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Old 09-09-2016, 10:35 PM   #1
Truestoryteller
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The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Chapter 1 - The Inception

I created this account so that I could remain anonymous. If I had posted this on my other account, others on 2p2 may know it is me, and I would rather keep their anonymity, and I would like to keep mine.

This is a true story of the evolution of a home game plus extracurricular activities. In it there will be degeneracy, poker, life stories, all of this hopefully for your entertainment. These events took place between the winter of 2014 and the summer of 2016. I no longer have any action in these games, as I now have moved and gone back to grinding my own game.

A little background about me. I was in college when Moneymaker spun the poker world into a worldwide passion. I left college to grind out a living both online and live at places like Foxwoods and MS. After a year or two, I moved to Florida, and kept to mostly online, as the poker rooms were not as developed back then and had capped buy ins at $100. Tampa Hard Rock had a small poker room where the Asian gambling area is IIRC, and I found it lacking action. Although I initially played Holdem, I transitioned to PLO around 2005, and was ahead of the curve for a long time. From then until Black Friday, I played online, and occasionally played NLHE live when the cap was raised in 2010 in FL. I turned back to a live PLO/NL grinder in 2011 when casinos were first really spreading the game regularly. I remember even asking the dealer what to do if I wanted to bet the pot. I realized this might be a +EV play as I was considered a new player, but I just had inexperience with live PLO. Even though I played 30 hours a week, I did have a small business I managed and make sure to keep it a priority.

Fast forward to the Winter of 2014. In South Florida, winter means season time in the poker world. Plenty of well off snowbirds flock to the area and the games become juicy. I had been playing on the West Coast, and had one close friend from up North I met in 2011. He had started dealing charity games, but was also a solid player and a certified hustler. we can call him Tim. You would never know meeting him, but he had been an opiate addict for 15 years. He was about 6 foot 2, 375 pounds, and did not move much. Once a millionaire, he was stuck with living with family and getting a dealing job. After doing fairly well both dealing and playing, he decided in February of 2014 that he wanted a piece of the action from the local poker rooms. We had been playing there for 2.5 years, and gotten to know a lot of the people. The idea of a home game was originally his - I was content to play in it and get some of the action on the side keeping book and offering security. We got our first tables running by playing at local charity tournaments and getting a player list going. Once we had 30 people, we started running our own game on Mondays and Wednesdays. It was mostly retired people from around town, a few 18 year old kids we picked up from cheap Moose Lodge tournaments that claimed they played cash, and a few friends. I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was not in the best of places at this time. I had just broken up with a girl to ran back to Michigan to be with her abusive ex, I broke my lease on my apartment because my roommate was a savage female drunk who needed help, and I was sleeping at my mom's house on her couch. I wasn't broke by any means, I just didn't feel like I had much else going on besides poker and finishing up school.

Tim started off dealing his own game the first night. These games started off as 1/2 with a 5 dollar straddle. People were buying in for 200, and soon every other pot was all-in. The game was juicy as hell. The thing is, Tim hated dealing and really wanted to play. He was content with his $5 cap rake and providing food - usually Subway, KFC, or something else of almost zero nutritional value. I didn't mind eating the ****ty food because I was depressed and it tasted good. Tim was looking for another dealer, and what better place than at the local casino to find a professional who wanted to deal for cash at the end of the night and then dump it back into the game?

This is where the story of Donnie begins......
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:41 PM   #2
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Chapter 2 - Donnie, and Getting Into the Game

After a month or so, as mentioned, we had a regular group of players, young and old, playing from 6pm to 2-4am at Tim's parents house. Some nights we had a waiting list, and a few nights we had two tables running. Playing in the game I noticed myself nitting it up, as I am generally nitty and undervalue holdem hands due to playing primarily PLO. I just wasn't getting the value that I should at this game. The game was juicy, but I had noticed that the rake was juicer as I was helping him empty the rake boxes. I knew I wanted to get in on this, as I was watching him offer a service where players were happily giving him 500-1000 a night between rake and tips, and it didn't seem that hard. I told him that I could offer more of my friends that I played PLO with to come into the game. He asked me if I was willing to carry a gun on me at all times as he needed a security guy. The game had become so juicy that he was carrying 5-10K cash on him at any given night. Tim was concerned that his house would get robbed and wanted some peace of mind. I usually carried wherever I went anyway, so this was a no-brainer for me. In return for security and keeping the book, I got $100 plus I got to play on the book and kept half my winnings, and he ate my losses. I took it because in my mind it was a win-win situation.

So as the games became longer and Tim wanted to play in his own game, he went out in search of a professional dealer. One night I show up early to play some OFC with a few other guys, and here sits Donnie. Donnie is a one-of-a-kind character. He is 40+ years old, has 5 kids, yet just had gotten laid off at the local casino because all the other dealers hated him. He was the epitome of a douchey 1-2 and $50 daily tourney grinder. He had the hat, hoodie, Blue Shark Optics sunglasses, and kept really quiet until he wanted to explain how someone played a hand wrong. He had the worse case of ADHD I have ever seen, and was socially inept. He was, however, our new dealer.

He was, like most dealers in my experience, an action junkie. He was making 400 a night dealing cards at the house, but he would come in and play at the end of the night and dump it all. He was the definition of a born loser. To this day, I never hated Donnie, I pitied the fact that he thought he was making a living.

Donnie did have a good understanding of the game, but his ADHD would always get the better of him. He managed to go through his entire tax return (about 6k) and was in debt to Tim. Tim was pissed and forced him to deal it off. Even with all the dealing, he could never seem to break even. Tim would let him keep half his tips, which would be gone by the end of the night. He felt bad for Donnie and would give him 100 so his wife wouldn't divorce him. We would see him run up 3k stacks and give it all away in one hand. Tim was getting pissed that Donnie was becoming a liability to the game, so he forced him to get more players that he knew.

