Edward Owen – Author

Monthly Archives: May 2010

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The Game #28

Before Kenny could start the deal, the timer on the wall announced an increase in the blinds, now at 100/200.  Darius was down below two thousand dollars now, so the blinds would affect him the most.  Unfortunately, with Bill out of the game, Darius inherited the button, getting him out of the small blind and putting him in the best position at the table.  Edward wondered if it was really a coincidence, but Nelly had been the one who had ended the hand and Darius certainly didn’t have anything to do with that.  At least, Edward hoped he didn’t.

The blinds were posted; Ginger on the big and Edward on the small.  The cards were dealt and the tension went up another notch.  The water in Scott’s cell was a little over a two feet deep and  everyone else had a little over a foot.  The water level continued to rise as the time went by.

Edward checked his cards.  King of diamonds, queen of clubs; mixed marriage.  That could work.  Tim “The Hippy” Feldman was up first.  He had his ubiquitous peace sign headband on over his shoulder length hair, today’s color was a royal blue with the peace sign in white. 

“Four hundred”, Tim said, placing his bet in the pot.

Double the big blind.  Edward put him on a solid pair or the big slick at least.  With all of the chip stacks fairly even (except yours a small voice reminded him), it could get ugly fast.

“Call”, said George.  He had been pretty quiet so far.  Edward had the ultimate respect for the man who was often referred to as the “Quiet Lion”.  If George was in the hand in mid position, he had the cards to play.

“Raise to eight hundred”, said Angela.

Damn! thought Edward.  Had everyone hit big hole cards?  With the water rising inexorably in every cell, they were all starting to feel the pressure to save their own.  Edward really couldn’t blame them.  He had done exactly that and it had given him huge lead over the others.  Nelly was next up.

“Call” she said, adding another eight hundred chips to the pot.

This brought the action to Darius.  “Call”, he said, and another eight hundred dollars was added.

Another seven hundred to Edward to call.  It was hard to tell what everyone was playing.  Were they on the same team, or was it becoming a free for all?  Edward decided to call and see what the flop produced.

Ginger, Tim and George all raised as well.  Every single player was going into the flop on a re-raise.  Edward hoped to God that Darius did not win this pot.  The sooner they could take him down, the better.

As George completed his bet, Kenny laid the next three cards on the table.  Jack of diamonds, ten of diamonds and the four of clubs.  Edward had an up and down straight draw, but he suspected at least one other person did as well.  Very strong flop considering the betting that had preceded it.  He was first to act.  Normally he would have led with a bet double the big blind, but he didn’t want to start a betting frenzy, so he tapped the table and checked.

“Four hundred”, Ginger bet.  So much for controlling anything thought Edward.  To his amazement, the bet was called all around the table.  Seven players after the flop?  What the hell was going on?  Edward had only seen this happen at low stakes, friendly games.  This was not going well at all.

Kenny flipped the turn card onto the felt.  Ace of hearts.  Ace high straight.  Edward resisted the temptation to check his hole cards again.  Years of disciplined play simply would not allow it.  It didn’t matter anyway, the cards would be burned into his brain until the hand was over.  Now he was faced with the dilemma of how to bet.  Two diamonds on the board, so a flush draw was very possible.  Edward didn’t mind losing to any of  the other players as long is it wasn’t Darius.

“Two hundred”, said Edward, and waited for the rest of the table to take their turns.

The Game #27

Edward added his chips and called Darius re-raise without comment.  As far as he was concerned, it was up to Bill and Nelly to beat him on this hand.  The action went to Ginger.  She looked at Gary and tossed her cards into the muck, shaking her head slowly and dropping her gaze to the table.  Nelly called the extra five hundred dollars, glancing briefly in Edward’s direction.  Bill caught the look and gave a Nelly a brief but hard look.

“Call”, said Bill.  The extra five hundred put him below a thousand chips.  Edward sincerely hoped Bill had the cards to pull off the win.

