You Know It’s Over: The July 2007 Poker Report

(Editor’s Note: This goddamn thing only took one day to go live, and it could have been up yesterday.)

3 July 2007

My Dumb-Ass Jokes: On Monday night, they cost me $300 in cash that I’m probably going to need. What happened was that I had gone to see the new Die Hard movie with my big bro and some of our friends. (Instant Review: Stuff blows up, and it is cool. Also, plenty of fist fighting, and it is also cool.) The movie ended at around 11:45 p.m. and I stayed around to do the post-movie analysis and then bullshit with people. The jokes were flowing and everybody was having a good time. We even had some eavesdroppers, and that’s always a good sign for the entertainment value of your conversation, especially when you notice that they are suppressing smiles and/or laughter.

I probably would have kept on wasting everybody’s time if the next movie weren’t starting. I wasn’t watching that one (thinking that I could get some work done, but I ended up watching Season Two of the original The Office; well, it was a type of work because I like to think of myself as a student of comedy and of the culture, and I try to engage it on a deep and meaningful level), so I got in my ride and took off. I wasn’t that far from the theater when I realized that I had forgotten to go to the bank before the movie had started and that I needed to get there before midnight.

Why the deadline? Because early Sunday I’m taking off to Las Vegas, and I need to bring as much cash with me as is possible. To that end, I had planned to go to the bank once a day and pull $300, my max withdrawal, from my ATM. I had begun this plan on Sunday and was going to withdraw from then until Saturday, which would give me, counting cash on hand, almost three grand in poker money.

But if I don’t get to the bank before midnight, I’m going to miss the Monday withdrawal. I look at the digital clock in my ride and it says 12:03. Great. Now, unless the little clock in the ATM is a little behind, I’m boned. Finally, I’m at the bank, so I withdraw the money.

I’m pretty sure that I've bollixed up my plan and made my Tuesday withdrawal almost as early as I possibly could have, but I go by my bank Tuesday afternoon anyway to see if I can withdraw any money. Nope.

So I’m going to be going into Las Vegas rolling light.

The Mystery Dude: So, so post-movie I’m talking to one of my homies when this guy comes up to me in the lobby with a big smile on his face, and he extends his hand for the shake, but I can tell from his left arm which is already coming out, that it’s going to turn into the bro hug. That’s when you shake righty and lean in for the left handed half-hug.

Cool. I went with it. I mean, who am I to deny a dude his bro hug? As he leaned in, I said, “Hey, how’s it going, bro?” because if you're going to bro hug, you may as well commit to the whole experience. (Technically speaking, by the way, I also could have gone with homie. A more daring choice would have been if I’d called him cuz.). He told me to say hi to my mom, and I said, “Cool, man, cool” because I’m articulate like that.

After this guy walked away, I turned to Bert and his special lady and said, “I have no idea who that guy is.” Bert and his special lady started laughing, and Bert asked, “Really?” because he thought that I was joking, but I really had no idea who this guy was. I sort of recognized his face, and I have met a lot of people through my family, so we may have once been introduced. What threw me off was the bro hug, because you only go to that level of greeting for somebody whom you know pretty well.

I didn’t mind, though; to be honest, you always feel kind of cool when you bro hug because it makes you feel street.

Ivan, the Planner: Ivan’s been mostly absent from our poker games for a little while. He doesn’t even RSVP to my weekly e-mails, the uncouth bastard. After a while, we had mostly assumed that he was essentially out of our game.

He has played more often in the past few weeks, so we were happy about that. This week, though, Ivan took it to a whole other level of involvement. On Monday, I got group e-mail from Ivan saying that he wanted to put a game together for Tuesday, the day before the 4th of July.

Wow, Ivan’s planning poker games now. I responded immediately that I was in and would co-host. Shortly thereafter, we had a total of five players committed to the game.

Okay, what I want to know is why everybody responded in the affirmative so quickly to Ivan’s e-mail, but responses to mine, if I even get them, take most of the week. I’m hurt.

The New Standard Five: I used to have a group of players whom I considered to make up the Classic Five: my big bro, Bert, Ivan, Jesse, and Big Daddy (I’m Big Daddy). I expanded that group, after much deliberation, to the classic six when it became apparent that Seann G. had become an every-week player.

