Most people who follow me on social media know that I’m a big fan of Joey Ingram; not just for his podcasts or PLO strategies, but far more because of his positive attitude towards life. The fact is that he’s an incredibly fun and funny guy to be around and hang out with, plus he’s super-intelligent and thoughtful. If you get to know him well enough and have a deep conversation with him – like I did here – you’ll also find that when all the layers are peeled off, he’s just got a good soul. Enough lovey-dovey talk though – yesterday I had the opportunity to see Joey for the first time in a year-and-a-half. He and his wizard assistant Jonah (who it was wonderful to finally meet as well!) mentioned they’d be getting a $1/$1 PLO game together at the Mirage. Who am I to turn down such a GTO opportunity?

Upon arriving at the Mirage poker room, I found Joey and Jonah surrounded by a motley crew of miscreants. Alright, I confess that that last expression is in there just so I can sound cool and hip to the literary crowd out there (you guys are there, right?) 🙂 . Truthfully though, I don’t think I’ve ever played at a poker table quite like the one I sat at. The group of guys gathered round to play “the great game” quite simply made me feel old. At 35, it’s not like I’m eligible for the WSOP Super Seniors event or anything, but the sheer speed at which words were escaping these guys’ lips and their fingers were flying on their cellphones had me feeling my age. But boy was this a fun crowd! The decibel level at our table easily out-noised that of the rest of the room’s dozen-or-so tables combined. Pizzas were ordered, shots were had – and had, and had (not by me of course; I needed to remember all the details for this article 🙂 ). Nits were endlessly needled and slowrolls, if not encouraged, were certainly cheered on especially when carried out by the grand PAPI himself.

Witnessing Joey’s Mutombo-like finger wag when telling his opponents that their cards were no good and that “nah, I’ve got that beat” was quite simply a thing of beauty. I’m usually used to being the chatty one at the poker table, but this time I was quite content to sit back, watch, and listen; to soak in the excitement and atmosphere generated by this garrulous group of goodfellas.

Aside from our first dealer, who had clearly woken up on the wrong side of his bed that morning (or perhaps was just grumpy that Doug Polk wasn’t also going to be showing up?), every dealer who sat in the box also seemed to revel in the table’s joyous vibe. Also, it was pretty cool (yes, I’m vain) when a couple of the guys saw me wearing my Cardplayer Lifestyle patch and asked to be “sponsored”, so I happily shipped ‘em a couple – shout out to the patch-wearers! On that note, keep your eyes peeled (allegedly?) for a patch appearance on an upcoming Poker Life podcast 🙂 .

Sadly (for me), even though I had SO MANY CARDS dealt to me each hand, they just wouldn’t cooperate. Slowly, but surely, my stack dwindled until I saw the last of my chips pushed to Joey. $200 down but grateful for the high and experience, I said my goodbyes, pounded the fists, and left with awesome memories that I know will last me a lifetime.

Oh, and I almost forgot… not that there was any cloud, but my bankroll had a little personal silver lining on the night. Somehow, the video poker gods saw to it that I’d head to sleep with even more pep in my step, as two hands into a $15 session at a 25-cent machine near the Mirage exit, four beautiful aces popped up and sent 800 coins my way. Now that’s a “four-card hand” that would make even the baddest of regs crack a smile.

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