They completed Tricia’s buy in with a little less than half an hour to spare before the start of the tournament. It had all happened fast enough that Tricia didn’t really even have time to get nervous. Kevin had wished her good luck as soon as they were done and then went off to visit with some other people. Tricia didn’t want to spend the next half hour sitting at the table waiting for the tournament to start so she wandered around the live action area.
She saw Gary at one of the no-limit tables and went over to say hi.
“Hey there Tricia!” Gary said when she said hello to get his attention. “Pull up a chair for a bit.”
“I can’t stay long. I’m in today’s event.”
“Hey! Did you win another satellite?” Gary asked enthusiastically as a few of the players looked up at her.
She shook her head. “Nah, it must be my lucky week. First you offer to buy me into the ladies event so Sandy will play and now Kevin James made me a deal I could not resist for today’s event.”
“Hey now! You’re moving up in the world if he’s making you a deal of any sort.” Gary said, sounding impressed.
“I guess. I hope I don’t screw up. I want to make the most of this chance.”
“Well now you already cashed in one event didn’t you? And I lost track of how many satellites you’ve won. I’d say you should just keep doing what you’re doing.” Gary told her.
“Kevin James paid your buy in for today’s event?” one of the players asked her. “How much of a percentage is he getting for that? Or is he getting a percentage at all?”
The question was not asked particularly nicely and Tricia knew very well that the player was implying that Kevin had paid her entry fee in exchange for sexual favors. She was about to respond when Gary stood up and did it.
“Hey now. That was uncalled for. Tricia here is an excellent player. Good enough to be IN today’s event unlike some people here,” Gary said in a quiet voice that managed to sound fairly menacing.
Tricia had not realized just how BIG Gary was until now.
She put her hand on Gary’s arm. “Thank you Gary but I can take care of myself.” Then she looked at the player who had asked the question. “The deal we made is between him and I and none of your business. I’ll mention to Kevin though that you seem to think he may need to pay for female companionship. Of course if that’s the only way you can get it then I guess I can see why you might assume everybody has to. Somehow I doubt Kevin James has to resort to that.”
The player looked like he was going to say something but a look from Gary shut him up.
“Gary I have to go. Good luck to you today.” Tricia said, her heart pounding, but proud of herself for the way she’d stuck up for herself.
“Knock ‘em dead Tricia. I’ll be around to check and see how you’re doing later. How about breakfast with Sandy and I in the morning before the ladies event?”
“Ok,” Tricia said. “Around 7:30?”
“Kind of early isn’t it?” Gary asked.
“Well the tournament starts at 9:00 because it’s only one day. I don’t want to have to rush.” After she said that she had another thought. “Crap I just thought of something.”
“What’s that?” Gary asked.
“What am I going to do if I get deep enough in this event today to have to finish up tomorrow afternoon?”
Gary smiled. “I’d say you should be grateful when and if you have that problem. I won’t hold you to playing tomorrow if it comes to that.”
“I’d pay you the buy in back,” Tricia said. “I feel bad though. When I agreed to play I didn’t think I was playing today.”
“I know,” Gary assured her. “don’t worry about it now. Just go do your best.”
“Well ok,” Tricia said. She walked off quickly toward her table in the tournament area but she was worrying about her newest dilemma. She looked around at the tournament area and had to laugh at herself.
“What, pray tell, is so funny?”
She turned and saw Jaime sitting at a nearby table. She went over to stand near him.
“Did I tell you that I had a deal with somebody to play the ladies event tomorrow?”
Jaime nodded. “You mentioned it last night.”
“Well a couple of minutes ago I started worrying that I would do so well in this that if I’m also doing well in that I’d be in both tournaments tomorrow at 4:00 in the afternoon. Then walking through here I kinda flashed back to how intimidated I was just a few days ago when I first walked into this room. Seems to me I’m being pretty cocky thinking I’ve got any problem at all. What are the chances that I’ll do that well in both tournaments?”
Jaime had smiled more and more broadly as she talked. “I’d say with you obviously starting to expect to do well or at least planning to do well you have a great chance. As for what to do you’ll just have to wait and see. I hope you have to figure out a solution personally. If it comes down to it I’m sure something can be worked out.”
