My last post talked about the Montana days, Poker Used to be so Much Fun, and brought back a rush of the lunacy and some of the antics that I first watched poker players do, and then learned to do myself.
I’m not sure what is required to be classified as a poker player. These people played poker but very few of them were actual players. Like most small poker populations, one or two games were pretty standard, considering in those days there were two places that had poker every day – usually starting at noon and running as long the players kept it going.
When I first started dealing, three of us went to work at 9 p.m. and worked until the games were done. With two games, we dealt 20 minutes, moved and dealt 20 minutes, and took a 20 minute break, repeat, until it got down to one game, then we usually dealt half hour on and a half hour off unless the cage person could deal a short break; then only one dealer finished out the night. Some of those 9 p.m. starting shifts felt like 9 to life when you were going home at noon. But I was ready for it, ready for the next shift, mainly because of the adrenalin rush of being right dead in the middle of all the action.
One of our games was always straight Five Card Stud, the other – and upon occasion third game – was always a mixed game format dealer’s choice. In the mixed games we had 7 card stud high, 7 card stud low, 7 card 8 or better, Five card draw, and Holdem. That changed a bit over the years because Omaha hit the mix eventually.
Eddie Appelt was one of the old stodges that never gave any action and could sit longer on a small stack than any human I’ve ever met. We played all the mixed games off of a dealer button and one blind…in general, everyone played Hold’em…but not Eddie, he played 7 Card Stud. I think he did it because his heart was black and the person in the blind had to open that betting round – it followed the same order as Hold’em. The person always bitched about it – all of the persons – and of course Eddie had position. He had the button! The next betting round started with the high hand once the blind round was complete.
Eddie had a tracheotomy long before I met him. A cigarette smoker for years, he finally ended up with a kerchief around his throat and an ElectroLarynx. He rarely spoke. I’m sure he was laughing his ass off when he got some young buck that bitched about blinding in 7 Card Stud because you could see his eyes. He liked to inflict poker pain.
I dealt a hand to him one time that was the ultimate cold deck. He started with two aces, another player had two sevens, another player had two fives, one had the 8-4 of spades, and the last one had A-Q of spades. The flop was A-5-7 with the 5-7 being spades. Every bet (3 max) went in on every street and I can’t remember if Eddie was one of the bettors/raisers but I’d venture that he checked at first to see if he could trap someone. Obviously he didn’t have the button or the game would have been 7 Card Stud.
The river was a gut-shot straight flush for Mr. 8-4 of spades. In those days a 4-card out seemed horrific but now it seems like standard fare at the tables. I actually thought it was funny that Eddie lost the hand, but I know I didn’t say anything or laugh…that just wasn’t my style, and it still isn’t unless someone’s being a total asshole at the table. But never in those days.
Here’s three of the good old boys – Jonesy, Eddie Appelt, and Eddie Johns. Eddie Johns is the one that caught runner-runner king to bust off my flopped set of Aces in another game.
I’m positive that if Appelt was in the game where my set got blown into the universe by back-door quads, that he thought it was funny I got beat by Johns too. It was ugly, flop a-2-3, turn and river a king. I went home like a scalded chicken, still booking a win but less than I would’ve like.
Well…I just got my scanner/network set up after making some changes to my computer arrangement a few weeks ago. I have a lot of old pictures – back in the day – when I couldn’t live without the game. So perhaps it’s time to write some Montana poker history at Tango.