A hand to remember, but not to savor

March 27, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
March 27, 2014

Thanks to a combination of basketball, confusion and cancellation, my schedule this week, unusually, has allowed me to play World Tavern Poker several nights running. The first tournament on Wednesday night brought me a hand to remember — although not, alas, one to savor…

I’d won a few hands, nothing major — mostly by making bets that no one called. After the blinds went to 500-1,000, and shortly before the mid-game break, I was dealt pocket aces while sitting in the small blind.

There were nine or so people at the table. About six of them called the big blind. When my turn came, I checked my cards, counted my chips and bet 3,000 on top of my small blind.

Mark folded his hand in the big blind. Tony, the man sitting immediately to his left, considered and then called. Everyone else folded.

S. dealt the flop: ten-five-four rainbow. (Rainbow means that none of the cards shared a suit.) I was not displeased. I looked down at the small stack in front of me.

I put in five chips: one white chip, representing 5,000 in notional units, and four red ones, standing for 100 units apiece. I was all in for 5,400.

Tony had a lot more than that. He held up a matching amount of chips.

“This is a Tony call,” he said, but he didn’t put down his chips.

Everyone watched and waited.

“It’s World Tavern Poker,” he said. “This is a Tony call.” He placed his bet on the table.

We showed our cards. Tony had ace-two. I had pocket aces. Only a three could beat me now.

The turn was not a three. But the river was, giving Tony a straight and the winning cards.

Everyone shouted. I laughed. Tony held out his hand and smiled. I smiled and shook his hand, and then I stood up and took a seat elsewhere in the room.

That’s the way it goes sometimes.

The 10-minute chip-up break came a few minutes later. I talked over the hand with Mark and another player named Billy. They felt that my 3,500 bet was sensible given my hand, and they said that Tony shouldn’t have called either of my bets.

Tony wound up at the final table. I did some grocery shopping and sat down at my computer to do some blogging.

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