Last night was the last poker session for the year.
6 of us in total, met in the dingy backroom of the local pool hall.
It was a hot day, but we’d already committed to dressing up “like bosses”.

Some of us rode (which would have been a sight). Young men in suits riding plush; single speed,
bright green and white bicycles. I suppose not that weird, welcome to Melbourne.
I was late-ish, and slugging it out on foot.
“Hot day… tight pants, remember never to do this again” – I thought. Welcome to Melbourne.

Sitting around the table, the first few rounds are cheap and cheerful.
Everyone’s catching up. Everyone’s got time and money. High spirits, low stakes.
I buy a round of drinks for everyone, knowing full-well that I have taken more money at these
tourneys than I have forked out. The fellas are pleased at my generosity and I feel the universe tilt,
tilt ever so slightly in my favour. Good karma time. The banter between the boys continues between sips.

The first break and I’m even-stevens. Its a beautiful summers day outside.
Somewhere in earshot some folks are playing table tennis, the lads have a smoke while I use the gents.
At the urinal I see only 1 tag. “Brass Don’t Tarnish“. What the hell does that mean to the person that wrote it? I’ve considered looking it up on google. But i’ll savour the mystery.
I should take this moment to say. I am a creature of habit. With poker and sport i’m big on superstition.
Upon reading BDT, I felt the omen. Tonight was my night. And all the lights in my brain lit up. Everything I do from now is a + or – on the luck scale. Focus.

We resume. Door closed air-conditioning on.
‘Z’ is out before you know it. He’s a hard man to read in poker because he doesn’t know what’s going on alot of the time, I would swear by it.
A few rounds later its an unfortunate “all or nothing” from Shagz. He buys back in.
Declan soon after goes out on a pair of 8’s buys back in… 2 hands later, goes out. Buys back in.
Things have heated up. There’s 50% more money in the total stake. I buy a Pasito.

Another break and we’re down to 4.
In the bathroom I realise from the multitude of sinks that I could choose from to wash my hands,
I’ve chosen to wash them in the far corner. For no justifiable reason except that it’s now habitual.
I return to the table contemplating ‘BDT’ and whether or not I’ve picked out the lucky sink & tap.
I think I catch Ratman fixing the deck, but it doesn’t phase me. I fold.

We’re all a bit on edge, it’s crunch time. I’m ‘big stack’ after a multitude of small wins.
Laurence, Ratman, Dec and I. Its really not Dec’s night. The cards just ain’t falling for him.
I notice the guy haven’t spoken in about 30 minutes. Not a peep. The shuffle on my iPhone goes from Bob Marley to The Spice Girls. The boys perk up and sit through the entire 2 minutes 55 seconds of “Wannabe”.

One hand after the other. Declan is taken out by Ratman. Ratman is taken out by Laurence and finally Laurence is taken out by me. I am tonight: The big, lucky fish.
I pay the tab we’ve racked up and wonder if I didn’t win, if the gentlemen would have done the same.
“Probably not” – I find myself thinking awkwardly.

Effectively they just paid me to buy them all drinks. This is why I gamble with friends.
“I’m horribly unlucky” I tell myself and others. This way I always win.

We exit the pool-hall and all the bikes have been stolen.
The police station is on the way to my house.
So we all walk.

Discussing the Brass
Discussing the Tarnish
Discussing the Luck
And how I tapped into it.

Money lost among brothers, is another treasure of friendship.

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