Monday, May 05, 2008

Big City Prop Bets; Trannies, Taxi Cab Racing, the Kentucky Derby, and the $447 Sumo Burger

By Pauly
New York City

2am. Dive bar. New York City. Four degenerate gamblers were drinking pints of Yuengling.

"Dude, those chicks were guys," said The Rooster.

Moments earlier, two women were sitting at the end of the dimly lit bar. The Rooster offered to buy the two a cocktail. They quickly turned him down. Upon his return to our group, we gave him a hard time. The Rooster mentioned that they were transvestites. Iggy didn't believe him and said that The Rooster came up with that excuse since his mojo wasn't working that night.

"You wanna bet?" said The Rooster.

Iggy lived on a farm in Ohio and was not used to spending a lot of time in big cities. Iggy was skeptical to bet The Rooster since he wasn't 100% sure. It took some negotiating back and forth. Just when the two were ready to wager on whether or not the folks at the end of the bar were dudes or ladies, the two in question had left and were replaced when two new customers walked inside. At first glance, it appeared that a guy and a girl sat down on the empty stools. That's when things got interesting since it was extremely obvious that one of them was a transvestite.

"Look at that Adam's Apple," said GMoney. "It's the size of a softball."

Iggy paused for a second and then backed off his bet. His trannydar (aka transvestite radar... similar to gaydar, but a far more important skill for drunk guys to have so they don't end up making out with a chick who had a tree trunk swinging between their legs) was all mixed up. Iggy played enough poker to know if their was a thick fog of doubt, it was better to fold and come back to fight another day. The prop bet was called off.

For the record, the first two were chicks... and the second crew had one tranny. Iggy would have won.

That was the first of many potential prop bets and actual prop bets that we'd engage in over a four day span. Lots of action and plenty of money was exchanged hands. And we didn't even play one single hand of poker.

* * * * *

A couple of years ago, during one of the blogger trips to Vegas, both StB and GMoney were telling chicks that they played Chaka on the old TV series Land of the Lost (1974-76). It's been a running inside joke for a few years.

On Thursday morning, I was faced with a Hollywood prop bet. GMoney was convinced that Clint Howard (aka Ron Howard's brother) played Chaka. I had no idea who exactly played Chaka, but I knew it wasn't Clint Howard. The bet was on.

Luckily, Change100 was awake and near a laptop to look up Chaka on Sure enough, we discovered the real answer. Chaka was played by some guy named Philip Paley and not by Clint Howard. (Also... Thanks to Chilly and Mattazuma who saw my tweet and did some quick research.)

Easy money. FYI... Did you know that Bill Laimbeer (from the Detroit Pistons) played one of the Sleestaks on Land of the Lost? The next time you are at a bar, make that bet with some poor drunk. And then send me 10% of your winnings. I accept PokerStars transfers.

* * * * *

Arrival times are always fun to bet on. Airplane traffic, particularly at NYC airports, always gets backed up which means that it's rare that someone actually arrives on time. We knew ahead of time that StB's flight to Newark was delayed. But we didn't know how much. That's when I whipped out the notebook and started taking down times.

We bet on when he'd call upon his arrival at Newark Airport and we also bet on his official arrival at The Rooster's crib. StB got delayed so much that we had five different bets. Iggy and GMoney won twice each and I picked up one bet. Derek and The Rooster whiffed.

We showed up at Yankee Stadium early for their game against the Mariners. We decided to bowl a couple of games. We bet on high game and picked two money ball frames where whoever nailed a strike would win the pot. If someone didn't or tied, it rolled over to the next frame similar to a skins game in golf.

The lanes across from Yankee Stadium are older than me. The balls are rough pieces of crap. Management recycled old balls from the 1970s and plugged up old finger holes and drilled in new ones. The lanes are warped with tons of dead spots. At best, it was below average conditions, which didn't matter because we were all shitfaced after drinking for a good six hours up until that point. StB held the edge since he hailed from Milwaukee and admitted that he had his own bowling ball.

StB smoked everyone in the first game with 167. Iggy and myself both won the money ball bets. By the end of the first game, I found my groove and knew that I was going to make a run in the second game.

I started out hot in game two and never looked back. I won one of the three money balls. I also edged out StB in highest game and talked a little smack. Afterall, a known drug fiend and Obama-sympathizer beat a guy from the Midwest who had his own ball. Derek and Iggy chopped the last two money balls.

