Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bad Blood's WSoP Assignment: Bankroll Adrift

I'm always one to shy away from structure. Since this is a creative writing assignment, I figured I'd take some liberties creatively especially with the content. In the real world, you (both bloggers and readers) can catch a glimpse of the WPBT satellite and read everyone's reports (and writing assignments). You can even fly to Vegas sweat from the rail at the Rio and watch whoever it is that will play in the event. Sure, that's awesome and all. However, to me and I'm sure I speak for a majority of the rest of you that the deep curiosity... the real burning interest that you seek out but never get... is what happens off this here blog. You know, the wacky stuff that I do in those other 20+ hours everyday when I'm not online playing poker or blogging. Sure a lot of bloggers live their life as an open book. But in all reality, we're limited to what the blogger decides to share or not share or in some instances stuff that they made up completely.

Anyway, I figured I'd share some non-blogworthy stuff. That's where the real drama and struggle lies. That's the rated NC-17 shit you don't get to see, hear, and smell... like sordid tales of your hero hypothetically snorting copious amounts of drugs off the breasts of a French-Canadian stripper in $15 per hour seedy motel in Niagara Falls. Alas, in this assignment, you'll walk in my shoes for a few moments.

Let's begin with a snappy title... How I Lost the $1,500 Buy-in 9 Times. Nah, that's reminds me of something I'd read in Readers Digest. How about something catchy and slightly Hemingway-esque... The Bankroll Adrift.

Let's set the premise... I won the WSoP Satellite beating out F Train in a quick heads up battle after I pushed all in with nothing and out flopped him. Afterwards, I proceeded to lose the money that I took out of Poker Stars in a series of mishaps, misfortunes, and pure hijinks... for a total of nine times before I was able to register in time to get my seat. A lot can happen in one week when a degenerate gambler and known drug-fiend has $1,500 burning a hole in his pocket.

Of course, I'm not going to tell the whole story, just a glimpse. I don't have time to crank out everything I'd like to say. And now... the long awaited tale of The Bankroll Adrift.

***** *****

Elisha Cuthbert = Ace of Hearts

Like most hot chicks, Sadie could get any guy to do anything for her. She looked like Elisha Cuthbert and worked at a bar in the Flat Iron district. I used trade bonds on Wall Street with her brother. When I got the call saying she needed help driving from Toronto to New York City, I did what an sensible straight guy would think... "Maybe I'll get a hand job on the NY State Thruway."

I agreed right away and arrived in Toronto to help sexy Sadie get back to New York. (Editor's note: why Sadie had her car in Canada is of not important for plot reasons, so we'll just move on and assume that McGrupp and his friends regularly go up to Canada on a whim.)

I drove, Sadie rode shotgun as we cranked out a Radiohead bootleg (from Germany in 2001) with the window down and enjoyed the tantalizing aroma of Canadian spring time air. Everything was fine until we arrived at the border and were grilled by US Custom agents. After they ordered a thorough search of the car, I was arrested when they discovered seven kilos of marijuana stuffed in several duffel bags in the trunk. I never suspected Sadie was a ganja smuggler so I never looked in the trunk. She was strictly a pill-popper in the short time I knew her. One local resident who witnessed the bust was quoted in the next day's edition of the Toronto Star stating, "I never saw so much pot in my life, eh!"

I had to fork over $1,500 to help post my bail and worse, I had to call in a huge favor from a friend of mine, a big shot from Harvard Law School. Fucking lawyers man. Now I have to teach his wife and her hipster friends how to play poker. I'd rather let Chris Gardocki kick me in the junk for twenty minutes straight. That's the price you pay for calling in favors from Ivy League thugs.

Sadie drama aside, I had to find a quick way to raise some quick cash. With Briana already beginning her summering phase in Europe (you know people are uber-rich when they use summer as a verb instead of a noun) with her affluent mother, I had to bribe her doorman to let me slip past him and go upstairs to her apartment. The plan was to steal a pillow case full of shoes and designer purses and sell them for a couple of grand. The hard part was arguing and negotiating with her doorman, Juan. I had to give him 50% of my take and get him into the next game at the Blue Parrot (he reads my blog). I also had to snag a Fendi pursue for Mrs. Juan which was tough to part with because I knew that would have fetched me a good price. I rounded up all the Miu Miu shoes I could find that Briana didn't take with her to Spain and headed downtown to meet up with an old friend, Ivan, a Russian cabbie from Brooklyn.

