Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Poker Night


There are many things that weren't too great about being unemployed. One of the things that bothered me was the lack of card playing. Since moving back to Buffalo, I've been throwing down cards every Sunday with my friends. I sat out a number of weeks before I was convinced to take a marker. Turned out to be a good move. Poker wining during March paid the bills until I landed my latest gig.

"Casino Buffalo" was looking ratty. Mike and Karl have been hosting the game for over ten years now. The Poker table has seen a great deal of action over the past decade. The green felt was worn, and there was a seat where some nasty nails tended to snag your sleeves. Over the weekend we put new felt on the poker table, added a finish to it and replaced some broken boards.

"Casino Buffalo" has it's charms. The mini-bar is full of beer, and liquor bottles line the mantle underneath the painting of dogs playing poker. The dining room the house is dominated by the poker table. A police portrait of ol' Blue eyes looks down from his poster, and signs warn new players that the casino is monitored on cameras.

Mike is an aggressive player who, a couple of years ago, decided he liked playing poker better than working. Karl is a chef at an upscale restaurant, and a methodical player. It's a good group. Usually there are two or three full time card players who show up, and chumps like me who like to throw money at them.

I wasn't about to turn down a chance to play on the refinished table. The only problem was that it was Mother's day, so the game started late...and I had to work early the next morning. Pity. Blood was in the water. We had a new poker player that night, two drunks, and my favorite walking bag of money showing up that evening. Blood was in the water, and the chum was making us all a little giddy.

I had told myself that I wouldn't stay past midnight. We didn't start playing until 11:45. Dragging myself away was pretty rough. After a series of bad calls and mental errors I managed to finish slightly up for the night. I caught myself trying to justify staying. After all, I reasoned, I was making more money per hour there than I do at work, and with everyone drinking it would only get better. Fortunately I have a wife who would kill me if I blew my new job. There's a reason why most full time gamblers are single.

There's allays next week.

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