Happy Degenerate Birthday
It’s 11 am on a Saturday morning and I’m exhausted. I haven’t been to class in days, and skipped out of work early on Thursday to feed the poker jones. Last night I went to bed around 3am, having hit that point where I was tired, but had just enough of a second wind to keep me up for a bit. Yesterday was my 30th birthday and while I wouldn’t exactly qualify my birthday celebrations as partying like a rock star, while cleaning up the kitchen this morning it dawned on me that turning 30 really isn’t that much different from turning 21. But maybe that’s just how bloggers roll.
Thursday afternoon was a beautiful day in Austin, with bright blue skies and crisp clean air. I squelched my desire to hit a local poker room and play some cards and headed off to work instead. Of course, Scott was having a similar idea, so about an hour after I had arrived I heard him whisper “Psst… wanna go play some cards?” Yes. Yes I do.
Scott doesn’t blog often, but when he does, he gives Iggy a serious run for his money in the uber-post department. I keep telling him he needs to break these dissertations into multiple parts, but he refuses, giving me a guilt trip about how “I can’t be bothered to read his blog even though he only posts once a month”, blah, blah, blah. I did read his most recent post – well, most of it – enough to get the gist of his interesting night the last time he was out playing cards. I knew all about The Penguin.
When we arrived at the game, the main table was full, so Scott and I waited for a few minutes to get another game going. While waiting, he turned to me and said “Do you see it?” “What?” “The Penguin.” “Oh… oh my God. You’re exactly right.” There, in the middle of the table, surrounded by high schoolers, twenty-something douchebags, and old Stud players, was a Batman character come to life. Hunched over the table in an unzipped hoodie and greasy hair in his eyes, The Penguin was not having a good afternoon. But he was happy to see Scott there, and dying to get some of his money back.
We start a second, short-handed table after a few more players arrive. Our table is calm, quiet, and while it is playing like a 1/2/12 game, we’re having a good time – just a friendly game of cards. We hear laughter come from the other table, and soon get word that the Penguin has busted. It’s not long before he rebuys, but this time he moves to our table, taking the seat two to my left. His beautiful girlfriend is always sitting behind him, just quietly watching and taking it all in. She’s very sweet, offering the table gum and getting coffee for a player. It’s hard, but I resist the urge to ask her what the fuck she is doing with him? Does she think because he plays poker he’s cool?? Does she know he kinda really sucks at it? Does she really find him attractive?? Really???? Call me shallow, but there is no amount of money that could overpower that boy’s looks. He doesn’t even have charm or wit in his corner. Instead, he acts like a smart-ass 10 year old who has never been out of the house; a social retard with no disconnect between what the brain thinks and the mouth then says. He asks everyone what they bought in for, a classless move that the club owner tells him to knock off. He asks why, and is then told “Cause it’s like asking how big a guy’s thing is. You want someone to ask you that??” Oo! Someone ask! I wanna know if that’s the secret! He thinks, because of my association with Scott, that I’m an easy target. I raise pre-flop with AQo, he calls, and the flop is paired, all low cards. I bet out, and he announces “You don’t got it. You got nothing” while grabbing a handful of chips. Thirty seconds later, the chips are back on the felt and he’s staring at the flop, while another guy at the table laughs at him for the sudden lack of confidence. He folds, then whines when I muck – “You’re not going to show me?? Aww, come on.” Um, no. My favorite moment was when I was checking the text messages I was getting from a now-departed Scott, and The Penguin looked at my phone and snidly asked “Why didn’t you get the new one?” “This is the new one”, girlfriend and I said at the same time; her with obvious lust in her eye. Honey, if you can identify the cool gadgets, then by all means get your pretty face in the other room and hook up with Vanilla Ice’s younger brother or the hot Italian high schooler who are both sporting new Treos!! Plus Vanilla’s got about $500 in front of him, whereas Penguin keeps stealing money from your wallet.
My run in with the Penguin has lead me to conclude that the UIGEA is going to lead to a dramatic decrease in the number of anti-social losers that have been having regular sex with beautiful women. No longer will they be able to tell stories of depositing $20 on Stars and running it into the thousands (find the obvious tell there, kids); causing beautiful but maybe not quite so bright women to fall into their beds. You know, after they clean off the comic books, dirty laundry, and potato chip bags. So there’s the silver lining out of the bill – more pretty girls for you respectable young men, and social Darwinism can begin to take its course.
Thursday was capped off with much drinking and good friends, one of whom I hadn’t seen in years. The Kid was put Under Suspicion, because at a place known for its Everclear margaritas, he orders a frozen one, bananna flavored. To give you an idea of the evening, I believe the last thing I said before passing out in bed was “What’s that crinkling sound?? Oh, it’s the $20 in my bra.”
Friday was another beautiful day, and after sleeping deliciously late, I headed out in search of a birthday cake (bought with that $20) and cleaned the house in preparation for the evening’s poker game. Thanks for all of the birthday e-mails, text messages, and phone calls – I choose to not answer my father’s question of “Does it feel any different to be 30?” as my answer thus far was that yes, I’m getting hit on about 10 times more, and by men I would actually consider dating; and apparently I no longer get hangovers. So far, thirty totally rocks.
As usual, our poker game got off to a late start, but this time we had celebrity guests. In addition to Amy coming out, Dan was in town along with his roommate Sang (known as The Blogfodder), and Kat had also returned this week and dropped by too. As it is the Offical Drink of Pokerblog, Amy and Dan both brought gifts of Tuaca; a bottle of which we polished off between the first SNG bust out and the start of the cash game. As happens with bloggers in attendence, pictures were taken, and things were recorded :
A smoke break podcast was by no means professional, but topics include Dan’s sunglasses, flashing butts, and Paul Darden’s “flashlight”.
Random snipets from our cash game after –
[That male voice you mainly hear is Scott’s]
I’m Rick James, bitch
[Note – there was an Ace on the turn]
Amy Calistri’s sexual past [lets see how many Google hits I get for that one!]
All in all, a fantastic time. Tonight, it’s off to the races, where the BoyGenius gifted me with a race card full of picks. I just had two sugar cookies for breakfast, and I’d lay solid odds that around 1 am tomorrow I’ll be in my favorite booth at Katz’s, under the picture of Shea Stadium, eating fried pickles and knocking back a cocktail or two. Sunday is therefore devoted to football and detoxing.