Ivan has contacts in the Russian Mafia and he'll find a way to sell the stuff and make 1000% profit off of my thievery. We agreed on a good price and he wanted to sell me a bootleg of WPT Season 2 on DVD.

"Oh, Dr. Pauly, I loved it when Cowboy Corkins got Phil Hell-mut on tilt!" he screamed as he handed me a copy. As with everything Ivan sells me via the black market, something is fucked up with it. Of course, it was missing three episodes and had three minutes of The Incredibles spliced in there for some odd reason.

I got my cash but then I made a terrible decision. I decided to gamble on the NBA playoffs. I figured the Nets were a lock at home against Shaq. Boy I was wrong and lost half of it when Shaq went 11-12 in the fourth quarter at the free throw line. That's a miracle... and the pop culture equivalent of seeing Screech from Saved by the Bell get multiple hummers from Kelly Kapowski in the janitor's closet at Bayside High.

I was back in the hole again and it was time to give blackmail old friends on Wall Street. I had photographs, emails, and videotaped proof of plenty of uncouth behavior that would get them fired, divorced, arrested, and then observed and detained by psychiatric professionals at Bellvue. The stiffer the suit, the bigger the sex freak. One fellow I knew would see a high-priced call girl everyday before he wandered into the office at 8:55 sharp! He told me the best part about seeing his Jennifer Lopez dreamgirl look-a-like was that she let him watch ESPN Sportscenter during intercourse.

That guy ran up a $5,000 weekly hooker tab. Unreal. I knew that information was worth at least $5,000 and a stock tip. He agreed on $4,000 and whispered "Echo Bay Mines" to me. I took the entire 4k and bet it all on Echo Bay Mines, a small Canadian gas and exploration company. Of course, the very next day, there was an explosion in one of their natural gas facilities in Alberta. That disaster caused the stock to plunge with rumors looming that their workers were going to strike due to horrible working conditions.

The quick morals of the story are...
1. Always look in your trunk before you cross the border.
2. Never gamble on a stock tip from someone you just blackmailed.
3. Make sure you tip your doorman very well at Christmas.
I pissed the buy-in away on bail money, a bad NBA bet, and the stock tip from hell. I wish I could tell you about more hijinks, but I'm pressed for time.

(Editor's Note: Now, I'd like to flash forward to the morning before the actually WSoP $1500 event.)

4 June 2005
Las Vegas, NV

I must have passed on the cold bathroom floor of the suite I was sharing with Derek, Al Cant Hang, and EvaCanHang. I had vague images of Grubby and Eva playing slots and tried to piece the rest of the fuzzy memories of doing shots in a strip club and pissing on a palm tree somewhere near the Horseshoe. I starred up at the bathroom ceiling and talked myself into not puking. I couldn't do it and spent the next few minutes clutching the porcelain God and reciting the Hail Mary in Latin, half the time dry heaving and the other half praying to Jesus' Mom to deliver me from the anguish of the dreaded "morning after." I began day three on my knees with my head in the toilet, in the middle of one of the wickedest benders I've been on since the beginning of the Clinton administration. My weak stomach had become the battle ground for Good vs. Evil and I was losing miserably with every pint of bile I regurgitated.

Sometimes, if you fall off the horse or in AlCantHang's case... fall off your barstool... then you must get back on, order another drink, and ride the donkey all the way back to New York City. Vegas is filled with scores of losers. If you want to win in that town, you have to dig deep inside yourself, get your ass up off the pavement and remember what the I Ching says, "Inner strength can overcome anything that occurs outside."

That's easier said than done. The authors of the I Ching never drank with Al Cant Hang and his posse in Vegas. That's the equivalent of playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded Glock.

***** *****

That's it for now. I'll see everyone tonight at Poker Stars. Thanks to Bad Blood for suggesting this little assignment.

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