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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Joan of Aces

Sometimes meeting strangers brings big dividends. I screwed up my courage and put my Flushie-Bigboy-pants on during this trip and met a couple of new people, and it worked out really well.

You probably read about Ginger, and how I got to surprise her after she started talking about the Strict Rules of Parlay.

As if that wasn't enough, I also met the fabulous Joan of Aces.

One way or another, Joan and I ended up at a blackjack table at the California Hotel and Casino, one of the ones on the sports book side of the house, facing the cage. Drink service was good that night, the table was full, and the dealer was quirky.

JoA and I bought in at a full table, and started playing, and talking. I was at second base, and Joan at shortstop. The rest of the table was made up of quintuplets - five identical 78 year old Hawaiian guys, thin, grey, quiet, wearing light blue short-sleeved shirts, three pounds of papers, pens and gear in their breast pocket, playing green chips very methodically.

Poolside Blackjack Dealer Golden Nugget
Photo unrelated to the content of this post. So sue me.
We hit it off incredibly well, (Joan and I, not the quintuplets and I - oh no...) and before long the entire table was annoyed with us. For them, it was like when you are sick and feverish in a hotel room, and trying to sleep, six other people in the room talk drunk shit at top volume, jiggling the bed, and laughing their heads off.

Joan of Aces (although I might just call her Joan of Pointies) was funnier than a trick knee at a skating rink. I tend to think very laterally (which makes this blog entertaining) but when I express those whimsical thoughts in person, people find it very hard to know if I'm being funny or if I'm the poster boy for every single page of the DSM-IV. Usually, I go easy on newcomers, and keep things on track.

But JoA kept up with every verbal twist and turn I took, every dodgy alleyway I wandered down, and every ridiculous pun I threw at her. Hell, she even knew when it was time to pull out my Gordie Howe hockey card, when she was stacking up the winnings, but I was getting my ass kicked. (Didn't help, so it quickly became 'Fuck YOU Gordie Howe! Back in the wallet!')

"You know," I said, "my sense of humor and train of thought tend to run off at a tangent, way off the highway, and deep into the corn field. But you stay right with me, and then when the dust hasn't even settled, you jump out and do a Chinese fire drill around me."

"That's my favorite kind of fire drill," deadpanned Joan of Aces.

Incidently, the break dealer was this bald guy named Yan or Guy or Funster or something and he was kind of the most prickish dealer I've ever had.

We were having such a good time - and isn't that the whole point? - and we'd bet every hand for an hour and a half - and poor Funster sometimes had to get my attention for me to get my bet out. I looked down after a particularly satisfying guffaw to find out that Funster had dealt me out. The fuck???

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the dealer's job is to get as many bets, as large as possible, out there on felt in the game of 21 that he possibly can. And, he should try to make sure that the customers have fun while donating their money to Mr. Boyd. But this guy had decided he should teach me a lesson.

"Funster, where are my cards? I wanted to play!" I said.

"You put a chip out, you get a card."

Double The Fuck????? Really?

This might have been the point where I muttered 'twat' more loudly than was needed. Might have been.

Regardless, we just kept it up, and the happier we got, the more pissed off Funster got. We started pulling all kinds of shit, standing chips up on their end, putting Gordie Howe out... like, when he handed me the plastic cut card to cut the deck with, I took it and held it in front of me, studied it, and then tucked it under my bet.

I've seen many pales, but what happened next was beyond any of those pales. Way beyond. Funster did something that I have never seen before.

The Hawaiian quintuplet to Joan of Aces' left (number five), put out a $5 bet for Funster and the crew. Sadly, the hand lost. So the bet for the dealer lost too. Funster snaffled up the chips and the cards, stowed everything away, and that was that. He didn't say a word.

I couldn't believe it. After about 30 seconds, I turned to Q5 and said rather loudly, "THANK YOU FOR THE BET, SIR."

Funster just screwed up his piss-face a little tighter, but didn't speak, and when he was relieved five minutes later, I shouted after him (okay, maybe slurred after him), "SEE YA LATER, MR. WARMTH!" which cracked up the entire table, including the dealer coming in.

All of this trashing of Funster is not the important part of the story. What is important, is that out of the blue I asked Joan of Aces "Have you ever done any writing? Do you have any interest in writing? Because you're funny as hell, and I can tell you're smart, because you wanted to meet me..."

It wasn't long before Joan had to take off and I was sad to hear she was out early the next morning. I really, really wanted to hear more, and especially, to collect on the free breakfast she'd dangled as a bribe sweetener for our initial meetup.

Joan had done well at the table, quietly amassing a triple stack of red chips and some greens too. Meanwhile Funster had beaten me down to about $40 of my $100 buy in. JoA and I said so long, and I got busy. I'll make it quick. It took an hour and a half, including half an hour circling around $95, but I finally got out of there with all my money. No way was Funster going to make a loser out of me.

Joan and I kept in touch, talked about things, and she never flinched. Yes, she was interested in writing. Yes, she'd done some and here were some samples (which were great). Yes, she wanted to blog about Vegas. Yes, she promised not to go into the Golden Nugget pool again with her replacement Official Royal Flusher Business Card 2.0 with the hologram edge tucked in her swimmies.

Since the trip, Joan of Aces has been writing, and I can tell you, by the three long hairs on Jimmy Poon's chinny-chin-chin, that you are going to love her voice, her sense of humor, her turn of phrase, and her unique take on Vegas.

And with that, I'm going to get the hell out of the way, because I've said almost all I've got to say about my Lost Weekend trip (save for a wrapup / airline bashing missive), and her first posts are coming right up, just around the corner.

And I can't wait!

Checking in, Joan of Aces!

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