Beyond all of this, the game was becoming attractive to the other dealers at the casino. They heard of the loose 1/2/5 game and would start showing up after work and kept the game going all night. A lot of this was done on credit, because most of them were broke and would continue being broke as they handed over paychecks to Tim on Fridays. Everyone wanted to deal Tim's game to pay off their debt. Everyone seemed to be in debt with Tim - the 18 year old kids that would play at the local moose had racked up 3k in debt each, much more than they would make in a couple months. Old ladies, hairdressers, dealers, and everyone in between were paying off their debts. Tim didn't care as long as he saw 80% of what he was owed. "If I get 80% I'm happy", he would always say. I didn't care as I was up a few thousand in the game in a month plus the 100 a night, I stopped going to the local casino except to play super nitty and get more players.

The game had grown to a 1/2/5/10 straddle, and it was all running on a level of credit that made the 2008 recession look like a blip on the radar. No one was exchanging money for chips anymore except for the wealthy rec players, and they fueled the rake. Everyone saw the amount of money on the table and they wanted a piece. One guy, we'll call him Tampa Bob, bought in for 5k one night and lost it all. He was a local 5/10 player and wanted to splash around in the kiddies' game. He soon realized this wasn't your average 1/2.

This game had established its own informal economy. 3 or 4 of the local weed dealers would come and play, and make a few hundred from other players selling an ounce a night and then blowing it in the game. It attracted so many characters because anyone and everyone could get credit, and it seemed anyone could make thousands in a night. Tim was definitely thinking ahead when he asked me about security - half the time I couldn't even play because I had to watch the games, watch the chips, walk outside and see if anyone was staking the place out.

Tim thought it was a little too much to handle, so he made an attempt to take on a partner. This would prove to be a hard time for the game and would bring it to a new venue, a new scene, and new management.

To be continued.....
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:56 AM   #3
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

good stuff keep it coming man.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:56 AM   #4
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

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Old 09-10-2016, 11:57 AM   #5
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Chapter 3 - Partnerships, Book - Part 1

I want to apologize, as I feel as though I have rushed through the beginnings of this story. I think that trying to get the background, the characters, the setting all lined up put me in a rush. I will try and be more descriptive as more interesting and important parts of the story come about.

In the summer of 2014, Tim's game was running as strong as any 1/2 game in the state, except it really wasn't a 1/2, it played like a 2/5 and even a 5/10 at times. Raises were generally 15-45, and raisers were getting calls 4-5 ways. It left most people with a pot sized bet behind. People would spend the first few hours stacking each other until they were deep, then basically played a 2/5 game. This was starting to take a toll on the players' bankrolls. A lot of these guys were just blue collar workers who had about 400 disposable a week. 1/2 buyins seemed enough for a 1/2 game. When people were getting stacked and then buying in deeper, a lot of these guys started getting 4 figures in the negative. They started to borrow, and borrow, and borrow. I had people on the books for 3-6k, and they only took home 1500 a month. It was hitting Tim hard, because this was basically all the rake that he had to go and collect on his own time, and one or two nights had a hard time paying out players. I saw him one night dip into his own pocket 3k to pay out players, and that was probably most of the money to his name. Tim was used to big swings - being a dope addict for almost 2 decades will make you very experienced in the highs and lows of life.

I was out of town for a few weeks visiting family near Foxwoods, and was grinding their bigger 08/PLO8 games at the time. My grandfather had passed away and I spent a few weeks with my dad, telling him about the game. My dad was an executive on Wall Street in the 80s and 90s, and had retired, now teaching prob/stat at a local college. I told him what was going on, and the money to be made, and all he said was "get out when you know it's time to get out". I take any advice my dad gives me seriously, as he doesn't talk very much, and he's not one to really offer advice.

Tim called me right after 4th of July and said to get the **** back down because the game was getting out of control. I realized I was missing out on major money down there, so I made the 24 hour drive back, without giving much thought to where I was even going to live. I had a brand new car that was paid off, but no house. My belongings were at my mom's house, but she was selling it and I had to get out of there. I had been sleeping on my Tempur Pedic bed in the living room since my college finals in May, and I had to up my living situation. Where I live is not a big town - rentals are usually seasonal and can be very expensive. I had a friend who had been a recreational player for a few years, and I knew he had a house with an extra room. I offered to pay half the housing costs in return for the guest room, which he gladly accepted. I just slept on the couch the first few weeks. It was right down the street from Tim's. My new roommate Jimmy and his girlfriend worked 9-5 jobs and made about 500 a week. They always complained they had no money to spare, and had to go to Wal-Mart to buy stuff and hope it lasted the month. They never really understood how I slept in and watched TV all day, then was gone all night only to show up at sunrise. They didn't care though - this gave them the ability to save up money, and me the chance to just relax and not get into any committal lease.

Back to Tim's, a growing number of dealers were showing up after their shifts to come and play, and kept the donations coming. Some would even drive an hour from their house to come and play. I had a vested interest in this game running, and if these guys were making the trip, I tried to accommodate. One older dealer showed up and the second hand of the night 3-bet to 60 from a 15 open and call. I closed the action with 600 behind with 57cc. The flop was A89cc, where I check raised the dealer all in 300 effective. He took 10 seconds to call with....AA He said he only wanted to run it once, so the turn was a 6, river 6 of clubs for a straight flush on my part. Tim had no more credit to lend out, so I lent to it him personally and told him to keep the chips. These guys would deal to me, now there was a table of them around with them as my competition. One dealer in particular, Gerald, was very level headed. He was a senior dealer at the casino, had his own house, very little debt, and played a serious game. Even though he was kinda nerdy, I liked him as a guy, and could trust him. He dealt weed in his spare time and was always the entrepreneur. It reminded me a lot of myself. One night after the 3k loss Tim took, Gerald propositioned Tim into setting up a Thursday game at his house, and Gerald would set it up, and would let Tim take a piece of the rake, cash every night. He would cover the book as well. Tim really couldn't turn it down because he felt he was running his game for free sometimes, and needed the cashflow.

