Poker Tournament

Summary:
December 26, 2014: A poker tournament hosted by game with Constantine doesn't go as planned

New York


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


There are pubs and places where supers tend to congregate. It's not a hard and fast rule- after all, when superhumans get drunk and bump elbows, it can be dangerous. But at least rounded up with a few others in the same room, the odds of a person getting so faced that they decide to throw a Volvo through the building goes down a bit.

Of course, on the other hand, bar games get a bit more interesting. Darts, for instance, rarely ends well. Cards, however, are a sure thing- as long as you don't tip your hat that you're a psychic. Constantine had sent Carol a text (yes, he texts) to join him for a drink for pulling his literal ass out of the proverbial fire.

"Ok boys and girls," John says, smoking a cigar for once instead of his usual coffine nails. He bridges a deck of cards from one hand to another, fans, shuffles, and generally showboats like a Vegas pit boss. "Game is five card draw, aces high, nothing wild, sky's the limit. Five gets you a seat at the big kid's table," he says, with all the showmanship of a master card shark. Still, some seem unable to resist the allure of gambling, even as John starts firing cards at people like a machine, landing them in neat piles in front of each person at the round table. A bottle of scotch that might be the most valuable booze in the bar sits half-consumed in front of him, but if anything, the drunker he gets, the better he seems to be playing.

***

Carol has a seat at the table, but she doesn't seem particularly concerned about actually playing. Especially with a magician. It's cards. With a magician. Entertainment value only, people. On the other hand, she seems to be enjoying a glass of scotch, which is not her first of the evening. And with the drinks, even the veneer of respectability that she puts on as an editor or while on duty is…well, gone.

"There is literally no way this is going to be a fair game," she points out, amused.

***

It's a no-brainer that while working in one city, a city with a police force actively interested in landing an arrest, one find -another- place to be while not on the clock. Gotham is both nearby and almost guaranteed to be the sort of place where Domino can disappear and not have to worry about getting dragged off by the boys in blue. Once she's in Gotham proper, what better way to spend the rest of her night than by getting drinks in mass quantities?

As chance would have it some guy's got an open card game running down here, too.

Right as the next hand is being dealt she pulls a chair around backwards up to the table and drops down, a tall glass of a strong amber fluid quick to take up position to her left. Her right's busy taking care of the buy-in. "Since you seem so confident and all," she says with a hint of a smirk. Fair games are too boring, anyway.

***

Rowan has found his way into this pub to try some surfacer food and drink. He has no idea whose pub it is or what the clientele are like. He only knows that the last time he went to an establishement like this, there was a brawl. A really confusing, super powered brawl. He's hoping that's not some kind of tradition as he sits down not too far from Carol.

***

Rain is a bit shy to be in most bars. She's an engineer who enjoys her own sort of thing, and working magic seems to eat up a lot of her time. She does her best working as an itenerant healer and detective. She's mighty at divination. No lost remote, shoe or straying husband escapes her - whatever it is she does. Rain's powers are kind of odd. But Rain also has some side duties! And few people seem inclined to question the kindly young lady who always finds some sort of rare, exotic, old or special brew to bring in to the bar. One evening, it's tamdhu, another evening, some other fine thing to be sold off.

From a relative who was going clean, she'd always say. And tonight is no exception. She has a few bottles that look easily triple her age full of some amber liquid being brought in around back. And just close enough to watch people starting to gamble. Inchinchinch. What are they doing? Headtilt. Hey wait. Is that- Rowan seems familiar, at least.

***

"Aww, c'mon love," Constantine says, winking at Carol bawdily. "I thought you pilot types loved a risk." He grins at her cheekily until Domino sashays up, then looks at the pale-faced woman with an arched eyebrow, rolling his scotch back across his tongue before picking up his cards. "One thing I love about dallying around America- you lot come along much prettier than the girls from the UK," he says, giving Domino a smug grin as she puts her cash on the table. "Oye mate, ante up," he says, tapping the tabletop in front of Rowan.

He checks his cards, then reaches for his chips. "Dealer's in for fifty quid. Er, dollars," he amends.

"Anyone here drinking anything good, or is it just my new friend and I?" he says, gesturing vaguely at Carol as he pours himself another shot of the expensive scotch.

