Thursday, November 17, 2005

When Nature Attacks!

Ok, it was a squirrel not some King Kong sized grizzly bear. We live in the suburbs, so seeing a squirrel snacking on Little Drizz’s Halloween candy (squirrels prefer Junior Mints, peanut M & Ms, and Blow Pops just so you know) when entering the kitchen caused quite a stir. That didn't help my wife's mood as she had a rough day at work since her assistant enjoys taking two hours to carefully arrange pepperoni in perfect geometric shape on 300 slices of pizza and taking an hour to make instant mashed potatoes.

A freaked-stressed out pregnant chick is not the type of Wednesday night relaxation I was looking for. At least the WPT replay provided some comic relief, as VVP picked the chip leader to win for the 35th straight time. Try something new man, like picking the only known pro at the table (Phil Ivey) oh wait that's always Mike's pick. Carry on.

Tonight I will be adventuring on a Midnight Run to Grand Casino Hinckley. As mentioned earlier in the week my buddy Burnsie is turning 30 and respectfully requested we dust off a time-honored tradition that used to take place nearly every week. Of course getting a steady job, retaining a spouse, and producing little spawns have taken precedence over nickel slots, swapping drunken party stories about chicks with weird nipples, and eating that delicious cheap breakfast when the sun peaks over the frozen tundra the next day.

Here's one such story:

Many moons ago when we were a couple of 120 pound volleyball gym rats, we took a couple of ladies with us on one of our trips. The destination was Treasure Island near Red Wing, MN. In this multi-colored piece of shit 85’ Nova the space was a little cramped since all four of us were over six feet tall made for the need to joke about wanting to get there faster then the 30 mph max speed that the car had.

Can you tell I was a regular Casanova in college? Pimpin ride, shy-guy syndrome, and bean-pole arms what more could you ask for in a guy??? I’m surprised Tommy Lee didn’t drop by my parent's house to regularly ask for Pam to come back home.

Our prior experiences led us to the casino easily, but if you haven’t been to Treasure Island (especially back then) it was easy to get lost (see Cheap Thrill’s recent trip report). Once inside about 55 cartons of Marlboro Reds hit us right in the face, and back then being a social smoker I whipped out my pack of Lights and lit up despite my girlfriend’s look of disgust. Being the suave gentlemen that we were, Burnsie and I railbirded the ladies while playing the newest nickel slots with *gasps* bonus games! Although the colecovision graphic slots are now being moved into dark corners of casinos these were the hot things to play back then.

After an hour or so the ladies were bored since the slots gods decided to accept their sacrifices without any monetary rewards, it was time to play some blackjack. Past the age of 25, I could (and still) never win at a blackjack table, but since I was only 21 at the time, the card deities smiled upon my barely over McDonald's-wage gambling. While betting $5 a hand I was making a little change while Burnsie was cleaning up due to his usual total disregard for the chips having monetary value.

Then the drunken Indian (feather not dot) stumbled into the open seat on the end next to me.

He promptly splashed about $750 worth of nickels and quarter chips on table and declared he wishes to play black…. jack and some smokes, gotta have some smokes (repeat "gotta have some smokes" about 20 times before the cigarette lady came back with the right carton). The dirty trucker at the other end of the table immediately decided to badger the Indian with jokes for smokes but the Indian paid no attention as his betting style consisted of grabbing a handful of chips and splashing them in the betting circle. Denomination of the chips be damned.

No, he wasn’t counting cards, or “putting on an act” as I’ll reveal why I knew this in a second. His erratic play promptly got the pit bosses worked up since he’d hit on seventeen with a $175 bet at a $5 table (maximum bet was $199 back then), and get a 4. Then stay on 5 with a $15 bet and have the dealer bust. All the while the trucker kept badgering the Indian for smokes and drinks which he bought a carton right at the table with a generous $25 tip to the be-thonged cigarette lady (yes I got slapped for looking, I'm only human!!) and started passing out a pack and drinks for everyone.

Good times.

Eventually the Indian started to lose and his pile of chips diminished, but he wasn’t going to be deterred into making stupid plays. Until one hand the anchor of the table, a portly bingo player, didn’t take a hit with 13 and a dealer’s face card showing, dealer flipped up 13 also and caught an 8 for 21. This caused the previously serene drunkin Indian to explode out of his chair knocking over his Jack and Coke to exclaim...


For the next six hands he did just that… Any pair? Split them!! Then split em again despite getting 20 on both. If he got a hard 18, he hit it for 28 despite the dealer’s up card showing a 6. Soft 13? He’d stay, and the dealer’s 10 became a 20 with a matching paint card. In the one hand he did manage to get 21 in four cards, he still insisted on a hit. Maybe today, the pit boss would have stepped in and saved this poor soul from himself but I guess they were hard up for retaining those checks for the new hotel expansion.

After losing everything but a couple of nickels, he gently “rested his eyes” and security came to take the poor guy away.

Never saw him again that night, but whenever I’m sitting down playing poker virtually or live the image of that guy is burnt into my mind enough to realize just how destructive tilt can be. I realize it’s a kind of a you-had-to-be-there type of story to be funny, but its just one of many Midnight Run stories that I’ll be hoping to add to while going up Hwy. 35 to Hinckley tonight.

Thanks for dropping by, now check out the blog of the 18 year old being accused of killing his 14 year old girlfriend’s parents. I don't know which is more retarded, the blog or the comments.

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