It was much too late for G-Rob to be calling. In the old days (read: a couple of years ago), it would've meant nothing for him to call at 11:30pm. However, these days, a call at 11:30 meant one of a couple things: Somebody was dead or it was time to put one of our buddies in a mental institution.
At the moment, I didn't feel much like dealing with either.
I picked my cell off the coffee table and flipped it open.
It wasn't the kindest response, but the kid was asleep, the wife was eying me warily (as she does when I get late calls), and I had been getting killed at an online table (KK cracked three times in one day, twice by the Hilton Sisters, once by a runner-runner straight).
"Ask me what I just did," he commanded. There was a sound in his voice that I know. That lilt just behind the uvula is specific to one kind of news. I already knew what it was going to be.
But I humored him.
"You know those huge multi-table tournaments?"
"I just took first place."
I offered my sincerest of congratulations. In my whole poker life, I've only taken first place in tournaments with five tables or less. G-Rob had outlasted several hundred people and nailed first place with no less than the Hilton sisters on the final hand.
I waited as long as I could before I said the obvious. "You know what this means."
He knew what it meant.
G-Rob hasn't been to Vegas since HeCon: Vegas in 2001 (another story for another day). It was there he discovered the beauty of Raging Solo (all rights reserved). His record was an 18-hour solo rage that took him to nearly every hotel on the strip.
When the WPBT convention started growing and I discovered I could make it, I nearly begged G-Rob to go with me. As my poker wingman (and occasional bodyguard), he makes frequent appearances here on Up For Poker. Beyond that, he and Pauly would get along very well.
We'd broached the subject with his wife back in October. I'd tried to bring it up in casual conversation and was met with an immediate icy stare. Her response was something like, "Well, I guess the kids could do without Christmas presents this year."
That was sarcasm. I recognize that.
So, we let it die. G-Rob would have to wait.
But, wait! His bankroll was now flush with unexpected cash. It seemed a sure thing.
All day on Sunday, I checked flight prices, finding interesting possibililties. It looked like he could make it happen.
I got up this morning, anticipation bubbling in my empty stomach. I hurried into work. I was a couple minutes late for our morning meeting. I sat down next to him. He didn't look at me.
I knew what that meant.
"Pssssst." He finally turned around. I mouthed the word: Vegas.
The look on his face told the whole story.
After our meeting was over, he related the tale: The night that he'd won the tournament, the energy in his body was a great as it had been in recent memory (with the exception of what were surely some great sexual experienes with his wife). His wife shared in his giddiness.
But Sunday, he broached the subject of Vegas and was met with the same icy stare.
The ensuing conversation made G-Rob review his hand. A newly flush bankroll clearly translated into the nut flush in the game of going to Vegas. There was little chance his wife could beat it. However, he was playing the game of life.
In the game of life, even your nut flush gets beat by a pair of kids with a wife kicker.
G-Rob sulked around work for a while. It was sad to watch him. He's a big guy--some say freakishly large--and watching a guy like that in a sullen mood is enough to make even the most optimistic of souls turn fatalistic.
So, I sat down to write G-Rob's lament.
I'm actually quite lucky, really. Not only am I going to meet the bloggers I've always wanted to meet, not only am I traveling with elite blogger BadBlood, but some of my best friends in the world are meeting me there. Marty was the first to sign on, and started blogging to qualify himself for the blogger tournament. Then McCown, Cappy, Brother McCown, and Joey Two-Hands.
A down-on-his-luck Otis couldn't ask for much more.
My phone rang a few minutes ago. The caller ID indicated the call was coming from inside the building. So, I was surprised when semi-automated voice on the other end said, "Please stand-by for an update on Las Vegas."
Two minutes later, G-Rob was standing beside me. Actually he was hopping up and down beside me (which is quite a trick for a guy who is 6'5").
He'd called his wife and pretended to be a representative of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau. The LVCVB really, really wanted to meet G-Rob.
With a sigh, his wife said, "Does G-Rob want anything else for Christmas?"
The giddiness started to well-up. "Um...no."
With that, Wife of G-Rob relented. Minutes later, he'd secured the days off from work. Seconds later, he was kissing me on the cheek (I sort of wish he hadn't done that).
As I speak, our in-house travel agent is booking G-Rob's flight.
And now, my poker wingman and occasional body guard is walking around the office staring at his flight itinerery and giggling.
Now begins the work to see if the Sam's Town tourney will have space for him at the WPBT Holiday Classic.
And the wait. The eleven-day wait.