Thursday, February 17, 2005

Loser Story: Part 7/10.
Enjoy the genius.

Bonus Code IGGY, damnit, on Party Poker.
Sign up now or you will go sterile.

Fast Eddie hit the BBJ yesterday on Party.
25k, methinks.
Hand history forthcoming.

Oh the humanity.

Please go read Otis, the Pope of poker bloggers, at the European Poker Tour.
Allow me to state the obvious: Otis rules.

Losers - 07 "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?"

"You've got to ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you,
punk?" -- Harry Callahan, "Dirty Harry"

So we leave the Fantasy Show Bar, having dropped over $100 each in an
hour, which as I've said is more money than the quality of the place
merits. We make our way to the Atlantic City expressway. Unfortunately,
we pass one of those deer crossing signs with the silhouette of a deer on
it. "I gotta get my deer!" yells Spaulding. He means he wants to fling a
beer bottle and smash it off of a deer crossing sign, a throwback to our
high school days. I figure he's goofing around, and won't really do it.

When another deer sign fails to materialize in an eighth of a mile or so,
Spaulding loses patience and decides to "sight in" in the meantime. He
fires a bottle at a large exit sign, scoring a direct hit. At least he's
good at something. We get him under control at this point, and tell him
how stupid that was. There are dozens of cars around us and I'm sure
someone is going to narc - I mean, a beer bottle hitting a sign at some
100 mph (vector addition) will get your attention. I tell the idiots to
stash their empties. I consider getting off of the expressway. Am I
being paranoid?

Apparently not - a few minutes later I spot a NJ State trooper in my rear
view, coming up pretty fast in the passing lane. OK, remain calm. It's
just a coincidence, right? Slow down slightly, and he'll pass right by.
No problem. He doesn't have his bubbles on. Well, he's passing some
people, and I'm starting to think 'whew, he's gonna slide right by.'
Then, as soon as he passes the car behind me, he tucks in right on my rear
bumper. Fudge.

Normally, I'd hardly care. After all, I'm not the one in
trouble here, right? And at most we'll get hit with a littering fine,
right? Well, there's one smallish problem: Inasmuch as we're going to a
hunting camp, we're carrying a bunch of guns. They're all stored legally,
except one. I happen to have a little 380 auto in my pocket. WHY did I
do that? Don't answer. There's no way the guy would search me, is there?

Isn't Rahway prison in NJ? Oh man, I remember seeing "Scared Straight" in
grade school. I don't want someone to take my shoes. I'm too pretty to
go to prison. Let Spaulding go to prison. The lifers would duct tape the
soap to his hand. I envision myself greeting my new roomie, a 350 pound
lifer who takes one look at me and says: "You am beautiful."

Variable's imagination

Guard: OK punk, meet your new roommate, Mike Tyson.

[He throws me into the cell with Tyson, locking the door.]

Tyson: Hewwo. Are you going to laugh at my thithy-boy voice?

Variable: I'm afraid it's unavoidable. N'heh.

Tyson: Just for that I'm making you my girlfriend. I'm glad you learned
what a tothed thalad was in part 5.5, it will thave time.

end Variable's imagination

So I'm a little nervous. Smokey stays right behind me for what seems like
an absolute eternity. Just when I think maybe it's all a coincidence, he
hits the bubbles and pulls me over.

"Papers please." Fortunately, they we're in order. I follow all the
rules. Yes sir, no sir. Hands on the steering wheel. No sir, I haven't
been drinking. "What about them?" "Damn straight!" says the helpful
Spaulding. I explain the arrangement and reiterate that I am the
designated driver.

To make a long story short, the guy puts the fear of God into us, but
ultimately tells us to get to AC, get off the road, and stay out of
trouble. He didn't even give us a littering fine. Whew.

We get to the Taj Mahal. I head right for a bar, to settle my nerves.
And I don't have to twist the guys arms to get them to come along. The
bartender is inexperienced. When I order a bourbon neat, I have to
explain what 'neat' means. He grabs a rocks tumbler and puts a meniscus
on it, charges me for a shot. Booyah. Next thing I know, everyone is
ordering a neat bourbon. We'll all be loaded in a hurry. What else is

After that belt we're ready to check out the action. But we decide to
play some cards first. Off to the poker room. I get an open seat in a
5-10 HE game. But I put my name on a list for 3-6. See, I'm pretty
convinced that with the house scarfing 100 plus dollars an hour, at least
some of these players must be much, much better than me for them to be
there regularly. They don't look wealthy, so they must be beating the
game. Manbeast says no, there are still plenty of idiots, don't worry
about it. But he tends to err on the side of overconfidence. So I plan
to jump to the 3-6 first chance I get. I can live with a hundred dollar
loss, but throwing away two hundred when I know I'm overmatched is just
plain stupid. I guess throwing away 1 hundred if I know I'm beat is
stupid also, but it's only 50% as stupid, which must be 100% smarter,
which sounds pretty good.

First interesting hand. On my small blind it gets folded around to me. I
have 32s. Suited connectors, but little. I opt to just call and take a
look at the flop. I say it is the correct play. Yes, a raise might steal
it but if I'm called I have to act first every round. My opponent raises
though. I figure I'm getting odds to call, so I do. Flop is something
like 9-7-2. He's acting strong, staring me down, so I check call him all
the way, including the river, correctly putting him on overcards. I drag
the pot, and he's somewhat irate about it. Comments? If nothing else,
the implied tilt odds were clearly there.

Shithouse comes over to sweat me. This is his first time inside a poker
room. When the cocktail waitress comes around, I order a beer for me, and
a double gin and tonic for him. When she returns, I toke her three
chips. Shithouse asks me if the drinks only cost $3. I tell him no, they
are free. Free booze? Shithouse momentarily gets a thousand-yard-stare
on his face. A thought is clearly rattling around his head, like a
ping-pong ball in NASA's Vertical Assembly Building. He was never able to
put his new found happiness into words, though he did shed a few tears of

Snow White's at the table with me. He had ordered a beer as well. He
takes a little sip and nearly spits it out, gagging. I don't know what
they serve, but it was pretty bad. And they don't give you a bottle -
just a plastic cup. I guess it's draft beer. Watery, whatever it is.

By evening, Spaulding has managed to dump over $400 playing Hold Em and 7
Card Stud. Time to recover those losses. He looks around for the
no-limit Indian game, but there's not one running at the moment. So,
nicely liquored up, he heads out to play Pai Gow. When he doesn't return
for an hour, we go looking for him. When we get to the Pai Gow room, he?s
got 8 black $100 chips. Losses 1 chip, bets 2. Loses 2 chips, bets the
remaining 5. Splits two small pair but wins anyway. Bet goes back to 1
chip. Because he is winning, Spaulding thinks he?s James Bond now. He?s
hitting on the cuter players, all of whom are asian. "Me rove you rong
time." Yeah, how could a girl resist that smooth line? Especially coming
from an obese drunk. Needless to say he doesn't get anywhere with the
girls. He does, however, crush the Pai Gow game. He works his stack up
to 15 blacks and change. Then comes the stunner: He bets all 15 blacks.
Spaulding's a gambler and all, but we're pretty surprised he's risking
$1500 on one hand. He gets dealt crap. "Don't worry about it. I feel
lucky." Dealer gets dealt worse crap. Spaulding doubles up with
something like King high / JT. We suggest he quit. He stacks the
winnings, and lets the 15 chips ride. After two ties, he wins again. He
is now ahead over $4,000 - an enormous sum by our gambling standards. We
drag him from the table.

We retire to the Hard Rock Café to ponder what to do with the money.
Spaulding's got an MPC of 1.0, so we all know he won't be saving it.
Spaulding orders up a round for everyone.

So we're at the bar, and there are two good looking girls a few feet away.
I figure they'll be getting hit on by Manbeast in about 30 seconds. Just
then, a girl in stretch pants lumbers by. She shouldn't be wearing
stretch pants in the same way as Spaulding shouldn't wear a speedo.
Someone, no need to name names here, mentions that her ass looks like two
raccoons fighting under a blanket.

One of the young good looking girls sitting next to us takes offense: "You
know, you shouldn't even be *allowed* to say something so ignorant.
That's a form of discrimination cluck cluck cluck..."

Manbeast: She's right. You're prejudiced, Variable. You make me ill,
talking like that.

At this point I figure he's just weaseling up to the hot
babe. Like Satan or Dracula, the Manbeast can be charming when he wants
to. He turns and addresses her.

Manbeast: Can you believe the ignorance of some people?

Good Looking Girl: It's so unfair. Some people have slower metabolisms.
It's not her fault she's heavy. And there's nothing wrong with being
heavy, anyway!

MB: Right! It's so nice to talk to someone who understands fairness and
equality, and wants to end discrimination.

GLG: Well, I'm just saying that, you know, if people would just not judge
one another by appearance the world would be so much better.

MB: Amen. I mean, just for example, not that you're really going to do
it, but you would certainly date my friend Spaulding over there, right?

(Spaulding gives her a big, dopey-yet-somehow-lecherous grin)

[GLG is suddenly speechless. Apparently pondering - perhaps for the first
time - the B side of egalitarianism.]

MB: I mean, just because his metabolism is a little slow, and just
because he was born a few years before you, you would never prejudge him
on that! People like you are wonderful!

Snow White: He's drunk too. Drunk as a skunk.

GLG: Uh...

MB: Is something wrong?

GLG: No, no.

