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Hammadown (Chapter 12)

By March 6, 2022One Comment

This week: Over the street and through the tunnels to Cockman’s house we go. Greasy food goes fast when the felt isn’t the only “green” in the house. Art is in the red eyes of the beholder. Adam is encouraged by everyone to set up a Thrust Fund for his children. And guess who used to be a bartender and has proof!… if you care to see it.
Dig it!

(Game Day: February 7, 2022)

“The Inaugural Cockman Invitational”

To kick off a year that we believe will ultimately be so great that it will make us forget entirely about the previous two anus annum, the EBPG is going on mini-tour. First stop: the classic New York, Upper West Side, high-ceilinged, brick-walled studio semi-bachelor pad of Adam “Cockman” Abramowitz.
I drove over the night before with the table strapped to the roof of my car like an unruly octagonal wooden hat. It was all easier said than done, but it got done, and Cockman and I celebrated this peaceful transfer of poker by eating a bunch of tacos at a local Mexican joint.

The actual Poker Playing Pleasure got off to a bit of a rough start as Robin Henley and I, who live in the same neighborhood, decided to meet up and take the subway to avoid rush hour traffic.
Bad fucking idea.
There was a transfer involved, so we got off the first train and waited for the second train. That took a while, and when it did finally come, it stayed. “We’re being held in the station.” The worst words you can hear on the subway just behind “That guy’s got a knife!” and “Who wants to hear some mariachi music?!”
After the train finally took off, we pulled into the next station and had to get off because it was suddenly going express, way past our cock-stop. The next two trains were also going express, and we finally got on the third train – the one that smelled like urine. Though, that could have been me. I was mad enough to piss myself at that point.

Waiting semi-patiently for me and Robin at Chez Cock, were Brill, Gallo, Freed, Clayton Feltcher… sorry, Fletcher, and the cock of the hour himself… Cockman. The cards hit the felt at 7:35, and we played the usual round of Dollar Bob (Omaha hi-lo) just to get our bearings and avoid our collective early-onset confusion.

Yours truly swept the first pot and it was a doozy. My king’s boat on the turn beat Robin’s Jack’s boat on the river and Freed’s flopped 5’s boat. (below) There was a lot of raising and re-raising that made me think maybe one of my ultimately unworthy foes had a very worthy quad hooks on the flop. Fortunately for me, neither of them did.

The very next hand was equally wild. The board ended up with 3 Kings and a random 7 and 3 or something unusable like that. That meant, whoever had the king or the highest pair in their down cards would rake the pot. But despite heavy betting, nobody had any such things, and Freed took the whole thing down with the 3 kings (on the board) and a queen high kicker.
Crazy start.

Cockman provided guacamole and chips of the tortilla variety from the joint he and I went to the night before. I brought along a very healthy “sharing size” bag of sea salt kettle chips and a couple of packs of Tate’s cookies that got demolished almost before I even got my greasy chip-fingers on them. Probably for the best.
Music of a groovy variety was provided by our host and included Bowie, more Bowie, and a bunch of other songs that had me asking, “Is this Bowie?”
As groovy as the music was, the pad was even groovier. Turns out Cockman has a number of talented friends who have provided him with very cool, original artwork over the years.

Also, he’s either Jewish or just loves to watch triangles fuck.

Does anything say “bachelor pad” like a plant in a can?

Clayton doesn’t cast his shadow on the EBPG on an Uber-regular basis, but he (and his shadow) are always a fine addition. This week, he introduced me to my new favorite line at a poker table. First you throw out a big bet, then you proclaim loudly and overconfidently to the table, “Call if you hate money!”
I used it for the rest of the night and got a kick out of it every time, though I feel like Hank started getting tired of it. Speaking of Hank, he sat next to me which hardly ever happens. Not by choice. We just all sort of have assigned seats over the years at my place, but at Cockman’s we all just sat where we sat, and I ended up next to Hank. Final verdict: I think Hank is more fond of my antics from a distance.

