Thursday, February 28, 2013
Friday, February 22, 2013
"What is this!" He showed him a card:
"What is pocket sevens!"
"Are you serious!"
"What is this!"
"Natalia Pertman playing paddy cake with Natalia Pertman!"
"She's in movies!"
"What is this!"
"Why do you laugh!"
"That's Piotr in a swordfight with the jack of diamonds!"
"Who is Piotr!"
"What is this!"
"Ace of spades pooping a bowling ball!"
P.S. Keep patient away from poker and movies starring Natalia Pertman. The kid is obsessed.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
“Correct. In a standard deck of 52 playing cards, this card has become known as ‘the laughing boy.’
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Someone tapped his shoulder. He turned and saw no one. Then he felt a tap on his other shoulder. he spun in his chair and caught Piotr's hand. "Sucker," his agent said. "You always fall for the same trap. In chess and in life."
Quincy had nothing to say in reply.
"What's going on?" Piotr asked. Then his eyes went wide. "Ohhhh. It's that day." Quincy crouched a bit in his chair, as if trying to distance his ears from his agent's words. "Are you kidding, Quince? It's not gonna work. She's out of your league."
"This is the turn," Quincy mumbled.
"Huh? The turn? You've been trying how long? First, it was seventh grade--"
"Preflop," Quincy corrected.
"Then eighth grade you tried to--"
"Quincy, she's not a poker hand."
Quincy pondered this statement. He looked up at Piotr. "Maybe she is," he said.
He glanced again at the desk at the front of the row. A white box sat atop it. He shrugged. "I know."
Piotr followed his gaze, saw the box. "As your agent, it is my professional advice that you get that box before she--"
But it was already too late. She breezed by them both in a sleeveless white top and flower-patterned blue skirt, leaving behind the scent of gardenias. At her desk, she stopped and looked down for less than a second at the box. Then she turned and leveled an angry gaze at Quincy.
"What's this?" she said.
Quincy was in shock. He opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, and managed to say, "Gah."
"Is this yours?" she demanded.
Quincy could only stare.
"I said, is this from you?" She had her bookbag wrapped in both arms across her chest. Shifting her balance to one leg, she looked like she was about to start tapping her foot as she awaited his reply.
Finally, he shook his head.
Her eyebrows rose, her expression changing from anger to pity. She sighed, set down her books and opened the box.
Quincy pretended not to watch. He made it look like he was staring out the window, but he could still see her in his peripheral vision.
"Oh. My. God," she whispered. He resisted turning his head. Finally she said softly, "What are you thinking?"
He couldn't help himself; he turned to look. She stood in front of her desk, the box open in front of her. In her hands, she held bills. A stack of bills.
"Are these all . . . hundreds?" she whispered.
Quincy felt that now was the time to speak. "Yeah," he whispered back. I bought you an island too, he thought--but for some reason, he could not say those words.
"This must be . . . ten thousand dollars."
"Yeah." He had found a word that he could say, and he was determined to stick with it.
"And last year you gave me two thousand."
"And five hundred the year before that."
She just stared at him. Money in her hands, she slowly approached him. He felt himself involuntarily sinking down into his seat. When she reached his desk, she learned toward his ear and whispered, "Quincy, I'm not a hooker." Then she walked to the end of the aisle and glided out of the room.
Seconds after she left, Piotr poked his head through the door and then, seeing that the coast was clear, rushed over. "How'd it go? Bad, right?"
"What'd she say?"
Quincy beamed. "She told me she's not a hooker."
Piotr resisted laughing. "Man, that's not good."
"No, it's good. Very good."
For once, Piotr was baffled. "Why?"
"Because she kept the money," Quincy said matter-of-factly. He was nodding and smiling.
Piotr raised a single eyebrow. "Quincy, she keeps the money every year."
Doesn't matter, thought Quincy. The hand isn't over. This was the turn. Next year is the river. Next year, she gets the island. I kidnap her. I put her in a cage on a speedboat. And I show her the island. Then we fall in love.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
"Yeah, that was me," Quincy said. "Can we have hot dogs for dinner?"
They were dumbfounded. Finally Annie said, "Who do you know that has forty thousand dollars on a poker site?"
"Phil Hellmuth, Patrik Antonius. Me. The other guys' names I don't know. And can we have chili too?"
"How old are these other players?"
"I dunno. Thirteen?"
Teddy said, "No. Patrik Antonius is a man. You're playing with full-grown men."
"Are you telling your mother that money is yours?" Annie asked.
The questioning intensified, which led to the following answers: I won it; I don't know, I just go all in a lot, they call me a luckbox; No, that's not all of the money I have, do you want some?
