Sunday, November 21, 2004

Friday Poker Night

On a whim, I traveled two and a half hours to Orlando to compete in a game of poker. In fairness, I didn’t drive just to play poker. It gave me the opportunity to hang out with a couple of my very good friends, Eric and Zach.

After some wrangling, I finally was able to leave West Palm Beach in time to make 11:00 first deal. Of course, Zach is always a little late, so we didn’t get underway until just around midnight. Zach’s stoner friend Dave canceled on short notice, leaving us only four players. Typically, Zach prefers to have a fifth player. Nevertheless, four is enough and the proceedings commenced.

For about two hours, Zach, Eric, Sean, and myself played even. It looked like we would go on and on with nary a player exiting the competition. Finally, Zach got a little careless and I took him out on an “all-in”. Zach claims that he just wanted the game to be over, but he was a beaten man this night. It embarrasses me to admit that I took slight pleasure out of watching Zach be the first out. He just wins too often. It was time for him to go out early for a change.

Eric was the next to go. I don’t remember the exact scenario behind his departure. For the early part of the night, it looked like Eric would take the game. He had some very good hands, beating me on a K-A kicker early on. Eric was the prohibitive chip leader for some time. But in poker, things can change quick. Over two hours in, Eric was the second man to be defeated.

That left Sean and I to play for the remainder of the time. Zach started getting upset as time went on. At one point, he made a questionable move as dealer by looking at Sean’s hand. Sean got sort of upset and it resulted in a mild verbal exchange. While it was not an egregious offense, Zach was clearly in the wrong and was correct to apologize for his infraction.

I was proud of how I played Sean for the final two hours. Long story short, we played until 4:00 a.m. Finally, Sean seized all my chips and took me out with pocket pairs. I really thought I would win this night. I went from virtual chip depravity to a full arsenal of whites, blues, and reds. At the very least, I take solace in the fact that I was able to recover and get another chance this evening. Sean is clearly a better poker player than I am, although he plays much more often than I.

I desperately want a win next time out. Each time, I feel my confidence growing. I won’t let myself get into the mentality of accepting second. While I play poker mainly for fun, I do want to experience the thrill of undisputed victory. I can feel it coming.

We might have another game here in West Palm Beach over Thanksgiving weekend. I’m scoring my call list to find two extra players to accompany the triumvirate of Eric, Zach, and myself.

It regrets me to say that I did not consume any of the Jack Daniel’s last night. Part of me was still feeling sick from days of a stomach virus. I worried that Jack would upset my stomach. Another reason is that my poker record is bad when on the JD. When drinking Jack, I’m always first out. When clean of Jack’s intoxicating influence, I consistently finish second. I feel sort of obliged to continue my sobriety while playing poker.

I hope to be reunited with Jack in the coming days. I still have a quarter of my 1 L bottle remaining from last weekend. I’m making the rounds to acquire another bottle for this weekend. I never like to have less than a half bottle left in my possession, at any time.

Jack must be consumed in copious amounts. That’s why I didn’t even start last night. If I don’t drink at least three shots, it’s hardly worth the strain of consumption. Preferably, it takes a minimum of five shots to attain suitable intoxication. Of course, half of the .7 L bottle is optimum to enjoy the experience to its pinnacle.

Overall, poker was fun last night. Each time, I feel myself getting better. I’ m playing against two people who play poker far more than I. Even with my relative lack of experience, I can easily hold my own, one-on-one, for many hours. For $5, it’s worth the hours of entertainment.


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