A little past eight on Tuesday evening found Tricia and Mary Beth approaching the sign up desk in the poker room. The afternoon had been a mixed bag for Tricia. She’d had fun hanging out with Mary Beth but had tried three single table satellites and lost them all. It didn’t appear that Mary Beth’s earlier prediction of good luck was going to hold up, at least as it pertained to Tricia.
While Tricia had been beating her head against the wall that was single table satellites Mary Beth had returned to her slot machine and had gained, over the time she played it, another $50 or so. Consequently Mary Beth was in a much better mood than Tricia although Tricia was trying hard not to be grumpy. It was hard to be too grumpy around Mary Beth anyway when she was in such a good mood, it was infectious.
That afternoon after Tricia had made a joking comment about how Mary Beth’s low cut blouse might help her at the poker table Mary Beth had dragged Tricia shopping. She’d gotten the location of the nearest mall and off they went with Tricia mentally, if not quite physically, dragging her heels.
That shopping trip had been an experience. As a consequence Tricia was now dressed in a blouse cut lower than any she had owned. That wasn’t hard since most of her wardrobe was pretty conservative. When Tricia had pointed out that it wasn’t going to work on her the same way because her boobs were lots smaller than Mary Beth’s Mary Beth had countered by dragging Tricia along to Victoria’s Secret where Tricia had been subjected to a fairly embarrassing bra fitting and frank discussion of her body by Mary Beth and the sales lady. Even Tricia privately admitted that the results were fairly spectacular. The image Tricia saw when she looked in the mirror was kind of sexy without being over the edge into being slutty which was what Tricia had feared was going to happen. She wasn’t ready to admit it to Mary Beth yet but she liked the look and would have thought it was impossible for her to achieve.
“So what’s the plan here?” Mary Beth asked as they waited at the sign up desk.
Tricia brought her thoughts back to the here and now and said, “Well I promised Kevin that I’d give some seven card stud a try so if they’ve got a game of seven card high only I’m going to do that. You should play some hold’em I think. You’re on a roll. You’ll do fine.”
“I want to watch you for a while first,” Mary Beth said.
“You didn’t like seven card stud when I tried to teach you, why would you want to watch?”
“Because my friend is playing and I want to watch her.”
“Awww that’s sweet,” Tricia said. “Silly but sweet. You’re a big girl. If that’s what you want to do it’s fine with me. You should play some tonight though. You seem to enjoy it and you have to admit your luck is there today.”
“Yeah, if I didn’t use it all up.”
“There is that,” Tricia conceded as they moved up to the front of the line. Then to the woman taking sign ups she asked, “Do you have any seven card stud high only games spread?”
They had a game and Tricia was directed to that table.
As they made their way there Mary Beth said, “You sound so official when you talk like that.”
“Talk like what?”
“You know, all that poker talk.”
Tricia laughed. “Well we’re in a poker room.”
“I know but it has a language all it’s own sort of. Anyway it’s impressive that you know your way around so well.”
Tricia smiled thinking how scared she’d been her first time. She had come a long way. She had a long way to go though, she knew.
She took her seat at the table and looked around. It was the only game of it’s type going so there had been no point in checking them out to see which might be the better game. There was another female player but save one young guy probably in his late 20’s Tricia was the youngest player by a good margin except for one guy who was probably in his 40’s. The rest were all over 60, some of them way over, Tricia thought.
She just told herself that she’d held her own playing with her father and his cronies and had even gotten lately where she could beat them just as Kevin had predicted. It was a fact that she knew irked her father some but he also seemed proud of her which was something she wasn’t used to coming from him.
Tricia snorted with laughter when she’d been playing a few minutes. When Mary Beth asked what was so funny Tricia had told her, “I don’t think this get up you got me to wear is going to have much effect on these guys and I think the woman over there thinks I’m a slut for wearing it.”
“You never know, some of these old guys may put the moves on you. You’d better watch out for them. As for the lady over there I think those looks are for me not for you.” Mary Beth said with a smile. “Either way who cares. You said you feel good in it right?”
“And it’s not that revealing. Hell Tricia there is nothing wrong with dressing like a girl. You are a girl you know. I don’t even think Matt would mind.”
Tricia chuckled. No Matt was going to love this shirt she thought.
