If you're a female poker player and can't manage to get laid, there is something seriously wrong with you. Poker is a veritable man buffet, and not a crappy buffet either. Sure, there are the prerequisite six day old food selections that smell bad and are crunchy. But there are also King Crab legs, Prime Rib and Oysters Rockefeller. Every single day.
As with most buffets there is an understanding in advance that there is no take-out box. You better enjoy as much as you like while you're there. And don't bother trying to sneak a dinner roll home in your purse either, because you'll quickly find out that a lot of these man-delicacies are not so delightful outside the brick and mortar. A lot of them who were business owners, pro poker players and real estate investors over a vodka cranberry the night before, under the harsh light of a non-synthetic sun, are actually unemployed and quite often married. Which isn't a terrible thing, really, the deception.. because what is the allure and grandeur of the casino industry if not based in illusion?
For the most part, I avoid the buffet. I don't play poker to hook up and I almost always stick to my policy of "Nothing good happens in a casino after 12 am". Most male poker players have little game off the felt, when confronted with a female is witty, can hold her own and doesn't irritate the daylights out of them in a tournament. However, we're all human, and who hasn't had a night of indiscretions in an environment where cocktails flow free-ly and money is the lubrication for all things.
This lifestyle is not conducive to having a relationship. Or a marriage, really. Not that anyone really wants to be married these days. In a relationship where both people play poker, both have to be financially stable and fairly evenly talented or problems will arise. There is nothing worse than dealing with someone who has an inflated perception of their ability, or an absolute inability to finance their own ventures. Its equally challenging to balance a relationship with someone who does NOT play, and try to work out the nuances of a 4 day bender or bad runs - while still garnering the support a dedicated player needs.
So with all that being said, from time to time, the man buffet starts to look appealing. Even if its just temporary satisfaction rather than long term gratification.
In the interest of full disclosure, as a public service to all of you men (and women) I will call upon my two most significant indiscretions (which happen to be the total of the last year and a half). One of these two did just about everything wrong (see the following list) but was hot enough to be forgiven. The other did almost nothing wrong, and if I run into him in daylight somewhere as long as it isn't in a church, I might even enjoy it. Consider this my list of what NOT to do when trying to run game on a fellow card player regardless of gender.
- Do not lie about your name, location, cash record or tournament wins. We all have google on our phones now, and depending on where we're seated in the casino and approx. how many bars we have, we will know in less than thirty seconds just how full of shit you are. Plus, we probably don't care anyway. Our level of care will directly correlate to exactly how attractive you are, and how much we've had to drink.
- Poker is a small world. We're all going to see each other again. Probably soon. Its a really good idea to have a basic, quick discussion about that and try to sort out the stalker-likelihood you're dealing with. One time, ages ago, I let some whack job buy me a cocktail after a tournament. We talked, he was creepy, I bailed. Apparently he took my abrupt departure as "playing hard to get". Now I see this fucker absolutely everywhere. If I'm at a final table, there is a 75% probability that he's seated to my right. He has this amazing propensity for accidentally stalking me. And he's doing a great job. Its been about four weeks since I've had to encounter him and I was starting to feel like we'd finally broken the trend.. then my column comes out this month, and sure as shit.. his picture is right there on the same page with mine. He's accidentally stalking me in my column now. Delightful.
- If you do manage to hook up with someone you meet in a card room, under no circumstances.. before or after, should you ever utter the words "Oh shit, my wife just called." Even if this is in fact the truth. Instead say.. "I'm going to go get ice/go home/discretely disappear while you're in the shower". Anyone who is buying into the illusion wants the full service experience. Don't blow it. As a man, if you don't understand this, imagine your freshly conquered lady-friend declaring "Oh no, I hope that isn't a herpes flare up I feel coming on." Herpes and wives. Not entirely different.
- Do not gossip. Do not share those pictures on your cell phone. (Yes, I'm talking to you. The rest of you, don't ask), Do not expect just because we shared a nice dinner and cocktails in one state, for that person to necessarily remember it three states later. These events tend to bleed together. It isn't personal.
- If a dealer hits on you, and you aren't interested. Do not say.. "Sure I'll meet you at the bar, say.. around midnight" with no intention of showing up. There is a very high probability that he or she will be dealing you cards the next day for 6 hours and you won't be able to escape. This is compounded if the dealer's dad is actually a friend of yours, and subsequently turning down his facebook requests will inspire his entire extended family to prompt you to add him. Speaking purely hypothetically here. Don't judge me.
- DO be funny. DO keep things cool. If you actually WANT to see these people again, understand that they're going to be gone. A lot. To a lot of different places. Have fun, keep things low stress and be direct. The odds are though that you're going to have to mow through approx. 7,345 players inflicted with a mild case of douchebaggery to find one worth keeping around, and really, who has time for that? So keep your expectations low.
One night stands, or even one-event stands.. and sometimes.. one poker season stands are not like your typical hookups. You can't escape these people. So every lie you tell, every awkward "I'm sorry, this has never happened before, it must be the alcohol" moment you share, every little detail you're going to be forced to witness again and again. Or quit playing. And take up badminton. So use common sense and consider adopting my policy. If it begins and ends after midnight, you're probably going to regret it at some point.
And for those occasions that you don't regret it (We'll call both of them Oysters Rockefeller and Prime Rib respectively).. the amount of poker lingo that can be turned into sexual innuendo is far more vast than one would imagine. And highly entertaining.