I finally took my hair shirt off sometime in the middle of the night on Saturday. I couldn't pin down the exact moment, but I think it happened when Pauly bet Otis $400 that Otis wouldn't eat two keno crayons . . . and Otis picked them up and shoved them into his mouth.
Pauly wrote about our late night out after work on his blog:
3:30am is when things got interesting. All of us (Wil, Change100, me, Otis, April & Spaceman) were at the same Pai Gow table. Otis pulled out eight $100 bills out of his poker bankroll and tossed it onto the felt. Flora, out Pai Gow dealer from Vietnam, yelled out something to the pit poss. Otis was betting $800 on a single hand of Pai Gow. My $25 bet wilted in comparison.
Otis pushed twice as I barely paid attention to my cards. I sat right next to him and watched as he unfurled every hand. He won the third hand as the dealer paid him in eight black $100 chips. He took his cash and chips and tossed a green $25 chip into the betting circle.
"I'm still not close to being unstuck. Does that get me steak and eggs for all of my friends?" he screamed at the Pit Boss.
She nodded her head. Spaceman lost $200. April lost about the same while Wil, Change100 and I dropped about $100 each.
After he ate the keno crayons, Otis said, through a mouthful of dark blue wax, "After winning this prop bet, I'm still not unstuck, and I think I have lupus from these crayons."
"Hey, you have a little bit of lupus in the corner of your mouth," I said.
He wiped the crayon bit off his face and said, "My mouth feels kind of . . . waxy."
"Yeah," I said, "that's a pretty common side effect of eating keno crayons."
It went on and on from there, and we were all laughing so hard by the time we left the cafe at the Gold Coast, I can't even remember everything we said, much less recreate it for my blog . . . but when I stood at my window an hour later and noticed that the sky was lightening and the Eastern horizon was catching fire, I didn't care that I'd miss at least half the day sleeping.
I have some very good friends here, and without getting too sentimental, I can say that we're all sort of a family, supporting each other emotionally while we're away from our real families back home, wherever back home may be, and when we blow off steam, we do it in crazy style, sukkas, because that's just how we roll.
Uh, I don't know what crazy style is, or why I felt it was okay to call you all sukkas, so while that hangs in the air, here are two things I wrote yesterday:
Swimming with Sharks
Jerrod Ankenman and Vanessa Rousso came in one after the other, and I was suddenly surrounded by a group of exceptionally talented poker players. This happens to me at least ten times a day, but I still haven't gotten used to it.
They all talked for a few minutes, while I stood by and tried to blend into the carpet during yet another moment where I realized just how much I have to learn and how much experience I need to get if I'm ever going to make it deep in one of these tourneys. They all figured out that Jerrod had the most chips with the fewest rebuys, and when someone walked by and mentioned that Negreanu had over forty thousand dollars invested in rebuys, none of them even blinked. I know I should be numb to this sort of thing, but I'm not, and I don't know if I ever will be. Forty thousand?
Suddenly, as if a silent alarm went off in all their heads simultaneously, the players began to make their way back into the tournament area. I wished them luck on their way out, and in less than a minute, the suite was empty and quiet again.
"How does someone turn a $1000 tourney into a $40,000 tourney?" I thought, as I pulled my laptop out of my backpack and sat down to work. I don't know the answer, because I don't have that thing that makes someone a big game player. I think that I'm okay with that, but I have to admit that I really like most of these people, and it would be really cool to live in their world, if only for a week, just to see what it's like.
The Usual Suspects
On my way down the hallway to the Amazon room, an older man, probably mid-sixties, walked toward me, and stopped me.
"You and I played together on Friday," he said.
"Right," I said, "in the two thousand no-limit."
He took an incredibly horrible beat from the guy who eventually busted me when he open-raised with pocket kings, and the big blind put him all in with ace king off. Of course he called, and the big blind spiked an ace on the river to bust him.
He was wearing a green cap with gold cursive lettering embroidered across the top that said Dad's Lucky Cap. I really, really, really miss my kids, and it touched me when I noticed it as he sat into our table, because it looked like something that one
of his kids made for him at one of those stations in the mall. (In fact, when I recounted his bad beat to Otis over beers last night, I told him that I'd given him a name and a back story, and everything, and I was devastated when he was gone. Just like Stewie Griffin and the camel.)
When that ace came on the end, he stood up and said, "Goddammit!" and threw his hat onto the felt. He picked it up, wished us all good luck, and walked away. At the time, I felt that it was a perfectly reasonable reaction.
"I wanted to apologize to you," he said, "for my outburst when I was eliminated."
"Oh, man," I said, "you took a terrible bad beat! He hit a three-outer to beat you, and then he was a jerk about it when he won."
He was. He sneered at this guy with the same contempt he threw at me, but at least I'd earned it.
"No," he said, "it was inappropriate and uncalled for, and I shouldn't have lost control of myself."
I wanted so badly to tell him my history with pocket kings, and how John Vorhaus calls me Cowboy Wil as a result, but instead I said, "Well, your apology isn't needed or expected, but I accept it."
I extended my hand, and he took it in a firm grasp. While I shook it I said, "You are a gentleman, sir, in a place where there are few."
He thanked me, and we continued down the hall to our respective destinations.
I'm up earlier than I've been up since I got here two weeks ago, because I wisely went to bed at midnight after playing twenty-five cent pot-limit omaha online for two hours. I lost my twenty-five dollar buy-in when I flopped a full house, pushed the turn, and got two other guys to put their entire buy-ins into the pot. One guy was drawing dead with a flush, and the other guy spiked a three-outer on the river to make a bigger full house. I was more upset about dropping that buy-in than I was blowing a hundred playing stupid Pai Gow Saturday night, and that has everything to do with my friends. Friends, it turns out, are a great overlay when you're in Vegas.