She had started out playing very conservatively while she assessed the players and the game itself. Gradually she began opening up her game and playing more. She won a nice pot or two and then lost a big one when somebody had turned out to have two more kings in the hole and his quads beat her aces full. The fact that none of the other aces had shown up had slowed the guy down a little at least since Tricia could have had quad aces. Alas though she hadn’t, just Aces full of sevens which she’d thought would beat his likely kings full. She’d known she was beaten when he re-raised on the final street.
“I’m glad Kevin got me to learn to play this,” Tricia told Mary Beth while she sat watching a hand play out after she’d folded. “I’m having a lot of fun with it.”
“Just hold’em is complicated enough for me thank you,” Mary Beth said.
“I hate hold’em,” the guy to Tricia’s right said. “I’m glad to see a young person learning to play stud. It’s a bit of a dying art with everybody wanting to play no-limit hold’em all the time.”
FONT size=4>“Well a friend encouraged me to give it a try. He told me it would even be good for my no-limit game. I have to confess that I started out that way and I’m still primarily a hold’em player. This is only like the third time I’ve played stud in a casino. It’s hard to find a game in the casinos that are close to home.” Tricia said.
“That’s my point exactly,” the guy said. “Hold’em is killing off stuff and Omaha. The only hope is the HORSE tournament and other mixed game tournaments that are starting to get a little popularity.”
“Yeah. I think that is what my friend has in mind down the line, that I give those a try.” Tricia said.
“Well your friend is a pretty good teacher. I don’t know about your hold’em game but you seem to be a fast learner at stud.”
“Actually,” Tricia said. “My friend didn’t teach me to play. He was visiting and we got into a game with my father and his usual poker buddies and he got my dad to teach me. First woman to ever play in their game I think.”
“Their loss,” the guy said. “My usual bunch would love to have a pair of good looking young girls like you two in our game.”
“I think I’m in love,” Mary Beth said. “Young girls like us! What a sweetie! What’s your name cutie?”
He was not bad looking, especially for being around her father’s age, but Tricia suspected that Mary Beth was mostly being nice.
The guy chuckled. “My name is Frank. Be gentle with me. I’m old and you wouldn’t want to over excite me and give me a heart attack. Although it would be a hell of a way to die. At least I’d go out with a smile on my face.”
Mary Beth laughed. “I’m Mary Beth and this is Tricia. I bet you could handle both of us.”
Tricia looked at Mary Beth in amazement.
Frank laughed. “There was a day I’d have liked to try. Even if it would have meant running therisk of my wife killing me. You’d lose that bet now. I couldn’t handle either of you but I thank you for humoring an old man.”
“My pleasure,” Mary Beth said. “You aren’t that old you know and experience does count for something.”
“True, good thing for you I’m still married then or you might be in trouble.” Frank said with a grin.
“My kind of trouble,” Mary Beth laughed.<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
“I don’t believe that,” Frank said. “You are just being friendly. I see that wedding ring. I’ve had mine for 40 years. I bet you’ll have yours that long or longer.”
“Wow,” Mary Beth said. “I hope so. Congratulations.”
“The one good thing I’ve done with my life,” Frank said, looking at his hold cards for the next hand and tossing the hand in the muck. “So you’re here for the tournaments Tricia?”
Tricia nodded as her hand followed Franks into the muck.
“You must have some good poker experience,” Frank said. “I know you said you were new to stud but you play too well to have just picked it up.”
“This is only my second real tournament series,” Tricia told him. “I learned to play online like most people these days. Then I got a chance to go play the WSOP circuit event in Indiana a few months back.”
“How’d you do?”
“She won!” Mary Beth said excitedly, startling Frank.”
“I didn’t win,” Tricia said, giving Mary Beth an indulgent smile. “I was second in the ladies event and cashed in another of the events.”
“That sounds good to me,” Frank said. “Where is home if you don’t mind my asking. This is nowhere near Indiana.”
“Tell me about it,” Mary Beth grumbled, recalling the long drive.
Tricia chuckled. “Cincinnati is home and yes we drove all the way here which is what Mary Beth is being a grump about.”
“That’s a good trek,” Frank agreed.
He began to talk to Tricia about her experience there and they drifted into talking about poker in general. Mary Beth was following the conversation less and less until she finally said, “Tricia I think I’m going to go find a game like we played last night. I just go to that desk and tell them what I want right?’
