Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quick Note

I think at times, it is good to step back, and recognize these works of fiction as just that. They are fictional accounts. Nobody here condones, endorses, or supports cheating or collusion or any of the tactics used by the characters in these stories. In fact, part of writing about them is to expose their methods to a broader base of poker players. The material for these stories were heavily influenced by a couple of books written about how to protect yourself from card cheats. We encourage our readers to research these topics to better protect themselves when they play a card game anywhere. Many of the episodes that were to come were going to deal with signaling, mechanics, and methods employed by cheaters. We hope these stories are infomative and educational as well as entertaining. Just like a movie studio doesn't endorse the violence of its characters nor do we endorse cheating.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pitch’n Cards

"Moral of the story," seat 9 a drunkard from out of town said dramatically, "don't chase, because you might hit," his cards were almost at the center of the table, he slowly turned one over and then next, "...and still lose." He cackled and nobody joined him.

"Good pot," I say. The jerk in the nine seat wins again. A $500 pot and he tosses me a single. Generous.

His opponent, Gene D, a regular wearing his hoodie with his website, emblazoned all over it, is irate. He turns red and lowers his sunglasses to glare at seat 9. Gene D does not like to get slow rolled.

As I go to the shuffle machine I meet eyes with Gene. He shakes his head in anger. I nod. I understand completely.

When I'm pitching cards I do little things to keep it interesting. I'll try and land them under a player's hands if they are resting on the table, I'll try and topple a chip stack if it's close to the action or I'll make a complaining player have to stretch to get to them. The nine seat has had to do a lot of stretching to get to his cards. He's been on a 5 hour heater and is weighing down his side of the table with redbirds and yet he's barely thrown us dealers a bone. Plus, he's slowrolling like his a 9th grader playing cards for the first time.

At the dealer change, Janie told me to beware and she wasn't kidding, Seat 9 is a no tipping asshole.

Assholes that don't tip deserve to be fucked with. I'm not obvious about it as sometimes the nice people that actually do tip, tend to take sides against a lippy dealer. But if they really push me, like this guy has done a couple of times, most people will side with the dealer.

It's tough being liked when you are pitching cards. Only one person can be happy per hand. And per revolution that means I've made most of the table mostly unhappy. The idiots don't seem to grasp they are only "entitled" to win one hand in 10. If they have any talent they might be able to drag 2 or 3 out of ten or win huge pots instead of small ones and turn a profit. But the way they see it, they want to win 10 hands in 10.

Sure I say the sarcastic "thank you" when they give me nothing, but with a jerk like this one it means nothing. Right over his head. Or sometimes they'll catch it, as he did a hand ago. "I've tipped you already," he bitched. "You want all my profit? This rake's killing me anyway. Moral of the story, just do your job, deal the cards, and be thankful you found somebody willing to give you a paycheck. Or go to college and get real job." He winked too. I hate fucking winkers. Moral of the story?

Sometimes, I make a face when I push a pot and nothing's pushed my way. On this guy, that would be worthless, so I just join the other 9 players in hating him and in wishing bad karma on the dude. Problem is it's not coming.

On top of that the rest of the table starts to get mad at me because this guy's winning so big. Like it's my fault. Like we dealers want the dipshits that don't tip to win all the pots. Like we want to piss off the regulars in seat 1 and 2 that "over" tip on a good night. Like we want more of this guy's abuse.

I subtlety try to clue in a couple of the familiar faces I'm pulling for them. They don't get it as they angrily throw their cards to the muck.

Another pot to him and he informs the table it's like taking candy from 9 babies. He's got a table on tilt. Sweet.

Seat 1 gets involved in a big hand. Seat 1 is a tight ass. He's not going to showdown without second nuts at a minimum. I fear that's all he'll have though and seat 9 will have the nuts. The way the night's been going of course he will.