MB: So you would date him, right?

GLG: You see, it's just different...

MB: Huh? You don't mean...(disgusted) oh, I should have known! You're
just like all the rest. You say the right thing...

GLG: No, it's not like that at all!

MB: You're prejudging my friend based on his appearance, aren't you?

GLG: Well, it's like this...

SW: His hygiene is substandard.

MB: Just answer the question. Are you prejudging my friend based on

GLG: Well, it's not that simple...

MB: You make me sick! You just reamed out my other friend for prejudging
that heavy girl, but you're exactly the same!

GLG: But...

MB: You conceited, prejudiced elitist! Go run off with your good looking
little friends! Go date your Ken doll boyfriends, you elitist scum!
Where do you hide your swastika? Hah? You make me want to puke!
(Mocking her) "Oh, the world would be a better place if everyone was like
me. I'm frigging wonderful." Yeah, right!

GLG: [Leaves in tears]

Variable: What'd you do that for?

MB: It passes the time.

Back to the matter at hand: the $4000. Manbeast slyly suggests we play a
private game, up in the room, to keep the money in the family. "We have a
room?" asks Spaulding.
"Yes, just one."
"Then I know what to do with the money!"
"Let's get some girls!"

Nervous, Snow White asks "Dancers, you mean?" Spaulding: "Yeah, sure,
they'll dance." "Don't worry about it," adds Manbeast.

--- To be Continued ---

Coming in part 08 -

"Where the music stinks, and they water the drinks, ...at the nudie bar.
Where the girlies dance in their underpants, ...at the nudie bar.
Where you see their butt, and their trap stays shut, ...at the nudie bar.
Where the breasts may be fake but man do they shake, ...at the nudie bar.
Where you swear like a sailor, and wish you could nail her, ...at the
nudie bar.
Where the cops are at the door, and there's a Kennedy on the floor, ...at
the nudie bar."
-- Al Bundy, Married With Children

Part Six.


Losers 06 - "Fuckin' bird's too smart."

"Ahh alcohol, catalyst for bozotropism: That wonderful shift toward the
clownlike end of the behavioral spectrum." -- Manbeast

We'll now recount last year's hunting camp, which is about when I started
compiling this crap. I'll use the present tense because that's easier and
I'm lazy.

Time for the monthly home game. We plan to play right through Friday
night to Saturday morning, then leave for the cabin. Any pussies can get
a little sleep on the couch, if they're brave enough to be unconscious
within reach of their peers.

I drive over to Spaulding's to pick up him and Shithouse for the game.
The door is unlocked, so I walk in without knocking, naturally. Unheard,
I slink into the living room. Shithouse and Spaulding are sitting on the
couch, watching TV. Cartoons, to be specific. They're playing a drinking
game, and they're both apparently playing to lose. Before they know I'm
there, I overhear their little Mensa chat session.

Shithouse: Instead of spending all that money on slingshots and shit, why
doesn't the coyote just buy some food?

Spaulding: He'll never catch that roadrunner. Fucking bird's too smart.

Shithouse: [outraged] You see what I mean? He can afford a rocket but
he can't buy food?

Spaulding: Something is going to go wrong with that rocket.

(the rocket malfunctions, injuring the coyote)

Spaulding: Told you.

Shithouse: (Yelling at the screen) BUY SOME FUCKING FOOD, SUPER GENIUS!

So I hustle dumber and dumbest into the truck and we get to Dreamland.
After a ceremonial round of aqua vitae (you know, the water of
life...stupid in a bottle...fucking booze!) cards are in the air.

To give you a general idea of how tough the home game plays, the most
common pattern sees almost everyone in the pot, rapidly raising or
calling, until the last card is dealt. Now the game slows to a crawl.
Know why? Because only now, for the first time, are the inebriated
dumbasses trying to figure out what their hand is. They'll stare at it,
as though the cards are going to change, ask if anything was wild, then
try to decide if they can call with 2 pair in a game of baseball.
(Answer: of course you can call, got to keep them honest!) Then you have
to hear them explain their logic - "Well, I started with jack, queen, four
and I was going for the straight. Then on the fourth card I had two
diamonds, so I could make a flush too. Then I got a pair. By the end, I
had the fours and sevens and almost made a straight."

First hand - a rarity - Spaulding gets off to a winning start. Seven card
stud, low in the hole is wild, roll your own. By the end I have a
straight flush. Manbeast and Spaulding are still in, heavy action. I
mark Manbeast with at least quads. Spaulding could have as little as
trips and would play just as insanely, so no one knows where he's at. I
fear 5 of a kind from Manbeast, but with a straight flush I have to pay it
off. I call all the way as Manbeast and Spaulding whip-saw me for the
five raise maximum. Spaulding had a real hand for once - 5 of a kind -
and drags a monster. He uncorks his trademark annoying, high pitched,
wicked-witch-of-the-west, inappropriate for a fat guy laugh
"EEEEEEEEHEEEHEEEHEEEHEEHEE!" It is the finest tilt producing mechanism
known to man.

*** Snow White says ***
Idiots get dealt aces as often as everyone else.
*** End Snow White ***

Playing the rush: A few minutes later Spaulding deals hi-lo draw. A high
EV game for smart players, because home gamers are so loose that every
hand represents either a high or low draw. Not surprisingly, everyone
stays in before the draw and we cap the betting. Spaulding draws two
cards to a wheel and makes a 23456 straight. Betting is capped 4 ways
after the draw. Scoop. "EEEEEEHEEEHEEHEEHEE!" Now the trash talking
really takes off.

More abuse: A little later we're playing Homoha, a game Manbeast invented
in honor of Spaulding's aforementioned gay experience. It's Omaha high,
queens are wild, and straights don't count. I'm dealt KQJJ. Board comes
J4T94. Capped every round. Spaulding has two queens in his hand.

Fueled by excitement, everyone manages to play through to sunrise. We
load up the vehicles as Spaulding fixes us the breakfast of losers:
Orange juice and Absolut Mandrin screwdrivers. I pass, having layed off
the hootch at midnight, since I'm driving.

The plan is to spend Saturday night in Atlantic City, check out the
action, then head up to the cabin from there. It is a lot of driving, but
these are the sacrifices we're willing to make for the sporting life.

By midmorning we're ready to pull out, Spaulding has dozed off on the
couch. All attempts to wake him fail. Manbeast brings out a big wooden
plank, and we strap Spaulding to it. Then we use a dolly to cart his ass
outside. The van is pretty full, but Iron Mike's pickup is half empty.
Strapped to the plank, we load Spaulding into the pickup bed. We had
every intention of letting him make the hours-long ride just like that,
sliding around like a hockey puck, until Snow White convinced us that it
might be a tad too unsafe. So we unstrapped him and tossed him in the
back of the van, on the floor. He wakes up a few hours later, and clears
the cobwebs with a little hair of the dog.

At Spaulding's insistence, we stopped in Mt. Ephraim NJ, at a place named
"The Fantasy Show Bar." Mt. Ephraim is a little shitburg out in the
pine-barrens. We had to use the frigging GPS to get there. By the time
we get there Spaulding has had some food and is recharged and raring to go.

Variable: "How the hell did you hear about this place?"
Spaulding: "Internet."

We arrive. Spaulding "powers up" before entering by draining his flask -
hard. That it didn't implode is a tribute to modern flask engineering, as
we estimated the vacuum at around 10 microtorr. Then he sloppily refills
the flask from a fifth of Jack Black, and stashes it.

We enter, get our free welcome hug from a very acceptable looking naked
girl, a free (soft) drink, and some popcorn. The afternoon cover was low
- I think maybe $5. At first, it seemed like a real find. Did Spaulding
come through for once? Don't be stupid. The FSB is, in my opinion, a
minor clip joint. Not terrible, not as bad as the tourist traps in
Baltimore, but I wouldn't recommend it. Lap dances are overpriced and
highly tame (Manbeast tells his dancer: "Less dance, more lap."). The
dancers, even though we are tipping them well, are always asking if you
have "a little something extra" for them. You know - you tip them a few
bucks, then they hold out the right garter ("and one for here"), then the
left garter, etc. Maybe we were targeted as the desperate losers with
money (true) and on a
not-too-crowded afternoon shift they just worked us over. They're always
coming around trying to sell you an instant polaroid of you and a dancer.
Without asking first, one guy snaps a picture of me with my hand on some
dancers upper thigh - kind of brushing against the beaver - as she sits in
my lap, nude except for an elf hat. Guy tries to coerce me into buying
the polaroid, but I refuse.

Obnoxious Cameraman: "Sir, if you don't buy it I have to pay for it out
of my salary."
Me: "Please, you're going to make me fucking cry."

I would later realize they had no privacy policy.

Let me summarize this way: For the amount of cash you're going drop (if
you're not going to be a prick) you could have a far better time, and see
far better talent, at any of the upscale Philly or New Jersey spots.
Unless you insist on dirtier contact, which seems to be available here at
some price ($250, or whatever they think you're good for), look elsewhere.

Oh, I have your attention again, don't I? What dirtier contact, you ask?
You degenerate. Well, the girls allude to some unique action in the
sweetheart rooms. Manbeast asked about it and describes it thusly:

***Manbeast says*** Allegedly, for $250 (discreetly billed to any major
credit card) you pull on a condom and position yourself in what amounts to
a miniature stockade for your weenie. Then the dancer will do a lap-dance
type act, rubbing up against the little general. I said 'Honey, I can get
Greek in Atlantic City for 250, and you want to rub me with your thigh for
***End Manbeast***

Based on their other business practices, I have serious doubts about this
anyway. $250 probably covers the first song or something. I suspect
Manbeast has done it and doesn't want to admit getting ripped off. I'll
have to think of some way to extort the full story.

