Monday, November 5, 2007

Chapter 51

The first hand that Tricia really played was a suited Ace King from the button. She had a super strong hand, four other players building a pot for her and good position to play from. Unfortunately the flop missed her completely and then the first player to act bet out and was immediately raised by the next player. Another player then cold-called the raise. Tricia liked the size of the pot but based on the flop and the action she didn’t think that an ace or a king even if they hit, would win so she reluctantly folded.

Hopefully, she thought, losing the first hand she played was not going to set a negative tone for the evening. The hand was won by the big blind with the silly kind of hand Tricia knew she could expect to see a lot of in a low limit game, especially a nice loose one like this was showing itself to be.

The guy who won, a guy maybe in his late 20’s, managed at least to look a little sheepish at what he’d played and looked at her, shrugged and said, “sorry about that but I was already half in because of the big blind.”

“No problem,” Tricia said. “Nice hand.”

“Big Slick?” the guy asked in a friendly manner.

“Suited,” Mary Beth chimed in.

Tricia turned around and gave her a hard look, she hated to give out information about her hands if she didn’t have to.

“Sorry,” Mary Beth said quietly in her ear. Then she giggled. “He’s kinda cute isn’t he?”

“You can go sit with him if you’d rather. Then you can tell me what he threw away.” Tricia was not really mad at Mary Beth, more just irked, she knew, at the poker gods.

“Aww I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” Mary Beth sounded genuinely sorry.

“I know you won’t and I’m not mad at you. It’s just frustrating. Part of the game though so you have to get used to it.”

“That’s what you always tell me,” Mary Beth said.

“Where are you ladies from?” the guy asked a couple of hands later while they were waiting for the dealer.

“Cincinnati,” Tricia said.

“Here for the tournament?”

“Tricia here is,” Mary Beth said. Then she leaned past the guy to Tricia’s immediate left and held her hand out. “I’m Mary Beth.”

“I’m happy to meet you Mary Beth. You too Tricia. I’m Ben.” He shook Mary Beth’s hand and then held his hand out to Tricia who shook it too.

“So Mary Beth are you here for the tournament?”

“Oh no! That’s Tricia’s thing. She’s the pro. I’m just along for the ride.”

Tricia laughed. “I’m no pro. Mary Beth plays but is being uncharacteristically shy tonight.”

The play continued and as luck would have it the next hand that Tricia got involved with was won by somebody else. Tricia began to wonder if maybe it wasn’t meant to be that evening although she knew it was still way too early to tell.

Ben continued to talk to Tricia and Mary Beth, even sliding over into the seat next to them when the player who had been between them got up. Mostly, Tricia realized, Ben was talking to Mary Beth and they were starting to flirt a fair amount. She felt a tiny flash of jealousy and told herself it was silly. She was there to play poker and not only was Ben kind of young but wasn’t her type anyway. After she had that thought Tricia laughed at herself and thought, just focus on the poker Tricia.

Patience finally paid off when she picked up pocket aces on the button. The bad news was that there were already five players in the pot and pocket aces was not a hand Tricia wanted to play against more than half the table, they were much stronger against only one or two other players.

She raised and to her consternation Ben, who she’d thought was a good player, cold called from the small blind. With so many players in it was inevitable that the big blind would call but he surprised Tricia by raising. The good news was that with aces she knew she was ahead at the moment and that with two bets to call now maybe some of the limpers would fold.

As, one by on, they called the two bets Tricia told herself she had been dreaming. In a low limit game like this once players had any money in a pot at all before the flop they tended to stay with it.

When it got to her she shrugged tossed out her call and the last raise on top and said, “Might as well cap it.”

“Now we’ve got a pot,” Ben said making the call.

The big blind called but didn’t look nearly as happy Tricia thought.

The flop came down with a big beautiful ace in it giving Tricia a set of aces. She hoped Mary Beth would be able to keep cool, if she’d even seen Tricia’s hand since she’d been in mid-flirt with Ben when the action had started on this hand. There was also a ten and two diamonds as part of the flop and the ace of diamonds was one of those so Tricia had no part of any possible diamond draw.

The big blind bet out after Ben checked. A couple of players called and the player to Tricia’s right raised. She looked over at him and he looked back and said, “just fold honey, you’re not going to win this one either.”

Tricia grinned at him and threw in the chips to cold call the raise. “Maybe I can run you down.” She knew she wasn’t behind at the moment since her set of aces was the nuts. She was pretty sure that the big blind was going to raise again though, she was almost sure that he had hit a set also. Her bet for the player to her right was that he was raising on a flush draw, probably, she thought, king with some crap kicker like he’d been playing all night.

Ben finally woke up and smelled the roses and tossed his cards in the muck, giving Mary Beth a shrug and getting the sympathy from her that he’d obviously hoped for. Tricia smiled, Mary Beth had not seen her hand and when she whispered that to Tricia, Tricia had whispered back. “Wait for it.”

The big blind raised just as Tricia thought, the players between him and the guy on Tricia’s right went away. Sure enough the guy to her right did the macho thing and capped the pot. Then he said to Tricia, “Now Honey, don’t throw good money after bad. You have to be beat.”

She tossed in the chips trying to look like she had to think about it. “I think I can run you down.”  

The turn card was the deuce of diamonds putting the third diamond out and giving Tricia the nut full house. All that could beat her was if the big blind had the other two deuces and she knew he would not have played the way he did pre-flop with pocket deuces. Predictably he bet out, Tricia was sure he now had a full house with tens full of deuces. Also predictably the player on her right raised making it two bets. She thought about raising now but decided to hold off and try to get one in on the river, knowing that it could cost her money to try to get cute.

