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Atlantic City Junket

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Atlantic City, NJ
Friday, October 28, 2005 - Sunday, October 30, 2005
Atlantic City Junket photos

Purpose: To play lots of poker, of course!

More details:
The poker group took their second Tropicana junket to Atlantic City to play as much poker as possible in a 48 hour period. We've decided that the junkets are a great deal and are quite convenient! I'm sure we'll be going on more of these.

Money Bags
We all met at the airport before our flight, which was scheduled to depart at noon on Friday. This is a bit earlier than the last time we took one of these junkets. This meant that we got into Atlantic City earlier which was a plus. We did the money bags on the plane, this time just a $20 bag and a $10 bag. Last time they also did a $100 bag. Brian and I split a $20, and Doug entered his own into the bag. Brad and Gabe opted out of the bad bet (they take several $20s out for the flight crew). We wrote our seat numbers on the bills and dropped them into the bag. The same woman won both bags!!! She ended up with a profit of around $1500! Not too shabby... We called shenanigans and Brian commented, "what are the odds that that guy's mother would win both bags?? Hrm...."

Good Eats in NC
Once we arrived in Atlantic City, we boarded the bus which would take us to the hotel. The bus driver asked us where we were from, and we told him North Carolina. He commented that we have some good food down there, and Brad said something like "Yeah, gotta love that NC barbeque." Then the bus driver asked, "you guys have Ryans down there, right? You know, the buffet?" We weren't sure how to react - the driver was serious! We kinda felt sorry for him as he thought that Ryan's was the best that NC had to offer (and seemed pretty excited about the place).

Adventures in Checking-In
We arrived at the Tropicana around 1:30pm. We had a great plan of sitting at the front of the bus from the airport to the hotel this time. We figured that this would allow us to be at the front of the line so we could check in quickly rather than waiting in the long line. Unfortunately, we got all the way to the front desk, waited in line, and then the clerk told us that we were in the wrong place. We had to trek over to the North Tower for the junket check-in. This was different from the last time we took the junket. Instead of being at the front of the line, we ended up at the back of the line. This wasn't a huge deal since we couldn't get into our rooms until 2pm anyway.

The Hotel Rooms
The rooms weren't ready at 2pm as they were still being cleaned (or rather cleaning had not begun on any of them). Mine was about 100 degrees and smelled like "smoke and old people" (this is how Brian described it). The heat was turned up to the max setting. It was pretty disgusting as there was newspaper strewn about the room, unmade beds, and leftover breakfast on the table. We put the air conditioning on to cool the room (and to attempt to clear the room of the stench). We returned about 10 hours later to find that this had not worked, so we requested a new room which thankfully was actually smoke free and odorless.

Pre-Tourney Food & Poker
After we put our stuff in our non-ready rooms, we went down to the clone cafe where we had our "lunch" before playing poker. We were all hungry at this point, so we decided to eat before we got started. After our meal, we all signed up for the tournament and played a few hours of cash games before it started.

The Tournament
All five of us entered the tournament, and unfortunately none of us managed to make it to the money. We were very disappointed with the new blind structure which was overly aggressive and turned the game into a crapshoot involving more luck than skill. I think that we played fairly well, and we all made it through half the field. Over 130 people played in the tournament, and only the top 9 players were paid. The tournament was $100+20 with a $100 add-on. Everyone except for Doug decided to take the add-on. We all enjoy big multitable tournaments, but most of us regretted playing in the event this time. I don't think that any of us intend to play in any tournament without investigating the blind structure completely before starting the event.

The Pink Game
After the tournament, we played more cash games. I think that we all played $1-2 NL the entire time, except for Brian who also played some $4-8 limit and the pink game! The pink game is back at the Tropicana (it was not running the last time we had visited). The pink game uses the pink $2.50 chips, and the game is $7.50 - $15 limit. Brian had fun playing in the pink game which further removes the player from the monetary value of chips since they speak in terms of number of chips instead of dollar amount. Brian was also profitable, so I'm sure that helped as well. Most of us prefer to play NL almost exclusively, but we also are somewhat intrigued to play in "the pink game."

More Poker
Over the course of the weekend, we played as much poker as possible. Most of us got some decent sleep on the first night (4-7 hours each), but we got less sleep on the second night. At least we slept both nights this time - last time we only slept once in the middle of the trip. We had two meals together at the clone cafe, which is conveniently right next to the poker room. We probably each played an average of 30-35 hours of poker during the weekend. As a group, we were profitable (even with the tournament loss).

The Love/Hate Relationship
I experience a love/hate relationship with the poker, as do most of us on these trips. I was ready to quit on Friday night as I was getting bad cards, bad beats, and losing money faster than I could count. I expended all the cash that I had brought with me and had to go to the "Bank of Morris" twice during the trip! Fortunately, I ended up positive in cash games and was able to recoup those early losses. I was really hating the game the first day and ready to go drinking or sit up in the room and read my books! It started to turn around on Friday night, and I climbed out of the hole the rest of the trip. Viewing each session as a part of "one long session" is easier said than done sometimes! We all hate losing...

New Poker Leak
At one point, Gabe and I were at the same poker table in the Simulcast area. This is where the racing book is located. Horse racing is the only legal sportsbetting in Atlantic City. Gabe taught me a bit about how to bet on the races. We bet on two races. The first one was more exciting because some of our horses were actually in the running. We joined the rest of the room in shouting for our horse (it gets pretty exciting in there!). The second one was not very exciting as all the horses we picked had a miserable showing and are probably now slated for the glue factory. Betting on the horses was fun, and it isn't a very expensive leak as you can place bets as low as $2!

