February 01, 2010
Warning: This is a poker story. If poker stories bore you, feel free to surf somewhere more interesting.
American universities loudly insist that they do not legally serve as loco parentis for their students. Still, the administration does try to keep us healthy. To give students something to do other than drink, there's a late-night poker tournament every Friday. There's no fee to enter, prizes for the top three finishers, and cumulative standings are kept with prizes for the top performers at the end of every semester.
Anyway, I sat down with my chips Friday, ready to go. I was seated third from the dealer, which is not that good a spot; first to act pre-flop, third to act the rest of the hand. "Shuffle up and deal!" went the call, and I got my hole cards. Ace & Queen of spades. That's a rather good start. Not perfect, but good. I called the blind (the minimum bet); most of the rest of the table called around. When it got to him, the little blind raised it up, which could be a sign of strength, but could also be him bluffing to steal the pot. I and a couple of others paid up.
Out comes the flop, the first three community cards. Ten of spades, Jack of spades, King of spades. There was a perceptible pause at the table. That was a dangerous hand, everyone knew that it was possible for some strong hands to be out there. Straights. Flushes. Nasty stuff.
Me, I was wearing my best poker face, because I had the best imaginable hand. Among poker players, having the best hand available from the cards showing is known as having "the nuts". But I had the ultimate nuts. A Royal Straight Flush is the highest possible hand in poker. Out of the 2,598,960 possible five-card poker hands, there are only 4 RSF's available, making the odds of getting one 649,740 : 1. And there it was.
My mind was spinning feverishly, trying to decide what to bet that would lure people into calling. The obvious choice was to go all-in, as the only thing that could beat my hand was physical violence; but I was afraid that if I did, everyone would just fold, giving me but pitiful winning for such a majestic hand. What to do, what to do…
My ponderings were cut short, when the first to act (the little blind) bet himself all-in, which is a challenge that he believed his hand to be unbeatable. This was still the very first hand of the tournament, remember, so everyone had the exact same stakes. This was excellent news; I'd call him, and have double the chips of anyone else.
My triumphant sensation grew, as the next to act (the big blind) called the all-in bet. That is, he believed had a great hand. Next it was me, and I called the all-in with great pleasure.
The three people in the weakest positions having all gone all-in, everyone else at the table folded with extreme rapidity. When no remaining bets can be made, as everyone has either folded or gone all-in, the tradition is to turn over cards early so everyone can get some excitement watching the remaining communal cards get dealt. The first guy turned over his cards with pride- he had paired Kings, which with the communal cards made Three-of-a-Kind Kings, a powerful hand. The next guy turned over: he had two low spades, giving him a King-high flush, a very powerful hand. The were nods of appriciation from the rest of the players. Without saying anything, 'cause I love a little drama in my life, I flipped over my cards and leaned back.
There was a pause as the other players looked at what I had then looked at the community cards. They looked back and forth a few times. Then the cheering started. I got high-fives, pats on the back, there was yelling as the news spread to all the other tables. The dealer shrugged and passed the deck, as there was no point in dealing the last two cards. I collected my winnings, putting me at more than three times the stack of anyone else at my table, and it was on.
For all that, I must confess I didn't win the tournament. I got to the final table, then went out on a "bad beat", when I had the odds in my favor but the cards fell unkindly. Still, ten place out of 80-some players will help my end-of-semester standings quite a bit.
The other downside was that once I was finally out, when my friends and I went to the local ice arena, they were out of size-12 skates. My luck was exhausted.
39 queries taking 0.0936 seconds, 192 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.