As I drove home in the early morning hours, the lightning danced from cloud to cloud, but, to my relief, it wasn’t raining. The roads in Hessmer, LA were dark slothoki enough as it was. I kept one eye on the winding two-lane highway and one on God’s impromptu light show. That’s when I hit the armadillo.
I didn’t just tap it, it was the 55-miles-an-hour, no-time-to-slow-down, flush-with-the-front-right-tire kind of hit. I’m sure I killed it. I think it’s the first armadillo to die under my car.
But you’re not here to read about how the armadillo lost. You’re here read about how I lost, and, unlike the armadillo, I lost in style.
I drove in to the Paragon Casino parking lot and it was still raining. I hopped out of the car, and sprinted for the door, realizing my wallet was still in the car. A sprint back to the car, and back to the door, and I was inside, ready to play cards.
I got my name on the list for 4/8 Hold ‘Em and there were 4 ahead of me. There was just one table playing at this point, so I was sure I’d be waiting until they got enough for a second table.
Last time, I waited by throwning money away at the craps table. I was determined not to do that again, so I settled in with a couple of players at the Pai Gow Poker table. You couldn’t lose much there, right?
A short time later, I was down $35 and wondering when Pai Gow became so difficult. I clearly should have taken this as a sign, the cards weren’t with me. I got up and decided I’d wait in the poker room until my seat opened.
It wasn’t long, and I dropped into seat 4 at the newly opened table 5. The same seat at which I won my last $300. I bought in for a hundred, with $40 left in my wallet and a $25 chip in my pocket. I didn’t figure I’d need to dip into either.
I was wrong. My flushes never hit, my pocket pairs never flopped a set, and every premium hand I saw got beat by small two pairs. I kept repeating to myself, “Variance, variance, variance.” After all, I owed this table after taking so much last time, right?
The $40 was already gone, and I only had a few chips left in front of me. That’s when I pulled out the $25 chip to make the rest of my stack feel better. I wasn’t going to violate my rule of never visiting a casino ATM, so this was it. It would be a short trip unless something good happened, really soon.