We depart the FSB, not before Spaulding marks his territory in their
parking lot in broad daylight.

We get back on the road, and start to talk about aging. Someone notes
that any kids currently in high school were not yet born when we were in
HS. Thanks for pointing that out.

I guess we ARE getting old, because we're starting to tell the dreaded
how-things-were-when-I-was-a-kid stories. Like this one:

Teens today have no idea have good they have it. Forget DVDs and the
Internet, in the early 1980s if you wanted to enjoy a little porn in the
privacy of your own home - and who didn't - you had to rent VHS. Movies
sold for $89.99 and up, so purchasing was out of the question when you
were earning maybe $4.00 an hour. And there were no big video chain
stores. We had to rent our porn at mom-and-pop stores where the
counter-person either looked like (and undoubtedly knew) your grandmother,
or else it was some hot high school babe who you didn't want to look like
a total jackoff in front of. At the store we frequented, the adult videos
were kept on a shelf behind the counter, so you couldn't just browse.
They had this photo-album filled with photocopies of all the box covers,
and so to rent a porno you actually had to look through the book and then
ask for the movie *by name*. And back then the smokers didn't have cutesy
titles like "Forrest Hump," or "Three Men and a Maybe," instead they were
really filthy. You felt like such a degenerate renting them. I'm sure it
caused us permanent psychological damage. For you young punks out there
reveling in the vast ocean of porn that is the internet, here's how
obtaining spanking material was When I Was Your Age:

First you stake out the video store for 15 minutes, making sure that no
one you know is inside and checking that there's no hot babe working the
counter. Then you rush in and try to make your rental as unobtrusively as
possible. You speed read through the book of filth.

You: (almost whispering) Uhm, yes, I'd like to rent 'Cocksucking Teenage
Cheerleaders' please.

Granny: You'll have to speak up, son.

You: (Turning bright red, looking around to make sure no one else is
nearby). Ahem, yes, I say I'd like to, uh, rent 'Cocksucking Teenage

Granny: Ooooh....(Granny hasn't had an impure thought since Ulysses S.
Grant was in the White House. She's obviously disgusted by your deviant
tendencies) Hold on...

[she checks on its availability. You wish there were some way to speed
her up so you can get out of there asap.]

Granny: ...seems to be out. Sorry.

You: Great. (Flipping through the smut book again) OK, how about 'Facial
Cumshot Cavalcade volume 13?'

Granny: Wait......I don't see it......let me ask my
granddaughter......(out walks the head cheerleader from your
highschool)......Heather, is, uh, Cavalcade #13 in?

Heather: No, that fat kid that they call Spaulding rented the whole Cum,
uh, that whole series.'

Granny: Oh, that spotty boy? My but he rents a lot of 'mature' videos.
I told him he's going to go blind.

Heather: Looks like he's halfway there already.

Granny: Wear gloves when you handle his money dear.

You: Can you just give me the newest release in the adult section that's
not checked out.

Granny: OK, here you go. Tell [your grandmother's name] I'll see her at

Heather: (Giggling) See you in school [your name], where I'll be sure to
tell all my hot friends about your filthy habit!

[As you slink toward the exit your pastor walks in. You accidentally drop
your video and he picks it up, hands it to you and winks. You notice the
video is titled "Gay Boys on Parade."]

Anyway, that's how it was if you were semi-normal, constantly fighting the
internal battle between community decency and raging lust. If you were
Spaulding, lecherousness superceded any sense of decency, and you actually
got a perverse pleasure out of the process:

Spaulding struts into the store, returning a half dozen adult videos in
full view of all the other customers.

Spaulding: "Whoowhee were these hot! I needed a frigging beachtowel and
mop to clean up after "Taboo II: Hop on Pop." Jesus Chri..."

Heather: "Yeah,thanksforyourbusiness.Byenow."

Spaulding: "Anything new come in?"

Heather: (Sigh) "Friday the 13th part 2..."

Spaulding: "No, no, I mean porno. Dirty stuff. You know...(he begins to
make a two-handed gesture)"

Heather: "Yes, yes I know." (She glances nervously at the decent, Ferris
Bueller renting patrons) We prefer to call them adult videos."

Spaulding: "So what's new? Tell me some titles."

Heather: "Look, they're all listed right here in the book."

Spaulding: "I know, but I just love to hear you say them. It gives me a

(Disgusted, Heather makes some excuse to leave the counter and Granny
takes over)

Spaulding: (Pointing) "What's that one, there?"

Granny: "Uhm, uh" (appalled) "Schoolgirls Who Love It Up The Ass."

Spaulding: (genuinely) "What's it about?"

--- To be continued ---

Coming in part 07 - The New Jersey Highway Patrol: Do they have a sense of

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

"50 pounds of blockquotes and 5 pounds of good ideas in every post."
A buddy mocking my blog in email.

Posting this 10 part story sure has been fun (compared to writing up uber-posts, that is).

We're halfway there, boys and girls. I'll try to get the final parts posted ASAP. I've actually had the story sitting in my notes for months -- I just kept forgetting to post the damn thing.

I loved this comment from TeeDub about the tale:


their complete and utter depravity and lack of any kind of remorse for the horrible things they do to each other makes me feel like a good person.


If you don't know what the hell I'm babbling about, please scroll down and catch up.

Part six tommorrow.

Anyway, I keep fantasizing about writing up a David Ross type post, recapping my daily poker play. But then I re-read a David post or two and decide against it. He's already set the bar too damn high. But this has been one of those vertiginous rollercoaster type weeks that would actually be fun to document.

This playing for a living thingy is beyond explanation, though.
IE: typical evening: I get a message from FastEddie asking if I can throw three or four grand in his Stars account - he found a soft 30.60 game. I reply, "Sure," do so, and head back to the safety of my 15.30 tables on Party, all the while sweating him.

He drops a quick $800 before ending the session up 2k. Damnit, I shoulda asked for a piece of him, eh?

Although if you were me, would you back this kid?

I used Bonus Code Iggy on Party Poker, and I won $50,000!

I think not.
But he's actually an excellent player. A true shark. But he has no other marketable skills outside of poker.

Which brings me around to my typically long-winded thought. I DO have marketable skills. In fact, I've never *not* worked until the past four months, and even this I wouldn't necessarily call "not work". Poker is tough. While I've earned more than I expected in this strange experiment of full-time poker, I find myself wondering if I'm not wasting my time. There's still plenty of time in the day for playing poker, why not consider a return to the Workforce?

I get my arm out of this sling in a week. Consequently, I've found myself doing some half-assed networking per the job scene. Entertaining the pro's and con's. Having a huge day today at Party Poker didn't exactly incentivize my return to corporate America, but hell; some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

Variance rules us all.

It's ironic, my wife is actually telling me to err on the side of caution here. She's telling me to take my time, to decide if I really wanna return to bosses, schedules and schemas, deadlines and details, to hurried lunches and late nights at an office.

Well hell, put it that way and it's an easy no.

But I'm a social creature. And I love tackling difficult projects. As much as I get out to see friends and such, I still miss the socialization and purpose of a challenging job. Playing poker for a living makes me feel like I'm lazy and worthless and wasting my other tangible talents. It's not about money or getting burnt out or any other cliche....it's just that I feel I could be doing more. Prolly doesn't make sense, poorly written out like this, in a drunken brain dump.

A further complication is a month long literary tour of England & Ireland I've booked for late summer. That will convolute a job situation but it's not a deal breaker, by any means. Bah, I prolly won't get a job anytime soon but it's fun to think about the possibilities.

I dunno, I'm just rambling here. I'm not in the mood to post all the massive links and goodies I have stored up for you, so thanks for bearing with my inane internal thoughts tonight.

Hit me tommorrow for Part Six of the continuing saga from Losers, Inc.
Brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY, damnit.
Party Poker rules.

For now, I leave you with this exemplary essay from the esteemed Tom Weideman.


Subject: Question Authority

[Warning! Patience is required to reach the poker content.]

Out of the primordial soup slithers the first amoeba-like creature. As the
first life on earth, it figures it better get down to come serious evolution
if it's gonna make the big Y2K party in a few billion years. So it tries
new things, and sees how they work out. First it tries leaving the patch of
water in which it currently resides. As it does, its membrane starts to dry
out in the volcanically-heated air, and the organelles in that section of
its "body" stop functioning properly. "Whoops, not a good idea," it says to
itself, and files away the "Don't leave the water" message for future
reference. It has responded to its first external stimulus. After it
splits a few times, other cells try to leave the water, and some of them are
not genetically disposed to react to the bad things that result from this
foolhearty action, and they perish quickly. So began the "swift reaction to
stimulus good, slow (or non-) reaction to stimulus bad" genetic imperative.

Skipping ahead many millennia...

Homo sapiens begin seriously employing the practice of learning by trial and
error. They marvel at the wonder that is the sun in the sky, and wonder if
it can grant their wishes and help them with their difficult lives. They
try asking this sun if it will help them to find a mammoth so they can kill
it and eat it, and amazingly a short time later they find one. They try it
again the next time they go hunting, and it works again. They conclude that
the sun is a powerful god that they must respect and revere. Later they
find that this god will occasionally not help them, but rather than doubt
their original conclusion, they figure they must have done something to
anger the sun god, and set out on a trial-and-error quest to determine what
pleases and what angers this deity. They dutifully take note of everything,
and pass the information down to their offspring.

