Sunday, March 11, 2012

Well, Maybe a FEW Highlights from My Day With Jo and Cranky

Ok, sure, fine, I lost my best bud yesterday, but I have two other cats in the house who, let's just tell it like it is, are pleased as hell that Pearl is gone; she hated them, they hated her (and were scared of her in the bargain) so I expect the house dynamic to change pretty radically. And life goes on.  When it comes to me, a pet dying hurts just as much as a person dying, but for not nearly as long.  You grieve, you remember, and you get on with things.

And for me, getting on with things means that I need to tell you guys about my trip to Foxywoody and meeting up with Josie and Cranky, the latter of whom I would be meeting face to face for the first time.

Now before I get into that, let me just say that I'd never met any of you face to face before.  Jos I knew for years and years before she was a blogger, so she doesn't count (well, only to ten), but Cranky was the first blog-type person whom I'd meet.

Let me also say that the only reference I had to what she looked like was a small picture that was tight to her face so I had only the barest idea what she looked like.  Remember that for later in the story.

So I get to Foxwoods, find Auntie Jo with a decent set...of chips in front of her, and go register for a 1/2NL game with the desk.  They seat me in about eight seconds, which was awesome. They put me in table 11, which was located, if you're familiar with the layout of Foxwoods, roughly in upstate New York.  Jesus Tap Dancing Christ! I've never been tucked away in such a remote corner of the room before, but it was Saturday and the joint was jumping.

Anyway I get chips and sit down in seat 8 with two hundy in front of me.  Now usually I have a rule about sitting down at a cash game: I like for the very first hand I play to be a monster.  It's a little trick I use to force myself to observe the table for a while, to pigeonhole players into tight/loose - aggressive/passive - smart/stupid categories. However I didn't get that chance, as the first two cards I saw were AKs, and of course I was in the BB. Folds to seat 1, who pops in to $12 (6xBB?  Really, sir?). Two callers.  I re-pop to about 30. Seat 1 re-re-pops to $75.  I've seen all of three hands waiting to enter, so I don't really know anything about this guy, but I think, if he's the kind of idiot that raises to 6xBB, he's probably not the best player in the world, and even if I don't catch the flop I could outplay him post, so I call the 75.

Same sad story: whiff the flop, check, shove, fold.  My seat isn't even warm and my stack is already almost cut in half.

Thankfully though, I went completely card-dead for about an hour and was able to get a pretty good handle on the table.  Two good players, me, and seven fishcake calling station straight chasers who were begging to give away their chips.  Alas I couldn't take advantage of them, because my hands were so bad. I went a stretch of perhaps a dozen hands none of which could beat ten high.

However my luck changed shortly thereafter. I texted Yosie that there was an open seat and in about two minutes I saw her and her short little legs locomoting my way. She and her Jackie O sunglasses sat down at seat 5. About ten minutes after that I started getting hands that, if not great, at least I could work with. And before too much longer I'd climbed back to even. Yay me!

Then some weird shit started happening.  I got a call from Crankypants (I had texted her asking her where she was) saying she'd be there shortly.  Now somewhere in the proceedings I'd mentioned that I was Jewish - not like you couldn't tell just my looking at me - so right about the time I was expecting to see Cranky, this old woman toddles up to me with a Chai (not tea, the Hebrew symbol for life) in her hand, and croaked "I wanted to show you this - it's my good luck charm."

Now I know how old Cranky is - she told me when we were discussing the Beatles - and I knew that the woman that stood before me looked like she was maybe 75, which would put her at decades older than Cranky - but remember, I had a one inch square picture to go by, and there are plenty of people in the world that look WAY older than they really are.  But I wasn't sure, so I said something sort of halfway between stranger and friend.  I said something like "Oh, you're Jewish?"  She looked at me like I handed her a fresh turd for her inspection, spat "no, I'm not Jewish," and stalked away.  I thought to myself, "was...was that Cranky?  And why would anyone carry a Jewish symbol of good luck with them and be offended at the suggestion that they were Jewish?" I looked over to Jo with a "did that really happen?" look on my face but she was in a hand and didn't see any of it.

But - about 30 seconds later, I see someone walk up to me and faith and begorrah, it looked like Cranky! Whew! She's not a freakishly old-looking anti-Semite! And as there was no wait for a 1/2 table they let her sit right down in the 3 seat.  A few minutes after that the 2 seat opened up and I moved over, so I was able to chitchat with Cranky (who has a real name, and uses it in person btw) and Josie. And now the fun started.

