Gamblin' Gabe & His Two Black B*tc#es

Thu, Aug 27, 2015

The world of gambling of course is filled with no shortage of colorful characters.If you wander into any poker room, for example,you're bound to spot a few with very little effort.

My gambling life largely began there,playing and eventually overseeing clay atop 96 inches of felt.It was there where I first began observing what tended to work, and what tended not to.It was also there where I became acquainted with my friend Gabriel's alter ego, Gamblin' Gabe.

Gabe was a mainstay in my poker room for a long time.A South American hybrid of a young George Hamilton and Julio Iglesias, he had the look of an international playboy.His heavy Spanish accent was made even more compelling and intriguing when he attempted trash talk, an action that usually put the rest of the table in stitches because something inevitably would get lost in translation.

Gabe was not an easy opponent to play.The cultural and linguistic divide often played in his favor, as a standard group of American tablemates would generally just not know what to make of this dashing young socialite who seemingly could play any two cards at any time.Think a much less talented but much better looking version of 2001 WSOP Main Event Champ Carlos Mortensen.

Gabriel was great for the game, financially and otherwise.If it was known Gabriel was in attendance on a particular night, other players would come from literally miles around to join the action.

And action is what Gamblin' Gabe gave.Few people could loosen a game full of rocks the way Gabe could, with his humor, swagger, alcohol soaked trash talk, and loose-wild play.

I witnessed some of the most impressive three hour runs by any player ever on some nights when Gabe sat in my room.It would not be uncommon for him to lord over my table for several hours, yinging when he should ying, yanging when he should yang.Gabe routinely doubled,tripled, and quadrupled his stack in the hours after he sat down.

Invariably, though, a crucial and significant pot would arise where all present would quickly realize that Gabe's QQ Ferrari was about to be involved in a brutal trainwreck when he decided to take on a speeding Amtrak named AA or KK.

You see, Gamblin' Gabe loved, let me restate, ADORED the queen of clubs and the queen of spades when played together, ie pocket queens, the two black ones.I never once saw a time where he didnt play that hand for all the marbles, to go go all the way, penthouse or outhouse.

 And when he did so, it was usually outhouse, or at least out the poker room door, and into the night.Broken.

All the beautiful zigging and zagging.All the post flop raising when his opponent didnt hit.All the brash talk.All the great reads.All for naught.

All the money, gone.

I never really got the chance to sit down and ask Gabriel why he so often played the QsQc with such vigor, and to such perilous results.Maybe I just felt bad after watching him ship huge stack after huge stack to another player the same way, time after time.Maybe it wasn't my place to.


At this point, the why really has become unimportant, if it ever was.What is known, though, is that for whatever reason, Gamblin'Gabe loved his Black Queens, so much so they he became convinced that they were something that they weren't-something that could beat AA or KK with regularity.


Gabe's infatuation with his queens,while a premium holding, led him to overvalue their worth, much to his detriment.Ironically,his over valuation of them cost him much more at the poker table than playing his rags like 4-7 ever did.I suspect with the 4-7 he knew all too well he was playing junk, and acted accordingly.I also suspect that when he saw QQ, he tricked himself into thinking he saw AA, much to his detriment.

This football season, what hands are you overvaluing?Do you have a bias for a certain team or coach, for no reason you can reasonably substantiate?Is there a particular conference in the college game that you feel can't be competed with?Is there a special quarterback or two that you feel can't lose in that must-win contest?If so, why?

Take a peek at your cards.What is it that you actually have?Mmmmnnn.Stop.Look.Listen.Take another peek.

Are you sure?

Only then should you look to your stack.

This season, make sure to check your predispositions (at the door)

It could save you a lot of chips.