Skipping ahead still further...

Superstition runs rampant in the human condition. One of the most important
things determined by the predecessors of these humans is that their deities
are angered by critical analyses of the
long-forgotten-stimulus/response-induced belief system. These humans manage
to overlook the logical inconsistency inherent in this belief system: If a
critical analysis concludes that the belief system is flawed, then the tenet
in this system which says that critical analysis is wrong must itself be
meaningless. Wars are fought over differences of opinion about whose belief
system is correct. More superstitions are invented every single day by
people who believe there must be reasons for various (perhaps unlikely)
random events.

Moving now into poker...

"Change the deck"... "Get a set-up"... "I'd like the four seat when it opens
up"... "I was playing my rush"... "I can't play these hands when I'm running
bad"... Everyone has their own theories about how to sway random chance to
their favor. Where do these come from? They arise because one of the first
times they tried one of these tricks, it "worked". They quickly forget the
plethora of null data points, where changing decks or changing seats didn't
help at all, or worse yet, they use one of their superstitions as an excuse
for the failure of the other: "The deck change didn't work, so the whole
set-up must be bad - get a new set-up please", or "Okay, so it wasn't the
set-up, so I guess I'm just in an unlucky seat." With enough of these
iterations, one of them is bound to "work", that is, eventually the player
will win a hand, and his superstition will finally be confirmed, "Ah, it was
the seat." With enough attempts, ALL of the superstitions will be
confirmed, since eventually he will HAVE to win a hand. No one who believes
in lucky decks thinks the concept of lucky seats is silly.

Moving now to my main point...

The crux of the matter is that humans are notoriously inept at drawing
conclusions intuitively from the results of events. We have invented a
method of drawing appropriate conclusions (the field of statistics), but
without the painstaking training associated with learning this subject, we
are left with the poor judgement we inherited of basing broad conclusions on
too few data points. For some strange reason, this annoys me. I get
annoyed by all the playing time at the table that I lose because of new
set-up requests. I get angry when I see an irate player throw his cards at
a dealer who I like but who is apparently "unlucky" for this player. Most
of all I get irritated when I see people make snap judgements about the
playing ability (good or bad) of certain players because of those players'
short-term results. This brings me to my main topic: high-profile
tournament players. To demonstrate my point, I'm going to take you far from
the confines of our little planet and the egos contained herein, light years
away to the planet Zog...

Poker was introduced on Zog several years ago, and it was an instant hit.
Unlike earth, Zog's intelligent inhabitants are not so widely-varied in
their talents. In fact, when poker tournaments were first introduced, every
tournament saw the same 300 players show up every time, and every one of
these players played with EXACTLY the same ability!

Much to the surprise of Zoggians everywhere, there was one player who had
actually won more than one tournament of the mere 15 that were played in the
entire history of poker on that planet. Everyone thought, "Wow, the odds
against a single player winning more than 1 tournament out of only 15 when
there are so many participants must be astronomical! This player really
must know more about the game than anyone else!"

[Math note: The probability that some player will win more than once out of
15 tries with a 1/300 shot of winning each tournament is actually better
than 1/3, so it's not such an amazing event after all. Unfortunately, the
Zoggians evolved to be no better at intuitively understanding the
mathematics of seemingly unsual events than humans.]

The Zoggian who achieved this feat of course also believed that he must be a
great player, so he wrote a book that everyone immediately bought. Now
because of the tournament success and the book, this player became a
celebrity among poker players, and immediately commanded respect at poker
tables everywhere. The plays that he made at the table that worked out well
were heralded as more signs of his genius, while his failures were soon
forgotten, or more likely, were deemed to have been "too deep" for mere
mortals to understand. The selective memory syndrome built him into a
legend. In addition to this, the confidence he acquired from his early
success (and his opponents' concomitant collective fear) served to actually
(for the first time) cause him to play slightly better than his opponents,
making him slightly more likely to win events than his counterparts.

As the fame of the Zoggian poker author continued to grow unchecked, another
player won multiple tournaments in a short time, and it was not long before
he was proclaimed the newest Zoggian poker genius. Like his predecessor,
this fellow wrote a book, and he also began collecting financial backers for
future events. His backing allowed him to play more fearlessly than before,
and this, along with his notoriety, helped him to gain a slight edge on his

This same story played over and over, with new "heroes" emerging every so
often by winning multiple tournaments in a short time. Before long, there
was a whole pantheon of "superstar" players, that everyone on Zog agreed
were the elite. These superstars were just as susceptible to selective
memory as the rest of the planet, so they believed that their fellow
superstars really were "the players to beat". Many of them split action
with each other in tournaments, figuring that their group was a shoo-in to
get most of the money at every event they played. Every once in awhile, an
"outsider" won a tournament who, for whatever reason, was quickly praised by
one of the established elite. The effect of this was to effectively extend
the period of time allowed (from 15 tournaments to 30) for that person to
win a second tournament such that he would be admitted into the elite. This
had the effect of greatly improving the probability of these connected
newcomers hitting it big, AND it served to make the uppercrust even an more
tightly-knit group.

All this happened without a single player having any greater understanding
of the game of poker than anyone else. Many of the superstars played
marginally better because they played aggressively thanks to their misplaced
confidence, but this adjustment was by no means a deliberate conscious
decision based on a strategic understanding of the value of aggression.
After their original hot streaks, any occasional win (however rare it might
actually be) by a superstar player only served to reinforce his stardom.
Typically this person credited his win with some adjustment he made that
"put him back on track". When a superstar failed to win a tournament, no
one took the slightest note, possibly because there was almost always some
other big name player to watch at the time. When a player fell on hard
times and lost a backer, he simply shopped around until another came along.

One day, a small group of inhabitants from the nearby planet of Bamf arrived
on Zog in a spaceship, and they were amazed to discover how truly awful the
Zoggians played the game of poker. With their superior analytical skills
and their centuries of experience, the Bamfites possessed a much deeper
understanding of the game than the Zoggians could ever imagine. After
speaking with and reading the books written by the star Zoggian players and
after sitting at the tables with them a few times, the Bamfites concluded
that even the Zoggian "elite" were clueless about the game. For a variety
of reasons, most of the Bamfites decided that tournaments are not the
smartest or fastest way to win money, and only a few even bothered to
participate in these events. Those few that did take part only did so
occasionally, and expected to win maybe one out of every 150 or 200
tournaments. Although this was a much better probability that their Zoggian
counterparts, these Bamfites never got admitted into the group of "elite"
players, because their limited participation made it extremely unlikely that
they would manage to win multiple tournaments in a short time. When a
Bamfite occasionally let it slip in public that the Zoggian star players
were actually not very good, they were dismissed as "jealous", or were told
that they simply did not understand the game well enough to see how deep the
plays of these Zoggian superstars really were.

[All the characters in this story are fictional. Any similarities of these
characters with real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. No
animals were harmed in the writing of this story, nor were any harmed to
produce the snack eaten by the author during the writing of this story.]

Now I'm not so cynical that I think that the above fiction is actually going
on here today. But I wrote it to point out how blown out of proportion
tournament success can get, even in the most extreme case of players who are
all equally matched. I do think that a great many of today's successful
tournament players are stronger players than hundreds of the numbskulls that
participate in these events. But I'm also quite certain that many of these
high profile players get way more credit than they deserve (eg. I think that
players in the 75th percentile that enjoy a flash of tournament success are
now regularly given credit for being in the 99th percentile). I'm trying
here to demonstrate that even a seemingly long run of apparent poker success
in tournaments does not say as much about the poker understanding of a
player as most of us think it does, for two reasons: 1. Selective memory
about the results of renowned players makes their successes seem more
consistent than they really are, and 2. Even mediocre players can enjoy a
great deal more success than most people would expect.

Where this all has become abundantly clear is through the internet.
Previously, a knowledgeable poker player would not discover a tournament
player's mediocrity unless that tournament player wrote a book, discussed
poker in person, or played many hours at the same table. But now many of
these well-known players share their "insights" in the various internet
poker forums, and it doesn't take long before the chinks start to show.
Again, I'm not saying these players aren't winning players, only that their
understanding may be less complete than they believe or that they are given
credit for by the adoring general public.

What is interesting is the effect these players have on the dissemination of
poker knowledge through the internet. Just as humans are capable of quickly
developing superstitions to "answer" questions they have about their bad
fortune (as I described above), they also are predisposed to accept
successful players as authority figures. It's not just that it's convenient
to explain a run of tournament successes by assuming extreme talent,
however. I think it goes even deeper than that. Everyone wants to win, and
if they accept that a huge component of a player's amazing success is
attributable to luck, then they would have to discard the possibility that
following that authority's advice will lead them to similar success. In
other words, the desire to believe in the veracity of a successful player's
advice is very similar to the desire to believe in the existence of lucky
and unlucky seats. By believing in these things (even in the face of
perfectly reasonable logic to the contrary), they feel safe in the knowledge
that they have a yellow brick road to poker success.