“Right as for 4/8 limit hold’em. 3/6 or 2/4 is ok but I doubt they have it. Don’t let them talk you into a bigger game and don’t try no-limit yet, even a 1/2 no-limit is something I’m not sure you’re ready for yet.”
“Yes boss,” Mary Beth said with a smile. “4/8 is what we played last night and I was fine with that.”
Tricia settled back into the game after watching Mary Beth get seated in a game of her own.
“You girls are here by yourselves?” Frank asked. “Not that it’s any of my business.”
“Yes we are. I won’t get to do this very often but my husband was willing to let me do it again after I won as much as I did the last time and am going to pay for a family trip to Disney in Florida this year with some of it.” Tricia answered. “I hope you didn’t mind the way Mary Beth was flirting with you.”
Frank chuckled. “You’ve got to be kidding. At my age to have somebody like either of you pay me any mind at all is great. Don’t worry I’m not under the delusion that she was trying to seduce me. It was just good fun. It made my night as a matter of fact. Now I can go home and tell my wife she has competition.”
Tricia laughed. “Won’t that get you a night on the couch?”
“Nah,” Frank said. “She knows better. We like to kid each other, keeps us feeling young. She was quite a flirt in her day, still is to some extent I guess. She never meant anything by it, she was always just a naturally friendly fun person like your friend Mary Beth.”
“I wish I could be like that sometimes.” Tricia said.
Frank shrugged. “You are what you are. You’re friendly, just in your own way. You’re also a good player. Good luck in the tournaments. I don’t know how the competition stacks up compared to the one you played.”
“I guess we’ll see,” Tricia said with a shrug. “I don’t really expect to win one. I’ll be happy to cash high enough to make my expenses.”
“Well don’t sell yourself short,” Frank told her. “If you cashed in one and got second in the ladies event then I don’t think it was a fluke. Not seeing how you play stud.”
“Thanks,” Tricia said, feeling a little embarrassed at the praise, “I hope you’re right. I’m going to try my best.”
“You’re in the event tomorrow?” Frank asked.
Tricia nodded. “Yeah I tried three single table satellites, missed in all of them so I just bought in. Those things are really too much of a crap shoot but I had good luck in them the last time. I promised Kevin I’d play all the events up to and including the main event. We’re driving home Sunday though and won’t play that one. I don’t see why they had an event after the main event.”
“Does seem screwy but they did it last year. Not many people play.” Frank said.
“Are you playing any of them?”
“Me?” Frank asked then laughed. “Not likely. I told you I hate hold’em. I get sucked out on way too much.”
“Oh come on it’s not that bad,” Tricia said. “If you just play the right cards you’re halfway there. I know you can read hands and people well enough.”
“I know. I play when I can’t find a stud game but I don’t have to like it.”
“True, but it’s easier if you do.” Tricia laughed.
Frank laughed with her. “Yeah it would be.”
“It can be a bit of a grind I guess. You’ll play very few hands if you do it right but you don’t play that many even in this game if you’re playing right.”
Frank shrugged. “Maybe I need lessons.”
Tricia laughed. “Well I’m not good enough to give you lessons but I’m going to switch to one of the 1/2 no-limit hold’em games after a little while and you’re welcome to watch if you’d like.”
“Actually I’d like that,” Frank said.
Tricia looked surprised. “Well by all means. I have not played much no-limit in cash games. Most of my experience is in tournaments for no-limit. Kevin and another friend wanted me to try some no-limit cash games as well. I promised I would. You could be about to watch a world class disaster in the making.”
Frank smiled and patted her on the arm. “I doubt that.”
“Well then how about now?” Tricia said as another player got up and left the game. “It looks like this game is going to break up anyway.”
“Yeah,” Frank said sadly. “I tell you stud is dying.”
“Oh come on, have faith,” Tricia said. “And in the meantime you can watch me make a fool out of myself.”
“You don’t believe that,” Frank said, “Or you wouldn’t be going to play it. Lets go, and no more of that garbage talk.”
“Now you sound like Kevin.”
“He must be a smart man then,” Frank said and then laughed.
Tricia laughed with him as they racked their chips and got ready to switch games.