hollywood park racetrack was built in the first half of this century by a collection of hollywood notables, including jack warner of warner brothers. within the last ten years or so, they've added a casino adjacent to the track. and what a casino! they've got a racebook, (of course) bingo, pai gow, super pan9, mexican poker (whatever that is), california blackjack, la blackjack, a health spa, a karioke lounge, and so many other things that i never got a chance to write them down! oh, yeah. did i mention the poker room?
this place is huge!! i know that a bunch of rgp'ers are just waiting for me to show up, so i wander through the room, looking for some usual suspects. i'm wearing a poker shirt, a taj mahal black baseball cap, and my green satin tropicana poker club jacket. this room is so big that i walk through it twice and *still* don't see anyone i know! hey! there's brenda!
brenda is a tall blonde, with striking good looks. she used to tear up the 20/40 hold 'em games at the taj mahal, and having moved to los angeles, she now tears up the 40/80 hold 'em games (played with brown $10 chips) at hollywood park! we haven't seen each other in close to two years! brenda tells me that she's read some of my trip reports at rgp, and is enjoying them! i wait her out. she turns back to the game. i see her play pocket fives in the big blind. the flop doesn't do anything for her hand, but the hand is checked down and the other guy had a bigger pair. i try to help her. "what's that hand called?" but she just says that many rgp'ers play that hand, **but she doesn't say the magic word!** we chat for a few more moments, and i get called for a 6/12 hold 'em game. i'm playing about 30 minutes when lou krieger spots me, gives me the "presto!" greeting, and wins a jacket! wtg lou!
pretty soon, lou brings over a delightful brunette. this turns out to be the barge virgin herself, beth even! what a great lady! beth sits next to me and we chat for more than two hours, and she never even (pardon the pun) gets to play any poker! we go upstairs, where there is a tourney in the final stages and (yes!) we spot steve badger sitting behind the big stack in this $100 + 20, 100rb omaha/8 tourney. they're down to five players. steve is taller than i imagined, about 6'3" or so, well built, with blue eyes and a bristling red mustache. he's wearing a baseball cap and headphones. he's also giving the needle to his opponents. tourney regular beverly crystal is to steve's left, and she's giving it right back to him! between hands, i tap steve on the shoulder and introduce myself. he seems genuinely happy to meet me, but he's focused on the game.
beth and i watch for a little while, but then the citation restaurant calls up to the tourney area with the advice that our table is ready. we wish badger good luck and proceed to dinner. i'm half-way though telling beth my "jeopardy!" story, when we spot steve badger coming down the escalator. sure enough, he won the tournament! wtg badger! we insist that he join us for a non-alcoholic after dinner drink! :) he tells us that the only reason why he won the tourney is because he is wearing his special lucky "lee munzer" dark blue with white stripes t-shirt! };)
badger turns out to be a good guy! he's quite an effusive person, and there's no doubt about it when he's in the room. he has some very definite ideas about poker and about playing poker for a living, and i felt honored that he spent some time with us! steve used to be in the construction business, but he's earned a living for the past ten years playing poker. ten years. that says a lot. he loves rock 'n' roll music, and has an out-of-town ladyfriend who will soon be joining him in california! :) steve, beth and i trade poker stories, poker experiences, and poker people for more than an hour!
back to the cardroom, where beth introduces me to rgp'ers dan goldman (?) and john reeves. hollywood park is simply too much to do in one session. i'll be back to this place before i leave, and will get you more details of the room. i missed greg (topset) and his buddy liveone, and i've learned that rick (not steve) nebbiolo is a floorman here on day shift.
and if i get up early enough tomorrow, i'm going to do a stud/8 tourney!