While I believe this (genetic?) flaw is also what leads to people buy all
sorts of bogus diet plans and get-rich-quick schemes, it's certainly not
true these "poker authorities" are (as one infamous prolific poster would
characterize them) all "hucksters". The vast majority of them are generous
people who share what they "know" for nothing, and the few that do sell
their knowledge firmly believe that they can help their readers. BTW, I
certainly don't want to discourage this practice, both because I still have
much more to learn, and because in the areas that I feel I already do
understand well, I'm interested in discovering what actually goes through
the minds of these "experts" (the most obvious flaws are the shockingly
prevalent lack of logical deductive reasoning and mathematical
misconceptions, but there are other areas as well).

So now when I try to downplay the hype received by some of the more
well-known tournament players, even amidst a flood of testimonials on their
behalf, you know where I'm coming from.

I hope to one day evolve beyond my irresistable desire to make fun of
superstition and misplaced hero worship when I see it, but that day has not
yet come. Either that, or I'm just jealous.

Tom Weideman

Ready for Part Four & Five?
Scroll on down if you missed Parts One thru Three.

Part 04 - "Soy un perdedor, I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?"

The Genesis

High school basketball game, circa 1982.

Manbeast, Snow White, Spaulding and I are sitting in the bleachers,
ostensibly rooting for our high school basketball team. We're really
there to ride out a buzz and look up cheerleader's skirts.

[Cue music: "Loser" - Beck, chorus.]

On the visitor's bench there was a kid who was fat, laced with zits, and
greasy haired. A real mess. And he had this big, Batman-style face
shield on, to protect a broken nose. Manbeast says, "you know if someone
on that team had to wear that freak headgear it would be that kid. He was
born to lose."

Since that moment we've overused the term "loser," a trend that continues
to this day.

We all have our own idea of what constitutes a true loser. In my opinion,
it is the ability to make a normally minor mistake at the exact moment it
will cause a catastrophe. A 'catamalsynchronism' is what I'd call it, if
they asked me to invent a word, and they should.

Bill Buckner would be a good example. If you're not familiar with that
reference, here's another example:

Junior high dance. Snow White finds himself at the refreshment table,
talking to the cutest girl in class. [Fade in music: Somebody's Baby,
Jackson Browne] We were all in love with her. He's releasing nervous
energy by fidgeting, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, and
pawing at food on the snack table. He can barely make eye contact. Snow
White was/is really shy around girls. Plus, we're at that awkward age
(under 92) where men are fearful of rejection and don't usually approach
women without a little advance scouting. So you can imagine our
slack-jawed amazement when he asked her to dance. She tosses her hair,
flashes that young Farrah Fawcett smile, and says OK. As they walk
hand-in-hand out onto the dance floor for a slow song, Snow White gets
something stuck in his windpipe. He starts turning colors and wheezing
like a Mexican vacuum cleaner. Everyone is watching. Finally, straining
like he's trying to shit a rusty bowling ball, he swallows the
obstruction. He looks around -- everyone is staring at him in stunned
silence -- so he sprints out the door and all the way home.

Now here's the thing: anyone can get food stuck in their throat. A loser
will do it at the absolutely most inopportune time.

I'll let Manbeast tell his version now.

*** Manbeast says ***

You want to know what a natural born loser is? I'll tell you. Picture a
guy who works his ass off all his life. He wasn't born with much talent,
but he overcame through sheer force of will. He finally thinks maybe he
has his shit together. He's in his 50s, finally has a few bucks set
aside, nice wife, a boy and a girl who are good teenagers. He's just
starting to think maybe life is OK after all. Then one day he comes home
from work early and finds his wife in bed with the gardener. Daughter
announces she's going to pursue a career as an interracial porn star. Son
gets kicked in the head by a horse, starts talking with a lisp and
arranging flowers. Guy goes to his doctor for some Prozac and finds out
he has cancer. Doesn't want to go through the whole wasting away thing,
so he finds the tallest building in town and jumps off it. He lands on
some guy who breaks his fall. The guy recovers, his cancer goes into
spontaneous remission, wife repents, daughter changes her mind at the last
minute, junior gets struck by lightning and suddenly remembers that he
likes pussy. Well, you know that guy he landed on, that died? That guy
was born to lose.

*** End Manbeast ***

--- To be continued ---

Coming in Part 05 - Trouser chili.

Part 5 - Like they say in Law 101, "Caveat Losor, pal."

Some Important Concepts:

Hunting Camp: Through a fantastic coincidence, we are all dedicated deer
hunters. Indeed, many of us took up hunting late in life, typically about
2 years into marriage. Come deer season, we spend time at a cabin we have
up north in some prime hunting ground. Some poker usually gets
incorporated into camp. We're not big-time regular casino players like
many of you, although Snow White claims to be grinding out a nice profit
online just by playing Sklansky/Malmuth starting hands. We've been to
Atlantic City maybe 4 times. Thus you may be shocked and appalled by what
passes for poker among our group. Spaulding in particular is one of those
uber-fish that you guys luck into once in a blue moon. The liquored-up
guy who plays every hand, all the way, showing down rags whether he wins
or loses (oh, except against you - against you he's got the goods).

The Honor Code: The code is simple -- none of us has any honor. Not only
should you expect no one to help you, you should assume everyone is out to
screw you over, because they are (Holden himself refers to it the
"Anti-musketeer code"). Lying for sport is accepted in our culture, and
the dissemination of misinformation is considered a hobby.

"JFB": By the smallest possible margin. It's a Manbeast quote from one of
our frequent theological discussions. We had been discussing the concept
of Hell: Whether it existed, whether an all-loving God would ever send
one of his creations there, etc. We also discussed what sort of sins
might make one eligible for eternal damnation. Manbeast pipes up with his
philosophy: "I plan to live my life in such a way so that I don't go to

"Freeway spanking drunk": The gold standard of intoxication. It is the
level of drunkenness at which you no longer care about the legality or
consequences of your actions. The term was coined based on a news item
reporting some guy (amazingly, not one of us) getting soused to the gills,
wandering on to a freeway, then standing on the roadside, dressed only in
shoes, and vigorously spanking the monkey in full view of traffic. When
he was arrested he explained the whole misunderstanding with our favorite
excuse: "I only had 2 or 3 beers."

"Th'fuck?!": Spaulding's contraction for "What the fuck?" This highly
efficient phrase is generally used to denote surprise and confusion, and
asks the intuitively obvious question. Example:

Spaulding: "I'll take nine tacos."
Apathetic Clerk: "OK."
Spaulding: "Can I get some hot sauce for those?"
Apathetic Clerk: "We don't have sauce."
Spaulding: "Th'fuck?!" (Asking, in effect, can you explain how a
place that sells tacos doesn't have taco sauce?)

"Always Play Along": Pranking, spreading misinformation, and simple
deception being the glue that holds our subculture together, we very
regularly find ourselves in strange situations where we don't know what is
going on, nor why. The code tells you to always play along - someone's
getting nailed and you'll find out about it later, just don't blow it.
Failure to play along is considered unforgivable, and immediately marks
you as a target for a punitive operation.

Culture of Paranoia - The end result of the code is that we all live in a
state of near total paranoia. Snow White has a monitored alarm system on
his house. Not for fear of burglars, but for fear of black bag jobs by
his friends. He had it installed shortly after the Christmas Card
COINTELPRO. The story there is that somebody got his hands on my address
book. Same somebody had a rather compromising photo of me and an exotic
dancer wearing an elf hat, high heels, and nothing else. All my friends
and relatives got an interesting Christmas card from me that year.
Anyway, the wise loser searches his home after friends visit, and keeps
sensitive information behind a locked door, minimum. This may not be
enough, however. One loser, nameless because he still doesn't know about
it, was the victim of a simple but devastatingly effective ELINT
operation. A portable scanner, voice activated digital recorder, and
male-to-male cable (You can get the necessary equipment used (i.e. pawned)
for about $125) were employed to eavesdrop on his cordless phone
conversations 24 x 7, with no equipment needed inside his apartment. Many
a prank was born based on that information. If you're wondering, this is
perfectly legal. Choosing a cordless means choosing to broadcast your
conversations, albeit over a limited area. If you don't want third party
listeners, don't broadcast your conversation. Or get one of the newer
phones, almost all of which are digital, encrypted, or spread spectrum (or
something) and cannot be routinely scanned. Anyway, these are the
measures that we no-life losers will resort to just to nail a fellow
loser. That's why paranoia runs rampant.

*** Snow White says ***
The burgler alarm seems extreme - and it really is more so for protection
from intruders than friends, but if it does double duty so be it. You
see, in this group we have to be paranoid like the casinos: There may be
no scam going down at this moment, but at the minimum you KNOW somebody is
thinking about it, and watching for holes in the system. The least you
can do is not make it easy for them.
*** End Snow White ***

Dreamland - Manbeast's house, which has become the nearly official venue
for the home game. His finished basement is complete with a poker table,
pool table, pinball machine, 20 foot bar, a dart board, big screen TV, and
more. It's huge. We put out a buffet table every game. Sounds pretty
sweet, yes? Well, it gets better. [Cue music: One in a Million Girl
(She's a Beauty), The Plasmatics] Manbeast lives less than 2 miles from a
small time strip joint. Used to be that we'd break around 11, hit the
club until 12 (closing time - don't know why it closes so early), then the
die-hard players would reconvene at Manbeast's house. Now we don't even
go down to the club. Before a game night Manbeast, who is very much a
regular, buys a few six-packs from the owner, and recruits one or two
girls who know us to drop by Dreamland after closing time. It's good
extra money for them. Nothing untoward goes on, as far as you know.
Anyway, Darrel Ticehurst take note, we now have absolutely no problem
filling the game, and no one leaves early. We generally have to turn
players away.

