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Old 02-12-2018, 05:04 AM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
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Default A new story about bad and good luck,murder and love

´Lucky Bob

Chapter 1

I had been playing Texas hold-em poker for three hours and was up about $ 6.000.00
the right time to cash out, take a walk, and then have a good meal.
The cashiers a very good looking gal with a charming smile and is friendly to me as always. The name tag Gina, pinned to her white blouse is all I know about her. The smile and bright brown eyes has me thinking I would like to know more.
There is something special about a person who smiles at you that instinctively makes you smile back.
“Do you want all this in cash or would you prefer to have the house hold it for you?”
She asked as she continued counting.
Not being short of money I told her to put it into my casino account, and then gave her a hundred for her smile as a tip. I went down to the lobby and walked the six blocks to my favorite Italian restaurant.
At the La Strega, I found a table in a corner where I had my back to the wall and a good view of the kitchen and the front door.
The life of any gambler has its dangers and I learned long ago that there are many shady people who have no qualms about sticking a gun or a knife in your face for quick easy bucks.
The waiter arrived with the menu; I ordered Osso buchi with sautéed onions, a side dish of whole wheat pasta with a light pesto sauce... While I waited for the wine steward, I got to thinking of Lucky Bob and the great meals we once had here. The gambling gossip was that he was broke, and I had not seen him in at least two years. I wondered where he was, and how he was doing.
I first met Bob as an adversary while playing at The Pepper Mill Casino in Reno and I liked him at first sight. He was a wild and very over weighted player, ruthless with his opponents, and the luckiest poker player I had ever run into.
It did not take me long to learn to stay out of any pot that he was involved in, in return he did the same with me.
I took the wine list and was looking for an 82 Barolo when I notice that there was a 76 Brunello Di Montalciino that seemed to be the perfect choice for my meal. It was pricey, but gambling money is so easily spent.
I called the waiter over and asked him to bring it to my table and decant it. When he brought it, I felt the bottle and found that it was at perfect temperature. He uncorked it, then poured me a taste. It was outstanding, and left to breathe a bit it would be most excellent with the veal shanks. The waiter suggested a salad of beet greens with olives. Once the order was final, I returned to my thoughts of Bob.
It had been at least five years since Bob and I last played poker together, he had stopped playing because he found it boring and had turned to horse racing to satisfy his gambling passions and had made a fortune.
Me, I was never one to trust a Jockey, trainer, or a stable hand, or even the horse, so I stuck to Texas Hold Em and relied on my own judgments...
The meal was everything I had anticipated and the wine was more than I could drink, so I left half the bottle for the waiter, ordered espresso with a shot of Cognac for dessert.
As I waited for the check I went to the restroom, washed up and pulled two hundred dollars out of the pocket sewn into my boot top.
Years ago when I was not wise to the ways of Vegas I had been mugged, since that time never carry much cash in my wallet, and I keep a very low profile.
Life in Vegas is a gamble, and I try to keep the odds in my favor. I never wear a watch or a ring, the only bit of flash I wear is a gold and silver belt buckle that was made for me by a master engraver who is a close personal friend .
After settling my bill, I went for a stroll down the main drag, past the glitter and gleam that beckons the fish into the pool where the hungry sharks patiently wait.
I am a solitary soul .When I am at the poker table I sit in silence and watch my opponents carefully, always looking for information that can give me that slight advantage.
The tremble of their hands, a change in the pitch of the voice, the constant looking at their hold cards as if looking can change the spots. There are many nuances that allow me to determine a players hand and skill; I take advantage of all of them.
Although I am a nice guy, I prefer to be underestimated at and away from the table. When I play poker,
I play for blood.
Outside, I turn onto a side street away from the traffic and gawking tourists and make my way to Al´s Bar.
Alfonso and I have known each other since the days he ran a game in the back room and I was his shill to keep the action at table working and the rake percentage high. Al introduced me to Bob before he became famous and known as Lucky Bob.
There, we had worked the table taking away money from the tourists or in the vernacular of gamblers “Strawberries” that flocked there looking for loose ex- virgins.
As the easy money came rolling in Bob spent it, I saved it.
He was not shy when it came to flash or spending cash. He wore tailored silk shirts, Christian Dior ties, Gucci shoes and Armani suits.
