands."  He continued to talk about pot-odds, pokerbots, bubble play, etc, etc. It was as if he didn’t feel he had a license to speak with a short stack but after doubling up, the words overflowed. It was funny and he was a nice guy so I forgave him for assuming I was unaware of the concept of "range of hands." But next time I’ll know what to say: "You’re talking to me like I want to get good at poker!"

My dad at the nature(!) trail outside the Borgata

The most dramatic scene of my fall AC trip was in a "Survivor tournament" in which the top 15 get $1500 each, creating one of the ugliest bubble spots I’ve ever encountered. I was not playing but had 20% of my dad, who is a beast in live poker.  When it got to 16, most people wanted to make a deal and split the pot evenly, with everyone getting $1400. One woman refused despite the fact that one of the players offered to pay her $100 out of his pocket, which would have guaranteed her the max prize, $1500, anyway. Normally I’m an all for poker deal refusals- my strongest area in poker is in the endgame, so I am often annoyed by premature pressure to chop. But this was silly, cause there was no value in her continuing to play. Her explanation for refusal, ""No one was ever there for me on the bubble." The quote depressed me cause it could be applied to so  many more important things than poker. Just because no one was there for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there for your beautiful human beings trying to grind out a cash in the Survivor tournament! In the end, the deal was forced through but not without much screaming, stacks being shoved blind, and hundred dollar bills thrown across the table. If someone’s going to attack me, I hope it’s with a hundred dollar bill too.


1. Slawomir - September 19, 2008

Oh Jennifer!

2. Slawomir - September 19, 2008


3. Slawomir - September 19, 2008

Ummm, Grey Goose evening; stroke my thigh.

4. Jesse O. Kurtz - September 20, 2008

I enjoyed your post. It is great to see visitors to my town enjoy themselves. Your post will be featured on my blog tomorrow evening.

5. Why Most People Come to Atlantic City « The Atlantic City Scoop - September 21, 2008

[...] Jennifer Shahade blogs a little window in to¬†one person’s trip to Atlantic City for a Poker tournament. My [...]

6. Chuck Jaeger - January 13, 2009

It seems a lot of major chess tournaments are held at casino hotels. I wonder what increase (if any) in a desire to gamble among chess-players might be related to this. I have never been much of a gambler because I figured that the more one gambles the greater the chances that the results will conform to the odds. I do believe in luck which I define as the occurrence of the improbable, and that in games like Blackjack if one has close to a photographic memory and is a math whiz then one can win. I’ve also known of people addicted to the “action”. Do you know what the house percentage is (if any) in poker? With poker perhaps it helps develop sitzfleish (sp?) which could help in marathon chess matches. What are your thoughts on this?
In the photos on your blog you seem to really enjoy it. Do your boyfriend and Greg enjoy poker too? It looks interesting on TV where they show the most exiting hands, but it sure seemed boring to me some 42 years ago when I was trying to sleep in the basement of a college dorm where there was an all night poker game going on. Sorry about my blog comments running so long.. best wishes to you for good luck when you do play poker..

7. C-Rex - June 1, 2009

Still playing poker ?

8. directory - June 4, 2009

Thank you for opening a wonderfully new sight..I wish you the best of luck with your new venture.

9. visit - June 7, 2009

Your site is a refreshing change from the majority of sites I have visited. When I first started visiting web sites I was excited by the potential of the internet as a resource and was very disappointed initially. You have restored my enthusiasm and I thank you for your efforts to share your insights and help the world become a better place.

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