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The Biggest Bluff In Poker Radio Show History?

Let me guess? The title comes across as cocky. Some people might think that, but others are wiser. They realize that the title is the hook. In other words, it’s designed to get you to click on the article, which you have done. Therefore, it’s an effective title. And they’re not really called titles when it’s an article. They’re called headlines, or heds for short. In most cases, you just use the word ‘hed.’ But if I use the word ‘hed,’ then Keith Napier will start thinking all weird and make sick jokes on FlopHouse Radio. This is why I never use the word ‘hed’ when referring to ‘titties.’ I mean … ‘titles.’ I guess I’m a hypocrite. Aren’t we all?

As far as The Biggest Bluff In Poker Radio Show History, I don’t know if that’s accurate or not. Hence the question mark in the title. However, I do know that I’m not bluffing about you reading about the bluff on the radio show. Was that confusing? My bad. As a poker player, I’m supposed to confuse you. As a writer, I’m supposed to be clear. It will be clear very soon.

When I co-host FlopHouse Radio, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. This is especially the case when it’s a big-name guest because I have to do a lot of homework, and because we have to be more cautious with the interview. Someone like Matt Savage or Ruth Hall probably isn’t going to want to talk about “Titties on the Interweb,” which is something Keith likes to talk about. He doesn’t just like to talk about it. He said he might get t-shirts printed.

Anyway, my point here is that I wanted to take a breather and invite a guest nobody knew. The guest’s name was Fred, but his real name is Bob, and his nickname is West Virginia Bob.

I had the idea to bluff the poker community. In a sick kind of way, I wanted to outplay people off the felt. I know that’s wrong and demented. My bad. But I also did it because I knew it would be fun. I came up with a story and presented it to Bob to ask if he could pull it off.

I called Bob and we talked about the plan. It was an excellent conversation because we would both say, “Well that wouldn’t work because…” and we would fix it until we got the story right. You’re about to read Bob’s email the day of the radio show, which was to confirm we had the story right. He also added a few brilliant twists of his own. Prior to reading the email, I’ll give you the basic premise.

Bob was going to be ‘Fred,’ who worked as a doctor in 1991 but was bored with life. A nurse that he caught feelings for had left months earlier and later contacted him to come see her in Wisconsin, where she was living with a group of people on a beautiful property on a lake. He accepted the invitation, but he didn’t know he was going to be walking into a cult atmosphere, as well as a location that was a compound you couldn’t escape.

When discussing the plan on the phone, I mentioned that since the compound was gated with barbed-wire fencing and armed guards, he would have to escape through the lake with snorkeling equipment so he wouldn’t be detected. Bob thought I was a little cuckoo with this idea at first, but it made sense.

If you can tell a story that’s a little too crazy, it becomes more believable. As long as you don’t go too far. The listener or reader will think: That’s too crazy to be fiction. Additionally, the uniqueness of something like using a snorkel to make it across the lake in order to not be detected engages the listener/reader more because it’s not something standard. It’s almost a guarantee that it’s something they never heard before.

Bob really went out of his way on this one. He’s not tech savvy and even went out and bought a headset and signed-up for Skype (under the name Fred) to be on the radio show. We used the last name ‘Hawtin’ because that’s a DJ’s name I was listening to when I came up with this idea.

After the show, Bob told me the entire experience was invigorating. That made me feel really good. This might surprise some readers since more than one person recently referred to me as the friendliest narcissist they have ever met.

I understand that, but those who really know me understand that I have one of the biggest hearts you will ever find. A true narcissist would never think or write that. I just never lived in a world with affection. That leads to someone who isn’t easily offended and is never soft and mushy, which can then come across as not caring, but that’s not true. It’s just a natural subconscious self-protection mechanism that I don’t even realize I’m using.

If I care about someone, I will do anything for them. Until they let me down. Most do. I’m not complaining though. It’s human nature for people to put themselves first. Some people admit it, others don’t. I just accept that this is the world we live in. Ironically, my core is different than most because I want nothing more than to be good and caring all the time, but that simply doesn’t work in this world so I have adapted to my environment.

Well that was a little off-topic but it needed to be written so readers (and listeners) have at least a slight chance of understanding me. Put simply, I just want to be a good person. At the same time, my personality is based off my experiences. And, to be honest, I like it this way.

Bob is a bit similar to me, which is why we get along well. The biggest difference is that his Awareness Score is a 56 of 100 (strong 56). I won’t reveal my score (given by someone else). I’ll just say it’s higher.

However, on this night, Bob’s Awareness Score was 100. The dude got on the air and sounded like someone I’d never even heard before. He was so soft spoken and calm, and he just slid into that story like it was reality. He later told me that he actually believed the lie he was telling when he was on-air.

This was also the only time in the history of our radio show where nobody but the guest said anything for 25 minutes straight. Bob told this tale while everyone listened, mesmerized as if sitting around a campfire. After he was done telling his story, we started asking questions about his experience. I was playing along; Raquel and Keith weren’t in on it and thought this story was true.

About 10 minutes after Bob got off the air, I told Raquel and Keith that I had a surprise. I talked about setting up a tight image so you could get away with a bluff. Then I revealed Fred’s true identity. We had a good laugh. Nothing like a good practical joke when you pull it off.

