That's not what I mean OK, so don't be dirty.
It's just that I, and I assume most other poker players, have a fierce competitive streak and for some reason I'm always good enough to get in the game. I just never seem to win.
When I was about 8 years old my dad hired a local hillbilly with a Bobcat to shear off a good 20 * 20 section of the lawn in our back yard. That, a homemade wooden backboard, and a thick slab of concrete gave us and all the neighbor kids our own hoop and court.
Now, I'm a pretty tall guy, and my jump shot ain't bad. So in most games against most kids I would dominate the game. It was great for the ego of an otherwise dorky Eastern Kint-ucky kid.
Except for the other dork.
I hated that kid.
Micheal M. moved in during the summer before 8th grade. He was an instant hit. By the time we rolled into the 5th grade season (even that is a spectacle in parts of Kentucky) Michael was the better player. Coach would design all the plays so that I set the pick and Micheal took the shot. Michael was the SHOOTING guard. I'm a power forward.
That spring both of us were picked as regional All-Stars. We played with kids from all the other schools and took a tour of other young stars. Actually, I just toured and Micheal played. He was just better.
There was always another Micheal. Baseball. Soccer. Ping Pong. I'm pretty good but always runner-up.
Meanwhile the damage was worse inside my own family. I was one of the smart kids, always in trouble, but smart. My grades weren't bad and I was given a free ride to a state school (after a few detours first but that's another, more embarrasing story).
So little brother does one better. He had all A's. Got a free ride to the same state school and graduated with honors. He went one of the country's top five law schools and now....he's rich.
Little sister on the other hand, she got straight As and a free ride...on a F****** ATHLETIC scholarship. Not only smarter but a much better jock. The shame runs deep. Although at least this time, I was easlily 3rd best.
Fast Forward to Senior Year...High School
For senior prom I invited a tall, blonde somewhat attractive girl named Amy. She said yes and we hit it off great. My best friend at the time, Tony, and I had very big plans. We skipped out early on the dance and headed to a killer party. We drank to excess and had champagne waiting back in a very swanky economy room at the Colonial Inn. The only problem was when I left the party, I couldn't find my date. Perhaps she's back in the room, I thought. And sure enough, she was. With Tony. They're married now.
So what's the point of this stupid WHINE!!!
Otis! I hate that man.
We've become very close friends over the past half-decade or so. More than 90% of the good stories I have left to tell involve him in some way. It's fair to say I love him like a brother. Which is exactly the problem. My whole family is out to get me.
It was Otis who talked me into playing poker in the first place. And I think I know why. The pond is never too small for a few extra fish. He coached and cajoled me into becoming a better player, all the while becoming one of the best players you'll ever meet.
When we went to Vegas, I knew he was watching me. Making sure I wasn't acting too stupid. I still ended up in the red. More than anything, I just didn't want to look stupid in front of him.
In his last post he mentioned my watching his foolish play at one of the NL tables. What he doesn't say is that after donating half my stack in fewer than 5 minutes of play...I bolted..with HIS brother for the much softer rooms at Alladin. (THE WORST PLAYERS EVER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD I KID YOU NOT!)
For those of you who only know Otis from this blog, or for those who met him just once in Vegas, let me just add this.
If you're a nice person, Otis is nicer. If you're usually honest, he's more so (His F'N nickname is Mr. Honesty!). He's caring and compassionate and fantastically talented. I'm his biggest fan.
Soon we'll all be watching him on the Travel Channel as he plays the WPT. Soon after, I'm willing to bet, his professional writing and pro poker career will begin. As you see and read more of him, I hope you'll keep in mind, there is noone who's shadow I'd rather disappear behind.
Long live the King.