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Poker Story

The Hammadown (Chapter 1)

By December 10, 2019January 27th, 2020No Comments

In this chapter of The Hammadown, we learn about humble beginnings, not-so-humble name-dropping, how not to order food delivery, what we think is funny when we’re purposefully acting like a-holes, and what it’s like to be on the cold end of a “cooler”…

(Game Day: December 2, 2019)

One fine day in the early ‘90’s, a presumably ragtag group of comics finished their sets – each one of them killing, no doubt – and decided to head over to St. Marks Place in the East Village to play a little poker game at The House of Brill… Eddie Brill. Since that time, many famous and not-so-famous and never-will-be-famous comedians and hangers-on have graced the felt including Dave Chappelle, Colin Quinn, Sarah Silverman, Marc Maron, Brian Regan, David Cross, Louis CK, Lizz Winstead, Michael Ian “Shaky Hands” Black, Jeff Ross, Neal Brennan, Lisa Ann Walter, Greg Fitzsimmons, and, in the words of Stephen Bishop, “On and On.”
It’s not just a list, it’s A-list!

Hell, we even had a number of big-name comics from Ireland and England (and to a lesser extent, Canada) come to the game when they were in town. It’s been quite the international affair.
Over the years, the game has ebbed and flowed and then ebbed again before trickling into a slight wane which led to a severe nadir before, thankfully, flowing once again into what doctors have described as “full blown rejuvenitis.” Don’t worry. We’re having that looked at.

This particular night was the latest gathering of the modern-day EBPG crew, though what was shaping up to be an overcrowding of migrant-detention-center proportions ended up with a minimum but strong 6, thanks in large part to a Nor’easter that ended up being more of a Snore-easter.*
*If ya know what I’m talkin’ about!

In attendance was Eddie, me (j.r. havlan), Pat “MAGA” Dixon, Adam “Cockman” Abramowitz, Jason “Hi, I’m Jason” Jercinovic, and Angelo “No Nickname” Vazeos. Sitting at home in their jammies with a warm glass of milk and a month-old People magazine they stole from their dentist’s office were normal regulars Hank “Hank!” Gallo, Dave “I.T. Guy” Freed, Joe “Who’s Bet Is It?” Mulligan, and (robot alien voice) “the one they call Clay-TON” Fletcher.
Read all about it, boys!

We started shortly after 7pm even though Angelo didn’t arrive until closer to 8. We made up an excuse for him…

“Sorry I’m late. I was getting my dick looked at.”
“Were you at a hospital?”

All the favorite games were played: Dollar Bob, Follow The Queen, Choices, Carousel, Chicago, Eddie Brill, Mr. CK’s Balls, “Jercinovic”, Biddy Badda Bau, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, and Hot Rod Lincoln – all actual games, few of which, if any, actually require even a modicum of poker skill. That’s right! I said “modicum”!
We ate and played and smoked and joked. Somebody’s cloudy brain wondered what would happen if you called The Fonz, “Mr. Fonz,” which led to somebody else’s cloudy brain imagining the response would be, “Please. Mister Fonz lives in Florida. I’m THEE Fonz… Aaayyy!”
We listened to music that was not hand-picked by William Stephenson and was therefore sub-par in its funkiness, albeit suitable in its uninterrupted backgroundiness.

I’m not sure how we got to it, but Pat and I thought of what might be a catchy little bumper sticker for the KKK to hand out at their next rally/circle jerk…

RACISM: Don’t knock it ‘til ya try it*

*SIDENOTE: We often take advantage of not being in public by acting like assholes.

More weed was smoked followed by the having of the munchies, so Jason ordered something using “Door Dash,” apparently minus the “Dash”. It took upwards of 45 minutes to get to our door!

Me, at minute 40: “Call their asses!”
Jason: “Why? They’re just going to tell us they’re on their way.”
Me: “Call ’em anyway.”
(Jason calls, hangs up)
Jason: “They’re on their way.”

When the food finally arrived, Pat answered the door and when the delivery guy popped his head in, Cockman said “Hi, I’m Jason,” and we howled.
Here’s why.
We have since moved on to playing the EPBG at The House of Hav, but some years ago, back when we still played at The House of Brill, Jason, graced us with his irregular presence. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fine looking man. It’s just that he doesn’t play on a regular basis. Anywhooo… at some point during the game the weed guy showed up. This was a regular occurrence always managed in the same manner: One of us would get up from the table, take care of business and bid him adieu. It was strictly business. But Jason didn’t know this. So, being the amiable fella that he is, when the weed guy showed up this time, Jason smiled widely and from the far side of the table blurted out a very friendly “Hi, I’m Jason!” And now the weed guy knows his name.

I ended the night down a few bucks but it could have been much worse considering I was at the cold, cold end of the two biggest coolers of the night. A “cooler” is when you get a great poker hand that turns out to actually be the second greatest poker hand. And it S-U-U-U-U-C-K-S, suuuucks! At least for the cold guy… who was me.

Cooler #1:
Cockman deals Hot Rod Lincoln – a variation of Omaha if that helps, which it probably doesn’t. The bottom line is I was staring at an Ace-high flush, a very strong hand considering it was highly unlikely, in this case, that anyone would have a full house. I bet accordingly, which is to say I put the Hammadown, only to butt straight up against Angelo’s extremely uncommon straight flush, which, in case you weren’t aware of it, beats an Ace-high flush every day of the week and on Blursdays!

Cooler #2:
Somebody deals The Good The Bad and The Ugly. It’s complicated, but you start with 5 cards in your hand, and the 5 cards in my hand were three 9’s and two Jacks – a full house. And probably a winning hand. So… I once again put the Hammadown, this time ultimately butting up against the four Queens Jerconiovic had in his hand. Blursday!!

As we have done for so many years before this, we closed out the night with the “Showdowns.” First comes “The Small” – everybody puts in $5 (it’s a relatively low stakes game overall) and one person deals each player 5 cards, all up. The deal goes around the table, of course, so the hands slowly build or die right in front of our bloodshot eyes. Cockman won that one with two pair, so he swept the 30 bucks.
And the last hand o’da’night is “The Big Showdown” – everybody puts in $10 and one person deals everyone 7 cards, 1 at a time, until one 100%-lucky player wins that pot. On this night, that 100%-lucky player was none other than Eddie Brill.
I’m not sure if any of us knew who the big winner on the night was, but whoever it was we all agreed he probably “made out like a Bandit… in a Trans Am with Sally Field.”

The next game is Tuesday, December 17th, at The House of Hav.
We are currently accepting applications for visitors, and/or new players.

The Hammadown is brought to you by Peloton bikes.
Peloton: You’re not beautiful enough.

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