Kenny shuffled off three cards and spread them on the felt.  Queen of hearts, eight of diamonds and the ace of clubs.  A very dangerous flop.  Bill was first up.

“Check” he said, tapping the table in front of him.  Darius checked behind him as well.  Edward and Nelly both checked, following Bill’s lead.

The turn card was the ten of hearts.  Bill said “All in” and pushed his chips into the pot. 

“I’m afraid the three of you will have to decide this hand”, said Darius as he folded his cards.

Edward called Bill’s bet.  At least Darius would not be getting any chips from them.  Nelly also called, finishing off the round.  Kenny burned the top card and flipped over the river.  Four of spades.  Most likely a brick.  From what little Edward could see of Bill’s face, he seemed to be taking this hand rather well.  It was likely that he had at least paired the queen or the ace on the flop.  If Nelly had flopped something strong, Edward was sure she would have folded.  He checked.  Adding a side pot would not help Bill.

“One thousand”, said Nelly.

The bet startled Edward.  He had expected Nelly to check and let the hand play out.  Bill was already all in, so she could only take chips from Edward.  With his hand, that wouldn’t be hard.  Then it hit him.  She needed to get back some of the chips she planned to lose to Bill.  Edward had the lion’s share, so it only made sense.  He called her bet.

“Show down”, Kenny said.

Edward flipped his cards into the muck without turning them over.  Nelly flipped over the nine of hearts and the jack of spades.  She had made a queen high straight.  Edward watched as Bill slowly flipped over a pair of queens.  He had made a set, but was bested by Nelly’s straight.

“Oh God, Bill!” Nelly cried.  “I had you on king-jack.  I thought you had me beat solid….”  Tears began to roll down her face as the water level in Rebecca’s cell started to rise.  “Bill….. I’m so sorry….you… you went all in… I just knew you hit the nuts….”  The words were coming in sobs even as Kenny pushed the chip stack to Nelly.

“I don’t want them, give them to Bill”, she said, holding her hands in front of her chip stack.

“I’m afraid, Miss Overton, that the rules do not allow one player to give chips to another”, Darius said.  “That would hardly be sporting now, would it?”

“You son of a bitch!” Bill roared as he flew off his stool and reached for Darius.  He collapsed to the floor instantly as electricity blasted through his nervous system .  Rebecca’s cell was filling with water as the level in Robert Overton’s dropped nearly a foot and a half.   Bill struggled to get up off the floor, but each time he did, spasms would rack his body.

“Please take Mr. Weldon to the window so he may so goodbye” Darius instructed his men.  They picked Bill up and dragged him by the arms, dropping him in front of Rebecca’s cell.  As his body writhed in pain, Bill Weldon watched the water level rise to the top of his wife’s cell.   She struggled briefly, pounding on the glass with her eyes bulging, and then it was over.  As her body went limp, Bill “The Poker Punk” Weldon, let out a scream of agony followed by loud, uncontrollable sobbing.

Kenny gathered up the card and began to shuffle as the panel closed over Rebecca’s cell and Bill was dragged away through the doorway.

The Game #26

Edward stared at the line of cards running down the center of the table.  Jack of diamonds, seven of spades, ten of hearts, queen of hearts and now…….. the jack of clubs.  Shit!  Darius had hit trips on the river and busted Tommy.  Edward watched as Tommy registered the card and looked slowly at Rose Marie’s cell which began to fill with water.  He got up off his stool, took three steps towards her and collapsed in a heap on the floor.  Darius’s men bent down to pick him up as Rose Marie’s final breath escaped from her lungs in a burst of bubbles.  She floated limp and lifeless in the water.  One of the men turned to Darius.

“He’s dead, no heartbeat.”

“Please take him to join his wife”, Darius said to the man.  “It would seem that life without his wife did not appeal to Mr. Chen.  Please, a moment of respect for The One-Eyed Jack.”

