Poker Cats

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tunica -- Big Red

They're playing bingo and I'm winnin'.
-Seat 9, $4/8 hold'em at Horseshoe Tunica

TUNICA, Miss. -- "You're too strong for them; they can't take your raises," the dealer says to the very drunk mid-50-year-old woman who has become known at the table as Big Red.

"You're beating them up," I say from the four seat near her, motioning my boxing fists in a furious cat trying to stand up on back legs kind of way.

Big Red just laughs. She keeps getting drink after drink and her AF is through the roof. Jennifer Harman would be proud. You raise her? She'll four bet you on the turn with 83o.

"They don't know what I have," she says to the young man in seat 3 wearing the athletic jersey who she's been flirting with.

"She doesn't know what she's doing so it's hard to tell what hand she has," the older Asian guy to my left says.

All I know is they're calling my name for a $10/20 seat and I'm not going anywhere.

"Little? Would you call these little?" she says back to a new dealer. About an hour earlier, this older dealer who apparently knows her took to calling her "Big Red." True she was wearing a red shirt and lipstick.

"Little BLIND. Please post the little blind," he says, without any emotion in his voice. This guy is a pro.

I'd have to say that the Horseshoe is my favorite cardroom of the 67 poker rooms I've played in. I like it because the newness from last year has worn away, revealing it for what it is -- a place filled with a lot of energy and substance. It's not too crowded, as Sham says, and I totally feel at home.

Big Red joins the historic pantheon of Tunica poker personalities we've encountered, from Mark's Ms. Pat (who famously uttered the words that sounded a lot like "You look like dog" to Sham, only later to say "No. No. I say 'You look like doll'" to Sham himself building up $640 at a $4/8 table overnite to the jovial gambler Mr. Kid.

In Las Vegas, I like playing at the Bellagio because of it's prominence as one of the most beautiful casinos in the world and because it has the Yankee Stadium of poker rooms -- if you're at the top, there's no way you can't play here. It's one of the few Las Vegas poker rooms that matches the bottom all the way to the top action of L.A. rooms such as Commerce and the Bike.

The MGM is a sleek and comfortable room, but it's way too loud. I love playing at the Excalibur becuase it's a treasure trove of money (I've made the most money there in Las Vegas, followed by the Bellagio). The Wynn is a very comfortable and stylish place to play -- backless dresses should have been the style for cocktail waitresses long ago. But it's a crowded place to play.

There have been a lot of changes since last September when I drove to Tunica by myself. The tables at the Gold Strike's room now have luxurious ruby red felt. Sam's Town is now a non-smoking room and they've added about ten more tables.

Back at the Horseshoe, our current dealer jokes that Big Red isn't concerned with money. She gives him a look, but it seems to be true. Chip by chip, either by over-aggressizing a pot or calling people down with possibly the 10th worst hand at the table, she $200 stack of chips and cash become a few stacks and $20s and then her last twenty.

I've stayed longer than I would have because drunk or not, if I peg you as someone who is a chip bleeder, I'll stick around for a little while.

Big Red's last chips go into the pot. She looks off, her gaze far from the poker table as she gets up, disappearing into the casino in the manner of thousands of equally unfortunate players before her as the dealer pushes another player the pot.


  • I miss Tunica. I'm really glad to hear that Sam's Town is now non-smoking. I'm sure Mayor Sham had had enough of that.

    By Blogger Mark, at 1:53 PM  

  • Ah, but the constituents of Sham's Town is still demanding money from their mayor!

    By Blogger kurokitty, at 2:36 PM  

  • Well, now i'm truly back to the poker arena. I wasnt back, couldn't be back, 'till i hear (read) a Tunica Story, from the ol' cat

    By Blogger Victor_Enriq, at 10:23 PM  

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