Sure enough, Ben sits down, and a few moments later, Louie comes in, talks some smack, then settles into his own paid-for seat. The real professional poker players at the table keep their heads down. Mike looks like he's just realized that all his training has been in vain as Ben sits there and tries not to look like he's about to pass out.
Meanwhile, Vanko is attempting to hold the audience enthralled with simple sleight of hand while some Vera wanker yells out, "We want Vera!" It would seem to me that by this point, you'd have gone into the show knowing Vera wasn't showing up, so staying rather than getting a refund would be a big, stupid waste of your time. Anyway, Big Ed watches the lackluster performance. Within seconds, Vanko opens a pyramid, and Vera pops out. She and Vanko enthusiastically greet each other in the time-honored manner of hacks everywhere, i.e. massaging each other's tonsils. This is where Sam, who's been standing in the audience, walks on over to Big Ed and asks what happened. He asks her why she's not babysitting some whales or poaching a few more. Oh, he does not. But he should. Instead, Big Ed tells Sam he took care of it. She gets an impish look -- the sideways-brushed bangs across the forehead help -- and asks, "You don't know how he makes her disappear, do you?" Big Ed replies, "Well, um, you know, she's laying there, and he first makes her levitate, and then when he takes the, um, I'm sorry. I forgot. I'm sorry. I was sworn to secrecy." You know, this "how does it work?" thing hasn't been funny -- not the first time it was mentioned, not the second time it was mentioned, not now. Sam gives Big Ed a punch in the arm, and they both grin. Awww.
Ben is blowing his poker game by becoming Exhibit A for every tell Mike instructed him to watch out for. And then he runs out of the room with a case of the dry heaves. Mike has no choice but to sit down and say, "Deal me in," while Louie looks all foreboding from the other end of the table. Just then, we get the Deus Ed Machina. He sidles in and sits behind Mike just as Louie slides his chips across the table and goes all-in, so Mike begins lipping off, "Representing Big Slick, hey, Ambrose? You got ace-king? Hmm. Let's see. You limped in pre-flop, which means you're either slow-playing a monster, or you're just bluffing. Hard. I don't think you got it." "You don't think so?" Louie rasps. Mike smiles slightly and replies, "That's a stone-cold bluff if I ever saw one." The guy next to him pipes up, "Hey, mouthy, I came here to play cards, not he-said, she-said. Shut your trap and make your bid." Or maybe I just wish he did. Mike calls the bluff -- Louie has a 2 and a 7, while Mike has the king of hearts and the queen of spades. Louie goes to recoup some of the lost chips with, "Forty grand of that is mine. Let's have it." Big Ed corrects his memory and tells him it's actually $20,000. Louie points out, "This is a private matter. Nothing to do with the Montecito." He may have a point. Big Ed pulls a Louie and penalizes him for talking. Big Ed then makes the threat, "If I ever catch you around one of my people, I'm gonna come after you, and I swear to God, you're going to wish I had a sledgehammer." Why? Did they cut the scene where Big Slick and sledgehammers were introduced, because this is making a lot less sense than it should. Anyway, I look forward to seeing the lecture Big Ed gives Mike after they skedaddle, since Mike more or less got himself into this mess by ignoring Big Ed's recommendation to stay away from Louie.