As this post will be going up on Super Bowl Sunday, I thought I’d tell a story that tangentially involves one of the key participants in today’s “big game.” Now, leading up to the game, we’ve been hearing a lot about Tom Brady’s deflated balls. I don’t have any insider knowledge about Brady’s balls, but at a Binion’s tournaments in December, I did hear some juicy gossip about some other important equipment belonging to Mr. Brady. Bare with me.
I’m not going to talk much about the poker from this tournament. I didn’t make it in the money, and the thought of doing a detailed tournament summary for a tournament I didn’t cash—especially after the lengthy two-part post about the big win I had at Aria (see here and here)—is not very appealing. But there was enough amusing conversation during the tournament to make it worth telling.
To get the bottom line, I played a long time—over 7 hours. Busted out 17th. They were only paying 11.
It was just your regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill tournament until a few hours in, when I moved all-in. Doesn’t matter what I had. The guy the action was on went into the tank. He took his sweet time and I believe he had the last action, if he folded, I would take down the blinds and the antes. Finally he looked at me and said, “I don’t know about you, Costanza.”
Everyone at the table—except for me—cracked up. The guy said, “Doesn’t he look like Costanza?” Obviously it was a reference to Jason Alexander’s Seinfeld character, George Costanza. Everyone agreed. Apparently, they all thought I looked like Jason Alexander—Costanza.
I just muttered, “Costanza?” in disbelief. “Come on,” the guy said. “Haven’t you been told you look like Costanza? I bet you get that all the time.”
“Honestly, no, I’ve never heard that before. I usually get Gabe Kaplan—especially in a poker setting.” They all nodded at that, but they kind of thought I looked like Costanza too. Maybe even more than I looked like Mr. Kotter. By the way, somewhere in my notes from a trip or two previous is a story about a guy sitting next me at the poker table who decided I looked like the guy from Blazing Saddles….he meant Mel Brooks. You’ll notice no one ever accuses me of looking like George Clooney.
He eventually folded. But for the rest of the tournament, all everyone ever called me was Costanza. I got into a few more hands with that same guy and he would say something like, “Oh, Costanza,” or “What are you doing to me, Costanza?” or “What could you have, Costanza?” As new people came to the table and heard someone calling me “Costanza,” they’d asked what that was all about and the guy would say, “Doesn’t he look like Costanza?” And so I became Costanza.
I didn’t quite like it at first, but eventually I embraced it. At one point the guy said, “I don’t mean anything by it, you know, what’s your real name?” By this time, after the initial shock had warn off, I was sort of enjoying my new celebrity status. I said it was fine, and they kept calling me Costanza.
Sometime after this a player was moved from another table to the seat directly to my right. I remembered playing this guy at least once before. He was one of those non-stop talker types. Very friendly. Well, it turns out he was buddies with a guy who had been at the table with me the whole time, who was sitting right next to the guy who dubbed me Costanza.
And so those guys started talking non-stop. And they were taunting each other in a good natured way, critiquing each other’s poker skills and just their lives in general. And in that chatting, we all soon learned the new player, the guy now sitting directly on my right, is an actor.
Now I’ve thought about revealing his true identity. He’s hardly a household name, but if I gave you his name you could of course look him up on IMBD. And so I’ve decided against naming him. I will keep his identity a secret. The stuff he told is just too salacious and possibly inflammatory to associate with a real person. So I will just tell you that this person is not a youngster and has been in at least half a dozen movies that you’ve heard of, and worked with some pretty big stars. Looking at his IMDB listing though, there’s no way he could have made a living just off acting alone so he must have some other career as well. What, I don’t know.
So since he’s an actor, we’ll call this character “Bogart.” Now, Bogart’s buddy—the guy who had been at this table with me since the beginning—also looked familiar. But not as a celebrity. I was sure I’d played with him before, and I was sure it was not only at Binion’s but at at least one other poker room as well. He had an aggressive poker style. Let’s just call him “Bruce,” because that’s a name I haven’t used yet. Bogart was kidding Bruce about a book that Bruce had written about poker. Pretty sure he was kidding about that. But if Bruce made a move that Bogart thought was odd, Bogart would say, “Is that what you say to do in your book?”