Example of the honor code in action:

Flashback to Spaulding's married days...

(All those squiggly lines are supposed to represent your screen getting
blurry, as in a TV flashback. If you don't see the effect, start drinking
and you will eventually.)

We're out for a night of libations and gentlemanly camaraderie.

***Manbeast says***
Meaning we're going to get drunk and hit some strip clubs.
***End Manbeast***

Spaulding's wife forbids him from going to strip clubs. So he told her we
were going to a poker game.

We are at one of Spaulding's favorite places in the world. It's an
unmarked, warehouse-like building containing a "private club," which is an
after hours bar on one floor, and a strip club on another. Although it is
nominlly a private club, anyone can get in if they know how. By now you
should have figured out this isn't exactly legal. They must juice the
local machine though, because the place has never been busted since we
started going there in 1989. And it's obvious something is going on,
because there's a bank across the street and everyone parks there. Two in
the morning and a closed bank has an overflowing parking lot, yet no one
asks any questions. Obviously we're dealing with OC here.

It's a long ride to visit this place, and we have much classier ones
locally, but Spaulding insists we go here because the action is decidedly
more down and dirty. Being losers, we have to take action where we can
get it. Anyway, about the place: The bar is free to get in to, but to go
upstairs is $25. There is a small stage, but unlike most clubs no one
sits near the stage. The girls each do a set on stage, and then work
their way around the room going guy-to-guy. They dance in front of, and
up against, you for a minute or so, and you give them a couple bucks. The
also offer what we came for: lap dances plus groping. A good, grinding
lap dance is $20 for two songs. A $20 tip on top of that always suffices
to allow ones hands to wander.

Spaulding is freeway spanking drunk. One dancer, "Cheyenne," is almost as
drunk as Spaulding, and she is *making out* with some guys as she works
the room. Most of us pass on the making out part, but not Spaulding. He
tips her a $50 and soon they're going at it. He is all over her and vice
versa. They're humping so hard I think there was actual
bluejeans-separated insertion. By the time they're done mauling each
other, Spaulding's got a face and neck full of lipstick, and a few stray
bite marks. Naturally, he is totally unaware of it. By the end of the
night, more than one dancer has left lipstick on him.

It's a long ride home and by the time we get to his house, Spaulding is
out cold. As we roll up I remind the team about the lipstick all over his
face. Remember Spaulding's wife? She's probably already hammering up a
cross because of the late hour. If she sees the lipstick, well, let's
just say you better hide the cutlery.

Clearly, the ONLY decent thing to do is wipe off the lipstick.
Rhetorically, I ask the group "should we wipe off the lipstick or let him
hang?" The vedict: "Let him hang." So sayeth the losers, so shall it be.

Variable: Who wants to deal with the not-so-little Mrs.?

Manbeast: There's just no way I'm going to deal with Large Marge. She
already hates me - ever since I said her bloomers were big enough to
shammy shine a 747 with.

Shithouse: Nooooohoohohoohoo.

Snow White: I would have to answer all her questions honestly. I don't
think anyone wants that.

Variable: Well, what are we going to do with him?

Snow White: Dump him on the lawn. It's the only way.
We'll just say he got out of the car under his own power;
we don't know what happened after that.

Variable: Oh, that's cold.

Manbeast: OK, no problem. You tell her. If you get caught in the
crossfire, can I have your car?

Variable: I say we dump him on the lawn. It's the only way.

[Cue music: Peter Gunn]

So we coast up in stealth mode (headlights out) and stop a good 20 yards
short of Spaulding's house. We carried him - no easy task - to the dead
center of his professionally maintained lawn. In the dim glow of the
nearby streetlights the quiet, suburban night has an eerie quality to it.

We laid him in the cool dew, on his back. Manbeast grabs an empty JD
bottle and puts it on Spaulding's chest, positioning Spaulding's hand to
clutch it. Shithouse decided that the bikini top he had lifted as a
souvenir would look good in Spaulding's pocket, so he tucked it halfway
in. Snow White pours a little beer on him, saying "Into your hands we
commend his spirit."

Manbeast: Let's get the fuck out of here.
Shithouse: Wait, I have to take a whiz.
Manbeast: Fucking hold it!
Shithouse: Fine, I'll just use an empty bottle in your back seat.
Manbeast: Go here, we'll wait!

In the still of predawn hours, every sound seems amplified ten-fold.
Shithouse taking a whiz sounds like a rainstorm to me. I'm worried that
we're going to wake someone. Just then, a shrill siren pierces the night.

My heart stops. I whirl to look for the police car that I know is there.
But there is none. Someone had leaned up against (or collapsed on top of)
Marge's new BMW, which was left parked in the driveway so that the
neighbors could admire it. It's anti-theft system functioned flawlessly.
Goddamn German efficiency. We must have looked like the 4 stooges making
our exit, scrambling into the car while this siren blared around us, our
tires screeching as bedroom lights started blinking on all around us.
Spaulding slept, baby-like, through the whole commotion.

End flashback to Spaulding's married days...

Pranks - Pranks are an extension of the honor code and an integral part of
our lives. There's a guy who believes to this day that he helped us bury
a body. It's a great story, maybe we'll get to it.

The less sophisticated members of the group pull pranks that are really
little more than petty vandalism, or weak and uncreative fizzles. For
instance, Gary the Bastard would consider it humorous to subscribe
someone to Playgirl at their office. Very funny. Like anyone's going to
believe a person would subscribe to porn - gay or otherwise - at their
office. Manbeast, by comparison, would pull the fag-jacket COINTELPRO.
That is, he'd get a really gay magazine, like "Colt," (I just know. Shut
up.) and dummy it up with shrink-wrap and a mailing label. A paper
insert would cover most of the magazine cover, but he'd leave the title
and enough of the photo visible to remove any doubt about the magazine's
orientation. He?d address it to you, as a subscriber. Then he'd put it
in your neighbor's mail box.

Manbeast bought a high quality digital camera, scanner, and printer for
the sole purpose (although he denies it) of forging documents for use in
pranks. For example, when Gary the Bastard's dog died, he took it to his
vet for burial in his pet cemetery (yeah, right - Fluffy is in a landfill
in Newark.) Anyway, Manbeast dummies up a "death certiciate," ostensibly
from the vet, and mails it to Gary the Bastard. Under "cause of death,"
he fills in "It is my professional opinion that somebody bored this dog to

One of our favorites was a non-elaborate prank was played by Spaulding,
who is generally not known for "good ones." As always, it's a rather long

[Cue music: We Got the Beat, The GoGos)

Highschool. Friday night. We're riding around the boonies in Manbeast'
car, blaring music, drinking Millers, smashing the empties off of speed
limit signs, etc. Suddenly Spaulding announces "I have to take a shit."
Manbeast offers to stop, but Spaulding thinks he can make if we head
straight for the Cineplex (2 screens! Hey, this is the early 80s). As we
go, every minute or so Spaulding is groaning as he tries to hold back the
inevitable flow. Before we get to the Cineplex, a muffled splattering
sound fills the car. "Oh fuck, I think a made some trouser chili!"

He did. A family sized serving, too.

We stop and Spaulding gingerly removes his undergarment, placing it in a
Burger King bag found on Manbeast's car floor. He won't throw them away:
"My mom counts my underwear." Somehow, I think that factors into the
person he is today. He cleans up with some leaves and carries on,
bareback. Hideous.

Sometime later we arrive at the theatre. It is the gathering place for
most of our class on weekends, so everyone who is anyone is there. On
this fateful evening, there is a very special date. The quarterback of
the football team ("Lou"), superstud and Heathers-style obnoxious jerk, is
here with his babe-of-the-week, a very cute college freshman. They were
going to see the late show together. As the movie is playing, we're
outside drinking and socializing. Spaulding mentions how richly Lou
deserves to be pranked. Manbeast, ever the instigator, says "Why don't
you spread the 'chili' on his car seat?" The door was unlocked, saving
Manbeast the trouble of employing his talents with a coat hanger.
Spaulding set the trap, while Manbeast took the bulb out of the cars
interior light. By the time the happy couple came out to the car
*everyone* was in on the, eh, joke. Lou sat down, got this lemon puss
look on his face, and peeled out of the parking lot. The following Monday
as Lou walked into homeroom, Manbeast called out the now immortal line,
"Hey Lou, your girlfriend told me she had a shitty time on Friday."

--- To be continued ---

Coming in part 6 - We mature, and take Opera classes with our wives. Ha!
Just kidding, it will be more of the same drunken stupidity, of course.

This will be a bonus segment. Go ahead and check it out. Don't cost

Losers - Part 5 and a half - "Danger is our business."

"All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers,
queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will
come and wash all this scum off the streets." -- Robert Deniro, Taxi

Before we post part 06, let's reach into the reader mailbag (don't worry,
we would never use your name or enough text to make you identifiable) and
see what people are saying about this report so far:

"Can you tell me where that after hours place is?"

"Any chance that strip place where you can touch the girls is in the NYC

"Where is that after hours place with the strippers?"

"Are the girls hot at that place? Where is it?"

"I think you guys are just a bunch of immature drunks who have no idea how
to deal with women."

