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Poker Story

The Hammadown (Chapter 3)

By January 21, 2020January 27th, 20203 Comments

In this “Weee-morial” chapter of the Hammadown we acknowledge the demise and celebrate the life of our forever tablemate, sweat out bad beats, speed-eat delicious cookies, laugh at many funny spoken words, and welcome a visitor from outside our ultra-exclusive circle jerk…

(Game Day: January 14, 2020)


Mexican culture celebrates “Dia de Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” when the “living” (if that’s what you call it) gather to remember friends and family members who have died and to help support their spiritual journey. It was exactly one year earlier to the day that we said goodbye to our surly departed, William Whitfield Stephenson III, and we celebrated the anniversary of his “muerto” just as he would have wanted it: by filling our lungs with “the precious”, filling our earholes with “the funkalicious” and filling our pockets with “each other’s money.”
It was the first time in recent-to-any memory that the first hand of the night was dealt to a full table of mooks. On time and ready to play were Cockman, Yo Angelo!, Joe Mulligan, Eddie Brill, Nate “The Okay” Fridson, Hank Gallo, clayTON Fletcher, and yours-truly working that iPhone 6+ pano feature, y’all!

We always wondered how Cockman swept so many pots.
Turns out he did it with his gh-gh-gh-gh-ghost hand!

As is required from a table full of (mostly) comedians when death is in the air, some good old fashioned gallows humor was in store. I can’t recall who gets the credit for kicking off what this little gem became, but we decided that an excellent name for a store that sells caskets would be “Best Case Scenario,” and that the tagline – because at the EBPG there’s always a tagline – would be “We’re Having a Dead Giveaway!”

You may recall in a previous Hammadown the mention of “found funk” – 3 CD’s I dug up quite by accident that Weeeyum had scratched out all special-like for the table. Well, here’s your proof. At least one of them will be played at every future EBPG… by decree!

On this night, we started with “Poker Mix #3” which, much to my surprise and delight, kicked right in with Tower of Power’s “What Is Hip?” Weeeyum was clearly not averse to a little repetition in his creations, provided that repetition was suitably repetitillating. In this case… ’twas.

Hoping to mix it up a bit, Joe brought his own, digitized “Rock Mix”, which was hit, hit and miss, with the occasional “miss by a mile” thrown in. He did, however, include a highly suitable nod to the recently late, definitely great Neil Peart of Rush, and it was a fine choice indeed, based on 2 bits of knowledge Joe somehow retained in his crazy noggin.
1 – As a drummer myself, I’m a big fan of Neil Peart.
and 2 – Based on a recent FB post of mine, Joe’s song chose what he knew is my favorite old, weird song of theirs: La Villa Strangiato.
I highly recommend it, but it wouldn’t hurt in combination with some good headphones, a nice bean bag chair and a large bong hit or three (or shrooms). At least, that’s the way I always used to do it.  😉

Anywhoooo… Play began, and, as is so often the case, Cockman = Rough Start. My brother-from-another-culture was directly to my left which made it easy for me to hear his constant woeful sighs, and easy for him to reach into my well for back-up. The only difference is, this time I can’t say it was entirely his fault. He’d simply moved all his dreams into downtown BadBeatVille without knowing it.
Hand 1: Cockman’s early boat (full house) is sunk by someone else’s larger boat on the river (last card).
Hand 2: A repeat of Hand 1, but with an even bigger pot.
Hand 3 is worth a closer look…
Somebody dealt “1 and 1” – 6 cards down, you give 1 card to the player on your left and another to the player on your right, you get a card each from those same players, you choose your best 5 cards, set them face down and betting occurs after each card is revealed. In this case, Cockman was soon showing A, 3, 4, 5 of hearts – a possible straight flush – and actively putting the Hammadown. Unfortunately, clayTON was calling this Hamma with 2 pairs: something and 2’s. Not only did ClayTON end up having a 2’s boat, his last card revealed was the 2 of hearts, which I passed to him and which meant he and I both knew Cockman didn’t have his heavily proposed straight flush, which once again left Cockman with… (SFX: Slide whistle)… the losing hand. And with that, Mr. Man used his human hands to once again dig around in my well for borrowed time. Cockman’s defiant, semi-defensive response…

“Did I cry?! Did I cry?!”