Another New Poker Leak
Gabe, Brad, and I discovered a new poker leak specific to the Tropicana poker room. We all bought several Red Bulls at $4 a can (yikes) during our stay. Red Bull and poker go together well as I discovered in Vegas at the MGM when I had a Red Bull for the first time. I'm looking forward to playing at the MGM again when the Red Bulls are "free" when you tip the waitress at the poker table. The prices for almost everything in Atlantic City (specifically at the Tropicana) are pretty ridiculous.

Drunk Girl Discount
On one of our Red Bull runs, we were in line waiting to pay for our purchases at the convenience store (which is more like a small grocery store with odd overpriced goods). A very drunk girl was going through the line with salad items from the salad bar that is priced by the half pound. She had a container full of food - heavy pasta, chicken, etc. The price for this container of food came up to be over $31! Plus, she had some other item that made her total order over $36. She said to the clerk, "How about we make it an even $30?" The clerk responded, "No, it is $36.18. I can take this item off, which makes the total for just the salad come out to $31.64." Drunk girl looking drunk and confused shuffles through her wallet and riffles through her bills and looks up, "but I only have $29." She locates a friend of hers and asks her friend "Hey, do you have any cash?" The friend has several items of her own and is in line to make the purchase looks annoyed at her drunk friend and tells her she doesn't have any cash for her. One of the cashiers tells the clerk, "just give her the discount" and punches in some code to take off 10% of the order to move things along. When I was checking out my very expensive Red Bull and bag of fancy chips, I asked for the drunk girl discount but was declined. Guess I should have gone drinking first.

Bonus Poker Time!
The time changed back from Daylight Savings Time this weekend resulting in an extra hour of poker for us! Brian and I were happy since we lost an hour while playing in poker when we were in Vegas in April. We were getting back what we were owed. Of course we barely noticed the time change since the actual time means so little to us while we're playing poker. We still played until 6am or later before going to get our nap on Sunday morning prior to checking out of our rooms.

Kerry's Stalker?
When the poker group took our first poker trip to Vegas, I played a little bit of NL poker for the first time. I sat down and played in the game at Excalibur which had a $100 min/max buy-in. The game was short-handed and had a ton of money on the table! I had a great time and ended up positive for the couple of hours that I played on the table. We went to Atlantic City a month later, and I ran into one of the guys from the Excalibur game! He walked past my table, and I think we both did a double take when we realized that we recognized each other and it wasn't from Atlantic City. We both remembered playing in the same game in Vegas (and it was the first weekend he had played as well). We're used to seeing familiar faces in the poker room, but most of the time it is because we've played with them in the same room. If we recognize them from a previous trip, it can normally be assumed that they are locals. Well, I ran into the same guy AGAIN this weekend in Atlantic City!! Both of us assumed that the other is from Atlantic City, but it ends up that he's not from there either. He comes to AC about as often as our poker group, so it is just a big coincidence that we have run into him several times. What are the odds?? At least this time I found out that his name is Richard and he's from New York. Possibly we will run into him again the next time we visit Atlantic City!

Meals at 3am
We always have trouble with what to call each meal that we have while in the casinos given that we have some odd hours for eating. We managed to get the group together for a meal around the second 2am on Saturday (after the time change). Is it breakfast? Second dinner? First dinner? Second breakfast? It's so confusing! Everyone except for Brad had pancakes, so it must have been some sort of breakfast...except that it was the last meal we had before going to sleep a few hours later. Doug also ordered some type of terrible looking sausage ("I don't want to talk about Doug's sausage"). We all shouted an emphatic "NO!" when the waiter asked if any of us wanted to have some tea. Gabe, Doug, and I all discovered that the iced tea at the clone cafe is terrible! We can't quite put our finger on it, but even the waiter that brought it to Gabe and I didn't seem to be surprised that we asked to take it off the bill as we sent it away. It also had a bad aftertaste! Doug had had the tea for a previous meal and had not said anything about it at the time. When we asked him later about the tea, he said, "It needs lots of sugar and lemon. That's all I can say about it." Needless to say, none of us will make the mistake of ordering that particular beverage ever again.

Morris's $10 Pen
On the way back to the airport, I got my camera out to take the Ascot Motel photo. I had misplaced the camera case, and I was looking everywhere for it. While searching, I knocked loose a pen attached to what seemed to be part of a case. I was impressed by the pen's weight - it seemed like a nice, expensive pen. I passed it over to Brad and Gabe who examined it. Apparently, Brad is a sucker for nice pens, and he immediately offered me $5 for it. We bartered back and forth to the amusement of other passengers on the bus, and we settled on $10 for the pen. Brad admitted to me later that he would have never have done that if he had had more than 3 hours of sleep! Ah well, he can afford it - he had a very profitable weekend!! And the rest of us were amused to find that Brad had not one, but two poker leaks this weekend with fancy pens and Red Bull. As we were getting off the bus, someone found the other half of the case and handed it to Brad saying "I believe this is yours" - ha! Later we discovered that the pen seems to be a promotional item for BEA Systems (not sure why we didn't realize this at the time, must be the sleep deprivation).

The Slogan
We all agree that the new slogan, "Always Turned On" is a pretty dumb one for Atlantic City. "America's Favorite Playground" was a lie, but at least it was better. We think that Atlantic City is more like "a mediocre ham sandwich when you're really hungry" and tried to come up with better slogans for the city (that one is too long for the welcome sign). Atlantic City...when you can't make it to Vegas. Atlantic City...you must be hungry. Atlantic City...Vegas too far?? Atlantic City...Come for the syringe covered beaches, stay for the urban decay, homeless and feral cats.

Other adventures
"Huh, so this is what 3 hours of sleep feels like." New poker felt. More poker tables. Chinese poker is too complicated for some people. Christmas decorations are up before Halloween. Morris and Gabe getting cozy on the plane.