At the river, the board gets paired and suddenly the flopped flush is in danger. Looks like seat 9 just got lucky… again. He's bellying up to the table, "What you got?" he says to seat one. My dealer shift is over after this hand. Phuong is waiting behind me, I give him the look and he knows just what kind of person seat 9 is.

All the chips were in at the turn. Seat 9, the slowrolling asshole pushes his cards forward just a bit. It's the dramatic flair the dick employs, "I ain't got much…"

Seat 1 knows he's beat and shows the flush fully aware he's about to get slowrolled. Seat 9 "Wow, ace high flush." Just like he did to Gene D, he further pushes his cards face down toward the center of the table as though he's beat. I wink at seat 1. And as quickly as I can, before the speech starts, I sweep up seat 9's cards with a no-look motion and put them into the muck.

Seat 9 is enraged. "You pushed them to the muck, sir." I sweep the huge pot to seat 1, eye Phuong again and quickly leave.

Moral of the story asshole, don't fuck with the dealer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Shark Chum LuAnne IX: Who Guards the Guards?

Randall followed Cuba on a smoke break. It was going according to plan. All the players were in place. Temptation in a low cut dress was one seat change away from working her magic on Tran. As he walked he thought about how the kid had been playing.

Very solid. He was picking up on the same soft spots Randall had identified. He was betting with impunigty at just the right times and folding when he was narrowly beat. He had a real talent for it. He got into a bit of trouble only once or twice when his opponent hit river cards and so cheaply bet the kid had to call with losers but other than that he was good.

Cuba interrupted Randall's thoughts, "Hey, man you know anybody in Mississippi that can unload some laptops?"

Randall had been out of the unloading game for some time but his curiousity was piqued, "Laptops?"

Cuba grinned, "Yeah, we've been running the metal plate polka."

Even to Randall this was a new one, "Refresh me."

"Well, with all these long lines for security these days we run a variation on an old hustle," Cuba looked left and right even though everybody walking by was focused on something else and the slot machine chatter was drowning out the conservation even two feet away. "We buy a plane ticket for say 10 pm and get to the airport there at 10 am. We wait until we see a guy with a laptop bag and get in security in front of him. When we are about to get waved through the metal detector we stall until the laptop gets into the machine. Once it's in the X-rayer the first guy goes through. Then the second guy, lights up the metal detector like it's christmas. Oops, I forgot this huge belt buckle I'm wearing. Did my key chain do it this time? Did this metal pen I got from work do it? And finally, you know what, bossman, it must be this metal plate I got stowed in my pocket."

"Right. I get it," Randall nodded. "Meanwhile your buddy is making a U-Turn out the terminal with that guy's laptop. Not bad. You can pull off what three or four a day? Each terminal and maybe a shift change or two."

"Actually, a little better. We got a ton of busted laptops that we switch out. It used to be better when they didn't make people take their laptops out of their bags. We'd be able to switch it out with a comparable weight, and nobody would know until they were 10000 feet up. Now, we need to match laptops. We'd pull that scam 10 to 20 times a day the old way. Now 6 is pushing it. Kind of like that story you told me that one time about Chuckie D, in Austin," Cuba's eyes gleamed. "Sometimes the easiest place to steal something is where the people are too busy protecting something else. Didn't you used to say that."

"Chuckie D in Austin?" Stacey walked up. Randall still couldn't get over her dress, "Do tell..."

Randall looked back toward the table.

"I'm third man walking sugar, " Stacey said. "Hi Cuba, eyes up here please. Randall, the kid's not going anywhere. The four seat is tilting and Tran's just dying for a hand to snap him off again. Tell me about Chuckie D in Austin."

"Alright," Randall relented. "Short version. One night after a game of cards Chuckie D was showing off this gold plated pistol. Real James Bond Golden Gun shit. I knew Chuckie D didn't have the slightest clue where to buy something like that. He could afford it but it's not like he'd be getting something special made. He had to have stolen it. He starts claiming he killed a Vietnamese general during the war and took the gun then. People were eating it up.

