Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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Greetings, railbirds, my name is Ken Goldstein, and during the few hours a week when I’m not down in Atlantic City trying to convince the staff of the Trop to start up a $1/$2 Omaha Hi/Lo game, I’m the founder and sole proprietor of The Illuminated Donkey.

Anyway, CJ was nice enough to invite me to contribute to slothoki , and I’m pretty darned excited about it. Here’s a little something I wrote for Poker Pages, and coming up in a few seconds will be a review of one of the big recent poker books that we’ve been fortunate to see.

ivered Again

I’ve added a new site to the “Better Hole Cards.” Randy clued me in to Rivered Again. It’s a collection of the best of the best (worst of the worst?) bad beats. I’m sure I’ll eventually have one or two to add to the list.

Otis’ Aruban Adventure

One of two Americans at the table had just hit his 15 against the dealer’s four. The crazy, half-inebriated Russians at the table eyed him like he was an incapacitated Stalin. The dealer dropped a five giving the stupid American a 20. Stupid American looked happy. Otis, the other American, groaned through a Russian woman’s skinny cigarette smoke.

Otis–that’s me–hates when ignorant players are rewarded with luck. The Russians felt much the same way when the dealer eventually dealt himself a 19, beating everyone at the table but stupid American.

Dateline–Aruba, The Excelsior Casino.

It was the smallest casino I had ever been in. A few blackjack tables. A three-card poker table. A poker room with limits too high for my bankroll. And a Let It Ride table where every five minutes a man would get up, dance around, and scream something in a foreign language, while pointing toward my blackjack dealer.

I was up about 30 dollars and trying not to think about the dealer reshuffling the five-deck shoe every time 52 cards had been dealt out. The Russian woman two to my right was drinking straight vodka, smoking long, thin cigarettes, and wearing a revealing open-chested shirt. Her double-down luck had been failing her, but the aura off her chest seemed to be helping me.

It was about the time the guy at the Let it Ride table screamed for the fifth time that the dealer began dealing himself three sevens on a fairly regualr basis. I started to lose quickly. It got worse when the Russian woman left. I stood up with my free Balashi beer and wondered where I was.

I had booked the Aruba trip as a vacation with dual purpose. It gave my wife the enjoyment of the beach. It offered me a poker room. Weeks of research offered me conflicting reports. Otis of the Small Bankroll couldn’t play poker at anything more than a $5/$10 table. It was an embarassing fact. With a wife, a mortgage, and no Russian woman to buttress my luck, playing the $15/$30 game was beyond my range. I became a sad-faced railbird.

And so Otis’ Aruban Adventure became a practice in bankroll maintenance. I knew that in three weeks I’d be sitting in a Vegas poker room with four days to play. I knew that there I could play a game within my limited means.

Over the course of the next three nights, each trip from the beach bar to the indoor restroom would involved a quick walk-through of the casino. I willed myself to not even stop along the poker room rail. But each time I did. I’d watch a few hands, watch the loose players call with nothing, and wish I was sitting there paying for my vacation.

Now I’m in the market for a well-endowed Russian to accompany me to Vegas in two weeks. Please forward all inquiries to the moderator. Better yet, send them by Mt. Willis for an interview.

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