Saturday, March 26, 2005

Atlantic City

Sorry, I missed a day, but yesterday I worked close to a full day (still a week til prime poolman season begins) and I picked up MVP Baseball for PS2 on my co-worker's recommendation, and that kept me busy most of the night. More on that mind-melter tomorrow.
I have to make some comments about AC, before I forget and before every else notices the changes going on in arguably one of the dirtiest place in America.

Now I've been to Atlantic City many times, actually once a year minimum for the Pool & Spa show, at least. But this time, no planning was involved. My girlfriend and I were sitting around on Saturday evening, and I really didn't have any great plan set aside for what to do that night. I had been ignoring her for most of the week, with basketball games on Monday and Tuesday, Davidson vs. Maryland on Wednesday and a football game and drinking on Friday. So, I was hoping to find something exciting and different to make up for it. After realizing that the Ringling Brothers Circus was my best local option, she brought up the possibility of going to AC. I checked the Tropicana website only to find a room for the night was $250!!!! Ridiculous. Hilton wasn't much better at $150, but what the hell. Room was booked, and we're off...except for the dog.

Quick call to my parents and a trip up to Germantown, and so long Chloe, hello 3 and a half hours of driving with a mild hangover from the night before and about $15 worth of tolls throughout Delaware and New Jersey. What a freaking racket that is. One toll was $5!! I can get a McNugget combo meal for that...and did on the trip back, in fact.

This was my first trip in my new/used car, and I was expecting luxury. Actually, about 2 hours in, my right hip was hurting from the stupid seat adjuster that's located right there. Why in the hell didn't they put it on the side like normal cars? Other than that, the ride wasn't too bad. However, Amy has an uncanny knack for scaring the shit out of me for no reason at the worst times while I'm driving. At one point, we're stopped at one of the many tolls, and after I pay the advertised $2 and begin driving, she yells out, "WAIT! WAIT!!" I slam on the brakes, nearly puke up the Taco Bell that I was forced to eat while driving (truly a difficult task), and gasp,

"You forgot to get the ticket."

There was no ticket. This was not a place to get a ticket. It was a place to pay $2 and to wet yourself because your girlfriend swore she saw the person in front of us get a ticket. About forty five minutes later, she yelled, "Cop!" in reference to a construction sign that was shut off and stored on the side of the road. At this point, I'm thinking they need to invent a passenger muzzle.

But soon, we arrived in AC...about 10 PM. The guy at the desk upgraded me to a Suite, since I look like such a high roller, for no charge, so things were feeling pretty good. I dropped my stuff off and headed down to the casino. Usually, I have some build-up to an AC trip, like a fighter counting down the days til go time...conditioning myself for the possibility that I make have to take this one into the later rounds to pull it out. Not tonight. In fact, I wasn't really feeling it.
Let me explain what I mean. I'm not opposed to sitting at a blackjack table...which is all I play or will play...for upwards of 10 hours straight. Yeah, I'll get up for a piss here and there, but I feel this is my best chance to win. My philosophy is ride the waves, don't be afraid to lose big, as long as you invest the time and play the right way, you'll come out on top. And that's been the case with me most of the time. I don't spend that much at the tables ($10-$50 hands, usually) but I'll usually win around $300-$700 on a trip to the casinos. If I stay disciplined, invest the time, and don't get screwed by the dead beats, that is.

Well, here I am. In AC, without proper mental conditioning, looking to play the tables. And guess what, only 2 tables in the Hilton are less than $25 minimums. Not a good sign. So Amy and I decide to walk up to the Tropicana. It's cold on the boardwalk, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna pay one of those cart bums to push me 200 yards in their stupid saran wrap chariots. Of course, we pass a full-on bum during our walk, who asks me if he can ask me a question. I've always wanted to give that smart ass reply to that, "you just did," but instead and simply ignore him. He informs me that my girlfriend is hot, which is always nice to hear, and we continue.

When we enter the Tropicana, it is like Shangri-La. For those of you who have been to AC alot in the past, you're probably used to seeing old people, dirty Asians with little to no teeth, and greasy older guys. Well, let me tell you, things have changed at the Tropicana. There are like 5 new clubs and 3 new bars here, as well as shops and a whole walkway that looks like a nice Spanish street market. Don't get me wrong, it's still no comparison to Vegas, but things are headed in the right direction.