Darius sat silently at the table.  The panel slid down over Rose Marie’s cell and each of the remaining players looked at each other.  Most of their eyes were red and tears were running down Ginger’s face.  Bill stared at Rebecca’s cell where the water level was now over five feet.  She was just able to touch the bottom and keep her face above the water.

“Bracelet or not, if something happens to her, I will kill you, with my bare hands”, said Bill through clenched teeth.

“That, Mr. Weldon, is most unlikely.  Besides, her fate is in your hands now, not mine.  Kenny, if you please”, said Darius, showing no reaction at all.

Darius posted the big blind of one-fifty with Bill at seventy-five.  Edward noticed that other than Rebecca’s cell, most of them had very little water in them.  He hoped that would give them some time to take Darius out.  Now they had to concentrate on letting Bill win.  The longer the game went on, the more of a risk there would be to their loved ones.  Edward looked again at Mary.  She was happily conversing with another character in the theater of her mind.  Edward was relieved that she was not panicked.  He prayed it would not get to that.

Kenny dealt the cards with Nellie now on the button.  Edward was “under the gun”, first to act.  He checked his hole cards slowly.  Seven of spades and the deuce of hearts.  Damn!  Nothing he could do with rags like these.  Unfortunately, Bill was on his own this hand.  Edward called, hoping that his chips would end up in Bill’s stack and not Darius’.

Ginger also called without raising.  Edward suspected that she might be trying to sacrifice to Bill as well.  Her stack was over eighty-five hundred dollars, giving her some room to do so.  Tim, George and Angela each folded their hands, unwilling to risk losing any chips.

“Raise to five hundred”, Nellie said as her chips went into the pot. 

Edward was surprised as her stack was below five thousand.  Then again, her father, Robert, was over six feet tall and would be safer than anyone else should the water start rising in his cell. 

“Call”, Bill said, adding his chips to Nellie’s.

“Raise to one thousand” said Darius.

The Game #25

Without hesitation, Edward moved his chips to the pot.

“Call”.

The rest of the players folded their hands around to Tommy who slowly pushed his remaining chips across the felt.

“Call, all in.”

Edward looked at Rose Marie, who was still managing to keep her face out of the water and then at Tommy.  He looked like someone had kicked him in the stomach.  Edward wished he hadn’t bet, but there was nothing to be done about that now.  All they could do was play out the hand.

Bill came next.  “Raise, to one thousand” 

What the hell is he doing? thought Edward.  Rebecca wasn’t in any immediate danger and Rose Marie was quickly running out of time.  Bill was most likely sitting on a solid pair or ace-king.  If he had Tommy dominated, that was not good at all.  It did give them another chance to bust Darius, but at Rose Marie’s expense.

Edward could fold, but what if Darius managed to beat both Tommy and Bill?  That would be the end for Rose Marie and possibly for Rebecca as well.  It would also give Darius a much-needed boost to his chip stack.  Edward mulled his options over in his mind, staring at Darius as he did so.  Even though Bill had made the raise, Edward was far more interested in the cards Darius held.  After a moment, Edward decided that he needed to push Bill off his hand.

“Raise to two thousand”, said Edward, pushing his chips in.

With Darius sitting between him and Bill, it was hard for Edward to catch Bill’s eye and give him a sign.  Edward looked across the table and saw Angela looking at him.  He gave her a small nod ‘no’ and then glanced in Bill’s direction.  Angela shifted her gaze to Bill, but Edward couldn’t tell if she was able to signal him.  Then he saw her give a small nod as she rubbed her temple and glance back at Edward.

“Dammit, Teraneau, if you’re bluffing me, I will kill you.”

There was no levity in Bill’s voice as he folded his cards into the muck.  Mission accomplished.  Kenny pulled the extra chips to Edward and left only the bets from Darius and Tommy on the table.  That left the three of them in a showdown.

“Gentlemen, your cards”, Kenny directed the players.

Edward flipped his card and watched Darius turn over the jack of spades and the king of diamonds.  Tommy showed the king of spades and the queen of clubs.  Good, at least Tommy had Darius dominated going into the flop.