Tricia smiled. “I can’t believe how this is going. So much has happened.”
Jaime nodded. “You’re doing well and I’m proud of you. You’d better get to your table though.”
The tournament director was starting to go through the pre-tournament instructions and Tricia hustled over to her seat, showed her entry receipt to the dealer and sat down, looking at the other players, none of whom she really recognized.
Looking back on it as the dinner break approached Tricia realized she had started off playing somewhat timidly and mentally kicked herself for the chips it had cost her. She’d been just plain lucky to recover them when, short stacked and in the big blind, she had picked up pocket kings and a larger stack on the button had tried to steal the blinds by putting her all in. She had quickly called and her kings had help up to double her up and get her back on the road to a decent sized stack.
There were only a few hands until the dinner break and she had a slightly larger than average chip stack and probably two thirds of the field had already fallen by the wayside. She looked around and was pleased to see just eight tables left of the original 27. A quick look told her that Jaime and Kevin were still in.
She’d seen Rick get up, obviously out, just a bit before. He’d caught her eye and shrugged as if to say “I did what I could.” Kevin had called him over and said something to him and then she’d seen him walk off.
There was a huge commotion on the last hand before the dinner break. The clock was already at zero and Tricia had stood up. She looked toward the source of the commotion and saw Kevin standing behind his chair. She was near enough to get where she couldsee the table. A player had Kevin all-in with a weaker hand and had gotten lucky on the flop. Kevin had to get one of the two remaining queens in the deck on either the turn or the river or he was done. The turn was no help and Tricia felt his disappointment in the pit of her stomach. The dealer inadvertently added to the drama when he fumbled the river card face down. When he flipped it up the people now crowded around the table cheered loudly when the queen of diamonds turned up. Kevin sagged with relief and shook his opponent’s hand.
He’d seen Tricia and moved over beside her. “That was close. How in the hell he could call my all-in with that trash I don’t know and then when he got lucky I thought I was dead.”
“Aren’t you the one who told me that you have to get lucky at least a few times to win one of these? You did there and I’m glad,” Tricia said.
Kevin laughed. “Yes indeed. I just hope I haven’t used it up. I’m going to need more luck. How are you holding up? Still hanging in there I see.”
“About average, maybe slightly above.”
“Excellent,” Kevin said reaching over to ruffle her hair lightly. “Ready for dinner? When Rick busted out I asked him to go down and get us a table and order for us. They give us so freaking little time for dinner that is pretty much the only way we’re going to eat unless you want one of the sandwiches that have been sitting in the food cart yonder all afternoon getting soggy.”
“Is there anything you don’t think of?” Tricia asked.
“Of course not. I’m perfect. Didn’t you know that?” Kevin said with a straight face.
“Oh brother. And here I was trying to compliment you.”
“Don’t do that,” Jaime said, joining them in time to hear the last part of their exchange. “His ego is big enough as it is. What has he done worthy of a compliment?”
“Well until you insulted me I was going to invite you to dinner at a table I arrange for and even pre-ordered food. But since you are gonna be like that then you can just have a soggy sandwich.” Kevin told Jaime with a grin.
“Oh come on,” Tricia said, eyes twinkling in merriment, “Give him a chance to apologize and get a good meal. Besides if you feed him well he may play better and then you make more money if he cashes.”
“Damn I hate a smart woman,” Kevin quipped.
Tricia elbowed him and said, “Well get used to it buster!”
“Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?” Kevin asked trying to keep a straight face and failing in the end when he started to laugh. “I’ve met my match. Come on and lets get dinner. We’ll see how Rick did ordering. I told him to keep it light and mix it up. There should be something everybody likes. We really don’t have much time. I really don’t see why they don’t give us more time.”
They picked up one more of Kevin’s players along the way, a quiet guy named Paul who Tricia thought was cute in a baby faced way. She also thought he must get carded ever time a security person saw him because she would have put him as being still in high school.
Dinner, of necessity, went quickly. Rick had ordered a variety of things and they sort of ended up eating an impromptu buffet. When Paul had asked why they hadn’t just eaten at the buffet Jaime, Kevin and Rick laughed and Rick told him that he’d seen the line super long on the way to grab the table they had. There was really no time to socialize or even talk about any hands. They ate and ran. Kevin dumped a hundred on the table and told Rick to give him any change left after a good tip next time he got a chance.