***

"It's not a risk," Carol protests with a laugh at Constantine. "It's the most sure thing in the world that if a magician's dealing the damned cards, there's no way in hell I'm winning anything." As Domino comes to the table, she tips her chin up in greeting, smile crooked. "Fair warning, this man is a filthy cheater. But he's amusing. And possibly a little bit touched," she adds, tapping a finger at her temple. "And also, if you try to accuse him of cheating and start a fight later…" She grins broadly. "Well, that won't be so awful."

***

Dom leans forward with her arms crossed over the back of the chair like she's entrenching herself within her own little fort, smirking back at Constantine with his remark. "Already jumping to the flattery? Let's hope your hand's got more staying power or this is gonna be a short game."

It takes her no time to settle in with the cards. She's not one to be scared off easily, either. "If you like rum then sure, it's good enough," she says in a slightly distracted tone. "Gets the job done without killing my funds, can't complain."

Next she's glancing sidelong to Carol, then looking back to Constantine with one brow hooked upward slightly. "Really a magician, huh." That she's also getting the blonde woman's permission to start a fight with this guy later is just icing on the proverbial cake. "Thanks for the tip. Think I'll take my chances this round." It's punctuated by adding more bills to the center of the table.

***

Rowan looks again, confused for the moment. Then he pulls out a wallet and adds a couple bills to the table. "Hrm? Oh poker." Carol and Domino both get odd looks. If they think the man is cheating why play? Or is this one of those surfacer rituals that so confuse him. Only one way to find out. "Er, pale ale, I think." He doesn't much care what, just wants to try it. Brewing is not a thing that happens underwater.

When Rain comes in, though, well there's a face he knows. He waves over to her. Huh, small world.

***

A WIIIIIIIIIITCH! WIiiiiiiiiitch! Thankfully, no one from the UK or the US busts out with that one. The violet-eyed witch smiles, waving to Rowan. Her crate of rather expensive drink left for the bar tender to appraise and take. He thanks her, and Rain waves back to him. "You're welcome." Right. She pauses. Wait. A people. Oh my. She doesn't seem familiar with a few off them, eyes a little bit wide.

But don't worry! Rain has the social power of TEN PEOPLE!

… on the internet…

Ahem. Regardless, she seems to quietly resume inching, like a societal moss. She can always divine cards if it gets too rough, right? Would she use her witchy ways? Probably not. It involves concentration. "Oh wow. I didn't expect to see you guys here," Rain admits. She does seem to remember Constantine in passing (maybe?). She smiles politely to Rowan. "I didn't know you played cards," She admits. "May I watch?"

***

"It's not /cards/, luv, we're playing ruddy poker," Constantine rebukes Rain. "And don't encourage people, I seem to get enough of them who want to take a swing at me over a friendly game of poker," he adds, checking the chip he's using in place of cash, then slinging another fifty on the pile. "You're all betting like a bunch of women at a knitting circle," he complains. "Check and raise, bets on to you," he says, looking to his left.

***

"They're not bets, they're donations to the John Constantine's vices fund," Carol smirks as she adds her own money to the pile, taking another drink and leaning back in her chair. "But since you're providing the good stuff tonight…" She winks at the magician, looking over to Rowan and Rain as well. There's a moment where she narrows her eyes at Rowan - something familiar about him - but in the absence of any warning from her powers that she's in danger…nah. Let's just play poker.

***

It isn't long before Domino's looking Rowan's way next, though what would have been a passing glance becomes a somewhat more pronounced looking over. It's the face… No, not so much the face. The -eyes.- "Feelin' alright there, kiddo?" she eventually asks. "Guessing you got a head-start on the drinking part of the game."

In the next moment it's the witch that draws her notice, though rather than speak up at first she reaches out and grabs an empty chair to slide it closer to the table. "Quit lookin' like a lost soul and park your ass already, we don't bite."

Despite all of the distractions and shifting of her concentration she remains in the game, probably appearing to only be half 'there' to someone like Constantine. Buzzed, perhaps. A bit flighty, a bit careless. Should be an easy enough mark.

Especially when she raises. Above and beyond the call of the cards. "Never been a fan of needles." The knitting variety, that is. Or..well, any. Oh, and now blondie drops the dealer/magician's name. Thanks for that one! "Alright then, John Constantine, let's see if you can keep up."