We went into the Yankees game and it was fuckin' freezing for early May. We weren't properly dressed, especially Iggy, who said that he picked up frostbite at one point.

The Rooster and I had a couple of bets on where the ball landed at the end of the inning. A couple of times he picked "on the mound" and I had the entire field. That was a gimmie. The Rooster also made a bet that the ball would get tossed into the stands at the end of the inning. Wang struck out a batter to end the inning and Jose Molina started walking towards the dugout with the ball. He didn't toss it to the mound and at the last second before he entered the dugout, he tossed it up to a fan in the front row. I lost that bet at the last possible moment.

If it wasn't so cold, we would have stayed longer and gotten into more hijinks. As is, we left after the fourth inning and watched the rest of the game across street at the bar. We were waiting for Bobby Bracelet who also had a delayed flight. I opened up my notebook and started booking action. Derek ended up winning that wager when he bet on a late arrival from Bobby.

* * * * *

We were drinking at a bar called Barcelona where The Rooster knew the hot bartender. He stuck around for a bit while the rest of us migrated uptown to a couple of dive bars on the West Side that Iggy preferred. We had six of us and most NYC cabs only take four people max. We had to split up the group into threes. Since Derek and I were the only New Yorkers, we had to head up each taxi ride. That's when we decided to race up to the bar on 73rd Street. The losing team had to buy drinks for the winners.

My team included StB and GMoney. Derek had Bobby Bracelet and Iggy. Right off the start, Derek shot an angle and ran south on Eighth Avenue towards 54th Street. I stood on 55th Street trying to hail a cab, which meant that Derek would essentially be in the better position to snag the first available cab that sped up the street or turned the corner. A black gypsy cab stopped and Derek got slowed up as he negotiated a fare uptown. That's when a yellow taxi magically appeared and stopped in front of us. As we all jumped in the back, the black gypsy cab passed us but got stopped at the red light on 55th Street. We were second in line behind the black gypsy cab. It was an old fashioned race. 18 blocks. Yellow taxi vs. the black gypsy cab. He had pole position on us, but we had Mohamed on our side.

I glanced up at the ID tag of our driver. His name was Mohamed.

"Mohamed, see that black gypsy cab? My brother and his friends are in it and we're racing. You have to drive like a maniac and beat them. Can you do that?"

"For $10 extra, I'll do it," said Mohamed.

I pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to him as the light changed to green. He snatched it out of my hands and hit the gas.

"Now, if you lose Mohamed," I joked. "I get the $20 back and you don't get a tip."

We caught the black gypsy cab by Columbus Circle and I rolled down the window and flipped them off. We blew past them by the time we whizzed by Lincoln Center. Our yellow taxi arrived at 72nd Street faster than them. I told Mohamed to pull over in between 72nd and 73rd Street on Amsterdam Avenue. That was my mistake which cost us the race and the bet. I thought Derek would have gotten out on the corner of 72nd and Broadway in front of Gray's Papaya. He was about to, but when he saw that we were stopped, he told his driver to pass us and they stopped in front of the bar.

Derek, Iggy, and Bobby Bracelet all had smug smirks on their faces when we walked up to the bar. Damn angle shooters. They won by a technicality and I paid for the drinks since I made the crucial error. Derek said that his driver was having a blast racing our cab and I told him that I was pissed at our driver for losing so I ratted him out to Dick Cheney who promised to throw his ass into Gitmo.

* * * * *

Six of us drank at P&G as we awaited for The Rooster to arrive. It was 12:30ish and we were convinced that he was on the prowl and wouldn't show up for a couple of hours. StB had no confidence in The Rooster and thought that we wouldn't see him at all. He picked "Not" in the pool.

We were shocked when The Rooster arrived with his cousin and a bevy of cute Columbia girls... at 12:33am. GMoney won the bet.

* * * * *

On Saturday afternoon, we were on the subway when we decided to bet on what shirt/garment that F Train would be wearing when he met up with us. Bobby picked first and said "Yellow soccer jersey." I picked a blue sweater. Derek picked "Gus Hansen shirt." The Rooster thought he'd be wearing a sportscoat, while StB went with a pastel colored t-shirt. Iggy had "the field" at 5/2. F Train showed up wearing a charcoal grey cashmere sweater. I picked a sweater... but the wrong color. Iggy won. Betting on whatkindofshirtftrainiswearing is so fuckin' rigged.

