One of my all-time best friends, hetero life-mate, and onetime roommate used to be known to play some cards before he got seduced by a steady paycheck. In that era, he and I could be found in the same cardroom at the same time on most nights, often on the same table.
Since we primarily played in the same room night after night we made sure to not only keep our game clean, but to keep it obviously clean. No one minds if two friends are playing together, but if they're playing together every night and winning more often than not, people can start to wonder.
That being the case, we played on the level. We played just as hard against each other as we did against others, because money won from a friend is just that much more fun to spend.
The event in question happened on a night when my friend and I were sitting next to each other on the same table.
As friends do when sitting together, we were joking, laughing, chatting and winning money. The night was young - we had been seated for less than an hour.
The Antagonist had been there for almost the exact same amount of time. He had been there just long enough to win a few pots and order his first beer.
It being a $200 buy-in game, we both have stacks right around $380. I get dealt pocket queens on the button. A few players limp; I make a standard raise of $15. The big blind calls and so does our Antagonist a few seats to my right.
Flop comes down 7-8-3.
Big blind checks; Antagonist pays for his beer and bets out $30. I raise to $100.
The big blind goes all-in for $115; Antagonist pushes for his total of $380.
I put the Antagonist on trying to isolate against the short stack all-in, and quickly make the call for the full $380. The big blind has A-K, while the Antagonist rolls over 7-8. The turn brings a three to give me a higher two pair.
The summary of the hand: I had a bad read against a somewhat lucky hand, and sucked out. Done it before, I'll do it again; that's poker.
Now this is when things start to become story-worthy. As the river falls a blank and it sinks in that I've won the hand, the Antagonist stands up, puts both his hands behind his chips and flings them away from himself, yelling something incomprehensible.
Chips scatter across the table, floor, on player's laps and even onto the next table over.
With everyone still in shock, the player storms out of the room and is gone. Everyone starts jabbering about what went down as the dealer tries to collect all of the chips. The player who was sitting on the far side of the Antagonist grabs his paid-for but untouched beer, saying, "Well, I sure hope he doesn't come back" before taking his first swallow.
After 15 minutes or so play returns to normal and it seems the night will progress as usual. With the incident almost forgotten, I feel someone slam both hands down on top of my shoulders from behind.
Assuming it's one of my many goofy friends I casually turn around, and look up into the face of the Antagonist, eyes still ablaze with rage.
Now in my state of surprise, shock, fear and bewilderment I can't process verbatim what this man is saying to me, but I get the gist of it. He's jabbering on about how my friend was signaling to me; how I cheated him out of his money. Like I said, I'm not registering his exact words until he says this - which I'll never forget:
"I'm waiting for you in the parking lot, you're #%!@ing dead, I'm going to !@#%ing kill you!!"
Before I go on, I'd like to point out two things. The first is that I'm pretty sure everyone would understand what he meant by the first half of his sentence. Does he really need to add "I'm going to kill you"?
Might I think he was going to wait for me because he knew I was going to have a stroke? I guess it was for dramatic effect.
Secondly, he's accusing my friend of signaling to me. This is what cracks me up more than anything.
If he is correct, and my friend was signaling to me, then it's time for me to get a new friend. All of the money went in on the flop, where I was a huge dog in the hand. If my friend signaled me to call, he's a real prick for trying to make me lose my money. I still can't quite figure out the logic of this.
Back to the story: at this point I'm in too much shock to say anything. Maybe I utter a "Huh?!" or a "What?!"; I kind of snap back to consciousness as I hear my friend yelling for the floorman. She comes over and pulls the guy away from the table.
Our table hasn't had a hand dealt for some time now, and the whole room's looking over at us. I turn back around in my chair, my brain trying to process what just happened, when I hear the guy back at our table again.
This time he's three feet from the table yelling at my friend, "You fat ****, you're dead! You cheating fat **** I'm going to @#$%ing kill you!"
He might have kept yelling, but I can't remember, because this is when I started yelling. "Uhh ... Security? SECURITY?"
After all, we pay 10% rake up to $5 a hand in this room; after all of the rake I've paid over the years I would hope that they'd at least attempt to stop me from being murdered in their casino. Security does show up shortly thereafter, and drags the guy out of the room.
For the remainder of our evening we had no less than six security guards standing around our table at all times, with a mandatory security escort to our car when we cashed out. It really seemed like the casino had come through to try and look after me. I was happy for that.
I was less happy to learn that the Antagonist had been given no more than a six-month ban from the casino. Call me crazy, but that just seemed slightly too lenient to me.
More blogs by Sean Lind: