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Have a Very +EV Xmas

While you are sitting down with your family to a nice Christmas ham, with the fire roaring in the fire place and the tree lit up for all to enjoy, thinking about all that is good in the world...

While your children wake up extra early to see what Santa Claus has left them under the tinsel-covered tree, with wide-eyes filled with glee...

I'll be gambling until my eyes bleed.

Yes folks, it's almost time for the best family tradition ever -- The Annual Christmas in AC trip!

The trip had its origins about 5 years ago, but before then, it actually had its origin in Thanksgiving, circa 1989. I was a ripe 10, and my mother was in the middle of a fued with her three sisters. Now, my Mother High is always to epitome of reason and her good natured self was undoutedly not at fault for the sister on sister hate. But, nonetheless, she was upset that this year, the sisters would have to split up for the holidays. My paternal grandmother, always the wonderful and generous undercover degenerate, heard about my mother's problem and came up with an ideal solution. "I know what will treat you up! Atlantic City!" And off we went.

For the next three or four years, Thanksgiving in AC was the norm. My brothers and I spent our time playing massive amounts of videogames, both on the Sega Genesis in the room and at the various arcades, which were a staple to any AC casino and the boardwalk. Ah, the boardwalk. I remember one day, I must've been no older than 12, that I entered into one of the arcades and saw a little-known new game by the name of Street Fighter II. Yep, II. I didn't even know there was a I. I must've spent $5 in 25 cent games, but damnit I beat that sucker using my main man Blanka. SFII and I began dating after that. When I see her from time to time, I still get choked up.

There was another time when a bunch of "urban" youths surrounded me, my bros, and my two cousins on bikes on the boardwalk and threatened us in order to get our dough. Thank you old man, who came over to step in the way of a sure-fire pride assassination. Thank you much!

Unfortunately, time heals all wounds, and Mother High and her sisters restarted the holiday gatherings. The turkey sandwich at the Carousel Cafe in Tropicana Hotel was replaced by a real turkey. The dealers and floorpersons were replaced by aunts and uncles. The urban roughnecks replaced by cousins.

Fast forward. I had just finished college at the University at Buffalo. Wifey Kim, then a mere Girlfriend Kim, and I were deciding what to do for the holidays. My family no longer had any set tradition. Her family did the generic Xmas stand-in: Chinese food and a movie.

The idea struck like a light bulb. A-fucking-C. That year it was just Wifey Kim and I. Xmas time in AC is an interesting thing. There are fewer people, but it still feels crowded because most of the restaurants/bars are closed. It almost feels like its late night all of the time because so many places are closed. There is a sea of Jews, geriatrics and Asians everywhere you look. The Christmas decorations add a touch of extra spirit to the already gambling-crazed crowd. It may not sound like it, but it is sheer bliss.

The second year, Platinum and JDub joined us. Apparently, it was a hard sell for either of their women. Wifey Kim, always the trooper, hung tough with the boys. The year after that, Wifey Kim and I went solo again. However, we met up with my parents in AC. They had came to the same conclusion as us. AC was the place to be free, and I got what it takes to rock the mike right, yeah! We met them out at one of AC's local restaurants, Rafici's, way off the boardwalk in some nearby suburb. My parents grew up with Mother and Father Roose, so they were there as well.

Our yearly trip snowballed, and last year consisted of me and wifey Kim, Roose and his girlfriend, and Robbie Hole and his girlfriend. Hole's girl was actually not a member of the tribe (of Israel, if you catch my drift), but Hole, the degenerate that he is, still brought her along and then left Christmas morning to drive 4+ hours to Connecticut to be with her family. The six of us had a chance to bond and know each other a litttle bit better. AC will do that. The High and Roose parents also made the trip, along with Dave's bro Ian, and we all had our usual dinner at Rafici's. This was the location of the famed Mama High tasting incident, in which she looked at our neighbors at another table and said to me, "I want to get a bite of that food." Five minutes later, I saw them hand her a plate. They were complete strangers, but apparently Mother High's friendly demeanor and chatty self (and possibly a little of that Xmas magic) had the table neighbors OFFERING her a bite. She never even had to ask.

This year, Hole and woman will not attend. Apparently, 2 Xmases in AC was not in the cards, and they will be sorely missed. On the upside, my little brother Clam David will attend with his lovely girlfriend. They are a welcome addition to the crew, which also will include parents High and Roose, and Ian and wife.

So, what's the point of all this? I guess for me it is partially just reliving old memories. I'm also psyched up for this weekend, but not for the usual reason. Poker is great, but on these trips it takes a back seat to spending time with friends and family. Sure, we do it at a craps table rather than a dinner table. Sure, we go to the cashier's cage instead of openning presents. But in the end, it's all the same. Christmas is a time to enjoy the company of family. Even I, a tribe member, understand and appreciate that.

So, lots of -EV games with Wifey Kim. Lots of time shooting the shit with friends and family. It's Christmas time and I couldn't be more excited!

posted by Jordan @ 1:15 PM,


At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved Streetfighter 2.Had it for the Snes and many a happy night of smokin' and fighting took place in my youth.

Hated that Blanka though.Big green donkey that he was.
Ken rules!

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"..member of the tribe."

Have fun at AC!!!

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Blanka too, but that day he and I were buds. I'm a Ken guy myself. He's like Ryu, only he's got the cool throwing kick move.

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