Tricia held back long enough to speak to Rick briefly.
“I’m sorry you went out.”
He shrugged and then grinned. “Me too. How are you doing?”
“But with only seventy some players left you’re in good shape.” He pointed out.
She nodded. “I’m sorry about last night.”
He looked at her quizzically. “Why? We had a good time. At least I thought you did too.”
“I did but I thought you were hoping for something more.”
Rick smiled. “Well it would have been nice. You’re still willing if it works out? If you’re playing the ladies tournament tomorrow you’re going to have to go to bed early tonight you know.”
“Yeah, and what if I do well in this and have to finish this tomorrow afternoon?”
“Well hell I wish I had such problems!” Rick chuckled. “Don’t worry about that now, just get back there and try to play well enough to cause yourself a problem ok? You’d better get back.”
“Ok, that’s what everybody says so I guess I will just not worry about it.”
Rick laughed. “Bull, you will. But don’t let it affect your play. Good luck!”
Tricia had to walk very fast to get back and then came within a hair’s breath of missing the first hand. She looked at her cards and threw them away, wondering why she had walked so fast. She grinned and looked around the table marveling at how good she felt to be where she was.
There were now thirty five players left and it was nearly midnight. Tricia was starting to see another potential problem. She might not get much sleep tonight. The biggest problem was that she was on an extremely short stack after having a horrible run of cards that had only allowed her to win two very small pots in the last hour. The tournament paid down to 27 players and she really wanted in the worst way to hang on while eight more players went out. She knew she didn’t have enough chips to just sit on them though and besides even if she did she’d be so incredibly short stacked that although she’d be in the money she’d have almost no chance to advance into the higher paying spots.
With four tables left and empty tables on all the edges it was easy to get a feel for who was still left. Jaime and Kevin were still in it. Kevin looked to have a big stack and she couldn’t see Jaime’s. They were, unfortunately she thought, on the same table now.
Seizing what she thought might be her best opportunity she pushed all-in hoping really to just steal the blinds and ante’s which at this point were considerable. Unfortunately she got called by the big blind who had plenty of chips and apparently felt like taking the chance that Tricia on the short stack was desperate and was making a move with a weak hand.
While that was sort of the case her hand was still better than the big blind’s but when he flopped the nut straight she found herself drawing nearly dead with only the hope of a split. The turn card ended that hope and the river could not help her. Just like that she was out. She stood there for a second automatically shaking her opponent’s offered hand and murmuring ‘good hand’ even though she wasn’t really paying attention and didn’t really mean it anyway.
She turned away and Kevin caught her eye as he gestured at her to come over. She went toward him as he mucked his hand and stood up.
“I saw,” he said, “tough break but you did the right thing. From what I could see you did the right thing all day.”
Tricia shrugged. “I started out bad. I was playing scared I think. I did get it back together though.”
“Yes you did. A couple of people who were at tables with you and ended up with me later commented on your play and it was all favorable. You do realize you’re the last lady standing in this one?”
She looked around and had to smile at that. “Wow. I had no idea.”
“You done good kid,” Kevin said with a smile.
“Kid? Flattery might just get you everywhere.” Tricia said.
“Hold that thought. And play just like you did today tomorrow and you’ll do well. Good luck tomorrow.”
“Thanks and good luck to you tonight. I wish I could stay and watch but I probably ought to get to bed.”
Kevin nodded. “Yeah you’re not like us young guys. You need your sleep.”
Tricia snorted. “You know what I said about flattery getting you everwhere? Well forget it!”
Kevin was chuckling. “Go say good night to Jaime and go to bed. Rick is probably playing live action.”
“Are you implying that I should go find him?” Tricia asked incredulously.
“Did I say that? I just thought you might want to tell him how you did. You’ve obviously become friends here at this tournament.”
Tricia eyed Kevin suspiciously but he had to dart back to his seatto play his next hand so there was no point in a retort.
She spent a short time tellingJaime good night and then walked over toward the cash game area in search of Rick.