I can’t remember how it came up but Cockman got saddled with a new slogan in defiance of his advancing age:

Adam Abramowitz: Still Thrustin’

Laughter ensued and toppers piled up immediately.
– Born to thrust
– Thrust ’til you drop
– I’d rather be thrustin’
– In God We Thrust
(I just made up that last one, and in so doing, gladly accept the potential wrath to follow.)

Then, after a brief lull in thrustin’-related quips…

My father was a thruster
My father’s father was a thruster
I come from a long line of thrusters

Hell, we even discussed the possibility of setting up a Thrust Fund for Adam’s children, hereinafter referred to as “The Thrustees.” Why? So the thrustin’ never stops. That’s why.

We played the routinely frowned upon game of Follow the Queen a record number of times during which many queens were followed into big pots with lots of players vying for the contents. Even Eddie and Cockman stuck it out to the river a few times, and, as they are both fond of saying, they hate that game!

Eddie brought back an old table favorite he picked up from the Bangladeshi guy who used to run the deli on his block. He would always call everybody “my friend” even when they clearly were not: “You are my enemy, my friend.” With that damn broken, the rest flooded out .
– “I hate you, my friend.”
– “I hope that you die, my friend.”
– “May your balls be chewed upon by rabid weasel, my friend.”
and, of course…
– “You are no longer my friend, my friend.”

Laughy McLaughAlot.

At some point, probably not long after nearly choking on an overly ambitious inhalation, I threw several chips into the pot and declared in my best Olde English accent, “Let us wager on chance!
And there was much rejoicing.

Apparently, hanging on the only wall I didn’t take a picture of, is a copy of Adam’s old bartending license for the city of Boston. He framed it and everything. Quite proud was he of this.

Cockman: “It’s on the wall right behind you. You won’t believe the date on it. Get up and check it out.”
Me: “Is it okay if I don’t get up?”

Well, that was all Dave Freed needed to break into a breathless, record-breaking-length laughing fit. I mean, he was losing it for a full 3 minutes. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Despite this, Cockman enthusiastically continued.
“It’s from 1985!” he said.
“I have no reason not to believe you,” I said, without nearly matching his enthusiasm.
Dave is still laughing.
“In fact,” I added, “you could have just said that in the first place.”
Dave is still laughing.
“Doesn’t seem like information I feel a pressing need to confirm.”
Dave is reaching for an oxygen tank that isn’t there.
“But if you’re so damn excited about your bartender’s license from 1985, why don’t ya get up and make me a fucking drink?”
I didn’t actually say that last part, but sometimes the really good lines come to you well after the moment has passed. Just ask George Costanza.

I can’t remember who threw this red meat to the comedy lions, (I think it was Fletcher) but somebody mustered their best game show host voice and blurted out “Top 9 answers on the board: Shuffle off to (blank).”
Huge laughs.
I mean, we were all pretty certain what #1 was, but 2 through 9 were a full-on crapshoot. Could have been anything. Clayton gave it a shot though: “I want to say… Syracuse?”
Wasn’t even on the board.

Speaking of Clayton, it’s worth mentioning that he has considerable poker skills, but the real kind of poker. The man finished in the top 100 at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas two different times!
BUT… those skills are relatively meaningless in our ridiculous wild-card free-for-all. But as I overheard Clayton himself saying to Robin Henley as we were preparing our departure…

“I don’t know how to play this kind of poker, but I laugh SO much.”

That’s the EBPG in a nutshell… “my friend.”


(Small: 5 cards, all up. Big: 7 cards, all up)

SMALL: Eddie wins with two pair. Caught it on his last card, much to the disappointment of whoever had the top single pair just before that.

BIG: Clayton wins with trip kings. Also caught it on his last card, much to the disappointment of whoever had the top two pair just before that.

The next game will probably be at Cockman’s again, after which the EBPG will likely go back on the road, for a game or three before returning to the House of Hav.

Until then.

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