Gambler's Diary: Vol IV - Mad King
I open my door exhausted. SCOOP’s are finally over. A 16-day poker madness that had nearly cost me my mental health but managed to be fairly profitable for once. After 186 playing hours I ended up approximately USD 65k on the black. Most of it came from winning 2k PLO heads up tournament – a title which was especially important to me, as I was battling heads up almost every day. Why couldn’t it be a WCOOP event? No one remembers a Spring champion. “World champion – now that’s something that has a nice ring to it. Well, I get my chance in 4-months or so. I check the time; it’s quarter to nine in the morning. I jump into bed and fall asleep. I dream about a deck of cards dancing conga.
I wake up to banging on my door “Wake up man, we gotta go!” I recognize the voices as Mr. E and Mr. JJ and hop out of my bed. As I’m walking to the door, I catch the time; 13.16. I told them that leaving before four a clock is inhumane. I open the door.
“For fucks sake man, I told you that we’re going to pick you up...”
“...And god damn, would you put some clothes on” - Mr.E
I sleep nude. Hadn’t bothered to put on some clothes on yet.
“Yeah I know, and I said that I’m not able to wake up that early even with an alarm clock”, I replied, catching a glimpse of my body in the mirror; I look like a pale potato. Maybe some clothes would be a good idea.
“And if you don’t like the sight of my bare ass you probably shouldn’t rampage your way through my door.”
“You specifically asked us to if you didn’t answer your phone” -Mr.JJ
He got me there. Maybe this was just a subconscious plan to show them my ass? Would I do that? Probably best not to think about that. Could lead into massive headache.
By the time we get to our friends’ summer cottage I’m feeling great. My mind is sharp and I’m starting to feel like I woke up from a long sleep. Three beers and two energy drinks I had on the drive over might’ve had something to do with it as well.
It’s a weird dynamic when you collect nine individuals with different stages of gambling addiction and let them loose. Each of us needs their fix, some more desperately than others. As you observe these deeply manic creatures you quickly notice some odd rituals that they are performing. They seem to gather in a group, do some yelling (in this phase one of the males declares that he can do something, usually with an odd certainty, waiting for a contender.) The declaration is either followed by a loud shouting from the other males (you get action) or a small murmuring (you don’t get action). This ritual is repeated until money has changed hands, bets have been solved (usually outrageous or just plain stupid) and most have gotten their fix. Action peaks almost immediately after the pack has gathered and slowly decreases over the night. It never goes away entirely though. To an alien race we must seem identical to the rest of the apes.
After loads of betting and even more drinking we play some poker. This is the “Main event” of the night. Earlier experiences have taught me that blinds don’t really matter in these games. Everyone knows how to play, but no one is sitting here to make money – it’s about owning your opponent. Is there really anything better than making and outrageous bluff, standing up and boasting about it to your friend? If there is, please let me know as this is as close to nirvana as I’ve ever gotten. The other side of the coin is that everyone knows this – and you definitely don’t want to be the guy who folds the best hand, which makes folding very rare indeed. I take my seat and grab my weapons; 1k worth of chips, two beers and one bottle of red wine.
I’m up 60 buy ins from the game (12k) when the table finally breaks. I’m an unstoppable god. The others have gone to bed. They have realized my genius and given up. Only Mr.E is still standing next to me and is willing to give me some action. What a fool. This will be the destruction of him. I’ve been making bets, shouting and drinking for the last 10 hours but I want more action, no, I NEED more action. I will bet on anything and play against anyone. Embrace the darkness, here comes the mad king.
“So, you want to play heads up?” Mr.E’ asks me worryingly soberly.
Do I want to do heads up? What kind of question is that? Is he implying that I would be afraid?
´You know he’s pretty good, and seems way more sober than you, also 30x net worth can’t hurt` – my voice of reason
`SILENCE! This man is willing to give us action and by god we’re going to give it to him. We will bring the wrath of all the mythical creatures of the underworld; we shall release eternal darkness on him. We. Will. Play. `– mad king
“Always”, I reply to Mr.E
I and Mr.E stagger into a little red cottage near the forest. In the cottage there is two chairs, a table and a bed. We sit down with the three liters of vodka that we brought with us. We brought no mixers though, when clock is over six am, one never uses mixers anymore.
“You must drink at least three shots before we start, to even out our drunkness” I demand of Mr.E.
Mr.E looks at me, says nothing, grabs one of the bottles and takes a sip that’s roughly a fifth of the whole bottle.
“I can drink for the two of us if you can’t do it anymore” he replies with a grin, holding the bottle in front of me.
I tell him to fuck off, grab the bottle and take a sip. The heads up is ready to begin.
Something has happened before nine am because I’m now down 15k. I’m not sure what, but I’m sure it was a bad beat. Can’t stop yet, I’ll have him. I’m sure I’ll have him. I just need a bit more vodka...
I’m down 30k, when time is around 11 am. Can’t stop yet, we’re playing over 30k deep now. I only need that one hand. Better have some vodka though. We had to stop playing for a while because we ran out of booze (mostly drank by Mr.E - I had only one liter because I like to keep my game sharp). It is weird however that I can no longer taste the alcohol, did someone replace our vodka with water? I’d check it out if I could walk properly - somehow the gravitational pull of earth must’ve stopped working like it used to.
“Hey man, we must leave now,'' Mr.E's voice wakes me up.
“Where am I? What happened?`` I'm drunk out of my mind. We’ve been sleeping for two hours.
“Hey, don’t feel too bad you know... “
I remember that something happened last night. Did we play? I’m in a firm hug by Mr.E and he’s slowly moving his hand around my shoulder.
“... you don’t need to pay me immediately” Mr.E continues in an almost sexual whispery tone of voice.
“WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?” I think, but before I shout it out loud some pieces from two hours ago come back to me. Result? -60k. 186 SCOOP hours undone in two flashbacks.
I turn around, and Mr.E is looking at me. Still holding his hand over my shoulder. He’s clearly sorry for me. There is concern in his eyes. Concern that is so understandable that it annoys the shit out of me.
We get into a car. I don’t remember much of the ride. It’s all blurred out because of the meaningless that is life or the fact that alcohol is blocking my brain’s capability to form memories, or both. The mad king is dead, all hail the new king.
The next clear memory is pressing that one last zero on a transfer that went to Mr.E’s account…
…and one hell of a hangover.