"For whatever reason, maybe it's because Chuckie D's such a snake, I decide to mess with him a bit. I tell him he didn't and that he was lying. And you know how Chuckie D hates to get called out. He says, if he's lying I got to prove it or else I was getting a golden bullet to the skull. I bet him $5,000 grand I could prove it in three days. And since it was stolen, not only would I be able to prove to everybody it was stolen and I'd also steal it from him. I think I said because I didn't trust him, I'd bring the gun myself. Something like that. Anyway, when he'd show he'd give me the five grand and I'd give him the gun. To sweeten it, if I didn't have the gun he'd get 5 large regardless."

"Stealing from Chuckie D?" Stacey's eyes lit up. "No wonder you never told me. That's not the brightest thing you've ever done."

"I didn't steal from Chuckie D," Randall grimaced. "I stole from the police."

"Stole from the police..." Stacey shook her head. "Now, you are sounding like Chuckie D.... Go on."

"Tell her whatcha did," Cuba said nearly giddy.

"That's what I'm doing. So, before Chuckie D left that night, I call my friend at the force and ask him if anybody's 'lost' a golden gun. Sure enough some rancher had been burgalrized while he was at a card game across town. So, I tell my buddy to send somebody to the parking lot out back, to wait for a gunshot and they'd have their crook. 30 minutes later I get to talking to Chuckie D again and tell him the gun's a fake and it probably doesn't even fire. Within about two minutes he's shooting a round off in the parking lot and the troopers pull up."

"So he's in the tin and the gun is in the evidence room. Next morning, around the same time he was making bail, I had his golden gun in my hand. Had my partner at the time from El Paso walk right in there with a FBI badge and a fake warrant connecting the gun to a crime in L.A. Sure enough, Chuckie D came back three nights later fully aware everyone knew the gun was stolen because he got arrested, but confident he'd still win the bet because I wouldn't have the gun. He loves his technicalities. I gave him the gun and he gave me the 5k. Course, I made myself scarce around Austin for a while after that. Just to let him cool down."

"The easiest time to steal something is when everybody there is too busy protecting something else," Cuba inhaled deeply on his cigarette. "Now, let's get back to the table folks."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Shark Chum LuAnne VIII: Queens are a comin'

Randall bided his time. He knew Tran would put in a long session and it was later that it would be time for the cleavage to close the deal. In the short run, Randall and Cuba focused on breaking Tran's brother. They'd want the geek to themselves and the wannabee hustler had to be out of the picture for that.

The kid was good, he barrelled through opponents and showed a lot of moxie. Of course like a lot of chip bullies he had a pretty good tell. Like a dog fixing for a fight raising his hackles, Randall noticed the kid turned up the volume even higher when he didn't want a call. When his holding was marginal he'd intimidate his opponent even more.

Still, the tell wasn't 100% on a couple of players he'd just up and check it down. Nonetheless, Randall was going to goad him a bit. After getting him off the table, he'd goad Tran, and then if he past his tests, it would be time for temptation in a dress.

Tran's brother got in a big pot with Cuba. On the river Randall saw him flinch almost imperceptibly when a 10 of spades hit the board. He had been gabbing preflop to river but suddenly quieted. Cuba had correctly been calling him because he was weak, but now the 10 had to help. No flush draw... what did he hit. A gutterball. Cuba lifted his chips thinking about betting and Randall eyed him and ever so slightly shook his head.

Cuba, paused and thought about it. He stared at the 10. How could that have helped the kid. Randall waited for his former partner to get it. Cuba laughed and said, "You got that gutterball on me? You bet me all the way to the river with a bad draw, and you land that gutterball. I'm going to check to you but I ain't giving you another cent."

Tran's brother laughed heartily,"Yeah, I hit that straight." He threw his cards onto the table and forgoed betting the nuts to show off his hand. Randall, now watched as Tran slightly shook his head.

