Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Poker with A-holes

Final tabled in the Hardware Bar Tournament! Finished ninth as I, yet again, didn't have a hefty schtack and had to go all-in with a less than desirable hand.

While that was rewarding, the night was tense and not as much fun as usual. The Hardware Bar is in downtown York, Pennsylvania, which has all the drawbacks of a city and few of the perks. The bar itself is a meat market with a poker room in the back. The tournament attracts white trash, gangstas, cocky college kids, and any other angry poker player in the area. There is very little joking or conversation, and many people are drunk.

At the first table, I sat with a toothless asshole who thought he was playing in the WSOP main event and was the inventor of the game. He screamed at a young lady when she didn't realize he'd hit his straight and grabbed for the chips. Then, when three other players filled in out table, he insisted we not deal for the ace to decide who should deal. He thought they shouldn't play until the button passes them. We handled it the best way: we ignored him and dealt for the ace anyway. He landed in the small blind again.

"If this was AC, I'd shut this game down!" Shut up, asshole. This is a tournament, not a cash game. You can't have three players sitting out a bunch of hands, dick.

Jump ahead to the final table. A guy without much experience was to my right. I'd played with him at the first table and he was very respectful. Now, he was drunk and Lucky McLuckbox. He had a huge stack and played every shit hand and hit most of them. To make matters worse, he was so sloppy drunk and inexperienced that we had to shepherd him through each hand.

"You have to bet at least 1000." "Oh, sorry."
"Wait your turn, it's not your turn yet." "My bad."

So, he goes all in and another, smaller stack asks him "What have you got?"

Drunky flips his cards. Q5 offsuit.

"No! He was asking how many chips you have!" "Oh, I didn't know, he asked me what I had."

Having seen his cards, the smaller stack calls with KJ. Drunky hits his 4-8 straight.

Even though it really isn't Drunky's fault, the busted stack goes ballistic and actually threw a chair. The tournament director, a woman who weighed about 110 was the only authority in the room. A bouncer came by after the guy left and gave us the hairy eyeball. I almost laughed at him and was not surprised to watch him leave almost immediately.

A few hands later, me and drunky check through a hand. I have ace high, he hit a pair of queens on the river. Damn.

A few hands after that, I'm checking out the board and the other players' stacks and the action comes to me. I reach down to pick up my cards and I pick up Drunky's hand, which he somehow put down right in front of me. I tell him what happen and fold in disgust. Fucking asshole.

Now, the drunkmeister is head to head with another large stack for a large pot. The showdown comes and the other guy shows a straight. Drunky goes, "you take it" and flips over a full house. It's pointed out that he won and the other guy makes a comment that he was lucky he'd flipped his cards over or he wouldn't have taken that pot. He tells the Drunkster to pay attention.

"Or what, you gonna kick my ass?"

Oh boy. I wanted to kick his ass, but I was sober and was smarter than him anyway. It was almost a relief when I busted out.

One of the drawbacks of playing late into this tournament (besides it's winner-take-all format) is having to make your way through the packed bar to get to the exit. It's full of college kids and local meatheads. Now, I went to college, but I'm the first to say that college guys are just dicks, plain and simple, too busy trying to get laid and being the toughest guy in the room.

So, I'm blocked by a heavily muscled dude with his trendy button down shirt, his blow-dried hair, and his gorilla friends. He's got his latest date rape victim cornered and a snoot-full of Jaegermeister.

"Excuse me," I say, with the "I'm not gay I'm trying to get by," hand on his shoulder.

"Excuse you!"

Come on jackass. I'm not trying to horn in on your slut. I doubt beating up a short, pudgy middle-aged man would impress her much anyway.

Now, fifteen years ago, with my boys watching my back, it would have been "Fuck you!" in return emphasized with a shove. Now, humbled by common sense and age, I simply stare at him until he decides to move.

Goddamn Hardware Bar.


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