IN THE POCKET: A-10 offsuit
The start of the day was dreadful for us. Small feelers missed flops. Other players made pre-flop raises which kept us quiet. Our starting stack of 3,500 chips drained to about 2,200. But then a comeback began. A-J of spades brought a nice nut flush. And now we have these high cards in the Big Blind. No one raises at the table of nine, so we lay low and check.
ON THE FLOP: A-A-J
"Triple-A" is a club we love to join. We check again, and are rewarded when a man around the table bets 100. We politely call, and other players fold.
ON THE TURN: A
Turn cards don't get much better than that! Now we have unbeatable quads - but we remember the A-J hand, where we waited until the river to bet our flush, and no one called. Now we don't want to wait. But we also don't want to run our opponent off. So the best is a modest 250. Our opponent ponders - then calls. Good.
ON THE RIVER: 3
A meaningless card, considering what we have. Now we remember hearing something in the pre-game rule announcement about players being required to bet the best possible hand on the river, or risk a 10-minute penalty. But we still don't want our opponent to get scared. So with the poker face firmly on, we bet 250 again - and to our pleasure, he calls again.
"I had to bet," we say - and show our quads. The opponent knows he's been had, and surrenders without showing.
Then other players correct our understanding. We would have been required to bet the river had we been last to act with the nuts. So we could have checked - but that's OK; we gained more chips from it.
Our stack reached well above 4,000 by the first break. Then we split a big sidepot holding A-K. But we fell victim to the same problem we had Monday night - trying to increase our stack with potentially good starter cards, only to fold when big pre-flop raises came.
With the chips dwindling and blinds rising, we went all-in with A-Q when an opponent pushed. Trouble was, he had A-K. A King on the river gave him the win, and sent us away. Out of 63 players, we finished a disappointing 39th.
MINISTRY MOMENT: "I knew what you had there," a man to our left said to someone across the table at the end of a hand.
"So you were psycho?!" the dealer asked.
We heard his wording properly. "I noticed you said psycho, and not psychic," we told the dealer. He chuckled, realizing we got his joke.
"You never hear about psychics playing poker," we pointed out. "They'd win all the time."
That old line can apply to huge lottery jackpots, too. Why don't psychics clean up and make millions in those kinds of games? We think the answer says a lot about what those people do not have...
Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God. - Leviticus 19:31
Psychics, mediums and "wizards" (as the King James Version has this verse) all are from the same area: the world of the occult. The Bible warns such things are not of God - and if you're not careful, you could invite Satan to become a major player in your life.
I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people. - Leviticus 20:6
Some people go all the way to the edge, and live by what horoscopes and psychics tell them. They may not realize they're worshiping - but in the wrong direction.
When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? - Isaiah 8:19
Some people might move toward astrologers and psychics instead of God because they're afraid of what God might require them to do. But we don't recall any winner of a major poker title thanking their psychic or medium for it. After all, how could they legally give guidance hand-by-hand? We think it's far better to seek God's help ahead of time - in anything you do.
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 176 final tables in 472 games (37.3%) - 33 cashes.