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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oh, I'm fine

Things get so crazy here. I met a guy the other night who claimed to be the former bodyguard of the late Benny Binion, one-time Vegas casino owner and the man who hosted the World Series of Poker for years.

"I'm Otis," I said.

"Cowboy," the man said through a mouth that maybe didn't have any top teeth. He wore an Appalachian-style leather hillbilly hat and a give-away online poker shirt.

I don't believe many people around here. Unless I'd feel comfortable asking said person to hold a few grand for me, I don't believe a word they say. It's the safest way to survive here without getting conned, hustled, or robbed. So, when this guy told me he was the former bodyguard to one of Vegas' biggest legends, I didn't believe him. Oh, and if you think I'm going to end this story by offering some life-affirming denouement, don't get your hopes up. Affirmation in Las Vegas comes by way of getting out alive.

"People ask me how I can always make decisions so fast," Cowboy said, apropos of nothing. "I tell them it's because the last time I had to make decisions, people could've died."

A Vietnam vet. That's what he said he was. I could believe that part. He seemed about old enough. He was certainly the sterotypical vet persona.

"You haven't made decisions until you have four bullets shot in your ass."

I didn't have much a response to that. Hell, a couple nights later, my only decision was whether to eat two keno crayons for $400. I decided it was a good idea.

Cowboy shuffled off. He followed a group of 20-something nouveau rich poker players. He said he was going to teach them someting about deuce to seven lowball.

Ellix Powers is a real person. I know this because he's been on TV. He also happens to be, as I put it so eloquently to Pauly, "a freeloading dick." A one-time homeless person, Powers turned 15 minutes of poker celebrity (earned by being a complete dick in the first place) into a belief that he can pull the old "Don't you know who I am?" trick when trying to scam free food or other stuff. The other day I saw him screaming at one of the hostess models around here--literally screaming--when she asked him for a $1 charity donation in return for a bag of popcorn.

I really hadn't planned on bringing up these two guys, but they are the ones that stick in my head when the day is done. This is the type of place where integrity escapes into a sick vacuum and 30-something guys like me actually starting worrying about a generation of 20-somethings who apparently have no moral foundation at all.

Anyway, while I sat back absorbing all of this, I missed a couple of phone calls. One was from my friend, T.

"I never read your blog," he said. I could hear the wind whooshing by an I knew he must be on his way home from work. "I never read your blog."

It doesn't surprise me that T doesn't read the blog. Most of what he knows about me (which is just about everything, and then some things I probably don't even know about myself) comes from nights sitting in basement bars, driving around, or sitting on one of our decks pretending we're musicians.

The voicemail continued: "But I read your blog today. And I'm worried about you."

I realized that the few posts I've put up here since I life the confines of home have been rather dire. I realize they made me sound a little crazy. To be fair, there have been times I have been pretty sure I was a little on the nuts side. Since I took a few days off (when was that again?), I've been a little more sane.

Today, I took the afternoon off to play in my only WSOP event of the year. In short, it was short. I didn't play badly, but I didn't play like a superstar, either. I also didn't get lucky and said goodbye to my $1,500.

Now, I sit in my 14th floor room (don't try to find me--I'm staying under an assumed name) and the Vegas sun is breaking through the clouds, bouncing off the glass facade of the hotel, and hurting my eyes. The Wood Brothers (thanks, Pauly) plays on my little laptop speakers.

So, T, if you decide to read this before I get home, I'm fine. I'm a little different than the last time we sat down for beers, but I don't think I'm any worse. I've been on the edge a couple of times, but I'm doing well enough to make it home. And when I get there, I'm staying for a while.

That's the one good thing about going home. When I get there, I plan to believe everything everybody tells me. And even if they lie, at least I'll feel okay about believing in people again.

8 Comments:

Blogger Sparky said...

Hang it there. You can always click your heels together if things get too bad. Pauly & Wil can fill in.

Remember, we're all pullin' for ya'.

11:17 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

And don't worry, T... in 24 hours, I'll be there.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Anyone heard of this site? www.123rakeback.com Can you really make
$3000.00 per month in poker rakeback? I checked this site and it looks
good but does anyone have any more info? Waiting....William

10:03 AM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

Just don't let that wax go to your head!

Oh, stay away from arm wrestling prop bets from BB, I heard he works out.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Big Tom D. said...

man... YOU HAD Benny's BODYGUARD and lost him...

OMG

Even if it was a lie.. It had to be some really good writing.. plus - I have some friends that can find out if he's the real thing... with just smidge more info...


Ask pauly if hew will eat my underwear.. (3x) for $500 (nope - not clean.. but just after a Vega buffet and a walk from the Strat to the Luxor... maybe a city bus for a few blocks.. just for some spice!

4:35 PM  
Blogger G-Rob said...

Now I'm concerned.

If anyone knows the warning signs of totally BATSHIT CRAZY...it's "T".

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Anyone heard of this site? www.123rakeback.com Can you really make
$3000.00 per month in poker rakeback? I checked this site and it looks
good but does anyone have any more info? Waiting....William

12:57 AM  
Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

Dude,
I'm so jealous...you get to go home to Sweet-Sweet Mrs. Otis who is my secret blogger wife crush...heehee! You're a good man, Mr. Otis. Long Live The Rooster!! Weeeeee!!! Wooowooo!

1:47 PM  

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
All poker stories, travelogues, food writing, parenting and marriage advice, crime stories, and other writing should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also all protected under a Creative Commons license
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