That’s what everyone called him. He used to be a regular at the $500 NL table. At least he was at the casino every time I was there, so I assumed he must be there more often than I. Why they called him what they did was not immediately apparent.(As my buddy Geoff says, poker players can be so cruel.) He was the usual old timer, a nit, which may have had something to do with the nick, as the game sometimes got a little wild, and shit happens, if you know what I mean. Yet, I never heard him complain about the two-outers. No, that’s not correct. I saw him turn a boat and get it all in against a set. He ended with the underfull.
“Sheesh.” That was all he said. And just as he was standing up to leave, another player, Richard, not in the hand, another regular who was known as a huge prick sneered, “Cry Baby.” It didn’t take much to figure these two had some history.
Hell, everyone had a history with Richard. Table captain, slow roller, master of the game. If he caught a miracle on the river, he knew it was coming. If the same happened to him, it was a donk move. The type that does not distinguish between luck and skill, but only as it applies to his play. I’ll say it again. Prick. The kind of guy you'd just love to felt.
The next time I saw Cry Baby, something had changed. All of sudden he had gotten older. I mean, he was not a young guy to begin with, maybe in his late sixties. Yet, in the span of a month he aged another twenty. Then he disappeared.
After a few months I asked several of the dealers if they knew anything about Cry Baby. Nope. Hadn’t seen him. Did they know his real name? Knew nothing about him except to say that he was a decent tipper.
Well, the way my mind works, I figured CB had passed on, that is until early yesterday. The card room hadn’t been open very long before I arrived. He was in a four-handed game, still looking older, but not as feeble. I made it five and sat on his left, and after a bit struck up a conversation with him.
“Good to see you again.”
“You’ve been gone for a while.”
“Arizona. With my kids for a while after my wife passed.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Thanks. But she had a good life. 94 years old and died in her sleep.”
“94? Wow. Do you mind me asking…”
The conversation ended there as we were in a hand together. He was the Button and min-raised about 2.5 x BB. I called with JQh, and the BB completed. The flop was Ts 6h Qd and I check/called CB’s 2/3 pot bet. The turn put the 5s on the board and we both checked. The 9s gave me the str8 and I bet half the pot and CB doubled it. I folded to the flush. How do I know it was a flush? He turned up the corners just enough to show me AJs.
“Nice hand.” He gave me a little wink and a smile.
“Show the table!” It was Richard, on CB’s left. But the dealer had already gathered the cards. Too late. Good. “Aw c’mon! Christ, show one, show all.” CB said nothing.
It was five hands later. The table folds around to Richard in the SB and he completes. CB 3-bets and Prick calls. The flop is Jh 7d Td. CB leads out with a pot-sized bet and Richard come over the top with just a half-pot-sized bet more. CB thinks for a second and jams. He has Richard covered. Richard instacalls and throws over an unsuited J 10. “Ship it!” CB holds onto his cards until the river, shows his set of sevens, turns to me and in the softest voice says, “Holla.”
Well, you can imagine. Richard takes on a nice shade of red, mutters, amazingly, “Nice hand,” and rebuys. The red doesn’t go away.
For the next hour Richard raises huge every time he is in position, stealing the blinds but little else. He loses about a quarter of his stack in one hand to the player on his right, but that doesn’t stop him. He gets involved with CB a couple more times, and takes down a smallish pot with some raise, re-raise action, obviously wanting to get his money back, yet it seems like CB was toying with him more than really having a solid hand. Richard is getting nowhere but increasingly annoyed.
Just for the record, all the while this is going on, I am holding my own, up just a bit, but more interested, perhaps, in the duel unfolding.
We lose a player and are down to four again. I’m not crazy about this and start thinking about the $200 game where there’s a seat open. Now in the BB, I say to myself that I’ll play to the Button. Richard limps on the Button. I think, “trap” just about the same time CB 3-bets in the SB. I look down to see a pair of eights and figure what the hell. Richard calls as well. The flop is Kh 6d 6h. CB bets the pot so I fold. Richard calls. The turn is a Qs and CB puts out another pot-sized bet. Richard calls again. He must have a monster or be on a vengeance flush draw. I fear for CB. The river is a Qd. One helluva board. CB looks over at Richard’s stack and puts in about twice what Prick has behind, and he literally throws the rest of his chips in. CB turns over Aces and Richard wings his cards at the dealer. A king flips over.
Of course Richard storms away from the table. CB says, “That got my heart going a little too hard. I better quit while I’m ahead and still alive.”
“Need some help?” I asked.
“I think I’ll go have a beer. That’ll help.” And with that, he racked up, as did I.