I don't wear headphones at the tables. Never have. To me, table talk is part of what makes poker interesting. While some tables offer little more than the constant noise of shuffling chips, others resemble a "home game" atmosphere with talk of poker, sports and any other number of topics. And, of course, someone always has a story . . . Often times, when you are grinding out a six or seven hour session, the table talk is part of the fun. Hell, some days, its the only fun.
I was playing a session last Saturday at Del Park. Although it was early afternoon, and the drinks were yet to really start flowing, the table was full of conversation. It was dominated, mostly, by a young (26-ish) kid from Baltimore. He talked. And talked. And talked some more. Ultimately, he set himself up for one of the most classic lines I've heard at the tables to date.
Balt: "I've been here since 4:00 yesterday afternoon . . . almost 24 hours . . ."
Balt: "I play poker for a living . . ."
Balt: "I've mostly been playing poker; but I've played some black jack too. And some craps."
Balt: "OK. I'll show one hand -- just this ONCE - so you know I'm not stealing . . ."
Balt: "Just learned craps this morning.... It's confusing at first, but I think there are some good strategies."
Balt: "I do OK at black jack, but I make most of my money at poker."
Balt "I don't have another job . . . THIS is my job . . ."
Balt: "OK, I'll show this ONE time . . ."
You get the gist. Eventually, Balt starts chatting the dealer up, largely due to the fact that the other nine of us at the table were tuning him out. Balt starts asking the dealer about the requirements and qualifications for dealing. The subject of the background check comes up.
Balt: "Can you have a criminal record?"
Dealer: "Depends. What do you have?"
Balt: "Two felonies . . . Grand theft both times"
Dealer: "Yeah. Not good."
Balt: "Once was corporate. Charges would have been higher but it was insured . . ."
Balt: " . . . OK . . . I'm gonna show you just this once . . ."
Balt: "That was a different lifetime, though . . ."
Balt: " . . . this is my job now . . ."
A little while later, Balt gets involved in a big hand with the gentlemen to his right. I'll call him "Hero." A bet and a raise peflop . . . a flop bet and a call. A check, check on the turn . . . a river bet and Balt re-raises . . . Hero tanks . . . A minute goes by. Two minutes. Balt starts talking about his hand:
Balt: "You're beat. You should definitely lay this down . . ."
Balt: "I have a very big hand . . ."
Finally, Balt offers, "Trust me, if you fold, I'll show you my hand . . ." To which Hero responds, with all the timing of a seasoned comedic pro: "Trust you? You're a damn two time felon !!!
Every once in a while, someone at the table spits out a gem . . . This was definitely one of those times . . .