Unidentified blogger and TBC at Harrah's Joliet in May 2012
first met Tony Bigcharles
last February. Before that I had seen him playing poker late at night at O'Sheas and Bill's a year ago but was on my way back to my room those nights and was only looking to hit the sheets. Actually, I had played at the same table with Tony for a few seconds in Bally's on a previous trip but he left immediately after I came to the table. Since the first meeting we have exchanged some texts, calls and tweets, and spent a little time together. I guess that I was not quite expecting the drama that would become part of my Las Vegas experience on this trip.
My trip to Las Vegas had been planned for a couple of months -- pretty much just after my September trip was cancelled at the last minute. Since Tony had been living outside of Las Vegas late in 2012 I was thinking that I might not see him this trip. However, shortly before my trip began, Tony told me that he planned on coming back to Las Vegas for a short weekend. Of course, not being one of TBC's "upper tier" of friends, he would not disclose where he was currently located. Seeing that I was renting a car this trip and could have mapped out any driving routes ahead of time, keeping the mighty secret from me was a bad strategy for someone who could have used some free transportation. Of course, it is not like TBC has a reputation for making +EV decisions.
Once I arrived in Las Vegas, the text messages and tweets began. Early on, I received the following text message: " i mean ill tell you where i am if u promise to make the (secret information!) min drive." Hmmm ... sorry Tony, but if you won't even tell me where you are you need to find someone else to fetch you. At one point he texted me something like "Can you pick me up here?" My response: "I don't even know where here is!" Tony continually questioned me about my lack of internet access since I was still able to get texts sent from Twitter whenever my name was mentioned. Suspicion seems to be his middle name. He wanted me to check his blog so that I could read the post he wrote about me, and as the next few days went on my lack of checking became part of my failure to be a friend in his mind. Heck, he seemed so possessive that at some point I texted him "I am NOT your girlfriend."
I don't think that Tony ever fully understood that I had a full plate of things to do and many people to see in Las Vegas. His plan was to get into town on Friday and sleep, waiting until Saturday to do anything. I had come into town partially to play in the tournament for poker bloggers on Saturday afternoon, effectively covering most of that day. However, that did not keep Tony from suggesting that I donk out of the tournament early so that I could see him. Whaaaaaat???? Additionally, just before the tournament started, I got three rapid fire texts from Tony: "Get here fast"; "Will feed u"; and "Bring car." I had to explain that the tournament was getting ready to start, and no -- I was not entering a tournament just to make a quick exit to see him. Unfortunately, Tony, without saying anything to me, decided that he would take a three-hour nap so that we could do something together that night. My plan, as explained in my last post, was to catch the Aerosmith/Cheap Trick concert if time permitted.
When Tony found out I was going to the concert, he appeared hurt and miffed. He texted me "Why is seeing me bottom of list? Should be whole reason for coming." Ummm ... no! I made plans to meet him at Riviera the next morning to play some Limit poker. He warned me that I would have to be there well before 10:00 a.m. or I would not get a seat.
I usually do not wake up in Las Vegas until the late morning at the earliest. On Sunday I woke up at about 9:30 a.m. in Harrah's. Sheesh -- no way to make it to the Riv on time. I texted Tony to let him know I was on my way. With no shave and no shower, I threw on a Chicago Bears outfit and walked down to the Riviera. Fun times were to come!
When I got to the Riv, Tony was playing in a $1-3 NL game -- the only table running. He was very unhappy that a Limit game was not running. He had already lost some money and wanted to leave. I stopped to say "hi" to Mark, the poker room manager who had gone far out of his way to help Tony earlier in the summer. Tony then told me that he called Mark a liar for telling him there would be a Limit game. Of course, I raked Tony over the coals for crapping on a guy who had tried so hard to help him. He was definitely not happy that I told him that he was a shitty friend and treated friends like shit. Tony then talked about eating at Wynn, and his "generous" offer was to have my brother and I pay him 50% of the amount of the comps we would use. We declined.
