I was reeling from the funk of old tennis shoes and [OH MY GOD] recently, in my tiny car, driving the boy and his stinkmates home from a movie when my mind tried to alleviate my distress by playing old home movies in my head from back in the day. Particularly, of when I taught the boy poker.
I know what you’re saying: “Jesus, Garlington, first you become the designated porn hub of your street, then you let him drink beer, and now you’re teaching him how to gamble? We’re calling the cops!” But it’s not like I handed him a credit card and pointed him to Poker Sites U.S.A.
No, I just decided it was a healthy way to teach him math and cunning. What I didn’t realize is the sheer insane glee with which he gambles. It’s like he’s Richy Rich’s dark twin let loose in Vegas or plopped down in front of Online Casinos for USA Players with a bag of digital greenbacks (which is one of the Best US Poker Sites I’ve ever lost a hundred bucks on …)
I showed him the basics and we ran through a couple of games. He was mildly interested. Mostly because I’d shut down the cable feed. After I figured he had a grip on your basic five card game, I introduced him to betting and watched in horror as he morphed from a cute kid playing poker to a full grown man in a double breasted leopard print sharkskin suit throwing money at me, screaming HERE’S FIVE BUCKS, BUY YOURSELF SOMETHING NICE!
It took a couple of rounds before he really understood we were playing for real money.
Roon: Wait, you mean if I win this hand I get to keep the money?
Roon: And you won’t say anything? I mean, I don’t have to mow the lawn for this, right?
Three hands later, the kid’s rainmanned me out of ten bucks. I get a hand that makes my knees weak, a flush of such staggering rarity I kick myself for not being at the “fishcamp” poker cabin. I go all in.
Roon: What the hell is that?
Dad: I’m betting everything I have on my hand. You match my bet.
Roon: What if I can’t match it?
Dad: You have to bet everything you have.
He matches my bet and loses gracefully. I drag the pot over and deal another hand. He looks at his cards and on his bet he says “All in.” The next three hands he goes all in. Every hand after that, he goes all in. Every bet, every time, he’s all in. By the end of the afternoon, he’s smoking a cheroot and I’m drinking straight Rye whisky from the bottle.
You know those signs for casinos that have a tagline at the bottom in print so small amoebas go blind trying to read it, saying If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 800-blah-blah-blah? I called them.
Me: My son just took me for everything I had.
800: Has your son’s gambling affected his job or friendships?
Me: Well, I don’t like him anymore.
800: Has he asked you for money in the last 30 days?
Me: Every day.
800: Oh dear. And how old is your son?
Me: And a half. Here’s the thing, I can’t seem to explain to him that “all in” is a rare gambit.
800: We’re here to help gambling problems—
Me: It is a problem. How’s this kid gonna play two games in a row if he’s all in every hand.
800: Every hand?
Me: Every bet.
800: And …
Me: Cleaned me out.
800: I can’t believe it works.
Me: Wanna bet?