Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Moments of Clarity: Bash at the Boathouse Part II

If abused properly, over the counter non-drowsy cold medication mixed with alcohol and herbal supplements allows you to function with an opiated/speedy buzz. It's a total contradiction but the time released ephedrine in the medicine snaps your spine with an energetic jolt every twenty minutes. That described Friday.

Derek, the Rooster, and I arrived at the Boathouse on Friday afternoon. In less than four hours, my levels of intoxication reached a highwater mark where I could not even think about driving back to the hotel even it was only 1.2 miles away. BigMike and Al held court as they took over a corner of the upstairs bar. Poker Wolf and Trip Jax introduced themselves. They've both have been leaving comments on my blogs for a couple of years and we finally had the opportunity to meet each other.

I drank with Spaceman, BigMike, and StB before we moved the party to the downstairs bar of the Boathouse. The shots of SoCo kept coming and at 6:14pm Lewey arrived. In less than 90 seconds, Lewey downed a shot of tequila, an Irish Car Bomb, and a pint of Bass Ale. I'm still impressed by that remarkable drinking feat. It's up there with seeing my buddy Chicago Bob chug 1/3 of a bottle of Pepe Lopez when we were pledges in our fraternity.

Eventually the out of town bloggers began trickling in... Bad Blood, Veneno, Drizz, and Joe Speaker. Soused pontification with friends seemed to be on the agenda for the Friday afternoon Boathouse Symposium. I had a heated and drunken conversation with StB and the Rooster on the patio about 9.11. Prior to that, Joe Speaker and I delved deep into philosophy and religion, specifically the church's influence on his son and our entire youth's culture and why arguing and killing each other over our beliefs in the coolest imaginary friend (GodAllahBuddha) is futile.

I could not drive home and handed to car keys to Flagstaff who guided my rental car safely back to the hotel, where BG hosted a tournament in one of the conference rooms. We had four tables of 28 players with a $30 buy-in. BG also picked up a keg of lager. Originally the tournament was scheduled to be a freezeout, that was until Gavin Smith busted out and changed the format to rebuy. More bloggers and friends arrived like Gracie, Sweet Sweet Pablo, and Brandon Schaefer.
My starting table:
Seat 1: AlCantHang
Seat 2: Gavin Smith
Seat 3: BG
Seat 4: Steve
Seat 5: Lewey
Seat 6: Flagstaff
Seat 7: Your Hero
Lewey and Gavin were two maniacs while Steve (BigMike's cousin) has won tournaments in AC before. The always cagey the Rooster was the first player out while Derek followed soon after.

I took over the chiplead when I busted BG and Gavin in the same hand. With 7-7, I flopped a set on a board of 10-7-5 with two spades. Gavin pushed with 8-9o. BG shoved with As-10s and the nut flush draw while I had middle set and no redraws. The turn filled in Gavin's open-ended straight draw when a Jack hit. The river saved my ass when another Jack spiked to give me a boat. I tripled up as Gavin changed the tournament to a rebuy.

AlCantHang dropped the Hammer, while Gavin bluffed me out of a pot when I folded top pair. Joe Speaker moved to our table after his broke. For the clothing fashionitas out there, Speaker wore two outfits on Friday... his drinking at the Boathouse outfit (red soccer jersey and cargo shorts) and his LA chic tournament outfit (fancy silk shirt over a ratty long-sleeve shirt and hipster jeans). His hair sparkled in the late afternoon Boathouse sunlight and it continued to shine underneath the fluorescent hue of the hotel's conference room lights.

Speaker had been playing and listening to his iPod the entire tournament. When he was moved to our table, Gavin needled him hard before he could stack up his chips.

"Headphones? Headphones are for pussies," Gavin shouted. He had been drinking heavily to shake off the hangover from the night before. He flew in from Atlanta where he had been partying all night with Erick Lindgren and Josh Arieh. They went to the Georgia Tech game and gambled on the entire second half. Gavin proudly boasted that he had won well over $35,000 in prop bets against his buddies.

"Spaceman!" Gavin yelled out as he picked up his empty cup. "Will you mix my drink to the proper levels?"

I busted Speaker when my A-K held up against his A-8. By the break, I was second in chips to Steve who had been running over the table while he and Gavin raised every single pot. Bad Blood moved to my table and he lost a monster pot to Gavin when his K-7 lost to K-6 after Gavin flopped two pair.
The Final Table:
Seat 1: Pablo
Seat 2: Karol
Seat 3: TripJax
Seat 4: Veneno (then Gavin)
Seat 5: Carter
Seat 6: Steve
Seat 7: Dawn
Seat 8: Your Hero

Final Table pic (Courtesy of Carter)

The entire night, Gavin bought chips off of people after he busted out after the rebuy period ended. He bought out Veneno and took her chips at the final table. The action went fast. I won a big pot off of Gavin when I flopped an ace with A-10. That's where things got blurry and I began to lose time again. By the time I made it to the money, all of the liquor I had consumed hit me at once. I had no idea how I was one of the final four players despite being completely hammered. I sold my chips to Gavin and drank with Maudie when she got in.