Below is Bob’s email to me the day of the radio show…

I’m Fred Wayne (Because my dad liked John Wayne) Hawtin…

Retired (After 23 yrs.) orthopedic surgeon from Pikeville Medical Center in Pikeville, KY.

Paint Lick Elementary school….Lancaster HS…1970….UNC Chapel Hill for under graduate…1974……Emory University Medical School school…1978….Grady Memorial orthopedic residency…1982

I met Tyler at 7-11 in Huntersville, at the Slurpee machine….I’m addicted to the blue Slurpee…We started talking when I shot a napkin into the trash can and he said “nice shot”….I learned Tyler was a poker player and we talked about our group of guys that play a little beginner poker….We play 50¢-$1 no limit hold ‘em poker…..Buy in for $100. No rebuys until all your chips are gone…..It’s costing me a lot of money to learn this poker business……After that we talked several times there and I told him of my cult experience….

In 1989 I met a travel OR nurse named Cassandra (Cassie) and we struck up a close relationship.

In March of 1990 her tour of duty ended, at our hospital, and she went back to travel work…

In September of 1990 I got a call from Cassie saying she in a place where she had found an inner peace and wanted me to come and experience it, with her.

By this time I was a little burned out with trauma surgery and I was missing that gal…

In October she shows up at my apartment and convinces me to go with her to Wisconsin…

On the way North, Cassie had told me that this group of people she lived with was led by a guy named Brandon…….They professed selflessness….They received their defining and inner peace by praying to the Lord Ja-Hai, group in the morning and at night……700 miles later I am introduced to this Utopia (It looked more like a POW compound).

Fenced on three sides and lake shore on fourth…..Armed men and women scattered around the perimeter….I asked what’s up with the GI Joe vibe as we were checked by two men…….

Cassie said it was to keep out the troublesome townies….

Cassie introduced me to some of the people that day…No Brandon…

That night campfires, roasting marshmallows, then LSD, shrooms, pot, pcp, you name it…..Then taps would be played…

The next morning I was awakened by a sad rendition of reveille.

The grounds consisted of a central meeting building with 4 pairs of buildings surrounding it….Plus one segregated building…(Brandon’s abode)…Each pair was two buildings connected by a smaller building containing 4 stalls and 5 sinks and four showers….Sparkling clean…..The showers had to be completed by 0800…

After praying to Ja-Hai we had our hands inspected for cleanliness before breakfast (They were obsessed with cleanliness) and duty assignments posted on common house board…Everybody had job…Cooking by the ladies, primarily….Men litter, bathrooms, gardening, building repair, fishing, teaching the kids, laundry, and assorted other things…I got litter pick up my first day, later promoted to medical officer and litter officer….

Brandon presided over the prayer period spouting the generic universal cosmos connection gibberish….

Cassie and I wanted to be intimate but, had to Get Brandon’s permission….Everybody had to get his permission, for intimacy….Later found out anything done had to have his permission…Well we went before the self-proclaimed Shepard of the flock and were denied our request for intimacy and were denied…I realized this was way more than I could endure so, I figured I would just walk to Prairie de Luc and head home….

So, I started through the gate the next morning and was stopped and told I could not leave. Well they had guns and numbers so, I backed down…Half an hour later I was shunned by these religious folks…No one was allowed to talk to me for a week….

The second time I tried going through the woods but, they had sentries there too.

This whole time I had been talking secretly to Cassie about my desire to leave…Except the two weeks of shunning…..We did find a way to be intimate without Brandon’s blessings…..My third and successful attempt was because Brandon found out about our intimacy…..Cassie had confessed this to him……I knew I had to get out, at all costs.  Cassie told me he was furious because he wanted her for himself…..We conspired to get me out but, Brandon not know she was in on it….She was allowed to leave the compound for getting supplies and recruiting…..

The next time she was to go into town she was to call a high school friend, Phillip, who used to get hired, by parents, to snatch their kids out of cults and deprogram them. So, I knew he could help me….On June 28th he would toss a snorkel and fins over the fence at 3:00 in the morning…..Because everybody, but the guards, were in a drug induced state…I took these and hid them in a litter bin because I was one of the litter detail guys……

The next night I kissed Cassie good night….I got up at 2:30 and told her I had to go to the bathroom…She was awake and slept diagonal to my bunk….Our two building’s bins were outside the bathroom connecting building….I Grabbed the swim gear and slipped into the lake and snorkeled across to Phillip waiting on the other side and we hauled ass back to Kentucky…I have no idea what happened to Cassie or that group…

End Email

And this is how the ploy was set into motion. If you would like to listen to this radio show, ask Raquel Gent for the link. She will send it to you. In regards to my deep writings above, please understand that I believe everything happens for a reason, as long as you find a way to turn negatives into positives.

The biggest example of this in my life is that I grew up without any other kids around (most of the time). That is what led to me creating my own worlds whether playing or writing. This, in turn, led to me being an escapist storyteller, which is my purpose. My job is to help people escape from reality for a little bit so they can relieve stress. Therefore, in an indirect way, I’m a very caring individual.

♠ Tyler Nals | pokerjournal.org