Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Strange, Sad Situation of TBC -- Tony Bigcharles

“It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma!” – Joe Pesci as David Ferrie in JFK.

Readers of this blog are likely familiar with Tony Bigcharles a.k.a. TBC, sevencard2003 and likely a host of profane nicknames given by denizens of poker rooms across the United States who have, at one time or another, witnessed the “TBC Experience” – the wacky talk, A-K shoves and crazy meltdowns. Comments in Tony’s blog have skyrocketed over the past few weeks as it looks like the TBC saga, as we know it, may be quickly drawing to a close.

A quick primer for those unfamiliar with Tony … Tony is in his mid-forties, single and lives in Las Vegas or other towns with casinos that feature poker rooms and most importantly, video blackjack, or VBJ, machines. Tony has told the world that he has been diagnosed as being somewhere on the autism spectrum, which is undoubtedly true. Think Asperger’s syndrome mixed with anxiety, fear, paranoia and racist and conservative political rants and you have TBC. His background and upbringing are well chronicled in cyberspace, the most significant of which are a family, including a mother and a son who live in Kansas, fundamentalist Christian and ultra-conservative viewpoints and a history of panhandling and homelessness. Tony has been surviving for several years by playing poker in Las Vegas and occasionally other cities, moving mostly from casino hotel to casino hotel using the comps he earns by his VBJ habit to absorb all or most of the costs of his housing and food.

However, things have recently taken a turn for the worse for Tony. His “roll” – or sockroll as some people call it (money purportedly hidden and carried in a sock), and in reality close to his net worth – has gone down from over $6000 to just above $1000 over the past few months, largely due to Tony’s inability to handle the frustration of losing, causing him to chase good money after bad. A losing poker session of a couple hundred dollars was likely to ignite a VBJ session where the losses were much more severe.

Now, however, Tony is trapped. His roll has gotten so low that he has virtually no money available to risk playing poker. Additionally, no money for VBJ

Those who have met Tony know that he is somewhat different than he appears through his online blog. He does not come off like a nasty person, but seems to be friendlier than one would expect. He appears to be more of a sympathetic, misplaced person than some type of egregious miscreant.

But … the big question is, what now? Many of us who know Tony would like to help, but how to do that is the question. Throwing money his way only enables him to continue his unproductive lifestyle. He rebuffs efforts to assist him in receiving psychological assistance. He comes up with excuse after excuse after excuse as to why he can’t/won’t get a job. His expectations for jobs, relationships and almost anything are not realistic. He feels trapped, and rightly so. He is his own worst enemy.

This drama is getting ready to move on to a new act. I am not sure where TBC is heading, but I can almost guarantee that once you start watching, it is difficult to turn away. Many people who have tried to assist TBC are keeping apprised of the situation, but are fearful of what might happen. If we are fearful, imagine what Tony must be thinking. The sad thing is, only he can turn things around for himself, and the gambling aficionados who follow his blog would likely see betting on his success as a –EV proposition.


Blogger Pete P. Peters said...

Nice summary, sir.... Those waiting for a train wreck have gotten their wish recently. It's hard to see how this ends well.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Rakewell said...

Good post. I've written about Tony a bunch of times on my blog, conveniently collected with a single label here, for those interested in another perspective on him:

4:14 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

I don't think you can help someone like Tony who doesn't want help.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Tatude said...

He was in a similar bind a few years ago but had his apt in KS to go back to. He was able to grind his roll back up and return to Vegas where he was able to get comped rooms and did pretty well. Unfortunately the free rooms have dried up and he has been banned at too many places so this time things are a bit different.

Not sure what the solution is. Can't talk any sense into him regarding the machines. He probably won't/can't get a job. He could eek out a living in Vegas but he would have to stick to poker and that won't happen. I would have staked him this week but he was off chasing that VBJ dream. Hopefully he is able to not end up on the streets again but it's not looking good.

5:40 PM  
Blogger grrouchie said...

From someone who has hung out with Tony for an extended period of time at one point and gotten to know him, this is pretty depressing.

However, to thy own self be true - Tony is true to himself to a flawed extreme.
He is his own worst enemy and it's always felt like it was just a matter of time before things broke down to an extreme (which he has narrowly missed many times through random good fortune - like winning a $5,000 drawing in Laughlin a couple of years back when he was running desperately low).

6:15 PM  
Blogger DuggleBogey said...

I'm not sure if the world is a better place with tony in it or not.

Of course there are people who would say the same about me, definitely.

But I cannot come up with one other person whose life is better because of tony. Can anyone?

6:48 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

I'm worried.

8:54 PM  
Blogger sevencard2003 said...

tatude if ud have texted me from vegas, id have told u something. and my roll was NOT low when i hit the drawing, it was still far better than now. in fact i dont remember it being below $2000 at all in the last 2 years except very brief.

the biggest issue is i am not comfortable going back into vegas and losing my room and roof without knowing for sure of a place i can immediately take for not more than $300 a month or $100 a week, without any upfront costs to move in except maybe that months or weeks rent. thats going to be hard to find. i really miss the $200 a month apt i used to have to go home to

11:26 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Interesting thoughts. It's frustrating wanting to help someone and knowing there's really nothing you can do.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Vookenmeister said...

great write up Lightning. you captured years and years of frustration in just a few extremely well designed paragraphs. I could spend months writing a book of advice on Tony and it wouldn't provide any more value than what was written above. He is his own worst enemy!

PS. love the design, look and feel of your blog. very snappy!

12:43 PM  
Blogger ManInBlack said...

Nicely written

12:35 AM  

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