Thursday, December 30, 2010

How Scott Williams Won 2010.

I don't like admitting defeat. But I do like to give credit where credit is due.  2010 has been a fun and exciting year in poker for me, and for a lot of my friends.  I don't think there are very many people who know me who do not also immediately think of Scott Williams. This is purely accidental. I hear all sorts of stories.. people who believe we're cousins, (or as he puts it "kissing cousins"), people who think we're poker partners, people who believe I'm a hooker he picked up at the Horseshoe (long story), and most frequently.. people who believe we're married or at the very least romantically involved.  I often hear from friends of friends of friends, people recounting stories of being at a table with us (Why does he always draw my table?!) and saying "Oh those two, they're so funny." Or more frequently "Hey Jen, where is Scott?" if I'm out in a card room without him. I will go on record by saying that him and I are not, and never have been (even after considerable alcohol impairment) anything more than just really good friends. I honestly know nothing about his love life, and I only tell him the parts of mine that are funny or entertaining.

"Funny" is the word that almost everyone who knows either of us, associates with either of us. And when we get together, we have a good balance of feeding each other material for entertainment purposes.

What a lot of people catch glimpses of, but maybe not the whole scope, is that we have a long standing practical joke rivalry. We're constantly in competition, whether its through prop bets or good natured embarassment of the other.  We enjoy getting laughs out of others, but its deeper too.. we also really like besting the other. The reason him and I are able to be such good friends.. is absolutely nothing is off limits.  I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that whatever extent I go to, to humiliate him, will not cross the line. Better yet, we're both the type to actually applaud a well timed joke.. even at our own expense. I'm actually proud of him when he executes a perfect insult, and I know he's at least a little proud when I manage to turn an entire poker room on him.

This year was fairly back and forth. I lost an "anything goes" bet on American Idol. (, so lame. He BARELY won). I got him to accidently drink a solid mouthful of tea tainted with about four pounds of table salt during the Gulf Coast Poker Championship. I lost a bet for my hotel room key in a poker tournament in front of dozens of strangers who now honestly believe me to be a prostitute. I evened the score of his 7th place finish in a ring event, by managing a 7th place finish the same day in a later event. He invited a really creepy stalker of mine to join us for dinner at a really fancy restaurant, where my stalker proceeded to inform the waitstaff that I was his sister and we regularly engage in sexual activity. I convinced a flamboyantly gay waiter at a steakhouse that Scott couldn't live without him, and he proceeded to rub his chest all over Scotty's back during a poker game while cooing sweet nothings in his ear. We both got owned by four guys right out of prison, in the bar at the Beau Rivage when the whole scene took a turn straight out of Deliverance and we were equally fearful for our odds of getting out unharmed. There was poetry and random comments like "you sure do got a pretty mouth" (And the guy was talking to Scott).  We both managed to pick up a girl in the same bar weeks prior, get her up to the hotel room, and still NEITHER of us got any action.

Up until now, either one of us would clearly declare ourselves the winner in both witt and humor, not to mention the perpetual torture of the other. Tonight though, two days before the New Year, he actually made me marvel.  You see, I greatly appreciate when someone goes to lengthy extent to pull off a gag. Tonight when I came into the poker room, there was a wrapped present. Complete with bow.  The paper read "Ho ho ho" (He calls me the "Poker Ho").  I didn't take the bait and actually stayed as far away from the offending object as possible until he had the other poker host deliver it to HIM at the poker table. He then declared that this was, in fact, my Christmas present to him. (Odd, because I was pretty sure that we had a mutual understanding that Christmas presents were stupid and not necessary between us). So this was an unexpected twist.  I knew it would be funny, whatever it was.  But I was a little afraid. Midget porn?  Extenze male enhancement pills? A penis pump? Whatever was in that box, I had a prepared comeback.

He made a big display of opening his present in front of everyone.  Inside, was a framed picture, with a little thought bubble attached to an adjacent frame. Framed in pink construction paper, with a little cut out heart was a picture of me (stolen from Facebook), apparently in thought.. and inside the thought bubble, outlined in pink heart.. is a picture of him sitting at a poker table. He gushed over the picture and thanked me profusely. I had no idea what to say to this. I was in a terrible catch 22. 50% of the people who play in my poker room believe me to be desperately in love with Scotty.  The other 50% believe him to be retarded over me. So to them, me giving him this gift.. only solidified their assumptions. There was laughter, but mostly sweet "Ohhhs and Ahhhs" over my apparent romantic notion. Only I had absolutely NOTHING to do with this. Not only did he design, decorate and wrap this gift himself.. right down to the pink heart, but he also graciously thanked me with a very believable "touched" expression.

On one hand, I kind of want to kill him right now. Even after he left, people assured me that I didn't need to be embarassed over "my" gift.  You see, we joke so often and no one knows when we're being serious, that everyone literally believes they intruded on a personal moment. That I am, afterall, desperately in love with him.. and they've been right all along. So instead of being the funny, cool poker chick who routinely shoots Scotty down, now.. the tables have been turned.  Now I'm the sort of woman who cuts up pictures with pink construction paper and frames them for my high school sweetheart.

On the other hand, this is the most delightful gift I've ever gotten. Scotty wasn't rewarded with the scores of laughter he'd hoped to receive, but what he doesn't know is that I am in complete awe of him right now. The amount of thought he put into publicly torturing me is tremendous. The extent that he would go to to embarass me at my place of work is absolutely fantastic. I don't think I will ever be able to look at that framed atrocity without laughing out loud. Its the sort of thing that won't make sense to nine out of ten people, but that ridiculous framed picture sums up our entire relationship.  No.. not some secret adoration, but rather, the perpetual understanding that while neither of us have egos.. we've created some comical alternate reality that fuels the outside perception of us. Its flawless.