He didn’t cry.

My wife, Ellen, has been a huge trooper for embracing the game at our digs, and for that I am extremely grateful. Does she make me leave the table for an undetermined number of hands on any given night so I can help put the the kids to bed? Yes. But does she also, on occasion, as she did on this particular night, bring delicious Vegan food home for our Vegan friend, Vegan Eddie?
Vegan Yes!

Back to the game.
J.R. deals a hand of Dollar Bob. Seemingly disappointed with the cards they’ve been dealt, all 7 players “check” (they don’t bet anything) leading it all the way back around the table to J.R. who bets the max. (“Hamma Time!”) Moans and groans from the entire table! To which J.R. responds by singing “If you had what I have!” to the tune of “Do you hear what I hear?” from The Little Drummer Boy. Some call, some fold, all laugh.

Time for yet another “Brill Blurt”…

Eddie: “Rumpled Foreskin”
Everyone: (Laughs)

Today’s “Brill Blurt” brought to you by the makers of Make.
At Make, we make the things you make, make.

Despite the full table status of the game, we were still expecting others and at precisely 9:17 in walked the newly dubbed “Empty-handed Pat.” Fuckin’ guy strolls in with not an offering to be seen. You couldn’t bring a flat of blueberries or a barrel of monkeys?! Nothing?! At least Cockman brought a box full of cookies! Of course, 23 seconds later…

“Where’s your cookies now?”
– Edward G. Robinson to a crying child

Someone at the table was responsible for yet another possible title for the self-improvement parody book I’m (very slowly) working on:

“An Ineffective Approach to Success.”

My already meager-to-non-existent royalties are being gobbled up by these relentless “title pirates”.
“Title Pirates”.
That’s a good title.

No, it wasn’t Dave Chappelle. He came over later though to help clean up. Great guy!
Every now and then the EBPG gets what the in the poker world is known as a “rail”, which is basically just non-playing onlookers. On this night, Eddie dragged in his friend, Rik Cannon, (real name/correct spelling) who is,
1 – a 56-year-old owner of an 18-year-old’s head of hair (infuriating!)
and 2 – the producer of Eddie’s new Video Podcast, “OG Talk”, taped at the Organic Grill in NYC in front of a live studio audience. “OG Talk” is an Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. co-production! I think.

“OG Talk”
Great guests from all walks of life who care for their own well-being
and have compassion for the world around them.
Subscribe today!

In casinos, poker dealers always “burn” a card before turning any over. That means taking one card off the top of the deck and basically throwing it off to the side without revealing it. We don’t do that, however, which led Pat to muster his most authoritative voice to over-confidently state, “No Burnin’. Just turnin’.”
We’re having t-shirts made up as we speak. For $50 extra it’ll come with the official EBPG logo!

For the record, Pat spent the latter part of the evening “turnin'” some very good cards, sweeping 2 very large pots in the last round of play.

And speaking of sweeps, Angelo (of all motherfuckers!) (nice guy though) swept the showdowns with a full table meaning he raked in well over his original buy-in. Not a bad way to end your evening.

The next EBPG will be sometime in the near future, hopefully before another one of us dies.
Unlike in many other years, we will not be having a Super Bowl EBPG because Eddie and I will actually be heading to “my place of having gone through puberty” – the San Francisco Bay Area, where we’ll be performing at the legendary Throckmorton Theater (GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!) and watching the big game at the home of my roommate from 1986! It’s what the kids back in my day did not call “cray cray.”


The Hammadown was brought to you by Coca Cola:
You don’t have to drink it to know it can unclog a toilet faster than Drano.


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