Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Welcome to the Crackhouse

By Pauly

I wandered into Brooklyn for a WeHo's tournament at the Crackhouse hosted by Dawn and Karol. The Crackhouse had neither hos nor crack. Sorry to destroy that illusion. Yeah, I know, I was a tad disappointed too. I was hoping to score some rock and blaze up in the hallways with Pookie from New Jack City, or find myself in a scene out of Luc Sante's book Low Life where street walkers, degenerates, swindlers, and thugs were taking turns feasting on the intestines of immorality.

The only visible drug was poker and about twenty people or so came from all over the city to play in a special Monday night tournament thrown in honor of Spaceman and Mrs. Spaceman, who were in town visiting. It also happened to be my first ever appearance at the infamous Crackhouse. I was eager to check out the action first hand after reading about it on several blogs. Heck, the night was so special that even The Rooster ventured to an outer borough and wore an outfit fit for a Guatemalan pimp who hoarded a gaggle of underaged prostitutes in the back of his Lincoln.

The day started out early for me (be sure to read Livin' over at the Tao of Pauly for a complete recap of the day's events) and I met Spaceman and Mrs. Spaceman at the Museum of Natural History to check out the dinosaurs and the butterflies. My back and knee bothered me so I took a half of a muscle relaxer that the Poker Shrink prescribed to me the last time I was in Las Vegas. Add some allergy medicine, liquor, and herbal supplements, and I was shitfaced hammered for a good fifteen hour period.

We met up with Karol at her apartment and then we left for Brooklyn. We made stops at Coney Island and Di Fara's pizza where we happened to bump into Shaniac.

Di Fara's is best pizza in the city and people wait an hour to ninety minutes for the pies because they're so fuckin' good. Dom, the old guy behind the counter freshly cuts pieces of basil on your pizza. I have pics over at the Tao of Pauly.

Anyway, it was freakish to bump into Shaniac at Di Fara's. NYC is the capital of the "bump into" but Brooklyn was the last place I expected to see a professional poker player who lives in Hollyweird. Even though Shaniac and I were both NYC guys and grew up here, we had never actually run into each other in the city. This year alone, I have seen Shaniac in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Monte Carlo, and Australia. It's a small world.

Before the tournament started, I played Spaceman heads up Chinese Poker while Mrs. Spaceman, Dawn, and Karol played Scrabble. Dawn bluffed a couple of times with words that were not official words. Spaceman and I had a back and forth match. I scooped him on one hand with my Quad Aces. I think I was up 4 points when everyone arrived for the tournament.

The Crackhouse game featured some old friends I had not seen in a very long time such as comedian Charles Star, Ferrari, Maigrey and Toni. The night was a reunion for me with friends I used to play with in other NYC homegames. Toni ran The Townehouse game at her flat while Ferrari was the host and owner of the infamous Blue Parrot. It's through Charles Star aka Ugarte that I knew almost everyone in the room. Six Degrees of Charles Star.

The biggest shocker was when The Rooster showed up. I gave Dawn 2-1 odds that he wouldn't come. Alas, he showed up dressed in his "Cuban farmer goes to the discotheque" outfit and I shipped $10 to Dawn.

I was seated at a good table. It might have been the featured TV table. But the only hole cams were a hidden camera in the bathroom that an old Russian guy in the apartment next door monitored for his own sexual pleasure. I rubbed it out twice to give him a good show. Usually, I charge extra for that.

I was seated in Seat 2 between Maigrey and Mrs. Spaceman. I didn't play any pots early on. Fisch flopped a set of Jacks and got in all in against Spaceman who had A-Q and just the nut flush draw. Although he picked up more outs on the turn with a gutshot, he missed and was crippled to just 75 or three chips. He tripled up on the next hand and tripled up again with Kings. Fisch ended up busting out when he ran into Maigrey's pocket Aces. Spaceman was out next.

Over at the other table, Toni cracked Ferrari's Aces with 7c-4c. That made Charles smile.

I found 4c-4h and raised in EP. The Rooster was on the button and raised me. I told him that I was behind but as going to flop a set against him. I called.

The flop was Q-6-4. I bet the pot and he raised me. I moved all in and he called. He flipped over A-K and my set held up. I had over 4K and looking good.

I won another big pot against Mrs. Spaceman when my Varkonyi held up and was up to 6K. I don't know how I got up to 8K.

I made the final table.

Final Table (photo courtesy of Karol)

When the tables consolidated, I was third or fourth in chips but not by a lot. Elana took most of my stack when she flopped a set of 5s against my A-Q. I shoved all in on a board of A-5-2 and lost the monsterpotten.

I was out in seventh place a couple of hands later when Mary's suited Ace held up against my K-Q.
Here's the money winners:
1. Elana
2. The Rooster
3. Mary
4. Maigrey

I vaguely recall being shitfaced in Dawn's kitchen drinking Brooklyn Lager and eating Twizzlers with Fisch. I didn't play any cash gamed even though there was a juicy one going on. I stuck around and waited for The Rooster to bust out since we were going home on the subway together. He finished in second place and I hazed him the entire time at the final table. He played OK but I gave him shit for every sketchy decision he made. I must have used the nouns "pussy" and "skirt" at least a dozen times each to describe his play.

Despite the lack of crack cocaine on the premises, I had a blast. I had not played in a homegame in a very long time and it was good to meet Dawn and Karol's friends and play cards with some old NYC friends.

We live in a crazy, stressful, and unforgiving world. It's a pleasure to engage in lighthearted activities from time to time. The right mixture of poker and friends always leads to a +EV night. Hopefully I will be able to make another one of those events sometime in the next twelve months... schedule permitting.


The Rooster and I took the train back to the city and we switched trains at Jay Street. We sat in dimly lit a car on the A train with six black guys.

"Yo Pauly Drama," whispered The Rooster, "where's the only non-brothers on this subway."

It was 1am. We were in Brooklyn and The Rooster was ready for a fight just in case we got jumped. I'm shocked that we didn't. He sported his Guatemalan pimp or "Cuban farmer goes to the discotheque" outfit and was an obvious target. I had been jacked up on muscles relaxers, weed, and beer all day and ubiquitously slurring my speech. I should have been mugged and The Rooster should have been beaten to a pulp for wearing white shoes before Memorial Day. Thank God the brothers on the train were not fashionistas and they let The Rooster live to see another day.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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