By Tenzin McGrupp © 2004
Every time I go to Foxwoods I see one of my favorite dealers, Sad Amy. She's in her mid 20s and she has a perpetual frown on her face. She looks like the actress Sarah Polley (from Go!) and I instantly developed a crush on her. She's an average looking gal, with shoulder length brown hair, but I just happen to have this unhealthy attraction to women who seem emotionally distressed. When I arrived, I saw that she was dealing the $5-10 Hold'em game (with a kill pot). And later on that night, she dealt at my table. I was happy.
You see, Sad Amy might not be that sad. I really have no idea. She always looks like one of her four cats just died. At any moment she could burst into tears. I wondered if she had a copy of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar in her locker, because she walks around with a blank, suicidal stare and a gaze that illicits a sympathetic response from McGrupp. When I first met her, I found solace in her sad eyes in between hands. Despite her somberness, she's an excellent dealer. No mistakes. She's like a machine and has very little time for chit-chat with the table. She never makes eye contact with the players. She deals the cards and points to you when it's your time to act.
When she first dealt at my $2-4 table last summer, I got the impression that she was having a bad day and that it might be her time of the month. My goal was to make her laugh. I tried my best material. No luck. Tumbleweeds rolled right by and you could hear a cricket sing in between the clatter of all the chips. I was way out of my league. She's one tough audience.
The next time I saw her one month later, she looked the same and I realized that this might be how she is all the time. I lowered my goals. I now tried to make her make eye contact with me. Then to tried to make her smirk. Then if I was on a roll, to get her to smile. Laughing seemed almost impossible for Sad Amy, kinda like trying to hit a home run off of Pedro Martinez when he's having his best day.
When she got pushed to my $4-8 table, I was in Seat 7. I said, "Hello Amy," and without looking she said, "Hi, McGrupp." For ten minutes that was all I got.
I always like to make smart-ass remarks at the table after someone else speaks. I must admit, I was playing so-so poker, but my comedic skills were all fired up. I loosened up the table a little bit with some McGrupp-esque comments on John Kerry and Howard Dean (something to the liking of Kerry marrying a ketchup heiress and how Howard Dean should have married into the Gulden's fortune) and Sad Amy didn't flinch.
Then out of nowhere, after I got rags, I tossed my cards back to Sad Amy and I let rip a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impression something like, "The gov-ah-ner of Cal-lee-fawna does not approve of deez caaaah-ds."
Well, the table was in stitches with laughter and Sad Amy cracked a smirk! I was fired up. That was better than getting pocket aces and flopping another ace. Two hands later I went in for the kill. My Bill Clinton impression is always a hit with the ladies. One guy said something like he had to get home before Midnight or his wife would divorce him and I let out in a cool, dry, Bubba Clinton Arkansas drawl, "Well there's a lot of things I don't tell Mrs. Clinton."
Again the table was roaring and this time Sad Amy looked at me and smiled. For someone whose mouth is perpetually turned down, it was an epic moment for me. I made Sad Amy smile. Next time I go to Foxwoods, I'm going to make her laugh.
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.