Kenny burned the top card and laid the flop out on the table.  Jack of diamonds, seven of spades and ten of hearts.  Darius had top pair; jacks.  Edward had a pair of tens and Tommy was looking at a two-way straight draw.  As long as Darius didn’t hit another jack…..

Kenny flipped the turn card onto the table; queen of hearts.  Edward’s heart skipped a beat and he heard Tommy let out a noisy breath as if he had been holding it.  Tommy now had a pair of queens and the three of them all had the same straight draw.  A three-way tie for the pot would not help Tommy at this point.  By some miracle Rose Marie was still hanging on, but if Tommy didn’t win the pot outright, she wouldn’t have much of a chance. 

“Son of a bitch!” Bill reacted to the queen, which would have given him a set.  “And I had you covered, Teraneau.  I hope you burn in hell with that asshole next to you.”

Edward let the comment go without a reply.  He needed to stay focused, although there wasn’t much he could do now but see what cards hit the table.  For the first time in his life, Edward prayed that he didn’t make his hand.  An ace or a nine would give all three of them a straight.  Tommy needed this win.  It wouldn’t take Darius all the way out, but close enough.  He would be down to two hundred dollars or so, hardly enough to play with.

Kenny pulled off the top card and slid it into the muck.  Then he pulled off the river card and laid it on the felt.

The Game #24

Darius stared at Edward, attempting to read some small sign that would let him know what kind of hand Edward was holding.  Edward stared at the center of the table and focused on the pot.  There was over fourteen thousand dollars in there right now.  He kept his hands folded in front of him as well.  He used this pose whenever the hand was close to prevent his opponents from getting any kind of tell.

“It would appear that I am rather committed to seeing this hand through to the end”, Darius said.  “I call.”

Darius pushed ten hundred-dollar chips into the center of the table, then flipped over the jack and ten of diamonds.  Edward saw that Darius had missed the straight flush by one card, but had made the straight.  Edward flipped over the pair of eights and Tommy showed aces up.

“Four of a kind, eights”, said Kenny as he pushed the chips to Edward.  Tommy stared at the board and quickly shifted his gaze to Rose Marie’s cell.  The water began to rise in her cell and in Rebecca Weldon’s.  Bill gripped the edge of the table, his knuckles and his face turning white in the process.  The water stopped at three feet in Rebecca’s cell, but continued to rise in Rose Marie’s.  Tommy sat in silent horror as Rose Marie began to tread water, her braid floating out behind her.  The water rose to within six inches of the ceiling before it stopped.  Rose Marie barely had room to keep her face above the water.  Her breaths were coming in ragged gasps and she was tiring quickly.  Tommy started to get up but Nelly put her hand on his arm.

“Don’t, Tommy.  It will only make it worse.  Just look at me.”

Tommy turned and looked at Nelly.  He started to look away and she touched his face to bring his eyes back to hers.  Kenny shuffled and dealt the next hand starting with Nelly who put in the small blind of seventy-five dollars.  Bill put in the big blind and checked his cards.  Edward did the same.  King of spades and the ten of diamonds.  Darius was down to seven hundred fifty dollars.  Edward needed to get him out before he had a chance to come back.  Darius was the first to act.

“All in.”

The Game #23

“Two thousand” said Edward.  He had everyone but Ginger dominated in chips and hoped that would produce the result he was looking for. 

With Tommy already all in, Bill was up next.  He looked around the dealer at Edward, trying to get a read on him. 

“I really think you’re bluffing, Teraneau, but I’ve been wrong before”, said Bill.  All of the fight seemed to have evaporated out of him.  He let out a heavy sigh of resignation and tossed his cards into the muck.

Darius turned toward Edward.  “Well, Mr. Teraneau, it would seem your reputation is well deserved.  I am impressed that you would risk so much on so little.”

