Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"The best poker player is not the most skilled. The best poker player picks the best games. The best poker player has won before he sits down."
Abdul on poker
So I'm pretty sure I'll be heading out to play in the WSOP Main Event this year.
Is "fairly certain" more definitive?
If I choose not to go this year, it's mostly due to perceived dust in my poker game. Not that I was in tip-top-playing shape last year, far from it, but still. I'd like to have had some time to ponder and study and give it at least my B game.
So there's that.
I recently had a few folks reach out and tell me that they really do miss my uber posts. I've gotta say that meant a lot, after all this time. I mean, honestly, most of the time I was
writing copying and pasting my ass off for ya'll, it was into the poker ether.
So hearing that it's missed by a few folks is a Good Thing.
And so now, for the first time in four years, I am reposting one of the greatest internet tales ever told:
Parts one & two posted here for your edification, my friends. Stay tuned, there's more to come.
Part 01 - "Where the sand turns to gold."
If this were a major motion picture, it would open something like this:
[Establishing shot of Spaulding, drunk as a sailor, seated at a 5/10 Hold
'Em game at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.]
Board: As Kc 5d - 3h - 4h
Local troglodyte shows KdKh.
Spaulding studies the board through glasses thick enough to enable a
normal-sighted person to view Neil Armstrong's footprints.
Spaulding: How many more cards do I get?
Dealer: That's all sir, please turn over your cards.
Spaulding: (Flips over 7d 2s.) Eight, hit me.
Dealer: Straight is good. (Pushes Spaulding the pot).
Spaulding: This is pai-gow, right?
(He spots a cocktail waitress)
Waitress: Yes sir?
Spaulding: Can I get a lap dance?
Waitress: (Sigh) We've been through this before sir, I'm a waitress, WAY
- TRESS. Can I bring you something to drink? (Mumbling) Like I don't
already know the answer to that question.
Spaulding: OK, do you have any chamomile tea?
Waitress: Certainly sir.
Spaulding: I hate that shit. Tea is for pussies! Bring me a double gin
and tonic; don't go overboard with the tonic. And a beer.
[Waitress already anticipated Spaulding's seventh identical order and has
it on her tray. She serves him. He folds a dollar in half and sticks it
in her cleavage.]
[Spaulding, now narrating in voice-over]: "Listen. Here's the thing: if
you can't spot the drunk in your first 12 cocktails, then you ARE the
drunk. Hey, good for you."
p o u n d e r s
[Cue opening music: Spaulding rises and, gin and tonic in hand, dances
about the card room singing the following, to the tune of Rogers and
Hammerstein's "Favorite Things."]
"Raising on pipe dreams
then catching my one out
Lots of trash talking
and being a drunk lout
My seven-deuce offsuit
that shatters your kings
These are a few of my favorite things..."
"Getting so drunk that
I don't know what I've got
Cold calling anyway
then dragging a huge pot
Double Wild Turkeys
that the cute waitress brings
These are a few of my favorite things..."
"Beating your aces
like a rented little brother
Waitress! A bourbon!
then how 'bout another
Sucking out on you
then shouting Cha-ching!
These are a few of my favorite things..."
"When my hand bites,
When the flop stinks,
When the turn card makes me mad,
I simply rely on what the river brings,
To give you a beat that's so bad!"
But this isn't a major motion picture. So forget all about that and pay
attention to the following amalgamated trip report, such as it is.
"Brevity is the soul of wit," the immortal Bard advises us. "Vigorous
writing is concise," admonish Strunk and White. "Fuck that," I say,
editing is a pain in the ass. We prefer the view of a more modern man of
letters, who astutely observed that "repetitiveness is the cornerstone of
drunkenness." So this will be l o n g. In particular, it is filled with
lengthy, non-poker stories that form the lore of our loser culture. If
you're looking for poker content, you should killfile us now.
If you find reading strenuous, this would be a good time to step away from
the computer. Go pursue a less challenging activity, like trying to
balance your beer on your stomach without losing track of the plot on a
Facts of Life rerun.
While we're giving out warnings, I'd say you're a 27.5:1 favorite to be
grievously offended by something in here, if you haven't been already. In
fact if nothing in this report offends you, you must be some kind of
complete degenerate. Like us.
"All the World's a Stage"
In "Super/System", Mike Caro observes that people present themselves not
as they are, but as they wish to be perceived. This is true away from the
poker table as well. In life, most people present themselves as mature
and responsible adults.
The four core members of this garbage-poker playing society -- Spaulding,
Manbeast, Snow White and myself (Variable, you may call me) -- have been
friends since early childhood. We all know each other far too well to put
on any act. So even though individually we all behave like reasonably
respectable, responsible and mature people, when you put us together a
kind of reverse synergy occurs, and our behavior plummets to a level that
Larry, Moe and Curly would describe as "totally immature."
