Archive for September 27th, 2015

On Thursday night: Act II, Act III

September 27, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 27, 2015

And now, back to our story

Act II.

When the second tournament got under way, I took a spot at the third table, a pool table that had been covered up. I like starting at that table, and I particularly like starting at a spot in the farthest corner from the entrance. But since that had already been taken, I chose a spot on the short side of the table near the entrance. If I turned my head to the right, I’d have a good view of a television that was showing the National Football League’s Thursday night Giants–Washington game.

I was slightly peeved about not being able to sit in my favorite spot, but I was more bothered by the fact that the person to my left was a formidable player named Chris. And as it turned out, an equally good player, Doc, was seated to my right a hand or two after the tournament began, meaning that I was sandwiched between two of the region’s top competitors.

Doc wouldn’t be there for long. Two hands after he started, he was dealing, I was in the small blind and Chris was in the big blind. Some people got in the hand. Doc, I think, raised. I had ace-eight and considered calling; instead, I folded.

The flop turned out to be quite tasty, however: ace-ace-jack. I raised my eyebrows slightly. Damn, I thought*. Maybe I should have played.

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On Thursday night: Cold open, prologue, Act I

September 27, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 27, 2015

The Cold Open.

I’m sitting across a table from a man named Eric. We are heads up at the conclusion of a no-cash Texas holdem poker tournament. The three cards from the flop are on the table. After a series of post-flop bets, we’ve both agreed to go all-in.

Eric has me covered, but I have the superior hand — for now. As I cautiously remind Eric, he can beat me: “All you need is for the board to pair.”

I burn a card and put out the turn. It’s a 10. I relax a minute amount: That card did not help Eric.

I burn again and reach for the final card — fifth street, the river. I’m holding my breath…


The Prologue.

Several hours earlier, on Thursday afternoon, I was steaming. I regularly drive a Durham man named K— to local World Tavern Poker events. After an exchange of text messages, I’d swung by his house to pick him up, but he hadn’t been ready. After impatiently waiting for a few minutes — I was eager to beat the traffic — I got out of my car, walked up to his porch and knocked on his door.

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