I forgot a little detail in my last post; namely that I saw what I think might be the saddest sight I've ever seen in my drive from Harrington, DE to Charles Town, WV. Towards the end of the drive, maybe 20 miles outside of Charles Town in a remote part of North Western Maryland, there was a relatively desolate stretch of highway with a, shall we say, 'Gentlemen's Club' on the side of the road. Oh hell, let's just call it what it was, a titty bar. It was non-descript and kind of sad looking, all things considered. It wouldn't have registered a second thought for me had it not been for the marquee, which read:
'Appearing August 6th, Amy Fisher: "The Long Island Lolita"'
This is the saddest thing ever. Amy Fisher was 17 when she shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the face, launching herself into infamy. That was 1992. 19 years later, she is still trading on her infamy to scrounge a living by traveling to the middle of nowhere to work the pole for a bunch of working class fellows who probably don't remember who the hell she is. The sad part is not that she has hit the bottom of society, depending on the porn/stripping industry to keep her afloat. No, the sad part is that instead of running from her past and trying to pull herself up to be a decent member of society, she's completely embraced her sullied reputation. It would be as if O.J. Simpson and Lorena Bobbit got together to give paid classes on proper knife handling techniques. I mean, let's be honest. Amy Fisher is not, nor was she ever, attractive. At least not in the conventional 'porn/stripper' sense. So for her to be the headliner at a strip club, any strip club, is based completely upon the fact that she was famous once for shooting a woman in the face.
So there's that.
I woke up Sunday morning and tiptoed through the puddles to my car, which stood up well to the deluge of the previous night. The rain had stopped, but the smell of wet grass hung in the air and the sky was still threatening. Without even stopping for food, I got in and pulled onto the highway to meet my next destination; the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PA. It was an uneventful 2.5 hour drive to get there. In fact, most of the drive was uneventful, which both excited and irritated me. I was excited that there was spectacularly little traffic during my entire excursion, which included some of the most heavily trafficked roads in the North-East. I was irritated that there wasn't more for me to see or do; not that I would have taken the time to do it.
I arrived at the casino and quickly found the poker room, which was essentially the basement. And when I say basement, I mean it. Try to imagine the basement of someone's home, largely expanded (think a Mansion's basement), but totally done up like a 70's man cave. Plush carpeting, a full wet bar, a foozball table, a pool table and, in the corner, about 15 poker tables. It looked and felt just like the basement of someone's home, which isn't the worst thing. It made the room feel comfortable and cozy, which I liked. I entered myself into a tournament which was starting in a few minutes; $60 buyin plus a $5 dealer add-on buys you $10,000 in chips. The structure is exactly the same as The Showboat in Atlantic City, which is widely considered to be the best daily structure in that town. I must say that the tournament was *extremely* well run, even to the point of the dealer at my table telling the floor that they needed to turn off the NASCAR event on the television to put up a tournament clock that she could see. Very professional. This is NASCAR country and most of the room was watching the race in progress, which was taking place at the nearby Pocono Raceway, so this was no small thing she was requesting. The floor changed to the clock immediately and we were on our way. 65 participants took the field and I did poorly. I was straight up outplayed on a few hands and my one opportunity to triple up and get some chips was thwarted by a good decision on my part.
I had T♣T♦ UTG+1. Blinds were 150/300 with a $25 ante. I had about $7,000 in my stack and I opened the pot for $750. I was called by Seat 6 and Seat 7 and then the Button min-raised to $1500. I contemplated giving it up but the body language of Seats 6 and 7 told me they were going to flat the raise, giving me enough pot odds to set mine. I called and Seats 6 and 7 did the same.
The flop was 8♣ 9♠ J♥. The flop went all around me, and while I missed my set, I managed to flop an OESD. But considering the pre-flop action, there was no way I could lead out at this extremely connected board. I checked, Seat 6 checks and then Seat 7 leads out for $2,000. The button, who had min-raised, pushed all-in for $5,000 total. It gets to me and I cry inside. There's a huge pot brewing but I have to consider my outs. A 7 is a perfect card for me and there are 4 of those in the deck. A Ten is a less perfect card, considering that QQ is well within the range of the button's hands and a ten would give him a straight. A Queen would give me a straight, but again, it was likely that is what the button is holding. Well, possibly KK or AA too. So, in the best case scenario, I have 10 outs (four Queens, four sevens and two tens), but in all likelihood, I have 4 outs (four 7's). Also, Seat 7 may have JJ, which means my 2 tens as outs are DEFINITELY dead. Given this analysis, I folded, flashing my cards to the person next to me moaning, "I'm gonna regret this". Seat 6 folded and seat 7 called. The turn was 7♥, naturally. I died inside. The river was a brick. The button showed QQ, which is what I feared and Seat 7 showed 89 suited for a flopped two pair that held up. So I made the right call, in retrospect, but it was tough to live with. I whittled down from there and didn't survive much longer, losing when my A♣J♣ lost to KQo.