Do you want some? Teddy instantly began to picture a canary yellow speedboat scissoring through the water, his hair whipped by warm Caribbean winds, a bottle of SoCo--no, Patron--in his fist, women laughing, cheering him on, applauding him for crying out loud, a whole boatful of women, topless, but then he felt his intestines dissolve when Annie said firmly, "No, we don't want your money. We want you to put that money into a savings account. For college. Don't you see that you need help?"
Quincy's mouth fell open. "Help?"
After a quick search online and an equally brief phone call, Annie discovered not only that Truckee had a chapter of Gamblers Anonymous in town--Truckee was, after all, less than 40 minutes from Reno--but that the meeting was about to begin. She sped him down there, unlocked his door, and said, "I'll wait out here till you're done."
"What do I do?"
"You go in there, young man."
Her gaze was steel. "Do I have to?" he pleaded.
"Go. Now. Listen to the horror."
He went. Pushing through the doors, he tried to find a corner seat, but an adult standing at a podium said, "Son, are you looking for someone?"
"Um, no. I'm here for the gambling."
Laughter rang through the room. Podium said, "Gambling? You mean like flipping baseball cards? You're eleven."
More laughter. Quincy replied, "Thirteen. Card flipping was kindergarten. Now I do 5k NL mostly."
The grin on Podium's face wilted. "5k NL."
"No limit. Some PLO. Badugi sometimes, although I really don't know how to play that one, but I give action in badugi to get action in other games. Oh yeah--razz."
Podium frowned in a way that made Quincy uncomfortable. "So, you love poker," Podium said. A statement, not a question.
"It's like a whole bag full of Halloween candy."
Quincy gave it some thought. "No, it's sort of like a drunk uncle who has money falling out of his pocket."
"And you can't live without it."
"Yeah. I bet I can't."
The crowd gasped; Podium's eyes widened. "Son, we never use that word here."
Quincy tried to recall if he had said a bad word. He was pretty sure he hadn't. He said, "Oh."
"It's okay, son. Tell us your story."
He didn't know how to answer him. He ventured, "Well, everyone is dealt two cards--"
"No no no no no no. Tell us how you came to hit rock bottom. Tell us about the descent. Did you betray trust?"
"For example," Podium said, stepping from behind the podium and gesturing toward the crowd. "There's Tom, who lost his house playing video blackjack. Janice, who got fired playing scratch-offs at work. And Ryan, who due to his addiction to craps came home to find that his wife and kids had vanished."
Quincy giggled. He couldn't help it.
"Son, it's unwise to laugh at these meetings." Quincy silently recalled how the whole lot of them had just been laughing at him. "We're all in the same boat," Podium continued.
Podium's tilted his head to one side. "We aren't?"
"I don't think so."
"Because I win."
The room fell silent; fifty eyes turned ravenous. Quincy interpreted the vacuum as an invitation to continue, so he said, "Mom knows about the 40k that I transferred, that's how I ended up here, I built it up from twenty bucks, but she'll be real mad if she finds out about the Full Tilt money and she'll explode if she sees my balance on Absolute or my savings account or the money I stuffed in my pillowcase to buy the Death Star because if 40k got me down here, the rest of it could make them put me on death row."
Podium just stared. For once, he was speechless. A female voice from the back of the room asked, "How do you do it?"
"Margot--" Podium tried to interrupt; but Quincy said, "Oh, that's easy."
"How?" several voices asked simultaneously.
Podium held out his hands. "Chuck, Susan, don't forget how you--"
"Let the nice boy speak, godamnit!" shrilled and old man from his wheelchair.
Quincy began to back toward the door. He said, "I should--"
"Block the door," someone shouted. A half-dozen voices erupted at once. The only words he heard: pillowcase, stop, grab, teach.
Quincy bolted, ducking under an old woman's claw as he pushed through the door. She scraped his neck, but he broke free.
From the car, Annie caught movement from the corner of her eye. She turned to see Quincy racing down the walkway toward the car, his arms flailing around his head. Why does he always run so funny? she wondered. Then she saw a throng of people, led by a surprisingly fast septuagenarian, in close pursuit.
She pushed open his door with her foot. As Quincy dove across the passenger seat, she stepped on the gas.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Mouth agape, Teddy lay motionless on the La-Z-Boy. Quincy thought he heard him snoring. He crept to the back door, pushed it open as quietly as he could, and tiptoed into the living room. Teddy's laptop was no longer on his lap.