Maybe it was because I started winning.  Maybe it was because I'd had more coffee in the previous two hours than in the last two years.  Maybe it was because I had a new person to show off in front of.  Either way, I went into the mode that I like to call "exhaustingly funny." The three of us started bantering back and forth, we were tooling on the other players (shout out to my boy Dan!) and the dealer, one of whom was brave enough to admit to being a Yankee fan.  Buddha bless her, Cranky laughed at everything I said.  Now, I've known Josie for about 12 years; she's WAY more familiar with my schtick than Cranky. So she gave off a little more like an eye-rolling, "if you laugh you only encourage him more" kind of vibe. More exhausting than funny for her, I guess you'd say.

We risked life and limb to get a picture taken at the table.  Wally, our dealer, said "no pictures," but Josie begged, and she got herself some decent begging skills (insert joke here). So when the coast was clear I handed my shitty ancient phone to the dude in seat 6 and Josie slipped between Cranky and me and we managed to get the picture taken, even as the brush was bearing down on us, threatening to call security - for a picture! nevermind that they have 62 cameras trained on me at all times, we couldn't take a shitty cell phone picture.  But fuck them - the dude took the picture anyway:

L-R: Me, Jo, Cranky.

As regards the actual poker. I won a few pots, lost a few, made some really good decisions, and one really really bad one.  And that's this one here: I looked down to find pocket 8's.  Position escapes me for the moment; my apologies. The pot had been raised, I re-raise to I think $25. Folded around to seat 1, the dude on my right, who four-bets it to $75.  I start thinking for a while and start counting out chips to see how much I have left - at that time it wasn't much, I was close to busting out. I think I had maybe $130 or so altogether.

So I'm cutting stacks of chips, looking at the impact of a call or a shove, and the dude says to me, "You have a white chip in that stack of redbirds." Now at that moment I thought to myself, "the dude has aces."  You just don't make a comment like that unless you're so comfortable with things that you can be chip custodian to your opponent.   That, plus the way he said it, just made me think that he had aces.

But perhaps my biggest weakness in this horrible, frustrating, glorious game of poker is that I don't have any faith in my reads.  I don't trust them.  I know it's a hole in my game.  I know that if I could just bring myself to trust that first flash of insight that goes through my head I could be a much better poker player, but I never give myself enough credit for my own reads.  And this was a textbook example of it.  Instead of tabling my 8's (face up - I'll explain that in another post maybe) and congratulating him on his aces, what I did instead was...shove.  Brilliant, right?  He insta-calls and turns over - you guessed it - aces. Well actually I guessed it; YOU didn't guess shit.

It so happened that I caught my miracle eight and picked up an extra $150, but that doesn't make the move any less stupid.  I have to learn to trust myself, and until I do I'm going to be felted way more than not.

But really, I can honestly say that besides a couple of minor hiccups, that was the only really bad hand I played.  Overall I was pretty pleased with my play.  In fact, by the time the picture above was taken I had madd staxx yo, and I earned (and ended up keeping) most of that. Total profit $400, pretty much to the nickel.

This post is already getting way too long but I did want to tell one more funny story, right at the end of the night, some dude from Chicopee, MA sat down in seat 1.  Josie, with her ebullient friendliness, more or less flashed him her tits.  Not enough to spend the night in the clink for exposure, but let's just say you could hide a paperback book in the cleavage she exposed to him.  And so naturally he got really friendly, really fast.

Long story short, before we left he mentioned that he was with his 84 year old mother.  So fast-forward to about an hour later: we're in that little bistro off the poker room having some dinner, when who should sit down next to us but Chicopee, and his 84 year old mother.  She was a doddering old woman right out of central casting:  wrinkled, white-haired, you could break her by throwing a Kleenex at her.  She starts telling some incoherent old-lady story to us and we're nodding politely - the whole bit.  And what does she have for dinner?  A gigantic meatball sub with onions and peppers!  I couldn't believe it.  I thought "careful granny...that sandwich might fade your battleship tattoo!"

Anyways, it was a great evening, whatever else could be said about what awaited me when I got home, but I meant what I said about my sides and cheeks hurting from laughing.  It's always good to see Josie; we're like peas and carrots.  And Cranky was amazingly good company. I don't say this lightly: I think I made a friend, a real friend, and that makes me happy.  We promised that we'd do this again soon, hopefully in a month or so, and I really hope we do.

I'm sure I missed so much good stuff, but I think Cranky might post about it, and I know that Josie will.  Expect pictures of a stranger's back.

