Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Aussie Millions

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
It's taken me 3 weeks, but I've raised the $11 entry fee for tomorrow night's Mookie. I had to compromise my high moral standards and call in a few favors, but with so much on the line I didn't have a choice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I finish 17th in the Mookie after Mike_Maloney's queens crack my aces, crippling both my stack and my chances of qualifying for the Tournament of Champions. I am crestfallen.

Thursday, November 15, 2007
Not wishing to face the harsh reality of missing out on the Aussie Millions, I try hanging myself, but crash to the ground prematurely when some loose scaffolding gives way. I escape with a bruised wrist and lacerations to the neck and groin.

Friday, November 16, 2007
St. Luke's Shelter presents me with a $750 bill for damage to their infrastructure, which I promptly readdress and send to Mike_Maloney.

As there is no chance of me raising another $11 entry fee, I have to qualify via "Write Your Way to Australia".

Saturday, November 17, 2007
I awake truly inspired having dreamt of a fascinating story that will surely be a winner. I scramble around looking for a pen and some paper, but come up empty handed. By the time I find a writing pad, the dream has evanesced and is but a vague and foggy memory.

Saturday, November 24, 2007
A week passes and I have made little progress. If there ever was a time not to come down with a severe case of writer's block, this was it.

Monday, November 26, 2007
I desperately need some inspiration. The thought of watching a rerun of Crocodile Dundee crosses my mind, but I settle on calling the Australian Consulate in Los Angeles. I inquire about golfing conditions in Melbourne around January. They are not amused.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Today I finally give up on writing my way to Australia. Like any good poker player, however, I have a contingency plan.

Thursday, November 29, 2007
I am first in line when the public library opens its doors. I race over to the librarian and reserve my 30 minutes of internet access. After about 10 minutes of frantic googling, I find 3 ocean cruises leaving the West Coast in December and arriving in Melbourne before January 14th, 2008.

Friday, November 30, 2007
I call the cruise line companies, asking if they have any vacancies for crew members. "What can you do?" they ask. I tell them I can play poker and wash dishes. The first 2 companies hang up on me, but luckily the last one exhibits some interest. I make an appointment for next Tuesday at their LA office.

Monday, December 3, 2007
I trudge along the I15 trying to hitch a ride to LA. After about 20 minutes I am picked up by a Metro police cruiser and escorted out of the city boundaries. They warn me not to return but I still thank them profusely. A passing truckie takes pity on me and it is not long before we are stuck in gridlocked LA traffic. Four hours later I check in at St. Joseph's shelter where I spend the night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I arrive at the cruise line office and impress the interviewer with my technical knowledge. There just remains the formality of a practical exam which I breeze through, washing 100 greasy plates in 7 minutes.

"We have a ship leaving tomorrow, sailing through Fiji and a couple of other islands, arriving in Melbourne on January 11th. Can you start?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I am on board the Mariposa, sharing a small cabin with 15 other galley hands. Gus Hansen, watch out!

Thursday, December 6, 2007
Sea sickness takes its toll on me. On more than one occasion I have to be physically restrained from jumping overboard.

Monday, December 10, 2007
I finally start to settle into ship life. We work a 12-hour shift and then are free. I violate company policy and sneak into the casino. I play $1-$2 NLHE against the wealthy passengers and make $445 in 4 hours.

Sunday, December 16, 2007
We dock in Fiji for a 3 day stay. I finally have some money to my name and rush out to buy a pair of sunglasses and a deck of cards. I spend the afternoon sipping coffee and writing a postcard to Mike_Maloney.

Monday, December 31, 2007
I spend New Year's Eve playing $1-$2. My bankroll is now $1,430. The plan is to satellite into the Main Event and I'll need more than 1 shot. As the clock strikes midnight, I breathe a sigh of relief that we haven't hit an iceberg yet, temperate waters notwithstanding, nor encountered a rogue wave.

January 11, 2008
Port Phillip Bay at last. We dock in Melbourne and my time spent playing poker has paid dividends when I am invited to be a guest of a wealthy Florida couple who are staying at a luxury suite in the Crown Casino.

I take a shower and gaze out at the breathtaking Melbourne skyline - the Yarra River, the office buildings, the lush verdant parks, and the trams making their way down St. Kilda Road. At the behest of my hosts, Marvin and Barbara, we go down to the hotel shopping arcade in an urgent bid to purchase some minimal and acceptable clothing for myself. I end up spending most of my $1,825 bankroll on clothing and shoes, but not before Marvin promises to stake me in the Main Event.

January 12, 2008
We visit the Botanical Gardens. As I reach out to hand feed a passing swan, my $300 Italian shoes slip and I fall into the lake. It's a hot 93 degrees outside so I dry off fairly quickly. Back in the room, I once again admire the view as I await Crown's 1-hour laundry service.

January 13, 2008
The Full Tilt contingent arrives and I bump into Howard Lederer. I apologize. There is excitement in the air, with press and photographers all over the place. I watch the satellite events, content in the knowledge that I have already secured my precious entry.

I have no idea who won the blogger's Tournament of Champions as I was on the Mariposa at the time. Upon inquiring, I am told that it was Mike_Maloney who naturally is part of the Full Tilt entourage.

January 14, 2008
I am nervous as I stand in line to register for the tournament. Marvin is nearby to reassure me and keep a close eye on the $10,000 cash I clutch in my sweaty palms.

I am seated at table 27, seat 5. Eric Seidel is in seat 7. I don't recognize any of the other players. The gentleman in Seat 4 turns to me with extended hand and exclaims "Mike Maloney, pleased to meet you!" Completely surprised, I break wind. After collecting myself, I deem it prudent not to reveal my identity.

A loud "Shuffle up and deal" resounds through the tournament hall as a record 858 entrants await the opening hand. I am dealt 5c5d and limp in early position. All fold to the button who calls, as do the blinds. The flop comes

5s 4s Td

The pot is now $200, the blinds check so I lead out with a $150 bet. Everyone folds except the button, a local lad from Nunawading, who calls. The turn is


Quads!!! I shoot a pained glance at Nunawading and ask if he's made his boat. It's a wasted effort as he can't hear me, with his earphones blasting out a techno digitalized version of Waltzing Matilda. I hollywood around for another minute and then check. He checks. The river is


Hopefully the bastard's hit his flush. I can bet now so I make it $300. He raises it to $1,000. I am about to reraise him when pictures of the first hand of the 2005 WSOP between Sammy Farha and Oliver Hudson flash through my mind. What are the chances that he has 7s6s? I reraise to $3,000 and he goes all-in. I put him on pocket tens and call. He flips over 7s6s. Before the pain can sink in, TV cameras and photographers make a beeline for table 27, accompanied by shouts of "First one out! First one out!" I sit there stunned, numb and motionless, staring at the ugly board as the cameras whirl and flash.

January 27, 2008
I move to Florida, having accepted Marvin's generous offer of employment as a live-in butler, and am no longer homeless.

Mike_Maloney went on to win the Aussie Millions after an epic heads-up battle with Phil Ivey. He paid off St. Luke's and we are good friends.


Mr Subliminal said...

This is my entry to "Write Your Way to Australia". While it may sound fictional, I can assure my readers that the events depicted are based on a true story.

MattQ said...

Hilariously good story!

SirFWALGMan said...

That beam must have been amazingly faulty for your skinny butt to break it.. lol.. Nice meeting you in Vegas.. now I can tell all my friends I personally know a homeless man.. gl to you.