First, though, Seann G. got really busy with his deal, and then so did Ivan. We still had a core of four players that was occasionally augmented by some of our semi-regulars, but the Classic Five or Classic Six hardly ever played together anymore.

Hey, that’s life, but I stand with The Stills and the sentiment that they express in their lovely song, Changes Are No Good. If everything stayed the same, I’d be pretty happy, but the old days of the Classic Five and the Classic Six are gone forever.

We have, however, picked up a player who is at the game nearly every Friday. That’s Arizona. He’s cool, if a little moody, and he comes to play. Thus, I am formally announcing the official name for what I consider our regular players: The Standard Five. That’s my big bro, Bert, Jesse, Arizona, and Big Daddy. If Ivan plays on a more regular basis, I’ll probably put him in the Standard Five, but, of course, call it the Standard Six.

Fascinating stuff, I know, but this kind of thing is very important to me.

Duplicate CDs, Continued: In the 30 June 2007 Poker Report, I noted that I had inadvertently come to purchase duplicate copies of a few CDs: The Eels’ “Blinking Lights and Other Revelations,” and the Magic Numbers self-titled debut. I also noted that most of the poker crew had not dug the music. I’m easily hurt, you have no idea, but I defended myself by telling my buddies that they “don’t know shit” about music.

I had listened to the CDs right along with them, and I had liked them both, especially the Magic Numbers.

I tend to have great faith in my taste in just about all areas, so, while I respected my buddies’ opinions, I also felt comfortable with mine. But, deep inside, I was all trembly and wounded. Then I got an e-mail from Ivan in which he told me that the Magic Numbers CD was now in his top twenty all-time favorite albums.

Okay, so now I don’t have to throw myself off of a bridge.

There’s Pain: I’m being literal. Beyond that ass-kicking that I took at the table, where I dropped $81.50, took the YTD down to +$275.50 and the w-l to 16-12, I somehow managed to get one of those things where the tip of the flesh on your thumb pulls away from the fingernail. That probably happened because just this morning I had trimmed up all of my nails because I want to look pretty for my Las Vegas trip, and I probably overdid it a little bit.

And I somehow got a splinter in my left foot, up near the toes. How’d that happen? Well, as I stated previously, I was getting raped at the table, so I’d occasionally go outside for a little walk to clear my head and gather my thoughts. My big bro lives in the country, there’s lots of plant life around, I was wearing my sandals, and so I guess that something got on them as I walked around and then got embedded in my foot.

That splinter was bothering the hell out of me, as splinters do, but I couldn’t stop in the middle of the game to dig it out. After the game breaks up, I get some surgical clamps and surgical scissors and get to work on digging out the splinter.

I want to start out by saying that I’m not as flexible as I used to be. When I was a jock, I was quite bendy, but those days are gone, so it was hard to get a solid look at what was going on. I may even have pulled a muscle. It was a little tragic.

It took me about thirty minutes to get the splinter out, or to drive it in so deeply that it’s now officially a part of the system. I hope that it just isn't going to freeload and instead finds something useful to do up in there.

And then as I was washing the removal implements, I stabbed myself in the thumb with the tip of the opened surgical scissors. The same thumb where the flesh had peeled back for the nail.

Blood just started shooting out. It made me really proud of my circulatory system, that it could immediately recognize a breach of the epidermal layer and start spraying blood right through that breach.

The body at work is truly a marvel, though I wholeheartedly believe in trying to keep as much of my blood inside of the machine as is possible. I know that that’s kind of old-fashioned, but that’s just how I roll.

The only upside of the thumb puncture was that it was hard to tell apart the pain form the flesh thing and the pain from the scissors-stabbing thing, as they were about a half-inch apart, so it only really felt like one injury. One throbbing injury.

6 July 2007

New Blood: Since the addition of Ice to our game, in late 2006, we’ve not been able to attract new players. Last week, there had been a chance that we were going to add two new players to our game, but they both punked.

One guy punked again this week, and he’s officially off of the e-mail list as of tonight. If he really wants to play in our game, he can drive around on Friday nights until he finds the location. This is the second guy with whom I worked who pulled this shit, so this group of people will never get another invitation.

I thought that it was going to be the same deal with the other theoretical newbie, but he actually called in to Bert for specific directions earlier in the day, and then called Bert again as he was arriving.

