Friday, September 28, 2007

Poker gems, #28

Jesse May, Shut Up and Deal, p. 73-74:

Like at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City when Floyd has been playing seventeen or eighteen hours in a row without stopping to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom because he’s so fuckin’ stuck he don’t want to move. And finally he can’t take it any longer so after he folds his hand he says, “Deal me in,” and starts sprinting for the bathroom, which in the Taj isn’t so close—no, you have to go out of the whole poker room and down the hall—and so the hand ends and the dealer shuffles and says, “Should I deal him in?” and Virginia says, “Yeah, give him a hand…he’ll make it.” And sure enough it hasn’t even been thirty or forty seconds and you can see Floyd through the plate-glass windows separating the poker room from the hall coming at a dead run, full sprint, waving frantically so we can see that he wants to be dealt in and there’s no way that the guy had time to finish let alone wash his hands, but when you’re stuck you don’t want to miss even one hand, not even after eighteen hours and five or six hundred of them. And it’s not just Floyd—I mean we all been there. And I heard that’s why Tom H got booted from the Stardust casino because the game was so rocking and wild and he didn’t want to miss a hand and walk all the way to the bathroom so he went in a corner and pissed in a garbage can.

Apparently the next poker movie will be awful, too

I know nothing of this firsthand, but the entities of Wicked Chops Poker (the only poker blog I check daily, without fail) explain:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Poker gems, #27

Jesse May, Shut Up and Deal, p. 65-66:

My friend and roommate Jimmy put it in perspective about two years later when he told me a story about one day down at the Taj Mahal when he was playing with Hot Mama Earl in a Hold’em game. Now Earl thinks Jimmy is some sort of superhuman… possessing some special knowledge about poker that’s way beyond him. At one point Jimmy does something stupid—I mean really stupid—like he calls before the flop with a hand that’s way bad against a guy who maybe hasn’t played a hand in a while. Calls the flop with nothing and then check-raises on the turn with almost zero except maybe some twenty-to-one-shot draw that miraculously makes a straight on the river, so when he flips his hand over at the end everybody’s eyes widen in disbelief, and the poor chump who Jimmy beat in the hand gets out of his seat to make sure he’s not seeing things. And Jimmy is keeping on his cool-rider face, but inside he’s laughing hysterically because he knows how lucky he just got. Jimmy’s not the sort to rub it in or show his emotions and admit that he made a stupid play so he’s just looking down and raking the pot, and meanwhile Earl is sitting across the table with stars in his eyes, enraptured, drinking it all in because he thinks he has just witnessed a world-class player making a world-class play and not an ordinary sod who just had a snake charm stuck up his ass. Later when Jimmy and Earl both happen to be walking to the bathroom together and they’re out of earshot of the other players Earl says, “Now I understand if you don’t want to give away too many secrets, but could you explain to me about that play you made with the ace-six?” And Jimmy wants to look Earl dead in the eye and say to him, Earl, sometimes I just don’t know what the hell is going on and I just do stupid things and get lucky. But Earl doesn’t want to hear that and he says, “No, stop. Don’t tell me. It’s probably too deep to understand.”

So Jimmy instead smiles and looks mysterious and says, “Poker is a very complicated game,” which is what Hot Mama Earl wants to hear anyway and he walks away thinking Jimmy is a poker god and Jimmy takes a deep breath and goes to the bathroom and tries to figure out how he’s going to get back the five thousand dollars that he’s stuck in this 75-150 Hold’em game and how the hell is it possible to be losing in a game where everybody is playing so bad. But luck is strange and the short run in poker is very unpredictable, so even though he’s tired from eight hours of poker and hurting and feeling like a good seafood meal and a nice cold beer and a long sleep, he freezes his face in his cool-rider mask and trudges back toward the table. But all anyone can see is a relaxed smile, dark glasses, and impeccable concentration. And Earl is able to walk away thinking poker is deep, mysterious, and romantic, wonderful to be involved in, and not base, crude, and filthy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Poker gems, #26

Jesse May, Shut Up and Deal, p. 50-51:

Poker players keep ledgers because they need them. They need them to show that they got it all under control. But it’s never under control. No matter how many wins you got in a row, no matter what your hourly win rate is, no matter what. A few things go this way or that way and you’re sitting there counting your money, cursing under your breath, shuffling your chips, heart a-pounding, gasping for air, and making those questionable decisions when you’re stuck in a big game after twenty-four hours wondering what the fuck’s happening and why it’s going on now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Poker gems, #25

Jesse May, Shut Up and Deal, p. 45:

I live in Vegas now, been here three months. It’s almost two years since I dropped out of college. I had classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and our poker games were Monday and Wednesday nights. Irreconcilable differences.

Poker gems, #24

Jesse May, Shut Up and Deal, p. 37:

And now he’s telling me that he’s making the jump [to playing poker for a living] and what can I tell him about his play or the game or the big game and so on and is he good enough. And I say, “Jamie, all I can tell you is that it’s lonely out there, real fuckin’ lonely, and your play doesn’t matter so much as how tough you are and whether or not you fall apart.”