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Fox Hunting (Foxwoods Trip Report Pt. 1)

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When time allows and Roose is free, there is only one thing that will safisfy our collective kodokmas 99 itch: Atlantic City. But this is not a story about Atlantic City. This is a story about our attempt to try something new, something different. And that something is known as Foxwoods.

In the New York City area, there are two legal poker destinations within a three hour drive. The first is my second hometown, Atlantic City, home to around eight to ten poker rooms of various sizes, the most opulent being the Borgata, a hotel that is isolated from the other casinos by being in the car-accessible Marina portion of AC. The others are either scattered among the Marina area (Harrah’s) or on the Boardwalk, where all casinos are accessible by foot, about 45 minutes from one end to the next, with poker rooms scattered in five to fifteen minute increments. The joy of playing poker in AC is the variety of rooms. For some, that may not be important at all. I think specifically of the Borgata loyalists, who praise Borgata for its newest, biggest room, widest range of stakes, and copious amount of wannabe hotshots staying at the best casino hotel AC has to offer. But for a guy like me, who enjoys tournaments under $200 buy-in and a tad of variety in scenery, AC is like a buffet of poker delights.

The second NYC destination for poker is Foxwoods Casino Hotel, located in Connecticut, about the same distance away as Atlantic City. Unlike AC, a city that has legalized poker, Foxwoods is owned by Native Americans, who, in exchange for the slaughter of their people and the rape of their land, are now allowed to own gambling halls. Sweet deal! All us Jews got were control of the banks, entertainment, jewelery, textiles, and kosher food markets. Whereas AC has a slew of casino/hotels, Foxwoods has allegedly “six” casinos, but as far as I could tell, it’s really just two attached hotels and one separate hotel, with a series of casinos set throughout the hotels. It’s like saying the Tropicana Hotel in AC has five casinos because there might be five different casino areas within the one hotel. The casinos themselves were traditionally just known as Foxwoods. The “new” casino, MGM Foxwoods, is on the same general property and is connected to the other buildings, but somehow stands apart, in name and perhaps ownership, mostly. I don’t much care about the structuring behind Foxwoods/MGM, but I only point this out to make it clear that the MGM was the real reason we were heading to parts unknown. For a brief moment, it seemed like Foxwoods was moving a tad closer to the multiple-casino appeal of AC or even Vegas.

In reality, MGM doesn’t have a poker room. Hmm. So, if we were to play at the Foxwoods, we’d be playing in the same room the entire time. Wifey Kim had an event with the girls, and Roose was able to get a night free, so we planned to head to Foxwoods to check out the new MGM and play some poker. After booking a room at a nearby Ramada (Foxwoods was sold out and uber expensive anyway, and the Ramada was an easy 15 min. distance by car), I discovered that the MGM was poker-less. But, it was all about changing things up, so we left our plans as is.

I woke up early on Saturday to meet Roose at his home in Bayside, only to be greeted by Roose and his buddy (mine too, thanks to Roose), TwoDiamondPhillips. Roose mentioned that TwoDiamond (or “2d”, in poker blog parlance) would be joining us, as Roose always does, i.e., after the fact, without letting me know. 2d is a funny mofo, though, and we’d played together a bunch of times, so I was glad for the additional company.

The drive to Foxwoods was smooth. We arrived at our hotel and dumped off our stuff before making it over to the casino, arriving in the afternoon. The night before, I checked out the tournaments offered and saw that the selection was a tad weak. So, let’s begin our list of the reasons why AC is better than Foxwoods with:

REASON #1 WHY AC > FOXWOODS: Tournament selection.

The tournaments offered Saturday noon until Sunday evening are as follows, taken from Foxwoods website: Saturday, 12pm, $560; Sunday, 9am, $120, 12pm, $340, 6pm, $120. In other words, for under $200 I could either play the 9am Sunday game or the 6pm Sunday game, which logically is too late to play and then drive home 3 hrs on a Sunday night before a work day. So, one tournament. In AC, I can name a half dozen off the top of my head, and that only includes two of the eight or so hotels.

We were locked into the early AM tournament on Sunday, so I decided to start off with some 1/2 NLHE. I signed onto the wait list, which leads us to reason #2.

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