It’s impossible to say what time it was. Every hour seemed to morph into the next. I’d been playing for several hours and seen dozens of different players. When the river hit and the two players in the game flipped over their hole cards, the dealer called the player to my right a winner.
As the chips started to make their way across the felt, I saw what would very soon be a problem. The pot should be chopped. As I struggled with whether I should speak up, the British woman across the table made the decision for me. Who would’ve thought a little woman who looked like Mrs. Doubtfire could’ve caused such pandamonium.
Doubtfire had just bought into the $2/$4 game for $ slothoki. She hadn’t played a hand when the dealer mis-called the winner. I, however, had been sitting at the table since 1:30. My mind was working better than my eyes, so once my peepers registered the cards, I was actually playing pretty well. Still, I wasn’t sure if I should talk.
Doubtfire started yelling immediately. She wasn’t in the game, but she saw injustice for the young asian man.
Her accent was thick as she pointed out the split pot. The dealer agreed. It could’ve ended there. But Doubtfire wouldn’t shut up.
“You need to wake up and smell the coffee!” she yelled, pointing in the direction of the young asian man who was not raking his half of the pot.
“Play your own hand,” Nick, now half a pot lighter, muttered through an unfiltered cigarette.
“You’re no gentleman!” Doubtfire was on her feet, pointing and poking in Nick’s direction. She accused him of trying to steal the whole pot.
Richie the Dealer was getting visibly upset. He should’ve noticed the chop-chop and now his table was out of control.
Nick was about to get fired up. “I’ve never run an angle in my whole life, lady.”
Doubtfire repeated herself with greater vehemence. “YOU’RE NO GENTLEMAN!”
That’s when Nick lost control. In his best–and probably the worst I’ve ever heard–Irish accent he screamed across my forehead, “Well, why don’t you go back to Ireland then?”
Doubtfire stood, grabbed her chips, annd racked them. Each of her next words might as well have had the last letter snipped off. “I’m not from Ireland.”
She stood, wheeled around on her therapeutic shoes, and cashed in without ever playing a hand.
Who was this kid, redfaced, red-eyed, and caffeine-addled sitting in seat six? We saw him come in at noon yesterday. He played for seven hours and lost only a dollar. He came back today at noon and has been sitting here ever since.
Over the course of the last ten hours we’ve watched his stack grow when the tourists get brushed in by the floorman. Each time the tourists fall for the line, “Come on in, it’s just like you’ve seen on TV?” the young man’s stack grows.
But then, each time guys with names like Charlie, Jerry, Bob, and Walt hit the table, this young man slips into painfully conservative play. He waits and waits for the nuts and only finds it once ever hour or so. But he doesn’t get up. This kid just sits here and plays and plays and plays.
That kid is Otis and he’s about to go on the rush of his young life.
It began as the most embarassing hand of my poker “career.” My eyes–they’re always the first to go, aren’t they–had started messing with me a few hands earlier. It could’ve been that I hadn’t eaten all day. It could’ve been that I had switched from diet coke to beer in an effort to stop my hands from shaking. I had been playing much too long and I knew it.
The game had gotten very, very loose. The table consisted of Joey, Nick, Otis, Chris, Cassie, Miss Mary, and a couple of players whose name I don’t remember. I had almost made the decision to get up and walk to a Pai Gow table when I peeked at my hole cards. Big Slick (A-K to poker newbies). How nice.
A raise pushed everyone but Cassie out of the pot. She re-raised and I immediately put her on a high pocket pair. It was only two bucks to call (low-limit poker can be sort of silly sometimes), so I made it six and we saw the flop.
The flop showed us a rainbow, two blanks and a queen. I bet, hoping she had jacks and will believe I have queens. Cassie raised. Yep, gotta be pocket queens. I’m screwed, but I called anyway. Cassie wasn’t a great player and I was hoping she was running a very good bluff. The turn is another blank. I checked. Cassie bet. I called, pushing good money after bad and vowing to get up after the hand and call it a night with a small win.
The river came with a king. That gave me a pair, ace high. I bet, hoping again that she didn’t have pocket queens and I just outdrew her.
I would’ve just forgotten it, but the pot was big enough to justify another four bucks. Call.
I looked at her and called her hand before she turned it over. “Pocket queens,” I said, my face as dejected as it should’ve been.
“Yep,” she said and turned them over.
I was a half-second from mucking my hand when my body rebelled and flipped over my cards.
The table exploded.
I felt the conditioned air whoosh out of the building. Cheers and screams erupted around me. I sat in a vacuum as my vision tunneled to my cards.
Sitting at a strange angle, one on top of the other, sat two kings.
It’s been a few days since that happened and I still think I was holding and ace and king instead of the pocket cowboys. Some sort of poker god changed my cards at the last second.
As the table died down, my embarassment picked up. I apologized, threw a couple bucks to the dealer, and returned Cassie’s last raise to her. Guilt kills me.
That hand kicked off a fantastic rush that covered all of my other gambling losses for the weekend. I played for another two hours before getting up to find my first meal of the day.
Poker was good to me during Otis’ Vegas Adventure. Oddly enough, so was the rest of Vegas.
Coming up…Otis in Vegas Pt. 3…hookers, a shoe shine, and finding good karma in pai gow poker.