I will get back to comic book topics on this blog soon, I promise. Today’s post is about poker, though. Ellen attended a Mary Kay conference at the Atlantic City Convention Center today, and asked me to drop her off there and pick her up when it was over, as we did last year. I was happy to do that, as it gave me a good excuse to play some poker.
Since my win in a small tournament at The Borgata in December (check earlier posts in the Poker category for the story), I’ve been in three small tournaments and didn’t get close to the money, but today I planned on playing in cash games instead. That way I could leave any time Ellen was ready to go home. I decided to play at The Borgata, and after dropping Ellen off, got there and seated at a 1-2 No Limit game around 9 AM. The game is Texas Hold-em, the blinds or forced bets are $1 and $2, traveling around the table in progression, and you can bet any amount, that’s the no-limit part.
Sometimes you just get a feeling right away of how things will go, and this morning it was like that. I had just sat down, was still putting my 100 white $1 chips in front of me, and picked up my first hand. I was already in for $2. My two hole cards were Queen-Nine. Not a great hand, but a little better than average. Several guys called but there were no raises, so the flop (three communal cards) came up: Queen-Nine-Three. I now had top two pair, a pretty good hand. Someone to my right bet $10, and I called along with a few others. The turn card (a fourth communal card) came up Seven. Everyone checked to the first better, who now put in $30. I put him on a high pair, probably Aces. If he had two Queens in his hand, I was beat, but otherwise I probably still had the best hand with two pair. I called, everyone else went out. The last communal card came up another Queen. I now had a full house, Queens over Nines, a terrific hand. There were no flush or straight possibilities on the board. I checked. The better put in $60, which was exactly what I had left in front of me. Feigning great worry, I reluctantly called him all in. He turned over his pair of aces, and was greatly annoyed when I showed my full house. I doubled my money on the first hand I played.
The morning went on like that. One of those rare times when you’re in a groove, and the cards just keep coming up right. By noon I left the game with $525. When you buy chips they give them to you in a plastic rack that holds 500 chips. It was oddly satisfying to refill my rack with 500 red $5 chips where I had begun with all white $1 ones.
I had some lunch in the cafeteria downstairs, and called Ellen to see how things were going, but she didn’t answer, so after walking around the casino a little I decided I’d play again, starting once more with $100, and would spend not a dollar more. The afternoon session, same game, different table, went more like a typical session for me. My stack went up and down, but I never got ahead. The cards weren’t coming my way this time. At one point I was all in with about $40 left, and I won that hand, but most of the time I was just throwing in cards I didn’t think worth playing. After about 3 hours of that I was down to $27, and I knew Ellen would be calling soon, so I went all in with a pair of Sevens, and got beat by a pair of Nines.
Still finished the day ahead $325, though, which is perfectly fine. My back and butt are sore, but I don’t care, it was fun. It’s always fun, but moreso when you come out a winner.
How do you decide what to sit down with? For example, a good rule of thumb that I’ve heard (and used ever since) for blackjack is to sit down with 20 times the table minimum — that gets you through most of the ups and downs you might experience in a typical day. No-limit obviously can’t work like that, but is there a rule of thumb there as well?
For me, it’s about what I am willing to lose, usually not more than $100. This is 50 times the big blind of $2, which is what’s most often cited as a minimum buy-in, but unless you’re sitting down at a brand new game, you’ll probably be the small stack going in with that amount. $200 is more common, and most players pull out more cash if they lose. That’s not for me, and if I lose my 100, I’m done, nearly always. That’s one nice advantage of playing a tournament, everyone starts out with the same amount of tournament chips. The odds of winning money are a lot higher there, though.
hello Todd! I just ordered your Alphabet, so lovely…thank you.
haven’t seen you since Comicon last year, busy busy us….
i stayed at the Borgata for a week while on tour with Motley Crue, and they issued us those crazy meal cards for the employee cafeteria, that no one ever checked and i thought about writing a story about living there for a year, sneaking in and out. However, i knew the noise would drive me bonkers before the end of a week, as it did in real life…also i talked to the head of security there, and he said, it’ll never work, they rely on face recognition technology..so my story is just a tale now…sending you love, you lucky star. Cat (Neil’s LA assistant)
Hi Cat, good to hear from you! I haven’t seen the employee cafeteria at The Borgata, but the public one downstairs from the poker room, really a small food court, has pretty good food, much better than similar sites in other casinos I’ve been in. You can actually get a freshly-made salad, the premade sushi is edible, and there’s Ben and Jerrys for dessert if you’d like.
Todd, glad to hear you had such great luck at the Borgata! I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was heading to the Taj to grind out some 2-4 limit, and 13 hours later, I left up $150. It was more for the experience of the wacky Taj poker room than the money, but I think I’m making the switch to Borgata for the next trip. A dealer at my friend’s table actually had a heart attack mid hand, and the floor manager seemed more concerned about getting a new dealer in and getting hands played than taking care of the poor woman who needed serious help. That place is… interesting.
That’s unfortunate. The Taj poker room is where I started playing in AC a few years ago, and I still like their tournaments because of the low entry price, but the dealers and staff there leave a lot to be desired, as do the food options.
nice hand but if you didn’t see any flush or straight possiblities the correct move might have been to . a f or s does’t beat a full house but i guess you played it right because you du. nh…