The comment sent a chill up Edward’s spine.  Had Darius been able to read him, or was it a stab in the dark?  Edward sat silently, forcing himself not to react to Darius’ words.  The man most likely had him beat, but Edward doubted that Darius knew that for sure.

“One should not play poker if one is not prepared to gamble”, said Darius.  “I call.”

Edward felt his chest tighten again.  Darius had most likely hit the straight with the seven.  Edward would need the board to pair or the last eight to beat him.  Ten outs.  Scratch that.  If Darius had diamonds, that eliminated two of them.  Eight outs.  Slightly better than one chance in six.  Edward fought back the feeling of panic and forced himself to concentrate on the hand.  It was down to him and Darius now.  Tommy was technically still in the hand, but Edward knew Darius had him beat as well.

One more card; fifth street, the river.  The card that had won and lost more poker hands than any other.  Time slowed down and Edward watched Kenny slowly peel the top card off the deck and place it into the muck.  His thumb pressed down on the next card, sliding it forward until he could get his index finger under it.  It moved up and away from the deck, heading for the final position on the felt.  Edward felt like it had been thirty minutes since Kenny had started to lay down the river card.  What the hell was taking him so long?  Kenny turned the card over and placed it at the end of the other community cards.  There it was.  Edward’s instincts saved him from reacting other than blinking several times to be sure it was really there.  The eight of clubs.  Edward had hit quads, four merry snowmen dancing in a winter celebration.  The tightness was still in his chest, but for a totally different reason now.  He had Darius crushed.  The best hand other than Edward’s would be a full house if Darius had made trips on the flop.  Edward didn’t notice a small groan escape Bill Weldon as he realized he would have had that very hand had he not folded.  That feeling would go away as soon as Edward flipped over his cards.

Darius was first up.  “Check” he said, tapping the table in front of him.

If Edward went all in, he would most likely push Darius into folding.  The trick here would be to get Darius to bet the maximum number of chips he felt his hand was worth.  If Edward bet too little, Darius might suspect a slow play and fold as well.  It looked like Darius had about seventeen hundred dollars left in his stack.  Edward had more than three times that much, but it did him little good at this point.  Finally, Edward placed his bet.

“One thousand” he said, stacking his chips on the felt.  All he could do now was wait and see if Darius called.

The Game #22

Nine of diamonds, eight of diamond, three of clubs.  A set of eights.  Pretty good flop, all things considered, thought Edward.  He would be next to last to act, normally an excellent place to be, but Edward needed to get as many of the players out of the game as possible.  He and Ginger had the highest chip stacks, they should be the ones going after Darius.

“Eight hundred” said Tommy, firing out his bet.  Twenty-five percent of the pot; there was and even chance that Tommy had aces or kings, maybe another set.  Unless it was nines, Edward still had him beat.

The turn moved to Nelly, who promptly folded her hand.  She looked at her father, tears running down her face.  At twenty-three, she was by far the youngest player at the table.  She doesn’t deserve this shit, thought Edward.  The water was only a couple of feet deep in Robert’s cell, but it was slowly rising.

Bill slammed his chips down on the table, calling Tommy’s bet.  Edward tried to catch his eye, maybe get him to calm down a little, but the dealer was standing in between them.  Bill had to realize that if he went on tilt, it could cost Rebecca her life.  Edward was not sure about Bill’s cards, but it was a good guess that it was a medium hand.  He was probably planning to bluff, but with this many players, he chances of pulling it off wouldn’t be very good.

“Raise to fifteen hundred” said Darius sliding a stack of chips across the felt.

Damn! , thought Edward, Darius had picked up something on the flop.  The eight nine could give him a straight or flush draw.  Not good.  Edward feared that pushing Darius here could cause some of the others to increase their bet and deplete their chip stacks even further if they lost.  There was almost no water in Mary’s cell, but as much as he wanted to help everyone else out, he couldn’t do it at Mary’s expense.  His eights were still good, he was sure of that.  “Call fifteen hundred” he said.