The new guy’s name was Richard, and he seems like a solid guy and a decent hold 'em player. He’s not ever played either variation of Omaha, however, so I gave him a quick lesson and had him up to speed in no time.

As has happened with most rookies to the game, he dropped his entire roll, about $80, and then I let him borrow another $40, which he also lost. The good news is that he seemed to have had a good time hanging with us, so I’m pretty sure that he’ll be back, especially since he owes me money.

The Cursed Seat: After Richard took his ass-kicking and left, we rearranged ourselves to more comfortably fit around the table, which mostly meant that Seann G. slid over into Richard’s former spot. As soon as Seann G. took his seat, the bloodbath began.

Seann G. had been up a little bit. But he lost all of his profit and then all of his buy-in. He took the turnaround with great dignity, went to the kitchen after his chips ran out and got himself about fifteen Red Vines, came back and partook of his horribly unhealthy snack, and then shook hands all around as he left.

I Was Cold-blooded: There had been a time when I had wanted to kick Seann G. out of our game. I was raised to never talk smack and to be respectful of everybody, even my opponents, and Seann G.’s a little street and wouldn’t stop talking. I had even told some members of the Executive Council that if Seann G. said one more discourteous thing to me that I was going to beat his ass.

But I guess that I got used to the bastard, which mostly entailed me coming just as hard at him as he came at me with the verbal assaults. After a while, it actually became a little fun, especially since language is my thing.

Sadly, because of some stuff, Seann G. has not been around much lately. As soon as he did arrive, I immediately started picking on him, as is our routine, but he wouldn’t bring any heat of his own.

I kept trying to draw him out, but he wasn’t having it. It was only at the end of the night, when Ivan and I were doing the post-game analysis, that I realized that I had been a little cold-blooded to Seann G.; he had obviously no longer wanted to participate in the verbal sparring, but I wouldn’t cut that shit out. He must have thought that I was being a jerk, and he would have been right.

I’m a bastard.

El Jefe: Is Spanish for “The Boss,” and tonight that boss was Bert. He played some awful hands and won with them, played good hands against better hands and hit his outs, played leading hands that stayed ahead and won, and he built up a huge stack.

A lot of his plays during this surge were inexplicable, like max betting with K-6 offsuit from out of position and rivering a straight to chop a pot, but once he did have towers in front of him, he played solid poker. He attacked the blinds and led out and got tons of folds. It was a pleasure to watch, but hard to play against.

At the end of the night, he cashed out for more than half of the money in play. He had bought in for $80, and he cashed out for a little over $460. A little subtraction tells you that he cleared $380, which is the new record by a huge margin.

Summers Blow, Apparently: The losing streak continues. I lost one of those miracle hands to Bert for about $20, and then another miracle hand for almost the same amount. After that, it was a downhill slide until I was down $100 and had to put the Second Hundred™ into play. All of that happened in the first few hours, so I had to play with a huge deficit for most of the night.

Some people become really passive when they’ve been getting shafted, but I tried to stay solid and to not shy away from playing hands that I should be playing.

I managed to stabilize my stack for the last few hours, so while I didn’t make a comeback, neither did I go broke. At the end of the night, at a little after 3:45 a.m., I had lost $84. The YTD, unfortunately, is down to +$191.50 and the w-l fell to a disastrous 16-13.

13 July 2007

Duplicate CDs, Continued (Again): I’m no good at organization or at keeping track of stuff. I haven't balanced the checkbook in almost exactly three years. I’m perversely proud of that, though it is true that I have no idea how much green is or is not in my account.

One day, I’m going to bounce a mother of a check and then wreck my credit and/or my life. It should be hilarious.

Another way in which my lack of organization is adversely affecting my life is that I’m blowing money on items—specifically, CDs—that I already own.

I order a lot of CDs online, but my hard drive is full, so I haven't ripped them onto my rig. The CDs mostly sit in cellophaned limbo, sometimes for so long that I end up buying them again. A few weeks ago, I found that I had duplicate copies of The Eels’ “Blinking Lights and Other Revelations,” and the Magic Numbers self-titled debut. I gave them away, and I thought that I was making progress toward organizing my CDs, which meant that I was making progress toward organizing my disordered and embarrassing life.