The afore-mentioned madd staxx


  1. Gary, I'm so glad you were able to bring yourself to remember and write about the good times you had yesterday. Good for you.

    Great stories of course. Heh heh, I actually was waiting for the punch line that the 84 year old eating the meatball sub was also the "anti-semite" who showed you the Chai!

    You know, any day when the worst mistake you made turns into a suck-out win for you is a great day at poker, to be sure.

    Of course I was extremely interested the part where Josie flashed the guy. But how can you just say that without explaining the circumstances of such a move, the why's and wherefore's? I'm guess you're waiting for Josie to explain that on her blog, but no doubt, your version of the story would be at least as interesting as hers and possibly even more accurate. Come on Gary, do tell.

    1. You know something, I don't remember what the circumstances were that precipitated that. Jo, do you?

      You know, it could just be that by that time we'd lost our minds completely and would have eaten a bug for a white chip. It was quite an afternoon.

  2. Never put a paperback in there but....never mind.

    1. No, no, waste of a good flash (and of a good book, after that). I think the funny part was you'd known this guy for all of 45 seconds.

  3. Gary - it was ridiculously fun to spend time with you and Josie. I hadn't heard about the antiquated pseudo-Cranky who surprised you before my actual arrival. Ha ha!

    Assuming there's a post from each of us about the day, it'll be our own little version of Rashomon.

    I agree that I've made some new friends. Looking forward to another get together in April.

    1. Yeah, me too! And it's funny, you refer to Rashomon but the allegory that lent itself to my mind first was an episode of All in the Family. Tomato, to-mah-to, I guess...

  4. Well we were talking about leaving at 6pm to grab a bite to eat and I forget what he said but 1.) He called me beautiful, which earns him a flash right there (I am vain)
    2.) He seems so bummed that we were leaving and I do like to spread joy.
    3.) I had a black lace tank top underneath!

    1. So, Josie, a guy calls you beautiful and you automatically flash him? Wow, good to know! And I'll know I'll be bummed out whenever you leave the table. So looks like when we play together in Vegas...snaps for Rob!

    2. Nothing in life is guaranteed except death and taxes.

    3. .....and me getting killed with Pocket Kings.

    4. Rob, I hate to dash your hopes on to the jagged rocks of reality, but Josie plays her chest a little, er, close to the chest. So I would not anticipate any kind of sighting of "the girls." However if you'd care to approximate the experience, hang a fried egg on a nail, and you have more or less the gist of it...

    5. Damn. Since she found out how old I am, and am essentialy harmless, I thought I had a shot. Oh well, ta-ta for now.

  5. re: lace top, yes, there were no actual naughty bits exposed. If you had, it really would have gotten you at very least thrown out, or maybe worse if you'd lipped the security people - and I would guess that you likely would have!

  6. I'm sorry to hear about your Pearl. I had much the same experience with my special puppy. She passed while I was on some stupid business trip for a job that I hated. I should have cancelled the trip but went anyway and it was a disaster. It killed me that I wasn't there to spoil her one last time.

    I am heartened by the fact that I spoiled her rotten the rest of the time and she had one of the best lives any dog could expect to have. Doubtless you did the same for your Pearl.

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time and you shouldn't feel bad because of it. I'm jealous that you guys have good poker so close by and I'm really jealous you have such cool folks to hang out and play poker with. Cranky sounds like a hoot and Josie...well sounds like Josie.

    1. Duggle, I appreciate you saying that; I really do. But, Josie being "cool?" Let's not get ahead of ourselves...

      Just kidding, can't even jokingly say that she's not a hoot and a half! She's always a good hang. And yes, Cranky's a lot of fun and has a great sense of humor. Hopefully this is the first in a list of trips to Foxwoods for the three of us.

      Also, I sympathize with you losing your pup while you were away. Unfortunately I know the feeling; over the years three of our cats have died or gone into crisis while I was away and Toots had to take care of everything. Ugh.

  7. Like Rob, I was expecting the same ending to the story.

    Sounds like a fun time. And nice picture. I'd say the old "thorn between two roses" comment, but ... oops -- I just did. : o )

    1. Here are a couple of good captions for that photo:

      Tall, Tall, and Not at All
      The Pretty One, the Nitty One, and the Shitty One
      You, You, and the Jew

    2. I have a feeling I'm the shitty one in this scenario.

    3. Classic case of a statement with no "correct" response. To save my ass, I hereby recuse myself from any further comment on these captions.

      Except to say that we both privately agreed that Cranky was pretty, and few people in the world would describe you as nitty...