Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lady Luck - short poker story: part two of two

Continued... from previous post.

I had never seen her before, I kind of stared, she smiled even broader, and said, "All those chips..." All I could manage was “Oh.” She giggled and turned away walking out of the room. I quickly looked over the tough guys at the table to see if she was attached and if my luck just ran out. The only other guy beating the game like me was Jimmy Zees, who locked eyes and shook his head. I froze for a second. He smiled, "When you're hot... I guess you're hot, kid. That's our new waitress Dalia."

I played for as long as I could to make it seem like I wasn't hitting and running even though this Texas Hold em poker game was as soft as they come. I even gave some pots back to those losers when I had the best hand and just mucked. It was for my own security, to get invited back to games I had been crushing I took to giving a little back. I had to let them think they had a chance, but all I could think about was Dalia as I played on auto-pilot. Her legs walked through my mind a hundred times during that game, and that smile lit me up like a Christmas tree at midnight. Finally after one more small lost pot, I said this is starting to feel like online poker as though I wasn't mucking the winner and I had just got bad beated. That was my cue to leave. They still noticed I was leaving a winner.

I put them behind me, as I walked out front. The bar was just about settling down, with only a couple of friends of the establishment still nursing their last drinks when I stepped out of the game. The neon sign from outside glowed over Dalia with a brillant red aura when I saw her again. She was leaning over a table scrubbing nothing. I felt like I had taken a boot to the gut as I drank her in. I swallowed hard like a bluffer with his last dollar in the pot and worked up the nerve to walk up to... Dalia, that name danced through my brain.

She looked up and smiled, that wide inviting grin, that at once made feel at ease and at the same time gave me a cold sweat like I was flu-ridden. I blinked a few too many times, again like a guy trying to steal a pot with nothing, and returned the smile.

She said she had an extra beer and she was sure that Jimmy would let her share one with me before she closed up. I couldn't refuse, no way I was going to refuse, man was I running hot. She talked, I acted like I listened, actually, I did care what she said. Jimmy had already told her I was good folks not like the rest of the guys back there. Jimmy liked her, looked out for her, because she reminded him of his daughter he had told her. That made her laugh. Usually that was a bad line but with Jimmy it was true.

He had also told her I wasn’t the kind of guy to go missing for a week, or for a year, or forever. I was the kind of guy he'd want his daughter to talk to. While we sat, I don't remember what I said, but I do remember her laughing at my jokes, her hand dancing on the table top, and her slender fingers lightly brushing mine, first as if by chance and then with a light purpose. I remember her eyes opening wide, her pupils dilated, and a sweetness that drew me into her.

I couldn't even think about why she'd fall for a guy like me, I didn't consider her running an angle, or her running somebody else's angle. Instead I just soaked in the moment, every hair on my body prickling up, like I was watching an opera singer hold a note I couldn't dream of. I felt my heart started to beat at a weird pitch and I felt something I hadn't felt in years, not since I met my ex-us that first time, and then the cold sweat hit again. I knew what it was. It was love pure as the driven snow.

Then I could see in her eyes somehow she felt it too, a genuine love for a scamp like me, and every sensation doubled. I was drunk for her.

And then in my haze, a line from Sinatra that my daddy used to sing when I was a kid played through my head, "Luck be a lady, luck be a lady tonight." As we sat, I saw him singing it, smiling at me, and nodding his head at one of his vixens.

I shook my head and laughed half to myself half out loud.

"What's so funny?" Dalia asked.

"Lady Luck," I shook my head again.

Then I stood up, took one last long look at her, seering her face into my memory forever, doffed my cap at her, "I gotta go darling."

She said, "See you next week." Half as a statement, half as a question.

I half-turned only seeing those legs that made me chest thump, and lied, "I'll be seeing you," and walked out that bar, and I never looked back.

Dalia, was a once in a lifetime thing, a once in a lifetime lady, but unlike my daddy I knew and understood, lady luck or any of her sisters was the unluckiest thing that could happen to a gambler like us.

P.S. I'm still killing every game I sit in, I was probably the guy holding the stone cold nuts against you last night.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lady Luck--short poker story part one of two

I was ginning. I was on a rush like Darvin Moon at the World Series. Everything was hitting. You know players that say they haven't hit a set in months. I hadn't missed at least two sets in a session in over a year. They always held. The only sets over sets were the ones I was holding top set. I could see flops before they hit. I wasn't soul reading people I was telling the souls what they were going to be.

It was insane, it didn't matter if I was playing Texas Hold'em poker live or online I was simply crushing it. I didn't even know how to play Omaha and I always seemed to get there whenever I'd be forced to play. Double suited and I'd usually hit the flush on an unpaired board.

Play hi-low, hello wheels with every suit on the board. What a fun time. I thought to myself I'm the king of the poker world. I moved up from 3 -6 limit, to 2 - 5 No limit hold'em to 100 - 200 in about the lifetime of a fruit fly. I was winning online poker tournaments like I was a superuser. Yet, even as I would sit down to print money my real life was in a tale spin.

You know that saying lucky in love unlucky in cards? I was the opposite, I couldn't miss when I played a card game so I played all the time. Next thing I know the missus became an ex-us and took my new lexus that I missed even more then her. Still who needs women when you are winning. Or for that matter anything else. For the first time in my life, I couldn't lose.

I spent freely out of my bankroll because why not. I felt like I was on the opposite of a twilight zone episode, some cheery dream that would never end, but deep in my core I feared the moment it would come crashing down. As my broke daddy used to tell me with every new step mommy I'd meet, "Enjoy it while you got it son... you'll understand one day." I knew there was always a sad ending to any Midas touch story but I didn't see mine coming, or know it would hit me like a freight train.

One night, I was playing late in the local den of thieves, behind the bar of Jimmy Zees a connected man with some of the deepest, loosest pockets in the city. I'm killing the game as I always do. I was in auto-pilot with my bluffs not being called and second nuts forced to stack off to me when I held the best of it.

Then lady luck walked through the door. I was in a giant pot with two low lifes from the port, one who smuggled dirty things into the city, and another one who was the captain of the police there but could more accurately be described as number one’s employee. We were playing stud, I had hit a 10 high straight, it looked like the captain had a straight of his own to the 6 or so, and the smuggler easily had two pair but I knew he wasn’t sitting on a boat. Not the way I was running. I put the rest of my chips in the middle. I felt a person walk up behind me and the hairs on my neck stood up in excitement. The partners in crime both pushed their chips to the center, I turned over the winner and they both mucked in disgust.

As I dragged the pot, I laid eyes on what was waiting behind me and surveyed this tall of drink of water with lips you could use as life preservers. "Who was that?!?" I thought as I haphazardly drew the chips in. She noticed my attention and sauntered over to me, in the shortest, sheerest mini-skirt a woman could put on without getting arrested. She softly touched my nose with her forefinger, "Must be your lucky day," she smiled, her teeth perfect, gleaming white, and lips luminescent even in the darkness.

To be continued.

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