Enjoying Awkward Situations...

Let me give you the lay of the land of my last cash game session. I have a pretty young Asian girl on my right. She's borderline flirting but in a nonthreatening way it seems. She clearly sees my wedding ring and is not making an effort to hide hers. So, I don't think she's going to go too far. She's terrible at poker but keeps asking me for my opinion.

Normally, the last thing I want to do is educate an opponent on poker strategy, especially one that is good for the game, but I could tell she wasn't long for it and she was genuinely nice and playing for enjoyment. I gave her a tip or two and confirmed that yes in fact she did misplay her pocket jacks, and her AK, and her straight. Yes, she should bet when she made a hand and check when she didn't unless she was bluffing. I was being polite.

To her right, and the reason I chose my seat, is a guy that is nursing one of those hangovers he didn't wake up and discover it just kind of took hold after his buzz from the night before tailed off. He had that glossy, glassy look to his eyes, and the vapors of grey goose and redbull were coming in hot from his breath. He also had over two gs in chips in front of him.

There were a couple of regulars at the table. They had the same obvious intentions as me. I want to get into hands with this guy and let him double me up time and time again. Course he's battling. With each fold his swollen head would drop to his forearms draped over the table.

I'm stunned he's playing rock tight. There are a couple of numskulls who came in together. They are eyeing the drunkard with a glint in their eye. I decide if I don't win his money, I want them to, because they are easier targets than the old regulars. Nobody's afraid of playing a pot with hungover boy, except the young Asian girl, and none of us can snap him off.

He's clearly coming off a great evening and we all are fresh eyed and want to bust him. I see him jerking his head to the side as he'd catch himself from falling asleep. Looked like he was driving through Kansas at 3 am.

I decide I'm going to punish his passive play. He's clearly protecting his stack so I'm gonna antagonize him and try to get him to put his stack into play. Every time he enters a pot, I pop it. He folds and I have to re-adjust to whoever is riding sidecar. Yet, my constant raising of him induces no frustration, it's almost like he's thankful he can fold and go back to being hungover.

Then I ask him if he'd like a pillow. Maybe I can needle him into playing.

Unfortunately, he smiles. "Man, I've been up for like 48 hours. I've been on a nonstop rush." Okay, change of tact. Back to being the nice guy. Actually, I prefer that. "Get a coffee," I advise and try to keep him talking. Despite my best efforts to befriend the hungover target he comes slightly to his senses and leaves shortly thereafter. No dining on the whale.

I scan the table and notice most of the money left with him. Fun. The regulars are equally not amused.

The Asian girl, brutally misplays pocket Jacks again. Flop brings an A and K. Action goes check, she bets, her opponent calls. Check, bet, call. Check, bet, raise all in--she calls. He has AK.

She says something unintelligible to me and gathers her stuff. She walks off saying, "How can he have Ace King?"

You'd never tell he had a hand the way he called you down and check raised you on the river.

Within, minutes she's back telling me she needs to use my cell phone so she can borrow some money, I think a heavy hint was steered my way because she kind of threw "borrow money" out there and let it linger. She looked like a good investment (sarcasm). It sat there a little longer after I gave her my phone and she made no effort to call anybody. If we were married it'd be like when the wife says "We need to take out the trash," and stares at me until we (or I) did it.

I let it sit there so more.

I reminded myself, she wasn't my wife.

She added, she needed to borrow the money from "somebody" (the mouse in her pocket?)because she's too good to stop playing, and gave a big smile. I almost up the percentage of me loaning her money from NEVER, EVER to a cold day in hell... but then I realize she wasn't trying to be funny, so I won't have to sweat any cold fronts.

I play the next hand, limp and fold to a raise, and she's kind of still just standing there not calling anybody. The "borrow money" hanging over my head. I nod at her, and keep nodding. I'm reveling in the awkward moment a little bit.

I had a friend in college who went on a road trip to another school. He met a random girl, they got along pretty well and then he stayed the night in her room. I'm sure they played Monopoly or something banal. Or not. The next morning she's up and about and he groggily sits up on the side of her bed. There's a knock and next thing my friend knows, a random dude walks in. The girl introduces him to my friend as her boyfriend. The guy sits on the other bed directly across from my friend. The girl excuses herself for "a minute" and leaves.