Angela was next.  She looked at her son, Scott.  There was about a foot and a half of water in his cell.  Edward could tell she was trying to both read the others and calculate where the water might get to should she lose the hand.  After a few moments, she folded her cards.

Tommy called quickly, pushing another seven hundred dollars into the pot.  Edward put him on a pair of aces.  Tommy should know better than that, thought Edward.  Aces busted almost as often as they won.  Edward sighed and focused on the rest of the hand.  At this point, there wasn’t much he could do.  Besides, Tommy might get an ace on the turn or the river.

Bill called without comment, but Edward could tell he was still steaming mad.  The pot was closing in on ten thousand dollars now, with four players looking for the turn card.  Kenny burned the top card and flipped the next one onto the table.  Seven of clubs.  Bill sat up ever so slightly at the sight of the card.  Set or a straight? Edward wasn’t sure.  Bill’s tantrums often made him difficult to read and Edward suspected that was the method behind Bill’s madness.  Edward decided that it must be a set of sevens.  If Bill had been playing five six, he would have folded by now and if it was a ten jack, Bill would probably not have blown up like he did.  Sevens it was then.

“All in”, Tommy said, pushing the rest of his chips into the center of the table.  Edward couldn’t really blame him.  The five hundred or so chips he had left wouldn’t be enough to save Rose Marie’s life if he didn’t win this hand.

“Call” said Bill, placing the chips on the table without further comment.

Darius called as well, simply pushing his chips into the pot.  Edward thought for a minute.  Darius must be on a diamond flush draw and the seven missed him.  He’s holding out for the river.  Tommy was all in and there was only a little over a foot of water in Rebecca’s cell.  If Bill lost here, she would still be relatively safe.  Of course, Mary might not do so well if what Edward had planned didn’t work.

The Game #21

Tommy and Nellie were on the blinds making Bill “The Poker Punk” Weldon the first to act before the flop.  He checked his cards and dropped his chips onto the table.

“Raise to three hundred”, he said.  Edward winced a little.  Bill tended to go into tirades when he lost to inferior hands in a regular tournament.  Edward could only imagine what would happen given their current situation.

The turn moved to Darius.  “Raise to four fifty” he said placing his chips into the pot. 

Edward tensed as he looked at his hole cards.  Eights; one heart, one spade; a pair of snowmen.  Edward now had to play this hand two ways; one to beat Darius and one to try to minimize the damage to the other players.  That would be a tough order.  Edward would have to stay very focused if he was going to pull this off.  “Call four-fifty”, he said.  No need to add any more fuel to the fire, not at this point.  He wasn’t entirely sure of Darius’ cards, but Bill tended to make smaller raises on weak pairs and unsuited connectors.  Edward would have to wait and get a read on him after the flop.

Edward looked at the empty spot next to him and then at Ginger.  She took a second look at her cards and folded.  Tim and George followed suit and the action came to Angela on the button.  She paused for a few moments and looked at her son and the slow rise of water in his cell before silently calling the bet.  Edward doubted she was playing from a position of strength other than being in the dealer’s position, but he knew better than to discount her too  quickly.  Tommy was next and he quickly called the bet, normally a sure sign that he had a solid hand.  Nelly pushed in the extra three hundred, her face was ghostly white.  Edward doubted that she would have bet were she not on the big blind.  This brought the action back to Bill.

“Are you kidding me?” Bill said.  “Six hands into the flop?  This is bullshit, you know half of you don’t have shit in your hands.  This is worse than playing with all of those morons in the Main Event.”

Bill ended his tantrum and threw his chips into the middle of the table where they scattered the rest of the pot.  Kenny calmly gathered the chips and placed them into a pile in the center of the table.  Edward waited to see if Darius would inflict his bracelet on Bill, but nothing happened.  Nothing to do now but wait for the flop.

Kenny doubled checked the pot, burned the top card on the deck and flopped over the next three cards.

The Game #20

The water level rose to a foot or so in most of the cells.

