A few weeks ago on a Sunday, which happened to be my Friday, I was playing $8-16 holdem. Came into a quiet room and signed up for an EO/Play. Started playing at 7 p.m. and by 11 p.m. had clocked out and was on my 2nd beer. The usual crowd stopped to say hello and a few sat down behind me as sweaters and just to visit. It was very relaxing and I was going into my weekend. Yippee!
Cruised into the Sport’s Book Bathroom and on my way back to the game, a player stopped me, asked if he could talk to me. He had to finish a short conversation with another player first.
I said, “Yes.”
As he finished his conversation, a million thoughts ran thru my head: What could he possibly want to say to me? What the hell is going on? Is this going to get ugly?
To understand my thought process, you would’ve had to have dealt to and listened to this player and all of the horror stories of other dealers over the last 10 years.
It’s not a pretty sight. He plays high limit 7 Card Stud and mercilessly watches you like a hawk to see if he can make you miserable. If you act hesitant at all, he’s there, poised and cold, slicing through you like the slicing and cataloguing of the Virtual Man.
His eyes are cold and unforgiving. His cards come in like lightning bolts ready to slice off your fingers and hands, they usually come in face up and face down at the speed of light…slipping into the mucked cards (if you get your hands out of the way in time), so you have to sort through all of the cards to get the deck back into face down order.
I’ve always made an effort to be sociable to all players…as in “Hello, how are you?” Nothing out of the ordinary, just cordially friendly. I gave up on him a long time ago. The last time I passed him between games and said hello, I dealt to him a few moments later. He lost a pot and threw his cards down the table as he snarled, “They look you in the eye and say hello and then get in the game and deal you off.”
After all these years, that was enough for me. I walked around him like he was a pit viper. If I passed him, I averted my gaze and never ventured into his space.
Well now I’m standing face to face with him in the Sport’s Book wondering what the hell he wants to talk to me about.
The other person walked away and he turned to me with a tortured look and said, “For whatever it’s worth, I’m really sorry. I’m just really sorry.”
My mouth must’ve fallen open, my eyes must’ve widened at least eight feet. I never thought that I would ever hear anything like this.
He continued, “You always used to speak to me, I’m just so sorry.”
I said, “I just got tired of getting my head bit off.”
He looked like he was going to have an emotional break down. He said again, “I’m so sorry.”
I took his hand and leaned over and gave him a small peck on the cheek. I said, “I want to say hello to you. Just don’t bite me, ok?”
He said, “Ok.”
With that I walked off and went back to my game. I marveled over that conversation for at least a week. The following night I passed him in the poker room, put my hand on his arm and said, “Thank you.”
He looked me right in the eye and said, “No, thank you.”
I haven’t seen him since. I don’t really expect the poker table situation to change much if I deal to him again but he gave me something that I never thought he could give. Matter of fact, I’d have bet a lot of money on the fact that he couldn’t/wouldn’t apologize to anyone for anything. Jimmy McHugh gave me a glimpse of someone that I’d never seen. It was way cool.