Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Six of us play regularly. Green ten dollar bills tossed from our wallets into the middle of the playing table.

Several of the guys welded the playing table themselves in the weld shop where they work at night to the white skin tanning light of the oxygen and celine flame. One of them, the sergeant in charge of the place, a white guy from the farming and industrial side of Arizona, always with a bulge of chew under his lower lip, never spitting unless he happens to be outside, always smiling with bits of tobacco in the crevices of his lower teethe, he often comes to our poker games with his skin blazing red from the welding flame.

The table is more of a board we set on two boxes, covered in green clothe, and less of an actual table.

I never played before. I have often watched the poker world series though, fascinated. There's the guy with the cowboy hat, older, apparently more patient and wiser. There's sometimes a darker haired mid thirties dude who talks a lot as if he isn't hiding anything, says his allegedly thoughts right outloud to the cowboy when he feels like his been put in a crunch. Then there's usually a college math major or business major in the bunch, his first time to the final rounds. Men sitting around playing mind games and trying to beat the others, and more importantly the chaoses that try to otherwise control the cards. It's the Odyssey taking place around a quiet, hand flickering table.

From watching I've learned how to only just barely raise the two top left corners of my cards when I look.

I've learned to bluff only when the other players are bound to care less about catching me in a bluff than the risk of losing the price I raise them to. You have to really look into people's eyes to understand the balance of this scale in them. For everyone it levels a little differently.

Even so, you can sail a water tight ship, but sometimes the sea swallows you whole for no other reason than statistically sometimes the sea swallows you whole. And five of six people will always drown at a poker game.

Between rounds we step outside into the cold air. Most of them smoke. Some of us pee off into the nearby bushes. Then we pull out ten dollar bills again and leaf them down onto the table.


Blogger Don said...

Nate Dawg. I had no idea you kept a blog. I'll have to do some perusing of the backlog here.

I shot a poker commercial in Vegas last month. Some of your characters were there -- Doyle Brunson is your older, wiser man in the cowboy hat. Mike Carro is your psychological mathematician, but he's older than you've painted him.

It's a mad game for sure. And Vegas is a mad town. The poker commercial paid cash -- 95K budget: cash.

Is the statistical sea-swallowing line yours? Or are you borrowing? I like it- such powerful, succinct and matter-of-fact summary of tragedy.

Back to the backlog...

4:37 PM  

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