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Time to go on the road again

Oct 30, 2007 12:04 AM

Carol, it’s time to hit the road for our Fall Poker Tour.

We will be leaving this week for our annual trip to the Northwest to visit a lot of small poker rooms and host senior events along the long, long trail.

I want to stop by Baker, California and have a piece of the world famous strawberry pie with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream, then dodge the terrible wild fires of Southern California as we follow the poker trail around the state.

First, we will first be visiting a lot of clubs in Los Angeles and playing in a few poker tournaments at the Hollywood Park Casino where our friend Phyllis Caro is the director of poker operations.

Then it’s up Highway 101 — The El Camino Real — until our first stop at Solvang, I love the split pea soup there at Anderson’s.

Then we will stop and enjoy the Madonna Inn, where every room is different, then on into the Napa Valley wine country.

Yes, dear, I will take you once again for dinner on the wine train, and give you time to visit your favorite vineyard and taste all the wines, especially the Cakebread wine tasting room.

Then it’s up to Reno for the poker room at the Peppermill, where our good friend Mike Gainey, is the poker room director. Mike will be directing his Fall Poker Event and will have for us to host once again, "The Seniors" at the Reno Peppermill.

After Reno we will be off to visit other small clubs in Northern California, then it’s up north to Pendleton, Oregon, where Roland Water is the Trail and Poker Boss.

On Nov. 11, we will host a very special Seniors WCOP/Poker Players Hall of Fame event that will feature a special induction of one of my best friends Ralph Morton into the Seniors WCOP/Poker Players Hall of Fame.

This will mark the very first time that we have inducted a member posthumously into The Seniors WCOP/Poker Players Hall of Fame. It is always my desire to induct members during their lifetime so that they can enjoy the honor.

So I will tip my hat to Ralph Morton and request him to save me a seat in the big game in the sky.

Then Carol we will hurry home so we can get ready to fly to Paris to host the European Seniors event at the world famous Aviation Club on the Champs Elysee in Paris, France.

With our travel plans out of the way, I want to tell the folks about another of the world famous poker players that I have played with in my lifetime.

In Tulsa, at the country clubs and private clubs where I played golf, gin, pool, pitch, dice and yes, poker, we had our own members only casino where the action was fast and the stakes were high.

We were visited frequently by all the rounders — hip pocket bookies, seminal golfers, hustlers and grafters of all types, colors, ages and sizes!

But never were we ready for the A-No. 1 known as Titanic Thompson (Titanic was a chosen name that Alvin used when he was on the road).

Titanic Thompson was actually Alvin Clarence Thomas from Rogers, Arkansas.

And, he never signed a hotel register with any name other than his own, Alvin C. Thomas.

So, it was by choice, and through word, manner, deed and thought, that Alvin Clarence Thomas created the character, Titanic Thompson, and quietly lived the very private life of America’s seminal golfer, gambler and hustler.

Titanic, when I met and played with him, was a frail, slim, tall distinguished looking gentleman who you would have mistaken as a retired preacher or elderly friend of the family.

But in a very few minutes you would realize that your money, jewelry, coat and shoes were in extreme danger.

He had a line of gab that was better than mine and Amarillo Slim’s combined.

He is one of a very few men that I have ever listened to that could be talking to two people at the same time about the same subject, where one person was positive about the subject and the other person was opposed to the subject. Titanic could please both of his listeners with a single response and make both of them feel that he was on their side of the argument.

Titanic visited our club in the late 1950s and I remember one of his challenges. He said, "I will bet anyone in this room that I can drive a golf ball 6,000 feet in one swing."

Some bets were placed; I did not think anyone could drive a golf ball 2,000 yards.

So we all loaded up and he drove us out to the lake, which was frozen, set his ball on the ice and hit it. Yes the ball is still rolling: Titanic won all bets.

OK-J Poker Tip of the Week

Have you heard this statement: "Never send a boy to do a man’s work!"

When you are playing in a poker game and the pot is say $30, if your poker hand is small, do not bluff with a small amount!

If you bet $5 or $10 you are sending a boy to do a man’s work. You will get your boy killed.

If you bet this pot trying to pick it up with a bluff, send out a man-size bet of $90 or $120 and the man will win the pot.

Until next time remember to stay lucky.