Hey, small steps. But I couldn’t even pull that off. In the 29 June 2007 Poker Report, I made mention of the “New CDs Stack,” but I wasn’t clear that there were two components to the stack. About fourteen months ago, I made the move toward actually listening to some of these CDs, which consisted of tearing the cellophane off of about forty CDs and then stacking them neatly at my computer desk. That was as far as I got.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to “man up,” as they say on the street, and un-cellophane the rest and actually start listening to them. One of the first things that I did, though, was to look for any CDs by The Concretes. I had long suspected that I had purchased two copies of The Concretes’ self-titled debut because the side of the CD case has three distinctive red lines near the top, and I thought that I had seen those stripes on more than one CD. I made careful inspection of the cellophaned CDs stack, but, no, only one The Concretes CD.

(I know what you're thinking, by the way: How far did I get in the un-cellophaning project? I un-cellophaned five before I got overwhelmed and discouraged by the work ahead and decided to read instead.)

So tonight, as I’m preparing the Summer Poker Room, and see the remainder of the cellophaned CDs, I realize that there’s a good chance that the other Concretes CD might already be out of its wrapper. I look through the other stack, and, sure enough, that’s where the other copy has been for the past few years.

But then it gets worse. Amazingly, I also discovered that I have two copies of the Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane At Carnegie Hall CD.

This is amazing for two reasons: First, both copies of the CD were in the unwrapped section of the “New CDs Stack,” but I completely missed spotting either copy. True, the side of the CD isn't very distinctive, but, come on. So now I have to worry about my apparently malfunctioning eyes completely imploding.

Second, John Coltrane is like a god to me, and so is Thelonious Monk. I took a music class forever ago, and on the day that we listened to Mr. Monk’s Misterioso, my life got turned around. After class, I was walking toward the student union, but I didn’t make it. I had to sit my ass down on a concrete bench and deal with what that song was doing to me, my cells and my mind and my heart, how my life had just been transformed.

But as much as Mr. Monk blew my mind, Mr. Coltrane did much, much more. He’s my favorite musician, though “favorite” doesn’t quite express what he means to me and “musician” doesn’t quite express all of the ways in which Mr. Coltrane has been important to my life. I don’t believe in a soul in the classic sense, not by a long shot, but I know that there’s something there in each of us that I could call a “soul,” and Mr. Coltrane’s music makes up a large part of mine.

So how could I have purchased this CD and not immediately started listening to it? My life is a hectic mess/disaster, and there are tons of things to which I mean to get, but to which I never get, but listening to this CD should have been a priority, right up there with breathing and caffeine dosing. Then how could I have forgotten that I had purchased it and then ordered it again months later? Then how could I have not listened to it the second time that it got to me?

This CD originally came out on 27 September 2005, nearly two years ago, and I only listened to it tonight, when I loaded it, along with The Concretes CD and the last one from the Kings of Leon (which qualifies as semi-lost because it had been forgotten on my ride’s back seat since it arrived in mid-April and only got listened to for the first time at last week’s game) into my big bro’s stereo, and put them all in rotation.

And, of course, the Coltrane/Monk CD is lovely, and now I have to go around knowing that it could have been a part of my life all of this time. Another thing to regret.

You Know It’s Over: When your girl tosses your rig, specifically your tricked-out Lenovo T60, out her front door, thus giving physical expression to her displeasure with you, specifically with your communicating to her that you no longer wish her to be your girl.

The cool thing about a flying laptop is that whatever doubts you may have had about cutting her loose fly through her front door right along with it. If you had had thoughts that maybe the two of you could get back together later, you’d have your crippled laptop to remind you that she’s at least a little off of her nut in a way that could prove destructive.

Come on, stick with the classic: clothes. The flinging of the clothes is the universally accepted method for expressing anger/disappointment/hurt, so why should we so quickly throw it over for these newfangled methods? I’m a classicist when it comes to breakups.

Grab handfuls of his clothes and toss them in the yard. To administer extra pain, you can drop his whites in mud puddles. Cold-blooded, but effective. And if you want to go for a little extra flair, you can walk his clothes all the way to the middle of the street and drop them there, making that heartless bastard who broke your heart pick them up off of the asphalt, completely exposing him and his questionable taste in boxers to the nosy neighbors.

