By: Kent Anderson


I’m a firm believer that you have no friends at the poker table. Of course one can be friendly and genial, but you’re there to take down pots and those mountains of checks you dream of can only come from the other players at your table. During a recent session I was seated next to a guy celebrating his birthday. As he sat down he let us all know that he just cashed his paycheck and was beginning his three-day birthday extravaganza. The cocktail servers kept a steady stream of Hennessey flowing, that he drank like water. He began playing with an aggression that bordered on psychosis and was winning. After a couple of big come from behind pots he started working his mouth. It was all very funny since I had not dumped him any loot. Other guys at the table were not seeing the humor. After he cracked a guy’s Aces in the pocket he offered up a side excursion to a nearby “Massage Parlor” as a consolation. The gentleman curtly declined and re-bought.


The birthday boy continued his blitzkrieg of the felt and we had some laughs. He informed me that I was pretty cool for a white boy. Mind you, I was absolutely planning to break him, but was enjoying the show and chitchat while I lay in wait. The rest of the table had the same idea, but some dumped off truckloads of checks as they let Mr. B get into their heads.


My moment finally arrived when I woke up with KK in the cut off. Menace to sobriety had raised every button thus far, so my plan was to limp and smooth call him. A couple of others had the same idea. A K 5 flopped and I was silently licking my chops. The big blind made a pot sized bet. Trying to contain my excitement I contemplated for a moment and readied some checks for a re-raise. As I’m deciding how much to bet I was jolted by a kick from under the table. I paused and dismissed it as delirium tremens from my soused neighbor. As I got back to betting he kicked me again, much harder, then stomped on my foot. I was wearing flip-flops and he some sort of sturdy lug soled creation so he had my attention. I glanced at him and he was straining his facial muscles and moving his eyes in what looked like a subtle attempt to get me off the hand.


This immaculate hand I had waited for had become perplexing. Is this drunk putting a play on me? My mind is awash in confusion. While I’m trying to interpret these bazaar signals he gives me a final kick and under his breath, so only I can hear, says, “Lay that shit down.” Something now seemed genuine so I mucked it and gave my sore foot a rub. He quickly moved in and was called. The beleaguered big blind triumphantly showed his pocket fives which were summarily destroyed by the bullets my drunken neighbor casually flipped over. He flashed me a knowing smile just before he resumed his trash talking with renewed vigor.


I usually agree with Stu Unger, who said, “Once the cards are dealt, I just want to destroy people.” But a neighbor or two can be very helpful along the way. Until next time…

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