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I didn't get to take any pictures on this trip, just too much partying

Bartfest Pokerfest Report. 

By L.A. Rick (aka The Bartcop Chicago Pokerfest Champion)

July 19, 2004

I had talked to Bart a couple of months ago, and he says to me: “Dude you gotta make it to Chicago for the next Pokerfest.” Having previously being the only 3 time pokerfest attendee (besides Bart) I really wanted to go. Being unemployed for the past 5 months made it iffy. The fact that I never won a dime at the first 3  fests. (even though I only go to hang out with some of the coolest people that I know) made me realize that I was going to spend some decent coin on the trip.

   I kept putting it off, but about a week before the trip I got on priceline and got a decent price. Before I pulled the trigger on the deal. I started looking for a Hotel. By the time I got back to buy my ticket on priceline the price had doubled. “ah the hell with it I said to myself, I cant really afford the trip anyway.”

   Then on Wednesday only 3 days before the big game, I noticed that good friends of mine from the previous Vegas Poker fests one of whom happens to be a very important employee of a certain airline were going. I decided “ok this is my final chance to go to Chicago.” So I called up, and asked if they could hook me up. I figured it was too short a notice, but they said “sure no problem we can get you a ticket”. The price was right so I met them on Thursday near LAX where they were getting ready to get on their flight.

   I find out that not only am I getting a great deal, but I can also sit up front in first class, where you get treated like royalty, (compared to the folks traveling coach) and you can drink for free. (ha ha) I go up to the gate to check in for my flight which is scheduled to leave in an hour. They are just getting ready to close the door on another flight which is ready to leave for Chicago. I ask the lady at the desk if there is any way I can get on that plane which is just about to leave and she says “We can get you on but you will be in coach in a middle seat. Now anyone who’s ever had to deal with that knows how bad it sucks so I said “nah I will wait for the next one.”

   On the next one I got to sit up front, I am just starting to recline in my big leather chair, and enjoy a cocktail. (even though its not even noon yet) When the pilot comes on and says were going to be delayed. No problem I think, I’ll just have another one of these Jack Daniels and cokes (the plane didn’t have Chinaco) Well it started out to be one hour delay, then 1 ½, then 2. The pilot explained that it was raining in Chicago, (even though it wasn’t and the Air Traffic controllers there were making all incoming planes wait.) “Whatever” I thought to myself just Keep those Jack Daniels coming” I usually don’t like to be kept waiting but for some reason I didn’t mind too much this time. Finally after 3 hours and a few more Jacks We take off. 3 ½ hours and a few more Jacks later we land.

   My instructions were to call Bart as soon as I land for directions to the roof party. Now I’ve never been to Chicago in my entire life and know nothing about the place, I’m on the cellphone walking through the terminal and Bart is saying: “Now get on this expressway, and get off at that exit, and make a left, and a right, and a left….” I’m saying to myself “Yeah this will be fun” I couldn’t even understand the name of the street that the party was on. I finally find a taxi, and I tell the driver where I think I am going, and the cabbie says “oh no you don’t want to take a cab, that’s $30. You can take the train for a dollar fifty. Nice of him to tell me I thought, In L.A. the cab driver would not have told me about the train and would have charged me $60 instead for being a tourist.

   Now I’m back in the airport looking for the damn train, and I can’t find it until I ask about 3 different people. Did I mention that Me and Jack have been partying all day??

I finally get to the roof party which was very cool, The roof lady was very nice, and I got to meet a few new people from Chicago. Drank some more Jack, when Poker Queen and Buck tell me they are leaving and they know a hotel nearby where they were staying that I could go to. (I didn’t have one booked) So we share a cab, and I wind up at the Red Roof Inn right in the middle of downtown Chicago. Luckily the elevators weren’t working so they gave me a $130 room for $70, all I had to do was walk up 5 flights of stairs. I bring my stuff up to the room, but its early, only about midnight. and I’m bored so I go back downstairs and outside. Now I’m all alone in a strange place, Having no idea where I am or where to go, and kinda buzzed. So I walk around for a while. I see these two girls coming up the street wearing Kerry, and Obama, buttons. Theres a couple of idiot ditto monkey dudes following them giving them shit. I just happen to get caught up in the middle of this. And after a minute or two I let these guys have it but good. Now were in the middle of the street going back and forth, meanwhile the girls used the distraction to duck out of sight. After a while I duck into a bar to get away from these monkeys. I figure as long as I’m in there I will have a drink while I make sure they are gone. The place was partying pretty good, so I stayed a while.

    Next morning and I’m at the fest. Got to see Jim, and his wife, Larry, Vegas Dave, and all the Pokerfesters, plus meet some new guys like Flagstaff, and LRB from Minnesota.

First game I last a while but take 5th place. Unlike the previous fests which were winner take all they are paying out for the first, second and third. Second game I start off with a pair of Kings in the hole, which is a good hand. I open for a decent amount, and Bam, raise, raise, raise, everyone is staying in and raising like crazy. Finally there is a huge pot in the middle, and we show our cards. I won the fat pot barely. I’m thinking “yeah this is my game to win” two hands later I lose all the money I won when I get a pair of 2s in the hole. I ended up the second one out of that game.

  So I’m thinking: “I gotta get another hotel tonight. And I’m already out a bunch of money, maybe I should forego playing in the big game ($100 buy in) After 3 pokerfests I’m thinking “this is just not my game” Well all 18 others buy in for the game, and I figure ah what the hell, Its only money.

   I decide to try a different approach and play conservatively. (I never do anything conservatively, I hate conservative) I’m laying back waiting for good cards, I win one small pot, that I played. But beside that I’m getting nothing. I must have thrown away about 20 hands in a row. I’m down to my last chips, I have to go all in or I will lose the money anyway because of the blinds. We turn our cards up and luckily I win the hand, or it would have been all over. Finally after a couple of hours my luck starts to turn. I start getting some decent cards. I win one nice pot, then another. Now its time to move over to the other table where the final 8 are playing. I notice that I seem to have more chips then most of the other players. So I lay back as they knock each other out. We get down to 4 players and I’m thinking “well at least I’m finally in the money.”  4th place was worth $150. Things start to get a little hazy after that but a little while later, its just me and Tom, playing for all the marbles. I finally force him to go all in and we turn up the cards. I don’t know what hand I won with but, when I realized it was over. I raised my hands in Victory, and let out a yell. It felt great. Wow what a rush. That money would sure come in handy.

   A couple of hours later were all drinking at the bar. Which I hear stays open till 5 AM, I knew there was a 6 AM flight back to L.A. so I figure “screw paying for another night in a hotel I’ll just stay here and all night, and pace myself. Well that plan went out the window when I met John the Disasterman from Chicago. The place is packed and we’re having fun, and John is buying shots for everyone, because he’s happy to be hanging out with the Bartcoppers. After a while everyone else is gone, except me and John and he is  still buying shots of Chinaco. I think I had about 5 of them plus a few more drinks. Next thing I know its 3:30 AM John is gone but the place is still packed. I decide its time to go, and stumble out to find the train station. If your ever in Chicago at 3:30 in the morning after having drank all night, and need to get to the airport, don’t take the train. This thing was lurching back and forth and all around, my stomach wasn’t too happy about it. I made it to the airport just in time to get on my 6AM flight (which also had free drinks) I finally get home at 10AM (noon Chicago time) after a 24 hour nonstop drinking and gambling fest.

   Great trip, thanks to Bart, Poker Queen, Buck, Jim, Sam, Larry, Tom, Allie, and everyone who made it such a great time. See y’all in Seattle



                                      L.A. Rick,   A.K.A. The Hollywood Liberal



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