IN THE POCKET: A-10 offsuit
We won one early pot, but have been paddling upstream most of the day. We start this hand with 2,175 chips and the dealer's button. No one raises ahead of us, and we see a chance to gain ground with the last hand before break time.
"I'll call - 350," we say. We set out 350 - but we're quickly corrected.
"You said call," the real dealer at the table points out. Oops. Indeed we did - so the bet is only 150. We admit having "two minds" about what to do. The blinds simply call in response. About half the table is playing.
ON THE FLOP: K-6-10
We have second pair, a superior kicker - and possibly concerned opponents around the table. They all check to us. So let's get it right this time.
"OK, I will bet...." we say carefully, "350." Call it a sorta-kinda continuation bet.
But a man to our left apparently was waiting for that. He raises to 700. Everyone else folds, so it's our turn again. "700?!" we ponder aloud.
The man to our left has been in a talkative mood. "I like my cards."
"Really like them?" we ask. "Scale of 0 to 10 - how much do you like them?" Maybe he'll see a bit too much.
"Seven," our opponent decides.
Hmmm. We'd rate our hand about the same way - and decide if he had a King, he'd rate himself higher. "I can call a seven,." we conclude. So we do.
ON THE TURN: 3
Our opponent is first in line to bet, and now he brings out 1,500. Trouble is, we have only 1,325. "That's a bit more than I have," we explain to the man. He seems unconcerned about that. Nevertheless, we are - and we don't risk it. We fold. He never shows his cards.
The color-up at break time improved our lowly stack to 1,400. But then one of those "second-hour miracles" happened. It started with pocket Aces, and we doubled up on that talkative man (a topic for another post). Then we won with A-Q. We even won a race with J-10. The gains kept coming - and by the second break, we stood at 20,200 chips!
A challenging, bluffing opponent threw us off at top in the third period - but we held on to reach the final table! A gain or two came there as well, and we survived to the final five. But patient and high blinds combined to wear out our chip stack. We went all-in for 7,000 in the Big Blind, and lost a race when our opponent paired.
We still were thankful for a great rally - and finishing fifth out of 67 players earned us $117. It turns out our finish actually was one spot worse than the time before. Yet we've now made money at Kansas Star for two tournaments in a row - not an easy thing to do!
MINISTRY MOMENT: "Why did you bring the battery?" a woman next to us asked at the semifinal table.
"That's my card protector," we explained. "But it has another purpose. I bring it to remind me that I receive the power of God from the Holy Spirit."
That comment shut the woman up - but not everyone at the table. "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?" we asked.
"Amen," an older man two seats to our left responded.
"Hoping everyone here believes in the Spirit," we continued.
"If they did, Jesus would already be here," the older man answered - and come to think of it, he's right.
Jesus Christ didn't come to a perfect world. In fact, He came because the world of that time was imperfect.
But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. - Matthew 9:13
The "righteous" people during Jesus's time on Earth (or so they thought) were the Pharisees. Yet they didn't endorse what Jesus did; in fact, most of them couldn't stand Him and wanted Him dead. Jesus knew this, of course....
Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. - Luke 11:47-48
Jesus spoke here to "experts in the law" (verse 46) - which we think He said in a tongue-in-cheek way. The Lord outsmarted them on interpretations of God's law over and over. And eventually, they killed Jesus just as their ancestors had. Yet without that death, a key part of God's salvation plan could not have happened:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth.... - John 14:16-17
God has lovingly given that Holy Spirit to believers who do what the Bible recommends. Have you repented of your sins yet, and submitted to baptism (Acts 2:38) - so you can receive God's marvelous gift?
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 180 final tables in 484 games (37.2%) - 35 cashes. This makes three final tables in a row at casinos, while we've missed the last three final tables in the "free games" at Yvie's. Discuss.