Some of you know this story and the person involved but I’m changing his name anyway since I didn’t get his permission to share it. Warning: this story contains a couple naughty words.
When I first caught the poker bug, I couldn’t get enough of it. I was working full-time at the newspaper but still finding 30 or so hours a week for poker.
“Jason” was one of the most entertaining guys to play with during that time. He was funny, had money to burn, loved to gamble and would bluff his own mother if she were in a pot with him. When the poker boom hit, there were tons of micro-stakes games for broke people like me. I could enter a $5 tournament, then buy in for $15 or $20 in a dealer’s choice cash game. If I lost that, I was done. Jason usually didn’t even bother with the $5 tournament. He’d show up late, when the biggest chip stack in the cash game would be $50, and buy in for $500.
There was one other guy who played with us who also had a successful business and a similar mindset. Frequently, these two would get into a macho pissing contest. I’ve never seen ace high win so many pots. It was kind of amazing how these two could never make a pair no matter what was on the board. At the end of the night, one of them would be up $2000 and the other down $2000. Everyone else would be within $50 of even.
One night, I hosted the game at my one-bedroom apartment. Missy and I were dating at the time and she drove down from Norman to surprise me, arriving around midnight. By 1 a.m., everyone else had quit the game and left but these two were battling it out. We both dropped a few hints about being tired but they refused to quit. Missy was ready to kill the both of them by the time they finally left around 3 a.m.
After graduating from the $5 home games, I started playing small stakes at the casinos. At first, the closest poker room to Lawton was the Red River casino, which was a 40-minute drive. Then a room in Lawton opened up, but it was smaller and wasn’t open 24 hours a day. Sometimes, a few of us would carpool down to Red River if we wanted to play all night.
On more than one occasion, Jason talked me and Spike into going down to Red River. Once, he went out of his way to bust me with a crappy draw, then I had to sit down there and do nothing until they were ready to leave because I was out of money. Another time, Jason bluffed both of us on separate pots with absolutely nothing, then showed us and made fun of us. About 30 minutes later he bluffed another guy all in with seven high and no draw. The other guy had flopped a royal flush. So Jason lost the entire carpool’s money on one hand.
This brings me to my favorite poker hand of all time, which is a hand I wasn’t even involved in. We were in Lawton, and I was sitting next to Jason. This was just a $1-$2 game, but Jason was running hot and had about $1000 in front of him. There was a decent amount of action preflop, including a guy who was all-in for his last $15. So there was maybe a $60 main pot but a $200 side pot between the other three players who had more money to start with.
The flop comes out AJ2 with no flush draw. An older woman in a mink coat and big sunglasses bets $100. Jason calls. The third player folds. The turn is a 9 and now it’s back on Cruella DeVil. She bets $200 and Jason calls again. The river is a 6 and Cruella checks it to Jason. He goes all in for about $700. She thinks for a really long time. She’s talking to herself and to Jason. “You must have me beat…You’d better have me beat.” Jason isn’t saying a word. Finally she folds.
Jason reaches over and starts stacking up the side pot, which was about $800. He starts to just throw his cards back to the dealer but the dealer is attempting to give out the $60 main pot. The guy who was all in turns over KQ, so he didn’t even have a pair. Jason then shows his hand, which was 23. This is technically the worst starting hand in poker. On this board he had a pair of deuces, which was just enough to beat the all-in hand but obviously worse than whatever the lady had.
She loses it. “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?” she says loudly. Jason pauses stacking up the chips, looks her dead in the eye and says…
“Motherfucking check wasn’t going to win it.”
The whole table burst out laughing but this woman jumps up from the table and storms off, cursing Jason as she goes.
A minute later Jason nudges me. I lean over and he whispers, “I think I just fucked up pretty bad.” I ask why, since his bluff worked out perfectly and he even won the main pot. He points over to the lady, who is standing 10 feet away pointing at Jason and telling her husband what happened.
“Her husband is a surgeon. He’s one of my biggest clients.” He then told me how much money he makes every month from this couple. Needless to say it was a lot more than the pot he just dragged. I asked if he knew who the lady was before he bluffed her. He said yes.
I couldn’t control my laughter. This was quintessential Jason, bluffing a top customer and talking trash to her, probably costing himself five or six figures worth of future income to win $860. I can’t think about this story much less tell it without cracking up, even 15 years later.
I don’t think I’ve seen Jason since I moved to Oklahoma City. Every once in awhile I’ll ask Spike about him and he seems to be the same guy with the same personality. His business survived the probable loss of this one customer.
When it was me getting bluffed and busted by Jason five minutes after riding in a car with him for 40 minutes, I wasn’t a happy camper. Now, it’s pretty funny. And this other story is even funnier, since I got all of the entertainment without losing any of the money.