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ales of Team Carborundum
28th Aug 2001
Jesse May
Jesse May, multiple author in the gambling field and sometimes dubded the "voice of poker", writes a bi-weekly column.
Most people know Jesse as "the voice of poker" from his colourful commentary in CH4's late Night Poker. Jesse is also the author of the widely respected novel, Shut Up And Deal, which looks deep into the poker playing life. Its the hard faced 21st Century Cincinnati Kid.

Jesse is also the creator of The Gambler's Guide to the World, an insiders look at the action and games around the world.
Email : Jesse May
    Well, it happened again. I’ve been stiffed. People always ask me, “Have you ever been cheated?” Well, I’ve been cheated, hustled, robbed, gotten in the middle, lied to, bamboozled, double crossed, stiffed, and had my nose stuffed down in a pile of dung and laughed at. Repeatedly. And I’m not telling you this because I’m proud of it or to illustrate how stupid I am. I’m just saying it’s happened. And it will probably continue as long as I’m walking. The only good thing I can say about my experiences is, not yet by the same guy twice. At least not as far as I know. And I consider myself about as sharply paranoid as a guy could be. But welcome to the gambling world.

The culprit this time was that Russ Boyd character who ran the Internet card room, Poker Spot. Hey, I don’t forgive or forget. If any of you fellows meet him in an alley somewhere, punch him once in the nose on my behalf, please. But it does illustrate two principles about the world of gambling. One is that sometimes you have to invest a little money to find out what’s going on. The second is that, when fur goes flying, everybody is responsible for their own protection. In the gambling world, nobody else is taking care of you but you. It’s lonely out there, and you’re responsible for yourself.

With the advent of legalized card rooms, people seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be a road gambler. Because in Vegas and California you walk into the room and there’s always a hundred games going on, there’s bright lights and a sense of order and twelve hundred people playing a hundred and twenty 10-20 Hold’em games twenty four hours a day, and everything makes perfect sense and there’s a house there who says, I’m gonna protect you. There are sheriffs in town and they flash their bright yellow badges and you ante up and play. And people forget what it’s like to be a road gambler, a stranger in a strange place who’s looking to make some dough. But you still gotta know how to protect yourself. You still have to know how to watch the angles being shot, and see who’s got what gig, and that’s why these days, with all the new gambling options available, everybody has to have a little bit of the road gambler in them in order to survive. Everybody has to learn how to shoot the angles, and how to spot the angles being shot. Everybody has to learn that they are responsible for their own protection. Because that’s it. That’s one of the keys to the gambling world, the golden rule that has been adhered to and respected since the beginning of time, since Amarillo Slim teamed up with Sailor Roberts and took the show on the road with their bankroll under the front wheel of their car. You are responsible for taking care of yourself. And it’s nasty out there.

Now in the Poker Spot case I exercised bad judgement because the writing was on the wall. They failed once and then started back up again and said this time was gonna be different. And I played because I was pretty sure I could make some money. I thought, well I can beat these games. Sometimes it’s a fine line. And sometimes, while you’re waiting around to make sure a place is 100%, people are walking in with toothpicks and walking out with lumberyards, and then you do get in there and the money’s all gone.

The grand old man Johnny Moss used to tell a story about this poker game they were playing out in the middle of Texas in an old tin barn. And people were calling him up and saying, “Johnny! You oughta see these games. Why last weekend there was sixty thousand on the table!” But a dude had called Johnny up and said, “Moss, I wouldn’t go there if I were you,” and so Johnny stayed home. And then two weeks later people were calling him up and saying, “Johnny! You shoulda seen it! Last weekend there must of been two hundred thousand on the table!” And Johnny couldn’t stand it no more and so the next weekend he went down and played. And that weekend there was a stickup, and they all got robbed in the old tin barn.

When I was living in New York, Sideshow Bob took me to a private game down on the river’s edge, on the outskirts of Poughkeepsie. “Bunch a fools playing here,” he told me. “Easiest money we’ll ever make.” He was right. I bought in for two hundred dollars cash and got my chips and we played eight dollar high bet, and by five in the morning I had cleaned that table out of eighteen hundred, which is a lot of money at those stakes. It comes time to cash out my chips, so we go into the back room, and I give the man my two thousand dollars in chips and he hands me one hundred eighty four dollars in cash and a yellow piece of paper. I pointed to the yellow paper and said, “What’s this?” and the man says, “Well that’s a marker. You can come back and play for it anytime.” I gave that yellow piece of paper to Sideshow Bob in exchange for a pancake breakfast and a ride home. Sometimes you gotta invest a little money to see if there’s any to be made. They might make you look like a fool once, but I’ll be damned if I was going back there to be made a fool of again.

Next week, part two of Gotta Beware….
Editor's note
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