Gerald had a very structured way of getting his game running, which I will get into in part 2.
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Old 09-10-2016, 05:45 PM   #6
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Partnerships and Book - Part 2 - The German and my Ex-Girlfriend's Mother

Getting into August of 2014, Gerald had started to run his game on Thursdays. He said that we could play any game we wanted, and he would deal all night. His plan was to get existing players from Monday and Wednesday, and brought his own "people" to play on Thursday. This was mostly in the form of more dealers, his brother, and some local redneck guys. One person that stood out in this group was The German. The German was someone I knewa little from the local casino, but then found out we had some mutual acquaintances. He was about 55, was an ex-German police officer, and had come to the U.S. to sell real estate to other Europeans. I would find out his real story in the following months. He drank at least a 12 pack of Yuengling a night, so we had to stock that, plus he would smoke weed until he would throw up. The guys outside loved to hand German a joint and he would hit it, start to cough, and say "excuse me, I have to go puke a little," in his old German accent. He was a highly aggressive player pre and postflop, and he took huge swings. He was the star player on Thursday night, the social aspect of the game ran around him. Whenever he would win, he would yell "THAT'S IT, THAT'S HOW YOU WIN THE SUPERBOWL" or "YES, SHOOT IT ALL OVER ME!". This was absolutely hilarious and kept the game running much longer than it should.

One thing I noticed from the start of the game was that Gerald wasn't taking in money from his "players". They were all on credit, and he would not allow players from other nights play on credit. Since I was on book with Tim, Tim gave me the same deal on Thursdays to keep the game running, so I was basically freerolling and getting 12-1500 a month. The game was actually much softer, as only the cash-heavy rec players would tend to come on this night. We also would pay PLO the second half of the night, and it was glorious. I could take a 500 loss and turn it around to a 4 figure win in 30 minutes because the players were so terrible. The game was not running well, however, and the book showed up after just a few weeks. The problem with this book was that it was Tim's book in Gerald's game. They had not worked out the specifics, and this would turn out to be a problem as the numbers got bigger.

Meanwhile, on Mondays and Wednesdays, a group of people were getting to form into a closer knit friendship/rivalry dynamic, but poker friends nonetheless. Here are a few characters who will be mentioned later in the story, I will give the background on now.

Josh and Willy- Josh and Willy were only 19, and were still learning the ropes on poker. Josh was a hard worker at local car detailing place, and Willy just told small bags of weed sourced from some of the other players. They both saw a ton more money than they make in a month getting thrown around, and both got in deep to Tim, Willy worse than Josh. I could tell it was hurting Josh, so I started helping him with his game, giving him a few extra bucks here and there, and told him to not take money from Tim even if he offered at the table.

Derek - Derek was the best dealer at the local casino, the fastest pitcher, always had the action moving, and kept the small talk to a minimum. He was an ex-cop, but left the force to pitch cards and get away from his home state. He was a savage drinker who would drive over an hour to come down to deal at Tim's just to drink and get away from his wife. We both talked guns, how much the game was full of bs, and the over/unders on baseball games, which he bet hard. He was also an O8 player, and used to deal some underground games in Central Florida.

Fat Mike - Mike was my closest friend who dealt at the local casino. Standing 6'2 and weighing in at about 145, he was skinny as a rail. He was probably the equivalent of a white Chino Rheem, except he was Florida trailer trash, had 0 female game, and was no good at poker. He thought he was excellent, but he was always hero calling for his stack. I had known him at the time for 2 years, he had 2 kids, a "wife", he had just gotten back his driver's license for unpaid tickets, and mountains of debt. He lived in a ****ty duplex in a shady part of the northside of town. He drove a 2001 Cadillac Catera, and it was the biggeest POS ever on the road. He would speed smoke L&M lights and drink tons of coffee, but said he hated drugs. He used to drink like a fish, now he drank Smirnoff Ice like a ladyboy. He talked a big game, but would rollover and play dead when he had to. He will come later in this story.

Sally - There were a few notable women who played in this game. Sally was in her mid 40s, attractive for her age, and happened to be my ex-girlfriend's mother. My ex was such a class act that she left her child with Sally when she moved back to her abusive ex, so when I wasn't playing poker, I was over at Sally's teaching her granddaughter how to swim, play soccer, etc. I never wanted kids, but if I ever wanted one, it would be Sally's granddaughter.

Sally and I had an odd friendship. She was married for 20 years to her husband, and loved poker. She was not a pro, or even a semi-pro, but could play the game, and was a 1/2 regular. She met me through poker friends, and was also friends with my roommates and their parents. It was one interesting poker family. We would all go to Disney World together, go bowling, play $5 tournaments (LOL) and drink a ton on Friday nights. Beyond these times, Sally and I would hang out late night and go drive to Hard Rock to get more action. She would run off to the 1/2 tables, and I would sit at 6/12 O8 waiting for my name to be called for 5-5 PLO. Some nights I would be down 2K, and she would feel terrible and be in tears if she was down $600 in 1/2. Her in laws had a lot of money, and her husband's parents donated 75k a year to their family. She honestly had nothing to worry about. We would have a lot of late night talks, hang out till 3-4am at the casino or the game at Tim's and her husband as well as others were curious. Nothing ever happened between us - I know it would make for a fun story if it did, but it was one of the most interesting friendships I have ever had.

For the sake of TL;DR, I will end this here.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:30 PM   #7
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Chapter 4 - The Falling Out, The Cold Deck, and the Move

So after 6 weeks of running this Thursday night game, coupled with the regular Monday and Wednesday, the book became out of control. There was over 30k owed in this 1/2 game, a game that started as a casino alternative for some extra money, and now was attracting higher profile players. One player in particular had just come home from the WSOP, finishing in 2nd in a 1000 or 1500 event for 250K, I can't remember. He is a well known player around here and is pretty decent at cash games. He came down with one of the floorguys who likes to ride the coat tails of recent big time winners. There will be more on him later. We'll call the WSOP pro DJ.

DJ bought in for 1k, and as I was running chips, doing security, watching two tables, I see him grind up to about 1600. Donnie had done his usual - showed up with no money, but let Tim back him in return for like 80%, and made him deal off any losses. Donnie was really that much of a degen. He honestly wasn't that bad of a player though, and made good reads.