He had a gold engraved Rolex Oyster watch on one wrist, a matching yellow gold bracelet with Lucky Bob set in diamonds on the other, complimented with large opal pinky ring.
Compared to Bob I looked like the poor church mouse.
Al´s place is low key and quiet, sparingly lit with Tiffany style lamps .The bar has a nicely polished mesquite top with chrome and leather stools comfortably spaced .The only sound to interrupt the atmosphere was the musical ping of slot machines lined up along the back walls where the Holdem card table used to be.
It took a second to allow my eyes to adjust to the cool darkness inside of the bar. As I stood in the entrance Al spotted me and came out from behind the bar to give me a crooked smile, and a bear hug of affection. ”Joda Fish how are you my friend? It has been months since I last saw you; I see you are living the good life, put on a bit of weight haven’t you?”
Joda Fish is my sign in name at a poker rooms ,I think it has a nice ring to it, and sounds much better when announced over the speaker than “Joseph Wilson, Your seat at table six is now open”
“Come and sit down and tell me what you have been up to. What can I get you to drink?” Al asked.
I felt the slight bulge around my waist and decided that Al was right, I had put on a bit of extra weight. “Espresso, no sugar or cream seems like a good idea Al”.
While he was fixing coffee I asked about Lucky Bob.
“Lucky Bob! You don’t know what has happened to him? He is a broken man, lost everything at the race tracks, and owes Louie the bookie a fortune. You would not recognize him; he is living on the streets, panhandling for food money. Once in a while he comes in and I feed him and give him a drink or two.”
This news about my friend stunned me, Bob the luckiest man in Nevada, a legend, now living on the streets, a bum!
“My God, Al what has happened? He had a penthouse, cars and Midas’s fortune in cash and jewelry stashed away. How is it possible?”
Al shook his head, a sad look came over him and he shrugged his shoulders. “His luck stopped, one day his luck just disappeared and never returned.” All I could say was “Damn that is a truly disastrous turn of events Al”
Al nodded and continued. “The trouble was Bob wouldn’t accept it. He continued going to the track, bet huge on horses that were sure to win, but didn’t. It was the same thing at the card tables. Whatever cards he held would come out second best, even the tourists were slaughtering him.
Eventually he sold his penthouse, cars and pawned the jewelry to gamble with. He still believed his luck would return, but it never came back.”
To think that my friend, the luckiest gambler I ever met was now a derelict living and sleeping in some God forsaken place was more than I wanted to hear. I finished my coffee and told Al that it was time for me to try and get some sleep, and headed out the door.
At the door I turned to Al and said, “If you see or hear from Bob leave a message at the Horseshoe.”
After a restless night, I decided to take a trip to L.A. and play cards at the Hollywood Park Casino, just to get away from Las Vegas and the thought of Bob sleeping under a bridge somewhere.
But it did little good; I was not able to concentrate on the game. As a result I had four loosing sessions in a row and dropped a bundle of cash.
What I needed to do was get far away from this whole Vegas gaming scene and disappear for a while, see something new.
I had always wanted to try the casino´s in Europe. Why not go to Amsterdam and play at the New Holland for a while? Maybe get stoned at the Bulldog Tavern and check out the willing ladies in the red light district along the canal. Once I got the Idea in my mind and being free of any responsibilities it sounded reasonable.
L AX was a twenty minute cab ride away and flights to Amsterdam were often, I had my pass port, and clothes in my carryon bag, 10 grand in my boot and an American Express card in my wallet.
Not having a clue when I would be back in the States, I booked a first class ticket with an open date of return.

Twenty four hours later I checked in to the FIJF VLIEGT HOTEL which translates to The Five Flies in down town Amsterdam.
I admired the l Rembrandt etchings and wondered if they were originals on the way to my room, where I got the first restful night’s sleep in a week. This change of place was exactly what I needed.
The New Holland Casino is upscale, elegant but not garish and is located next to the popular Singlegracht Canal.
Unlike Vegas, the gamblers were loose, well dressed, and for the most part polite; it was a cosmopolitan strawberry patch ripe for picking. The card room was upstairs, small, the tables were set up with automatic card shufflers and the stakes at the no limit tables that open at nine P.M. were one and two euro blinds This suited me fine as I wanted to relax and get away from the stress of Vegas where the stakes were much higher. Even at this low limit game the players bet freely and the pot size was profitable. Three nights of poker and a day at the Van Gough museum and an extra 2,500 Euros in my boot, I checked out of the hotel, and then took the 6.25 A.M. High speed Thalys train to Paris, and The Aviation Club de France, located on the Avenue Champs Elyseés.
To be continued
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