The boor covers himself, the rich man or the fool adorns himself, and the elegant man gets dressed.
Walk the floor at any casino during a night during the weekend and it is an absolutely crazy place. Fortunes (or what seems like it) are won and lost every second, and the air is filled with shouts of exultation, profanities, and ‘MONKEY’. I have no idea where that term comes from, but I can tell you what it means. There are 52 cards in a deck, in blackjack and baccarat, a 10, Jack, Queen, and King all count as a ten. When you need a ten, people yell all sorts of things; Breaker Breaker!, Put a picture on it!, Throw some paint!, Big!, and of course, MONKEY! No one knows why, or at least I don’t. It’s just been passed down from gambler to gambler, until the origins are unknown. And that’s the thing about gambling. The history of it is an oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation. There are some things that can’t be written down, they have to be experienced. However, this is the story of a Jersey Boy in Lord Dunkin’s Court.
There is a certain equality in front of the dealer. Luck and probability have no favor. They are blind, much like justice, but with a more cruel bent. Rich or poor, they don’t care, it just is what it is. I’ve gambled with celebrities, sports stars, foreign dignitaries, it doesn’t matter, the cards are just the cards. The dealers know who they are, I know who they are, but they’re just gamblers, winners and losers. No one likes an attention whore at the table, when they bitch to the dealer after a bad beat, or just in general when they make a big deal about themselves.
Lord Dunkin’ claimed that he owned all of the Dunkin’ Donuts south of 34th Street in Manhattan and all of Long Island. Seeing as this is the worst rich person boast of all time, I was inclined to believe him. Lord Dunkin’ rolled with an entourage, all of them smoking cigars, because it was his birthday. In painfully stereotypical fashion, every person in his entourage was a former employee. I was sitting at a table, enjoying conversation with my dealer Tomasz and learning phrases in Polish, when Lord Dunkin’ and his merry men rolled in with a cloud of cigar smoke and cologne trailing them. He proceeded to throw $35,000 on the table and wanted it all in chips.
Truth be told, that’s not the most amount of cash I’ve ever seen in person. In fact, that’s not even close. But, don’t get me wrong, it’s still an absurd amount of money. But like I said, the table is the table, just play the game. Casinos force players to trade their money into chips, because there is a disconnect between clay chips and actual money. $35,000 becomes a stack of blacks and purples, and Tomasz begins to deal. Lord Dunkin’ tells his entourage to ‘ready up’, because he’s gonna teach them all how to play 21.
Remember when I said that blackjack takes discipline? Lord Dunkin’ had none of that. I’ve never seen a faster string of tilted bets and terrible decisions. He lost $25,000 in about five minutes. Tomasz is a good dealer, he throws them out fast and steady, and he was patient with Lord Dunkin’ who cursed at every bad card he was dealt. Finally, the lord turned to me and asked me for advice.
I fucking hate giving advice on the table. First, it’s your money, do whatever the fuck you want to do with it. I don’t want anything to do with your luck, or your karma, just deal with your own shit. Second, I’m already dealing with fifteen things at once, so I always just tell you the basic strategy. Lo and behold, he starts winning, and he tells his boys to give me a cigar, because now, I’m officially his best friend. After he listens to my advice for all of about five hands, he proceeds to ignore me and lose the other $15,000 in spectacular fashion. Now, all out of money, he gets up from the table, bites back a profanity, and tells his boys to come with. Lord Dunkin’ then invites me to go with him to the club to celebrate his birthday. I reluctantly agree to go, because the deck was dead, and I tip Tomasz for his trouble.
It’s 3:30 in the morning at this point, and I was about to duck out to the room. Unfortunately, the club is only a 2 minutes walk from the table. Lord Dunkin’ proceeds to buy $20,000 worth of alcohol, knowing that the club closes at 4am. While I’m quietly sipping on a glass of club soda, he tells me under his breath, watching his entourage drink his alcohol, “I’m surrounded by stupidity.” Well, okay boss, you chose to hang out with these people. Promptly at 4am, the club closes and we’re right back out on the floor, to which he yells, “STRIPPERS FOR EVERYONE!”
At that point, I tell him that I have a girlfriend and she’s waiting for me back in the hotel. Lord Dunkin’ tells me that she’ll never know, and I promptly respond with, “I’ll know.” Thank the heavens for the Woman. Say what you will about me, but I even take my fake relationships seriously. I’d love to tell you that Lord Dunkin’ is an aberration, and it’s true that he’s more exception than the rule, but there are still too many of them out there. They like to feel big by making other people feel small. They’re the ones who like to point out how expensive their suits are, how much their Rolex is worth, and all that other good stuff, but the cards don’t card. There is only the cold embrace of statistical inevitability.
And so sayeth Lord Dunkin’. We never knew ye.
But anyways, that was a weekend. The Woman is a natural, and we’ll be up to no good very soon. Lord Dunkin’ has returned to Manhattan to reign over his collection of coffee and pastries. As for me? Well, after I leave the casino and the cameras, I’m nobody.
And that’s how I like it.