“Mom!” Scott yelled as the water level passed his waist.  Tears rolled down Angela’s face as she watched her son flail helplessly against the water.  After several minutes, the flow into Scott’s cell subsided.  But not in Melanie’s.

“Craig, get me the fuck outta here!” she screamed.  “Hey you in the suit, asshole, let me outta here NOW!”

The table went silent as the water level rose steadily higher.  Melanie continued to scream until she was forced to tread water.

“Darius! Stop it! Craig pleaded.  “I still have chips, you have to wait, let me play another hand.”

“I’m afraid, Mr. Leeson, that your chip stack is not quite adequate.” Darius replied.

The water level in Melanie’s cell moved to within a foot of the ceiling.  She was struggling to get her breath and tread water at the same time.  The other players were silent as the water filled the room to the top.  Craig flew off his seat, picked up the stool and ran to the window.  Melanie was thrashing wildly and pounding on the glass.  Craig swung the stool against the glass with all of his strength.  The impact caused the stool to explode in a shower of splintered wood, but the glass remained intact without so much as a scratch.  Craig fell to his knees and watched as his wife’s struggles subsided and her body floated in front of the glass, her eyes staring lifelessly at the players around the table.  Edward’s stomach churned and it took all of his willpower to keep its contents from reappearing onto the table.  Several people were crying softly as though in accompaniment to Craig’s gut wrenching sobs.  After what seemed to Edward to be a sadistically long time, the wooden panel slid down in front of Melanie’s cell, sparing the players and her husband from the sight of her dead body.

The doorway Darius had used opened and two men walked into the room.

“It would appear that our group has been pared down to nine”, Darius said.  “Please escort Mr. Leeson to claim his wife’s body.  Now then, shall we resume?”

“So we can add premeditated murder to your list of charges”, said Edward.  “I’m guessing that under these circumstances, the death penalty will be asked for and given.  That does even the stakes a bit.”

“That assumes that you can beat me, Mr. Teraneau”, replied Darius.  “Kenny, I believe that we are ready for another hand.  The remainder of Mr. Leeson’s chips will be placed in the pot as a bonus to the winner.”.

The cards hit the felt as the water continued to trickle into the remaining eight cells.

The Game #19

Tommy checked on the turn and Craig immediately bet.

“Four hundred” he said.

Ginger called the bet.  Tommy hesitated, then called as well.

“Man o man, ain’ nuttin’ good comin’ outa dis hand, dat fo sure”, Tommy said.

Edward agreed silently with Tommy.  The water level in each of the cells was rising slowly as the hand was being played.  Edward felt a sense of helplessness at not playing with the others.  He had to remind himself that foolishly betting on hands he couldn’t win would not help Mary.

As the players completed the round, Kenny burned the top card in the deck and dealt the river.  Nine of hearts.  Edward quickly scanned the faces of the three remaining players.  Craig was either on a flush or straight draw, but he hadn’t made either one.  The tension was beginning to take its toll; Craig hadn’t even put on his glasses and the talk around the table was almost non-existent.  He checked slowly and waited for the others to play their turn.  Edward glanced over at Mary.  She was seated on the floor, splashing her hand through the rising water  like a toy boat.  All he could do was sit helplessly and watch her play in her own little world.  He hoped silently her world would stay a relatively safe place for the time being.

Ginger bet, “Five hundred”.  Edward saw Craig wince like he had been hit.  Tommy was hard to read in most circumstances, but the hunch of his shoulders told Edward he was going to fold even before he mucked his two cards.  The action came back to Craig.  He looked at Ginger, trying to get a read on her.  If  she was playing jack-ten, she had made her straight.  Edward would have told him that she had been betting strong all along and probably had two pair or possibly a set.  Craig was pot committed and reluctantly called Ginger’s bet.  As soon as his chips hit the table, Ginger flipped over her cards; two aces giving her trips.  Craig stared at the cards in horror and slowly flipped over king-jack of spades and the broken flush.  The rumbling noise began and the water level in each of the rooms began to change.