It wasn’t long after Bogart came to the table that he overheard someone calling me “Costanza.” By this time, if I had a made a raise on any pot, the person to act next (and everyone after) made some comment about my actions which included referring to me as Costanza. This was pretty much table-wide. So Bogart heard it the first time and asked what that was all about. “Doesn’t he look like Costanza?” Bogart nodded and then said, “You know, Jason Alexander is a good poker player.” In fact, he hosts some charity poker tournaments every year and I’m pretty sure he’s played in WSOP events. I guess I’d rather play like him than look like him.
Bogart had a lot of show business stories to tell and a mouth that worked non-stop. He claimed that he once had a mistress who used to sleep with Tom Brady. Said mistress told Bogart that Brady has a huge dick. “It was so big it made my pussy hurt,” according to Bogart’s mistress. Yeah, that’s what he said she said. Bogart said he told her, “Don’t tell me that. I don’t want to hear that. No guy wants to hear that.”
Bogart knows Larry Flynt. He likes to host huge big-money poker games in his Hustler casino in Southern California. And when he comes to Vegas, he plays blackjack for tens of thousands of dollars per hand.
He also told a story about a pretty big name Hollywood actor. I’m afraid I can’t reveal his real name just to be safe. But let’s just say he’s an A-list actor (or at least used to be) who is married and has kids. His wife is a real knockout. According to Bogart, this guy is the gayest man in Hollywood (not that there’s anything wrong with that, to continue with the Seinfield theme). Bogart and this big time actor worked on a movie together and one of the young, male, production assistants came up to Bogart one day and asked for his help. He said that this big, macho actor with the gorgeous wife “came up to me and said he wants to kiss me on the lips.”
Then there’s Donald Sterling, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. According to Bogart, he used to go down to San Diego every weekend via chauffeured limousine and spend three days with his mistress. Bogart described the mistress as particularly unattractive. I believe he used the word “horrid.” And Sterling would come back every Sunday night wearing the exact same suit he arrived in. Never changed his clothes.
Aside from providing humor by being referred to as Costanza, I had one other moment. I raised with Ace-Queen and Bruce was the only caller. The flop was King-King-5. Bruce led out with a big bet. I folded. Bruce turned over his cards. It was pocket deuces. “Could you beat that?” I shrugged and said, “I had outs.” Everyone had a good chuckle over that.
There were 115 players in this tournament and I noted that the minimum cash for 11th place, was $285. Remember the buy in is $140. Usually the min cash at this tournament is lower, not even double the buy in. So I found that $285 amount interesting. In the post I did here, I lobbied for the min cashes to be at least double the buy-in—with another $5 on top of that so that the player could leave a $5 tip and still get double his money back. And that’s exactly what it was for this tournament. Just what I asked for! Coincidence? Most likely. But I do know that people who work this tournament read my blog. Just throwing it out there.
Now there was a long period there at the table with Bruce and Bogart where my only move was to shove. And for a long time I never got called. So I was able to stay alive with my short stack that way. We were down to three tables and when they had 18 players left the broke our table. So I was separated from Bogart as he was sent to the other table. But there was this bald guy who had been playing with me for hours and was in on the whole Costanza bit who was sent to the same table I was. Most of the folks at this new table didn’t know the Costanza bit.
Then, desperate at this new table, first in, I shoved with Ace-7 off. It folded to the bald guy, who had seen me make this move many of times by now. He had me covered by a whole lot. He said, “Costanza…..you’ve never shown what you had when you’ve gone all in. That’s your only move. I gotta call.” He flipped over Ace-Queen. No soup, I mean no 7, for me. In fact, there was a totally gratuitous Queen instead. I was done.
From the other table, Bogart saw me leaving. He shouted, “Costanza, what happened?”