Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Papa was a Rolling Stone (Part 2)
It was the last time I saw him for almost two months. In fact, I had begun to get so worried that I asked B. a pretty DayShift Dealer at Caesars if she had seen him either. She also was starting to get a little worried. Maybe two weeks after I asked B., I stopped past Caesars on my way to Kwi (their noodle bar, which is the best in the city) when I heard a familiar bellowing coming from the 2/5 NL table at the end of the room. I didn't have to look to know who it was, but I looked anyway. And there he was, he looked a little thinner, but otherwise the same. As soon as he saw me, he started yelling. One funny thing is that he's maybe the only person in AC who doesn't call me by any of my names; no Joel, no Pittsburgh, no Renegade. He usually just says Hey or Hey you or sometimes refers to me affectionately as 'Boy'. This time he called me something he had never called me ever before, "Son," as in "Hey Son, come here." I walked over and he gave me a great big bear hug and whispered in my ear "Thank you, thank you so much." It turns out that the night I had seen him he had had a big weekend, in fact he had won over 12k and had it on him in cash when he fell out. But even more importantly, he had gone to the doctor where he found out he had gallstones and that the episodes of pain he was experiencing meant that his condition was potentially life threatening. He doctor recommended surgery immediately and he was just recovering. He asked me if I needed anything, I told him I was just glad he was OK. The Dealer motioned to him that it was his turn to act on a new hand, he turned to the Dealer and said 'Don't be rushing me, I'm talking to my son, he saved my life, least I can do is say thanks." He told me there was no way that he could ever repay me, but if I ever needed anything to just ask. I told him it was cool, I was just glad I could help. He said "If I ever hit the Bad Beat Jackpot, the first thing I'm going to do is give you $1000." I said cool, if I ever hit it , I'll do the same.
Which leads me to my second favorite James memory. It was about six months after James had his operation, back when the Trump Plaza casino next to Caesars had opened a poker room with electronic PokerTek tables. I loved playing there, less rake, no dealer mistakes, faster dealing and thus more hands. I was playing in a tournament there and busted out on one of the worst beats I'd ever taken, where a guy put me all-in on the Turn when he was drawing to one out and then he hit it. I was so disgusted, I left the Plaza and walked over to Caesars, But I only had $400 on me and so I decided to only play 1/2 instead of 2/5. Problem was, it was Saturday night and all the 1/2 tables were full and there was a 30 + person list. They did have a few seats at 2/5 though, the Floorperson told me. I really didn't want to play 2/5 with only one Buy-in and didn't trust myself to be patient enough to only play with two $200 bullets. I walk back to check out the games and there is James complaining at the top of his lungs about a guy who just beat him out of a pot and is now leaving. "Where you going?" he asked "You afraid of me? You better be afraid, you better run if you wanna keep my money." He looked up and saw me "Hey Son." he said "Come on and sit here in this game."
I told him i didn't feel like playing 2/5, but he wasn't trying to hear it.
"Stop being silly and sit down, Son." he told me. I told him I'd wait for a 1/2 seat. But he wouldn't stop, so after about five minutes, when another player left, I took the 5 seat. James was in the 8 seat at the end of the table and was having trouble seeing. He asked for the 5 seat and I took the 4 instead. To make a long story even longer, it was my Big Blind. I posted and mucked when someone raised. The next hand I posted my Small Blind. The 7 seat raised to $25 and the 10 seat made it $75 to go. I had A4 offsuit and folded, but when James looked at his cards, he hesitated. I knew right away he had a big hand. He looked to his left and then smooth called. It's been said that not all trappers wear furs and I was sure James was trying to trap these guys with his pocket Aces. The flop came AK9 and James checked, the 7 seat bet $90 and the 10 seat raised to $250. James couldn't get all his chips into the pot fast enough. Both remaining players called. The Turn was King and the River a four. James turned out Aces full of Kings, but the 10 seat turned over two black Kings for quad Kings. The Bad Beat Qualifying hand at that time was Aces full of Jacks which meant that James had just hit the BBJ. I checked the TV, the BBJ was 212k, James had just won 106k, the 10 seat had won 53k and the rest of us had won $6,600. I had only been at the table for two hands. James grabbed me as the table exploded with joy. "What just happened?" he asked me. I told him he'd hit the BBJ for over 100k. "Did I hit it?" he asked, over and over again. "Yes James" I kept saying "You hit it." Despite the fact that I'd won over six thousand, he still wanted to give me the thousand he'd promised. I said OK, but I was still going to give him a thousand too. We called it a push. He called me his lucky charm. To be honest, I didn't really care what he called me, as long as he still called me "Son."