One hand in particular went as follows - 1/2/5 straddle - open to 20 by DJ, all in for 70 by a mid position player cold called by Donnie with 1800 behind, and DJ 4 bets to 270. Donnie calls out of position, and the flop comes A89. Donnie checks, DJ bets 300, Donnie calls. Turn was a 3, and it goes check/check. River is a K, and Donnie checks, DJ tanks for a minute, then says "all in". it was about 1100 to call, and Donnie snaps him off with AJhh. DJ mucks and everyone asked what he had, and he wouldn't say. I see Willy, who was dealing take a quick peek at the cards, and flashed me A10ss. I gained respect from Donnie, he had a plan felt that DJ was trying to get him off a stronger Ace, and it didn't work. DJ did not seem to talk much or have much respect for anyone at the table, and it cost him his stack. He rebought for 3000 to get his money back from Donnie. It never ended up happening, and his floor buddy started telling Donnie what a donkey he was. It got to the point where it was about to get physical, and I told floor guy, I'll call him Peter, to leave. He said he had gotten a ride from DJ, and I told him I didn't care, to call Uber. Peter wasn't used to being told what to do and got in my face. I told him lets talk outside, I didn't want to disrupt the game. He comes out at me again and I told him to watch himself, this was a last warning. Being the dumb redneck he is, he just got more irate, and charged me. Peter is about 6'3, 250, I couldn't take him myself, so out came the stun gun. On the ground drooling, I came back in, and the table asked where Peter went. I told them he was cashing out, got his money and put it in his pocket. I gave him a one month ban and said if he tried to talk about this game I would make sure he lost his gaming license. I was getting paid to do this job, so I did it. I told DJ not to bring him again, and he was bad for the game. DJ seemed slightly relieved about this, and the game went on for a few more hours.

As the weeks rolled on, the book was starting to look completely cooked. Everyone owed money across games, and Gerald and Tim were arguing about who owed how much. No one wanted to pay each other, and it started getting nasty at the casino on the nights the game didn't run. I personally liked Gerald as he was level headed, something Tim was never. One night, on the outskirts of town, he invited me over to the German's place, and we talked. Gerald wanted to move the German, whose lease was up, into a nicer place and run a nicer game where wealthier players would feel more comfortable. I told him I would be interested in helping out, as Tim had been getting in his players' faces a lot, and was running the game into the ground. I even told my close friends not to play in it, that they may not get paid out. I was forced to make a move and choose a side, and I had to go with the guy with more class and experience. So it was done - the Thursday game was moved closer into the larger city with the German getting a piece for renting it out, and my job and opportunities stayed.

Back at home, I had to deal with a bunch of bull****. On his birthday, my roommate, a raging alcoholic and diabetic, drank his dinner at home and flipped out on both his gf and me. He tipped over the glass living room table, she called the cops, and it took 6 EMS and cops to get him strapped down and into an ambulance. Once he recovered from his stupor he was Baker acted (5150) and was gone for a week. She moved back to her parents' house, also friends of mine, and I had the house to myself. The downside is I had no place to move after the lease was up in October, I was not making as much money in Tim's game, and had to hope that Gerald's game would run well. I took to the casino, getting players to come over and play. We offered free food, drinks, sports, and a nice atmosphere. They spent about 5k on the lease, and another 2k on chips, chairs, a table, and some backing. I was not getting the same deal that Tim offered, but his game was not running as much anymore. He made a bad mistake that cost him the trust of his players.

to be continued.....
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:37 PM   #8
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

nice, i like this
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Old 09-11-2016, 12:11 AM   #9
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

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good stuff keep it coming man.
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nice, i like this
lol
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Old 09-11-2016, 12:44 AM   #10
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Keep it coming keep it coming!
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:17 AM   #11
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

You're a great writer and this is a fantastic story. Please keep it coming!
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:39 AM   #12
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

I'm glad that you guys are enjoying this story so far. It has been a while since I have taken a creative writing class, and I want to do more than just tell a story with just the facts. I may start doing days/people/incidents to focus on the good stuff. I have a lot of material to work with, so I hope I can entertain in the future.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:27 AM   #13
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Great read so far. One thing you haven't mentioned is rule disputes. Did any of that stuff come up and if so who acted as a floor and made the final decision?
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:33 AM   #14
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

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Great read so far. One thing you haven't mentioned is rule disputes. Did any of that stuff come up and if so who acted as a floor and made the final decision?
This was something that actually did not come up often. We did have one time where a player cut out chips to call OTR and claimed he didnt call once he saw two pair beat his aces. It was a slight angle, and Tim basically would make rulings for the table as long as he wasn't in the hand. If he was, he would say "I think so and so is the rule, right?" and look at me, and he was pretty much always right. In the later games there was more controversy.
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Old 09-11-2016, 12:04 PM   #15
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Chapter 5 - The Cold Deck and More Characters

So as the war between Gerald and Tim was fought both at the casino and at the game, Tim was slowly going broke from the book eating him up. He would take his winnings and min-buy at 2/5 for $200, wait for a big pair, and almost always double up. 2/5 at the local casino was almost a home game in itself, but the players were so nitty except the weekends. Tim had to come up with a better deal. So came the story of the days of the cold deck.

Before I get into the cold deck days, there are a few more characters that should be introduced. The first is Manuel - he was the largest Mexican I have ever seen. About 6'3, 240ish and all muscle, he was in his late 40s but I have seen him start more fights at the casino than anyone else. No one really knows where he was making his money, but he would show up, buy in for the max, play very laggy, and usually get paid off. He was excellent at reading players, but he would always do the "I didn't look at my cards" and raise to 40. He said he used to work for California Highway Patrol, and had a lot of cop friends, but it was really hard to believe him. He would play for an hour, then leave 800 on the table, go somewhere for an hour with a "girlfriend", then show up for the rest of the night. My guess is he was in some sort of organized crime. I am very familiar with Mexico, and asked him where he was from, and he said Michoacan, which is probably the most dangerous state for drug trafficking outside of the North. Let's just say that enough of his story wasn't bull**** that I kept my distance from him.