***

"Uh, I don't, really." Rowan murmurs to Rain. "I learned recently from a place called… Zynga?" Yes, internet poker. At least it's not a bad introduction to the game.

Rowan has… well he can bluff decently but he's got no real skill having not played the game for long. Fortunately he's also not someone apt to wager money he needs for something else. Or even, indeed, miss it much when he loses it. "I'm feeling okay, thanks Miss…" Er, he doesn't know Domino's name. But he does see the raise.

***

Hmm. Rain blinks at the rebuke. "Sorry, I didn't want to hover that close and see," She apologizes, holding her hands up in surrender. She seems quietly amused, looking back to Carol. She probably belongs in a workshop or maybe hexing people (always practice safe hex) or something. She's become more a critter of the wilds and winds than she realizes. Still, she's so introverted she could become a social armadillo and roll away. But there's no rolling and she notices the chair slid out.

"Oh, thanks!" Beam. "Hm, what are we up to…" She considers what's being bet. "I guess I'll join in," She offers. Then a blink at Rowan. "Oh, I see." Smile. "Are these friends of yours?" She doesn't know names, and it's a good segue. Sensei Lady Gaga would be most disappointed in Rain's poker face.

And thankfully, Loki doesn't know Rain has an awful poker face. Yet. "How are you like it? I don't think I know their names."

***

A slow grin creeps up at Domino around the cigar in his mouth, and John tilts his glass at the woman. The betting starts up pretty fast and furious, then… and as much as everyone else is welcome to play the game, it's really coming down to Domino's absurdedly good luck versus John's ability to play poker- he folds when she's hot, doubles down when she's cold, and his bluffs are so good that it's hard to tell if he's winning by accident or losing on purpose.

***

"Check and raise you a hundred," John says to Domino, throwing another Benjamin on the table- it's getting up there now, with almost a grand sitting in the pot. "My name's John Constantine," he says, introducing himself. "And unless I'm completely off my mark, you're that hedge witch, Rain," John says, gesturing at the girl. "Heard a word or two about you on the street."

***

Carol doubtless knows how to play poker. She's been a soldier, she's been a spy. The woman knows how to gamble. But she's also learned when it is and isn't actually a gamble. And she can see enough to know that she's not getting anything out of this one. So her strategy seems to have turned to playing as ridiculously as possible, in the interest of screwing the odds. And prolonging the drinking. And the listening in on introductions.

***

Why give up on a good thing? Because sooner or later people get mighty ornery, and often more than a little suspicious, when the same person does the majority of the winning. The difference here is that the guy across the table from Dom is putting up a damn good fight. Frankly, she's curious to see where this is going to go. It's always about the endgame, losing can actually work in her favor at times.

Case in point, John's getting mighty confident. With confidence means a very, very large pot on the table.

Like -hell- she's going to walk away from the table now! In go the bills.

"'Patch' works," she offers as far as a name goes. "I'm not here for the riveting conversation." See: Booze, Money. "So we've got a magician and a witch. You magic-users are a weird lot." Pause. "Well that was ballsy," she flatly remarks to Carol's next move. Blondie's got an interesting strategy going as well, it's almost like she's been in this situation before. Then again, she did know Constantine by name…

***

Rowan smiles as Rain joins the game. In the loosest sense of both terms. He's not even really playing so much as participating and he definitely also seems to sense that folks are better than him at this. There's no sense in handing them too mcuh money. "Patch. Nice to meet you. I'm Rowan." Just Rowan. It's not common for people to give up their last names but he doesn't in fact have one.

Sadly, depsite having met her, Rowan doesn't recognize Ms. Marvel out of costume though she might remember him from the Ferry Incident. Sometimes he's jsut not looking for champions to show up.

***

Rain is very secretive about her magic, but what can you do? She can't hide her aura. She's the equivalent of a magic fire fly. Except all of her glows, not just her butt. Light asses really are strange bugs. Rain smiles faintly at John, then pauses. "Pleased to meet you, John. I am indeed Rain. Do I have a reputation?" Uh oh. Her pale face goes a bit more pale. Well. At least it's not with her real name, right? Ahem.

