Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bettin' the Ponies

Most of what I'm about to say probably won't be as funny as it seemed to me as I was telling it to Danielle last night in a state of borderline delirium (I've been very sick since Monday and haven't been sleeping well, which last night around 11pm seemed to manifest itself by way of me getting pretty loopy), but I hope it passes for good time passing writing just the same. Somehow we were talking about the hilarious shit that goes on in the world of mid stakes gambling, and I began relating stories just from yesterday. First of all, DosXX, he of online fame, is becoming more cynical and angry by the day; you can almost watch the innocence and kindness draining from him as he sits at the table. Apparently a few days ago one of the players who makes the 80 go because she is awful at poker declared at the table, and I'm paraphrasing here but it was basically this, that she never liked Dos and that he's a big piece of shit. The thing about it is, Dos was SITTING AT THE TABLE and it was pretty obvious that he could hear every word that was being said. "I've gone so far out of my way to be nice to her, to do whatever I can for her, and this is what I get, really?" he's telling us at the table, and you can tell he's just really proceeding directly to banana tilt inside; the innocence is leaving him.

Mike goes on to warn him that as you move up and up the fishy players tend to be smarter, bolder, and more aggressive in the types of shit they will attempt to get away with. Dos is barely hearing him, tilting against some long gone windmill, ranting to no one in particular, and Mike just calmly explains that pretty soon this woman is going to ask him for money after being felted, then write a bad check to "cover" it and that Dos will spend the next 3 years trying to collect the debt $40 at a time by way of lucky chips (something Mike is currently doing to let another fish pay down a $4K marker). Some of it sinks in, but Dos is really just beside himself. He's so...angry. I point out that the lesson we should learn here is that you really shouldn't try to be nice; just be yourself, and they'll hate you sooner and we'll all save some time.

The next story I told Danielle was pretty vague, as I'd already told her the meat of it days earlier, but it was really just a reminder of all the shit that goes on; the drugs people use, the shady financial backings that get people fucked, the 6 and 7 figure windfalls people accumulate (and incinerate), and even how the winning professionals are not immune to falling in with bad friends and doing some bad things.

So this brought us to BJ and the betting of the ponies. We're all sitting there playing a pretty shitty game (basically by definition, since all four of us are in it), and BJ points out that he actually has money in an account that will let him bet the ponies and asks the floor to put the races on the TV we can best see; some NL nit-bag makes some noise about wanting to watch the Dodgers game, but we squash that with the collective force of a bazooka firing upon a mosquito and within minutes the ponies are lining up for number 6 at Del Mar and BJ is using my iPad (in retrospect, a poor decision on my part) to get himself logged in and ready to fire a few bullets off. I am stunned to see that his account balance is in the middling 4 figures, and make ready for some hilarious gamble.

As an aside, I relate some general things to Danielle about BJ that to me are commonplace but to the common person outside the world of live limit hold 'em would seem downright bizarre. He has made a life for himself through poker; he's never done anything else that even borders on useful (much like the Big Potato), and were poker suddenly taken away from him he'd likely end up getting fired from Star Bucks. Upon being met with this assertion today he responded with two basic points...."I don't think I could get a job at Star Bucks, and if I did I'd probably quit before they fired me" and "I can't really do job interviews; like, my basic goal at one is to trick the other person into making a bad decision for his company and it just feels slimy in general." Poker is this guy's entire life, his only way to make a living, and I very much respect that. It's a huge edge he has over me; he can't fail. He has to work, he has to bust his butt and get better and stay ahead and crush crush crush grind grind grind. If he doesn't, he's gonna get fired from Star Bucks. If I fail I'll still have a cushy office job for the rest of my life. Gamble is just in his DNA; his father books massive sports action (I don't know the details, but certainly 5 figures a day) for a friend just because he's sure he's taking the better of it. To be honest the whole thing is just kind of amazing if you think about it for the right length of time.

So anyway we're back to the ponies and the race is coming up and BJ reads us all the horse's names and of course we can't agree on anything. Lena and I like the 3 horse, Mike and Dos like the 4, BJ points out that you can never bet grey horses (they are ugly and slow) and eventually puts down a 3 horse exacta box on....the 7 6 and 1. And he airmails it, of course, because everyone loses money betting the ponies the vig is fucking TWENTY PERCENT! Think about that....You literally are getting a fair bit better odds taking the hard 8 on the craps table, and could probably do better at blackjack without seeing the dealer's card! Anyway, that's just the beginning of the idiocy. Our game basically breaks because the one customer we had left decides to go play 20 and we agree to have our "meeting" that was supposed to happen at 2:30 but didn't because Dos and BJ were, you know, 90 minutes late for work (no big deal obviously....what's 90 minutes among friends). In the interim Zee, the CEO or president or otherwise big swinging dick of the casino comes down and books $25 on "The number six" to win the next race and BJ insta-gobbles the action. Obviously the six horse is a stunning grey and wins by 4 lengths wire to wire. The meeting basically turns into Mike and Dos talking with our boss about how we can best spend the money we have to strengthen the game next month, with me smiling, nodding, and getting up every 45 seconds to sneeze, cough, and generally try to avoid spitting up blood (have I mentioned I have a cold for the ages, and that since I called in sick two days last week I'm not willing to take any more time off, and I'm probably going to end up putting one of the geezers I play with in the ICU because of my stubbornness), and BJ tooling away on my iPad craving action. At one point he declares "oh shit" and we all stop. He looks at us and declares "I just bet $500 on this race" and we all laugh (he'd done something like pick 4-5 horses in an exacta box or some other idiotic thing and the wager just got big fast). We pause the meeting to root him to victory (unable to even really see which of his horses are running where) and he...airmails it.

The rest of the meeting is fairly uneventful, with us deciding to double the number of iPads we give out (for anyone who doesn't know, every Tuesday from noon to five we run a "tournament" where the player who wins the most pots in the 20/40 or 40/80 gets an iPad...we've decided that starting next week we'll also run it on Thursdays from seven to midnight) and sorta keep doing what we're doing otherwise. BJ continues to bet the horses, and I go home, at first offering to leave him my iPad then thinking better of the idea. 5 hours later I text Dos asking how things are going and how long it took BJ to busto his account. The response comes back grim:

"game has been broken for hours. BJ made me take back my iPad and promise not to give it back"

There wasn't really a point to all the stories I told Danielle, but the impression she took away from them is that the people I work with, my peers as it were, might be a not so great of a collective influence on me. I shrugged and explained to her quite simply that these guys aren't my peers; they're my superiors. My goal is to be more like them.

She didn't think that was too funny at all.

1 comment:

Billy said...

Last part is gold. Nice.