ATLARGE 2006 Trip Report


82-Greg offered to drive this year, so he picked me up around noon on Thursday, and we headed north to White Marsh to pick up 82-Chris at his place. I had never seen his home, so he and his s.o. Maggie gave us the half-hour tour. Then, it was off to get some lunch before we started our three hour drive. Chris recommended a local burger joint called Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I'm always up for a good burger, so count me in. Well, I have three words for this restaurant: Best...  Burger...  Ever! And the cajun fries were just as spectacular! Beats Fuddruckers by a mile, and that's sayin' alot.

(At this point, I must jump ahead to Saturday morning at breakfast, when I am invited to sit down at a table full of fellow ARG'rs; some familiar, some not. Anyway, I look across from me, and some guy is there wearing, I kid you not, a Five Guys logo shirt! So, I immediately introduce myself, singing the praises of the food served there, and I find out that he owns four of the franchises in Maryland, and is planning on opening some more in the near future. In fact, one is due in Columbia in about three months! So chalk that up in the "it's a small world after all" category)

Okay, we manage to find our way to A.C., amusing ourselves with Greg's new GPS dashboard device along the way. Once checked in, three 82'rs manage to talk me into walking over to the neighboring Showboat casino to play in their 50+10 tourney at 7pm. So we get there, only to find that it's actually now a 60+15 tourney. Grrrrrrrrrr. Oh well, I reluctantly sign up and last an hour until I go all-in with KQs preflop, and lose to a player holding QQ when no King materializes. I grab a late dinner at the House of Blues (I highly recommend the Elwood sandwich), and then call it a night.


Friday was the H.O.E. tourney, and we started with an even hundred players each with T1500 in chips. As before, the 8-2 Club has a "Best-In-Show" pool, where those members wishing to participate put in twenty bucks, and the player that does the best in all three tourneys combined gets the entire stash. This year, eighteen of us decided to join the pool, making this year's prize a sizeable $360. I was hoping for a repeat of last year, where I won the "Best-In-Show" cash pool. I get the pleasure of chatting with Chris "ABP Tick" O'Connor while we play, and upon seeing his bust-out prize of a CD of his guitar music, we strike up a conversation about our musical endeavors. When I don't bust him out, he promises to put some MP3's of his music on an FTP site for me to download and give a listen. We find out that a lot of ARG'rs have musical interests. Maybe we should entertain the thought of having an official ATLARGE band at the dinner next year! :)

I am playing reasonably well, win a sizeable pot on the Eight-or-Better round with (AK)2A47(8), and at the first break have increased my stack to T2375. I eventually get moved to a new table, right next to 82-Greg and 82-Sandra. We finally get to the 200/400 level, and then it happens. We're playing Eight-or-Better, and I get dealt (7J)A, all hearts. I raise, and Sandra is the only caller, and is showing a four. My next card is the Ten of Hearts for a four-flusher on four cards. Sandra gets a King, I bet and she calls. My next up card is another Ace, and she gets another King. I bet and she calls. My last up card is a black Nine, and Sandra catches another Four for two pair. She bets and I call, still hoping to either make Aces Up or a Flush on the river. We get our final down card, and I wait to see what Sandra does before looking at it. She bets, and I steal a glance at my last hole card, hoping to see a heart. It's the Eight of Diamonds. Now, here's where it gets hazy. For some reason, I think I have already said "I call." I probably think this because I have just pushed practically all of my stack into the pot during this hand, leaving me with a mere T500 in chips. My mind was still locked on hoping to get a heart, or another pair for Aces Up. When I see the Diamond Eight, I start turning over my entire hand and shaking my head in disappointment. Suddenly, as my hand is completely revealed, I see that I actually caught a Straight on the river. I wake up, and state "Hey, I have a Straight! That might actually be good enough to win." At that point, practically the whole table chimes in with an accusing "But you didn't call!!" I sit for a few stunned seconds, and then manage to sputter out a "Yes I did!" The table in unison responds "No you didn't!". I look at 82Greg and say, "I really didn't call?", and he answers to the affirmative, and the dealer finishes pushing the chips to Sandra. I angrily get up and punch the nearest window. After a minute of cooling down, something dawns on me. Although I apparently didn't say "I call", I still hadn't really done anything yet. Well, other than expose my entire hand. All seven cards were turned up, but I hadn't officially said "I fold", or "I call", or even "I raise." The consensus at the table appeared to be that when I had exposed my hand, I was automatically folding. As it turns out, that is not necessarily true. The next day during breakfast, I asked various ARG'rs at the table what the ruling should be in such a situation. I got mixed results. Some said my exposed hand was dead. Some said I could still act. Some said it depended on which casino you were playing in, as the rules varied. Since there appeared to be no definite answer, I eventually sought out the tournament director on Saturday (I think his name was Marvin or Melvin). After filling him in on what transpired, he told me that my hand was indeed not dead. I could have still called or raised if I wanted to. So that was disappointing news, to say the least. I had been playing extremely well in the H.O.E. tourney, and probably could have made the final table had I not lost all those chips. I guess what is even more disappointing is that nobody came to my rescue after I exposed my hand. All I needed was just one person to inform me that my hand wasn't dead, or to at least call the floor for a ruling. Or instead of yelling "You didn't call!", perhaps said "You didn't call yet!" Oh well. Mark it up to experience, I guess. I busted out at #47, and joined other 82'rs for a late lunch at Hard Rock Cafe.