The next character was Nazi John, and he was actually called that at the table. Sporting matching swastikas on his arms, he is a late 50s retired guy originally from Jersey. He made a boatload of money cooking meth in the Cali desert in the 80s, and moved here to run a pawn shop with his brother. He owned a half dozen houses, and was not hard up for money. He also was very easy to play against as he bascially told you what he had every hand. Besides the tattoos and tough past, he was actually super nice, and would come hang out with us outside the poker table.

Back to the cold deck. When this first happened, I thought it was just a pure coincidence, as you see everything once in the poker world. On this hand, I was UTG with 10 4 off and folded. The action went raise to 15, 3 callers, including Tim, then a repop to 95 by Manuel in the small blind. The OR calls, and next to act makes it 300. Tim instantly 5 bets all in for 850, and after the button folded, Manuel calls all in for 300. Action was back on the 4 bettor, he was an aggressive Eastern European guy who tanked for 3 minutes before folding QQ face up. There was 600 or so dead in the pot before his fold, and Tim flipped over....33! This was not like Tim, he did not play super aggressive in these games, and did not try to stack his own players. He said he put Manuel on AK and thought he would go heads up as a slight favorite. Flop comes Q33, turn 7, river K, with 3 hearts. The button had flung his cards to me and showed me he had AJhh. If all players had been in there, it would have been set over set over quads, and AJ would have made the nut flush. No one suspected a thing, but me. Donnie was dealing and I knew he was in deep to Tim. I knew Donnie had no problem dealing a cold deck, and I have seen Tim set one up to show me he was capable of doing it. Tim raked in a 4 digit pot and no one was the wiser. He pulled a move for the first time knowing he was getting called and behind and flops quads? Not a coincidence. I have this all on video too because the action was insane even for that game. In the following weeks, I would see him get it in with bottom set vs 2 others holding top two, and flopped broadway with a flush redraw against 2 others that got there. No one ran this good unless they wanted to. I caught him red handed when he got it in versus a Russian guy 2k deep with KK vs AA on a K high flop. Before the cards were turned over, Tim says "okay, no ace". How did Tim know he needed to fade an Ace? Only Josh and I figured out what was going on, people were too drunk or just thought it was bad luck on their part. I had to start telling friends to not show up at Tim's, because I couldn't see Tim getting their action without a fair fight.

Regardless if they knew or not, players just couldn't afford to go on any longer at Tims, they just couldn't win. As Gerald and Tim fought for the last time, Gerald left Tim's for good and started his Thursday game at the German's house. This is really where my part in the game changed, as did many of the characters.

To be continued.
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Old 09-11-2016, 07:54 PM   #16
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

No More Chapters - The End of Jim's Game, and the End of Gerald.

My daily life was taking a toll on my ambition, my body, and my social life. In early 2014, I was 5'10, 170 and in decent shape. By the end of the summer, I had ballooned to 190-195, and was starting to get man titties. I would be going to sleep at 5am, waking up at 11, go to the bagel shop and order a cream cheese bagel and a hot dog bagel with jalapenos, sit and watch poker on the computer, then take a muscle relaxer and pass out for a few more hours. I would get up around 5, and either be playing at Tim's, playing at the casino, and towards the end of the summer, playing at the German's house in Gerald's game. I had no woman in my life, but took a weekday night off here and there to go on a date or two. Nothing really formed, and honestly I didn't really care. I loved the game, and when I did tell any respectable woman what I did for money, they didn't understand. The truth was I wasn't a degen, I was a bankroll nit. I even got the nickname The Jew at the game, which I personally found hilarious. I got it from my dad, he was a life nit, making 400k a year in the 90s and driving an 87 Suzuki Samurai downtown to work. Women around here aren't like women up north. They see a guy who doesn't work 9-5 and they think he's lazy. Well I am lazy, but I still made twice the average salary of a 30ish year old guy in the area. I wasn't ready to settle down.

After 3 weeks, Gerald's Thursday night game at the German's house was not running well. We resorted to playing sit-n-gos for 100 bucks and Gerald felt there was no money to be made. They started to fight, and finally Gerald took his chairs, table, chips, and left the German with no way to pay for his lease. This is where Big Mike made his move. Big Mike was one of the most social people you could ever meet. He loved to talk while dealing at the casino, and he was the first dealer I befriended there. The first thing I can remember him saying was "I would bet on women's synchronized swimming if they laid a line on it". To this day I never understood why people bet on the outcomes of things they could not control, but I guess I'm just a nit.

Mike was also a genius in the customer service world. He made a deal with the German and the German's wife that Mike would cook, provide a game, and bring his players from the casino to the game. The German had no choice, even though his redneck drunk of a wife tried to negotiate the price in their favor. She didn't realize they had no negotiating power.

Right around this time, I considered getting a dealing job at the casino, as I had student loan payments coming up, and thought I needed some structure to my life. Derek and Mike were best friends at the casino, and while Derek was the fastest and made more money, Mike was more social and had the service part down. They offered to show me the dealing world in return for a piece of my tips at first, security, and getting players from Tim's game to come. Tim's game no longer had any confidence to it, and although it ran, it was mostly on credit that was never paid back. Other dealers from the track would come, dump 2k in chips in a night after getting wasted on moonshine, and basically told Tim to go **** himself. I had to talk to Tim, as we had been friends for a while, and wanted to keep the door open for a future game. He understood that I had to make money, so he just asked I try to get some of the money owed by people from around the game back to him for a cut. I told him no problem.

In the meantime, the very next week I started doing the job I did for Tim at the German's house for Big Mike. He had a ridiculous player list, and the game ran like a well oiled engine. A bunch of new people were at this game, some I knew from around the casino, some were players at Tim's game. Some were completely new to me, and I would get to know them as I started to learn the dealing process. Over the next month, I started to hop in and deal, and it was like getting thrown into the fire. I couldn't handle the bull**** at first, but the money and easy hours were too good to really care. This game made Tim's game a joke, and the money soon became much better. The game didn't come without shortcomings, which would soon push me to my limit as a person, as a player, and the law.

To be continued.....
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:53 PM   #17
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Absolute gold. Can't wait to read more tomorrow.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:26 PM   #18
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

October - The Big Game Begins and Picking Up Old Debts.

