A few ingredients were mixed perfectly today for me to have a good laugh at someone else's expense. They were, in no particular order:
Several lifetimes ago I actually stood apart from many of my peers based on my "people skills." At both MIT and Oracle I had way above average communication skills (at Oracle English as a first language was all you needed for this), and generally was considered one of the funny guys. While these skills have laid (lain?) fallow for some time, they are always right there, under the surface, and occasionally do make an appearance.
My recent time spent at the bike, dealing with my boss and a few other choice people that I realized were always saying the right thing to manipulate others made me realize that "hey, I could do that. I've just never bothered to try!"
I've been feeling physically fantastic lately. Strong, energetic, just top to bottom great. This is probably due to at least 4 or 5 small changes I have made or achieved, but the net result has just been swell.
And finally, I had the perfect victim. There is this woman who plays in my game who just has some amazing personality quirks. She's one of those people who simply does not get sarcasm; ever. She hears a sentence and takes it literally, 100 percent of the time. She is therefore impossible to joke around with, and over the past few days I've actually taken to verbally poking and prodding her as an academic exercise, just to see what makes her go and, as it turns out, what makes her explode. I have my reasons for doing this, namely it is fun and it's possible I'll learn something about Danielle through this mad scientist style experimentation. You see, Danielle has some of the same traits as this woman, just expressed far less drastically. So anyway....let's call the girl Kat....and here we go.
First of all, Kat and I are, or at least were, kind of friends. We've exchanged messages on facebook, not really ever talking about much, but you know, that's more than I can say for 99% of the people I've played poker with. She's a pro and is actually irritatingly talented (like she wins for sure, at a reasonable clip), and most of the time we just talk about how irritating some of the people we have to deal with are. The other thing we've discussed is her seat changing habits. You see, one of the quirks she has is an inability to understand when her actions may or may not seem appropriate or awkward. All pro fight for good seats, to some extent. But she absolutely must always attempt to have the best seat at all times, to the point that the players she's trying to get position on definitely notice. She also will always "challenge" for the next seat change, which basically means "you had priority for this one, but now I am trumping you and have priority for the next one". In SoCal priority for seats is based solely on seniority, and remains that way forever if no one challenges....anyway. I've told her she takes it too far, and her basic response was "whatever I'm here to be in the best seat and win the most money" which is a pretty valid argument, at least one I can't really refute. But she just has a way of being...awkward...about it. So on to today.
We are playing 40/80 texas at the bike, as is our custom (lol I have 43 $15 dollar scans already this month in 4 days) and it comes to pass that the local hit n run specialist wins his $1000 for the day and vacates the 6 seat. I am in seat 9, a crazy old man named after a video game character is in 7, and a super loose and aggressive player is in seat 5. The only reason I'm in 9 is that was the best seat available when we started the game an hour ago; my move to 7 now is obvious. So I make my play and Kat declares that she challenges my seat change. That's fine, that's her right, but then moves from seat 1 to seat 9. And so it begins. I immediately challenge her seat change, which puts me back on top of her in the priority list, and she looks at me like I have two heads.
"You can't do that!" she protests.
"A rule is a rule" I say, mocking one of the players we share a common hatred of.
"That's just dirty...even for me...I've never done that before" she continues. And it's true; what I just did is pretty silly. But lessons need to be taught. Here is where shit starts to get extremely funny. The loose aggressive player in seat 5 (he's an older guy, literally could be like my Dad's older brother or my Grandpa's younger brother, from the south, plays a billion hands and just puts in all kinds of action post flop, great sense of humor, etc, let's call him Alpha Lag) seat changes! He almost never, ever seat changes, but he knows what's going on and bang he's on the 1 seat (to Kat's immediate left, a complete disaster for her) like flies on shit. He's doing it just to fuck with Kat, plain and simple. It is an bold and aggressive move, one to be expected from a man who won 11 iPads during 5 hour competitions to see who could win the most pots. That's right...he won ELEVEN times. He's going to deal off, which means he just played his button and will wait for it to pass then come in for free. In the confusion the button skips the other crazy old man in the 6 seat and lands on me, and Kat slings a chip to the 5 seat to lock it up 9 (her seat is now the worst at the table due to the alpha lag's move). Logic would dictate she move before taking her big blind, but she can't go now because if the error is not corrected she'll get to skip her big blind (a savings of literally like $20 in equity) and needs to try to let the angle just...happen. As an aside I used to always speak up if the button was wrong. Now my policy is not to say anything if it helps me. Scummy? Sure. But every other asshole down here does it, and when in Rome...anyway. In this case someone from across the table has obviously noticed that the button is wrong and starts to say something, and I jump in and point out that it's incorrect. So it moves back to seat 6 (for all of this hubbub seat 8 is away from the table with a missed blind button...in case anyone made a diagram).
This is the moment where Kat gets a little flustered. The Asian guy from the must move has arrived at the table and is asking which seat is his. As the dealer is pitching cards I tell him seat 9, that Kat is moving to five, but "I'm not sure why she's taking her blind". This is an example of her doing something rude and pointless. She should just move...she'll have to wait the same number of hands either way, and moving now would cause less fuss and be less awkward and generally alert the fish to less of what is happening, less of the way in which we are literally all just hunting them. Perhaps just because of the button mistake she didn't have it all together, but more likely because concerns like this just don't enter into any of her decision making machinery, she snaps at me "I'm going to deal off!" to which I respond "OK, that's fine, but I'm challenging this seat change, also". Her anger begins to boil at this point. Fast forward two hands (with Asian guy still kind of just standing around, wondering why he's being made to wait) and Kat is winning a pot from the button. She declares to the dealer "push it there" and signals to five. She moves her chips over there, then realizes 4 is now also open because another hit n run specialist has reached the day's quota and is picking up, and instead scrambles to get to that seat. The button jumps from 9 (her seat) to 2 (past the alpha lag, who is dealing off), like three people are moving around and grabbing new seats and and she just plops right over there and...posts her big blind.
The dealer takes...for...ev....er....to get the hand out of the fucking deck. As I'm watching this all happen it literally appears to be going in super slow motion, matrix style. At this moment my senses are so keen, so aware, that I could almost certainly actually dodge a bullet. He cuts the deck. He picks it up, he begins to pitch the cards....
You see, Kat didn't have her shit together and just made a massive mistake. She was entitled to wait for the button to pass and then enter the game for free in the cutoff, but instead took her big blind. For somebody who spends seemingly half her time and energy at the table fighting for the smallest conceivable positional advantage, this is just a disaster. Somehow, some way I manage to wait for it...WAIT FOR IT...and just as the dealer sends the second card to her say "Kat, I thought you were going to deal off?" in a quizzical and confused tone. The realization courses through her entire body, and the stare she gives me could kill a rodent. "It's not that big a deal!" she nearly yells. And then it happens...the coup de grace (I don't care how you spell it I'm on a fucking roll here people) comes, swift and merciless, from the Alpha Lag
"Man Jesse, if only you'd noticed in time!"