Instead, Teddy's pants were missing. Hairless legs ended at sky blue socks, one of them hanging precariously from Teddy's bigtoe. Dad, he told himself, I gotta call him Dad. Both of Dad's hands were wrapped around his flaccid penis. From the floor next to the La-Z-Boy, Quincy heard moaning and sighing. Glancing down, Quincy noticed the laptop. Next to it, an empty bottle of Southern Comfort.
"Dad?" Quincy asked softly.
No response. He picked up the laptop. A woman seemed to be using a man's waist as a trampoline. He closed that screen to reveal Teddy's--Dad's--PokerStars cashier screen: $265.20.
New Dad is a loser, he thought.
From his Mom's computer in the bedroom, he opened his own account and transferred $40,000 to Dad's account, planning to transfer it back later. Then he started up a dozen $1000NL tables on Dad's account.
Dad's account name was Gorillacock. Within 90 seconds, Gorillacock had doubled up at three tables and been stacked at four. After ten minutes, Gorillacock's threebet percentage from late position was 80 percent.
He knew that the game was useless unless he was playing for big stacks, so Gorillacock kept taking big risks, doubling up or getting stacked. He closed his losing tables until he saw himself sitting with a $4,200 stack at a table that had two other monster stacks: $3,600 and $5,050.
When he was dealt king-eight of diamonds under the gun, he whispered breathlessly, "The epileptic chihuahua." Gorillacock raised. A big stack in middle position called, and the button, who had the table's biggest stack, reraised to $100. Quincy and the other player called.
The flop came ace of diamonds, king of spades, eight of spades.
Maybe ace king caught up, Quincy worried. He checked, middle position checked, and the button made a pot-sized bet. Quincy raised to $850. Middle position folded, and the button called.
Yep, Quincy thought. Ace king.
The turn revealed the deuce of diamonds, giving Quincy a flush draw. Gorillacock checked and, when the button made a pot-sized bet, instantly shoved all in. Before the button could call and reveal pocket kings, Quincy was already celebrating.
He didn't see the button expose middle set. Nor did he see the river diamond, which gave Quincy the flush.
He was too busy hopping from one foot to the other and waving his hands above his head, as silently as possible so as not to awake his new drunk semi-naked stepfather, who would awaken in the morning with his laptop back on his midsection, covering his manhood.
Teddy's first thought upon waking: Where are my pants?
Then he brought up the cashier screen--$4,487--and had his second thought of the morning: I should get hammered and play poker more often.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Teddy Capers deposited a thousand on PokerStars and rebought for hundred, which he lost with pocket tens to a set on a rag board--Quincy twice refilling his stepdad's glass with SoCo--then Teddy rebought for another hundred, which slid to the button when Teddy's rivered straight didn't hold up on a four-flush board, at which point Teddy waved away the glass and started drinking from the bottle. His king queen lost to ace king; his jacks succumbed to aces.
Quincy thought, He's playing like the French in Risk.
"I can't believe my luck," Teddy wheezed, watching in horror as another of his Benjamins moved to another luckbox opponent. "Wait--that was a mistake! I've got two pair! He's got--"
"A straight," Quincy said.
"No! He . . . oh," Teddy's exclamation had reduced to a mumble. He let his head hang, regarded the bottle in his hand with watery eyes. Quincy feared he might weep.
"Try this," Quincy whispered.
Teddy stared at the carpet. He lifted the bottle to his mouth and tilted his head back; his adam's apple bobbed thrice. Wiping his lips with the back of his free hand, he muttered, "Try what."
"Put your hand over your cards."
Teddy turned and fixed one red eye upon him like a hammerhead shark. "On the screen?" Quincy nodded. One of Teddy's eyebrows rose half an inch. Then his stepdad just shook his head and laughed. It sounded like the laugh of a man who knew he was about to fall down some stairs. But he did as instructed. "Okay, junior genius. What next?"
"What do you want to be dealt?"
"What do I want? What do I want?" Then, to himself: "Now he's the Make A Wish Foundation." He laughed again, darkly.
The software dealt him two cards. They were hidden under his fingers. He started to move his hand when Quincy insisted, "Don't look."
Teddy eyed the boy, then gave the screen his most serious look. He said, "Okay. I want aces. Two black aces."
"Okay. Play it that way."
The action folded to Teddy. "I raise." He moved the slider to four dollars and clicked the button.
Everyone folded, except the button, who reraised to 12 bucks.
Through gritted teeth, Teddy said, "I raise," making it $34.
The big blind shoved all in. Teddy called instantly.
The flop, turn, and river were all aces and face cards.
He lifted his hand to see the eight of clubs and the six of hearts. A hundred dollars of Teddy's money joined the button's stack.