I was disappointed that I had busted, very far out of the money, but I was happy to have participated in a well-run tournament. I didn't stay for cash games, mostly because I had one more casino to hit before a long drive back home to Connecticut. So I high-tailed it out of there and drove 45 minutes to my last stop at Mount Airy Casino in Mount Pocono, PA. Mount Airy is almost on top of the Pocono Raceway, and given this was a race day and approximately 100,000 people were descending on this spot, I was expecting horrific traffic. Fortunately, I had anticipated this and asked the locals at the previous casino if they had a route around the traffic and they did! I was given a local route which avoided the road closures that surround the races and happily pulled into the Mount Airy resort on time and on schedule.
The Mount Airy resort is a very impressive facility and not at all what I was expecting. If you grew up in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ and CT), as I did, you are familiar with the old Mount Airy Lodge radio commercials (~At beautiful Mount Airy Lodge, all you have to bring, is your love of everything~). These commercials were a desperate attempt to draw people to a fading resort that had it's heyday in the 1960's and was now a relic of it's time. But, as I learned, the old resort was demolished and a new one built in 2007, so the entire complex is brand-new. The casino, which is spacious, but not huge, reminds me very much of the Red Rock casino in Las Vegas. The casino floor is circular, and the poker room is in an antechamber off the side. The room is on the smallish side, but the brush desk was responsive and handed me a buzzer when they put my name on the waiting list for a $1-$2 table, a nice touch which allowed me to roam the casino floor while I was waiting for a spot to open up. It wasn't more than 15 minutes before I was called in and seated at seat 5. I sat with $200 and wasn't at the table for more than one hand when the large older gentleman to my immediate left looked over at me with a knowing look. When I didn't respond, he lifted up his sunglasses and said, "Hi there. Nice to see you again."
"Do I know you?," I asked politely.
"Don't you remember me? We played here last night.," he replied.
"Sorry," I said, "this is my first time in this casino."
He looked very disappointed and shocked.
"Really?," he sputtered, "But..but...you look *exactly* like this other guy I played with."
I joked with him, "Well you know, all Jews look the same."
That got the table to laughing and he put in the punchline by saying, "Well, he *was* Jewish!"
Of course he was.
After giving the table a nice laugh and establishing an easy comraderie with everyone, I proceeded to get hit by the deck. Everything held up for me in this short 20 minute run. Kings, Aces, AK, AQ, I couldn't lose. It got to the point where they stopped playing in pots with me because for 20 minutes I showed down the nuts every time. But I wasn't complaining. In the middle of this run, I got a text from my friend Lauren, who happened to be at the NASCAR race with her boyfriend Joel. She had seen my check-in at Mount Airy on Facebook and wondered if I wouldn't mind eating lunch with them. They would come up to the casino to meet me, and I happily agreed. I was up $250 at that point, only on the table one hour, and I welcomed the opportunity to rack up and keep my winnings. Besides, it'd give me a good opportunity to go home a little early and beat the race traffic. The race was only on lap 140 when Lauren showed up with Joel; turns out they didn't much care for the experience so they left early. I racked up at +$240, said my goodbyes and ate at the buffet with them. It was over-priced for the quality of the food and I wasn't impressed, but buffets can be hit or miss. After a too-short lunch, they left to go home to Manhattan and I stayed behind to digest. It was a 3 hour drive for me and I didn't want to go on a full stomach, so I donked off $60 playing pai-gow while I digested my heinous food. The dealer was on a tear, beating just about everything that came his way. I had JJJ22A*Joker*, a nearly unbeatable hand, which chopped to KKK44AQ. If you've not going to win with Jacks full and Aces on top, what the hell *are* you going to win with?!?
In a more perfect world, I would have gone back to the poker table and played for the rest of the afternoon. But I had had a nice run over the weekend and didn't feel the need to sully it with a possible loss. Not to mention that I was happy to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the long drive home. Nothing's worse than driving in weekend traffic while you're tired.
Two last notes:
1. I would highly recommend Mount Airy Resort for a golf/poker weekend. There's a very nice 18 hole golf course on the premises and I can totally see a guys weekend where we get up early for a round, retire for nap, have a nice dinner and then play poker until the sun comes up. That would be a Saturday worth remembering!
2. I don't know when my next weekend away is going to come, but when it does, I have an itinerary set. I fly into Syracuse and play all night at Turning Stone. Then I drive in my rented car to Buffalo and play there, before driving down to Salamanca and then finally to Pittsburgh to play in the two rooms there before flying back home. I could easily accomplish this in a weekend and knock 5 more rooms off my tally.