Hello faithful readers, I am back from our intended 4 day but actually 5 day stay in Biloxi Mississippi.  If you read some of my previous posts you will remember that I have a vice, but it is under control (LOL) and that is gambling.  I only go to the casinos a couple of times a year so I don’t consider it an addiction but rather a hobby.  This time I dedicated myself to the art of  No Limit Texas Hold Em Poker, an interesting game where you can lose vast amounts of money with the flip of five cards.  What is even more interesting than the game though are the people you meet playing the game.  I guess in the old days most of them would be called gunslingers, but in these modern times they use their stacks of $5 poker chips to rob you, no gun needed.

I met several people, and I think it is an indicator of my warped personality that I got along so well with all of them.  The most memorable was the dealer who looked like a gang member but was the nicest kindest family guy I have met in a long time.  Then the players, they range from the hardened casino dealer (at another casino) playing a game he knew very well, to the 70-year-old gent from Tampa who like me just visits 2 times a year.  Then there is the Hank Williams Jr. look-a-like with 32 pounds of jewelry on his fingers, the cowboy hat and the dark glasses, who could flick out a poker chip while exhaling cigarette smoke and sipping on a Budweiser at the same time.  Or the two local young guns who played poker (I think) for a living.  So then you add me to the mix and the party is on. 

I played with various combinations of these players as well as many others mixed in over the course of the 5 days.  I learned a lot, I learned different names for parts of the human body, I learned that poker dealers make very good poker players, I learned that despite the alcohol being free while you are playing, it is a long walk to the rest rooms, so plan ahead.  I learned about “tells” little signs that give away a player’s hand, and I tried to learn how not to show any myself, like jumping up and yelling YAHOOOOOOO when you get dealt two good cards.  But most of all I learned that my wife is a Saint and played the slots for hours while allowing me to indulge in my last vice.

Win? Oh I won some, lost some, then won some more.  I think over the entire stay I probably made $200.  (My wife made more on the slots, but I won’t bore you with the details about that, even though I hear about it all the time).  I know this is a paltry sum considering the hours I played, but I found it to be validation of my steadily growing poker prowess.  I mean the other times I indulged this vice I played for a lot less time and usually lost $1,000 or more in a 4 or 5 day stay, so it was a moral victory for me if nothing else.

So now its back to playing against my 12-year-old son.  He is a better player than me, he knows about tells and he knows about bluffing.  I hope he doesn’t know all those names for the anatomy yet though.  I will practice against him until I make the trip again in October.