Starting around October, I had a regular regimen on Thursday nights, and it was my only structure for the week. The rest of the days were spent playing PS4, which was the first video game system I had since PS2 in 2006, going to the casino to play poker, and hanging out with Sally and a group of friends we had around town. We would go to Disney for the weekend, rent a cabana and just order drinks and float around on the lazy river. I did an all night charity barcrawl, slept all day, then drove up with Sally to Universal Studios to go to Halloween Horror Nights. Spending large chunks of time with your ex-girlfriend's mother can be awkward, but we were friends before I met her daughter, and that didn't change. My roommate had broken up with his girlfriend, whose parents I was friends with, and that made it a little awkward. He came back from the psych ward like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - they had sedated him so much his personality was gone. I would lock my door at night and keep my gun close because I didn't know if he was going to flip out again. I have this fear of getting stabbed in my sleep, I guess some primal instincts never go away.

When Thursday came around though, I had a rigid schedule. I would wake up at 10, get some food, pass out, get up again and take a shower and make the 30 minute drive to the German's house. Mike and I would set up the tables, chairs, fill the well, and smoke cigarettes and discuss dealing before the game. The German would sit out there with his Pall Malls and if Derek was off work, he would join us and would help deal. Mike cared more about which baseball game was on, how he was going to take the over, and how much money he was going to say he made to his wife. Thursdays were his day off, and he was taking a big risk by running this game. All it took was one unhappy customer and reporting him to the room manager would get him fired instantly. He still managed to drag a lot of the 2/5 players over to the game. This was a big deal to Mike. He was a degenerate redneck who really had no morals. One of the first nights that I helped run the game, I got a call from Tim. Tim didn't have a driver's license, so he depended on others to get around. He called around 11, and said, "Little Mike is leaving the casino, he owes me $1500, I'll give you half of anything you can get. He was playing PLO, I know he has 3-4000 on him."

As soon as I heard that, I almost dropped the phone. Little Mike had been a ****ing thorn in my side for years. I first met the guy on New Year's 2010 as he showed up wasted to my house, hanging out with his friends who happened to be friends with my sister. I was sick and didn't go out that year from what I can remember, and he must have heard the prompts on my computer because he showed up in my room with this big smile on his face saying, "Hey, you playing poker man?" He saw that I was 2-3 tabling 1-2 PLO and he wanted to play on my FT account. He claimed he was really good but he was so drunk he didn't realize I wasn't playing no limit. "I'm a 5/10 regular, I got this." I had to basically eject him from my room and ask my sister wtf was going on. Everyone was drunk, so as not to kill a buzz, I just talked to him about NL and poker, and he gave me his card to hit him up sometime while he was home from college. It turned out he was a 5/10 reg, and after Black Friday, we would drive around the state a lot to play. The problem was he was an alcoholic, and when he was drunk he would pop whatever pills he had on him, do coke, you name it. He was banned from Hard Rock casinos for slapping waitresses asses, and I even took him to court because he showed back up and got a criminal trespass charge in Tampa. Before that happened, he won 8k in blackjack at Hard Rock, took some country road home, and totaled his BMW, and literally walked home unscathed. He ended up getting a DUI a month later and had to sell his car.

Earlier in 2014 he came with me on a trip to Miami where we played in Hialeah until it closed, then Hollywood all night long. After getting sucked out on twice in 2/5, he lost another 1600 playing blackjack, and he came into the room at like 830 am while I was playing 5-5-10 PLO. He was making a scene, and if they managed to ID him he was going to get arrested. I was up something like 4400, and decided to cash out before I somehow got booted by association. On the ride home, through the Everglades, he continued to drink all day and begged me for Xanax, which I took as prescribed. I gave him one, and after he popped it in his mouth, he pops the question, "SO....WE DECIDED TO SWAP ACTION RIGHT?".

So here I am, driving in the middle of nowhere (I am actually familiar with the backroads of the Everglades), and this kid has the balls to claim that we swapped action on the cash games. How is that even possible? We didn't play the same game, the same stakes, and I would never swap action with Little Mike when he was wasted. I told him definitely not, and I was taking him home to his house. He immediately flipped out and tried to jerk the steering wheel whichever way he could. There happened to be a turn nearby which was basically a bunch of drainage canals and not a town for 30 miles. I took the turn, pulled over, turned off the car, and told him to get out. He kicks my door open in my brand new car which got me even more pissed. I pull him out and push him down the ditch towards the water. If I left him there he would be eaten alive by mosquitos or even worse. I felt like throwing him in my trunk. I asked him if he was going to behave, to which he replied "I'm sorry man, I just lost like half my bankroll, my mom can't see me like this. I need money man."

This was not my problem, my problem was getting him back to his house and I didn't give a **** what his mom was going to do to him. He got back in the car and said he was going to behave himself. He gets on the phone and I hear an operator on the other line. "Yes, is this the Collier County Sheriff's office? I am being kidnapped in a car and the driver won't pull over." OH I WON'T? I grabbed the phone and talked to the operator. She tried to ask me for my name and information, but I know I don't have to give it. I said that I would pull over and let him out, that he was drunk, and they were welcome to come and meet him wherever they wanted. They found it odd that someone being kidnapped would be allowed to use a phone in the car they were trapped in. I got off the phone, stopped at the next place that had any shelter, and told him to get the **** out. I was so angry that I could hear him talking, but I had no idea what he was trying to say. All I knew was he was a ****ing liability and I wanted him out of my car. I don't need a cop finding some sort of probable cause and going through my belongings, finding my bankroll and seizing it for god knows what reason. Once all his stuff was out, I said, "Have a nice life, and hopefully the Collier County Sheriff will show up sometime today. We're in Hendry Country just so you know." I drove off feeling like I got a monkey off my chest. This is why I almost dropped the phone when I heard about his whereabouts, and being able to make money off this guy.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:48 PM   #19
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Unpaid Debts - Part 2

