The Extinguishing of All Joy
For a split second I was proud of myself for such a quick comeback, having flipped his own burn back at him. My joy was extinguished quickly when I looked up to see him staring directly at me, his face in an expression one can only describe as "intent to murder."
Realizing I was in imminent danger, my sense of calm turned into utter panic and terror. In this state I'm sure you can forgive me for ceasing to remember exactly what he said after this point, but I do know it was along the lines of "What did you just say to me? Do you have any idea who you're f-ing talking to?"
He was in a cold, calm, calculated rage, choosing his words carefully, pausing at the right times for maximum effect. This man had turned intimidation into an art, and I was praying to every god I could think of that I wouldn't have to experience any other art forms of his.
In fact he was so focused, intent and hostile that the dealer blatantly ignored what was going on, completely unwilling to have his wrath turned toward her.
The fact that I was clearly terrified, keeping my mouth shut (for once), and about a third of his size, helped to keep the matter from escalating.
I know that time is relative, and in stressful situations a short time can feel like forever, but he literally had his gaze locked on me for over 30 hours. OK; maybe it just felt like that, but the dealer had dealt out more than three hands, meaning it was probably close to five whole minutes of unbroken glare.
The guy was so unwilling to break his glare on me that the dealer had to muck his hand without him having looked at his cards, or even acknowledging he'd been dealt into the hand. I was folding blind; I was looking at my cards, but wasn't seeing their values.
Even Mike Matusow
knows when he needs to keep his mouth shut.
Much Like a Bear Attack
Not knowing what to do, I decided it was best to treat the situation like a bear attack. I stayed perfectly motionless, and didn't make a sound.
After an unusually long period of silence and the scary man saying something else (I have no idea what), one brave soul at the end of the table came in for the rescue.
It felt like a lifetime had passed by then, but the savior at the end of the table stood up for me: "Hey, he just said exactly the same thing that you said to him, man."
Thankfully, these words sunk in ... his gaze broke as he realized that I really hadn't said anything other than the antithesis of his words to me. When he realized that it was nothing more than argumentative banter, and not a personal attack on his honor, he dropped it.
I'm not sure if I made money in this session or not; really, I don't care. I came out of the casino with everything intact other than my ego. Egos heal much quicker than kneecaps and thumbs.
More Thoughts from the Felt: