Thursday, August 15, 2013

“Will One of You Please Lend Me Your Balls So I Can Call?"

For its Binion’s Classic, Binion’s had a Facebook contest to determine what game they would spread on July 3.  I went on their FB page and suggested a No Limit Crazy Pineapple tournament.  Posts about my experience with this game are sprinkled throughout the blog, most recently here.  I’ve enjoyed this game every time I’ve played it.  Of course, the main reason was because I was always playing with my dealer buddies and other friends, and all the games were wild and loose, and the alcohol was freely flowing.  But I was pretty sure I actually liked the game of Crazy Pineapple itself, outside of the players whose company I was enjoying.

When I found out that Crazy Pineapple finished in a virtual dead-heat with Open Face Chinese Poker, and that Binion’s would offer two tournaments that day, featuring both games, I knew I had to play.  I was actually looking forward to watching the OFC in addition to playing the Crazy Pineapple, because that game seems to be gaining in popularity in the poker world and I needed to become more familiar with it.  So I headed down to Binion’s for my first ever Crazy Pineapple tournament, and also the first time I would be playing the game NL instead of as a limit game.  Note: I never really got to see any of the OFC tournament.  It ended before ours did. 

(In case you’ve forgotten, the game is the same as Hold’em except you get three cards.  After the flop betting, you have to throw away one of your three cards before the turn card is dealt.  Other than that, it’s just like Hold’em)
I arrived at Binion’s early and it was a bad sign when I was the first person signing up for the tournament.  But they weren’t getting much of a turnout for the OFC tournament either.  They were going to limit that tournament to 64 players but they didn’t close to that number.  The theory was that on this particular day, either due to the holiday the next day or other competing events around town (the WSOP and all the other big series running during it), no tournament was going to get a big crowd.  Somewhat surprising, inasmuch as these were the two FB winners—you would think the people that voted for the events would show up.
As the 2PM start approached, I began wondering if I had wasted my time.  There were barely enough entrants to have two tables, but neither was full.  The OFC had a few more entrants, but it was also a light turnout.  I know some people showed up for the tournament and when they found out it was either Crazy Pineapple or OFC, they left.  Others had to be convinced that, even though they’d never heard of Crazy Pineapple, it was close enough to Hold’em so that they could learn it quickly and they’d have fun.  Some of those people did indeed stay and play in it, investing $160 in a tournament to play a game they’d never played and in fact, never even heard of until minutes before.
I was hoping that would give me some kind of advantage.  After all, I had read and studied Ed Miller’s book, “Professional No Limit Crazy Pineapple.”  Finally, I would be the best player in a tournament!  It didn’t really turn out that way, alas.  The game is too similar to Hold’em to have given me any kind of an edge.  Or I’m just a bad player, you decide.
They initially had a lot of dealers there to staff the two tournaments, but because of the turnout, they didn’t need them all.  That meant that several of them took the option of playing in one of the tournaments instead of dealing (or, going home early).  I dunno if any of the dealers played OFC, I wasn’t paying attention.  But at least three dealers I see most every time I play in the weekend Deepstack there put on their street clothes and joined in for the CP tournament. 
We need to give these dealers names, don’t we?
Let’s start with a really attractive lady dealer I’m going to call “Pam.”  Pam will come in towards the end of this post.  She was hired as a “Cowgirl” which means she was hired because she looked good in the revealing outfits the Binion’s Cowgirls wear.  These are sexy dealers who deal in the pit, mostly blackjack but sometimes craps or other table games.  I’m not sure if she was hired for poker or for the pit, and then moved to poker when they had the idea to have Cowgirls deal poker, something I explained more about in this post here. 
Then there’s a guy I’m going to call “Zeus.”  Zeus is the most deadpan dealer I know, he has a very, very, very dry sense of humor.  I’ve never seen him laugh, but he says a lot of funny things.  And I found out that he has a relationship with the third dealer I’ll be discussing.  I don’t really want to categorize their relationship, but let’s just say that they’re more than just co-workers and leave it at that.
That third dealer is the beautiful Denise, who should need no introduction to my readers, but if you do need one, the three-part post that starts here is probably the best place to start.  It is, of course, Denise, who is the star of this post, even if Pam ended up having the best line of the day.  Recall that after I said some rather ungentlemanly things about Denise’s physical appearance (all complimentary, but extremely tacky), I feared how she might react to me after she found out what I had said about her.  And then she herself confirmed what her co-worker Audrey told me—that she had not only read my tacky comments but knew that I was the blogger guy who had written those comments.  That confirmation is revealed in the post here.
I think we started 6 handed at each table.  Before long, I noticed Zeus and Pam at the other table, but who should come over and join my table but Denise.  She was wearing a tight, low-cut top that generously revealed exactly what it is about her that I had gone on and on (and on) about the first time I wrote about her.  It was so low-cut that part of her lacy/sexy bra extended over it so it was visible to the naked eye.  I only mention that because it actually comes into play later.
This post is going to be light on poker and heavy on the interplay between the players, most notable Denise and everyone else.  The reason there won’t be much poker is two-fold.  First, I didn’t cash, so I don’t have that kind of a good story to tell.  Second, when Denise came to the table, I oddly felt intimidated about writing hands down in my infamous notebook.  Having outed me as a blogger the last time we played together, I didn’t want her to do that again.  I still hadn’t grown completely comfortable with the things I’d posted about her, and was kind of hoping it would remain something forever more unspoken between the two of us, at least when other people—specifically Binion’s regulars who know Denise well—were around.
It turned out that my attempt to not to have Denise mention the blog was totally futile.  And my concerns were totally unfounded.  Early when she got to the table, she asked my name, saying she always forgets it.  But that was the only thing about me she’d forgotten.
When I feel awkward about taking handwritten notes at the table, I will often type some notes into my celphone instead.  This is not as easy as handwritten notes because I have a devil of time typing more than a few words on the virtual keyboard.  But it looks less suspicious because so many people text or tweet or play games on their phones while playing poker.  Or so I thought.
I don’t really recall if I was texting or tweeting or taking down a note about a hand, but Denise noticed me tapping on my phone and she said, “Are you doing a blog again?”
Gulp.  “No….not at the moment I’m not.”  I tweet from the poker table.  I text from the poker table.  But I never blog from the poker table.
“You blog,” she continued.  “You do the blog, you blogged about me once.”  I was completely speechless.  Was she about to give me a smack down for my ungentlemanly comments?  “You told that story about my zipper.”  Uh Oh.
But the she said, “You tooted my horn.  That was nice.”
Relieved, I asked, “It didn’t bother you?”
“No, it was very complimentary.  I loved it.”
As usually happens when my blog is mentioned at the table, a couple of people asked if I do a blog, I said yes, and then the subject was completely dropped.  No one followed up on it.  Strange.  I would think that the regulars there, who know Denise, might want to ask where to find the story I told about her zipper and “tooted her horn.”  I know I would.
Instead, the subject was dropped, which was fine by me.  But she did say that I blogged about her once, only referring to the very first mention of her on my blog (here), and not subsequent posts (where I actually gave her the name “Denise”)—which arguably could have been a lot more objectionable to her.  So that still made me uncomfortable.  I’ll get back to that.
Somebody walked by the table and mentioned the very short-lived (at least in the US) television show, Casino Confidential, that was taped at Binion’s (see here for my review).  There were a couple of Canadians at the table and apparently, this show, which was a hit on Canadian TV, was financed by the Canadian government.
Somebody asked Denise why she wasn’t on the show.  According to her, “they wanted me to be on it, but I didn’t want to be an actress.  They were just looking for a pretty girl with big boobs.  I’m a dealer.”
I said, “That could have been your big break.”
She said that’s not what she wanted.  “That girl they used is an actress.”  But one of the other players said he has seen her working there in the casino.  Still, Denise insisted the whole thing was unreal and scripted, which is what I suspected in my review.
Later, after a bad hand (or maybe even a good one), she announced, “I’m just gonna get all wild now.  I may just take off my clothes and see how you all react to that.”
At the risk of being presumptuous, I believe I can speak on behalf of the entire male population of the world and say we would all react pretty damn ecstatically about that.
But I said nothing, still wanting to be on my best behavior.  Oddly, no one else reacted much either.
At one point, seemingly out of the clear blue, I heard her say, “Last time you played a tournament with me, you hit a two outer on the river.  You remember that?”
It took me a second or two to realize she was talking to me.  I said, “Me?”
“Yes, who do you think I was talking to, Joe Blow?”
I said, “I do.  I do remember that.”  Of course I remember it. I blogged about (again, see here). More evidence to me that she hadn’t read the other times I’ve discussed her here.
The she said, “But you know, you’re the only person who has ever, ever done this.  You came up to me after the tournament and said, ‘Denise, I’m really sorry.  I caught a two-outer on the river.’  That’s the only reason I still talk to you. Otherwise I’d punch you in the face.”
Of course I laughed.  I knew she was kidding, and I also knew she was referring to the poker and not any other transgressions I may have made.
One of the guys she’d been bickering with all day took umbrage at the concept of a player apologizing for winning a hand.  “Did you really apologize?” he asked me.
I admitted that I did.

