I had just finished calculating my mid-year tax payments and discovered I was around a thousand dollars short when I stumbled onto a poker girl ad on Craigslist for the umpteenth time. I had been ignoring them for more than a year, because I don’t respond to ads that seem too good to be true, but suddenly the thought of men paying women $500 for a night of scantily clad drink service and a shoulder massage didn’t seem entirely far fetched. I had earned nearly $200 working at a catered birthday party for a dog once. Clearly a Las Vegas style poker night wasn’t out of the question. I emailed myself a link to the first ad to think about it a bit longer, then stumbled on a second ad I found even more intriguing:
Poker Girls Are Wanted ASAP (Santa Barbara)
compensation: $1500-$3000 + Tips
“Private Poker Events”
Compensation: $1500-$3000 + Tips.
Date/Time: Friday’s and Saturday’s 9:30 PM – 2:30-3:00 AM
Please be between the age ranges of 18-35.
Hello we’re a group of gentlemen who host poker parties on a frequent basis. Our events take place in a private mansion in Calabasas (near Tarzana and Woodland Hills). Currently we’re searching for 7 attractive open minded girls who are energetic, social, friendly, and who love to have a good time! You will be required to be in lingerie or bikini throughout the night. You’re more than welcome to bring friends, but please make sure they are able to follow the same requirements and comfortable with this type of work. Overall, if you have an open mind have a body build of; curvy, thin, athletic, skinny, average, or anything within those boundaries you will most likely be a better candidate for our summer events.
Job Description: You will be required to socialize with people, take drinks to the tables, keep the party going (keep people awake), and help with anything else that is needed at the poker tables. There might be times when you have to give back rubs at the tables. You must be 100% discreet. There will be live music playing, a full bar provided, and a Jacuzzi/pool for you to enjoy. If you know how to pole dance or anything similar please let me know!
If interested please send 3 recent pictures and state your name/age. References are available if needed. Hope to see you there. Thank you!
It sounded so professional, comparatively speaking – they weren’t demanding we get touchy-feely with the players (maybe we’d have to give back rubs) and they even offered references. I had been hoping to find a new game to observe players at which would inspire characters for my novel and had only had one prior opportunity to sit in a room full of high-rollers. I had to find out if this was my lucky break… didn’t I?
After gaining eight hours of turbulent sleep and one confidant’s blessing, I decided there was only one way to find out. I sent an email letting them know I was a bit out of their desired age range and hoped to use the experience as inspiration for my writing, while reassuring them I could be trusted to be discreet as I am not a gossip columnist and don’t wish to be associated with that type of writing. I put on a black lace dress (which I usually pair with a full slip) over aqua lingerie, snapped a few selfies, attached one along with two recent fully clothed snapshots to the email I’d drafted, then sent my wish into cyberspace.
A few hours later, the green felt jungle pimp responded. He (or she) forgot to sign their name, but sent their number and requested I text them ASAP and include my name in the message. I did as instructed and received a fairly quick response which said he was too busy to talk then, but wanted to talk later. I said after 5 PM would be best for me and went back to work, excited beyond belief for what could happen that evening. I floated through the afternoon imagining some venture capitalist, stock broker, or Hollywood big wig was considering hiring me to fluff egos at his poker game. It wasn’t until the sun went down that night without further communication from the mysterious man that the way this scam might work finally hit me. Was my interview going to be some creep’s attempt at free phone sex? Or… worse?
When he texted the next day (Friday) to say sorry he hadn’t called, my hope in humanity was restored slightly. He said he was busy organizing that evening’s event, but hoped to use me the following Thursday night and to please text back if I was still interested in interviewing. I wrote back immediately to confirm my interest and ask if he’d gotten the date wrong – the ad had stated the games were Friday and Saturday night – but he didn’t respond, at least, not to that question and not right away.
Nearly the entire weekend went by without further communication. Then, just as I was about to crawl up to my loft to go to bed on Sunday night around 11 PM, I got a message that made his intentions painfully clear: “Hey [sic] if you want to speed up the interview process and work with us right away I can meet you right now or in a bit [sic] I’m in Camarillo. Sorry for the late response, but I’m taking care of my cousins house and have free time. I thought of you.” I laughed at the audacity of his proposal (most pathetic booty call ever) and tucked myself in bed without responding.
The next morning I pondered a myriad of snarky come backs, but decided that upsetting the green felt jungle pimp was not in my best interests. Instead, I asked a few reasonable but poignant questions: “I thought we had been trying to pick a time for a phone interview? I still don’t know your name… Is there a business I’d be working for?” I didn’t actually expect a response. I figured that would be enough of a signal to get him to move on to some other fish. I couldn’t believe he had tried to pull his routine on me, an admitted poker player, a woman who reads people. Perhaps he’s part of the population who believes that type of femme to be purely mythical? Maybe he doesn’t even know how to play poker, just watches it occasionally on TV while plotting ways to get his hands on that type of girl – the ones hired to fawn all over the winners.
A few hours later, I was surprised to learn the saga wasn’t over. At least, he didn’t seem to think so. “My name is Chris,” was all the message said. I ignored it. I saw no need to elicit further half-ass answers. A little over 24 hours passed, then I received a much more specific, even more indecent proposal. He said he would like to meet Friday (one day after the supposed event) at a hotel room he was going to reserve “due to the large number of applicants”. I would have the option of a solo or group interview and would earn $1500 as a server or $3500 for anything goes, private engagements. Reading between the lines, I heard, “We’d love it if you could come star in a porno flick this weekend for free. If we like your work, we’d be happy to recommend you to our clients who are interested in purchasing private sessions.” Although he offered to answer any questions I might have and I certainly wished to know what percentage of women this works on and if he even really plays poker, I merely said, “No thanks. I changed my mind.” He immediately wrote back offering $4,000. I laughed for hours wishing I was brave enough to respond and risk insulting them. I wanted to say, “Maybe for four billion.”
I haven’t heard from the green felt jungle pimp since that night, but about a week later I got a last minute invite to play at a game which sounded eerily similar to what I’d imagined from the ad. The invitation came from a fellow female player: free dinner, free alcohol (served by scantily clad women), free weed, and $100 bounty on the host. For some unknown reason, my phone had delivered the message around 7 PM with a time stamp of 4:17. I had to leave soon if I wanted to play. There was no time for me to concoct a rationalization for exceeding my poker budget in order to attend. My snap judgment said that anyone who had recently imagined her happily ever after coming from what turned out to be a scam to recruit hookers via Craigslist was in no shape to take on a table full of wannabe high-rollers. It was a tough fold, but I managed to find the bright side: life had dealt me three unexpected pokertunities in the past month and the game was far from over.