Tony asked if we could drive to a casino that had a spread game, so we walked back to Harrah's, meeting my brother along the way, and went to the Suncoast Casino and got on the list for the Omaha 8 spread game. My brother and I were hungry and invited Tony to eat with us at the buffet, which caused Tony to get agitated. He was upset that I wouldn't wait to get seated, but who knows how long that might have taken? He apparently got worried that my brother and I would want to leave right after eating (don't expect Tony's thinking to make good sense) and he threw a hissy fit outside the poker room. I got pissed and just held up my hands, walked away and told him to stay away from me. I headed to the buffet to join my brother, and Tony soon came after settling down.
After eating (Tony did a quick dine and dash to the poker room), I went to the poker room and saw Tony seated at the spread game table, already looking comfortably ahead. I got seated a short time later. He played pretty well and seemed to be hitting every hand, soon gathering a mountain of chips. However, he fell into his usual routine of jabbering away at the table, analyzing hands and irritating players, and counting out the pots out loud and ticking off the dealers. If Tony could just learn to not talk so much he wouldn't alienate players the way he does.
Following an afternoon of spread Omaha, we headed back to The Strip. During the ride, my brother delighted in telling TBC that he met and voted for Obama! Fun times. We were tempted to rob Tony and leave him in a ditch, but decided to show some mercy. We dropped him off at Circus Circus, where he headed up to his room to sleep. My brother noted that after going to the Riv, carting Tony's butt to Suncoast, paying for his lunch, playing cards all afternoon and driving him back, there were a few words that he seemed to forget, like "thank you." I guess I wasn't expecting that, having spent some time with him on other occasions.
Tony told me he was heading back to his secret location in the morning. The next day my brother and I headed out to some off-strip casinos. I exchanged a few texts with Tony, who seemed to be somehow expecting that I would be driving to his secret location -- wherever that was. Later on when I tweeted about meeting up with some other friends in Las Vegas, he started sending me a number of tweets and texts -- angry that I was meeting with other friends, that other people weren't wanting to visit with him, that he was "a little fed up with everyone," that Carmen ignored him, that he did me a big favor by trying to set up a meeting between Carmen and me and he didn't even get a thank you from me (of course I had no idea he was trying to do this), that he did not get one text from me that evening, that none of his "fucking readers" were commenting on his blog, upset people wanted to meet me and be friends but not him, upset I ignored him, upset he didn't sell his airline voucher, upset I wouldn't drive to hang out with him that day (I still do not know where he was!), upset about other friends who have failed him, upset about how he wrote a post about valuing my friendship and I "made no effort to find a way to read it," upset how he did everything he could to make me feel special, ... So yes, sometime during all these tweets and texts I finally reached my limit and sent him a tweet that simply said "gfy." I was having a great time kicking ass in a Venetian $1/2 game and was tired of his rants. Can anyone blame me?
So ... how does one process all this stuff -- attempt to understand it all? I think Tony had good intentions, but similar to his gambling problems, he is his own worst enemy. I appreciated his desire to show his friendship and spend some time with me. Unfortunately, spending time with Tony can sometimes be problematic. He has been 86ed from many casinos visitors might frequent, including the Caesars and MGM groups. Since his bankroll is now so low, he is unable to play any $1/2 NL games. Outside of gambling, he appears to have very few interests. He did not seem to understand in the least that his goals for my visit and my goals for my visit were completely different. He expects that you will do things on his schedule and in his way. When he felt slighted (and certainly there was no intention on my part to do so) he appeared to get angry and possessive, culminating in the guy who "valued my friendship" taking me to task in his blog for not living up to his specifications for friendship.
To his credit, when we did speak on the phone the other day he did say he was sorry that things got all messed up with my visit. I still consider Tony my friend, still support him, and wish him well despite his tendency to be his own worst enemy. So, sorry to disappoint if anyone was looking for a "revenge post." Like many who are friends with Tony, I have learned that there are some unpleasant things that one must accept if you deal with him. Being a professional educator, I hope that, if nothing else, my visit gave him some insight into dealing with friends.
And that, my readers, is some insight into the TBC Experience -- lightning36 style!