Sunday, November 06, 2016

Travel Report: PokerStars Festival New Jersey, Day 5 -- The Jersey Shore, Dock’s, and Mo

Good morning from the Philadelphia International Airport. Am here plenty early for my flight back home, so thought I’d spend part of the time sharing a couple of notes from yesterday, my last helping cover the PokerStars Festival New Jersey at the Resorts Casino Hotel.

Was a laid back day, relatively speaking, given that the Main Event had finished up a day early and the High Roller was already down to just four players. I ended up following that one to a conclusion -- Jack Duong outlasted Jennifer Shahade heads-up to win the trophy -- and recapping things, then not long afterwards went for a short stroll across the Boardwalk and onto the Jersey shore.

It was another pleasantly mild day, making for some nice, postcard-worthy shots all around. That’s one up above of the Steel Pier, a thousand-foot-long amusement park jutting out into the water nearby, closed currently (it operates from April through October).

A little later on Brad, Jess, Joe, and I took a ride over to Dock’s Oyster House over near Caesars in Ducktown, a district so named for the duck houses built by the Italian immigrants who raised poultry there a century ago. Dock’s has a history stretching back even further to the 1890s, a family-owned high-end seafood place Joe had seen featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, and so we had all been looking forward to getting the chance to get over there (and “off campus,” so to speak).

We all commended Joe afterwards on having made a terrific suggestion, as both the atmosphere and our meals were excellent all around. Brad and I started out by diving into multiple trays of the Cape May Salts oysters from a couple of hours south at the southern tip of the Cape May peninsula. Then I had the seared sea scallops over mashed potatoes with broccoli rabe and roasted tomatoes. Just fantastic.

Bourdain refers to Dock’s as “a symbol of what Atlantic City was and could be again.” It did feel a little like a trip back in time to a different Atlantic City, one perhaps more closely resembling the one each of my parents visited back in the 1960s. Hard to believe now, but in ’64 the Dems had their national convention in AC at the Boardwalk Hall just a mile or so away from the Resorts.

After lingering some more in Ducktown at a tavern across from Dock’s, we made our way back to Resorts in time to see our buddy Mo Nuwwarah heads-up in the 8-game event that had begun early in the afternoon. The event had drawn 50-some runners, and in the end Mo had to outlast a couple of very formidable foes in Barry Greenstein (who took third) and Chris Reslock (who finished runner-up) to earn the silver spade.

Was a blast seeing Mo with the chip advantage at the end running especially well through rounds of limit hold’em, seven-card stud hi/lo (which we referred to as “Hi/Mo”), and deuce-to-seven triple draw. Indeed, on the winning hand Mo drew three and just like that he had a 7-6-5-4-2 (a “number four”). After that we hung out some more, celebrating Mo’s victory a bit at the Margaritaville bar before calling it a night.

Got a decent night’s rest, with the extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time having ended last night. Was an entertaining shuttle ride to the airport this morning thanks to a very talkative driver, with up-and-down the history of Atlantic City being kind of a running theme around which he opined on numerous other topics.

Overall it was a very fun trip, made more so thanks to getting to work with great folks like Brad, Jess, and Joe and also alongside a number of friends, many of whom I’ve known and worked with for seven or eight years now. Happy to be heading home, though, and very glad to be staying put for a while after these last few weeks of running around.

Talk again soon from the farm.

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