"Can I hit it and quit?"- James BrownAfter the Grinder won the WPT Borgata Winter Open, I had one final meal with Spaceman, Friedman, and Frank where we all had an amazing conversation on several topics including what it was like working for a casino and the perceptions (or skewed views) that the media can present to uninformed masses.
The main event ended and my two week assignment was officially complete. All I had to do was catch up on some closing paper work. I had an article to write about the final table, but the deadline was over a week away. I finally had time to relax. We all partied it up to about 2am. Spaceman had to go because he had to get up like at 5am to get the train to Philadelphia so he can go to the airport. I went up to my room to finish up some work and realized that I was too wired to sleep. It was my last few hours in Atlantic City. I only played poker on the first day I arrived so I headed downstairs to the poker room.
The poker room was not as crowded as it was all day, or all week for the matter. There was an open seat on a NL table, I bought my chips and nodded at the dealer at the table next to mine since we both recognized each other. I sat in seat 3. At first glance I decided that my table was going to be tough. Drunks and dipshits are tough to beat at 3am. That's the "Do Not Fold" hour and unless I caught cards, it was gonna be a challenge to make some real money.
Most poker rooms are broken up into several categories of people:I had all five at the table. Heck, I'm a combination of three or more of those stereotypes. I'm really #2. As much as I talk shit and can boast about having consecutive winning years, I still have no clue what I'm doing at the tables. Sure I can quote Sklansky verbatim like it's a line from Fletch, but just like how the notion of God evaporates from the bottom of a foxhole during the middle of a war, anything that Sklansky writes about poker gets thrown at the window when you are playing at 3am against drunk Russians from Brighton Beach and guys in sweatpants named Anthony that bootlegged cigarettes from the South into the greater Philadelphia area. I was also #3. If I wanted to make real money I would not be playing $1-2 NL in Atlantic City. After working for two weeks straight and seeing luck box after luckbox beat out great players, I wanted to gamble and drink for free.
1. Players who know what they are doing.
2. Players who think they know what they are doing.
3. Players who are there to gamble.
4. Players who are there for the cool entertainment value a.k.a. hipsters
5. Beginners and newbies.
There's also a part of me, the humblest side of my poker acumen, that reminds me that I'm still a student in life as well as in poker. Andy Black spoke about how it's a very fine line between being under-confident and over-confident. If you are one of two much at the tables, you're fucked. The key is to be confident in your abilities, yet maintain a semblance of humbleness. That way you do stray too far off the center line. I absolutely deserve to sit at that table, but I'm conscious that I'm one bad move or bad beat away being sent to the rail.
Inside of a few minutes, I had to quickly profile and size up the other eight at the table.
Seat 1: Old guy with hairy earsSometimes playing against drunks is like trying to juggle hand grenades with Charles Manson. You know that some weird and crazy shit is going to go down at some point. This time, one guy spilled his cocktail. The dealer was pissed because she warned him at least five times in the first minute I sat down. He had an empty cupholder but was so polluted that he kept putting it on the other side of his stack. And he had a stack. A monster stack. It was dirty for sure with a few $1 and $25 chips grouped together in a sea wall of red $5 chips. Seat 6 was the sucker and I wanted him to double me up. He wasn't friends with the other two Russians and my table. And they had been badgering him all night.
Seat 2: Hot Russian chick
Seat 3: Your Hero
Seat 4: Anthony
Seat 5: Russian guy
Seat 6: Drunk Russian guy
Seat 7: Hipster from Brooklyn
Seat 8: Ghost 1
Seat 9: Ghost 2
"Call me Nicky," he insisted, "I want you to know the name of the guy who is going to take all your money!"
He began taunting me early on. He had the hipster kid from Brooklyn on tilt and must have run through at least 4 or 5 buy-ins according to the Russian chick sitting next to me. She reminded me of a young Meryl Streep. Her accent was thick and she smelled like flowers and blueberries. She sipped on a sea breeze or some sort of vodka-cranberry concoction. She was shortstacked and if I spoke better Russian, I would have figured out that she was the table captain and part of Group #1. She thought she knew what she was doing and she was screaming at Nicky, the drunk Russians guy everytime he scooped a pot. I like feisty women. I prefer feisty drunk women with a penchant for gambling and playing cards at 3am.
Everytime she entered a pot, Nicky would raise. She seethed in anger even more so. Nicky had the most of the table on tilt. He event got the dealer on tilt after he knocked over his drink.
I'll spare you the bad beat. Pocket pair busted by an unsuited two gapper. Before Nicky could scoop up the pot, I dug back in for a rebuy.
"He is stupid," she said. Actually it sounded more like "stew-pet."
I quickly became her table friend. The old guy with the hairy ears to her right was in a daze. I couldn't tell if he was heavily medicated or just tired after a long session.
"What's your name?"
Always ask hot women what their name is and follow it up with something quick. If it's exotic say something like "What does that mean?" or "How did you get that interesting name?"
If it's a common name like Jennifer or Michelle, just say, "You've got to be one of the best looking Jen's I ever met."
It sounds corny, but it works.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Nadya," she said.
"That's beautiful. What does it mean?"
She smiled. "Hope," she said.
"Like you hope that assclown is going to double you up eventually?"
She laughed and then cursed at Nicky in Russian. The other Russian at the table laughed. Nicky fired back something and by the look on Nadya's face, I'm sure he called her a pig or a dog or dropped a Ruskie C-bomb.
Nadya doubled through Nicky twice in one orbit. She had the best hand both times. A-K and J-J held up for her against A-3 and 3-5s. I doubled up against Nicky and lost a big pot to the old guy with the hairy ears. The hipster dropped another buy-in when he chased a baby flush and Nadya filled in a full house on the river. All of a sudden she had chips and starting talking smack with everyone at the table.
"People are so stew-pet," she said.
I was about even when I was heads up with Nadya. I raised with A-Js and missed my flop. She checked to me on a ragged board and I bet the pot on the flop. She muttered something like she knew I had A-K and re-raised me.
Hot Russian chicks drinking Sea Breezes at 6am in the morning check-raising me in a $30 pot is a total turn on. I moved all in on her.
"You are a good player. Not one of those stew-pet players like Nicky," as she pointed and cursed at him in Russian.
She folded and showed me her small pair.
"Since I like your face, I'll let you see one card for free. Pick one," as I spread out my hole cards. She pointed to one and I flipped over the Jack of hearts.
She groaned and said something in Russian. Nicky taunted her for the next ten minutes before Nadya racked up her chips and left. After I cashed out she stood at the top of the escalator smoking a menthol cigarette.
"Think I can hit it and quit?" I joked.
Recent Poker Playing Music...
2. Jedi Mind Tricks
3. Karl Denson
5. Miles Davis