“That’s bullshit.  Anyone who apologizes is insincere.”
Denise said, “He meant it.”
OK, the thing here is, if you read that post I just linked to, I wasn’t really apologizing to her for the poker hand.   I mean, that’s poker.  I was using that as an excuse to apologize for stuff I put in the blog that I thought might bother her.  That’s what that really was all about.  But clearly, as I thought at the time, she didn’t really get that.
The guy was really bothered by this.  “Say anything, nice playing with you, better luck next time, I’ll miss you, but don’t say you’re sorry.”
Denise said, “They all miss me when I’m gone.”
I said, “It’s true.  It got so boring at the table after she left.”
The guy did indeed understand that.
Denise was just on fire.  At one point she took out her sunglasses and said, “These are my lucky sunglasses.  Every time I’ve wear these sunglasses, I get laid.”
I think three of us in unison said something to the effect, “Oh, yeah, that’s the reason.”
“It is.  You’d be surprised.”
Yes.  We would.
At one point she and a couple of the other players started telling poker player/poker dealer jokes.  I caught quite a few of them.  Originally I was going to include them in this post, but as this post is getting to be a bit long I think I’ll post them separately at a later date.
One of her older male colleagues came to deal and noticed her exposed bra in front (creeping out over the cut of her top).  He asked if that was a tattoo.  She looked at him like he was crazy.
“Oh, I see, it’s just your bra, I thought it was a tattoo.”  For one of the few times all day, she was silent.
I do remember a few poker hands.  One, I came over the top (hey guys, that is a poker term) of her preflop after she had raised.  She folded and showed pocket Queens.  Only because it was her, I showed my pocket Aces (and I had a suited Queen to boot).  Just a few hands later I raised and she came over the top of me back, and so I folded and this time she showed the Aces.  I don’t think my hand was as good as her Queens.
One time it was several limpers to her (including me) and she made a big raise.  Everyone folded, and she showed her cards.  Three 6’s.  Actually that’s a terrible Crazy Pineapple hand since you have to throw one away.  As she said, “That was the only thing to do with them.”
On the very next hand she folded to a raise and after the hand, she insisted she had three 6’s yet again, back-to-back.  I said, “Three 6’s twice in a row?  You are the devil woman.”
She said, “Haven’t you been paying attention?”
I think it was around then that she commented on her either playing bad or being bad.  And so I said, “She’s not bad.  She’s just drawn that way.”  I’m not sure if she got the reference but the player she was bickering with informed her I was doing a line from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”  I suppose it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say Denise kind of reminds me of Jessica Rabbit.

So, with re-entrees. I think we finally made it to 20 entrants, and it didn’t take all that long to be down to 10 to assemble a final table.  By this time, I was short-stacked and just on life support, having been pretty card dead most of the day. They were only going to pay three, so making the final table didn’t mean much.  At the new table, Denise was sitting right next to Pam, who had a pretty nice stack.  Zeus had also survived.
Pam and Denise started whispering things to each other and Denise was munching on a bag of Fritos.  Pam whispered something to Denise that cracked her up, and a Frito came out her nose.  When she was able to speak, she said to me, “Put that in your blog.  That a Frito blew out my nose.”
Of course, Denise, of course.
I asked her what was so funny but she refused to say.  “I’m a lady and I can’t repeat it.  But Pam is not a lady.”
Denise came to an unfortunate exit of the tournament.  She got it all in with the dreaded pocket Kings vs. pocket Jacks.  And she was fine until the Jack came on the river.  I probably didn’t talk about the dreaded KK in the one blog post I knew she had read.
Then Pam got into a hand with Zeus.  I can’t recall the action but on the river, Zeus shoved.  He had Pam covered, she would be risking her tournament life by calling.  There were two Ace’s on the flop but it hadn’t played as if either one of them had an Ace.
Pam was quite upset.  “Why’d you do that?  You know neither one of has an Ace.  Now I have to figure out…..I know I have a better hand than you, but I don’t know if I have the balls to call.  I’ll bust out if I lose.”  She talked through it for a bit and then looked at the other players.  She was the last woman standing.
To no one in particular, but to all of us, really, she said, “Will one of you please lend me your balls so I can call?  Please?”  We just laughed.  She kept going, talking about the hand, and coming back to needing balls every so often.  “Can’t somebody lend me their balls?  I need to find the balls to call.”  She did several variations on this for quite some time.  Although she was out of the tournament, at one point Denise walked by to see what she was talking about and Pam asked her, “Will you lend me your balls?”  Denise said she lost hers when the Jack hit.
Finally, without anyone actually lending her their balls, she called.  It was a good call.  Zeus had pocket 8’s and she had a 9 that matched one of the board.  She survived.
But she wasn’t happy.  She acted like the decision had cost her a year or two of her life.  “None of you guys would lend me your balls.  Thanks a lot.  Not one of you”
So I said, “Well, we were afraid we wouldn’t get them back.”
A few hands later I raised with King-Jack and Zeus smooth called me.  Despite losing all those chips to Pam, he still had me covered.  Ace high flop, but also a Jack so I shoved.  He called.  By the river he had a four card-flush…..because in his hand were the dreaded pocket Kings that he had slow-played against me.  And I was done.
But Denise was still hanging around, outside the tournament area, waiting for Zeus to finish up.  BTW, I later found out that Zeus, thanks to my chips, ending up winning the damn tournament.  As nice as it was to have heard her say she was actually flattered by my initial mention of her, when I thought I was being such a cad, I was still uncomfortable with her talking about my blog in front of all the regulars knowing that she probably hadn’t read most (or any) of the other posts where I mentioned her.  I felt that, at this point, I was obligated to at least “warn” her so that she could decide for herself if she really wanted to “recommend” my blog to her customers.
It was a really, really hard, and terribly awkward thing to do, but I knew I had to do it.  So after telling how I busted out to her pal Zeus, I said, “You know, you mentioned the story I told about your zipper.  That wasn’t the only time you’ve been mentioned.  You’re actually kind of a recurring character on my blog.”

