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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"I hate you...here's another $5"

Bust out of poker tourney. Walk around...irritated. Look at the bustle of, wow, I almost called it social interaction. I was in Tunica. America's most entertaining rest area. On the way to Tunica...we stopped for gas about 67 miles south of Tunica...at a Loves Truck stop. Ever visited one of those? They are massive...and typically are connected to two or three fast food places, this one had a McDonalds, and a chicken joint...a name I'd never heard of. Inside of that gas station/store they had everything and anything you could imagine...at cut rate prices.

NASCAR jackets. NFL jerseys (all with the number 00 on the back with the last name "Pittsburgh" or "Green Bay" or whoever the team was. There were fake leather NFL jackets for $45. Hats...mostly SEC or NASCAR-related...but even saw a Buffalo Bills hat. ???? Every kind of peanut variety imagineable. CB radios. Die Cast 18-wheelers. Wind socks. Even Snuggies (as seen on TV!!! claims the sign on the shelf). After getting lost in the wondrament of it all, Squirrel finally staggers into the store wondering what the hell happened to me. She quickly falls into the same pit I have. We ended up doing all our Christmas shopping in there. (to family members reading this...that was a stab at humor)

Walking around the casino floor...regretting this trip north, where I was currently stuck about $2400 on this trip. Where to next? My room to play online? Grrrrr. Just then I notice an open seat on a $10 blackjack game. I sit. I am approached by Will Smith....aka "The Fresh Prince of Southaven." Yes...he was white. Asked for my player's card. There you go. I am in a very sullen mood, quiet, removed...anti-social. Just looking for a place to 'recover.' Place 2 black chips above the betting line, in a show of 'how about making me change for 200 chips.' Not sure what other message I could have been sending.

Then it begins. Eric, a very tall dealer...who is black, is being defiant. Why? I have no idea. Since I JUST sat down. Quite often when I am in Tunica...there seems to be a wall that is immediately put up between white folks and black folks...and I'll be honest...it is getting really annoying, almost intolerable. Where did MLK get killed? In Memphis? Is that right? I think so...and maybe there has been some carryover from that. Just outside the casino parking lot there are fields and fields of cotton, which for decades was harvested by slaves, who were brought to our country in boats from Africa. It was a sad chapter in our countries history. One that Abraham Lincoln and his crew went to great extremes to erradicate from our existence.

Sprung from the freeing of the slaves was another century of civil rights movement. The right to vote. The right to basically exist in the company of whites. To me...this was just stupid. See, I am from the Pacific Northwest. And spent 8 years in Montana with another 13 in Seattle. I never experienced racial tension growing up as a kid or a young adult. In college I got my first real exposure to blacks, where a lot of them were my teammates, and was very fond of most of them. To this day, I am pretty good buddies with 3 or 4 of the top black poker players on the circuit. I don't base my opinions of people on their color, period. What I use to color my opinion of people is their personality, their character...and often times, their ability to make me laugh...or just not make me cry.

This isn't a complicated method of choosing friends in life. And deciding who my nemesis's are? Pretty much the same rating system. Act like a jackass, screw people over, talk about nothing interesting, in fact...just pretty much annoy me with everything you talk about....uh, demonstrate that you are self-centered, or disrespect everyone else's point of view on things...and guess what? You are likely to NEVER be someone I will be friends with.

Living in the south can be a real pain in the ass just for that reason. Everyone is so 'careful' about what they say...how they say it, so as not to offend anyone. It gets tiring sometimes. I watch people in the media lose their jobs or get suspended all the time, 98% of the time they are white...because of comments they made that were viewed as being 'insensitive' or 'offensive' to blacks...or African Americans, as the press is obligated to refer to them this decade. (since I was born in 1967, they have changed the classification four times. Started as 'coloreds' then it became 'negroes' and in the late 70s, early 80's it was pretty much 'blacks' and then along came 'African American' in the 90's. Not sure what is left) Who knows what it will be next decade. Of all the friends I have that are black...I know of ONE of them who has actually ever been to Africa, or can trace ancestors to the Dark Continent. (thats not my term, incomps...that is actually what they call Africa)

However...when I come to Tunica...it always seems to me that I am the one who is being persecuted. Or judged. Or inconvenienced. Like...there should be a motto..."Come to Tunica whitey...where payback is Mission #1!!!" Hell, I don't know...I see the BS that some of my black friends have to put up with sometimes...and maybe it is kind of just a way of leveling the playing field. Maybe it is fair. Or...and this is an idea I doubt will EVER catch on...maybe everyone can just fucking COOL IT, and not get around to judging each other UNTIL they actually get to know the person. Or, if they don't have time to really get to know them, at least wait 3 or 4 minutes to see if they fall into the stereotype you have immediately decided to cast them in?

