Wednesday, July 30, 2008

V(o)ices

May came back! (See July 16, “May”)

Actually, she came back last week. Comes strolling in the door about 15 minutes late and says, “Hi everybody!” I’m the only person who says hello. Late in the session players are talking about her again, loudly. I figure I missed her busting out and she’s already left the pub. I look over at the table she was sitting at. She’s still there. I bust out early so I don’t know how deep she got. I still wondered why she came back at all. Clearly, folks don’t much care for her. Tonight she was at my table, and busted out early.

I didn’t last too much longer. Short with A 10 suited, a 10 on the flop, all in, called by AQ. Rivered. It was too early to go home. Beer on the breath in a small town with cops trying to prove something is worth avoiding. Two beers all night and I may find my name in the paper next week. So, I watch a bit of the final table. Pretty soon, May moseys up and starts a conversation.

“Do you play for money too?”

I’m a little hesitant with my response. “Sometimes, yeah.”

“Have you ever been to Las Vegas or Reno?”

“I go to Las Vegas sometimes. I belong to an online group who go annually.” A woman knows that if she asks a man about himself, he’ll warm up.

Screeeeeeeeech! That’s the sound of me slamming on the brakes in order to back up.

May has been playing in this game for what, a couple months? One hand tonight she had to be reminded what denomination the red chip was. $100. In another hand, I knew I had the best of it on the turn when she and Doud were in the hand as well. (I’ll write about Doud in the future.) Doud checks after his preflop raise and c-bet. I put him on paint and bet $500, about 3/4 of the pot with my pocket fives and a gut shot. It’s May’s turn to act and she starts fishing through her dirty stack to find a green chip. Then it hit me: she wasn’t thinking about the value of the chip; she was only concerned with matching the right color!

I started yapping. “Yeah, you want the $500 chip. The green one is worth $500.” She paused, then mucked. Doug then mucked his pocket twos. I gave them both immense shit.

Usually, I’m pretty quiet at these games, and people have remarked about such. In fact, during breaks, I pretty much keep to myself or sit and listen to tales about misbehaved children, low-paying jobs and benders. For some reason tonight I found myself rather loud and taunting, and people noticed. The jury was mixed as to whether or not they approved of my witty banter. May liked it. Another woman, Lois, who is pretty quiet herself, seemed perturbed, and the guys…hell, they’re good ol’ boys, and I was acting no different than some of them, except for the wit.

I gave them a choice: “Play like shit against me, and you get the loud me; play well, and I’ll shut up.” For the most part I stayed loud, maybe even got louder as Doud stayed in with bottom pair to hit two pair on the turn, and Suckout Dan rivered me twice, including on my final hand. It seems that if one has an ace or any paint in his or her hand, then seeing 5th street is advised. But hey, it’s free!

Anyhoo, when May sidled up after the game, I was still pretty pumped up, full of myself, what-have-you. So, it was probably easy for her to get me going again.

She says, “We didn’t even make the final table.”

“Nope.”

“You always say that you can fold your way to the final table.”

“I can, but when I have the best hand, I have to play to win, not just make it to the final table.”

“I want to make the final table next week. Let’s make a pact. Let’s both get to the final table next week. Promise?”

Something just ain’t right here. “OK, I promise.”

“Was she hitting on you?” That’s what my wife wants to know when I relate the encounter to her.

“Nah, I don’t think so. I’m nice to her. That might be enough.”

“What else did you two talk about?”

“She wants to get a group of us together to go out and play at the casino. I told her that wasn’t going to happen, as these folks like to play free tourneys and penny home games.

Then she asked me to call her the next time I went.”

“What!?”

“Yeah, I know.”

Back to the bar.

“So what do you play when you go? Cash or tourneys?”

“Cash, mostly. 1/2.

“Do you win?”

Most of the time, yeah. Sometimes I’ll lose a buy-in.”

“Well, when I lose $1,000, I just write it off to having some fun.”

“$1,000? I’ve never lost that much in one sitting. Hell, I don’t have much more than that in my total bankroll.”

“Then how do you afford to play 100/200?”

I’m dying inside. “One dollar, two dollar.”

The conversation then shifted to whether playing poker is fun. Never. The environs may be fun; the game isn’t, whether winning or losing.

“You take poker pretty seriously. Do you play a lot?”

“Every day.”

“Do you ever go to the local casino?”

“Every other week or so.”

(Insert group trip idea.)

“Well, if I give you my phone number, will you call me next time you go?” I’m thinking to myself that she would get chewed up and spit out. “I’d like to play but I don’t want to play against any really good players…what do you call them?”

“Sharks.”

“Yes, sharks. Can you tell who they are when you’re playing?”

“Most of the time, yes. Especially the locals. But I have to tell you, there’s usually three or four at every table.”

“But you can tell me who they are. Call me, please? I’ll give you my number.”

My mind is going at a thousand miles an hour. Here’s someone who by my estimations is a complete fish/calling station who is either going to suck out and clean up or dump a G and not fret. And because I’m sufficiently literarily paranoid, I wonder if this is some elaborate ruse. This chick just moves to town, finds some sap poker pub players and sets them up for a trip to the local cash game to clean them out. Of course, this is just my mind doing its thing, that thing that keeps me at home most of the time, quiet and holed up in my basement.

But something is just not right. Of that much I am certain.

She hands me her business card. She works for a regional bank that has lost 90% of its stock value in the recent mortgage fiasco. She’s a home loan officer.

2 comments:

Pascale Soleil said...

Aah ooo gah! Aah ooh gah! All hands to battle stations!!!

No kidding somethin' ain't right. When it comes to your money and the poker table, there's no such thing as too paranoid.

Josef said...

Very nice read, bro!