We drank heavily at a beer bar on Amsterdam Avenue called George Keeley's for the Kentucky Derby. The Rooster knew one of the bartenders (the same chick who worked the night before at Barcelona). I drank a Dead-inspired beer called Scarlet Fire as we juiced up before the Kentucky Derby began.

One of the horses was named Bob Black Jack and we had to bet on him. Three years ago, Iggy hosted a blogger tournament where we gave away a $1,500 WSOP seat. Bobby won it and after his victory, Derek bestowed him with the nickname Bobby Bracelet. It stuck. Since then we've hung out with Bobby a bunch of times when he had a bad run at the black jack tables. Derek tweaked the nickname and started calling him Bobby Blackjack. Several deviations of his original nickname have come forth but it seemed like fate that we were hanging out with Bobby Bracelet/Blackjack during the Kentucky Derby. Even BG sent me a text earlier in the day saying that he was going to bet $21 on Bob Black Jack. We all rushed to the OTB on 72nd Street. I put $10 on Bob Black Jack to win. At the time, he was a 27-1 long shot to win.

Bobby Bracelet had limited confidence in the horse that shared his moniker.

"He'll come out strong and lead the race for a bit then fizzle out," predicted Bobby Bracelet.

His assessment was dead on. Bob Black Jack had a lightning start out of the gate and led the first quarter mile of the race. He had Cowboy Cal on his ass, but they were out in head with split times of :23.30, :47.04, and 1:11.14.

We went apeshit in the bar. If Bob Black Jack won, we would have all cashed in a couple of grand combined.

The pack caught them on the back stretch. Bob Black Jack faded into the darkness of obscurity and finished in 16th place.

"At least our horse didn't die," mentioned Bobby Bracelet as we tore up our tickets.

All eyes were on Eight Belles, which came in second place. Eight Belles had to be put down after breaking both of its ankles and was euthanized on the track. The dark side of horse racing reared its ugly head and I lost another horse race.

* * * * *

The biggest prop bet was the one that didn't go off. It involved food and something called a Sumo Burger. I'm a big fan of Big Nick's on Broadway. They have some of the best burgers in NYC. We took the gang after the Kentucky Derby ended. That's when the debate over the Sumo Burger began.

I only tried the Sumo Burger once and I never finished it. I had confidence that Derek could do it and so did everyone else. They didn't want to bet against him which was smart. Food prop bets are my brother's wheelhouse. But then the focus shifted to StB.

I set the line at 16.5 minutes. The biggest single bet on the table was $100. Combined bets totaled $200.

"No way," protested StB. "Even Otis ate two tiny keno crayons for $400. This is a pound of beef!"

Just when the talk of the Sumo Burger prop bet was about to die out, Derek upped the stakes.

"I'll bet that you can't eat the Sumo Burger in five minutes for every dollar that I have in my pocket."

Derek emptied his pocket and pulled out a wad of twenties. He slowly counted the bills.

At the poker tables, when someone moves all in and confidently counts out their chips that's a very good indication that they got the nuts. Derek took a couple of seconds before he blurted out, "Four hundred and forty-five. Forty-six. Forty-seven."

Be pushed the pile of cash towards StB. $447. Five minutes. One Sumo Burger. A pound of beef. Could StB do it?

He sat in silence for several minutes as the peanut gallery let him have it. F Train whipped out his iPhone ready to capture it.

"Don't forget to mention in addition to the $447, you'll instantly become a YouTube star," I joked. "I'll make you famous and you'll get a sick amount of traffic,"

StB glanced at the menu and The Rooster snatched it out of his hand and snapped, "You know what's on the burger. So are you going to do it? Or did Derek just call down your bluff?"

StB shook his head and folded. A chorus of boos rained down. Even the busboy who didn't speak English was disappointed and shook his head in utter disgust. Derek and Iggy hazed StB for the rest of the dinner.

"You've been demoted for punking out. You now have to carry Bobby Bracelet's bags for the rest of the trip," explained Derek.

StB was a good sport about it and took the razzing in stride. It was the proper fold. If he ate a Sumo Burger that quickly, he would have been yaking up ground beef in the middle of Broadway.

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

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