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Poker Story

Hammadown (Chapter 8)

By April 29, 20212 Comments

This long-awaited edition of The Hammadown was even longer-awaited because it took me over two weeks to make sense out of the notes I scribbled while pretending I was in possession of my basic faculties.
But the wait is over!!
Food is shared, chips are exchanged, jokes are enjoyed, and weed is smoked and eaten. And it was all with the fully-vaccinated confidence that, on this joyous eve, none of us would die of anything other than age-related heart failure.
Dig it!

(Game Day: April 12, 2021)


The last time we merry players of the Eddie Brill Poker Game shuffled up and smoked– I mean, dealt, was exactly 147 days ago. That’s enough time to make 5/9ths  of a baby!
It was too long.
But not unlike the postal service that our former president did his best to destroy, “nothing will stop us from our appointed rounds.”
Except for a global pandemic.
But how much longer can that last, am I right?!

In fully-vaccinated attendance were Eddie Brill (of course), Dave Freed, Joe Mulligan, Hank Gallo, Adam Cockman, Adam’s Cock-brother (claims his real name is “Jacob”), and yours-to-the-truly.
(My apologies for whatever form of slang I just inappropriately appropriated.)

Photo Credit: Zoe Havlan

Fun Fact: 
The orange and turquoise mod-style painting over Freed’s head is
a piece of an original set decoration from The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn!

Despite Cockman’s usual dramatic insistence that the first Ace end up in front of him, it landed with Eddie, which made perfect sense. It is, after all, the EBPG. And so our forever friend dealt the first hand of the usual first round of the usual Dollar Bob, aka – Omaha hi-lo.

But before we got got started on our mutual quest to benefit financially at the expense of our best friends, the always multi-useful Dave Freed brought food yet again from the lovely and delicious Tony’s Di Napoli, which I believe translates to “The Napping Tony.” And yes, as usual, it was way too much food. I mean, we try our best to finish it – God knows! – but three gallons of spaghetti, two pounds of chicken parm, and a loaf of bread each is a lot of food. Even Joey Chestnut* would be like, “What’s with all the fucking food?!… And how much time are you giving me to finish it without throwing up?”
(* For you see, Joey Chestnut is a world famous competitive eater who has won the Nathan’s Hot– oh, forget it.)

Even before the food was served, Freed offered me a different kind of edible. It’s always something new with this guy. I’m not opposed to the edible form of my old friend, Mary Jane, but on the few occasions I actually edibalize them I never really know how much to edibate. So, Dave takes what looks like a colorful, large sugarcube-sized gummy thing (odd but accurate description) and pops it in his mouth. And so, because I’ve never really gotten past high school levels of peer pressure, I did the same.

Possible hallucinations be damned!

Alas, there were no hallucinations. But I’m pretty sure I kept using the word “alas” all night.
Weird side effect.

Dave kept checking in on me every 20 minutes to see if “I was there yet.” After the 14th time he did this I assumed it was because he himself “was there” and “there” was apparently a state of paranoia that causes you to wonder if the guy you ate weed with didn’t go down the same freak-out alley you’re currently residing in.
Turns out we were in the same alley. I just got there a little after Dave.

I call this one “Probably a misdeal.”

Freed gets four 9’s!… And probably still somehow loses the hand. 😉

Eddie was on fire in the “random jokes” category, most of which were completely out of context and yet all extremely well-timed…

“Get off her your honor!” (Say it fast.)
“I got a tattoo of a smudge.”
“Buy me some peanuts AND crackerjacks? How about one or the other? They’re 17 bucks a piece!”

In an early game of “Eddie Brill” (7-card hi-lo), Eddie and Cockman are heads-up and both look low but both go high.
What what?!
I can’t remember who won because I went “high” well before the hand played out. But it was very dramatic.

The first unusually big pot of the night was in a game of Chi-Town – high hand splits the pot with the low spade in the hole. It was Eddie vs. me and some other sucker who ultimately lost to Eddie’s two pair and 2 of spades.
Eddie sweeps!
And despite the implication in the above photo, there were a lot more than just one red chip in that pot.

At precisely 9:25pm…

Freed: I need to take a nap.
Havlan: My, how the game has changed.

Back in the day… (and I promise I’ll make this short)… we used to start at midnight and play all night. Then we’d all go to a diner for breakfast, and the player who won the most would pick up the check… or pretend to go to the bathroom and then run out before the check got there. Whichever came first.

I think Joe provided the music through Pandora or Spotify or Spotidora or Pandafy or whatever the hell streaming music service the kids today probably stopped using six years ago.
Regardless, it was a stone groove of the usual stone grooviness.

“What makes me look older? The gray hair or the fact that I stare judgementally at you from just over the top of my reading glasses?”

For some reason there was a pile of tin foil on the bench by my front door. Probably my chef-wife’s doing, but I hadn’t noticed it before and had no idea why it was there. In one of a number of lapses of judgment that evening, I thought one of my smartass guests might have the answer. Served me right:

Havlan: What’s with all this tin foil over here?
Hank: It’s my hat.

Hank doesn’t frequently shoot, but when he shoots he scores!

Charlie and I competing in the category of “Worst Poker Face.”

Like a July morning in San Francisco, the end of the night was a tad foggy.
I’m sure we did the small and the big showdowns.
But I’m not sure who won them.
I’m sure everyone helped clean up.
But I’m not sure anyone really helped that much.
And I’m sure we all had an amazing time.

The next game will not be 147 days from now.
With any luck it will be closer to 147 hours from now.
Until then…

Peace, y’all!


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