If you can deal with childlike behavior, half-in-the-bag buffoonery, lots
of naughty words, and unbridled id, read on. If not, save yourself the
Disclaimer time is over. You have been warned. Continue at your own
--- To be continued ---
Coming in part 02 - Loser weight loss secrets
Part 02 - "They're creepy and they're kooky."
Still with us? You fool. Very well, prepare for indoctrination.
"Your days of finger-banging Mary Jane Rottencrotch, through her pretty
pink panties, are over!"
--- R. Lee Ermey, Full Metal Jacket.
Let's meet the players. [Cue music: Addams Family theme] Since you've
already had a glimpse of him, let's start with everyone's favorite waste
of protoplasm: Spaulding.
"Son; fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life."
--- Dean Vernon Wormer, National Lampoon's Animal House.
Favorite Song: "Baby's Liquored Up" - The Beat Farmers
Last Book Read: Best of Beaver Hunt
Favorite Beer: Old Peculiar (UK)
Least Favorite Beer: Any Coors product
Because: "It's for girls and pussies."
Pet Peeve: "There's not enough porn on the internet."
For a mental image: Picture the fat, nerdy kid from "The Far Side" grown
up, unshaven, and drunk.
Finest Hour: Recently won us a bundle in wagers by losing 60 pounds in 6
months to slim down to a svelte 243. We got some long odds on that
accomplishment, and the don't bettors lost their asses. How did he do it?
Well, as everyone involved predicted, he barely exercised and didn't give
up booze. But we had a secret weapon: Manbeast, the master of better
living through chemistry, put Spaulding on a daily dose of clenbuterol
throughout the contest. But don't tell anyone.
Successful idiot. Loser at all games of skill. He believes he is a
career winner because he wins more than 50% of his sessions.
If you've already figured how this can be, you're way ahead of most of our
readers, many of whom are reading this to kill time while they download
the entire contents of
Answer: He psuedo-Martingales by raising the stakes and calling ever more
random games as the night goes on, until he hits a big winner. He hasn't
had a total Martingale catastrophe, yet. One day he'll show up for a
$1/$2 home game and leave $2,000 poorer. And I plan to be there when it
Case in Point: We're at Dreamland, around 1:00am. Only Spaulding, Gary
the Bastard, Manbeast, and I are still playing. Spaulding has lost about
$100 playing 1/2 poker. Since then he's gone through roughly another $100
playing acey-deucy and guts in an effort to recoup. Now it is his deal.
He calls Indian. Yeah, that Indian. And get this: He calls $10 ante, no
I complain about the unprecedented ante, mainly to discourage future
occurrences. Everyone knows I won't sit out the game. Sitting out is, by
our standards, the unmanliest thing you can do without involving a Cub
Scout and Crisco. I donate the $10, knowing I'll be folding.
So the cards go out:
Gary the Bastard: Q
Manbeast probably sizes the game up as a heads up contest with Spaulding,
because he knows I hate these random-wealth-redistribution games, and Gary
the Bastard is too conservative to ever call a bet in no limit. Gary
wouldn't call a bet if he was playing 5 ways and saw 2,2,2,3. (Neither
would I though, as it would be pretty obvious that I was being
Manbeast bets $50. Gary the Bastard folds like a French Infantry division
on a chilly day. I would be getting decent odds on a random card, but as
I said I'm not up for the variance, so I fold. Spaulding raises back
$100. Manbeast thinks a while, then calls. At a mostly $1/$2 home game,
Spaulding drags a $340 pot playing no limit Indian, bringing him nearly
back to even.
His favorite game is "Pussy Clause Guts with the Invisible Bastard," which
can get pretty ugly. The particulars of the game are so profound, and
disgusting, that decorum prohibits listing them here.
So that's Spaulding
Hobby: Belongs to a drinking club. Really.
Last Book Read: Can't remember, if any.
Favorite Beer: Whatever you got.
Least Favorite Beer: Not applicable.
For a mental image: Picture a prehistoric Arnold Horseshack.
Built like a brick shithouse and nearly as smart. 6' 4" and at least 250.
He has never lifted weights in his life -- that would be too much effort
-- he's just a big, rawboned individual. One time we were bringing a half
(not a quarter, a half) into an apartment complex. There was a 5-foot
high concrete wall separating the parking lot from the yard space. Rather
than carry it all the way to the gate, Shithouse picks up the half and
sets it down on top of the 5' wall, then walks in and lifts it down.
That's power. We figure that he's about 2 generations out of the trees.
How smart is he? In our days in small town grade school, there was no
SpEd. Dumb kids just got sloughed through. Back then, after every test
the teacher would reseat everybody in reverse order of score. (Best
scores across the front row, etc.) Over 8 years of grade school and
literally hundreds of tests, Shithouse maintained an unblemished record of
finishing last, and therefore never left the anchor desk.
Had they *spaced* the desks proportional to score, Shithouse's desk would
have been out in the fucking playground.
Pretty lousy at poker, but rarely posts a net loss if you include "comps."
That is, the value of food, beverages and cigars he consumes minus his
poker losses is usually positive.
So that's Shithouse.