Bad luck, the button typed.
Very slowly, Teddy swiveled in his chair to face Quincy.
Quincy wanted to say, Well, it works for me!
Instead, he said, "Oops." And ran.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Three days after his mother's Las Vegas marriage to Teddy Capers, Teddy settled into his La-Z-Boy in the living room and opened his laptop. "Hey kid," he said.
Quincy looked up from his Risk board. A six-sided war between Germany, Japan, France (which always lost), the U.S.S.R., Canada, and the United States had whittled down to a battle between America and Hitler. Naturally, Quincy acted as general of every country's army. At first, he found it difficult to keep Hitler's surprises from the Allied forces, but now it was getting easier for Quincy to keep secrets from himself. "Yeah?" he answered.
"Oh. Who normally wins?"
Quincy stared at him and blinked. "I do."
Teddy abruptly asked, "Quick. What's your name?"
"One more time."
"Good. Quincy Berkley is dead. You're a brand new kid. And your first act as Quincy Capers is to get me some SoCo from the shelf above the oven. Can you reach it?" Quincy ran over and showed that he could. "Marvelous. Fill a tumbler with ice and bring it all here. Your new Daddy's about to play some poker. Maybe I can teach you a little something about world domination."
Quincy decided not to mention that he had a PokerStars balance of $214,632. Instead he said, "Okay, Dad."
Teddy checked his balance: $40.31. While Quincy hung on the arm of the recliner, Teddy took a sip of caramel liquid, said, "You mix a mean drink," and fired up a single table of $100NL.
"Uh," began Quincy.
"You play one table?"
"--As opposed to what? Just sit back and watch me work. Poker is complicated."
New to the table, Teddy posted his blind from middle position and was dealt two red kings. The player under the gun raised to $3. Another player to Teddy's right called. Teddy explained, "Here is where we slowplay. It's an advanced move." He called--Quincy began to squirm--as did three others.
Six players headed to the flop of the ace of clubs, queen of diamonds, and six of hearts.
The player under the gun bet half of the pot. The player to Teddy's right raised. When Teddy shoved all in, Quincy fell off the chair's arm.
Seconds passed. Then from the floor Quincy heard Teddy exclaim, "Are you kidding me? What a suckout. Ripoff. Second best hand in poker loses to ace queen suited. Ace queen is a fold every time. You can't make advanced plays against idiots." He took a single gulp of his drink, leaving nothing but ice.
"Refill, bartender. And get my wallet from the nightstand next to my bed. Hijack just woke the dragon."
Monday, February 4, 2013
She was wearing a black leather miniskirt and a white tube top. Quincy noticed that she didn't push a button for her floor.
As the elevator slid shut, she turned to him and said, "You did pretty good at that table."
She blinked, and Quincy saw white eye shadow that sparkled. "You must've left with over twenty thousand," she continued.
"I showed up with fifty thousand."
"Oh. What do you plan to do with the twenty you have left?"
"Prolly lose it," he said. "Or save it for another Masarati."
She tapped a silver hoop on her wrist with a fingernail. "There are better things you could do with twenty thousand than lose it at a poker table."
He stared at her in amazement. "Like what?"
Now it was her turn to stare in amazement. "How old are you?"
He shrugged again.
She asked, "What's your room number?"
"1614." She shifted her balance from one foot to the other. "If I came along with you, what would we do?"
Her eyes widened. "GTA. What's that code for?"
"Just a game."
She raised an eyebrow. "I don't do any rough stuff."
After some careful consideration, Quincy replied, "GTA isn't for you then."
"We could bet on it."
"Bet on it? How?"
"We could play. You and me. Winner takes a thousand."
"How do we know who the winner is?"
Quincy shook his head, baffled. "The winner is alive and the loser is dead. Duh."
Her eyes became saucers. "What kind of sicko are you, kid?"
Quincy realized that she might be a simpleton. He decided to simplify. "It's a game. A video game. You shoot people and run them down. You can even steal a tank and kill cops. It's the best invention ever."
"Oh." Now she laughed. "All right then. I'm in." She stepped next to him, ran her finger down his arm. "But I don't have a thousand," she purred. "If I lose, will you take it out in trade?"
Quincy looked at her. Aside from high heels, a miniskirt, tube top, and some costume jewelry, she had nothing on her. No purse.
"Okay, but what do you have to trade?"
A tone sounded, and the door opened. Quincy stepped out. He turned, and she was still in the elevator. Scowling.
"I could take any baseball cards you have," he began--but the door shut, and the elevator carried her away.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
“Ernest Timothy Baumgardner-Blackwell-Smith,” she read.