Why am I telling you all this? It kind of has to do with what happened at the blackjack table the other night. And the magical transformation that occurred prior to my being asked, or rather, ORDERED to leave the casino by a little white troll with allligator arms and a little too much love for the power they had bestowed upon her as 'Shift Supervisor of Security.'

Eric refused to 'color up' my chips, instead started dealing another hand to the other players. I glanced at Mr. Smith, wondering why I wasn't being dealt in. Asked if it was because they were mid-shoe. Was told that wasn't the reason. So he asked Eric why he wasn't accomodating me. Eric fired back with some ridiculous verbiage having to do with the actual location that I had placed the chips. Huh? Something about needing to be 'across the line' to get changed up. Sigh. Okay. I push them about two inches from where they are. He makes me change. Time to play.

Four hands in...I'm sitting on a '19' with him showing a 6. He stands there, waiting for me to wave him off. I just look at him. He just looks back. I ask him what he is waiting for?

"You need to act on your hand."

"Are you kidding? You think I'm hitting a 19 against a 6? Really?"

"Well, you have to make a motion for the camera!"

Okay. I wave it off. I win the hand. My irritation for Eric grows. We all know the 'rules' of blackjack. Right? Blah blah blah...cameras need to see your intended action. Yeah, yeah...we all get that. But any dealer in the world, after you have been sitting there for more than 15 seconds knows when he is dealing with a player who 'gets it' and is able to just pass him on certain situations. Having a dealer sit there waiting for you to 'hit' or 'stay' on a '20' is kind of like the lady asking you for ID at the grocery store when you buy a 6-pack of beer. Well, or ME. Not sure how old you are (particular reader).

Not even sure what his third thing was that pissed me off, but all I did was call over Will Smith and ask if I could have a comment card. I was going to blast this guy. He returned with a comment card, and a pen. I returned the pen...telling him I would fill it out later. Will then begins offering me food comps if I am hungry.

"Thanks sir, but I just ate an hour ago."

Now...I know where you THINK this heading...most of you know that I was tossed from the Horseshoe on this night...and after reading this first part, you probably think you can finish the rest of this story, dont you? Well...that is where you would be wrong.

************************************************************

Wife walks into Grandma's house in Florence, Alabama on Sunday morning. Has not been on a computer in the last 24 hours. Is greeted by her father...who lives on Grandma's property.

"Hey I see on Facebook that Will got thrown out of Horseshoe last night. Him and some girl. Is that his backer? What was that all about?"

Of course, my wife had NO KNOWLEDGE of this yet. Thanks Dad.

It didn't end there. Other people, players mostly...had one version, than another...and still, there were more. Good gawd. And in my head...all I could think was....'here we go!!!! Another one of THESE deals!' Thank GOD that I was in the company of Jennifer Gay from Ante Up Magazine most of the night.

****************************************************************

I am in for $200...and it is dwindling. Eric and I are now playing heads up...as the other two people have busted and left. In the middle of a 6-deck shuffle I decide to engage him in a meaningful conversation. I formally introduce myself and give him my qualifying attributes, then launch my diatribe. My key points being...that despite probably bored to tears with his job after working there for 3 years (established by asking), he really only has to make ONE good impression on his players...then can pretty much be a robot from there on out. And that would be when the player sits down. And that he had majorly botched his one chance with me. He pretty much agreed with most of what I said. I let him get to know me a bit...and I asked questions about him and got to know him a little bit. I openly suggested to him that he might have treated me the way he did due to me being white...and he insisted that wasn't the case. But he did understand my point of view on that, after I explained it to him...and agreed that he does see a lot of that in Tunica.

Play continued. Other players would eventually come and go. Eric and I started actually getting along. I then started tipping him. After the first tip, I jokingly say "I have no idea why I am tipping you, sir!" To which he responds, "I have no clue why either!!!!"

Then Jennifer Gay arrives...having gotten off work and come down to hang out. She walks in on Eric and I as we are now arriving at 'good buddy' status. When he would bust us, I would cheer for him. When I would win, I would tip him...telling him, 'there you go Eric...still hate ya!' To which he would respond..."hate you too, Monkey!"

