Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Marcel and a Guy Named Charlie

I never met Charlie. He's best friends with my friend Spaceman. My only real connection with Charlie was issuing him a wicked bad beat in a WPBT online tournament several months ago. It was the infamous hand where I cracked both AA and KK with 27o, aka The Hammer. He was a good sport about the entire thing and said he felt honored to have been on that end of a bad beat from me. Charlie's been battling cancer over the past year and over the weekend he was hospitalized. Two tumors in his lung were pressing up against his heart. I don't have to tell you how serious his condition is.

Charlie's favorite poker player is Marcel Luske. Great choice. Over the weekend, Spaceman asked me and the Poker Prof is we could get Marcel to call Charlie. He knew that a phone call from Marcel would lift his spirits. Flipchip is chummy with Marcel so he was on a mission to find him.

When Marcel was finally tracked down, I ran outside in the hallway while dialing Charlie's mom's cellphone. I was in the middle of covering the final table of one of the WSOP events, but getting Charlie on the phone with Marcel seemed to be the most important thing in the world to me at that time. Charlie's Mom handed the phone to Charlie who was lying in his hospital bed. I spoke for three seconds and told him that Marcel wanted to say a few words with him. I handed Marcel my phone and he walked away down the hall. They spoke for 10 minutes while I bolted back to the final table for my live blogging duties.

Afterwards, Spaceman said that Charlie was laughing for the first time in ages. When Marcel returned my phone I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had to step away for a few minutes to collect myself. I couldn't stop from thinking how awful Charlie must have been felt and the intense pain he's been enduring. I was also blown away by how amazing a person Marcel was to take time out of his busy schedule to speak to Charlie. In that swift moment, Marcel jumped to the top of the list of my favorite professional poker players, heck Marcel jumped to the top of my list of my favorite people of all time. Yesterday, while in the middle of a tournament, Marcel even stopped me to ask how Charlie's been doing.

Spaceman is trying to give me credit for making this happen. I cannot accept any of that. All I did was dial the number. Marcel and Charlie should get all the credit and respect. It wasn't an easy phone call for Marcel but he knew it would mean the world for Charlie. Marcel told me that Charlie was "laughing his head off," while he sung him a song.

You might hear a lot of bad things about gamblers and poker players. Las Vegas is a dark city where evil lurks behind every turn of the card. That's why it's refreshing to see a random act of goodness ripple through the cosmos. From the Nevada desert to a hospital room in Tennessee, karmic payback is coming Marcel's way. And the good news is that Charlie is doing a lot better and he can be transferred to a hospital closer to home.

Charlie was shortstacked and it looks like he just doubled up.

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