ATLARGE 2003 Trip Report


Arrived safely mid-afternoon, took a power nap, wandered around acclimating myself to the Taj, and registered in the Hospitality Suite. Decided not to try the cheap evening Trop tourney, so I play two hours of 1-5 Stud and lost $45 when none of my flushes or straights came through.


Quick breakfast and off to the H.O.E. Tourney. Did better than expected, considering Omaha isn't my top game (if indeed I have a top game). Almost made it to the final table, but busted out at #13 while in an Omaha round (natch). Was down on chips and went all-in with A346, but lost when the board failed to deliver a low. All in all, I was happy with my overall play during the entire H.O.E. tourney, but plan on brushing up on both my Omaha and Eight-or-Better Stud games in preparation for next year. Grabbed some chow, took another power nap, and then proceeded to lose $94 in 1-5 Stud when I didn't take a single pot in over two hours. Next year, I will switch to Hold'Em.


Big breakfast, since I planned to make it to the final table again in the NLHE tourney, and needed my energy :) I placed third last year, and had high hopes. I was fortunate enough to be placed at the same table as Dave Fruchter, who had the $100 bounty on his head for being the best all-around player in ATLARGE 2002. I wanted that bounty! We were all amused by the fact that five out of the first six players to get knocked out were all at the table behind us. We dubbed it the "Table of Doom". Somebody over there (I think it was Sable) had a boatload of chips from winning all those all-in pots. I held my own, but never got a chance at the bounty, because Terrance Chan got to him first. Bummer. At the first break, I had T1325; but a LONG dry spell followed, and by the second break I was down to T1075. Finally, I leapt to T2950 when a player went all-in with pocket Eights, and I called with pocket Jacks. The board went (x x J 8 x). A table change plopped me near Raydon, so we chatted about my LASIK surgery as my chip stack dwindled. I limped with Ad7d, and the only the blinds stayed. The flop showed (3c 2d 3d), and I decided to go all-in with my Ace and nut-Flush draw. Unfortunately, Raydon's blind hand was J3o, so he quickly called, and I desperately needed a Diamond to stay alive. Well, a diamond did come, but so did a Jack, giving Raydon the boat and knocking me out of the tourney at #40. Sadness. I took a walk outside to enjoy the wonderful weather and watch some surfers. After some boardwalk fries, it was back to see how the rest of the 8-2 Club was faring. They were down to twenty players, and four of our boys were still alive and kicking. Odds were very good that one (if not more) would make it to the final table. The first casualty was 8-2 Mike, knocked out at #15. They paid the top nine, so when we got to ten players, it was hand-to-hand with five players at each table. It would have been very cool to have three 8-2 Club players in the money at the final table, but it was not to be. 8-2 Cowboy (Graham) went all-in and lost, busting out on the bubble at #10.

At the final table, 8-2 Greg needed some chips to stay alive, and got them with a miracle hand. He goes all-in with AcJs, only to see his opponent turn over AsKd. However, the board coughs up four clubs, giving him the nut-Flush and a huge chunk of chips. Later on, he grabs even more chips by playing pocket Aces brilliantly. He makes a smooth call when the board shows (A K x), and bets only T800 on a brick turn. When the river reveals another King, his opponent goes all-in with KJ, and Greg quickly calls with his full boat of Aces. 8-2 Dave also knocks out some players, and manages to keep his chip count high as well.

The other players don't last long, and it is soon down to three players: Terrence Chan, 8-2 Greg and 8-2 Dave. Terrence has the chip lead by a small margin. I'm worried that Dave and Greg will wind up playing a hand against each other. The only good point in such a battle is that if one of them loses, at least they will be giving their chips to another 8-2 Club player and not to Terrence. Well, it turns out that Greg and Dave do get involved in a hand, with Greg all-in holding A4s. Dave calls with KJo, and the flop is three bricks. The turn shows a Four giving Greg a pair, but the evil river shows a King, giving Dave all of Greg's chips and a third place finish for Greg. With a commanding chip lead, Dave wastes no time calling Terrence's all-in bet on the next deal. Terrence shows QJ, and Dave shows KJ. Nobody hits the board, so Dave's King holds up and gives him a first place victory! Much rejoicing ensues! Dave treats all the 8-2 Club members to a free dinner on the town as we celebrate the best finish our club has ever had at ATLARGE.


It will hard to beat Saturday's accomplishment, but we all give it a try. Except me. I don't know where my head was, but it wasn't on the game. On the second deal, I bet all the way to seventh street with only one caller. I turn over my cards and proudly announce "I have a low". Nobody at the table seems to care. I start to wonder why the dealer isn't splitting the chips. Why is he pushing them all to the other player? Then I glance down at the tourney sheet and see the words "Seven Card Stud". Not "Seven Card Stud High/Low". Oh the pain. Chagrined, I'm glad this gaffe occured early on. Well, I switch gears to play high only, and manage to hold on for a while. Finally, I get dealt (3c 4c) Ac. I give the obligatory "I have an Ace" raise when it comes to me, and only get one caller. I then get a 5h, followed by a 6c. I now am drooling for a final club. Sixth street gives me another Ace, and now two things happen. First, my opponent (Mordecai) gets agitated at my pair of Aces. Second, my brain completely locks up and I think I have a Straight. I boldly bet my Straight, angry that the second Ace will probably spook my opponent into folding. He calls, and I bet without looking at my final down card. Why should I? I have a Straight!! My opponent thinks. And thinks. And thinks some more. I'm not worried, though. I have a Straight!! Okay, he finally calls. I boldly turn over my cards announcing my Straight. There is silence and puzzled glances. Mordecai has Queens Up. Where is my Straight, they ask? I look down at my cards. I see no Deuce. Where is my Deuce?? There was a Deuce here a minute ago, I swear!! Now I start looking for another pair to go with my Aces. None are to be found. I have a pair of Aces. I have a losing hand. I have mud on my face. I have T30 in chips left. I am a royal goober. I have just thrown away my chance in this tourney. I survive three all-in's, but eventually the blinds kill me off and I'm knocked out at #35.

Oh well, I stick around to cheer on the remaining 8-2 Club members. One by one they fall, until only 8-2 Mike and 8-2 Chris remain; and they both make to the final table as well! I don't remember any of the hands, but Chris takes an 8th Place finish, and Mike barely misses making it into the top three. He busts out at a very respectable #4, and we pack it up for some chow and the drive back to Maryland.

All in all, an excellent ATLARGE experience!