But not the rig. That shit could have been catastrophic. Thankfully, that rig landed in some bushes, thus cushioning the fall and preserving all of his various files and projects and programs. So, no harm done, mostly, but surely a terrifying experience.

It’s Comeback Time, You Bastards: The only thing worse than getting my ass stomped at our game is watching my big bro lose money. He’s loaded, so it’s not like he can’t afford to drop green, but still, that’s my big bro.

My big bro buys in in roughly forty-dollar increments, and he had to go to his stash four times, which put him invested into the game at $160. Most of that was gone, and I was not happy.

What can happen to a player who is losing is that he gets discouraged and loses hope. (In Spanish, there’s a great word for it—desesperado—but there’s no one-word English equivalent.) But you'll only play badly if you get out of your head. If you're a solid player, keep trying to make good plays, and things might right themselves.

(I say might because even solid play doesn’t always guarantee good results.)

My big bro kept his head and kept swinging away. Finally, the cards started coming, and they were holding up. Then my brother ran a bluff all the way through the river and got everybody to fold to his Q-3 for a decent pot.

After all of that, my big bro ended up making fifty cents, which isn't a lot but is a $150 positive move from his lowest total. I was so goddamned proud of him, and I told him so.

I don’t know how many Mexicanos you know, but we’re a reserved lot when it comes to expressing ourselves to our male siblings, so this was a big step for me in my growth as a human being.

Daddy’s Loaded: I had my best night ever. I pulled $232.50 and I played nearly as well as I could have. I got the YTD to a respectable +$424.00, thought the w-l still looks unpleasant at 17-13

The only time that I got my stacks involved in a pot was when I thought that I was ahead, when the pot odds dictated that I call, or when I was on a bluff. In other words, there was sound reasoning behind each of my actions.

I also folded a lot pre-flop, which is usually a good sign that you're not dumping chips into pots heedlessly. During my horrible June and early July, I had started seeing way more flops than I usually do, just to see what would happen.

That’s a great way to lose money a little at a time.

But tonight I was a machine.

20 July 2007

The Losses Started Early: And I don’t mean at the poker table. I was driving into Madtown to meet up with Ivan so that we can get my website up and running. The server had crashed once, wiping out one of my Poker Reports (a devastating loss that knocked me on my ass for nearly six months and that sent me into a painful period when I couldn’t get much written), and had been acting generally iffy, so Ivan decided to take it off-line, and then he and I had been a little slow to find a new host, update the code, and get my website up again.

But we were going to take care of it today, and I was out in the country, driving, when I heard a noise from my backseat. I looked in the mirror just in time to see something fly out of my open left-side rear window.

I didn’t think too much of it until I remembered that my man bag was open and that I had about two grand in twenties and hundreds in there and that there had been one Benjamin, as they say on the street, sort of sticking up in such a way that, while it was generally safe as I carried my computer case (where my man bag was located, in the open front pocket), it could potentially be shaken free by the wind whipping into the car and then be sent flying out onto the street.

But maybe it was nothing of import that had flown out. I drove about a half-mile more before I flipped a Uey and drove back in the opposite direction, looking for anything that may have flown out of my ride. I didn’t see a thing, so I decided to pull over and look in my man bag to see if all of my cash was still in there.

Sure enough, that up-sticking Benjamin, as they still say on the street, was no longer in my bag.

So now I flipped another Uey and started driving in my original direction. The odds of finding the probably-missing money seemed slim, so I started to do a cost-benefit analysis as I drove. A hundred dollars is no joke, but how long was I going to spend looking for it?

I probably wasn’t going to find it by staying in my car, especially with the slight breeze that was blowing west to east, pushing the bill away from the street and toward the surrounding agricultural fields. It’s July and the temperature at the time of this incident was at 91˚, which is actually cool for this time of year, but no goddamn way was I going to spend too long doing a foot search if it came to that.

But, again, it’s a hundred bucks, so some effort was due. Not hours, obviously. Not an hour, either. Half an hour seemed a bit much, too. More than a minute, clearly, but not much more, especially considering the fact that just in the time that it took me to make two u-turns the money could have blown deep into one of the neighboring fields.

