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Poker Story

Hammadown (Chapter 7)

By November 24, 2020November 25th, 2020No Comments

Our next game might not be for a while because some a-hole named Corona Virus seems to want desperately to join us even though he knows full well that none of us want him there. So we’ll probably lay low for a while until he skips town or just stops being such a killjoy shithead.
But that is now and this was then. A new guy shows us how we should have been doing it all along; Dave Freed becomes “the cursed child”; And we all tell our favorite Jonathan Katz jokes.
Dig it!

(Game Day: November 16, 2020)


First of all, we in the Eddie Brill Poker Game fully admit that none of us have read the specific CDC guidelines regarding poker playing pleasure. My guess is it’s a short entry, something to the effect of “Highly discouraged” or “Seriously? Are you fucking morons?
The short answer is “Sort of.”
Frankly, we just can’t get enough of each other. And since the EBPG is the only gathering of its kind any of us have participated in for almost a year now, we continue to walk the thin line between danger and reason. And at the moment, we consider our occasional meetings to be “within reason.”

Now then… though Joe Mulligan was a late scratch for non-COVID-related reasons, Eddie, Hank, Freed, Cockman and I honored our non-binding agreement to show-the-fuck-up, and I put in a call to my “kid’s-school dad-friend,” Kosta, to be our all-important sixth man. We all scrubbed down with our now standard pre-game Silkwood showers and gathered at the felt-octagon for some shuffling up and dealing. Kosta plays poker, but has never played in the EBPG. Newbies are often understandably confused by our many absurd games and rules, but Kosta was unfazed and proceeded to win 4 of the first six pots, including a high-only sweep of the very first (non-wild card) hand with two pair… of jacks!

“The Greek Poker Freak”

If I had that hand there would be five jacks, if ya know what I’m talkin’ about.
An hour later, “Special K,” as I literally just started calling him, was still rakin’ pots. I can neither confirm nor deny that his Grecian Formula for winning at poker held up throughout the night, but I think he did alright.
Such luck was not in the cards, however, for one David MiddleName Freed, who accomplished the never before accomplished feat of playing from the very first hand to the very last without winning a single hand!
No shit.

He didn’t even manage to split a pot. It was horrifying. When Dave got a very respectable 6-5-4-2-1 low, somebody else got a 6-5-3-2-A.
And thusly wenteth his fortnight.
(I think that’s right. I don’t speak French.)
When it rains it pours and Dave unfortunately found himself in the eye of Hurricane LosingStreak all the way through the Big Showdown. (Last hand of the night, $10 each in the pot, 7-card high only with all the cards dealt up for full poker playing pleasure transparency.)
Dave took an early lead with 5’s and 2’s to Eddie’s King-high nothing-hand…
But Eddie pulled a second 7 and a pair of 10’s to boot in his last 3 cards to cement Dave’s unenviable place in EBPG losing streak history.

So… congratulations?
And just three days past his drop down day!

“Happy birthday, Dave! We got you an entire night’s worth of shitty cards. Enjoy!”

What our (cough)-year-old friend lacked in card-based luck on this fateful night, however, he more than made up for in food-based generosity, starting the evening off by ordering dinner for everyone (“Freed” of charge, of course – WINK!) from his delicious-food-making employer, Tony’s Di Napoli. We got piles and piles of the usual: chicken parm (“Best in the city!”), broccoli rabe (is there another kind of “rabe”?), baked clams (great for unsettling your stomach!), rigatoni, bigatoni, jigatoni – all the toni’s, really – and lots and lots of bread that went straight into the oven for purposes of warming and increased crunchability. And it worked! Oven’s are crazy like that.
To prevent from heat loss and general spillage, a couple of the main courses were covered in an excessive amount of cellophane which prompted me to describe them as being…

“Wrapped up tighter than a Mexican suitcase.”

If you’ve ever been in an airport in Mexico, you know what I’m talking about. If not, just imagine a standard carry-on bag covered with a whale-choking amount of shrink wrap. It’s environment-destroyingly perplexing.
We made a few inhale-related trips to my patio which I recently spent several days cleaning and re-staining and re-staging as one of my “COVID projects.”

Outdoor real estate porn

The Earth-warmingly mild weather, while potentially a curse to our planet in the long run, was welcome on this particular eve.

Back inside, we spent a good portion of the night explaining to Kosta the often confusing rules to our myriad games only to have him keep winning those games.
One notable hand Special K wasn’t in found Eddie sticking around for a game of Follow The Queen – Queens and whatever card follows the Queen are wild. To say Eddie hates playing Follow the Queen is to say what Eddie says out loud literally every time we play Follow the Queen. “I hate this game.” He almost always immediately folds, so when he actually stays in it’s normally best to get out of his way. Hank decided otherwise in this instance, however, and though he wound up with an impressive five 3s, Eddie bested that with his impressiver five 5s, which may or may not have been the name of an early Motown group. “Ladies and gentleman… The Five Fives!”
Anyway, Eddie obviously didn’t mind Follow the Queen this time and the results was…

Big Pot Candy Mountain!

As is always the case, and really the main purpose of the game, there was much merriment. And as is often the case, we took great joy in sharing our favorite jokes from other comedians. This night’s borrowed act was courtesy of the great Jonathan Katz. Here were our favorites, as we told them…

This one from Hank…

I was walking my 7-year-old to school. She looks down and says, “Daddy, is that bird dead?” It was. But I thought, “this is not the time to teach her about life and death,” so I said the only thing I could think of: “Your mother drinks!

This one from Eddie…

I was talking to this big, burly guy about nuclear war. I say to him, “You hear the sirens go off, the missiles are on their way, you’ve got 20 minutes to live, what are you going to do?” He says, “I’m gonna fuck everything that moves.” Then he asked me what I would do. I said, “I’m going to stay perfectly still.”

And this one from yours truly…

Kids are great, aren’t they? They’re just so honest and I love that about them, but it can sometimes get a bit uncomfortable. Last night, I was tucking in my 7-year-old daughter and she looks up at me with her sweet eyes and says, “Daddy?” “Yes, dear?” “What’s a guy like you make?”

And finally, proving that delivery is the key to a good joke, The Eddie Brill Poker Game’s eponymous player humored us with one of my personal favorites – a joke about prisoners being disciplined. Classic comedy premise! Turns out, this joke that Eddie has told me a thousand times and I’ve laughed at several thousand times is a track from “You Don’t Have to be Jewish,” a 1965 comedy album written by Bob Booker and George Foster, and featuring our old friend Brian McFadden’s father, Bob McFadden. In this particular bit, Bob  voices “the Captain of the Guard” with a classic, old-timey tough guy vibe. Strong choice. I found the actual recording, though I can’t quite explain the Portuguese subtitles, so… Apenas os ignore.


Peace, y’all.

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