Hachem’s Hundred sanghoki

It was early April in Monte Carlo, Monaco. A sanghoki sport jacket was enough to shield me from the still chill in the air, and anything that Devilfish might have had on his hands as he threw his arm around me in a mutal drunkard’s “I love you, man” salute. I was in a club with half-naked women and drunk poker players. It was some sort of launch party for some sort of poker skin supported by some sort of British players. The drinks weren’t free, because anything being free–or even affordable–in Monte Carlo is against the principality’s laws.

At some point, I saw a friend order four bottles of booze from the bar at a price that I dare not reveal. She’d put it on her own credit card and was hoping to recoup it later. I was moochinig, in part because I couldn’t afford to catch a nice buzz on my own, and, in part, because everybody else was doing it.

I was running with an affable British guy named Ed. He was a world traveler turned poker guy turned security specialist. We’d done the Bahamas together and caused enough trouble in one week for an entire year. However, by April, we were feeling like a little more trouble would be okay.

Which is how we ended up in the basement bathroom of a Monte Carlo club with Joe Hachem and a bunch of other poker pros.

Me, I just had to take a leak. The poker guys, however, had other things in mind. They were engaged in a version of Liar’s Poker that I’d never seen. All I know is that there were wads upon wads of American dollars and even more stacks of Euros. As we were leaving, Hachem turned to my buddy and asked him to draw a single hundred dollar bill from a stack big enough to fund my trouble-making for the rest of the year. Ed obliged and plucked a Franklin from the wad.

Hachem took one look at the serial number and said, “We’re going to win.”

A few shouts and taunts later, three guys were handing Hachem a bunch of Euros. Hard way to make an easy living, indeed.

A few nights later, Ed and I were closing down the wrap party when he turned to me and said, “What am I going to do with a $100 bill.” He was headed back to England and would’ve been forced to exchange it for his own currency.

I got a deal: It cost me fifty euros for a hundred bucks and a conversation piece at my next underground game.

***

The hundred dollar bill was one of the old ones, the kind when Ben Franklin’s head hadn’t swollen, and the design looked like the hundreds Dad used to carry around.

My rational mind doesn’t accept good luck charms, but I have been known to assign some supernatural value to card cappers, poker chips, and even pieces of yarn. Yet, for some reason I thought holding on to Hachem’s hundred would be a good idea.

I keep my money rolled around my driver’s license and credit cards. A rubber band holds it all together (a PokerStars money band long given away after I got three-outered while carrying it). For the past three months, I carried Hachem’s hundred in my pocket pressed up against my American Express card. Every once in a while I would show it to a friend and say, “You know who this used to belong to?”

Pretty stupid, I guess. I didn’t win the money from Joe. He didn’t even give it to me. It didn’t come out of his $7.5 million win, as far as I know, so why I would hold onto it, I don’t know. All I know is that that I said more times than I can count, “If I ever get down to the Hachem Hundred, that means I’m in trouble.”

***

The World Series had so far treated me with such indifference that I felt like…well, I felt like the ex-boyfriend of a girl who has just become a Hollywood starlet. Yeah, I used to have sex with her, but you wouldn’t know it now. She just doesn’t care and all I have are late night memories to keep me company. And now she’s screwing everybody. Everybody else, anyway.

Still, I survived the first three weeks without too much carnage. That all changed this week when a guy from the Seniors event three-outered me all-in with one card to come. Then I got it in good three ways in a cash game and both of my opponents caught. I wasn’t down to the Hachem’s Hundred, but, it was getting closer than I would’ve liked. Worse, I actually started blaming the Hachem Hundred for my stagnant-break-even cum loser poker play.

And, oh yes, and, I started to hate the Rio again. I realized I hadn’t been more than a hundred yards outside the Rio in eleven days. I hated everybody inside it. Including myself.

I was chugging a bottle of Gatorade when the idea hit me. I would get rid of the Hachem Hundred. And I would get rid of it somewhere else.

There was a full moon when I walked outside and hailed a cab.

“Caesars,” I said.

***

This field trip was a stupid idea, I thought as I sat in traffic on Flamingo. There was a girl hanging out of the passenger side window of a car behind me and screaming loud enough I could hear everything she said. My window was rolled up.

Who ventures out on Amateur Night? The traffic sucks, the tourists are at their worst, and every square inch of floor space in the casinos is full.

I am a masochist, I decided. It’s the only explanation.

It took 20 minutes from door to door (I almost could’ve walked it in the same amount of time). Once out of the cab, I was certain I should turn around and go back. And I almost did, but the cab line to leave was about fifty people deep.

Every night at 11pm, Caesars runs a crapshoot $120 tournament. After less than stellar cash game results in the past couple weeks, I decided the best way to start the evening was with a little tournament action. This, I decided, would be where Hachem’s Hundred left my roll.

The guy at the registration window looked at me funny as I unwrapped my bills and dug to the very bottom and pulled out the last hundred in the roll.

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