Sam Grizzle Doesn’t Like My Toothpicks.

Unfortunately, this is the most exciting poker-related thing I can say about this trip to Vegas. 

I played two tournaments, bubbling the $300 at the Wynn on Thursday, then finishing 17th out of around 80 players at the $1000 at Bellagio on Friday.  In both tournaments I made a nice comeback and had plenty of chips just before my demise.  I then got into a big confrontations with bigger stacks, got my money in when I was ahead, and got drawn out on.  If I win either hand, I’m making big money.  Blah.

The cash games haven’t been much better.  I got into a juicy NL game at the Wynn, but had a few unlucky breaks there and couldn’t make much money.  Then I played in a 2-4 NL game at Mandalay Bay, which historically has always been among the fishiest of scenes.  But when I went (Thursday Night), I was disappointed to find that it was a table full of poker dealers from other properties, all of whom were good players, and some of whom were softplaying one another.  Far from ideal conditions.  Oh well.

As the title of this post implies, I had the opportunity to play with Sam Grizzle on this trip.  When the Bellagio tournament got down to two tables, I drew the seat to Sam’s immediate right.  Some of you might remember Mr. Grizzle from ESPN’s 2003 World Series of Poker coverage, when he and Phil Hellmuth were hurling insults at one another. 

Sam is a very interesting character.  He’s an older, weather-beaten looking man from South Carolina, a true veteran of the poker scene that plays mostly cash games.  He talks continuously while he plays.  His chatter, which is delivered rapidfire in a thick accent (he sounds kinda like Hank Hill’s jibberish-talking friend on “King of the Hill”) has a disorienting, dizzying effect on his opponents.  He simply does not shut up, even when hands are being contested.  He seems to have a talent for separating his brain from his mouth–he can make accurate reads and good decisions at the table while simultanesouly talking utter nonsense about scinitllating topics like the best catfish he ever tasted. 

Sam also has a reputation for being very surly and discourteous, to put it nicely.  Others might just say that he’s a jackass.  I do know that at one time he was banned from both the Mirage and Bellagio.  He has allegedly gotten into physical altercations with both Phil Helmuth and David Grey.  On Friday, though, Sam was running good and was in a capital mood.

Sam had just busted another player.  The other guy limped in early position and Sam checked his big blind.  The flop came A-2-5 rainbow and Sam led out with a 1/2 pot sized bet.  The other guy smooth called.  The turn was a 9, and again Sam bet half the pot, and got called again.  The river was a jack, and this time Sam made a big bet.  The other guy immediately went all in and Sam said “ah cawl” before the other guy could even push his chips into the pot.  The other guy showed a set of fives, but Grizzle turned over the 4-3 of spades.  He had flopped a wheel.  And boy was he delighted with himself.  He cackled for three solid minutes after the conclusion of the hand.

Playing next to Sam Grizzle went something like this:

So, ahm head-up in this Omahaw-eight tourn’ment.  This hadda be ’round ’92 or ’93.  And this guy cain’t play a lick.  I mean, yer sister can play better Omahaw-eight than this fella.  But he’s talkin’ all sorta mess.  Sez ah got no chaince ‘gainst ‘im.  Tells it to mah faice.  (Sam open-folds).  Well you know ahh ain’t takin’ that shit from this nobody, so ah sez to him, ‘aww right fella, how’s ’bout this here:  let’s the two of us play for awl the caish, second place gets nothin’.’  Well that shut ‘im up right good.  So then ah started beatin’ on him, pot after pot…  Hol’ on justa second while ah try to steal these here blinds…. (Sam raises three times the big blind).  So finally ah git this dummy down to ’round a third of the chips in play, and the blinds are a-way up there now… (the small blind puts in a reraise).  Reraise to how much?  Sementy-two hunnerd?  What in the hell could you have there, bud, bettin’ me sementy-two hunnerd?  Ah raise it up in second position and you pull that shit?…  Aww right, i’m gonna lay one down for you, fella, jus’ this one time… (Sam folds, dealer ships opponent the pot).  So where was I?  Right, so this guy comes in fer a raise and ah look down n’ see two aces and a duece.  So ah reraise this fella all in, and he cawls me with… get this… some boolshit haind like jack-nahn-semen-three.  (Sam open-folds the next hand)… An’ a-course what flops?  jack, nahn, semen.  This fool makes two payer on me.  But the turn ‘an river came a-runnin’ tens or some shit and ah win the damn tourn’ment.  Ain’t that some shit?  (Sam open folds again and notices my little box of toothpicks).  Care to share, pardner?  (I give Sam a toothpick and he pops it in his mouth, then makes an exaggerated funny face).  Goddamn, what in the fuck is een these things?  Awstrailyen tee-trea toothpics?!  My mouth is burnin’!  What kinda of bool-shit toothpick did you give me, fella?  Yer tryin’ to take me offa mah game, ain’t ya?  Well that ain’t gon’ work on me, ah can tell you that…

4 thoughts on “Sam Grizzle Doesn’t Like My Toothpicks.

  1. Wow – seems like quite an experience.

    It should be noted that David likes menthol flavored toothpicks, hence why Sam probably made that exaggerated funny face.

    Either way, better you than me. *chuckle*

  2. I can’t believe I actually read all the way through your impression of that guy’s chatter, but I have to admit it got a genuine LOL from me at the end.

  3. now if dat don’t beat all, how in da hell does you know what flavah toothpicks this boy likes, aw, damn it, sumthin funny there, ah don’ even wanna know fella.

  4. Sam is one of the best players ever to come from South Carolina. I respect him so much. Not just because he knocked me flat on my ass, but because he is one helluva poker player.

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