- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Thirty years ago, the afternoon his alma mater won the big game, he wore a purple, small-peaked frosh cap. "It brought us luck," he says, and he still uses it. The moths attacked it one summer and it shows other effects of age, but he refused to let anybody repair or dry-clean it, lest it lose its magic. He wears it to the poker game, where his appearance is always greeted with a "Rah! Rah! Rah!"
"Yea, team," is his return greeting. The cap makes him look silly and he knows it. He smiles in the manner of a man who is willing to be the victim of a joke.
It is a sad joke: he is a consistent loser.
He has two interests: poker and the stock market. He plays unpromising hands and buys speculative issues. "Nobody ever made money without risk," he says. "Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie—they were all gamblers."
After each disastrous poker session, Gambler suffers from the insomnia of defeat. He tells himself he will quit the game (this time he means it). Soon he is at it again.
Other nights he pictures himself living his life over with advance knowledge of how everything will turn out. In these reveries, he wins all the chips and amasses a fortune on Wall Street.
Gambler approaches poker with fatuous optimism: tonight he will tighten up and stay out of the swindles. He thrusts aside the possibility that he may be outheld or outwitted.
Win or lose, he is willing to continue beyond the established quitting time.
"I love poker," he says. "It's always a thrill when I catch a straight or a flush. Even if somebody else catches a better hand, I get a kick out of it."