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I invite a girl to Crack my Aces

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  • I invite a girl to Crack my Aces

    I've reported some of the dry details of my trip.
    I think it is time to tell a story.

    It is about 8 AM and I am playing poker with the old regulars who come to the Imperial Palace to play for the Aces cracked, to lose a small pot but get $100 from the casino.
    To my left is an empty seat, a rare thing most mornings as these tables fill quickly and stay filled often until all the cracked pockets are gone.

    I am often the most talkative and the loudest at the table. At times I know some of the old local regulars resent having their routine interrupted by a tourist in party mood playing an predictable game.

    To my left is a huge Black fellow who might have played some football. He plays decent Hold Em, but he is no match for these tight regulars. He is in way too many hands, raising without reason, and the fellows are passing him around.

    He is not unpleasant, but he is a bit surly, the way one gets when one is in hand after hand as second best and confused by it.
    I get some good cards and most fold, so I end up head to head with him and I win about three hands that he calls to the river. He is not happy.
    A couple hands later my cards go nowhere, but I bet the river anyway as I detect he is weak and if I don't bet, I can't win.
    He considers.
    He wants to call me.
    Perhaps he senses I am weak as well and just pushing.
    Certainly, he just figures that I can't have good cards all the time.
    But having only showed good cards, I have a good table image, and so he folds.
    As he folds he says, " There will be a hand coming where I will get you."
    It is not friendly banter.

    I try to loosen him up just a bit.
    "Hey, you're not one of these guys who takes 2-4 seriously, are you?" I ask smiling.
    So he has an opportunity to laugh, to say he isn't and make a joke and be friendly.
    But he is quietly raging inside, and there are no jokes in him this morning.

    "I just said there will come a hand when I will....take... you... down," he says and the threat is clear.
    "I got that," I answer. "I also caught the tone."
    "That is the nicest tone I have," he says, and that would have been a good joke, but he is not joking. He is all threat.

    I laugh anyway.
    That will be the last I ever say to him.

    And I won't be bluffing him off another hand either. He has warned me that he is primed to sock it to me. So I'll only go after him when I have the goods. I'll do this twice more over the next half hour or so in hands where I look weak until the river when I raise, and he will eventually change his seat to another table, and when this table breaks, and I am moved to that other table, he will just stop playing poker altogether and leave, probably having lost money, not much of it to me really, but certainly projecting on me his puzzled frustration.

    It is true that I am one of the more aggressive players at this table. The rest seem to have a sort of unspoken agreement that they won't compete too much for pots, but just wait for the Aces (at $100) and later the kings ( at $50). It does make good sense not to bet if we can't beat a pair of kings. It may well be out there.

    Three guys at one end are jokingly called the Three Musketeers. They come together, sit together, go to the bathroom together, leave to cash out together. Certainly they have some silent signal when one of them gets the Aces, but I never catch it.
    At Imperial Palace there only needs to be $10 in the pot for cracked Aces. At Flamingo there needs to be $20. So that keeps the tightest old guys at Imperial Palace.

    Another regular is Louie. He is an old guy, older than I am. When he shows up with his dressy hat and maybe a sporty suit jacket, you think Mac the Knife is back in town. Louie has Parkinson's and it takes him time to assemble chips for a bet. The guys who know him say to watch him, and if he bets without shaking, then fold, because he has the goods.
    I think of this not as real information, but just a joke, the irony being that one good tell that a player has good cards is that his hand shakes when he bets.
    I am not in many hands with Louie, because he is flighty. Perhaps he is just getting in his hours. He plays a hand or two and then is gone for a while and back to play a hand or two. I don't see how this is good play because he plays more blinds that way, but maybe if a guy is very low bankrolled, he can squeeze out the hours he needs for the weekly freeroll.

    But he is very friendly. Maybe because he hears me mourning Jimmy's death, and he was one of Jimmy's best friends.

    At times there is joking about having Louie and Dewey at the table. One day a guy got very drunk and insisted he was Huey, insisted he be called Huey, bet with statements of his alterego in the third person like, " Huey just calls."
    He got so drunk he bet straights that were only in his head.

    But this morning it is still early. Just old guys, good players.
    I am the only one drinking.
    Coffee and Sambucca. My usual breakfast.

    I see the pretty girl watching our game high up on the elevated glassed in section to my right. She smiles and I wave to her to come down and join us, showing her the empty seat next to me, teasing her to come play with us.