I get off the phone and tell Big Mike that I have to leave for a little while. The German, Mike, and the German's wife were concerned about the safety of the game. The area the game was in was not a bad neighborhood, but it was more densely populated and someone could just kick in the door much more easily than at Tim's house. They had a valid concern, but $100 for the night plus maybe some box time and play time, or $750, Im going to go for the $750 and some payback. When I left him in the sticks, Little Mike managed to scratch up my new car and I got it estimated at $300. He had called me to apologize a few months back. I told him all was good if he paid for the damage to the car. I heard the same runaround story so getting into my car I knew I would have to switch vehicles so as not to scare him off. I had an old 90s Ford Van I used to haul stuff for my business, so I picked it up and made the drive to his house. I knew I was getting there 15 minutes before him, that he didn't have a license, and was probably drunk. He lived with his mom in an upscale neighborhood that was somewhat rural. I pull onto his road and immediately hatch a plan. The entrance to his driveway has big boulders to keep people from parking on the side of the road. I get out and tie one up to my bumper and drag it across his driveway. Thankfully the house is far enough away that you can't see the road. So this half ton limestone boulder is blocking his driveway, and I sit across the road and wait.

Most people hate to wait, but I am sitting there with my heart racing waiting for the trap to work its charm. Once he sees the boulder is blocking him I can block him from turning around and leaving, as it is a dead end. The one funny thing about my van is it looks shady as hell. All black, tinted windows, it looked like the A-Team van without the red stripe and screamed a little bit pedophile.

10 minutes go by, and I see lights coming down the road. I can tell they are Grand Cherokee lights, so it had to be him as only one other person lived on the street. He passes me and I have the van idling and put it in drive. He is going about 20 as he starts to make the cut into his driveway. Sure enough, he doesn't see the rock until it's too late and plows right into it, and the Jeep isn't even moving, just idling with its lights on. I block him in and get out of the van and see him out front looking at the damage. The radiator is busted and I can see coolant spewing all over the front making for a nice white smokeshow. He sees me and knows he does not have much of a choice. His mom will see him drunk and probably kick him out. If the cops come, he will get a DUI, and I know he doesn't have a license. I tell him I need $1800 from him and I'll move the boulder and tow his car. He throws a drunken hissy fit and I tell him I'll report an accident if he doesn't shut the **** up. He said he was going to call the cops so I tell him to go ahead. He is a real stubborn *****, so I tell him I will be an eyewitness to the accident and hang around. He is about to lose his mind over this situation, and tries to figure out how to get his car in the driveway before it overheats. As he is looking at the damage, he left the driver's door open and being the drunken idiot he was, he left a roll of 100s in the center console. I snatch it really quick, get out and tell him I won't call the police and will help him tow the boulder out of the way. I do it, get in my van and drive off without incident. I didn't even check the money - it ended up being $1900, I figured $100 in interest was fair, especially after having to deal with his bs for years. That was the last I ever heard from Little Mike. I believe he found Jesus and is building homes in Africa as we speak. I head back to the game and tell Mike and German that someone needed a tow. I still get paid, head home and call Tim. I tell him I have the money, and meet him in his driveway, and he asked me how I did it. I tell him that I charged Little Mike $1900 for a tow. I head home, pass out grinning as I finally got the best of that degenerate.

I wish that were the last degenerate I would have to deal with during this story.
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Old 09-13-2016, 06:12 AM   #20
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Fantastic. Keep it coming plz
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:33 PM   #21
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Finding A Home And The Deal-

So, as the game at the German's house became a regular thing, I was finding myself about to be without a home in a few weeks. It was mid-October, and the lease on the house was about to be up for my roommate. The housing market is brutal here once the colder seasons start up north, and we had the option to rent the place again for $925, which I told him I would pay half. He said he couldn't afford it, and would rather sleep in his car. I honestly wasn't sure what to do. The German made me an offer for $800 a month to rent a room at his place, but it wasn't near where I wanted to be, and I couldn't stand his wife. He was insulted when I said no, like he was giving me a good deal. I instead asked a friend in a nearby town if she wanted to rent out her extra room and would give her two months up front. She was cool with that, and it was a nice place. It was in a newer area, everything looked the same and felt like suburbia, but for $500, I figured I was in a better place. I took on two days at my friend's gun shop, but honestly didn't care about that job, it was something to do, and $100 to get up early and be there all day really wasn't worth the 30 mile round trip drive. My sister was buying a house near my mom's old place and I could move in December. My roommate ended up renting a duplex with a friend in a ****ty part of town for the same price he could have kept the house.

The second Thursday in October, I started the deal at Big Mike's and he filled in here and there. I made about 440 in tips, and 200 playing for a short time. The thing was, he had only 500 to give me. Classic Mike, giving me a sob story about how he lost a sports bet to keep the creditors away. Whatever, I put the 160 on the book positive, and he did all the work getting the players there, so I figured there could be a lot of worse outcomes.

There were some newcomers to this game that are worth pointing out, as they become important at some point to the story:

The Swede - This guy was 100% my favorite player at the table. He was a VP at a European company's satellite office in the area, made good money, and loved to bet sports, especially soccer, and always won. He was so good that the bookie would bet along with him to cover his losses to the Swede. He loved interesting porn and would always make everyone at the table laugh. He was also hyper aggressive.

The Bookie - This guy, we can call him Willis, he was a good ole' country boy from Arkansas. He was 45, but looked 60, never shaved or showered, and drank at least 3 Monster protein shakes during the game. His grandfather owned a ton of land that chicken companies leased and they got a fat check every month. He still lived with his grandfather, who was ill. Sounds kinda odd, but I didn't care, as he always came with a backpack full of cash, his tablet to take bets, and usually one or two guys who wanted to play on his credit. I figure he lost about 1-2k a night at the games, he just wanted to gamble, and didn't care about the money. He was a real pain in the ass to me as he knew I wasn't from around here, and tried to get Mike to get rid of me as I didn't want to put up with his ****. Good luck with that.

