Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Back in the Day - Part 2
To continue along the Casino road of my life. Random Fact #2
I was once married to a professional gambler. Yep, Dud #2, aka Cowboy, was a professional card player. He had made his living that way for years before I met him. I had sat at the card tables with him many times. He was a good player. He knew odds & percentages. He knew the angles, he calculated his moves. He didn't take risks. He was a solid player. Or so it seemed
Let me say, however, that he had a glitch or two when we were in Mesquite. He went to Vegas one day to play & proceeded to come home without the Christmas fund. I could have killed him. My son had Christmas though. I saw to that.
Then...The day we moved to Las Vegas, one of his friends/fellow card players from WA won the World Series of Poker. While Cowboy was happy for his friend he was also very jealous. Kept saying "I'm a better player, I could win that." Now, here we were in Vegas - again I was looking for a job & told many times I was not the "Vegas Type", translated to mean no silicone. Well, DUH!!! Now, Cowboy was on a mission to prove to everyone he was a better card player than a guy who just won the World Series of Poker. CRAP!! As if I didn't have enough going on in my life. Now he was going to go back to playing cards for a living as he had done for several years before I met him. CRAP!!! Just when I had, or so I thought, convinced him that a full-time job was really what he should be doing. His idea of a full-time job was to go to work in a poker room as a shill. CRAP!!! He still had to gamble with his own money to keep the game going. My idea of a full-time job was dealing blackjack which he had done in Reno years before, tending bar which he could do, working in a hotel or a store. Selling cars, he had done that years before too. But, he would have none of my ideas so back to the card rooms he went. He would have good days. In fact, he had a real run of good luck for quite sometime. Then he would have to pawn his diamond rings to get another buyin to a game. Those rings were in & out of the pawn shop quite a few times over the next few years. I found a job. he played cards. When he was winning he was a joy to be around, but when he lost I would have just as soon moved to Alaska & stayed there til his luck returned. I was told so many times I was bad luck because he did not feel that I was supportive enough of his career. CAREER!!!!???? What career??? I was working to support 3 people & keep the bills paid. His money went to the card rooms. Never really knew how much he won/lost.
During the last year we lived in Vegas he got on a very bad losing streak. He had lost before but never that badly. He was all stressed out, had gained 70-80 lbs and was mad, really mad, all the time. He had been abusive to me over the years (it starts gradually & then escalates. That's how you get sucked into the pattern) but now he was downright mean. Verbally, physically, emotionally. I realized, and my friends started to comment, that I was very very afraid of him. He was an ex-boxer & much bigger/stronger than me. I called Gamblers Anonymous for advice. He stopped gambling all together but then he just sat around the house all day moping & harassing me at work or he would come to the bar & sit there all day watching me. My life was deteriorating around me rapidly. He finally, in a moment of weakness, admitted that he had been winning on the tables all along. But as he would leave to come home there was this one particular poker machine that just called his name, then proceeded to eat his lunch. He just knew he could beat that machine, it became personal. So the winnings all got pissed away to a mechnical opponent. At this point, I filed for divorce. When that happened he called a childhood friend in OR & flew there to try to get his head back on straight. As abused women will do, I panicked. How would I survive all alone, just me & the kid, in Vegas?? Looking back I would have done quite well. After all I was making really good money & living well especially since I no longer had a gambler dragging me down. Friends offered to babysit for me, I was the manager at the bar by now so I rearranged the schedule so I no longer worked nights. Then he called. I had a major panic attack, quit my job, packed up myself & the kid & hit the road to OR. Drove straight through from Vegas to Portland stopping only for gas & drive thrus.
And, that dear readers is how I got to Oregon.