The Poker Game Series (Part 1)
This is Part 1 of The Poker Game Series, you can find Parts 2 and 3 below
This story originally appeared on July 25, 2013 on LandmanLife.com and has been reposted in its original form.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
I had the pleasure of living in a Best Western in South Texas for the better part of a year. Our company paid for the rooms 7 days a week so that they saved some money on the hotel tax after 30 days when it becomes a extended stay. That made things easier on us since we didn’t have to move all of our stuff out every weekend. It was especially convenient for me since my home was only an hour and a half drive away. The hotel was about a mile from the courthouse and a few blocks further from our office so we could literally leave our hotel room and be at either location in 5 minutes. At the crew’s peak I think there were about 7 of us staying there, and the rest of the hotel was booked up by other landmen/some frackers. The place always reeked like a skunk had walked through the hallways (it was weed) and people were always drinking outside on the patio by the pool. Not a bad place to stay during the week if you ask me.
Every Thursday night we had a poker game in the conference room downstairs at the hotel. Some weeks there would be five players and the next week we could have 20, it all depended on how many landmen headed home Thursday after work. Quite a few times I stayed in town for the night just to go to the poker game. People would usually bring their own coolers, full of beer or just ice for the liquor drinkers, and have quite a few drinks during the game. It was a $20 buy in with the second but final buy in at the halfway point (sometimes people would show up late from work, etc) and the pot could get up to a few hundred bucks with the winner taking 2/3 and the runner up getting 1/3. $300 is worth staying in town for, especially if you get to be wasted while earning it.
Traditionally the winner would buy everyone a round at the beer joint after the poker game if it wasn’t already too late, but that wasn’t written in stone. On occasion the winner would be too intoxicated to go to the beer joint, which was my case the only time I ever won. This particular night was not one of those occasions. We started the night around 2 when everyone left the office and headed to a skeet range on a landowner’s property. Since we had leased him and did all of the curative work for the well that was about a quarter mile from the skeet range he always invited us out to drink, shoot, and grill out. Sounds good to me! When I wasn’t driving back (about a half hour from town), I’d let loose and drink as much as I wanted. Well, even when I did have to drive back I’d still let loose and drink as much as I wanted, for the most part.
Normally we went out to the skeet range on Wednesdays but it had been rained out the night before, so we wanted to get things started early out there and then get back for the poker game. I honestly haven’t been able to shoot skeet since middle school, so I normally don’t bother trying (I’d rather drink beer and eat BBQ than waste money shooting at clay pigeons). I drank a couple Bud Lights (everyone down there drank Bud Light for some reason, until then I was more of a Miller Lite guy) before dinner and a couple more on the ride back to the hotel. By the time I got downstairs to the conference room for the poker game my eyes were pretty glazed over. I know this because my buddies reminded me repeatedly throughout the card game. If it’s possible to be too drunk to play cards, I was. Fast forward a few hours (I can’t be more specific because I kept drinking beers as I watched my stack of chips dwindle down to nothing) and I was shitfaced.
One of the girls on our crew emerged victorious and won $200 or so from the pot. Most of the people that had lost earlier in the game had already gone to the beer joint so we decided to meet them there. I was in no condition to be going out in public so of course I agreed to go as long as I didn’t have to drive (I hope no one would have let me even if I had volunteered). At some point right before, or maybe on the way there, I blacked out. I have a faint memory of talking with some people from Alabama at the beer joint, and might have had “just one more beer” a few times, as a good landman always should. I think I was drinking Budweiser because I remember somebody talking about my “dinner in a can.” The place closed down a little before 2 so we all headed back to the hotel. I have a fuzzy recollection of about 5 too many people being crammed into the backseat. My memory fails me by this point, so I’m going to have to relay the events as I heard them the next day.
I woke up at 7:45 with my phone ringing. It was one of my coworkers (who had not been with us the night before), which was unusual for a Friday morning…or a Friday at all. When I answered he said that the owner of our company was on his way to the office and everyone needed to get there ASAP. This naturally triggered a “holy shit what the fuck is he coming in for?” response. My coworker said he didn’t know the reason but our boss was pissed and he ended the call. As I sat up in bed I realized I was extremely hungover, my head was pounding and I felt like my vision was even somewhat blurred. Then I realized that my jeans were bunched up around my ankles (I still had on my boxers), and my boots were half off but still stuck in the legs of my jeans, hanging off the end of the bed. What a way to pass out, let me tell you. My swimsuit was laying next to me on the bed, dry. I thought that was strange, but my buddies filled me in later that afternoon. (End of Part 1)