Meanwhile, Will Smith...the floor guy working behind in the pit...had pretty much stopped hovering over our table, since it was obvious that Eric and I had worked out our diffferences. I had taken to shooting Eric's tips to him through his upturned fingers, or 'goal posts' as we had started referring to them. On one such occassion, one of my kicks sailed wide right, and rolled into the pit, near 'Fresh Prince's' shoe...to which he annoying glanced over at our table.

Eric: "Oh its all good Will...that was Monkey's tip going wide right.!"

He then returned it to our dealer, but not before shooting us a bit of a look. Now while we were playing...we were drinking Jack and Cokes...excuse me, PEPSI's! Ughhhh...hate Pepsi. With an occassional Red Snapper. Players kept coming and going....all of whom we were getting along with great. This one black kid sat down with $20...and was clearly terrified of playing. He told me he had just turned 21. It took about half an hour before he asks me...."How much do beers cost?"

"Dude! Are you kidding???? They are free man! Well...they are complimentary! But don't forget to give the girl a $1 or $2!"

I took this kid under my wing, and turned his $20 into over $200. The joy on this guy's face...was awesome. I have to think it was one of the funnest nights of his life. He kept counting his chips. If he lost 2 or 3 hands in a row he would start to panic. It was pretty funny. But his girlfriend would eventually come along, see how much he had won, and demand that he leave. He was a good kid...I was sorry to see him leave.

Well, about this time...Jennifer and I start going on a tear. I would get into these little patterns...where if I lost 3 or 4 hands in a row, I would make a ridiculously inconsistent bet....like I was losing $15, $15, $10, $15...and then just say screw it and bet $50. And win. Or another time...I was just getting fed up, so I put my whole stack on there...it was like $118...and won. I did lose my first $200 before Jen got there...and told Eric...."Alright Eric...what do YOU think? Should I just leave? Or should I come back in for $500 and really get after it!???"

Eric: "Go for it man!"

So I did. My sick pattern continued, and I kept hitting the big bets. Or I would just sit there, betting $20 a hand...for 45 minutes...winning a little, losing a little.

Then I don't know what happened. I just went on a streak like I'd never gone on in blackjack in my life. I couldn't lose. Neither could Jen. If she had a marginal double down or split opportunity and didn't know what to do, I would cover the bet myself...and either she would win, I would win...or we both would. Almost never did they both lose.

Before I knew it...I was up to about $1500. Whoa. Then came 'THE HAND!' I can't quite remember if this came on the heels of a long losing streak...or the heels of a winning streak where I just wanted to press it...but I do remember Jenn gasping when she saw me place $125 on three different betting circles.

"Noooooo Monkey...don't do it!!!"

But something was telling me to go for it! So I did. On the first one I get 2-6...second one I get 6-5...third one I get 2-2. And the dealer is showing a 6. So on the 2-6...I double down and spike a King. On the 6-5 I double down and hit a 10. Then I split the 2-2...getting an 8 on one followed by a 7...and a J on the next one for a 12...which I sat on. He turned over a 10...followed by a Q...to bust...and I won $750 on that hand! I flipped Eric $25.

Holy shit! What a roll! Jenn was laughing her ass off. I was just happy...amazed at winning that much in one hand in blackjack. Then...on the next few hands...they started assembling. The early shift had just started...and they had been filtering in...with the late shift still there. And now, they were all huddled around the little podium in the middle of the pit.

About this time Jenn pointed out that we hadn't seen a cocktail waitress in a while. Now...it was getting really late, and I usually quit drinking at a certain hour...and that hour had come and gone...so I honestly didn't really notice or care. But she did, and wanted another drink. So when she asked for a cocktail waitress...they all just had kind of a blank look on their faces.

A few more hands went by. More people were at the podium now. There was obviously chatter concerning us taking place. What were they talking about? I had no idea. I mean...I couldn't even start to imagine. Then...boom! Here comes three security 'team' members...oh no wait...there is two more...and an EMT guy!???? Is someone about to get shot or tasered here? What the fuck is going on???

Jen and I start preparing...knowing something is obviously about to go down. The ringleader is this girl...maybe 25-28...incredibly unattractive...about 4'10...thick glasses...bad curly hair, and ridiculously short arms. Jen was calling her 'Treasure Trove Troll' later on. She comes up to me and tells me I have to leave. As does Jenn.

"Why?"

"Because I said so."

"Yeah, I heard that...but that isn't really a reason. I have been here for 7 hours, have been taking care of Eric, have been getting along with all the other players...why am I being asked to leave? I would like to know..."