A hour later after the four of them had cleared off the table with everybody but the nit a new face, Randall and Tran's brother locked horns with their Big Stacks. Randall held two black jacks and limped into the pot. Tran's brother, as he did with a multi-way limp fired a bet into the table, and challenged people to call.

In his head Randall immediately went through the range of hands the guy could have. He was we7ak but he something to mix it up with. Maybe A9, A10 or a low pocket pair. This was pretty good situation for him. He called after a moment of thought.

"Watch you got George Clooney?" the kid asked him. "You got something to play with? You got Queens or something?"

"Yeah, Queens or something, one of those two. What you got? A9?" Randall asked.

The dealer flopped a j87 rainbow board. Top set. Randall checked and started his prayers for an Ace to come. Tran's brother led out with another ambitious bet. Randall called.

The turn was a brick 4 of clubs completing the four suits. Randall checked and Tran's brother stewed.

"You got Queens? You trying to trap me? You want me to bet out? Well, I'm the mouse coming after the cheese!" He pushed in half his stack and stood behind his seat. Randall stewed. The kid kept talking. He wanted the kid to think he had a chance to buy the pot on the river. He went into acting mode but tried not to over-do it. The kid was good enough to spot a poser.

Randall called and looked toward the center of the table with just the slightest bit of consternation. The river was a glorious Ace.

The kid zipped up. Randall acted quickly, "I'm all in," and prayed the kid would call without thinking it through...

His plan worked as he got insta-called and the kid almost fell over his chips putting them in the pot. He showed his losing hand first: A8, two pair. Randall show his set of Jacks and scooped the pot.

For a second Randall thought he caught Tran glare at his brother. Interesting, Randall thought, maybe there was more to the family dynamic then first appeared.

Tran's brother quickly rebought for 600 although his roll looked like it was about spent.

Randall eyed his female co-hort a table away. Time for her to request a table change. If he or Cuba could felt Tran's brother soon the real action would start. Time for the needle.

He raised his eyebrows at Cuba who gladly played the part.

"Oh, you got another 600 to piss away?" Cuba smiled at the kid, "It was obvious to everybody but you he had you crippled." The Alabama cowboy let out a big chortle.

"You think it funny? You laugh. I tell you what you play a hand with me. I take your money every other weekend Cuban, I'll take it again tonight."

"Really, not if you going to call off you chips like that. You feeling sick? Kind of like you are homesick but instead of missing home you miss your chips. I call you chipsick. It's okay there they are, in front of... George Clooney. Maybe he'll let you visit them." The table got behind Cuba. "If you walk away from the table you can probably call them. Seems like only a minute okay you had them but they grow and go so fast these days."

"Don't worry they'll soon be back. And I'll have some of your orphans too."

"The prodigal sons will return?" Cuba laughed. "Why you'll only give them away again."

Tran's brother looked at his first card and quickly said, "Yeah, I'm all in."

He's got an ace Randall thought. The dealer reminded him he was betting out of turn.

"Don't matter, it's binding, I'm all in."

Alabama cowboy was first to act and limped. When it got to Tran's brother he shoved never looking at his second card. Randall had a mild decision to make as he got pocket 8s. Something about the cowboy's limp threw up a warning flag. He folded and sure enough the cowboy called and turned over two red queens.

"There's your queens," Cuba laughed.

Tran's brother showed his Ace then slowly peeled off his second card a seven.

When the flop came out 779 he jumped up and exclaimed, "That's what I'm talking about!"

The cowboy was crestfallen, so was Randall inside. His night was about to get much longer.

Then on the river the Queen of Spades brought chaos and turned the hand upside down all over again. Tran's brother couldn't believe it.

"Fuck that!"

"Sir, no cussing... you know..." the dealer spoke up.

"Yeah, fuck that, I'm playing some black jack."

"Okay... Player out."

On the inside Randall smiled.

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