I know a guy
My first post of 2007 should be beer-fueled. Here goes.
So I know this guy. It took several months of playing at my homegame before I learned his actual first name, Brendan. I still don't know his last name, nor do I want to. He introduced himself as Bruiser, and who am I to question a guy who looks exactly like his name?
Bruiser's not a violent guy, despite the nickname. He's been nothing but well-behaved in the time he's attending my homegame. There was one time the short, hyper-aggressive guy tried to bait him, but he didn't rise to it. Bruiser doesn't like violence. He likes gambling, and he loves booze.
After a few months, he started answering our questions. In the last several years, he's had several jobs. During one, he earned his nickname. He was a bouncer at a local dive bar. I've been to this bar. My roommate and I had a guy approach us, saying "Was somebody talkin' shit?" At the moment, we thought we were going to get stabbed. It turns out, Scribbles (that was his name, he was a tattoo artist) was just trying to make sure a drunk buddy of his wasn't getting in trouble.
Bruiser told us about this job. One night, a bar fight broke out. The whole bar was fighting. Bruiser knocked out five guys. Now, when most guys say they knocked out five guys, they actually punched three.
Not Bruiser. When Bruiser tells you he knocked out five guys in one night, he knocked out five guys. End of story. He's not lying, and he's not exaggerating. He strikes me as a man who has absolutely no need to boast about his fighting, drinking, fucking, or jail time. He comes and goes as he pleases. He follows the rules if it suits him. He doesn't need your respect.
Bruiser didn't tell this story his first or second time at my game. We had to pester the story out of him.
I think that Bruiser makes most of his money in the fall and winter taking sports bets, on football and hoops, but I have no proof of this. Pure speculation on my part, and I'm betting the farm on him not being much of a blog-reader.
So, when Bruiser told me he was considering staking me, I took notice. This was long before the Captain Tom/Brandi/Dutch saga got out, but even before that sordid tale, I had my head on straight.
During this time, Bruiser had been coming before my cashgames and tourneys started, and used my Full Tilt account to play $20 and $30 sng's. He bought in with cash, I let him play, and if he monied, I paid him in cash. He bring a case of beer, we'd drink, he'd play, and I'd give my two cents if he asked. He asked a lot. I'd tell him what I thought was the right play, and why.
He's probably played more than 20 sng's while I've watched. I think he's slightly better than even money at this point. Skipper seems to think he's skewing my sharkscope numbers.
But, I've been talking poker with Bruiser for a while. And my play in the last several months, and that guidance, have impressed him.
The original talk of the stake was me at the $500NL level in a cashgame. Then, $200NL. By the time we actually went, he wanted me to start at a $100NL table. Let's just say I'm very comfortable at this level, and it fits my bankroll just fine. But if he wants to see how I'll do in a casino setting before moving up, I'm fine with that.
I started with $100 of Bruiser's money at a $100 NL table. I ran it up to $260, and walked away at about midnight. Our split was straightforward - return whatever stake to Bruiser, and split the proceeds 50/50. I asked him directly about me losing his money. If I bust out, I owe him nothing.
At one point, he said something about there being no downside for me. I wanted to impress upon him that I would take his bankroll very seriously, and do my absolute best. "Bruiser, I can't put a dollar value on me being able to play on your bankroll. I want to do well because I always try to play my best poker. Most importantly, there's an opportunity cost associated with me playing on your roll. I want to win you money so that you feel confident about us moving up in stakes. I win, we move up, I win us more money."
After last Thursday's cashgame, Bruiser wanted to stake me for a $20 sng on FT. I figured "hey why not?" and played. With Bruiser watching, asking me a few questions, I won the sng. $90 to us.
"Let it ride."
$50 sng, coming up! Even though it started at 245am, I finished 2nd in that one, for $135. Had it not been so late, Bruiser would've had me play a $100 sng.
So I told him about the sng's at Commerce Casino before/during the LA Poker Classic in January. I mentioned that it's a bit over my bankroll to play multiple $120 sng's. LAPC could be a very interesting time.
If you'll remember, this is the series of events where Ryan made his first big splash.
Perhaps nothing will come of Bruiser staking me. The best case scenario is that he stakes me to a few $120's. I win enough $500 tourney chips where Bruiser says "Let it ride. Play a tourney."
Lately, I've been on a heater, especially where live tourneys are concerned. I'm keeping focused. Maybe nothing comes of all of this. But the tiny chance that I'm gonna blow up in 2007 has me very excited.