We were given no answer. Not even a clue. But we were told that if we didn't hurry up and get our stuff and let them escort us out we were going to get arrested. I didn't even bother to ask what we would be arrested for. At this point...I wasn't even pissed. I was actually pretty happy that they had decided to make us leave. I know how my runs go...had I stayed there...there is no way in hell I would have cashed out $2550. No way.

We leave the Horseshoe...with the Troll and her 6 henchmen in tow. Upon walking out the door, and with her watching us...I got down on my knees and started doing that little Beavis and Butthead move...pumping each arm while simulating hitting it doggie-style. Yeah...that went over pretty well! Maybe I could have left that out...but I was just too wound up now. It was SO fucking stupid, and this troll bitch was such a human-hating, irrational thinking loser in life...that I had to make my exit memorable. So she comes flying out the door...demanding me to 'get off MY property now before I call the police!!!!!' Her property? I like that.

"Um, sorry, thought I WAS off your YOUR property! Can you please tell me where the property line ends?"

"On the other side of this road!"

Okay. So what do I do? I walk across the street...with her still watching...and planted on the side of the grassy hill is a stop sign...and I start pretending to hump the stop sign. Jenn is laughing til her eyes teared over. The Trolll is losing her mind...face bright red...and she is talking, rather, screaming...into her walkie-talkie. We walk towards Goldstrike...howling.

Walk into Goldstrike...on my way to my hotel room...but we don't make it. We are stopped. By that person who usually just stands there doing nothing.

"Hold it sir! I need you to wait right here."

"For what?"

He tells me just to wait...and Jenn too. Oh...here comes another plum coated guy...who demands my ID. For what, I ask? Because I dont think you are allowed to game in here, he tells me. Really? Well...thats fine, because I am going to my hotel room. He then tells me I am going to have to wait, to be escorted to my room. No thanks. I just walk out the door with Jenn...and we walk to the front entrance...where I say good night to her...and I go to my room. And that was the end of my very exciting night.

****************************************************************

So? Conclusion? Why was I asked to leave? Neither one of us knew. They wouldn't tell us anything. I can only assume its because I kind of went 'RainMan' on them with my sick blackjack winning streak. And due to the completely bizaare way I was betting...and the fact that I kept winning those bets...must have led them to think that I was some kind of genius card counter or something. Now...this is funny to me, because I know, of course....that I have ZERO ability to do this...but if I DID have this ability...why wouldn't I play blackjack every damn day of the week? Instead of once every two months on average? So stupid!

Now what DID piss me off...was the next night...when I went to my dinner at Binions...with the world's most clueless waiter, MENG....and after getting our bill, found out that I had $10 worth of pts on my Player's card...which is exactly what I had on it when I left Biloxi three days before. So...despite all of my play...and it was pretty significant, the guy working the pit denied me ALL of my play for the 8 hour session. Do I care? Mmmm...kind of, yeah. Not a whole lot...but yeah...I kind of do...because that's almost like being stolen from. And considering the fact that I tipped Eric somewhere between $150 to $200...I think I certainly deserve whatever my play warranted. Maybe I willl contact their head of table games up there, who I actually met while playing that night.

***********************************************************************

So there ya go...conspiracy theorists. Hope that was worth the wait.

"I heard Monkey got thrown out for throwing his chips at the dealer!!!!"

Yeah, heard that one. I'm sure there were more. It just amazes me how no matter what I do...whether it be something where I am jubilant, miserable or just somewhere in between, I am never immune to finding some kind of bullshit to fall into!

Fortunately, the folks who run the poker room had my back 100%. And fortunately, I was Jenn gay...who knows everyone up there and was there to back up my account. I fear that if I had been alone...who knows?

*********************************************************************

Got something in the mail today from Nationwide Insurance...needing to talk to me about the 'incident with their insured on Nov 15th.' Well, at least I found out that crazy bitch's name who tried to frame me with an accident that never happened. Clare Blair. That in itself is kind of funny. Say that to yourselves 12 times....clareblairclareblairclareblairclareblair....okay that only took four times for me!!! I called the person from Nationwide...got voice mail, never heard back from her. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe she's out for Thanksgiving. She works in Gainesville...Miss Pettit. She actually sounds cute. Then again...she lives in GatorLand. Nope...she is the enemy!

***************************************************************

I think we are all caught up. I know there were a lot of other 'moments' from Tunica this weekend that I didn't mean to forget about. There are always a barrelfull of moments to blog about whenever I travel to Tunica...but at some point...you just forget some of them, or maybe it's my brain subconsciously blocking them out of necessity.

Goodbye for now. If you don't hear from me again this week...Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!!!

Monkey

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