It was an inauspicious start to our long-awaited poker night.
We had passed out the chips for a little No Limit Texas Hold 'Em sit-and-go when Scott thought he heard a cell phone ring. Don't ask me how, but that led to Scott banging into the table, spilling his full beer over the chips, the cards and the felt.
And we're not talking light beer. This was some kind of deep brown, thick foam beer (as a non-connoisseur of alcoholic beverages, I'll rely on my playing partners to fill in that blank).
So, after cleaning up the mess, we were finally ready to play.
The players included Up For Poker contributors Otis, Randy and I, as well as Otis's brother, Little Willie, and the aforementioned Scott. Five players in a $5 entry-fee warm-up, winner gets $20, 2nd gets his money back.
I can't quite remember how things went, but I know I busted out pretty quickly. I played pretty tight, and never really had the cards. Randy took the title and I think either Otis or Little Willie finished second.
A few more people arrived by that time and we decided to just start playing dealer's choice. We play with dime, quarter, fifty, and dollar chips. A maximum of three raises per betting round and a maximum bet of $5.
I called mostly Anaconda (when we had 7 players) and Omaha Hold 'Em (when we had 8 players). And it was really just two pots that helped me finish up for the night.
The first game was called Trees. It's a terrible game. Everyone hates it, and that's why I called it. You deal five cards to each player and have a betting round. Then everyone begins trading cards face-down with whomever they want, and however many they want. You keep trading until everyone is satisfied or until no one wants to trade.
Usually there's one more betting round and then the showdown, but I added some elements. First, I made it high/low, and I had each player lay out their hands face down to reveal them one at a time (it adds betting rounds).
My strategy was to keep trading until I got a royal flush, and, although I was worried that perhaps a card might have been buried, I finally found the clubs to close the deal.
Four players were happy enough with their hands to play them. Two players were aiming for the high and two for the low. When the other high hand flipped a couple of Jacks, I knew he was playing a boat.
I put my cards in order, except I moved the K to the last card to give the impression it might be a simple flush. He fell for it, and I split a huge pot with the player holding the low hand.
Next was Omaha High/Low. My hand was 7-7-4-3. The flop came A-J-7. I don't think there was a flush possibility at this point, and my low was actually looking marginally good. I bet it pretty strong, and there were plenty of followers.
The turn was a king. I still think there was no flush, but I was worried now about someone holding Q-10, not to mention a pair of J's or a pair of A's. And now the low was in question. I still bet it pretty strong, hoping the board would pair again to give a boat.
When the river came, I instantly realized it didn't pair the ace, king or jack. That was disappointing. Until I realized it did, in fact, pair the board. It was the final 7. That also eliminated any chance of a split pot, and I was holding the nuts.
I bet it strong again and got one caller. I should have checked, because Otis was behind me, and he says he would have bet it strong figuring people had missed their low and woudl fold. Either way, I took down a monster pot and it didn't really matter what happened the rest of the night.
After the dealer's choice, we played another No Limit Texas Hold 'Em sit-and-go. This time, it was a $10 buy-in with 8 players. The original five, plus Tony, Mark and Shep. Winner got $40, 2nd got $25, 3rd got $15.
I hit a nice pot early when I flopped a set with my pair of Q's. It was only the third or 4th hand, and on the river, I went all-in and Shep folded. Too bad he didn't call.
I busted Tony out a little later when my A-Q suited beat his 10's. A Q came on the flop. Must have been my magic card. Little Willie almost stayed in the hand with K-J suited, but decided against it. He would have won the pot with a K on the turn. Little Willie played almost every hand, but it was working for him.
Speaking of him, that's where my night ended. We were the two shortest stacks of the final 5 players and Little Willie went all-in in front of me. I was sitting with A-5 suited and I figured I had a pretty good chance of having the stronger hand. I called, and I was right. Little Willie flipped Q-5 suited. I had him dominated, but the Q worried me. After all, it had been my special card.
Sure enough, a Q came on the flop and I was done. Otis went on to win the whole thing. Scott finished second and Little Willie third. I still think that $15 third place should have been mine. Hell, I might have gone on to win the whole thing. But that's poker! Either way, I finished up $21 for the night after about 9 hours of play. Not my best night, but it's always better to finish ahead.
I'll let Randy and Otis fill in any holes I might have left. I promise to keep bugging him until he lets you in on a new poker game he invented on the fly. It gave us quite a few laughs for the rest of the night.