Gamblin' Whoa Man!

Veni, vidi, and lost her shirt at the Seminole Casino

Second time 'round, a pair of tens kept my mind in the game, and I matched a raise, losing three bucks in fewer minutes. I'm down $7.

As the rounds continued and my chip stack shortened, the old man across the table pulled a pair of jacks, and freckle face muttered to his friends, "The old man's getting my jacks" as he eyed him suspiciously.

Glances flew around the low-stakes table. I watched the thoughtful faces decide whether to raise 'em or fold 'em when all of a sudden, I was distracted by the realization that I had two pairs, nines and fours. So I was totally in, and I raised two bucks at a time, and the old lady was matchin', and she's so cool that it irked me.

Christopher Smith

The three guys at my right have folded, and they're looking at me, saying, "She's got it."

Then I call it, and we show our cards, and I think I must be blind 'cause it belatedly occurred to me that one of my nines was an eight and that I had only one pair. The lady took the booty, and my tablemates threw me disdain. That's $22 in the hole.

What sucked the most was that I really wanted to redeem myself with another hand, but I had only one chip left. Hey! That's enough to ante for another round.

I could get really good cards. I should just throw it in and play. I've got ten bucks burning a hole in my pocket, and if my cards are good, I could clean up the fucking pot.

But then there were the two pairs that weren't two pairs at all. Freckle face is belligerent. There's the smoke and the pressure.

I stood up. I grabbed my chip, and no one looked up from the table, which, as I walk away, blended into the sea of tables. The clusters of people watching one another intently, throwing chips with suave fingers, know, one hopes, when to walk away.

So, I cashed in my chip for one coarse, green unit of real currency.

As I leave the casino, I pass through a lobby, where there's a curious, bejeweled, middle-aged man in a sheeny, gold, button-down shirt with spider webs on it. He sits at an electronic keyboard, accompanied by a nondescript bass player of the same age. There's no crowd, so I walk right up for a listen.

"Whaddaya wanna hear?" the keyboardist asks.

"Dunno," I reply.

He busts into Mose Allison's "I Love the Life I Live and Live the Life I Love," the performance fully loaded with humorous body shifts and hand gestures. When the serenade is over, he kisses my hand.

Twenty-two bucks in the tank in 30 minutes sucks, I think as I walk out past the 50-foot guitar in front of the casino. But all the free kitsch a girl can handle?

Well, yeah, but you still gotta know when to run.

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