Gary the Bastard
Hobby: Being obnoxious.
Favorite Beer: Coors light.
For a mental image: Picture a weasel telling you that you're stupid.
No one really likes Gary the Bastard, except Spaulding. We tolerate him
occasionally, mainly because he loses with an amazing consistency. He has
a way of dealing with people that is totally obnoxious. First of all, he
will compulsively disagree with or correct anything anyone says, no matter
how simple. If you say "The sky is blue," he'll say "But clouds are white
and at night the sky is black." His idea of debating a point is to say
"Anyone who cannot see (whatever his unproven conjecture might be) is a
complete idiot." He is incapable of disagreeing with someone without
insulting them personally. Not that we don't insult each other left and
right, but we do it to try to be funny, whereas he's just mean spirited.
A measure of our disdain can be gleaned from the fact that the one and
only time he hosted the game at his place, Gary became the victim of an
unusually large and nasty upper-decker. Now that's a mean prank. Funny,
yes, but too mean to do to someone you like. The perpetrator remains
unidentified and at large.
f l a s h b a c k : h i g h s c h o o l d a y s
"All warfare is based on deception."
--- Sun Tzu.
Senior year. We're plotting a punitive prank against Spaulding when Gary
the Bastard strolls up. He wants in on the prank. Manbeast tries hard to
put him off, since we don't need any more help and figure Gary can only
fuck things up. But Gary is pretty much begging, so we let him in on it.
The plan: We would road trip 20 miles to a rival town, we'll call it
Omegaville, with which we had a history of emotionally charged, sometimes
violent, always alcohol soaked high school sports contests, and perform a
little mooning. At the time, mooning was considered hilarious. Snow
White, Spaulding and Gary the Bastard and I would strip down to our
underwear, socks and sneakers. Manbeast would drive. We would roll up to
the primary Omega hangout -- a downtown pizza place -- hop out of the car,
run over, bang on the glass and then press our butts up against the large
glass window out front, then vamoose. With the car running in the street,
we'd be long gone before anyone could pursue us. At least that's what we
told Spaulding. In reality, the super secret plan was that everyone but
Spaulding would only fake jumping out. Once Spaulding jumped out we were
going to hit the gas and take off. Ditching people was a popular gag,
fitting for a retribution operation, and we all knew Spaulding was easy
prey. This was going to be a real nail job though, leaving him that far
from home, almost naked. Especially considering we never went back for
anyone -- if you're going to be a pussy and go back, why pull the prank at
all? I actually felt bad for a few seconds, but I got over it. Everyone
knows the honor code.
We each had witty anti-Omega slogans, such as "Omega's are fags" written
in marker on our chests and backs. The whole way we excitedly talked
about how this prank would go down in history. We rode around a bit first
so we could each slam a quart or two of Miller, to help fortify our
courage. Finally, we pull off the road a mile outside of Omegaville for a
final gut-check and whiz, and to strip to our underwear. We pass the
flask around for one last swig of brown courage.
Manbeast sets the party tone. "I have a cooler of Michelobe bottles (a
real luxury at the time) on ice in the trunk. When this is over, we'll
ride around, toss some down, smoke a few stogies, and laugh all night.
This prank will become an instant legend. Can you imagine when they see
Spaulding's big hairy ass against the window?"
"Fucking yeah! Whoooooooo!" Spaulding trumpets into the crisp night air,
raising the flask, obviously well lubricated at this point.
[Cue period music: "Turn Me Loose", Loverboy]
We get back in the car, focused. Manbeast spins the tires, throwing up
dirt roostertails with the monster V8, and roars back onto the road.
Laughter and confidence fill the car. Yes, we are primed for this.
To make sure Spaulding doesn't hesitate, we chose the seating carefully.
Spaulding was behind the driver, then me (Variable) in the middle, then
Gary the Bastard. Snow White had shotgun. I told Spaulding I was going
out his side so he better haul ass. I would close his door after he
leapt. Snow White and Gary the Bastard just had to open and close their
doors to make it sound good.
Spaulding has been nipping the flask the whole way and is starting to look
a little wobbly. Gary the Bastard snickers and whispers to me, "He'll
probably get arrested." Gary is giddy as a schoolgirl to be in on this.
We roll into Omegaville. Manbeast says he's going to take some back
streets for stealth. We're going down some back alley when Spaulding
starts making funny noises. "What the fuck's wrong with you?" Manbeast
"I'm going to puke," gurgles Spaulding.
"Not in my fucking car!" Manbeast immediately stops the car and yells
"Get out of my car!"
Spaulding makes no effort to get out. He's busy writhing his stomach and
gagging when he suddenly turns and leans toward me and Gary. "Shit!" I
yell, "let me out!" I scramble toward Gary but he's already out the door.
Manbeast lights up the tires as I close the door. We all look back.
The look on Gary's face as he realizes what just happened can only be
described as 'magnificent.' That Michelobe was mighty good.
f a d e t o p r e s e n t
So that's Gary the Bastard.
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