Thursday, October 6, 2011

Green Tomato lobby poker

Click the pointer to see the green tomatoes fry to the tune of Eddie Condon

(recipe is at bottom)

Gregg's game has built now so that we pack the table every week. This week we had: Ed, Jim, Peter, Bill, Slink, Ezzy, Gregg, Ron, Phil, Bruce, Dewey.
Chuckmonk was out harvesting before the frost.  It takes him a while to harvest accompanied with his full growler of home brew.
Blowers was out making his movie, now called Pirates on Full Tilt.
Karp and Rice were still invisible.

Elbow to Elbow poker.

Having so many at the table changes the nature of the game. It is not the five person game we once played, but something more like what is played in a casino, only looser.  It is a hard game to beat with most big wins decided on the river, and all that action makes for a good deal of fun.

Win or lose, these games are great practice for my coming 22 nights in Vegas.  Except for the loose part.

I came early.  Having worked hard over the past weeks to organize a PAC and lobby the Congress of Millett for green tomatoes, I was determined to arrive in time to pick some if my Green
Tomato bill passed. Bobbie Court is really no different than Congress.  The strong lobbies control the outcome of all decisions.  It was once nearly a dictatorship when Silver was still in office, but he is hiding out with the rebel forces in the South so there is ruleless chaos and hardly any time to go to the bathroom.

My tomatoe bill passes. Good things too as it is just before the frost.   Gregg, against all habitual practice, has work to do on the computer and would just as soon not start the head to head early.  Unbelievable!!  What are the odds.

So I'm a winner before we start. Just like the big banks who are still as unregulated as they ever were, I am sent out on my own to gather in the tomatoes.
Gregg never sees what I then put in my car: his shed by the water, his gazebo, most of the water in the Lisha Kill, all the garden top soil and finally a bag of green tomatoes to fry up like they do in the South.  On the way up the hill I also waved my flag because I'm proud to be an Greggorian.

Then Gregg and I play some head to head and this week. I get some cards and oddly I win. I feel like I am Greek and just figured out how to balance a budget.

Bruce arrives next and brings me another Dewey cartoon.  He looks great, and the word is the cancer is clear.  Nice!  I almost can't wait to get my nuts seeded too.  It is sort of what old guys do, the way the young get tattoos.

I am up $14 when we cash and rebuy to  begin the real game.

Pots builds quickly.
These games are always aggressive in the beginning.

I get sucked into one huge hand with J-Q of clubs.  Preflop the betting is pretty good.  I get two clubs on the flop and if I remember right, my cards are over cards.  Then it is one of those hands where there is a bet, a few callers, me, a raise, more callers, me, an all-in, and I'm pot committed.  It is early in the session and most of us have under $30.  I don't expect to win.  I am thinking there are lots of trips out there and maybe even an Ace of clubs.
Slink has been pushing the betting because he has pocket kings.
On the river he gets his third king.
Unfortunately for him, it is a club.
Ron shows his straight.

I take in a $127 pot.  My score when I leave will be the $14 head to head win from Gregg, this $127 pot and just $12 more of winnings over the entire afternoon of play.  That shows how volatile one hand can be.  And it was not well played.  My overcards were already beat.  I just caught a lucky river.

What.............. I say............... WHAT ARE the ODDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Over the course of the afternoon I lost two other river draw hands in which I had many more outs.  In an earlier one I had J-J, Peter had A-Q, Bruce had 8-8 and we were all-in on a rainbow flop, giving me a good advantage.  Bruce drew one of his two outs, one 8 on the turn for a win.  In another, I had flush and straight draws and Gregg beat me with a pair of sevens.

Bill had a similar draw to the river, club flush, and I took him down and sent him home with my trip 8's, (after he missed his read of me and bluffed all-in to me on the river to try to steal the pot.)

Those who chase flushes are condemned to ride buses.  Well, unless they are me with J-Q.

Peter was the shortest lived this week.  He came late and left early. He seemed perplexed. It may be that his style of play is better for smaller numbers at the table.

Gregg used to be the one who was hard to beat, but he is off his game.  This week neighbor Ron and I combined strategies against which Gregg has no defense.  Ron brought Gentleman Jack and I brought Harwood Canadian . Just a bit in small flasks, but it was enough.  That and Gregg's love of the blind straddle is enough to beat him as long as he will not bet and sometimes will fold the winning hand just to be a pleasant poker comrade.

For me I brought coffee.
And I drank it.
Well, I drank what I did not spill on the floor.
(I don't know what that is about.  In every other way I am gracefully poised.)
It perked me up for the second half of the game, and I slept a great 8 hours last night as well.  Go figure that!

Playing three handed at the end, Gregg did have that 10-7 and flopped two pair. Slink rivered  a ten of diamonds, bet, was called on the river and announced his diamond flush.  Gregg turned over his cards to show what he thought was two pair, and quickly started to mix the cards to pick them up, when I stopped him, moved  the cards back into position , and said, "Just look at your hand one more time."
Gregg was very happy with his back from the dead full house, and thanked me.
Well, Gregg, without the green tomatoes that would never have happened.  It is amazing what we can accomplish when we cooperate across the table.

Slink waited for me outside, so he could kick my ass to the Lisa Kill and back.  I avoided him, but I think that as I write, the entire Slingerlands nuclear arsenal is being redirected toward Burden Lake.

Another time early in the game Gregg held quads.  It was the only quads I saw all afternoon. As last to act, some would say that Gregg could raised on the river.
He refused to raise on principle.  He did not want to be greedy.
"I've taken enough off this table over the years.  Time to give some back, "  he remarked, "Now, where is the rest of that Harwood Canadian?"

So it was a tough game for the old Poker Master and a great game for me.  As well as my winnings, I got the green tomatoes, a new Dewey cartoon from Bruce, and a whole set of Dixieland CD's from Jim, who like me enjoys that old jazz from our parents' generation when actual music was popular.  Thanks so much Bruce and Jim and Gregg and everyone who was in that $127 dollar pot and Bill, "Thanks for the bet, buddy."

And last week's new rule for buy-ins seems to be very comfortable for everyone.

Which means it is time to change it.

The new buy-in rule Gregg suggests for next week will work well too. The first time someone tries to double up by giving a bribe to the house, most of the table will cash out and go home and the game will end.
I'll get to eat supper.
See how much poker at Gregg's is like politics at Congress?

Green tomatoes follow

See you all next week.


  • 4 large green tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying


  1. Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
  3. In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

  Canola works just great.  Olive is hard to use.  

The trick to this cooking is not to have the oil too hot.  You want to brown and not burn the coating yet leave time for the tomatoes to cook soft.  Elizabeth actually likes them a bit crunchy, but they are sweeter when cooked soft inside and crunchy outside.  I add Frank's hot sauce and some fresh grated parmigiana.