Doylism of the day “You never achieve great success unless you like what you are doing”

There is finally a day off from playing poker so I can get this blog in. I promised I would do one a week for but the poker has been so good I’m running behind schedule. Several of our regular players at the Bellagio have left to go to tournaments overseas. As badly as I dislike playing in tournaments, I have to say I’m extremely jealous of these young guys and if I was their age I would be doing it too. What an awesome way to see the world.

As promised, here is another robbery at a poker game I was involved in. I’ve told this story many times because it is one of my favorites so you may have heard it. In the early ’60′s we were traveling all over the southern states looking for games so we played in some unusual places. We had played all over Texas but we had never played in this farmhouse outside of Austin, the capital of Texas. The owner of this house was a bookmaker named Duck Mallard. People who knew him well swear that was his real name. Another unusual name people in the poker world know well is Huckleberry Seed. Huck has two brothers named Cotton and Mulberry. With names like that people will at least remember them.

This particular night we were playing and three games were running. There were several women who were serving food, giving massages, etc. We had been playing for several hours when we heard windows breaking all around the house including the game room. Seven men wearing sky masks and carrying shotguns came in from every direction. They came in from the bedrooms, kitchen and where we were playing so there was nowhere to run or hide, although several of the players attempted to.

Shotguns are the scariest weapons you can face so nobody gave any resistance. The robbers made all the women sit down in the chairs around the poker tables. Then they made the men line up facing and the wall and had us drop our pants and underwear. I remember one of the ladies saying that she had never seen so many naked butts and shaking knees before. They searched our pants and took our money off the tables. Duck Mallard sold chips and had the money.

It seems that hijackers like to pick on the biggest guy that they are robbing. That guy was usually me at 6 ft. 3 inches, 270 lbs. One of the leaders of the thieves was about 5 ft 6 inches and he turned me around and asked me “who runs this game?” In the old days there was an unwritten rule that you didn’t squeal on anybody or anything. So, I told him I didn’t know. I can still remember that his eyes were glazed over, probably from drugs. He hit me on the side of my head with his gun and blood squirted everywhere. He asked again “who runs this game?” True to the code I told him I didn’t know.

This little jerk had an old fashioned shotgun that had hammers for firing. He cocked both hammers, put the gun right between my eyes and told me, “I’m not going to ask you again, who runs this game.” I rapidly told him “that guy down there in the green shirt”

So much for the stupid code! I proved discretion is the better part of valor because I’m sure he would have pulled the trigger on the shotgun. I remember I lost $3,700 in that robbery and that was a ton of money back then. The robbers got over $40,000 which was a major score back in the ’60′s.

I heard from a reliable source that six out of the seven robbers were killed within a year. Stealing people’s money was a dangerous way of life and most of the “tough guys” usually paid the ultimate price. I know a lot of these men who always said that was the only way they had of being successful. That was a lot of crap and I remember what one of my college professors always said.

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for what we become”.

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