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Old 04-12-2018, 09:37 AM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
Posts: 638
Default Pals are not made at the poker table

I will play cards until you get off, maybe I can win enough to buy a good bottle of wine for our dinner date tonight.” Date, Did I say date?’’ I have-not asked a woman out for a date in years. I walked over to the card room; Bill Hancock came up to me, smiling like the Cheshire cat. ‘’I see you haven’t struck out with Gina, The way she looked at you tells me that Jack the boxer has got competition.” I shook his hand and laughed out loud and decided to not explain Jack,
“Competition is my game Bill, that son of a dog doesn’t have a chance, I am charming, smarter, dress better, and have a larger bank account. He may be eating out of Ginaīs hand for now, give me time and he will be sleeping outside...Do you have a seat open in a nice friendly game where I can relax and wait for her to get off work?
“You mean you actually got her to go out, I give you credit Joe, I have watched a dozen guys ask her out and she turned every single one of them down. I have a 20 40 pot limit game at table eight that I think you will find interesting. There are two smart hustlers working as partners, ramming and jamming the game and making life miserable for the other players .Do feel up to giving them a lesson in card game etiquette?
“For you Bill I will be happy to try, this brings back memories of my youth when Lucky Bob and I would work the games at Alīs Bar. When a seat opens to the left of them bring me a rack of chips .
Meanwhile I am hungry and would like an order of beer batter onion rings, Halibut cheeks and coleslaw salad, with a bottle of water. I will eat over by the railing where I can see what these wise guys are up to. If things go well they should be house broke by the time Gina gets off.”
My lunch came, crisp, hot and golden brown and as I enjoyed every bite as I watched, unobserved the play, and the action taking place at table eight. The hustlers were working over a young player who looked to be about twenty, for some reason I immediately felt a kinship for this smart, determined kid who was most likely losing his next car payment.
Their hustle was plain to see. When the one wearing the sunglasses had a good hand he would pick up one chip put it back on his stack and check the bet to his partner with the Marijuana leaf embroidered on his hat, who would make the first bet, the kid and the rest of the players would call. Sunglasses would raise, Marijuana hat would re- raise making it too expensive and the kid would fold his hand. The kid was being played like a trout on a hook and destined to lose his dwindling stack of chips.
I know, I had been there many years ago.
Bill came over with my rack of chips and I took the now empty chair of another of the hustler’s victims. My seat put me beside and to the left of the kid.
He looked at me and smiled as he said “Welcome to Hell, my name is Johnny Marino, this is a tough game and those two guys are really lucky.” I shook his hand, noticing as I did that it was cold and wet with nervous sweat.
Then I announced to the players there. “Good afternoon, my name is Joseph Wilson; I am from Salt Lake City, here for a convention of artists.” Sun glasses grinned and nodded to Marijuana hat who let out a roar of laughter and said, “Nice of you to join us Joseph, Iīm Jimmy Bob, I will trade my hat for your French chapeau, Are you a Mormon?”
“As a matter of fact Jimmy I am, now, I know that Mormon’s are not supposed to gamble, but as they say. What goes on in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.” Sunglasses that was now also having a fit of laughter said, “Aint that the gospel truth, sit down Joseph the Mormon, or is it moron and let īs play cards.
It was not long before I was winning a small amount of money and drew the hand I had waited for, any small pair, these happened to be threes.
Sunglasses bet, Jimmy Bob raised, the kid dropped out, I called. Sunglasses raised the pot again and as expected Jimmy Bob took the last raise, again I called both bets. The dealer turned the first three cards, none of which helped me. I watched as Sunglasses picked up that one chip then put it back on his stack and checked the bet to his partner who as expected bet. Any poker player would have folded that pair of threes, but I was not playing to win this hand: I was putting advertising chum into the water. When the final bets were made I had invested what I was ahead in the game. With great pride I turned over my pair of threes as if I expected they were the winning hand. The dealer pushed the pot to Sunglasses who had three queens. As he stacked his winnings he said to Marijuana Jimmy Bob, “Can you believe it the Artist re- raised me with a pair of threes, frigging unbelievable, just unbelievable?”
The kid then spoke to me in a whisper “Mister, you better go play a slot machine; you are over your head here.” I turned to him and whispered back, “They now think I am an idiot.”
It was not much longer before I held what is called “The Mortal Nuts” a hand that cannot be beaten, As the bets and raises were put into the pot I said to Sunglasses,” You are too good, this is my last hand so I may as well go for broke, then I raised what was the biggest pot of the afternoon. He smiled and said “Well it was nice to know you Mormon,” as he and Jimmy Bob put the last of their chips into the pot.
”I have a king high straight. Unless you have the king and the ace you lose,” I looked at my cards as if in total surprise then said, “How did you know? By gosh that is exactly what I have, and you, have what is commonly known as the village idiots end of the straight.”
Sunglasses threw his cards at the dealer, Marijuana hat swore, and kicked his chair, and then both got up to depart, Sunglasses turned to me and snarled “Well Mr. Mormon, stick around town and you and I will see each other again, and Pal it aint gonna be your best day”, At that point Marijuana Hat laughed and then they departed out the door.
The kid shook my hand,” That was beautifully played Sir. It was a pleasure to watch”.
I called Bill Hancock for three more racks to put the chips in. Then I did something I have never done before, I gave this advice to the kid.
I said, “Johnny, if you want to play poker and win, read every book you can find on the game, study them and learn. And until you do, stay out of games you cannot afford. Take care, and don’t ever believe in Lady Luck. She is fickle and will eventually let you down.” Picking up my chips I started to the cage to turn them into cash, Bill stopped me and shook my hand, saying as he did so, “Well that didn’t take you long to break the game, and a very nice win for a pot limit game, but I would watch out for those two thugs, they have a very bad reputation.
”Thanks Bill, I always do, and I made enough to take Gina and the boxer out to dinner tonight.”
“Joe you are something else, I have to give you credit, inviting him to eat with both of you is a smart move, that gives her a chance to see you both together, women just love to be competed over, even more than they love to comparison shop.”
Gina still had an hour left on her shift when I cashed in my winnings. She was very professional at her work and never commented on poker players wins or loses, that is one of the many reasons that I admired her.
As she handed me the cash she said, “Joe, I decided that it would be best if I drove back to my home to change clothes, freshen up and get Jack, then I can meet you in front of the Casino.”
It was at this moment I remembered the perfume. So I said. “I have a better idea, why don’t I meet you in front of my apartment, that way I can pick up my camera. I want to take photos of you and Jack. I live a couple of blocks from here in the Star Dust penthouse. You tell me what time and I will meet you out front, OK.”
Again she gave me that wonderful alluring smile as she said, “What a great idea, I never think to take my camera with me, and that gives me time to go home and prepare myself. I will pick you up at six thirty. See you then.”
Our conversation was interrupted by the kid who came up to the cage to cash in his remaining chips. I said hello to him and left as he started to tell Gina all about the pot I had won.
It is a nice feeling to be someone’s hero.
Life is full of the unexpected.
"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything"-Lawrence Sterne
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