Here is the bad news.  There are two days left in the year, and unless I come up with something brilliant.. I will have to grudgingly admit that he's gotten the better of me in 2010. I say grudgingly, because if I couldn't win.. the only other person I would be okay with taking down the victory would be Scotty too Hotty.

2011 is going to be a bitch of a year for him though.  He really should move.  Out of state.  With an unlisted number. Quickly.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Classic - And Poker Room Creepers

The Goldstrike was an odd event all around.  The fields weren't great, the tournament room didn't have a good "feel" to it.. it just wasn't that much fun. I didn't play well, in the very few events I played and I didn't have any phenominal run of cards. Its the first poker event I remember actually electing to go home instead of hanging around for as many events as possible. I think its too close to Christmas to really be in the zone for poker. I did get a chance to connect with the lovely Al Theriac of Magnolia fame.. and his wife Delores. Ryan Potter was there of course, always with a slightly better hand than myself.  My friend Connie cashed in an event, and Stephen Garrett and I ended up at the same table (much to my dismay! He's a great guy, but he's better than me.. and I can't charm him into taking it easy on me, so I'd rather avoid him). A lot of the usual faces.  I've played enough at this point that between being at just about everyone's table at some point or another, and the magazine column.. there are very few people I don't recognize.  I like seeing the same people throughout the year and hearing about their successes and bad beats along the way.

In our usual fashion, the one event I played with Scotty.. we draw not only the same table, but side by side seats. We also had a dealer with a bad case of either Ebola, HIV or Smallpox. Maybe all of the above. But he was sick. And I anticipate that in approx. 12 days, we both will be too. I think he would have been cute too, if he wasn't an odd shade of green with fluid oozing from various orifaces. A pity. Spent some quality time with Joe from Horseshoe, who I adore. But really, aside from just being a week long social outing, the poker really didn't amount to much. I had small success in a cash game.. and on some random slot machine that had something to do with Goldfish. If I wake up in time, I'll catch the final event tomorrow at noon. Maybe.

Now, to my next point.  Some of the creepiest people I've ever met in my life hang out in poker rooms. Tonight is an excellent testament to that.

Its a running joke among my friends that I have a magnet for pulling the creepiest people out of their caves and drawing them into my personal space.  I'm like crack for crazy people. I also have a couple of dear friends who find this to be an attractive quality of mine, simply because they enjoy the entertainment value that comes out of it.  Usually at my expense. 

Tonight started out normal enough.  I'm working my magic in the poker room.  My friend Scotty had his family up at the steakhouse for a birthday dinner, and I got to meet them. They were normal, charming people (actually, he should probably get a DNA test.. they were far more likeable than I would expect from any bloodline that could be responsible for his creation.  Maybe he's the black sheep..). It looked like the night would pass without incident.  And then it happened.  The crazy who set the standard for other crazies to live up to, wandered in.  He's one of those that lurk in the poker room, but appear to have never actually ever played poker in his life. With little to no provocation, he starts talking about this time that a brown recluse bit him and created a large sore on his backside, and he was thus inspired to call an escort service. (?!). So he does. And for whatever reason, he didn't use protection. And the hooker ended up pregnant with his daughter. And now, he is a vagabond, stalking this hooker across the United States so he can keep tabs on his kid. We eventually shake this guy, and by we I mean Jason, Jamie and Shawn. We link up with a coworker of mine, Tim and go have a cocktail in the bar.  There we meet "Pleather", or at least.. a man wearing pleather, who took great steps to eyeball stalk us for long periods of time. Even relocating himself for better vantage points. I was fortunate enough to capture a picture of Pleather creepin' on Jason. I have included it after this paragraph. The look on his face pretty much sums up the entire evening. Its pretty pro. Through a weird twist of fate, hooker-spider-guy and pleather meet and in the oddest display of "Getting to know you affection" actually start exchanging clothing. With each other. On the gaming floor. This delights me to no end. Jason is mildly intoxicated, and Jamie and Shawn are mildly horrified.  I'm not shocked at all, because really for me.. this makes perfect sense. After Scott and I fended off the prison guys straight out of Deliverance that night in Biloxi.. nothing surprises me anymore. We lose track of them for about an hour, and then, find them cozied up by the penny doubt sharing intimate sob stories involving hooker experiences gone bad.

The above delightful image includes Jason Brady, who is defending his sweater selection to me, and has absolutely no idea that he's being eyeball stalked by the pleather wearing gentleman behind him.

The reason I bring all this up?  There are a lot of really creepy people who hang out in poker rooms.  And around poker rooms.  One this week from the Winter Classic at Goldstrike ranks up there with the Deliverance boys, Pleather and Spider-Hooker. His name is Manzi, and at the event before this one we met and he promptly proposed.  Okay, I like odd balls. I'm down.  But shortly thereafter he went to a level of crazy I can't really process. I spent the next four days dodging him, while final tabling and running game on a far less crazy kid from Nashville. Fast forward to the Goldstrike, and there he is. Lurking. Everywhere. In that "after he touches you, you want to take a shower" kinda way. I have a sinking feeling that I haven't seen the last of him either.

Some of the most important people in my life, I've met in card rooms.  Friends I'll have forever, and even a relationship or two that went that distance. But my advice to anyone in need of cheap entertainment?  Go find a poker room and sit around for a little while.  If you're even slightly approachable, someone a few crayons short of a full box will approach you and leave you bewildered.  Maybe a bit emotionally scarred. And definitely with a story that will be worth repeating time and time again.

I'm off to bed. <3