I need to work on my writing. What follows is a true story.
So, I was in Vegas for the 4th of July last year.
I strolled into the MGM Grand like I owned the place, and then sat down at a poker table, $1/2 blinds... the smallest they offer. I made $300 the first night (july 3rd), so I was feeling pretty pumped on the 4th, it being some kind of "Veterans are awesome" holiday. I figured luck would be with me.
So, I sit down. Of course, in Vegas, you're bound to meet some interesting people, and tonight was no exception. The guy to my right was a Jewish Rabbi from middle America. What he was doing at a poker table is beyond me, but I chose not to bring up the topic of tipping the dealer. The guy to the right of him was a construction guy from Arizona... big, fat, angry old dude with a hearty laugh (once he warmed up to you). Further to the right was a swedish television producer, who looked like he should have been in a magazine hawking pretentious clothing for the trust-fund babies of America's 1%. Nice enough guy, though... and had around $700 in front of him (the maximum buy-in was $100). To his right was the dealer, who was incredibly fast with the cards, and who was surprised as hell when the Rabbi tipped him a dollar after winning a pot. The look on the dealer's face cycled through shock, confusion, amusement, then slight acceptance. I doubt he'd ever experience a moment like that again... because he was most likely anti-semetic in some regard. I won't go there.
To the right of the dealer was the typical asian dude who took the game far too seriously. There's one at every table, and it always makes me feel more comfortable, because without the asian sitting at the table in glasses, a hat, hoodie, and huge headphones.... well, the universe ceases to function if there's not at least one. The universe functioned flawlessly for this guy, though, and he was up a little bit (probably because his math skills were on par with the rest of his stereotype, but I won't judge). Next to Kim Jong Il's illegitimate cousin was a loudmouth greaser, who obviously thought he was better than everybody else at the table. Douche. He entered pots only by bullying everybody else, and was up slightly. He was loud, vocal about the obvious "An Ace! An Ace flopped! Whoever has an Ace has top pair!". Douche.
Next to him was a quieter, more pleasant guy who enjoyed small talk. He was the fish at the table, no doubt. He was down significantly, and would buy right back in before going down again. Then there were a few others I don't remember specifically... but I was the youngest at the table (being 24), and I was alright with that.
So, a conversation is struck between the swede and the construction worker, with the rabbi chiming in periodically. They were talking about their jobs, and they were talking about the significance of July 4th to someone from europe (hint: none). The friendly fish across the table announces that this is his favorite holiday, considering his nephew is currently in the Army, and by default, he was more patriotic than the rest of us. I made an inquiry to the gentlemen as to what his nephew did for the Army.
"An engineer of some kind... he gets to blow stuff up!"
"well, on behalf of your nephew, happy 4th of july."
"thanks, son! Are you in the military?"
...I must say, his observational skills were on point. I hadn't shaved in a few days, and my hair is always pretty long... but I guess it was pretty obvious.
"yeah, I'm actually in the Marines."
I then sat for about two minutes as everyone in the table suddenly thanked me for my service (except for the swede... douche
"So, what do you do in the military?"
....now, at this point, I could have lied as I always do. I never really tell people my job, because that's the way I was brought up in my MOS. I've successfully claimed every MOS in the book, and it took me a few seconds of thinking it over before I thought "meh.... **** it."
"I'm an interrogator."
The table went silent, and all eyes were suddenly on me. I'm pretty sure the background music went silent, and the dealer paused his shuffle.
A brave soul... "really?"
I could see everyone at the table start mulling over the implications of an interrogator sitting at a poker table with them. The table bully just stared at me with what he assumed were piercing eyes, like he was trying to catch me bluffing. No luck for him.
the fish started the conversation up again.
"so, you.... like.... read people's body language and all that?"
"a lot goes into it, but yes, you could say that I do."
"can you read my tells?"
Now... with a question like that, I could take it a few ways. But, I was up in chips, and I was feeling pretty cocky. The fish was asking for help, or maybe he was genuinely interested, but it didn't matter. I was switching into badass mode.
"do you want me to say your tells aloud?"
"well, no... but I really want to know HIS tells." The fish pointed at the bully, which got a laugh from most of the players at the table.
"well, I think that would be pretty unfair of me to announce his tells to the entire table."
The bully chimed in. "No man, go ahead. Let's see what you've got."
I told him to wait about thirty seconds, as I folded my hand and looked at him. I wasn't really looking at him to discover his tells, I was just thinking how far I should go with it. I thought... meh, **** it. I'm going to **** with this guy.
"okay, if you're sure...."
"come on, hit me with your best shot."
...what an *******.
You massage your wrist when you miss the flop.
You throw chips when you're confident, you stack them neatly when you're not, and you shuffle them when you're chasing a flush or straight.
You attempt to steal way too many pots with top pair.
You slow play your good hands, but never anything else, so any time you checkraise, it's obvious you've got me beat.
You've got food behind you... when you chew politely, your hand is ****.
when you chew with an open mouth, or chew quickly, you're trying to get extra air into your body, because your adrenaline is causing your heart to pump faster, thus requiring more oxygen.
...and there's a few more, but I'd like to retain an advantage over the table, so I'll stop there."
The table went silent.
Slight chuckles came from the rabbi, who was a generally jolly fellow. Laughter started coming from the fish. The bully didn't say a mother****ing word, but got a pretty angry look on his face, which was starting to flush. I remained calm, and reminded him that he asked for it.
"yeah, i know... but... ****!"
the dealer asked him not to swear, as he dealt the next hand.
The bully checked his cards, then reached back to grab a french fry or something. He started bringing it to his lips, then stopped, looked around, and put it back on his plate. He then folded. More laughter.
The bully lost a few pots over the next half hour, then got up and left, with about the same number of chips he bought in for. The swede and the rabbi turned to me, and both said something to the effect that I scared him off.
I then told everyone that only the first tell was true... I made up the others on the spot, just to **** with him because he was so arrogant. Some of the tells then became true because he was concentrating on them so much. The whole table erupted in laughter, and the dealer, who was switching out for a new one... just laughed along with us.
The fish, who had continually lost money throughout the course of play, bought me a beer. I thanked him graciously, and told him to thank his nephew for his service. He agreed, and kept playing.
I ended up leaving the table about 15 minutes later, up about $40, because I was hungry and had to get to the buffet before it closed.
... moral of the story... don't **** with me.