Going broke again…with dignity

My name is Gregory James Cardoza but cool people call me Goyo or Goyito. My grandfather used to call me that. He didnt talk that much. Neither did I before I met my wife, but that’s for another blog.

This blog is about all of the crazy fucking things I have seen propping poker during the graveyard shift at the Western Casino in glorious Clovis California.

Sunday night one of our regular patrons came up to me – not having seen him for a few months I asked how he was, “Oh very bad, I am this close,” he pinched his thumb and finger together inches from my eye. “This close to die! Like a hair!” “Jesus, what happened?” I was interested. I would have loved to sit and hear all about his heart attack but the whip was cracked, Tino was eyeballing me to sit down at the closest Omaha game. I looked Armand in the eye, winced and whispered, “Tino.” “No, brother go to work,” he grabbed my shoulder and raised an eyebrow, “Watch him.”

Working in a card room you meet a lot of interesting people and you have daily opportunities to make really bad choices – such as making uncollateralized loans to people who enjoy gambling. Praise to the poker gods the Western saw fit to include a strict but rarely adhered to policy against loaning money to patrons. Probably a good thing since they found one of Lucky Garden’s patrons, a wonderful 76 year old Chinese lady, executed by someone she owed a lot of money to. She would chase and slay the dragon at the Baccarat table and after her husband passed, the inheritance earned her quite the reputation as a big player. It wasn’t long before dangerous people with handy cash started lending her money. First the loans were just to keep her in action until the bank opened, then until she sold a car, then a house. Then they found her wrapped up tight in a nice package in what was probably her own Louis Vuitton suitcase, floating in the San Francisco bay. Once they know you won’t pay, they kill you, publicly – makes it more likely the next degen will pay. Anyway, Armand was working towards asking me for $20 and Tino, whether he knew it or not, gave me an easy out.

I don’t borrow money and I don’t lend money at the casino, and 95% of the time I don’t do it in the real world either. #1, I got kids. #2, In most situations money is not the fix, and until they understand that, they will always be in need of a loan. There is a difference between an emergency need, a spending deficit and a lifestyle or psychological leak. Money will only fix the first. If it truly is an emergency and I can afford to give it then that’s what I do, if I feel like it. If I can’t afford to give it, I don’t ever entertain lending it, hoping I get it back. This is cut and dry.

Especially not now – I need money to work. I don’t need a lot because I am good.  The games I prop require buy ins of $40 to $100. My poker coach Tommy Angelo asked me one day what my poker bankroll was. I told him $35 and he laughed and said, “Seriously, what is it, that’s not a bankroll.” “Seriously, I know, but I’m gonna go drive Lyft and get that up to $40 so I can go clock in at the casino.” $100 will get me into any game IF I am needed and there is a good chance I’ll pick a spot to get my money in good. I might work for a month off of that $100 or I might bust out five minutes after clocking in, but really there is no choice. There is no other job in Fresno or Clovis for me. Production work never came back after the housing bubble, so this $24/hr job is probably the best I can hope for. Amazon is hiring for $12/hr. Driving Lyft averages $10/hr unless you have a new car. Besides, I like working here. You get to hang out, shoot the shit and people really don’t bother you if you don’t let them. I have a thick skin, I like it when they try. 

So here I am, broke again. I’m married. Our marriage therapist Grechen asked in our last session what my plan was to get out of the hole, what I was going to do different to put food on the table. Before I could finish my sentence she chimed in with, “So more of the same?” I’m looking over at my wife Monica, seething. I laughed a little which really pissed them off. I always laugh when they fuck themselves out of a nugget of truth I would have shared. “So you think this is funny?” I do have an excellent poker face, “Not at all.” What I was going to say, but was interrupted, I fucking hate being interrupted. What I was going to say to Grechen and my wife Monica was that I was working on plans to rob the casino.





Dr. Dolittle

There is no better way to fuck yourself in life than not listening. In poker you don’t have to listen to people. You can play at level I your entire life, ignoring the world around you. With a solid starting hand range you would do better than most sitting down at a low limit table or even a small NL game – short stack shoving preflop with any wired pair over 10s. But if you are going to play real poker, and you are going to play for a living you need every scrap of information you can get. You are piecing together a mystery that makes the difference between the lights staying on or going broke.


Dr. Dolittle just told me I’d be moving to Kaiser on Fresno St., apparently kaiser found out they were paying for an off site incarceration. “You call youself a screenwriter and you are watching such a poorly lit movie?” I was watching the latest Tarzan. Dr. Dolittle is a moron.

One Dick

There is a real dick of a paramedic that I Gregory James Cardoza vow to fuck up either legally or physically. I honestly don’t understand why people like to pick on the mentally ill. I was apprehended in my front yard after screaming, “I’m looking for Warriors!” over and over out my front door. I had two Bang drinks so I was a little exited. Anyway a dude in shorts with an AR and some buddies took me down. I don’t struggle with the police unless I feel like I have the tactical advantage. The only thing that happens when you struggle is you get hurt. More on this later, we are talking about a dick.

Smash cut to the back of an ambulance, I’m on my back, four point restraints. Not my first time here. “So you’re gonna kick everyone’s ass huh, good luck.” “Look dick, you tied my wrist so hard with this fucking thing my wrist bones are touching.” I’m on my back, head towards him, he’s got his foot resting on my forehead, as I talk he digs his heel into my head.” Dude I will give you $100,000 if you break my neck. I swear to fucking christ I will, so easy just a little more pressure. I will suck your dick if you do it.” He stopped, of course.

Johnny marijuana appleseed

My celly here at Fresno Reoginal Community center just told me he wants to grow a marijuana plant “just for ornamental purposes.” Believe it or not folks this is absolutely legal. I told him I bought some “les than topshelf,” banana kush last year and could probably hook him up with some seeds. Unfortunately he lives in Delano so I may have to stop at the Aviator for some gas money. Either way, he takes the seeds and grows them  –  I post picks of us smoking when its grown! Pics or it never happened!

Radio Tradio!!!!!

The cops took my meds!  I am looking for any vapable medical marijuana to be brought to room 530-A. Ask for Gregory James Cardoza. I prefer sativas but I’ve been a little stressed so some indica is probably more in order. I am in the lovely city of Fresno Regional Medical Center, the old Fresno Community Unity.

Exploiting 4/8 LH

Always do live 8 when requested by a patron. it will blow them away and you should be good enough to still keep an edge. I do this even when I have my last money on the table.  It is pirate discipline. Your opponents can barely see your true net worth even if it is $40. I get asked 2x per year to do this. It is okay to play exploitably if no one will exploit you.