While it’s no secret that some professional poker players rely on drugs like Adderall to keep their focus, my performance enhancer of choice has always been pot. I’ve never popped any “college candy” as the kids call it, but for the last five years you could find me at the same bar game every Wednesday night in various states of stoned. It’s my book club, only I’m reading the faces I’ve grown to know so well.
Certain strains, I’ve convinced myself, are better tailored to the poker table. Bio-Diesel, for example.
Bio-Diesel by the numbers: $16.51/gram, $246.68/ounce at Starbuds, 4690 Brighton Blvd in Denver
At my last dispensary gig, Bio-D was one of our “signature strains” akin to the baby back ribs at a Chili’s. Had its own logo and everything. For that reason alone, I developed an irrational dislike of it. But patients kept raving about it and soon, I was raving as well. It’s marijuana worthy of its own iconography, loathe as I am to admit it.
Diesel anything is fairly easy to come by here, almost as ubiquitous as Fill-in-the-blank Kush, and this was equally true back in 2009. There weren’t multiple Cups happening every year, so when Bio-Diesel won the 2nd (and last) Annual Colorado Medical Marijuana Harvest Cup, it was big news in the industry. Even if it was another Diesel, it was now Diesel with its own lore.
More cannabis criticism
Flo: For me, Flo is the “Eh, let’s just order pizza” of strains when you’ve seen too many jars and need to walk out with something. If it were a re-run on TV, it’s an episode of “Friends” that’s all Phoebe. Sure, it’s fun and light, but you really wanted a good Chandler zing. Why do I keep buying this?
Tangerine Dream: You eat Pad Thai in the states and everyone laments how it’s not quite the same. Tangerine Dream in Holland doesn’t exactly distinguish itself. It’s a perfectly fine sample, and much, much stickier than the dust most nugs become in Denver. I need a paper shredder, not a grinder. But the sample is average.
Sour Diesel: Recommending Sour Diesel as a weed critic is like a music writer extolling the virtues of The Beatles or a historian making a case for George Washington as a great president. In fact, Sour Diesel probably belongs on a Mount Rushmore of marijuana — a fake monument that I desperately want my picture taken in front of.
I wasn’t a judge then, but I’d wager they were taken with how true of a hybrid it was. Instead of the initial euphoria of Sour Diesel that can peter out for those with high tolerances, the addition of Sensi Star gave a balance and a body to the buzz. The increase in yield certainly didn’t hurt its standing among growers. Along with Bruce Banner, it was one of the original hits of D-town.
The problem was that I was never particularly taken with Sensi Star. In fact, I’m one of the few who prefers Critical Sensi Star (much more fruit forward) by Delicious Seeds to the Paradise Seeds original. It was always too lethargic, too dull to register for me. If Sour Diesel was an NBA game, tossing in Sensi Star would be a 50% increase in free throw shooting and interviews with a stone-faced Gregg Popovich.
Turns out I was dead wrong. The at-times-brittle, wispy nature of the Diesel now rounded out to the dense buds I prefer. You’ll still notice the more bulbous calyxes that would be out of place on traditional Sensi, but the hairs tend to remain that darker orange. Pure fuel is still front and center, and while many get coffee notes from the undertones, I always feel like it’s closer to raw cocoa. Like it’s a high-end gas station snack.
Popping in for a gram at Starbuds’ Denver location, it was a pleasant surprise considering I had my weekly poker later that evening. Poker, for the most part, is an exercise in managing boredom. Pros spend every second they’re not in a hand analyzing the players who are. I’m usually trying to crack bad jokes or answer a question about weed for someone. And then sitting.
Bio-Diesel usually has two distinct waves for me: Holy $%*# I’m feeling it, followed by a more attentive high and heavy body stone. The former can be a shock, as if it shakes your head like a giant Magic 8 Ball with the singular answer “Reply hazy try again.” The latter is ideal for poker, so I usually smoke 30 minutes prior to our 8 p.m. game.
This week, we’re down my usual smoking buddy who texts me he’s sick. We usually split a bowl at the break (if we make it that far), but he’s got a case of “the kids got something so now I have something.” The bowl I roasted smells particularly pungent, something that might give me some anxiety if I didn’t recognize everyone at the table. They know I’m “the weed guy” as much as I know “the IT guy” and “the guy who leaves early for Denver Cruisers”.
As the game starts, I take note of how my back isn’t screaming at me for being relegated to a bar chair. A few snow storms worth of shoveling and an ill-advised snowman to follow have left me overdue for a trip to the chiropractor. Usually spending a night hunched over green felt and a dwindling stack of chips doesn’t help, but tonight it’s the last thing on my mind.
Between hands I’m cracking up at the Golf Channel (of all things), which several guys apparently asked for. There aren’t even golf highlights on, but a host whose bizarre facial hair looks completely out of place — who I’m told is David Feherty — doing interviews on a muted TV. I’m not used to this type of mood boost from Bio-Diesel, but it’s this kind of high that I love: The kind where you notice the little idiosyncrasies in your evening.
My play is distracted, though, and I’m bleeding chips seeing hands I have no business being in. Finally, I get “pocket rockets” or two aces in great position. That’s the moment I know I’m getting knocked out. I raise aggressively and get two callers, both who check the action to me after the flop. I raise again. “IT Guy” is all in. He wins with a flush I never see coming. I blame the Golf Channel.
Bio-Diesel isn’t your traditional fuel-flavored fun, and I have no doubt that it’s knocked a tourist or two on their butts when they expected something more upbeat. Sometimes off the beaten path works, though, and this is an excellent choice when looking for a strain that doesn’t bluff when it comes to its hybrid status. Just try to be more Kenny Rogers than Willie Nelson when you’re at the Hold’em table.