I don’t want to bore you with poker stories, but this one last night was a bit significant for me. I went to play a tournament yesterday. My husband dropped me off to play while he had two appointments. I hadn’t played in a while and as we were driving down (remember that Caddy I had for sale? Still sitting in my garage, can’t seem to let go yet), I said to my husband that I was nervous to play today. He turned to me with a look of shock on his handsome face. “You are nervous? I can’t remember the last time I heard you say that before playing poker.” But between all of our traveling the last month and the fact that I am not driving the freeways anymore, it makes for a lot less time at the poker table. “And to keep sharp, you gotta do the time” (Said with some odd accent from an old black and white foreign film). So I am a bit rusty.
I enter the tournament, but I can’t seem to connect. I don’t know if I’ve told you, but poker is my yoga! It is how I relax, and it is my escape from Parkinson’s. I can sit at a table for hours and not feel any symptoms. I can escape the beast I call Parkinson’s… at least for awhile. But some days it doesn’t work, and today I am knocked out of the tournament. So I decide to play cash. I hate leaving my money at a casino, so I go to try and get some of it back. I walk through the main poker room to the smaller room behind the curtain.
Let me paint the picture a bit more for you. I am now in the higher stakes room – 3 tables of $5/5 no limit Holdem. MY game. And in the back there is a table of 100/200 pot limit Omaha. (A table which you will never find me at! I hate Omaha, and besides that’s nosebleed stakes!)
There is a saying in poker that goes something like…now don’t quote me… When you sit down at the table, look around and see if you can find the donkey at the table. If you can’t, then the donkey might be you.
Well I sat down at a table last night and looked around the table. I knew I wasn’t the donkey, but neither were any of these guys! So I found myself in a bit of a hornets’ nest. But I’m okay with that. They are just kinda like big bees, only not like that one on the Honey Nut Cheerios commercial. I sit down and they start buzzing. Clearly they think I’m the Donkey at the table.
Let’s step back for a moment so I can set the stage. My Parkinson’s has been progressing, and I have been on medication for many years to treat the tremors and other symptoms that the beast has laid on me. But the catch 22 about taking Levadopa for a long time is that it can give you dyskinesia.
Ok let’s look it up because I am not going to try to explain that one in my own words. “Dyskinesia refers to a category of movement disorders that are characterized by involuntary muscle movements, including movements similar to tics or chorea and diminished voluntary movements.”
So basically… the medicine I take to stop the shakes and tremors gives me other movements like tics or some odd unbalanced dance. Wow there’s a picture!
But the fact of the matter is, I am seated in the hive doing pretty well, I must say. But then I suddenly become aware of a growing hum. I am in a hand and suddenly the other guy is calling the floorman, complaining that I had already checked. Then some of the players all started saying I moved too much, and a whole lot more waa waa waa’s (Did you ever hear the joke: “what’s the difference between a poker player and a dog? The dog will eventually stop whining”). So I told the floor man – “fine, I will take away my bet.” So then Mr. Whiner makes a big raise and I muck my cards.
OK… sometimes I do move a lot. I once had a guy tell me I was making him sea sick. Well let me tell you…sometimes I make myself sea sick, and I have to live with myself.
Oh well, back to my story, I then did something I never do because I like to keep my P D out of things, but I am pissed. I called over the floor man and told him “I have Parkinson’s and I am going to make strange moves while I am playing.” I don’t want these guys to call the floorman every time I make a raise they don’t like. The floorman seemed understanding, and then gave a quick education to the members of my table.
A few hands later I look down at my cards. Pocket Jacks! I raise. I get 4 callers. The flop comes…Jack, 8, 4. “Meep Meep”… I have just become the Roadrunner, so which one is Wile E. Coyote? Because I have got a monster hand (or in cartoon lingo – a 300 pound anvil). I check, the next two players fold, but here it comes – seat nine (Mr Whiner), bets. Bingo. There is Wile E. Coyote, and I call. The turn comes 8. OK… my 300 pound anvil just turned into 500 pounds, because I now have a full house. I check again. If he’s really Wile E. Coyote, he will bet. And he does. I hesitate, or as in cartoon lingo, that means I jump up, tap my big roadrunner feet together, and a little cloud appears near my head saying “I’m all in.” I push in my chips. The cartoon clouds open up, and a faint sound of something falling gets louder and louder. W.E.Coyote calls…. I turn over my cards….cue the 500 pound anvil, it lands on Mr. Whiner, and in my head I hear that familiar sound “meep meep.” My legs turn into a spinning circle and I turn into a cloud of dust. When the dust settles it is just little ole me sitting there raking in a huge pile of chips. Started with $200…left with $1000.
Gonna have to get me a t-shirt with Roadrunner on it.