*** Manbeast replys ***

What was your first clue honey? Hey, are you any good looking? What are
you wearing?

*** End Manbeast ***

There you have it, feel the love! For our inquisitive readers, I would be
happy to give you the location of the after hours joint except for one
small thing: The rumor is that the person who gets the place busted will
have his tongue removed with a reciprocating saw. I'd just as soon have
that not be me.

But since we seem to have found a demographic niche with the degenerate
crowd, we will throw you a bone. Here's the scoop on an NYC sex club we
visited 3 or 4 years ago. Things may have changed, but this is the way it

On the annual trip to the hunting cabin Spaulding insists we detour though
New York City. He claims to know of a "sex club." A place where people
go to have encounters with strangers, apparently.

Call me skeptical, but I just don't think women who want to have brief,
meaningless sex with strangers need to go anyplace special to find it.
They could stand up in any bar, restaurant, office, grocery store,
synagogue, etc. and say, "Hey, I want brief meaningless sex. Any takers?"
Being trampled to death would be the major risk.

But Spaulding is a man on a mission. He says this place is the real deal.
So we're off to the City That Never Sleeps.

Welcome to New York City: Come for the metropolitan sophistication, stay
for the sexual depravity.

We roll into the Big Apple around 2300. Manbeast is driving, Spaulding is
navigating (he's been to this place before). Unfortunately, Spaulding is
trying to use visual landmarks to navigate. It's dark, and NYC is a
rather big place. So Spaulding is peering out the van window, squinting
like a Chinese short order cook, giving directions. We immediately become
lost in a nasty looking area. Not that it matters, but the street are
littered with people, all representatives of a major race other than ours.
People seem to be staring at us. "Maybe they think we're trying to buy
crack," someone hypothesizes. Spaulding yells out the window, "Attention
negroes! We are not trying to buy crack. However, if you have a little
marahootchie, maybe we could talk busine....." Manbeast punches the gas
and we get out of there in a hurry.

So at about 0130, we're at the entrance to "The Vault," a New York city
underground sex club. There's a guy outside, on the sidewalk, a Billy
Idol clone in leather, who explains the rules. Cover is $40. This is a
safe-sex club. No oral or anal penetration without a condom. No
interrupting another act. No booze, no drugs. (Spaulding: "No booze!
What the fuck is wrong with you boyscouts?") They search us briefly,
knicking my CQC7, then we go down the steps, below NYC street level, below
the steaming man holes, the pimps, the drug dealers, and down into . . .
the Vault!

*** Snow White *** I hope the C.H.U.D.s don't get us. ***

[Cue music - chorus of "The Freaks Come Out at Night"]

Inside now. Holy crap, this is weirder than any porn movie I've ever
seen. At first, it's intimidating. It's dark and dingy, and there is
bondage equipment all over. Cages, chains hanging from the ceiling.
Weird chairs designed for weird bondage. Various clusters of freaks are
huddled around "acts" going on, watching with an incredible intensity.
The first act we see involves two oriental guys. One is humped over a
sawhorse like thing with his pants down. The other guy is holding, uh, -
this is about to get rather indelicate - holding his sphincter open with a
forceps like device, and shining a real bright flashlight up there.

*** SW *** Where are the C.H.U.D.s when you need them? ***

"Looking for your watch?" Manbeast asks. Only he and I guffaw. No one
else is amused, and several people call for our removal from the club for
interrupting a 'scene.' A bouncer comes over. You can just tell he's so
sick and tired of dealing with stupid newbies who don't know the protocol
for underground sex clubs. Sigh. We're warned not to do that again. OK,
OK, OK. Rules, rules, rules. This place is more uptight than a John
Birch Society meeting.

So we hang back and observe for a while.

There are quite a few people in here. I observe that 90 percent plus are
guys. We strike up conversations with some obvious regulars. Some guy is
explaining the secret dress code. "A plain white t-shirt means you?re a
twink looking for a bear (or something), see? A blue handkerchief in your
back right pocket means (something else, also gay), ting tang walla walla
bing bang." Manbeast: "What if you're a hetero male trawling for tuna??
Answer: "No code for that." Manbeast: "That speaks volumes."

Presently, there is a leather bikini wearing blond, probably the best
looking girl in the place, whipping some fat loser, both of them enclosed
in a cage.

There are maybe 2 more girls who are there with boyfriends, and they are
obvious non-regulars who came to gawk at the freaks. There is a trio of
thin asian girls in short skirts wandering around, but something about
them Just Doesn't Look Right. There's a really chubby leather-nut girl
at the 'bar.' (The bar doesn't serve booze. Somehow, Spaulding got his
flask inside, of course.) Maybe another 2 more girls are in the place,
but they're bone ugly.

*** Manbeast says ***
Manbeast's hints for the aesthetically challenged, #1: Ladies, if you've
got a belly that fails the Louisville Slugger test, DON'T wear an outfit
that exposes your mid-drift, especially in conjunction with tight pants
push your blubber up, squeezie-like, over the waistband.
*** End Manbeast ***

Next thing I know Spaulding is in the cage getting whipped. He's not a
good actor though, and the soft cat-o-nine-tails is clearly only tickling
him. The bikini girl has his shirt off. Spaulding drops his pants and
underwear, too, and asks to be lashed on a more intimate area of his body.
"Sorry peewee, I don't do that." A pile of homos swarm the cage as soon
as Spaulding exposes himself. It's like throwing a Big Mac into the
audience at the Rosie O'Donnel show.

We deduce that bikini-girl is a shill. She looks great, and will whip
anyone who asks (on the back -- no where else -- and it's a 'play' whip),
but you can't touch her and she is not interested in any private
So Spaulding has gone off trolling for sluttier girls. Manbeast, Snow
White and I are just taking it all in, sitting at the 'bar.' There's an
open bowl of popcorn on the bar. Manbeast offers me $50 to eat a handful,
but I decline.

That's when the JDLR asian chicks saunter over and start talking to us.
As they are talking to us, they keep reaching towards our crotches,
telling us what they have in mind. The Manbeast says something like,
"Even though you've trowelled on 5 pounds of Mary Kay comsmetics, I can
still tell you have to shave. Your face, that is." They take the hint
and slink away, searching for dumber pastures. Manbeast looks at me and
asks, "Do you think anyone is fucking stupid enough, drunk enough, or
horny enough to fall for that?"

"Helloooooo," says Spaulding, coming up behind us. "This place is fucking
great!" Manbeast and I explain to him that the only girl in the place who
(a) is really a girl and (b) isn't a shill and (c) is under his 222 pound
limit was the gawker who was wrapped around her boyfriend who has now
left. Spaulding doesn't care, and wants to stay. We tell him we're out
of there in 30 minutes, with or without him. "OK."

Manbeast, Snow White and I take one more lap around the place, learn what
"tea-bagging", "felching," and the dreaded "tossed salad" are (trust me,
you don't want to know), then retire to the bar for another few minutes.
We strike up a conversation with the chubby leather-nut girl, who is
reading a book and looking bored. God knows why she was there. Reading a
novel in a sex club at 0300. She was really nice and normal to talk to,
adding to the weirdness of her being there under those circumstances.

Time to go and here comes Spaulding with this big, dopey grin on his face.
He's all excited. "I got a handjob." "From who?" "Those asian girls.
They can really squeeze the weasel!"
"Uh, did they show you their tits?"
"No, but I was holding the one's ass. She wouldn't let
me touch her tits though. She said she was shy."

[Variable] "Twenty bucks if I can tell him."
[Manbeast] "Forty."
[Snow White] "Sixty."

***Manbeast says*** To summarize, 'The Vault' is where New York City
faggots go to meet and greet and spooge on the floor. Male homos, that
is. Hell, if there was any carpet chomping I'd happily pay the cover.
But there's not. If you're gay, and male, I recommend it. It's
fagtacular. If you're hetero, forget it. Save that 40 bucks for the
strip club or poker table.
***End Manbeast***

I must concur with my esteemed colleague on this one. It's shocking when
you first go in, but you quickly figure out everything is fake, including
the women. And I'm not overly enamored by the idea of having to dodge
puddles of jism.

We'll leave you with the question that has stumped scholars and wise men
for millenia: If you engage in a sex act with another man, but you
genuinely thought it was a woman, is that gay?

Now off to the cabin.

On the drive to the cabin we made up several helpful cadence call style
mnemonics for Spaulding, and sang them a few thousand times. Here are
some samples:

Adam's apple bigger than a pea?
Trust me friend just let it be.

Jutting jaw that's kind of square?
Just get your ass right out of there.

Fingers look a little thick?
That's because she's got a dick.

Sound off, one two ...

Spaulding eventually drifts off to sleep in the back seat.

d r e a m s e q u e n c e

(Spaulding, wearing a gold bracelet and flanked by two beautiful cocktail
waitresses, is being interviewed by Dick Van Patten)

DVP: The world's finest poker players showed up today, to do battle with
what's turned out to the toughest field to hit the World Series of Poker
since 1996. Hello everybody I'm Dick Van Patten, and I'd like you to meet
this young man. His name: Spaulding. And Spaulding, congratulations to
you. Spaulding, things looked kind of rough out there today.

Spaulding: Well Dick, I did battle for some humongous pots. But like I
told the guy from Pokerpages, danger is my business.

DVP: A lot of people thought that maybe Chris "Jesus" Ferguson or Johnny
"The Oriental Express" Chan would take the title.

Spaulding: Those guys are fags!

