Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Russian Plumbers and Golden Globes

I gambled all weekend. Unapologetically. I didn't even take any work home over the three-day break. It rained on and off and Sunday afternoon the wind picked up and rattled my windows and blew all of the smog out of the basin. It left me with a stunning view of the mountains, their highest elevations dusted with snow as I hit the I-10 east to Commerce Monday afternoon. The plan was to play a couple of single-table satellites for LA Poker Classic events and maybe hit up a NL cash game before dashing back to the west side in time to sweat my Golden Globe bets. Yes, I bet on awards shows. And heavily.

My outfit was a little more L.A. hippie-girl than I'll usually choose for the poker room, but it was what I had on and I didn't feel like changing. Low-cut tunic top, cashmere cardigan, faded jeans tucked into Ugg boots, long earrings and miles of necklaces with glass beads that rattled when I bet. I chowed down on two mini chicken tacos (only $1 each!) and read Poker Prof's article on Nicky Hilton's New Years' Eve tournament at Caesar's new poker room before heading over to list myself. To my disappointment, the only single-tables that were running were $120 SNGs with a terrible structure. Boo. I'd have to make my buyin in a cash game. I got a $100 NL seat almost immediately.

The room was crowded, but lacking the buzz and clatter of a weekend night. I sat between an off-duty dealer doing the WPT fanboy thing with dark wraparound shades and a fiftyish Russian plumber. He was still wearing his blue work uniform with his name stitched in red cursive lettering on the right chest pocket. His fingernails were dirty and his moustache and greasy charcoal hair made him look like a movie villain straight out of the silent era. He limped into almost every pot and no raise could stop him from seeing a flop.

"I have to see zee flops. Game is meaningless without zee flops," he'd say as he called a $15 raise with 4-6 offsuit. He managed to drop $700 in three hours seeing zee flops. Unfortunately, most of it was shipped over to the 9s, a quiet blue-eyed fellow who looked like Thomas Haden Church. He was on a helluva card run. He snapped off the Russian's K high flush with an A high flush in a huge all-in pot, leading the Russian to stand up and slam the table. Chips went flying as he cursed the dealer.

"This bitch she cold-deck me for three days! Two thousand dollar! Jesus fucking Christ!" He mumbled another string of expletives in Russian as he pulled another $100 bill out of his pocket. Before the chips could even get to the table, he had tilted off that stack of yellow by pushing in with pocket sixes on a K Q 8 flop.

Though the Russian's antics and nonstop chatter were entertaining, nothing could quite compare to the stunt the enormous Armenian guy on my right tried to pull. After plopping down in his seat at an odd sideways angle (pretty much the only way he'd fit) and grabbing a spare chair for his tiny, adorable girlfriend (huh?) this dude pulls out his laptop, rests it on the lip of the table and, no joke, fires up Poker Stars. Thomas Haden Church instantly went ballistic.

"Floor! Floor! Do you guys see what he's doing? He can't do that!" At the next table over a couple of the local rocks peeked over at the ruckus through heavy eyelids and then turned back to their cards, disinterestedly. Spend your days in the California cardbarns and I guess you've seen it all.

"So whatcha gonna play?" I queried with a smirk. "I think the $11 rebuy starts in a few minutes."

Unfortunately, the floorman wasn't so into the live-online simulaneous muti-tabling, and the computer ended up in his girlfriend's knockoff Prada tote bag.

I had sort of an uneventful session. I played about four hours and was seriously card dead through most of it. I ground up about $80 before taking off. I promptly lost about $50 of it to Charlie on Golden Globe props. I completely fucked up on all my TV picks (with the exception of Hugh Laurie for "House") before making a late surge on the big film categories. Thank you Gay Cowboys.

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I couldn't sleep last night and I'm paying the price this morning. It's 11 AM and I've already injested over twenty four ounces of terrible coffee simply to maintain consciousness. A friend just sent me his novel and I devoured half of it last night in my fit of insomnia. I bet I finish it today. I'm a really fast reader. I feel incredibly lucky when my friends let me read their stuff, especially something as personal and deeply felt as this book is turning out to be. It also kicks me in the ass a little and inspires me to stop being lazy and paranoid and put my own pen to paper. In the seven years I've been in the film industry, the majority of my time and brainpower has been spent reading and critiquing other writers. I've written sets of notes for Academy Award winners and 24-year old stoners straight out of USC. I suppose it was that pressure, that constant focus on the endpoint of things, the costly result that would be up on the screen for millions to see, that made me never want to start thinking about what I wanted to write, IF I wanted to write anything at all. I was giving myself notes before I could even churn out a concept. I've gotta stop thinking like that and take my own advice. It's the same advice I give to every kid who asks me what's the best way to become a writer in Hollywood.

"If you want to be a writer, just fucking write."

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Finally, as an homage to blogging great Dr. Pauly, a "Hollyweird" edition of five things:

Showcase's Last 5 Random Celebrity Sightings:

1. Kirsten Dunst (lunching at macrobiotic cafe in West Hollywood)
2. Debra Messing (going into the film "Match Point" at the Grove)
3. JC Chasez (at Mel's Diner on Sunset Blvd.)
4. Britney Spears (in a random bar in Santa Monica)
5. Macaulay Culkin (on a JetBlue flight from LAX to JFK)


TripJax said...

I love hearing ze antics in the live games...keep'em coming. Can't believe the guy tried to pull ze live/online play. That is hilarious.

David Westbay said...

I didn't realize that the card room would be a wireless hot spot. But then, every square inch of the L.A. basin is probably a hot spot, yes?

The Russian is too funny. I hope I get to play against him someday, as long as he doesn't knock my chips off the table after losing.

Felicia :) said...

Lots of people play both live and online at the same time. Wynn seems to allow it (I've never seen them make a player put away the laptop, at any rate).

You have a good blog. I can rarely say that these days.

I will be at Commerce next week. Since you know what I look like, but I don't know what you look like, please say hi.