My friend and the boyfriend are just staring at each other. After a couple of jarringly brutal minutes, my friend just embraced the awkwardness of the situation and just stared at the guy kind of nodding. He decides he's not going to do or say anything. Just nod, politely. The boyfriend can't bring himself to ask the obvious question and the girl doesn't return. Finally, the boyfriend gets up and leaves the room. Victory.

I decide to pursue a similar tact with the Asian girl. She's basically asked me for a loan without asking, and I haven't said no, I've just ignored the obvious.

Finally, out of nowhere, the dude to my left, who I paid no attention to whatsoever, nudges me and raises his eyebrows and says "Buddddddy" in a whisper, alerting me that he had a pulse, he swallowed a dead nutria and he sported a Rollie Fingers type stash. "You going to give her the loan?" Eyebrows up again, the mustache in some sort of freakish facial foilage harmony follows suit. Three hairy caterpillers moving at once. "What you going to get in return?" Then he starts giggling like a 13 year old school girl.

For some reason, I'll never understand that type of guy. When I was younger I had a flight attendent hit on me while she was working and she kept feeding me little bottles of alcohol that I didn't ask for, and after each little conversation with her the passenger next to me would get all giddy with the potential the evening had in store for me. Once she let it known she was staying the night at our destination without me asking. He became unbearable. Throughout the flight, she'd sit down next to me and the guy would hold his magazine up and turn the pages but stare directly at us as we made vapid small talk.

I didn't know which was more annoying my situation or the dude. I'd never gotten hit on by a stewardess when I was single and yes, that's something any single young man would like to happen, might even fantasize would happen, and of course, at the time of this flight... I was in a relationship. It's like sitting at a Thanksgiving dinner with your mouth wired shut. In life as in poker timing is a bitch.

Just as painful was the passenger poking me with his elbows and telling me he'd never seen anything like it. I'd get a play by play after every little smile and flirtation or exchange when she'd walk away to fluff pillows or upright chairs. He was giddy. I remember he said "You have to do it... for me." Which to me is a classic headscratcher. One, what obligation do I owe him besides the sharing a foxhole type experience of flying Delta on a domestic flight together. And two, what was he going to get out of it? Why did I have to do it... for him.

Flash forward a decade, deja vu, now I got another eager egger on-er, but this time instead of a flight attendent promising a scandalous layover with her eyes, I got a broke and terrible poker player on the other side of me asking for money and not offering anything. But the man of many caterpillars reads a lot more into it.

Finally, "the boyfriend leaves the room." The girl admits defeat, but the awkwardness is not quite over. She pulls out her Iphone from her purse and then kind of looks at my phone. Oh, that's right, I can read her face, why'd she have to borrow my phone if she has one. She's as flummoxed as when she pissed away her stack with pocket jacks. She has that same Wile E. Coyote just stepped off a cliff look. Wide eyed she looks back and forth between the two phones. Then she sees me watching with the most naive look I can put on my face and then I tilt my head like a curious dog (like I was just beginning to put together her mistake). Now, I'm the one asking the question without asking it. More delightful awkwardness.

She doesn't know what to say. Then, mustachio boy saves her. "You looking up the numbers on your phone and going to call on his? What you missing your sim-card or something?" Bastard gives her an out.

She smiles gleefully, she says that's exactly what she was doing.

She follows though on the pretense, using the phonebook on the Iphone and calling on mine. "Think she's going to tell her husband she's going to have a long day," nudge, nudge, wink, wink. "You still gotta shot." This guy was annoying when Jack and Larry had to deal with him serving drinks at the Regal Begal 20 years ago, even worse on this day. She has two brief conversations, where she explains she needs some money. She winks at me. She clearly says, "Of course I'll win it. You know how good a poker player I am." Okay, I'll meet you at the "theater" and then the rendezvous for the other was at "Masquerade." She gave me back my phone and left.

Three lessons I learned from this session, apparently, anyone can get a backer (or two), I might look like a sucker, and maybe I should change the title of my blog.



Poker Monkey said…
EXCELLENT BLOG BILL! You continue to impress me as a writer, sir.


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