I first came to Oregon in 1974 and by 1977, I was chosen for the job of being the first center dealer in a poker game, run under the new social gaming rules. This was at the Barge Inn on Newport's scenic bay-front. My boss, Jim Williamson, found me over in Toledo at the Timbers, a local tavern with poker and black jack. I was slingin' the cards at the poker game they had and he liked my style. I dealt for about the next three and a half years for Jim and then for Old Man Phil. I made a ton of money working for tips alone, but fishing got bad and the economy was changing and tips took a serious plunge downward.
One night I was dealing at The Abbey, a bar, not a tavern. This provided a different flavor to one's taste, one with booze in it. I was tired of dealing with the cheapskates, that were now the nucleus of my game. One of these people was a jerk named Tom, who dressed like a politician, had perfect hair and an extra large head. I didn't care for this guy to begin with. On this night I was dealing the game as usual, when Tom went on a little rush. It was a bad night for tokes and it was getting even worse, Tom had just drug his fourth pot in a row and had not tipped the dealer (me) at all. In fact every time he would drag a pot, he would get into a convenient conversation with a fellow player, totally ignoring the vital toke that paid my wages. This did not sit well with me, I took the remainder of the mucked cards and sent them flying like a ninja star, right into his stack,where I then spoke forcefully and directly to Mr. Tom, " You can keep you fuckin' buck, Tom! I quit this job and from now on your gonna see me on the other side of this table and you ain't gonna like it!" I was done dealing poker, Man did I feel good telling that cheap asshole off." Now deal your own cards asshole." These were my final words.
For the next few months I terrorized the Newport poker games. In fact I went an astonishing 63 wins, with only 4 defeats. My game was dialed in. I was a force to be reckoned with. Amazing magic and psychic phenomena seemed to be mine to play with. I dedicated a poker hand to a departed friend by outwardly saying with all my powers charged up to their max, "I'm gonna flop a straight flush wheel!!!" I stood up, seemingly demanding it, then it appeared. I in fact, had flopped a straight flush wheel!!! Incredible you might say, maybe bullshit!, or maybe you can understand just how wondrous this world can be when things like this occur, for I have had many occurrences of their own incredibility, grace me with their proliferation. My confidence was at an all time high. I needed a test. Was I really this good? If I am, well...I guess I've gotta find out. So off I went, to see if I could cut the mustard on the road.
My first test was going to Montana, where I heard there were many poker games in many towns. After going over Lo Lo Pass, I headed south to a little town called Hamilton, which bordered another town called Corvallis. I was traveling with my faithful companion Ryan, my dog type friend and co-pilot. I was soon to find a poker game. I sat down and learned that the pot could not go over a hundred dollars, by law. This was how it was in Montana. They also played no limit, a game that I had little experience with. I shortly realized the way the game was structured, was perfect for manipulating your odds to one ratio. This style of play I took to like a duck to water. I destroyed the game, which switched from town to town every other night. It was starting to feel like the new guy in town was waring out his welcome, this coupled with being the only hippie for miles had me thinking it was time to move on. This was not from being psychic, it was just common sense. On the fifth night, I was playing tough as usual, the town pro, Mike, had not won since I had arrived on the scene and he was getting more and more frustrated. I had the nuts and made the perfect bet to get the maximum number players to call. It worked perfect, but upon dragging the pot, a projectile (the dealer button) went wizzzing past my domain. It was cowboy Mike, he had had enough and was letting it all hang out by physically expressing his displeasure with me." That no good lousy tie dye wearing hippie from wherever better leave town by sundown." Is what I was receiving from his brainwaves. I stood up without taking my eyes off of him and asked the dealer to please cash me out. I was given some cash, which I didn't even count and I was on my way north in a flash. "It's time for us to boogie Ryan," I said to my faithful co-pilot. Well.... then he, with all of his gathered doggish wisdom said. " " , I still knew what he meant, so we made tracks and headed north. It was now dark and every time headlights came up fast behind me, I thought it might be Mike and his boys. Not until I was miles away would I stop being paranoid.
The next day I woke up in Missoula, a much better place for a young hippie like me. This college town was great and I felt way more comfortable. So I passed the test for my first time out and found other games in Missoula to be just as lucrative. I felt like a man with a new tool and a job just waiting to be done. This is how I got started, in being a professional poker player.
Stay moving my friends Wizzzmo