"Hm. I hope they're good words, and not 'that damn witch'." She's a bit wry, slowly coming out of her shell. Rain is a bit of a coward. She watches Carol quietly in turn. Her eyes widen a bit at how much is going in. Wow.

"I um, sure. I'll try…" She'll politely wait until she's dealt in and contribute, but something does bring pause. "Patch, John and-" Who is Carol? She looks quietly amused by Domino. "It's hard not to be a little odd with all the tentacles, being chased around by MechaHitler and almost being Silent Hill'd." Pause. "I don't want to talk about that last one." Shiver.

***

The calls and raises go back and forth a few times, until only the crazy and the bold are still paying into the pot as it nears two grand. Constantine eyes his stack of chips, then pushes them into the pile, starting at Domino challengingly. "All in," he says. At that point, it doesn't matter how much money you have or don't- it's all in. Constantine winks at Carol and folds his arms over his chest, taking a long sip of his scotch, then slamming it back entirely.

***

"Carol," the blonde chimes in as she folds, setting her cards back on the table with a lazy smile. "And I have heard the 'that damned witch' word, though they usually go for 'bitch' instead," she winks to Rain at the talk of reputations. "And not usually to my face. But it's not the worst thing in the world."

***

"Looks like you get to learn by being thrown off the deep end, Rowan. We've got a couple of seasoned players in this joint." Wait-What..?! With eyes slightly wider she sloooowly turns to look back at Rain, the rest of her expression completely vacant. "Whatever it is you're putting in your drinks, I don't think I want it."

Then John makes his play. Everything and the frelling kitchen sink. Domino likewise takes a long drink while she runs the odds through her mind. Then, in goes the cash.

She sure does carry a lot of bills around.

Then the cards are revealed.

-And Rain wins.-

… (Huh.) Dom narrows her eyes a touch and leans closer, pointing about with the tip of a ghostly white finger. "That and there..add that..carry the what the hell…" she mutters under her breath. Pause. "..Huh."

It's said that the hand isn't played so much as the other person. At this moment it's never been more true. Her icy blue stare rises, locking onto Constantine from across the table. One heartbeat. Two. Then the smirk returns, her one hand turning palm up in a helpless guesture as she leans back from the table. "Lady Luck can be a harsh mistress," she says while continuing to stare at the magician with a laser's intensity, the idle amusement within her expression something less than completely genuine.

(1 in 83,912. I'm not the only one here with some probability manipulation going on.)

"Well kids, I'm gonna practice the ancient art of quitting while I'm behind. Watch that one, he's got a mean streak," she declares while pointing at John around the glass once more filling her hand, stepping away from the table with a bit less cash than what she had arrived with.

(Merry Christmas, Witch.)

***

Rowan does indeed get to learn the time honored lesson of 'this game is unpredictable'. "Huh. Well that's quite a er… hand… arm…" He pauses for a moment working through the lingo. "Hand. Definitely hand. That's quite a hand there Rain. Congratulations." Now stop playing. Seriously. You're ahead.

***

"Reality is far stranger than anything drugs could bring about." Pause. "Coincidentally, first post hangover healing is free." Yes, Rain cures hangovers. Witch's gotta make a living, right? Right. And with New Year's approaching, she's going to make a killing this coming week. "Carol," Rain repeats. "Pleased to meet you. And oh," She smiles at the wink. "That's a shame. It's okay to lose to a good opponent," She considers.

Rain seems to think well on Carol and Domino. But there is one thing Rain is good at. Math. 5 and 2 and 52 and … yup, she can count cards effortlessly. Ahem. That's before divination, too! But still, Rain has an abjectly terrible poker face and it's obvious she's intently thoughtful. There's a pause. Did she win? "Oh. So it was…" 2 and 1 and … hmm. She turns a bit red. "Thanks. I got lucky, I guess. But to be kind, please take a bottle from the crate I got if you're going. I'm not cruel enough to see someone go without something." Rain is letting Domino take one of the horrifically old and expensive bottles of whiskey in the crate. "I don't drink much, so I don't end up a Halloween ornament." Visions of those witches slammed into the sides of houses. And the trauma of having witnessed her aunt's own passing by falling house. "Please, um. You guys can have a drink on me as a thank you." She's a gracious winner. "Thank you." A soft smile.

