Thursday, December 13, 2007

Head Games

I talk to myself a lot. Not aloud, like the douchebags who ask me for change on the way to the office or the bigger douchebags who have a bluetooth in their ear and walk around all self-important. Really? Is anyone out there in Bloggerland impressed by someone who can talk hands-free while a blue light pulsates in their ear? Whoopee. You had an extra $79 laying around and a penchant for douchery. Congratulations.

No, I mumble to myself under my breath. Like this morning at the coffee condiment bar where a guy stood for way too long after sweetening his java. It looked like he was cleaning his fingernails with a stir stick. "Move along, sporto," is what I mumbled to myself.

I do a lot of this at the poker table, too. Part of my inner dialogue (yes, dialogue, there are more than one of me on the inside). When I arrived in Vegas on Friday morning, I found myself chanting a mantra as I walked into the IP.


I didn't feel particularly ill, but a week's worth of sputum hocking had me on guard. I didn't want to dive into the deep end too quickly. But the lights...the smells...they are Pavlovian to me and I lose all self-control. Within ten minutes, I was playing craps and drinking greyhounds with The Princess.

I was hungry, though, so that gave me an out. Heather said April was "stirring" and she might be persuaded to join us for a meal. So I called up.

"How soon can you get ready?" I said.
"Depends on how good you want me to look."
"Friday before noon at the IP...I think '7' is sufficient."

Let the record show, April can do a '7' in 30 minutes, though I bumped her up to an 8.2. Bonus points for punctuality and smelling good.

We went off to the Flamingo, site of my hotel room, and had a meal. We pioneered the "Fast Track" system. I kind of forget what that meant. But if you say, "Ricky Bobby!" April and Heather will laugh.

Roommate #1, none other than the Pai Gow Pimp himself, The Drizzle was soon scheduled to arrive, so I decided to go up to the room and wait for him. This is a service us worldly metropolitan types provide for the hayseeds visiting from flyover states. Last time drizz was allowed to wander know.

So I relax on the scratchy comforter and immediately fall into deep, uninterrupted sleep, despite the attempts by drizz, Uncle Bracelet (roommate #2) and Iggy to try and tilt me by waking me from needed slumber get ahold of me. Two hours later, I'm awake and refreshed, though my hair is completely effed up. No matter. I wait for drizz to drop his bags and then I don a hat and we head back to the IP.

My inner dialogue has fallen silent and I "ease" into the IP with a cup of Vitamin Jameson. What transpires is the usual whirlwind of seeing everyone and meeting a few new faces, including one who looks at me expectantly, making me think we've met already and I've blanked (not so), and another (male) who patted me on the ass. The poker room is teeming with bloggers and I donk off a bunch of GCox's chips at a 2/4 table, not winning a single hand while Alan slowly drains his long-standing resevoir of good will (revenge will be mine!). Pauly introduces me to Johnny Hughes, who says, "Yeah, I know who Joe Speaker is," which is kind of a rush for me, though I had to point out to Pauly that he didn't actually say he "liked" my stuff.

I get cold-decked at Pai-Gow and as the hour grows later, I decide there's only one way to change my luck before heading over to the MGM.

Wardrobe change!

None other than change100, fashion guru (guru-ess?) to the stars, complimented me on the "clean lines" of my wardrobe. I was pretty satisfied with my hair, too. Alas, the old Fernando mantra, is not true. While I looked good, it was not better than feeling good, which I soon, and decidedly, did not.

I kept downing the Vitamin J while playing the Mixed Games, which were hilarious. drizz's dirty stack, ck's "copying" of his every move, Buddy's deep, heavy sighs, as he makes another call on 6th or 7th, F-Train's rotten luck. My play was uninspired but for one scoop in an O8 hand, notable for the fact that I suck at O8. I only played for about 90 minutes and cashed out $3 to the bad.

By then, I had a headache that demanded attention. Pastrami sandwich was no assistance. A long walk to the lobby for painkillers that proved fruitless. Water no g00t. Struggling, bent-over conversation back at the sportsbar failed to distract me or my throbbing cortexes.

Still, I tried to persevere. When the call went out to Storm the Castle, I humped it across the bridge like a good soldier and sat at a Pai gow table with Betty and JD. I was so miserable, I could barely work up any enthusiasm when JD's girlfriend hit a nearly $1000 jackpot at a nearby slow machine. (I'm very excited right now though! Way to go!). My malaise infected the entire group and the four of us soon cashed out ($31 to the bad) and headed back to the Flamingo. En route, I mused that I'd pay a thousand dollars for a head massage. Betty, loyal and giving as she is, offered to do it for 1% of that.

And that, friends, is when everything changed.

Attentive readers will note I had yet to win any money. I wasn't down much, $200 or so, but just had that sense of not being able to get anything going. After Betty applied her healing powers--which also cured Gracie of her insomnia, though she could not stop her own hiccup atack--my headache did not return for the rest of the weekend, and, in its stead, came lots of pretty cards.

More on that to come, as well as how I tilted an entire tournament field with a whim which became not only Wardrobe Change #2 but now has me addicted to this new item.


At 11:11 PM, Blogger April said...

But if you say, "Ricky Bobby!" April and Heather will laugh.

Indeed we will, as evidenced by my head down on the desk LOL'ing what-in-the-hell-is-wrong-with-her that took place this afternoon in my office as I read this post. They asked me to explain but I didn't even try. They didn't even have a Fast Pass!

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Betty Underground said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you were sitting behind me in the tourney, I read that you were ill and out of sorts. Naturally, I hoped to take advantage of that and add all I could to your misery.

When I'd make a dance-around, fancy move with hippie cards, you'd come alive and take the play away from me. I never got to see your hole cards.

Please notice an important point in which all you youngsters can learn..big time. Everyone came back with colds, flu, illness. I chose to remain healthy. Colds are a two-stage process. 1. stress lowers your immune system. 2. you are exposed to germs.

I choose to skip 1., therefore I can handle 2. Playing cards passes germs on the hands. You need to wash a bunch but Vegas is hard to do without after effects. I choose to skip all that because I don't want, like, or get colds.
Johnny Hughes, Ph. D.

At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do like your stuff. A scarf is one hell of a pride tell, kind of like endangered species boots that are uncomfortable and cost a fortune. The most impressive, skilled gambler that I ever met, Curly Green, dressed very fancy, as did many of the professional gamblers of the fifties and sixties. However, Curly would never wear a tie, because a guy used his tie to choke him once in a fight. Curly is the model for the character, Moody O'Malley, in Texas Poker Wisdom. Clothes were a really big deal to Texas gamblers when I turned out. I brought some more formal clothes to the blogger's meeting, but took one look around the Geisha Bar, and realized any look would do.

Who was that famous dancer killed by her scarf when it got caught in the back wheel of a car? Who was that dancer?

Scarves are as easy to lose as chip protectors. There's one of those no white after labor day rules for scarves. If you are wearing a scarf, and you are a guy, and it is over fifty degrees where you are, folks snigger. At least, Texas folks snigger.

I used to wear really bright pocket hankerchiefs in my sport coat or suit pocket.


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