There were gummy bears, Jolly Ranchers, jelly beans and plenty of other sweets to satisfy all players. But it wasn't the candy everyone wanted, it was the chips.
Four men and four women sat down for an evening of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em. All players knew the game of poker, but this classic variety was relatively new to about half the table.
I spent about 20 minutes before the party running down some basics with Memphis. I figured maybe we could finish first and second. By the end of the night, there was a first place finish, but it's not quite what I expected.
First out was Wilted Lily's husband. He played rather aggresively, and lost some big pots early. He made an ill-fated all-in stone cold bluff when two aces hit the flop. Memphis called and showed A-Q. One down.
Next to go was Chaz. Like Wilted Lily's husband, I know he had higher hopes than an early bust out. I frankly don't remember how, but I think it was Memphis again. She was on a roll.
I had played very few hands at this point. I caught pocket jacks once, but the flop was A-9-2 of diamonds. There were two big bettors in front of me and I folded. Turned out it was the right call. One guy had Q-J of diamonds and the other had A-2.
I made my first all-in move with K-J of diamonds. I didn't want anyone to call and no one did. That got me back to about 650 of the 750 I started with. One hand later, I got A-Q off and thought I'd go all-in again. Figured a few more blinds would help.
This time I got called. It was Chaz's wife. She was a good player from what I could tell, so I was a bit worried. Until she flipped 8-9 of spades. I was about a 58% favorite. The flop came A-8-3, no spades. Suddenly I'm an 82% favorite and feeling pretty good. The turn was a 6 (89% favorite). And the river... well, the river hurt. It was a 9, and I was down to just a few chips.
A few hands later I got K-6 suited and I moved in. Wilted Lily called me with A-x. The flop brought me two of the three spades I needed, but the third one never came, and I was done.
The first three out were all men, and all men who I'm sure figured they'd do better than 8th, 7th and 6th!
At this point, I was rooting for Memphis. She had a pretty good stack, but was probably in 3rd or 4th out of the five left.
Next to go was our host, the Mizzou Grad. I'm not sure she got many cards all night. Like me, she was rarely in a pot, and when she finally made a move, she was knocked out. I think it may have been her husband that did it.
We're down to four and the top 3 pay. The alcohol had been flowing at this point, and I got the feeling tha Mizzou Grad was trying to get everyone but her husband really drunk. He was quickly building a stack and becoming a bully.
Next out was Wilted Lily. She made a risky all-in with marginal cards and Mizzou Grad's husband added her chips to his already imposing stack.
We were down to three. Memphis and Chaz's wife were in the pot when the flop came K-10-5 rainbow. Chaz's wife moved all-in in front of Memphis.
I may have folded in that spot, but Memphis called and flipped Q-J for an open ended straight draw. I figured Chaz's wife for a K, but she flipped a pair of 4's. To my surprise, Memphis was actually a 54% favorite at this point. And when the 9 came on the turn, it was all over for Chaz's wife.
Suddenly, we're heads up. It's Memphis vs. Mizzou Grad's husband. Memphis was behind, but it wasn't an overwhelming margin to make up. In fact, it really only took a couple of big hands, both were bouts of bad luck for Mizzou Grad's husband.
First, we found two K's on the flop. You'd figure any K at this point would be the winner. Memphis kept checking and Mizzou Grad's husband kept pushing the pot. He never moved all-in, but I think he was trying to pull as much out of Memphis as he could. When the showdown came, Mizzou Grad's husband smoothly flipped his K... ready to take his pot. Memphis flipped her K-Q and her full boat brought her a monster pot.
Next, the flop came Q-5-3. This time, Memphis started the betting, and Mizzou Grad's husband called. The turn was a blank, and Memphis checked. Mizzou Grad's husband started pressing again, and did the same after the river brought another blank. This time, Mizzou Grad's husband had K-Q. His kicker certainly dominated Memphis' kicker, but her kicker paired, and Q-3 was the two pair needed to take another huge pot.
A few hands later, Mizzou Grad's husband was forced to make an all-in bet with 3-5 suited and he got no help at all. It was over.
Memphis had the cards and played them strong all night long. Congratulations!! Her take was $70. Mizzou Grad's husband walked away with $35 and Chaz's wife won $15. For me, it was a few gummi bears and a great night of poker.