***

John's jaw hits the proverbial floor, and he palms his face as Rain cleans up to the tune of three grand. He sags back into his chair and rubs his face briskly with both palms, then plucks his billfold from his pocket and starts counting bills for a few fruitless seconds, before tossing the entire wad of cash at the witchy woman. "Bollocks," he swears. "I guess it's a spot of luck I don't need a cab home. Still, the scotch is paid for. Anyone thirsty?" he asks in a tone of forced cheer, pouring a fresh round for himself and Carol and leaving the bottle where anyone else can get it if they'd like. It /is/ good scotch.

***

Carol Danvers's brows rise as Domino heads out, grin spreading. "Wow," she chuckles to Constantine. "Wow. I think you're cheating wrong." But she's happy to keep drinking his scotch, at least. "Nicely done, Rain. And even more nicely, if you're going to give us alcohol for losing. That's a card game I can get behind."

***

Rowan actually peers at Rain a little. Hedge Witches are something he's quite familiar with. Some of his best friends are Hedge Witches. Well, were. Back on the other Earth. Still, nice to knwo that they're still about. "I'll… try some of that. You're John right?" He gives Carol a nod and a smile as she introduces herself.

As the Blue reaches for the alchohol, scales begin to creep up his arm. Ooops. Guess that ale messed with his focus a bit already.

***

Oh dear. At least Rain is a gracious, surprised as anyone else winner? She was a bit busy keeping track of her hand and figuring this out. She tries not to smile too much. "If you do need a cab home, I can fly you back or give you a cab. I'm not /heartless/," She peers at John. "Okay?" Seriously, geez. Rain smiles faintly to Carol. "Thank you, and I appreciate it. Um. Yeah, help yourself a bit. There's the crate or they have what he ordered, it seems. But I'm okay with sharing." She doesn't seem ruffled, really. Just really abashed.

She looks to Rowan. "Just don't drink too much. I don't think you want me hovering around to treat your hangover." She's a bit wry. She does seem genuinely happy for the game and company.

***

"Oh no, my ride's parked just around the corner," John says with a vague wave. "Worst case, I'll get a ride from this tall drink of water," he says, elbow on the table and chin in his hand, smiling dreamily at Carol. Drunkenly, dreamily. Somewhere in that zone. "You do look rather dashing in black, by the way," he tells the superheroine. "Tights aren't my bag, of course, but I think the trenchcoat is a nice look, don't you?"

***

"If the alternative is thigh high boots, please lord, keep wearing the trench coat," Carol agrees with Constantine, smirking as she takes another drink. "I usually do all right in the hangover department," she adds to Rain. "But I'll keep that in mind if I find myself in need of a cure. You must be remarkably lucky, Rain," she chuckles. "Shocked the hell out of those two."

***

Rowan nods. He's not sure what too much is yet, unfortunately so there may be a slightly buzzed dragon later. At least he's not ogling Carol yet. He's learned that surfacer women, much like Atlantean women, don't appreciate being stared at. In some cultures, he's learned, they seem to want to avoid being seen at all. "I think I agree with Carol. Also thigh high boots sound most impractical for you." They seem most impractical for everyone honestly but there you have it. Rain generally dresses pretty sensibly.

"I do wonder why all the local Champions like skintight outfits…"

***

"Sure thing," A nod and a smile. "As long as you'll be okay," Rain does seem to genuinely care. Odd, in her own way. But she doesn't push it. She does seem quietly concerned about John. Hopefully he doesn't end up in stilettos or thigh highs. The thought of someone who STILL manages to look better in them… well. That's a bit painful, maybe. Ahem. "Trenchcoats are handy," She remarks. Although, she herself wears a duster coat.

She goes quiet to listen. "Sure thing. And so far so good. Sort of. I'm not homeless anymore," She considers. "But luck is kind of a double edged sword. But I am grateful." She goes quiet again. Then she looks to Rowan. "Some say practicality, others are happy to look nice. Some just like how it feels. It's not my thing, to be truthful." And despite being painfully shy, she seems okay with others doing as they will. It's a perk and a hazard of living in a new age easy bake coven kinda thing. She really is just okay with it. "As for thigh high boots, some people who ride motorcycles like them as long as the heels aren't rediculous."