The guy in the big blind looked at her curiously. “I’m not worried about him,” the guy said meaning the player to Tricia’s right who she could feel bristling at the words, “I don’t think you’ve got me beat though, there are only two hands that can beat me. Are you on a Royal Flush draw? Well I gotta raise.” He tossed out the chips to raise.

The player to Tricia’s right beat him in the pot with his chips as he announced, “Cap it.”

That made three rounds capped, a very unusual occurance and making for a huge pot. Tricia actually sat back and thought about her hand a moment. She didn’t have the nuts, that would be four deuces. Could one of the other two have that? If the big blind, who’d been thinking out loud, had not been snowing her he didn’t have it. On the other hand if he did then what he said would have been a good smoke screen. But, Tricia thought, I do have the second nuts now and all that can beat me is the other two deuces. Of course it was possible that the guy to her right had hit the nut flush with a royal draw and could beat her if he made his royal but there was such a slim chance of that it wasn’t worth worrying about. She had to call and she did.

Mary Beth was now hanging on Tricia’s shoulder with nervousness radiating from her.

The river, incredibly, brought the last ace. It was actually a card Tricia was disappointed to see. She knew the big blind was likely to put her on an ace giving her aces full and probably would not bet.

He gave her a disgusted look and tapped the table. The guy to Tricia’s right though, incredibly bet. The guy in the big blind gave him a long look and shook his head as Tricia took one more look at the board, picked up some chips. Then picked up enough for a raise and looked at the guy to her right.

“I don’t think you’ve got the ace,” Tricia said. “I raise.”

With a sigh the big blind sailed his hand into the muck saying, “I think I got rivered.”

The guy to on Tricia’s right was now looking disgusted. “Shit. You did river that boat didn’t you? Well crap. Ok I can’t raise but I gotta call you.”

He did so and said, “Show me your ace.”

“Which one?” Tricia said as she turned them over one by one, “This one or this one.”

“Goddammit I knew you rivered me,” The guy to her right said, disgustedly turning up a King and five of diamonds for a nut flush. “I had you until the river, damn lucky stupid women players.”

Tricia could feel Mary Beth radiating anger behind her and nudged her to get her not to say anything.

The player who had been in the big blind looked over at her and said, “Very nice hand ma’am.”

“It was shit luck,” The guy to Tricia’s right said.

The big blind guy, finally snapped. “You idiot she was ahead before the flop, flopped the nuts, turned the nut full house beating your king, rag nut flush, she didn’t need the river ace and it probably cost her a bet because I had tens full and without that ace I’d have bet out and you probably would have three bet letting her cap with her quads. Stop whining about her getting lucky. You were in third place the entire hand.”

That settled the guy to her right down some.

“You owe the lady an apology,” The big blind guy told the guy to Tricia’s right.

The guy just snorted.

“Don’t let him get to you,” The big blind guy said to Tricia.

“Ok, I’ll try not to.” Tricia said hoping to simmer them both down because the way the guy to her right played the last thing she wanted to do was have him leave.

Mary Beth was hopping up and down on her chair and slapping Tricia on the shoulders. Tricia turned around and grinned at her. “Ok so I finally won a pot. Try not to kill me huh?”

Mary Beth laughed and gently patted Tricia where she’d been pounding on her. “That was exciting. I couldn’t help myself. Why didn’t you let me see?”

“Probably because she knew you would give it away”, the guy to her right said snidely.

Tricia elbowed Mary Beth before she could retort. Then she decided she needed to settle Mary Beth back down and let the table simmer down. She hated to get up after winning a big hand but she really didn’t want the idiot to her right to get mad and leave while he still had money.

She got up and pulled Mary Beth with her. “Deal around me please,” She said to the dealer tossing him an oversized tip because it had been such a big pot.

“Don’t let that guy get to you Mary Beth. We don’t want to get him mad and make him leave. He’s got money and he’s not afraid to put it in on weak hands. Remember what I told you about that.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Mary Beth said. “Don’t tap on the aquarium, it scares the fish.”


Mary Beth talked excitedly about the hand for a minute or two and Tricia could not help but smile at her. She was excited too of course, it had come together perfectly and had been a huge pot but it was still just one hand.

As Mary Beth was winding down the guy who had been in the big blind came up to her. “That was an excellent hand. You played it well. I could not put you on a hand for sure. Then I thought maybe you had ace king. I know you capped pre-flop but lots of people will do that with ace king from the button and the ace on the flop would have hit you. I can’t believe that guy pushed that hard with his nut flush draw.”

“Thank you,” Tricia said. “I can’t believe the way he played it either but I’m glad he did and hope he keeps it up. I was telling Mary Beth to be careful not to piss him off. We don’t want him to leave.”

“What do you mean?” The guy asked. “He’s a pain in the ass and he was insulting you.”

Tricia shrugged. “Well that is true. I wouldn’t want to spend time with him anywhere but a poker table. I don’t care much what he says about my play as long as I’m scooping the pots. He’ll do that again you know, overplay some weak ass hand. You might win the next one. That’s why I say we don’t want him gone. Just tune him out.”

“I have more trouble tuning him out than you do I guess.”

“You must not be married,” Tricia said with a grin causing Mary Beth to laugh.

“Huh?” The guy asked.

“Nope, not married,” Mary Beth said.

“I’m really kidding. I’m sure if you were married you would never just tune out your wife if she whined like that guy has been.” Tricia said.

“Oh!” The guy said, laughing. “Well maybe.”

“We ought to get back,” Tricia said, then she held her hand out. “I’m Tricia by the way. And this is Mary Beth.”

“Jacob,” The guy said as he shook their hands and they went back to the table.

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