"Where the fuck is Iberian?" my cabbie asked as he drove me to JFK airport.
"It's not a place per se," I mentioned. "It's the name of the airline."
"I'm fuckin' horrible at geometry. I don't know where anything is. Iberian? Sounds like it's in fuckin' Iraq. Be careful kid, you don't want your fuckin' balls shot off by those towel heads."
I let it slip out that I lived in Las Vegas and was going to Monte Carlo.
"Monte Carlo? Is that were fuckin' Iberian is at?"
I didn't want to get into the semantics of Iberia which is a geography reference to Portugal, Spain, and Gibraltar. My cabbie looked just like Big Pussy from The Sopranos and about every sixth word was a derivative of "fuck." He could have been an extra in any mob flick and within five minutes of picking me up, he told me a craps bad beat story.
"I went to fuckin' Mohegan Sun this weekend," he said as he cut off a truck and flipped the driver the bird. "I was up 3Gs when I hit a cold streak. Next thing I knew I was broke. That was a tough drive home. I spent the rest of the weekend in my fuckin' pajamas chain smoking."
My cabbie was in the middle of the worst losing streak of his life. He had one that was pretty bad a few ears ago and took five months off and avoided Atlantic City, Foxwoods, and Mohegan Sun. He eventually built up his roll and headed back as he recanted his system of grinding it out. He started throwing dice when he was 13 years old growing up in the Bronx. In his late teens and early 20s, he played in various Italian social clubs.
"Back in the day, those games were fuckin' hot," he said. "Any action you wanted you got. I used to come out of there with a few grand every fuckin' week. When I started dating my wife, we had plans to go out to the movies. It was a Friday night. That's what we fuckin' did every week. A dinner and a fuckin' movie. Well I got off of work and headed to the club. I lost my entire paycheck shooting fuckin' dice. When I went over to her house she asked what fuckin' movie we were going to see. She was changing a light bulb at the time as I explained what fuckin' happened. She was pissed and smashed the fuckin' lightbulb over my head. I was so fuckin' pissed but I understood where she was coming from."
The ride to JFK took a little over an hour while he spoke and I listened. He told me that he drove an elderly couple down to AC twice a month. He'd drop them off on Tuesday morning and pick them up on Thursday. He charged them $600 for the round trip. They were in their 80s and only played blackjack. Sometimes he'd shoot dice at the Trop after dropping them off. If he lost, he headed back home and drove the cab. If he won, he'd come down early on Thursday and let it ride.
He asked me if I needed cigarettes.
"My cousin Petey runs cigarettes," he said. "I get a great fuckin' deal. Give me a call if you need fuckin' smokes."
His phone rang and he picked it up as he weaved through traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway.
"Where's my fuckin' money!" he shouted.
After his brief call, he told me that he was also a small time bookie. One guy was stuck so badly last NFL season that he owed the cabbie over $40K.
"You should have faded his picks," I mentioned.
"I thought about it. But with my fuckin' luck, the week I faded him is the week I lose my shirt."
He also mentioned that he played online poker and played the numbers every day. He blurted out, "Patience is the key to all gambling."
I picked up on the Zen musings of a Bronx cabbie. He was right. Patience is the key to so many elements in life, especially poker.
"And poker? Don't get me fuckin' started on poker. It's all about who has the biggest balls and who gets lucky first."
We finally arrived at JFK and I gave him a $21 tip. He asked for my business card and I lied and said I didn't have any left. He wished me a good flight to Iberia and I told him that I hoped he got unstuck from his craps losing streak.
If you want to read about the rest of my flight to Monte Carlo, head over to the Tao of Pauly.
While I waited for Shronk's flight to arrive in Nice, I spotted Snoopy and Jen from Blonde Poker as they walked out of baggage claim. They're two Brits who were in Las Vegas covering the WSOP last summer and we had some fun times with them in the media room. Otis and I teased Snoopy incessantly how he should be our British butler and personal assistant, getting us things like beers, chocolate shakes, and random chip counts.
It was good to see some familiar faces in Nice, France of all places. Of course, I get to hang out with Otis a little later tonight for the media event and tournament. The EPT Grand Finale starts on Wednesday at 2pm local time. I'll be blogging for PokerNews.com, which has a much smaller team than originally planned. Tim Lavalli hurt his back on Sunday and could not make it to Monte Carlo while Schecky was busy with work related stuff and had to stay behind.
Alas, we have an interesting team made up of myself, Shronk, Felipe (our photographer from Portugal), and Tiffany Michelle who will be doing all the video interviews for PokerNews. Stop by and check out the videos, pics, and live coverage of the EPT Championships starting at 2pm local time (or 8am NYC time). It's gonna be a lot of work, but we're going to do our best to have a ton of fun.
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