DVP: That's fantastic. Let me ask you a question, when you get out
there, do you ever get scared?

Spaulding: To me, putting all my chips in is a way of looking at my
opponent and saying, "Hey bud, let's party." Hey, where'd you get that

DVP: The network gave it to me.

e n d d r e a m s e q u e n c e

--- To be continued ---

Next time: The real Part 06

Before we start part 6, we need to dip into the reader mailbag again:

Item 1: Alert reader Mike M. points out that it was the Tubes, not the
Plasmatics, who recorded "She's A Beauty." Thanks Mike. At first I was
at a loss to explain how this grievous factual error slipped through. So
I took a walk back into our rigorous quality control department. I found
two empty bottles of Jose Cuervo Gold. Case closed.

Item 2: The lady who emailed to call us "immature drunks" took exception
to Manbeast's reply and followed up. We'll call her Mrs. Stu Pidseeword
(not her real name). Among other comments, she wrote that we "...really
are losers! Your (sic) not funny at all. Your (sic) pathetic!"

We respond:

Dear Mrs. Pidseeword,

We've puked 20, maybe 25 pages of pabulum stating that we are utter and
complete losers. Apparently our subtlety was lost on you. To clarify: We
are a bunch of boozy yobbos. We're social retards. We pronounce "retard"
as though it were spelled "retart." We grok Spock. We believe the truth
is out there. We watch Loch Ness Monster documentaries on the Discovery
channel. Nearing our 40s, we all have Playstations. We go to family
functions and drink until we sound like Ozzy fucking Osbourne, then stand
close to our cousin - the one with the big tits - hoping for a brush-up.
We fast forward through r-rated movies looking for nudity. We've passed
out in stranger's hedges. We've puked in salt water aquariums. In high
school, when the cool kids like you were dating and learning social
skills, we were playing Dungeons and Dragons and drinking lukewarm Pabst
Blue Ribbon. We were playing the Atari 2600 and sneaking bottles of
Manbeast's Dad's homemade Saki, which causes temporary blindness. We were
making prank phone calls. We were going to Star Wars 27 times. We can't
write one fucking paragraph without switching tenses. We were, are, and
always will be, losers in the truest sense of the word.

Get it? Now the only question is: will you, a real-life-having person,
waste further precious minutes of your life reading our future
installments? I think we both know the answer to that question.

The Losers

Ahhh, I'm a tad toasty and enjoyed a fine evening of poker.
God bless Party Poker.
Bonus Code IGGY damnit.

I stumbled early and often, but came around.

So let's post Part Three of this morality tale.

Scroll down if you missed Part One and/or Two.
It's worth it.


Part 03 - "We'll get to the poker eventually. Like you have anything
better to do..."

Intros continued


Role Model: Al Bundy.
Favorite Beer: Any decent lager.
Least Favorite Beer: Any light beer.
For a mental image: Picture a prematurely balding Wookie.

6'3", 240ish. Hairy enough to suggest possible lycanthropy (except for
the top of his head). Has to start shaving at the collar line. When
shirtless, near-sighted observes frequently think he's wearing a sweater,
even from the back.

***Snow White says***

*Especially* from the back. Steroids will do that to you. He could have
20 tatoos and you'd never know.

***end Snow White***

***Manbeast says***

For the record, juice was legal when we were in high school. Not that I
used it.

***End Manbeast***

An Alpha among Alphas. MUST be in charge of any situation.

Tragic Flaw: Overaggression. His testosterone imbalance drives him to be
too aggressive at everything he does.

Impetuous: First to marry, first to divorce. First to remarry. First to
have 2 ex-wives. Good poker player. Aggressive, though prone to be wild,
especially when tilted.

Soundbite - "She has the kind of fiery beauty that Dylan Thomas wrote
poems about. And tits like a couple of fucking zeppelins."

So that's Manbeast

Iron Mike

Favorite Movie: Harry Potter, we're guessing.
Favorite Beer: Budweiser, the most exotic brand he's had so far.
Least Favorite Beer: Busch, the other brand he has tried.
For a mental image: Picture the VP guy from the Bowflex commercial, but

Young pup recently added to the game. Bodybuilder. Good athlete. Wife is
a 20 year old blonde fitness athlete.

***Spaulding says***

She's a total fuck bunny.

***End Spaulding***

***Manbeast says***

As an overall package, I concur. Boobs are a
little small, but she has a flat, sexy stomach and she's very callipygous
(put your beer down and look it up, you fucking hick).

***End Manbeast***

He studies the game and is improving.

So that's Iron Mike

Todd the Attorney

Favorite Book: A movie.
Favorite Beer: Beer is for boughies.
For a mental image: Picture a handsome, brilliant young lawyer who's just
been violently struck on the forehead with a ballpeen hammer.

"reTodd." Pretty boy. Dumb as a post. Lost a game of checkers to a
labrador retriever (I'll try to tell the story later).

Despite an SAT score that would make Allen Iverson wince, reTodd got into
a prestigious school because of powerful family connections. Couldn't
find his ass with both hands and written directions. Ultimate calling

*** Manbeast says ***

One time playing stud I paired my door card, which was a King. I played
it fast, representing trips, but all I really had was the pair of Kings
and a busted flush draw. On 7th street I bet out. reTodd called. I said
"Good call, I only have the pair of kings." (which, again, were SHOWING).
Retodd says, "They're good. I didn't want to call, but the pot so big..."

*** End Manbeast ***

Quote: (Standing there, holding a 1/4 cup measuring cup.) "Dammit. I
need to measure a half a cup, and I can't find that one." I *could* tell
you his real name, but then I would definitely have to kill you. He's all

That's reTodd.

Snow White

Turn Ons: Celibacy.
Favorite Beer: O'Douls. Sometimes he'll be a madman and throw in a lime
For a mental image: Picture Doris Day with a schwantz.

The Prince of Princes. Goes to church on optional days. Doesn't smoke,
barely drinks, seldom swears.

***Manbeast says***

Seldom dates. He would find something wrong with Sandra Bullock in the
first 10 minutes. Something important, like, "she smoked a cigarette
once, I'm not into that."

*** End Manbeast ***

Tight, conservative, predictable.

***Snow White says***

Yes, you can predict my solid play will get the money.

Here's how to win at poker:

You don't need any fancy moves. Learn what constitutes solid starting
hands for your games of choice.

Pick your games well. Abdul himself says, "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."

Always pay attention to who is winning and who is losing. In "Decision
Making Under Uncertainty," the authors observe that given a choice between
a sure $30,000 or a gamble where you'll get $40,000 eighty percent of the
time and $0 twenty percent of the time, most people will take the sure
$30,000 despite the higher EV ($32K) of the gambling scenario. But given
a choice between a sure loss of $30,000 or an eighty percent chance of
losing $40,000 and twenty percent chance of losing $0, most people will
choose the gambling scenario, once again despite the fact that it is the
lower EV alternative.

How does this apply to poker? Easy - it tells us that most people will
irrationally accept undue risk to try to dig out of a losing session, and
many will act irrationally risk averse to lock up a win, especially if
they are quitting soon.

Simply look for these people, and adjust your poker game accordingly.
E.g., raise and run your bluffs at people who are trying to get out
winners, value bet against losers. Be quicker to get away from medium
strength holdings against winners. Go all the way with medium strength
holdings against losers. Play less hands when a winner enters the pot,
etc. Easy, really. You just have to pay attention.

Also pay attention to your own image. No less than Yardley himself said,
in Education of a Poker Player, that you cannot bluff a man until you've
"cured" him of calling, by showing him a number of winning hands in a row.

Nothing has changed in the last half century. Humans still put more
weight on their most recent experiences. If you get a bluff picked off,
you better shift gears and play totally solid, and value bet, because
you're getting called down every time. And if you showed a guy nothing
but winners for two hours, and he thinks you could crush diamonds with
your sphincter you're so tight, then it's time for a little larceny.

***End SNow White***

Sound bite: (To a stripper) "Young lady, I am not your gynecologist."

That's Snow White.


Your humble host. Practically perfect in every way. You can call me
Variable, which is what the guys call me because, according to them, I
have no set personality, but rather I adapt depending on which group of
people I'm with. Probably true, but I would argue that everyone does that
to some extent. Except Manbeast.

--- To be continued ---

Coming in Part 04 - Origin of the species.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I wanted to shout back at the Ship It Poker blog for the pimpage. If you missed them the first time around, make sure to go check em out. These guys are putting out some quality stuff and are anchored by 7th place WSOP Main Event finisher, Matt Dean.

Thanks to Lloyd for the kind words here:


Like Matt, I’d also like to send a huge thanks out to Iggy for mentioning us on Guinness and Poker. This has given a large number of poker players out there a chance to check us out. Iggy, you did not have to hook us up but we are very grateful that you did. Guinness and Poker is now the only blog under our links, an honor not easily bestowed but one you deserve. Thank you Iggy.


No problem, was happy to do so. And I always appreciate links. :)
Again, I hope everyone takes some time to add this poker blog to their daily reading.

Part Two is here. Woohoo!
Scroll down if you missed Part One.

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:

Me: ?
Manbeast: 6
Spaulding: 8
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.

***Manbeast says***

Had they *spaced* the desks proportional to score, Shithouse's desk would
have been out in the fucking playground.

***End Manbeast***

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.

--- To Be Continued ---

Coming in Part 03 - Learn a new word: callipygous

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