There are few slender poker players (Asians don’t count) and I’m not one of them. Must be the non-stop sitting and snacking. But the Poker Porker is one of those people who is defined by gluttony. You know those fat people who–even though they may not be as fat as some others–you always imagine zealously shitting it up in their own game of pot limit, hunkered over on the toilet, sucking on a chicken leg while they shamelessly blast fecal grapeshot? They probably don’t even turn on the fart fan or run water, and they probably deliberately leave floaters as they glow with pride in the ferocity of their alimentary canal. The Poker Porker wallows in his weakness and desire, quickly becoming frustrated when denied chips. Two rounds without a winning hand and you’d think a waiter accidentally gave him a diet coke. He begins to fuss over the actions of the dealer and players, as though he was detailing his banana split specifications (I explicitly said, “NO banana” you buffoon!) at Baskin Robbins. When the cards finally come his way, his eyes shine with greed as he announces his raise, super-sizing the pot. Finally, his bloated hands, which bring to mind Howie Mandel’s early stand up, pull in the chips and he is satisfied… for perhaps two minutes. As someone who hits the drive-through on the way home from an all you can eat buffet, the Poker Porker is never really satiated, even by the most massive pot. If anything, his appetite is inflamed as he plays more hands, seeking to extend his rush. His luck will almost never keep up with his greed, but all will be well as he hits the drive-through on the way home from the casino too.
Few of the idiots of the poker room actually deserve death–or at least they merely deserve to be quickly exterminated in as humane fashion as is cost effective. Willy Loman, however, has made a conscious decision to shit on everyone’s recreational time, for which he should be boiled in oil. God only knows why we drag ourselves to the card room night after night to piss away our money in the company of lowlives, under the supervision of incompetents. But I can say with total certainty that we do not go to the card room to be sold insurance by some pathetic fuck like you, Willy Loman. I don’t want to join a pyramid scheme or real estate scam. I did not go to a casino, of all the fucking places on the goddamned earth, a casino, in search of a financial planner. Nor did I go in search of a new religion or an entree into Alcoholics Anonymous. I haven’t seen it since the height of the “poker boom,” but people have even tried to sell me trinkets, like home made card protectors, at grossly inflated prices. “Hey, you’ve got a four racks of $5.00 chips, this is only six chips! Not even one big bet!” Well here is my counteroffer, you goddamned gypsy trash– I will take thirty chips, remove my sock, place the chips into the sock, then beat you with it for twenty minutes and you can keep the whole package, including your stupid trinket.
The Regular’s presence is most noxious in smaller rooms, but he can be found in even the biggest. For reasons not yet fully understood by researchers, The Regular feels that wasting most of his free time gambling accords him an enviable status. He views himself almost as a kind of celebrity, and at the very least the member of an exclusive club. When he enters the room, he will make a big show of surveying the action–everyone must know that he knows where everything is and that he has bypassed the board to make his own judgments. He mercilessly drags all casino staff into conversations about what they view as the tedium and monotony of their daily work. “So they changed the jackpot, last week, huh, Bill? What were the jackpot hands last Tuesday?” He initiates the same conversations over and over again with each staff member, just so it is made clear to everyone that he is recognized because he haunts this dive like a permanent fart. He will never shut up until he has extracted a use of his own first name from every dealer and floorman, and even then silence is unlikely. Do you think anybody is impressed, Regular? Nobody on the entire planet gives a flying fuck that you play 4/8, or for that matter, 40/80 for 70 hours a week. And when is the last time the staff that you badger asked you to go out for drinks with them? Never?
Slot Jockey is one of those low-stakes, longtime gamblers who has figured out all of the angles–except the one that would prevent her from losing half of her income gambling. Proudly clad from head to toe in clothing carrying the names of the casinos that have bilked her out of her savings, Slot Jockey is like a hawk when it comes to monitoring the drop and will ask (usually in futility) the floor for special drop reductions in short handed games. Nothing on this earth delights the Slot Jockey so much as chopping the blinds and forestalling the casino‘s take for a minute or two. She will begin looking to chop as soon us the under-the-gun player folds, gesturing out of turn that she is willing to toss her hand. Slot Jockey’s blood pressure will surge to dangerous levels if her big blind becomes a three handed pot after someone limps and the he (or the small blind) declines to chop. Should the button open with a raise on her blind, the hand will go to the river as Slot Jockey seeks retribution for chop-denial, actually hoping that the raiser has aces so that they might be righteously cracked. If she is in a casino for more than thirty minutes, Slot Jockey will reach an unusual intersection between her sense of entitlement and lack of dignity at which she will begin to beg the floor for free food that would otherwise cost $7.00. For all of her stinginess, Slot Jockey has yet to realize that seeing the flop 65% of the time (when there is no chop to be had), is a… sub-optimal strategy, in no small part because it results in insurmountable donation to the hated rake. Not that it matters. Even if you were a winning player, Slot Jockey, what would you buy? Another two dozen Primm, Nevada windbreakers?
Sometimes the deck shoots a load of chips into your face, no matter how poorly you play. In fact, if you play too loosely, it is more likely that you will occasionally hit a streak of outrageous luck and wind up with massive piles of chips that become difficult to manage. The only practical and dignified solution is to change some of your chips to a higher denomination. The cumbersome and ostentatious solution, favored by the Architect, is to build elaborate, decorative stacks of your winnings (or, more likely, the reclamation of nine of your eleven buy-ins) so that everybody knows what a big shot you are. It reaches a point where it actually becomes difficult to look at your cards and physically play in a timely fashion.
If I give the impression that I am something other than an idiot of the poker room myself, it’s only out of delusion. I must cop to occasionally practicing the art of Architecture. There is a science to building chip stacks centered around the empirically proven fact that unusual chips have special properties. For example, the one dollar chips at Commerce Casino, with the shiny metal center, when placed as a cap on a stack of lesser chips, protect the whole stack from being lost. Of course, you can’t abuse this tactic by unreasonably expecting the special chips to protect against even a single loss. So, make sure that you have enough money to play with, splayed randomly in front of you, but use protective chips to top each tower in your castle so that you know with 100% certainty that the rest of the chips in the tower will not be lost back into the game. There are many more secrets to understanding how the structure of your chip castle actually affects the outcome of the game, but they can only be learned in my costly seminars. (Also, occasionally giving into stupid stuff like this gives you something to do other than play bad hands.)
MEET THE “GUS HANSON SUCKS” GUY AND MORE IN PART 2
MEET THE MIDDLE AGED JOKE IN PART 1