Playing Hold’em for the First Time at Harrahs in Atlantic City – And I Won!!!

This past week I was vacationing in Cape May Point.  My uncle and aunt have this beautiful house there and every year they generously offer it to me and my immediate family for a week of relaxation.   Despite some typical family bickering (I get the worst letters in Scrabble!) we had a very nice time.   Many thanks to C and P!

Cape May Point is about an hour drive from Atlantic City.  So one night my little brother and I decided to take a trip there (Harrahs) and try our luck at a little hold’em.

My brother hasn’t played much poker.  So he didn’t expect to win.  He just wanted to have a good time.  I, on the other hand, only care about winning, and since I have a real strong aversion to losing, one of my poker weaknessess (to be discussed in a later post), my brother was kind enough to support me with $100.  He would eat my losses and if I were to win anything we would find some equitable way to split the profits.

The poker room at Harrahs was ok, nothing fancy.  But I’ve only seen one other poker room, at Ceasars in Vegas, so I really don’t have much to compare it with.  It had a bad beat jackpot which was about 70 grand.  There was no wait for a table, even though we came on a busy weekend night.  The only thing that I found annoying was that they wouldn’t let me smoke my cigar.  What’s this world coming to when you can’t smoke at a poker table?

We first checked out the no-limit tables.  I had played online no-limit all summer long and therefore was interested in testing my skills.  However, after watching the play for a few minutes at the $1/2 tables we both realized that $100 could go really quickly.  I’m used to $.05/.1 no-limit at places like JonWoodGaming i4 Poker, two sites where I’ve lasted a long time starting with a minimal no-deposit bonus tables.  I was in no mood to lose my brother’s money, especially in a brief period of time.  My brother who has no great aversion to losing money shared the sentiment.

After about 10 minutes of watching the no-limit action, we decided to check out the limit games.  There were a few $2/4 limit tables that had $1/2 blinds, and my brother chose to play at one.  I sat behind him and gave advice.  Either my advice was lousy or his cards were, because he didn’t win a hand in the first hour of playing.  In fact, he won only one hand the entire evening, which was about three hours of playing.   In the end he lost about $120.

I am happy to say that I did better.  I won $68, of which I took $25 for myself.  I don’t attribute my winnings to any great skill.  I probably folded more pre-flop than he did.  But I think that my cards were better than his and that if he were dealt what I was he would be up instead of down.

One thing I learned from the experience was that I don’t like limit hold’em.  You can’t really bluff because people aren’t scared of losing $4.  Pretty much half the table stays in to see the flop.  If you play cautiously, only betting when you have really good hands, the kind of hands that Lee Jones discusses in his book “How to Win Limit Hold’em”, you will probably win.  But at at $2/4 limit table I can’t see winning that much in a span of three hours.  It’s a game for grinders.

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