All of this was going through my mind as I drove at about five miles an hour. Then, cool, I thought I saw something that resembled a bill not too far off of the road. I pulled over, walked a thirty feet back, and found what was indeed a hundred dollar bill.

I’m going to assume that it was mine because, what are the odds? I picked it up, walked back to my car, put the bill back in my man bag, this time making sure, though, to push it more firmly down into my man bag, and got back on the road.

I decided that this would be an interesting problem to present to a group of people because basically what you're doing is figuring out how much your time is worth. I had decided that I wouldn’t spend an hour looking, which meant that $100 an hour would be me low-balling myself. I had rejected $200 an hour when I decided that half an hour was too long to spend looking. I had provisionally decided that five minutes was my upper limit, which means that I had decided my minimum hourly wage for walking around in the dry, dusty heat had to be at least $1,200 an hour, which seems insane.

Here’s where it gets weird. While I know that I wouldn’t spend five minutes looking for $100, I would probably spend ten minutes looking for $200 (which is the exact same hourly wage as the five-minute scenario), and I would definitely spend half an hour looking for $500 (even though my hourly wage drops 16.67% in the $500 scenario).

Times Are Tough: I’m a nitwit, probably. During the 2004 election cycle, I dumped a lot of money, for a broke-ass guy, to the Democrats and Democratic-leaning groups. I don’t want to get into specific numbers, but it was somewhere between $1.499 and $1,501.

Those bastards even sent me thirty bumper stickers that I was supposed to distribute to like-minded losers, which I did, which was pretty hard for a shy dude like myself. Of course, we then got raped prison-style by the amoral and dead-souled Republicans. And then the DNC sent me a questionnaire asking how I felt about the outcome of the elections.

That questionnaire was just a way to extract more green from daddy, obviously, but I responded in a heartfelt way: I said that we should be as dirty as Republicans are because, since they are a people with dead souls and without morals, they’ll do any reprehensible thing to win and we’re limiting ourselves to the higher ground. Those dead-souled Republican monsters couldn’t be happier.

And now Democrats think that I’m a soft touch. Always with the junk mail and the phone solicitations. I have responded to the phone hustlers and sent them some green a few times. I’ll be honest: I use those occasional donations to absolve myself for the fact that I don’t do much in the way of acting on my political beliefs. I figure that a check or charge on my credit card is good enough.

But tonight the phone hustlers called right before we were going to get the game started. I answered the phone and the guy went right into his hustle. As soon as I figured out what the deal was, I cut him off and said, “Times are tough. Call me back in a year,” which made Bert crack the hell up.

Now, though, I’m worried that I really won’t get a call. What am I going to do to be a good citizen now? Maybe they can send me more bumper stickers.

Ungh, Yeah: At last week’s game, Ivan announced that he was going to be bringing ceviche to this week’s game. Solid. That means that I don’t have to go out and get down on some fast food.

Ceviche’s a tasty dish of either raw seafood or of raw beef marinated in citrus (which cooks the dish through a chemical reaction), and it’s usually served with tostadas. Ivan’s mom made the ceviche and his aunt made the tostadas.

All respect to Ivan’s mom and aunt. That ceviche was so good that it delayed the start of the game while we happily partook. And then the game was slowed down because we were trying to play around our plates. The game was slowed down again later when we hooked up seconds and, in my case, thirds.

The best part of the whole night turned out to be the ceviche.

It Was Unpleasant, Man: The reason that the food was the best part of the evening was because I lost five times with pocket queens, once with pocket kings, and once with American Airlines. True, most of these pocket pairs were in Omaha, but I was still statistically the favorite in each of these hands.

At worst, the math says that I should have won at least four of these hands. Hell, I would have taken three. The fact that I didn’t even get one only confirms for me that we live in a cruel and godless universe.

So, it’s ironic: last week, I had my best night ever, and it was followed by my worst night of the year. I lost $121.00, sodomized the YTD down to +$303.00 and took the overall to 17-14.

July 27 2007

Perhaps It’s Gotten Out of Hand: By the time that everybody finished buying and that some of us finished with our re-buys, there was $1,006 in the cash box. That’s a new record by about $250.

I remember that back in the old days, about a year ago, I would be a little unnerved when we got more that half a grand in the till, but now I’m sure that a grand is going to come to feel like nothing at all unusual. I’m sure, in fact, that somewhere down the line, maybe in a year, we’ll look back at having a grand in play as no big deal at all.