There are hot women everywhere, and unlike Vegas, most of them don't look like (and in Vegas, most are) hookers. But I'm with my girlfriend, I haven't had a drop to drink, I've just driven 200 miles, and quite frankly, even in a better setting, I still wouldn't sack up and talk to any of these I continue on the blackjack tables.

The Trop is usually my favorite place to go because they have the most blackjack tables, which usually makes it easy to find one...but not tonight...not at the new, trendy Tropicana Deluxe. The whole place is packed, all the low end tables are full and even have gauckers waiting behind the seats for someone to get up, and I'm getting frustrated.

Not a good start to the evening...I should've known things wouldn't turn out well. Should have just gone to the Suite and watched Sportscenter. "Should" is the key word whenever taking a trip to AC. But I did go back to the Hilton and sat down at a $25 table. Amy watched.
Things started out OK. Win a few, lose a few, still a nice stack of chips in front of me, even though they're green, not red. Then it started happening. Apparently Saturday night is amateur night and they'll let anyone on the damned tables. This kid sitting next to me starts doing weird stuff. He's hitting on 12 against a 6. Hitting on 13 against a ten, drawing a 2 and then passing. And I'm losing hands and even better, getting to see that I would have won if this douche bag would stop thinking he's Johnny Psychic-Card Knower.

I'm not a complete blackjack snob, but here's the way I feel you should play as a courtesy to those around you.

1) Make a decision about what you think the dealer has before you even think about your hand. I always assume the dealer has a ten under their card every time. Therefore, if the dealer is showing a 7,8,9,10, Face card, or Ace, I'm going to hit until I either bust or have a hand that can win: 17,18,19,20,21. If they have a 2,3,4,5,or 6, I assume they will hit and hopefully bust. If that is the case, I don't want to bust, so I will never hit when one card can bust me. Other people play different ways, and I can respect that. i.e. never hit when you have 16 or always hit 12 against a 2. The key to this is always and never, which leads me to the next point.

2) When you make a decision about the dealer, stick with it for every hand. This is really what pisses me off. Why would this douche bag hit on a 16 against a 10 one hand and then stay on a 15 against the 10 a couple hands later. Is he really psychic???? Apparently not, because if he was he would have hit, pulled a 6, had twenty one and when the dealer flipped over a four and hit, he wouldn't have a 20 when he hit, he'd bust, because the next card was a 10. FUCKER!!!
So $300 disappears quick. More of the same after I make the ill-advised trip to the ATM for another $300. And soon it's 2 AM, I'm $750 in the hole if you include the room, and I'm thinking I should have just not played since I wasn't feeling it and the tables weren't the amount I feel comfortable playing at. So I go pay $15 for a burger at the diner in the Hilton and go to bed...a beaten man.

This blog is getting really long and I don't even think it's I'll wrap it up on a positive note. Next morning came and the $10 tables returned. I decided to throw my hat into the ring for a few rounds, came out with $200 of my money back and talked with the pit boss, whose name was Dave Davidson. I was wearing my Davidson sweatshirt (like I said, I always look like a high roller) and he mentioned that he used to buy stuff from the school since his name was Dave Davidson. OK, awkward. What did he expect me to say back? Here's our exchange:

Dave Davidson: Hey, you went to Davidson?
Me (playing blackjack): Yes, class of 1999 (thinking he was another alumni)
Dave Davidson (pointing as his name tag): Check this out.
Me: (awkward fake laugh)
Dave Davidson: Yeah, I used have them send me all sorts of shirts and bumper stickers and stuff...since it's my name.
Me: Oh, that's pretty cool
-End of conversation-

I mean, if there was a Kessler College, I don't know that I'd necessarily buy one of their shirts. I think that's right up there with the "I'm with stupid" shirt. However, I did see a very funny thing a couple years ago. Waiting to cross the street in DC, an Asian girl came walking by wearing a Rice shirt. Now, that's more like it.

And that's the end of this meaningless blog. What a bad idea.

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