She did react like that was news to her.
Referring back to the post I knew she had read, I said, “I was so afraid that you might not like it because I was so ungentlemanly.”
“No, no, no, it was great.  It was great.”
“Well, I’m not sure you might find everything on there so great.”
She wasn’t concerned.  She even mentioned that two or three regulars in the room read my blog, and once or twice had been reading it at the table while she was dealing and figured out that she was the girl on the blog! 
Hmmm….OK, but for the like the third time, I did say she might want to read some of the posts about her before she talks about it anymore (am I being silly?  Maybe).  I also explained to her, “I do like talking about crazy women, and you qualify.”  She laughed and agreed.  But I said to her, “If you ever say or do anything around me that you don’t want me to write about, let me know, I’ll always honor that.” 
At that point I had piqued her curiosity enough so that she asked me for some links to some of the other stories.  And she gave me her phone number so I could text her the links.
Of course I did just that later that evening.  Last time I saw her, she hadn’t had a chance to look at them.  I guess she’s in no hurry. 
And like all the other times I’ve played Crazy Pineapple, the players and the dealers were more important than the game itself.


  1. Dang, Rob, this post was even a long one for you!

    1. Well, Lightbulb (Am I the only one who misses Josie calling you that?), since SOME people do constantly harp on the length of my posts (oddly enough, it is almost exclusively Chicago Bear fans who kvetch about it, I guess you need a short attention span to root for Da Bears), I have started keeping track. That's why I sometimes decide after the fact to make posts multi-parters.

      Although was not exactly my briefest post, I can easily find 7 of my classic posts that were longer, so I felt it was ok to dump it all at once even for you Bears fans.

      Actually, it could have been longer--as I said in the post, I omitted a bunch of poker player/dealer jokes from it, which I will include at a later time. That will be a much short post, perhaps one that even you can handle in one sitting.

  2. im getting to the point i think ur blog has a lot of fiction in it, just like mine. how about getting a NL pineapple going here in cali?

    1. Fiction? What fiction is in my blog? Other than changing the names to protect the innocent and guilty alike, everything in this is true, just as it happened. OK, I admit--there's no Ed Miller book on Professional Crazy Pineapple--that was a joke.

      And what fiction is in your blog, Tony? OMG, don't tell me that you are really a rich, eccentric millionaire with a Beverly Hills mansion just making up stuff about being a homeless, nearly broke professional poker player? Genius!

      As for Crazy Pineapple, a Vegas dealer once told me that they used to have a regular 3/6 limit game all the time at the Bike. Since he told me that, I've often seen that game on the board, but I've never seen it spread or even a single name on the list.

  3. Rob...when you link previous blog posts...please put target="_blank" in the link it will open up in a new page...that way we can keep the current post open and just close the older one when we are don referring back to it.

    Also...are there any pics of the lovely Denise floating around?...If there are..I missed them

    1. Thanks, bill. Regarding pics of Denise or any of the other "characters:" I blog about....well it would kind of defeat the purpose of giving them all pseudonyms if I then went ahead and posted pictures of them, don't you think? :)

      Regarding the links, you're first person to ever mention this. My rule-of-thumb has always been this. If the link is to another blog or another website, I have it open in a new windo. If the link is to another post on my blog, I have just use the same window. and not open a new one.

      I figure if they are going outside my site, they would prefer to perhaps look at that after they're reading the current post (and maybe all they really want to do is see what the link is). But you know, if they are going to another one of my posts, maybe they need to read it before they continue on with the current post. At least that's always been my thinking.

      I also assume that those that do click the links--and I guess you're one of them--might not appreciate all the extra windows opening up on their browser.

      I'd be interested to see if anyone else has a strong preference either way.