July 31st, 2006

Two credit card roulette stories

I'm on a heater! I'm unbeaten in five at credit card roulette. For the uninitiated (I was surprised to learn that there are actually quite a few poker players who don't know about credit card roulette), CCR is where when a group goes out to dinner, instead of simply splitting the bill, all dinner participants put up a credit card. The cards are then randomized and hidden and drawn until only one card remains. That remaining card pays the entire bill.

Tonight savemyskin (Chris) invited me out to a dinner that included hotcookie42 (Jodi), roswell_42 (Matt K.), Matt Maroon, Octo from RGP, Pat Poels (winner of the Stud/8 event this year) and at least two other guys also named Matt. I think of the eleven of us, only three of us don't play black-chip poker. We went to Olives, which is a casual-but-upscale $22-40 entree type of place at the Bellagio. The grand total was about $1100 tonight. Octo bought out. Chris tried to get away with only putting in one card, even though he was treating hotcookie42. I made him put the second one in, so eight of us were in for approximately a $1000 effective bill. Pat, demonstrating how well he's running for the series by winning a bracelet and having over 50000 in chips after day 1 of the main event, was the first card out. I got out about 4th. What was most amusing was that with three cards left, neither of which was Chris', even though he'd contributed two. Matt K., who had initially had hesitated about the game, as he was one of the people on the lower end of the bankroll distribution (but don't feel sorry for him; I'm sure he does fine), had the remaining card. So with three cards left, Chris' two and Matt's, they talked deal. Matt decided instead of paying 1/3 now he would go one more shot to try to get out of it. We drew the card and it was one of Chris'. Chris and Matt then settled the $1100 bill. Octo paid in chips, of which there was an odd one. They flipped for the odd chip, Matt called tails, Chris loses. Chris is clearly a terrible CCR player.

However last night's story is better. Last night the table was hgfalling, Matt H., Bill, Bill's girlfriend Patty, and myself. This one was particularly bad because we all ordered the Kobe steak recommendation from the waiter and none of us thought to ask how much it actually cost (turned out to be $15/oz). We also ordered champagne, and any time wine is involved I lose equity, since I don't drink it. We also all got a starter, side, and dessert. You can see how CCR has this tragedy of the commons/multiway prisoner's dilemma thing going on here, especially when it is known in advance it will be played. Anyway the bill comes and with tip it will end up over $1200. Jerrod buys out, only because he has a flight to catch and doesn't have time to settle up. So Bill covers Patty, and Matt and I go in as 2:1 favourites. Bill draws his first card out, then I draw out, so it's headsup between Bill and Matt. For those who don't know, Bill has won two bracelets while Matt finished in the money precisely once over close to 20 events. Matt also holds the distinction of the biggest bubble in the history of tournament poker; over $130000 in this year's HORSE. Needless to say, Bill's card is pulled, the finishing touch on a horrendous WSOP for Matt.

Matt, despite possessing the ability to make this money back in like 12 minutes of playing 300/600 on UB, is despondent at how poorly he has performed. We needle him mercilessly. Matt comments, "god, I should just bet $1000 on black [at roulette] to get even." I respond it would probably be better to play baccarat; Bill points out betting the Don't Come at craps would be better still. Matt talks himself into doing it, and in sympathy support Bill and I also pledge $1000 to bet along with him. I don't have any money on me so Matt spots it for me, with the plan being I will pay him back online if we lose. As we walk to the table, Bill comments, "this is probably how T.J. got started, you know." Just as Bill finishes the thought we get to the craps table, where the shooter is none other than said T.J. Cloutier!

I've never played craps before so I have to ask Bill and Matt what I have to do. I am kind of getting what's going on as Bill puts out his bet on the Don't Come. T.J. grumbles "bettin' fuckin' against me are you, Bill?" Bill hears this and in good-natured Bill Chen fashion he moves his bet to the Come. T.J. reassures him that he can bet whatever he wants, but Bill leaves his bet on Come[*]. Bill explains to me that we are hoping that an 8 is rolled before a 7. After a couple rolls of neither, Bill informs us that we can take "true odds" on the 8 now, so we do so. Matt's bet and my bet are placed in the appropriate location, and on the very next roll, T.J. throws ... a seven! We are all laughing as we collectively lose $3000 and walk away from the table after our 2.5 seconds of gambling. T.J. is visibly upset by our appearance on the scene, sincle we clearly changed the cosmic order of the dice.

So with Matt firmly entrenched in the worst even-money gambling night of his life, we head up to Bill's room at the Rio. I point out that I owe Matt $1000 so I can transfer it to him online using Bill's computer. He says, "do you just want to flip for it?" and being a sympathetic soul feeling sorry for the poor bastard, I accept his action. But I do so only on the stipulation that he has to call it in the air, so that when he loses it will be by his own hand. Bill flips the coin, it hits the carpet, we both scramble to the floor to see what it is and before I can can make it out Matt screams "nooooooooooooooo!" and I know that I have once again eaten dinner for free.


* With further thought, this must be a poor play. I mean, T.J. has lost more money at craps than possibly any human being alive. Obviously he's just a poor craps player and one should bet against him, not with him.