Something about the culture of the Orient engenders a penchant for flair and benign deception. It can make for an entertaining night at Benhanna’s, or an irritating night of poker. I love having one of these fools to my right. I look at my hand. I don’t buy into the notion that you’re supposed to wait till action is on you to check your cards. I’d rather start planning. After all, this might be the perfect time to start scanning the room for a cocktail waitress. So I lay my plans and it gets to Asian Trickser, who counts out a raise, pushes his hand forward to the rim of accountability, then folds. He does this kind of shit like every other hand. So now I can’t react to his expressed intentions naturally, I have to guard against his irrelevant tricks, because I don’t want to start mucking a hand that I was planning to attack the blinds with because of a phony raise. I don’t consider the shenanigans of the Asian Trickster to be angle shooting because he rarely benefits from them. It’s just a fucking headache that slows down the fucking game. Fuck you Asian Trickster.
The Lobotomized Donkey
Yes, he he has helped pay my rent, but I still want to smack him across his expressionless face. It’s not that he’s a bad player, it’s his total lack of anything resembling human intelligence. Watching this guy play poker is like watching a fly bounce repeatedly off a window. Every hand… call, call, call, call… with determined thoughtlessness. Always the same motion, and that vacant face. Even when he rivers his two outer, he turns his cards up with the blank stare of a rainforest primitive. “Thanks for all your money, Lobotomized Donkey, but one more thing… can I slam your head in my car door, like that one scene in Raging Bull?” Even if he consented, there would be no satisfaction as he knelt stupidly, while a piece of Japanese engineering resounded off of his skull. To him, every experience in the world is interchangeable with watching “Green Acres.”
The Blue Chip Phil Hellmuth
The I-Pod, the concealing brim of a baseball cap, the obsidian shades: Blue Chip Phil is impossible to read. Just ask him. He is dressed in intimidating black, from head to toe. If only his opponents in the 2/4 game at Commerce had the slightest idea of what reading an opponent entailed, or a remote interest in doing it, Blue Chip Phil would be covered. Unfortunately, while he concentrates on maintaining an expressionless yet imposing stare, his adversary has taken a break from the hand to order a some noodle soup. Blue chip Phil has many brothers, like Blue Chip Antonio, Blue Chip Phil and Blue Chip Phil. Their parentage is loserdom, wed to the hope that by imitating the cool looking guys who play poker on TV, they can become cool as well. In reality, few things are sadder than seeing someone who has clearly spent an hour and a half dressing and grooming to go play no stakes poker with a bunch of smelly old Armenian men, sertonin-addicted retirees and toothless boatpeople and asking “what have you got?” while contemplating a $4.00 call on the river. Suicide gets a bad rap.
The Middle Aged Joke
Honestly, I consider myself to be a failure, at least financially, because I’m twenty-nine years old and with each billing cycle, the clock resets so that it will be exactly seven years before I can even theoretically own a home without paying for it in cash. “Um, ok Mr. Schulte, you owe the Los Angeles Public Libraries over $2,000 dollars, mostly because a volume of Machiavelli has been under passenger seat since 2003? Did you ever get around to reading it? No? That’s a shock. Allow me to regroup. Clearly you’re a man who manages his finances meticulously. And you want us to loan you $700,000 to buy a condo (Fuck Los Angeles.)? We’re somewhat concerned about the possibility of you checking out more books from the library, but I’m sure we’ll get back to ya. ”
But even I can look down my nose at these fools, who, at age 48, not only act as though the $200, which they shamelessly change in a wad of crumpled twenties and tens, is a Hilton’s ransom. They’re simultaneously trying to impress a table full of douchey 24 year olds with their adherence to the idiotic template cast by ESPN’s “Tilt.” If you doubt my discipline and restraint at the poker table, realize that on more than one occasion, I’ve been addressed by someone born under FDR, as “dawg” without responding, “do you have any idea how fucked up I have to be before I start using that expression? I have to ingest drugs you’ve never even heard of.”
Also, if I am treating a $100 pot as a matter of life and death when I’m 45, you have my permission to tell me a story about bunnies in the most somnolent voice you can muster, direct my attention over yonder, and shoot me in the back of the skull. Thanks in advance.
By most accounts, the real Annie is a pretty big cunt. I liked how, during the last WSOP, she would give every name pro a hug when they busted out, to demonstrate her scarcely justified inclusion, but literally refused to talk to players who weren’t famous. If you want a classic from before the era of televised poker, and consequent PR, go to the rec.poker news group on google and dig up Daniel Negraneu’s brutal thrashings of “stinking feet” Annie. Hi-larious. But what I’m talking about here are the mini-Annies. The smattering of females in every poker room who feel like they’re something special, just because there’s an extra hole pressed against their seat cushion. They whine without consequence and they preen for the men who have nothing else to look at. I admit, that in a cardroom I find myself checking out women who I’d normally never even notice. “OK, she could stand to loose about 50 pounds, but, she’s the only one here with boobs besides that drunk, old, Russian dude.” I’ve always wondered why more “4’s” and “5’s” and even “6’s” don’t move into such male dominated environments, where they can be the belle of the ball. Perhaps because most of the male attendees of the ball are “1’s” and “2’s.” In any case, the sense of entitlement and the expectation of adoration among Annie Dukes quickly wears thin. On more than one occasion I’ve wanted to say, “look, you might be the hottest girl here, but the last time I fucked a girl of your caliber, it was just to get virginity out of the way.” But such a remark would bring me unpleasant memories, a sacrifice I’m only willing to make for Ruthless.