I suppose the Atlantis resort is an appropriate place for a poker tournament, because the whole place is built on value betting the shit out of rich fish. Everywhere the trappings of luxury convince people to fork over absurd sums of money for silly baubles, bad food, and tacky experiences.
But not I! As usual, I loaded my bag with my own food to limit my enslavement to the Atlantis’ establishments. I don’t mind going to an expensive restaurant occasionally when the food and company are both good, but I’m not looking to get gouged on every meal. This time I brought five just-add-hot-water rice bowls, peanut butter, jelly, bread, two boxes of granola, coffee (which is actually available free in the rooms, I just wanted better coffee), my new Aeropress, plastic utensils, two boxes of granola bars, and several other snacks.
To save space in the bag, I took the bags of granola out of their boxes before packing them. Somehow one managed to split open in my bag, so there was granola all over everything, but cleaning that up was still less of a hassle than trying to find a quick and decent meal in this place at any price. Miklos went to a grocery store yesterday and brought back some milk that we’re now storing in our ice bucket (can’t risk displacing anything in the mini bar since they use those sensors that charge you automatically).
Of course that cut my cereal supplies in half, but thankfully PokerStars is hosting a series of seminars that include free breakfast! Yesterday morning Vanessa Selbst and Barry Greenstein talked about learning mixed games, and today Shaun Deeb and Jason Mercier explained the basics of Open-Faced Chinese Poker. The presenters only get half an hour, so there’s not a lot of depth, but it was interesting to hear a long-time veteran of the game like Barry talk about how he survived so long as a pro and why he thought being able to play many games well was important. The food wasn’t bad either.
After yesterday’s seminar I stopped by the tournament room to wish well to Miklos and a few others playing today. The first guy besides Miklos to arrive at his table was enough for me to say that his table was already better than mine, and they just kept coming. That was all based on stereotyping, but Miklos has since confirmed that it is indeed a very good table, so I was pretty jealous of that. He finished Day 1 with a stack just shy of average and as of now is still in the hunt on Day 2.
On the plus side, I got to spend the better part of the last two days outdoors. The first thing I did was lie on the beach and listen to the vendors harass the tourists: “Hello honey. Want hair braids? Jewelry? Be a real Bahama Mama?”
“Jet ski! Are you ready?”
“Real Cuban cigars! Smoke them now or later.”
I must have had a good don’t-fuck-with-me face, because none of the vendors approached me. I did, however, overhear a woman falling hook, line, and sinker for a story about a very popular catamaran tour. Tickets were $60, and though it was sold out for today, she could put down a $10-per-ticket deposit to reserve a seat for tomorrow’s tour. It occurred to me that perhaps I should point out the foolhardiness of handing $20 to a stranger on the beach in exchange for this supposed reservation, but then I thought about how I would feel if someone walked over to my poker table and told a fishy opponent to fold to my value bet.
Time to go check out the cash games…