September 09, 2010
When at a poker table with strangers—which is common even in my local casino—I tend to assign nicknames to the more memorable folks. It rarely has any real connection to their playing ability, but is more a way of labeling folks who stand out from the usual riff-raff at the tables. A lot of times, the nicknames are pretty obvious, based on things like their resemblance to an actor (e.g., Doogie Howser/NPH, Steven Seagal, Richard Simmons), their professed or implied profession (e.g., Sheriff, Professor, Pimp), or their favorite sports team/athlete (e.g., Tex, Colt, Gator, Jeter). Occasionally, I will needle a friendly player with his/her nickname, but mostly I keep the nicknames to myself or share them with friends in relating hand histories or a trip report.
Flamingo: A tall stork-like kid wearing a bright pink shirt while playing poker at ... Bally's. When he got a call from friends to line up the night's clubbing activities, I made a dry crack asking, "Aren't they expecting you back at the Flamingo for the night shift?" He gave me a confused look and said, "Oh no, I'm not from here, I'm from Florida." Of course, I was the only one who saw the humor in his reponse, but at least I got a chuckle out of it.
Montana: Short guy who looked all of 16 years old who I played poker with at TI. He managed to win a ton of money at roulette from Steve Wynn on Encore's opening night, then gave it all back, "instead of getting a couple of hookers and some Cristal like I should've done." His nickname is because he was from Montana, which seemed so incongruous with his party boy attitude that it has stuck with me.
Cowboy: Guy I've played with a few times at Planet Hollywood, always has a big cowboy hat, western style shirt, big ol' shiny belt buckle, and polished cowboy boots. If this guy has ever actually branded cattle in his life, I'll eat his hat. Horrendous bluffer, btw.
Sherminator: This nickname isn't even mine, instead being bestowed on one unfortunate young donkey by Santa Claus and Lucky during IMOP-II. This poor kid truly thought he was a poker pro, snidely stating, "I play the player, not the cards." Santa and I tilted Shermy during a late night session at the Venetian, when we managed to trap Shermy's Kings with Santa's Queens and my Aces, everyone all-in preflop for a monsterpotten. Sure enough, short-stacked Santa stole the main pot with a river Queen, while I managed a nice profit with the sidepot. While Shermy was debating the preflop call, Santa even threw in a gratuitous, "I play the player, not the cards." I'm wondering if the Sherminator ever played poker again.
Dragon Lady: This is an older Chinese woman who plays a lot at the Venetian. Long red talons ... errr fingernails, and an angry, combative personality make her rather memorable. I'm fairly certain she hates every dealer and every player involved in any hand she loses. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those dealers or players wound up dead. Seems like an obvious villain for the next James Bond flick.
Fish Sticks: An older nit who would be otherwise utterly forgettable, except on three occasions at three different Vegas Strip poker rooms, I've seen him open up his backpack and pull out a baggie filled with his lunch/dinner. You guessed it—good ol' frozen fish sticks.
Garanimals: This is a new one from my recent visit to the Riverside Poker Emporium & Donk-A-Rama. There was a younger guy, clean cut, most likely a student at the nearby University of Iowa. He was a terrible player, chronically grinding a short stack at the 2/5 NLHE game, routinely limp-calling preflop for $20-$30, then check-folding the flop, despite having invested over 20% of his stack. Just a very curious playing style, though I didn't find many hands where I could try to exploit his weak-tight style. In any event, he was wearing an orange polo style shirt with a green crocodile on the front. I immediately nicknamed him "Garanimals". Apparently, I should be placed on gay probation, as I had no idea what brand was represented by the croc logo. But, my sig other gave me a huge eye roll and derisively advised me the brand was Lacoste. Who knew? This poor guy will forever be known to me as "Garanimals".