***

"Sometimes, luv," John counsels Rain with a smile, "luck is just luck. And it rolls uphill as well as down. Take your money go buy yourself something nice," he suggests to her. "Spoil yourself a bit. You've certainly earned it," he says with a fleeting grin.

***

"Depends on who's wearing it," Carol replies to Rowan. "What they can do. If you don't actually need armor from your outfit, then something that fits close is less likely to give an opponent something to grab on to when you're in a fight. Plus it's flexible, doesn't bind, and moves with you in all sorts of ways."

***

Someone tends to like the spandex it seems, but then Ms. Marvel would know. Rowan doesn't have that problem since his 'costume' tends to be provided by his own abilities. Still it's an odd shift to go from an army to that. "Huh. Makes sense." He nods thoughtfully, watching John and Rain. He remembers John from somewhere, just can't quite place it.

***

Rain listens, and smiles back. "Sure, thank you. We'll see." She isn't entirely sure on that. "I got kinda used to being homeless, so it feels weird sometimes," She admits. A faint shrug. But his grin is encouraging. Rain listens to spandex chat, and tries not to look shy as ever. "I just find spandex looks odd on me, and it's not warm enough when I am running errands." Pause. Yes "But thank you guys, it was fun. Will you be able to make it home okay?" A peer at Rowan.

***

"Spandex," John says, reaching for a cigarette once his cigar is expended, "is for the guys with big pecs and women with great gams," the Brit observes. "The rest of us wear our regular clothes to the supermarket or to work. And my trenchcoat /does/ keep the rain off," he points out.

***

"It's a uniform," Carol counters with a shrug. "A lot of times, they serve the same purpose as giving people in the military a uniform. Something to stand for, something to identify them. Something to remind them it isn't just about one person, but about the group as a whole." She drinks again, then squints around the table. "Who turned this conversation serious? I thought we were drinking here."

***

"Do you frequently need to keep Rain off?" Rowan has mistaken the proper noun for the more common one. Oops. "We are drinking I think. What is this particular drink called? Their Majesties might want to sample it later." Well, Arthur probably has sampled it but Mera… Mera might want some later.

***

Rain pauses. "I am named after the weather, but I don't go around jumping on British people. It would be rude," Rain is a bit wry for her name. And really, is Winter much better? "But that's true. I guess it is a bit serious," Then Rain offers her guess. "I brought…" And she rattles off what's in the crate. "I am glad I got to meet you all, at least. Although, I might have to go check on Captain. I left him alone with a bunch of fish."

***

"I can fix that," John says, pouring more scotch for everyone inclined. "This, ladies and gentlemen, is Macallan, twenty-five years old. Old enough to rent a car," he observes, setting the bottle down. "Hard pressed to find something better in any bar in the city, short of hitting up one of those establishments where you can spend a month's rent on liquor," he says, flashing a grin at the little gathering.

***

"And you know, I've tried some of the fancy ones, and they're just not always worth it," Carol muses, holding out her glass for a refill. "Pretty sure most people drinking them are getting more enjoyment from thinking about what they're drinking than they are from anything they're actually drhinking."

***

"I'm actually new to the… notion of places to go 'drink'. Er… kind of unused to the notion of 'drinking' in general. Normally my people just take in hydration from our surroundings." Learning to stay hydrated on land marches had been new, but Rowan is at least used to that.

***

Rain listens again for a moment, "It is quite nice," She smiles at John's grin. "And I imagine the company and atmosphere contribute," Rain muses. She looks to Rowan, and nods. "Of course. I think I am going to go back to the manor to check in on my cat and stuff. You guys can make it back okay?" Mostly, that's for Rowan. "Do please feel free to come by."

***

"Well. Here, might as well finish this off," John says, sliding the bottle towards Rowan. "Learn to appreciate a stout drink. Meanwhile, I'm off to head home. You all take care. Carol, darling, lovely time, of course, definitely much preferable to that nasty bit of business from the other night. Let's do this again, shall we?" And with that, Constantine heads not out front, but behind the bar into the kitchen area- and vanishes.

***

"Take care," Carol raises her glass in salute to John, following it up with a drink as she considers Rowan. "You've gotta have some interesting people," she observes, just as her phone goes off. "Whops. 'Scuse me," she nods politely to Rowan and Rain before stepping away to take the call.


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