The thing is, though, that what is a friendly game might start to get a little tense as we get bigger pots and bigger wins and, especially, bigger losses.

I hold the all-time record for a one-game loss—-$270—and, while I kept it classy, it was unpleasant, man, just unpleasant. But that loss was far outside of the range of the usual bad losses. The bad losses are usually around $140; after that, the player will tend to leave. But with so much money in play, I’m pretty sure that we’re going to see more losses like the one that I put up.

While it will be nice to let that record go, it might get broken again and again and again. I hope not.

The Return of Surge: Sometimes, it’s hard to get out of the house. Marriage is like that, I guess. Hey, you signed the papers, so now you're stuck. You grit your teeth and try to get to the grave with as much dignity as you can keep, though she’ll get most of it.

So Surge disappeared for a good, long stretch. We missed the guy, both because he’s funny and because he’s a good poker player. He’s a hustler deluxe; nobody ever thinks that he’s made a hand, but he’s always raking huge pots. I especially missed him because the last time that he played he ended up borrowing $110 from me, and I was on the verge of hiring some big dudes to beat him unconscious.

But he was the first arrival tonight, and he came with my cash. I should have charged the mofo interest, but I was just glad to have him at the game because he slows down both Jesse and Bert, the two most aggressive players at our game.

I was less glad that Surge was back when he started winning big pot after big pot. After the first few hours, he had built up his $40 buy-in into about $435. It was amazing how many hands he was winning and how much action he was still getting. I stayed out of his way, but some of the other players, especially Jesse, kept butting heads with him.

Surge was well on his way to shattering the all-time profit record, but then he ran out of gas. He got tired and he stopped making hands, but he kept getting his money into play. Over the last few hours, he gave back $200 of what he had made. It was amazing, but in the exact opposite way of when he had been killing us. Still, he made $198, one of the best nights of the year.

At this point, I’m not sure how glad I’ll be to see him at our game again. I have a sense, though, that that won’t happen any time soon.

All of the Green: All of that money in play led to something that I didn’t think would ever happen: we ran out of $5 green chips. We used to have two rows of fifty green chips in the main case, but then I pulled another row from one of the other seven cases that we keep in the Summer Poker Room, and I had thought that that would cover us.

What I’m going to have to do, apparently, is pull a fourth row so that we can have a grand in green chips to go along with the $1 and the 50¢ chips.

The New Chip: Which leads to a discussion of what might happen next. We’ve long joked about introducing a new chip denomination into the game. When Surge was sitting on his $435, almost all of that was in green chips, about $375 of it. A quick calculation tells you that he had 75 green chips, along with tons of $1 and 50¢ chips. His stacks were so out of control that we actually had to give him a chip rack to hold the chips that wouldn’t fit into the trays built into the poker table.

If we had a higher denomination chip, say a $25 chip, we could keep the table much tidier, and it would make cashing out at the end of the night much less of a nightmare for the banker: yours truly.

If we ever do pull the trigger on the new chip, we've decided that it’s going to be brown, in honor of the fact that most of our players are of Mexican extraction.

The Hour Is Getting Late: (Yes, I got a little Dylany there. That was for the old-timers. You're welcome.) I had told the guys that I needed to bail at 3:00 a.m. because I had much to do.

The game was so intense, however, that nobody thought to look at a watch until I asked what time it was. It was a little past 4:00 a.m. That’s was when we decided to end it at 4:30 a.m.

I’m sure that some of us got into some trouble when they got to their individual houses, especially the guy who said to his special lady that he’d be home early. Trying to be helpful, I said that he was getting home early: early Saturday morning.

I really hope that he tried that line when he got home. He can always crash at my place until she lets him back in the house again.

The Result: After being down all night around $40 and losing on the river twice for some huge pots, I got it turned around at the end and ended up making $55.25. Not a lot, but only three of the eight players made any money.

The Monthly Summary: I went 2-3 for the month, leaving the overall at 18-14. And, after five throat-slitting games with my soul-destroying buddies, I made $1.25 during July, taking the YTD to +$358.25.

$1.25. That’s a quarter a game. Oh, the dishonor.