Steve won the tournament while cash games sprung up on two different tables. F Train and I started pulling out cards out of the muck to play High Card for a Buck. I was on a roll. F Train fell behind and we jumped from table to table pulling out cards. He lost every time and bumped the stakes up to $5. I continued my streak. Then it got ugly. We started playing high card for $20 a pop. Joe Speaker and Steve joined the mix. Steve had the Queen of diamonds when I picked up a card and flipped it over. The Ace of diamonds.

"Ship it!" I screamed.

That was my last memory of Friday night.

* * * * *

I woke up the next morning in my clothes as the rain pelted the open window in my hotel room. I managed to talk myself down from puking as my head throbbed. From 6am to Noon I rocked back and forth in the fetal position wanting to die as my hangover reached category five status.

I finally gathered enough strength to wake and bake and drive Derek and the Rooster to Friendly's for food. Our waitress, a high school kid named Amanda, was slower than a Parisian waitress serving a table full of fat stupid American tourists. The Rooster sweet talked her, trying to persuade her that a life of high class cock smuggling in the big city was better than slinging hash for crappy tips in the middle of nowhere.

I ordered a chocolate shake and had a few sips before I felt like puking. I ate three or bites of my burger and pushed it aside. Only a few hours before the biggest drinking day of the year I could barely move let alone take a whiff of SoCo without projectile vomiting kitten sized chunks of bile. In the last few years, the Bash at the Boathouse surpassed St. Patrick's Day and Elvis' Birthday as the highest amount of alcohol consumed by me in any given 24 hour period during a calendar year. I acted like a Boathouse rookie and foolishly got Albert Finney drunk less than twelve hours before the Super Bowl of Binge Drinking.

The charity tournament took place on the patio and Bad Blood live blogged most of it. I met Loren who won the satellite on Full Tilt and wished him luck.

By the way, congrats to CJ who took it down! The Luckbox prevailed once again. After the tournament, Gavin Smith played people heads up for $100 a pop with all proceeds going to charity. A happy Veneno jubilantly told me she won one of those.

I met a couple of bloggers for the first time like Slb who introduced himself to me at the bar. I spread out my time during the afternoon between keeping an eye on the college football games and watching the charity tournament. I ended up going 9-1 in the college games and had a couple of big bets on Notre Dame against Michigan State.

I did my best to stay away from liquor until AlCantHang bought me a shot around 5pm. Only a few hours earlier, I couldn't even stand up and there I was back on the horse downing shots with Al. I sat at the bar with StB and suggested songs to Al's buddy Phil as he prepared the setlist for his band Vibe Tribe.

I also played High Card for a Buck with F Train, Gracie, Jordan, and Drizz. The Rooster dealt and I couldn't beat Gracie, who ended my winning streak.

The downstairs opened up and the party migrated. The Beer Pong contest began as the first of the bands took the stage. The Boathouse Bash always features local musical acts. Three years ago, I hung out a lot inside listening to the bands. I didn't know as many people in attendance back then... just a handful.

Last year, more blogger showed up and we spent more time outside on the deck drinking and talking. And this year, I hardly spent any time inside listening to Petey and the Bandcampers, Vibe Tribe, and the AlCantHang Experience. I hung outside at the bar and listened to them pump the music out there. I managed to catch Carter, Gavin, and Brandon singing lyrics on a cover of a Killers song.

I was too hungover to be chugging beers and passed on the Beer Pong tournament. There was an open spot at the last second and Carter asked me to be his teammate. I reluctantly accepted. Our first round match was against StB and brdweb. I nailed my first throw and it was all downhill from there. We were down 5-2 and mounted a good comeback but ended up losing.

Brandon Schaefer was a ringer. He had been playing all summer at the house he rented in Las Vegas with Carl Olson, Jen Leo, and John Caldwell. They played beer pong in the kitchen every night. Schaefer and Bad Blood went deep and should have won but lost on a controversial play. They took second place and I was impressed with the Beer Pong prowess of my blogger brethren.

One of the first notes I jotted down was a quote from the Rooster... "When I rubbed her, I thought I made her cum."

I have no idea what he was talking about but it must have been funny at the time because I don't write stuff down too frequently. Even F Train took a photo and added it to his Flickr gallery so it must have some significance. Only the Rooster knows. I won a prop bet against F Train. Dawn and Karol were AWOL. We set the line for their arrival time at 7:15 and he took the under. They arrived much later after ditching F Train and spending the day gambling in AC. They're hardcore.