    A minute later she is there in the empty seat to my left.
    She is good looking and very friendly, but she can't play because not only does she not know anything about this particular game, she does not even know the ranking poker hands.
    She has a pleasant face, soft olive skin, and when she slips off her coat I know I'll be well entertained between playable hands. She is dressed in black, something a little lacy, but not so provocative as that lingerie look the girls now put on to go clubbing at 2 AM.
    "I just learned Blackjack," she tells me.
    She sits in the empty seat, and watches, and I tell her not to play with her money, but I give her some sense of the game between hands, just what beats what and a bit of poker 101. She is a great contrast to the quiet old men. They are not actually grumpy, but they are quiet and they come for poker, not camaraderie.
    It might be that Gary from Alberta is there to my right. I think so, but it is hard to remember for certain. Gary is a quiet man, but very friendly, and I like having him about for a bit of conversation. even with long pauses in between.
    He is a twin of a fellow I play with every week. It is eerie.

    I know that my buddy from the old El Cortez crowd is not there. He comes later that day, and we get caught up on all the old characters, tell a couple Action Jackson stories, mourn again the death of Jimmy at 55 this year, and in general, we have a great visit. I show him my American Casino Guide Resort Fee article and we talk a bit about that practice.
    I am Facebook friends with him, but it is his children who put up all the pictures from his childhood, and actually work his site.
    He is an honorable and friendly guy, and a wonderful poker player. He will talk and tell stories and knows a little something about most topics.
    I hate being in a hand with him; I certainly will lose.

    Anyway, the girl and I talk while I throw away junk after junk after junk and just play blinds and those I do not very aggressively.
    One thing about this game is my blinds generally see free flops. A guy with pocket Aces won't raise preflop. After 11AM, pocket a guy with pocket kings won't either. So my blinds rarely need to be protected. Probably the only raises except mine are A-K and pocket Queens. I sometimes raise in last position with suited connectors, but in this game I may lose too many callers to make that a good bet.
    The other thing I realize is that my biggest leak is playing connectors from 7-10. I like them. In this game they are not a bad play. I do restrict myself to the button or near the button and I need to have enough callers.
    On this table I don't raise either, as I might in a no fold em game. These guys will fold.

    But a guy with Aces, rather than push me out, is hoping I will catch and will give me free cards without my having to make a button raise to get one. They will give me the free cards just because they want to be beaten and get the $100 bonus.

    The girl says she is 21 and from Miami.
    "Are you Latino?" I ask.
    She responds in a little bit of huff that she is obviously Black, and it puzzles me that she would be surprised to be asked that question, an olive skinned girl from Miami.
    I apologize, tell her there are lots of Black Latinos, and that I only asked because I knew of a great lounge act at the Eastside Cannery that was a wonderful Latino show.
    " Well, I would not understand that," she said, "because it would all be in Spanish."
    "Yes, it would."

    We are still friends.

    The Black guy is interested, but he is still not friendly. They talk a bit, and then she turns back to me.

    I wonder if he feels like I am beating him at poker and pretty girls.

    The night before I played with a Black girl to my right who was overweight, fat faced, and not particulary attractive, but very, very sweet.
    Her boyfriend played a while, then he gave the seat up to her. He was an easy going guy and we had a good friendly banter, so when I took down a big pot, she bumped me me a bit.
    "Did you feel that bump?" she asked.
    "Yes, I did....and for a 65 year old guy that was better than winning this pot."
    I don't think too many men compliment this heavy girl and she just beamed.

    This morning someone comes to play in the empty seat, and this girl moves behind me and a bit to my right.
    I'm sorry.
    I now have to turn to talk to her and to see her pretty face.

    And then I get the second hint.
    From behind, she rests her head on my right shoulder.

    Soon, she asks me if we can meet for a drink somewhere and I say a ridiculously disingenuous thing,
    "Thanks for that invitation, but I'm a very conservative man."
    "Well, you drink, don't you?" she asks.
    "Yes........I do.........but I drink here..........for free."

    So , soon she is telling me it is time for her to go and to watch for her if I change my mind. She is friendly until the last, and I don't have that sense I have wasted any of her time. She was on and off her cell phone and I think this was dead time. She got a free orange juice.

    My buddy Wild Bill will talk to the working girls a while. His famous line is, "I can't afford you because you are too pretty. That gets them trying to explain how reasonable they are and keeps them for a while in a conversation. He got approached seven times once walking from Mandalay Bay to Bellagio.
    But I don't like using up their time. I think of it as hard work. with plenty of people taking advantage. I don't want to be one of them.

    The table meanwhile has been silently cracking up all this while. The dealer says that she tried to hit on him when he came to work that day, but he did not want to say anything to me because he did not know if I was trying to get something going.

    "No, I don't want to get anything going in Vegas. The statistics are pretty sad here in Vegas. If I wanted to get something going, I'd pay the big bucks and go out to Parump."

    Then the Black guy moves tables, and the game goes along in the quiet, plodding fashion of old men waiting for cracked Aces.
    Ah, Vegas.
    Nothing like this every happens to me at home.