Vito - Vito was completely new to this game. He lived down the street in a mansion his new wife's parents bought for him. He was an ex-crackhead from Long Island, and looked like he belonged on Jersey Shore. Being from that area originally, he reminded me of the types of guys I hate that stereotype the area. Now that he was clean, he was jacked, ate gluten free, would only drink Smart Water, and thought he was better than everyone else. He was like Vin Diesel in Boiler Room. He always played for the first 3 hours like a nit, doubled his money, and left in his twin turbo 370Z all modded out. Beat - it was an automatic. Brag - he brought his not as well off addict friends who would dump money into the game.

Tampa John - He had been at Tim's game, but showed up much more here as there was more action. His father was in an accident and left him a ton of money. He claimed he was a poker pro, but he really just lived off a trust from his dad. I didn't think anything of it, but he was socially awkward, and was the kind of guy who would try to showoff in a crowd, but be your best friend one-on-one. When he wasn't playing poker, he was on his 200k boat or mudding in his 80K F-350 diesel all jacked up. He was good friends with Josh, my roommate that went crazy, and a few others, as they all would fish together.

The 3rd Thursday in October, Big Mike calls me up and says, "we have a problem. You have to take care of everything tonight."

No problem.......
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Old 09-13-2016, 03:44 PM   #22
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

This is outstanding. Looking forward to the next part!
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Old 09-14-2016, 09:36 AM   #23
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Part 2 - The Deal

I actually had this next post written out, but looked at it, was not pleased with my recollection of what happened, fell asleep from a muscle relaxer, and just woke up on my couch. It accidentally got deleted anyway.

So Mike had forgotten a month ago that he had agreed to switch shifts for a friend who was going out of town. He couldn't call off because he had no more points for the rest of the year. Calling off most likely meant being fired. I was going to have to run the game tonight until he got off work and could drive over in his overheating Cadillac Catera. He would spend thousands betting lines, but never fix that ****ing car. I even offered to fix it in his front yard, but I guess his neighbor beat him to it, saying he'd do it for a 12 pack of Red Dog. This same neighbor would do burnouts on their street with a Kia Soul. we agreed on a 75/25 split, or sorts. I get all my tips, and half the rake, which to my knowledge was about what the tips came out to at the end of the night.

I knew what I had to do. Get the beer, get the ice, German and his wife got the food. I showed up a half hour early to set up the table, chairs, chips, well, and count down the decks. I called Josh to come and help for a few hours, I had to have someone give me a break or two, and handle money and chips. He was the only person I knew I could trust there with that kind of money. I couldn't complain, Big Mike handed me a game on a platter and I was making most of the profits. Everyone showed up on time - Vito, Bookie, Swede, Nazi John, and Vito brought a few friends I was unfamiliar with. We were 6 handed for a few hours, which for dealing was perfect. You can get more hands in, and the rake ends up being the same, so $/hr was better. One hour in, however, Vito and Bookie get it in with a third player, I cant remember the action, but all three had 67 for the nut straight, but two had flush redraws. They ask to run it twice, which we explicitly don't allow 3 ways. I tell them they can do it if they take care of the action themselves, they agree, and it goes win, chop, chop. What a ****ing nightmare, especially since I was new to this. The more people that try to help out, the worse it gets. They were fighting over a $25 chip, so I flung one in to make it right, and the 3rd player flings in back as a tip. Problem solved, thank god.

My biggest concern was Vito's friends. Derek and I already suspected him of being law enforcement, and his friends, well I had no idea who they were, but they were keeping the game going. Drunk Jim, Nice Shoes Ryan, and Drunk Mike (not to be confused with Little or Big Mike) roll on in. I will tell you more about the first two, but Drunk Mike was not on my friend's list exactly. He was a rec player at the casino nearby, was a bartender in a nearby town, and had dated the poker room manager's cousin who worked as brush a few years back. She had told me he was just a drunk ******* and said these exact words "I want to incinerate his face". I disliked him for another reason. I had been hanging out with this girl about a year ago, we went to a few concerts in the area (Steve Aoki, Afrojack), and she was sort of my concert ****buddy. It wasn't a long term thing, but she didn't want a long term thing. I personally found myself starting to like her more than I had originally planned, but after a Christmas party where Drunk Mike showed up, I noticed they were acting "together". They invited me to hang out back in February, and realized they were actually dating. They both acted like ****ing yuppies too, which I couldn't stand. I grew up with tons of these people, and even though I had the same opportunities as them, I just didn't want to fit a douchey stereotype.

All went well, the rake was over $1000 by the time Mike showed up at 2am, and I let him get in the box. I would tend to play late and nit it up, and Josh got in there too. Mike didn't seem very happy, but that could be for a lot of reasons. He usually owed money to Bookie because he liked taking longshots and scoring big, so most of the profit from this game was probably going to his pocket. As 430 rolled around, we called it a night, and we counted everything up. My tips were around 650, and the rake ended up being about 1800. I found that odd that in 3 hours the rake was about 700. Mike looked at me like I was naive and said, "The rake is not $5 here, we provide drinks, food, and a great atmosphere."

"How much is it, then?"

"It's however much you think you can take from the pot without them getting mad."

Oh, that's nice, Mike wasn't okay with making $1k a night on his days off. He had debts to pay, and he didn't seem to be going anywhere in his roach-ridden duplex with his wife and 2 kids. He had bills to pay, and his friends were going to pay them.

"I'm not going to rake more than $5 if I don't get a part of that profit. Give me 25% plus $500 minimum of my tips, anything above that you can keep."

He had to pay German and his wife $450, plus beer and drinks, so I agreed on 20% plus $600 or 80% of my tips, whichever was greater. I also informed my friends that $5 was taken in pots bigger than $200, they didn't seem to care. In fact, Mike let people know the rake was higher because of the food, drinks, house, etc. No one cared they were playing an unbeatable game.

I took my usual route home, and I started getting texts from a Texas area code. Things like "Why aren't you at HR?" And, "Why would you not come see me tonight?" were starting to creep me out a little, but I was tired, dizzy from cards, and honestly I just wanted to get my early morning big breakfast from McDonalds and sit home and watch some poker before I slept all day. I would sort this out later.
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:16 AM   #24
thabighurt35
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

moar
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Old 09-14-2016, 11:17 AM   #25
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Nice story
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