While waiting for the PokerStars buffet, I passed the time by playing 2/4 limit hold'em at an extremely easy table, and wound up winning $78 by dinnertime. The food was great, and the talks were entertaining. Still sorry that Wil had to cancel, though.


Saturday, I started the NLHE tourney on a table somewhere in Delaware. It was pretty far from the main crowd, that's all I know. Saw a couple of familiar faces -- zippywon, adb bfb, prm, and suddenly. Eventually got moved to a table with 82-Dennis, and had T1525 at the first break. Was down to T1150 after break two, and then had a meager T500 after losing with KTs. Doubled up on the next hand with pocket Nines, and again when my A7s beat K9o. Have T1700 at the third break, with the limits going to 100/200. My pocket sixes double through against ATo when the flop hits a six, and shortly after, I jump to T6400 when my pocket Aces crush pocket threes. Right before the next break, my KJo wins with a flop of JJx, and I now have T8500 going into 200/400. I lose a chunk when everybody folds to my little blind hand of ATo, I raise all-in on a semi-steal, but get called by the big blind holding Aces. That knocks me down to T5200. By the time we get to three tables and thirty players, I have dwindled to T4200. I get another table change, but continue to catch dreck, and wind up with T3500 when we hit the 400/800 level. Finally, we are down to nineteen players. They pay the top eighteen, and I'm the shortest stack of the crew. Everybody tightens up their play, and I pray for a decent hand before the blinds reach me. Nothing comes, and I have T1100 when the T800 big blind hits me. I get one caller (fellow 8-2 member Jason Abell, who wound up placing sixth in the tourney), and look down to see J8o. Not the best hand, but not total dreck either. I raise all-in with my remaining T300, and my opponent shows A7s. Neither of us hits, and there is much rejoicing as I become bubble boy, busting out at #19 of 174 players.

I try to take some 82'rs to the House of Blues for dinner, but it's way too crowded. We wind up back at the Hard Rock again, and then I join 82-Mike for some 5/10 limit hold'em. It's a rollercoaster three hour ride, and I call it a night down $34 for that session.


We had a short field of 49 entrants in the Stud tourney this year, and started with T1000. Stud's my favorite game, and I increased my stack to T1760 by break one, T2375 at break two, and T2625 when the levels went to 300/600. Only 82-Chris and myself are in the running for the annual 8-2 "Best In Show" pool, and I feel I need to beat him by at least ten or more players in order to win. I get moved to 8-2 Cary's table, and shortly afterwards, he and I get involved in a hand that generates a nice size pot that I wind up winning. At one point, I was getting hit by an disproportionate number of low card bring-ins. After something like four in a row, I went ahead and placed my bring-in out in advance, telling the dealer and the other players that I was officially buying the bring-in for that hand. Sure enough, the dealer gives me a Trey of Clubs for the bring-in, and the entire table erupts with glee. Great fun.

When we get down to two tables, there are only three 82'rs left in the game: Chris, Greg, and myself. Quite apropos, considering that we all drove up together. I get moved to Chris' table when somebody busts out, and I eventually get my chance to knock him out of the tourney. Chris is the T100 bring-in with a Deuce, everyone folds to me, and I complete it to T300 when I get dealt (QJ)J. Since another player had folded a Jack, Chris knows that one of my Jacks is dead. He goes in the tank, looks at his remaining T700 chips, and decides to raise to T600. I re-reraise him his remaining T100 to put him all-in, hoping to knock him out and increase my chances of winning "Best In Show". He turns over (82)2. How appropriate :) Or, should I say, how ironic, as he catches a third Deuce to make trips, beating my eventual two pair of Jacks and Sixes. With Chris taking a large chunk of chips from me, I don't last much longer. I go all-in with (AK)JJ against (QT)T8, but bust out at #13 when my Jacks don't improve, and my opponent catches another Eight. I grab a quick poker snack bar grilled cheese and fries, and return to find that Chris has since busted out. 82-Greg busts out shortly thereafter, so we pack it up and head home after my traditional single roulette wheel spin as I leave the casino. Number 3 hits, and my friend Sarah is the lucky winner this year.

written by Cactus Kev, 2006