When darkness fell, the natives grew rowdy. The liquor flowed and stupid shit ensued. I heard rumors of several female bloggers showing their breasts for beads. I missed Maudie flash but she has a funny pic of me. StB and I got into a heated discussion about Hurricane Katrina while Bobby Bracelet brought his A game again but this year he had his eyes set on a 19 year old college chick. Bobby Bracelet looked good at the plate, but the kid displayed his warning track power when he flied out to deep center field.

The Rooster was recruiting more women for his harem when Carter failed to be a good and honorable wingman and dissed the Rooster in front of the ladies. The two had words and stepped out into the parking lot. I knew that Carter was totally bluffing and trying to act tough in front of the ladies. The Rooster twirled a t-shirt around his knuckles and hand as he prepped for a fight so I followed them out. Carter talked his way out of it and I kept an eye on them because the Rooster would drop him out in one punch. The two eventually hugged it out and stumbled back inside.

I drank a shot of SoCo with Al and the guy from HellsSatans Poker who's name I forgot. I met one of Joe Speaker's childhood friends, Donnie, who shared some dirt on Speaker's teenage years. Some of his tales were classics and I hope Speaker writes those up in a book or Truckin' story one day. I hung out with Maudie who showed me her tattoo while Drizz and I kicked back and drank beers with Poker Wolf. At some point in the night I did a dial-a-shot with G-Rob and Iggy.

Bloggers were groping other bloggers. At some point Kat yelled, "If you are going to grope me, do it properly!" as she pulled my hands to her breasts and ass and I coped a feel. I saw F Train getting molested and Gavin Smith with his hands down the back on some woman's pants.

I think Joe Speaker explained F Train as "120 pounds of fury." Or maybe that was F Train describing himself? Derek lost a prop bet against BG as they gambled on his weight. F Train won the Lewey Award last year for Excellence in Public Intoxication. Although he paced himself better in 2006, he still put forth a performance worthy of consideration.

At some point in the night, Derek walked into the bathroom and saw two bloggers blowing chow. The stall was occupied by an unlucky guy taking a dump. With no place to hurl, Drizz puked in the garbage while F Train puked in an urinal.

When Drizz stumbled out of the bathroom, T had already set him up with a glass of water with a note on it saying, "Drizz's Water."

Drizz dusted himself off and kept on drinking. That's why he won this year's Puke and Rally Award. AlCantHang gave TripJax the Lewey Ward, but I think it's too close to tell. Last year, F Train took the Lewey Award down uncontested. But this year's field was rich in drunken debauchery. There were several people worthy of consideration. That's why I compiled an All Lewey Team for this year's Bash.
All Lewey Team: Bash at the Boathouse
F Train
Gavin Smith
Trip Jax
If you don't know, Lewey's drunken performance at the Bash in 2004 became so legendary that we named an award after him. He lost several hundred dollars in a cash game before he shouted out in detailed description his ex-girlfriend's vagina while her mother stood only a few feet away. I never knew that the human body could bounce off pavement like that until I witnessed the infamous Running of the Lewey where he took off down a steep hill and fell before skidding twenty feet on pavement.

We closed out the Boathouse and I was in much better shape to drive home. The good thing about the hangover was that it insured that I wouldn't drink as much as Wednesday or Friday nights. Which meant no inklings of a wicked hangover (like in previous years) when I woke up to drive back to NYC on Sunday morning.

Here are some random pictures:

Late night, we hung out in my suite with Gavin Smith who told us some funny stories about life on the road and being recognized as a pro including turning down sex with a Playboy playmate. He stumbled out of the room muttering, "I'm going to get a Salisbury steak. Do you want one?"

There's nothing quite like the Bash at the Boathouse. There's Carnival and Mardi Gras and Running of the Bulls. And then there's Bash at the Boathouse, which is a combination of all three legendary yearly events. Even if it were held in the middle of Alaska, I'd hire a dogsled to take me to the party to pay homage to AlCantHang and try to help raise money for BigMike's nephew.

I once said that there are very few people who live up to their reputations. AlCantHang is one of those people. As Gavin Smith put it best, "Why do they call you AlCantHang? Because I thought I drank a lot but you drink a shitload more than me. You're a fuckin' rock star."

One of the greatest things about having a blog is meeting amazing people. AlCantHang sits at the top of that list. I've been fortunate to have been invited with Derek to spend the last three years at the Boathouse celebrating life with AlCantHang and his friends BigMike, Lewey, Tony, Landow, Jimmy Dubs, and of course Eva. I don't judge a man's wealth by his material possessions or by the balance of his bank account. True wealth is determined by the number of amazing and resourceful friendships that a person has. AlCantHang is one of the wealthiest people I know. He's a friend to many and I'm a better person having him in my life.

Thanks again to AlCantHang and BigMike for an amazing weekend. You guys are the real rockstars in a world of lip syncers.

Editor's Note: This has been cross-posted over at the Tao of Poker.

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