Thursday, December 16, 2004

What's your Name?

Poker Tables are kind of funny about names. You never really learn the names of the people you play with live in a casino. They always end up in blogs with descriptions instead, like "Creepy guy with bad hair," or "Mr. Raises Every Pot Pre-Flop."

On the poker cruise, however, we were required to wear nametags. Seems kind of juvenile, but apparently CardPlayer (the company sponsoring the cruise) didn't want to let non-members into the card rooms. There were 1300 people on the cruise, but only 400 were part of the CardPlayer group. Since there were usually lists for every game, they didn't want non-members keeping members from playing. So they issued nametags, and requested people wear them whenever in the poker room. It was kind of nice. I liked being able to refer to someone by their name, and I liked people knowing my name. Since my real name is fairly unique, everyone quickly knew me, or at least heard about me. That might have something to do with how I played, but maybe it was just the name. The tags also said where you were from, which was also nice.

Some people just flatly refused. Maybe they figured they were "too good" to wear a nametag. I guess only people who listen for the fry machine to beep wear nametags. But that was also helpful, because anyone who refused to wear a nametag ended up being a jerk. It was nice to have the advance notice.

One such lady was absolutely unbearable to play with. I was sitting at a table and the floor seated her just across from me. After about four hands the table began to break, and she called the floor over and completely berated him about always putting her in games that are about to break up. I had to laugh and tell a fellow player that had previously taken her to task for abusing a dealer. He laughed and said "Some people can't see the forest because of all the trees." This lady was a witch with a capital "B."

But for the most part the people playing poker there were great. The aforementioned fellow, named "Kirby" was a barrel of laughs. We sat together at $4/$8 tables consistently until he gave up hold 'em for Omaha. I think it was after I cracked his aces with 89s. I flopped the open ended straight-flush draw, and caught an offsuit 10 on the river to take down a considerable pot. I also met another player from Oklahoma. He was glad to see me because a previous player from L.A. had told him that nobody was on the cruise from Oklahoma because nobody LIVED in Oklahoma. He dragged me over to her table to prove her wrong.

There were plenty of fish on board, most of them older people who were just learning to play. At the lower limits you kind of feel bad taking so much money from them, like you are fleecing grandma for her dead husband's insurance money or something. But when they catch an incredible two-outer on the river, all that guilt goes away. One little old lady went all in against me but forgot she had a chip protecting her cards. "What about that $1 chip there on your cards," I asked, and she tossed it in the pot. After I won the hand, she said "He even had to go after my last dollar!"

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