Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poker Night 285: Isn't That Special?

"You going to blog that?" a man across from us asked several times tonight at Lil Kim's Cove.  At one point, he revealed we've mentioned him -- so we thank him for being a reader.  And he already should know how this hand at a table of big spenders turned out....

BLINDS: 100/200

IN THE POCKET: A-10 of diamonds

We were part of a three-way split of a pot earlier in the game with a straight.  So we have 6,000 chips to work with, and we try to get in small.  But as we say, it's a table of big spenders -- so a man to our left raises 1,000.  We join several players in calling.


Top pair looks nice, and being first to act works to our advantage.  We bet 1,000 to send a statement to the table.  Three players are undaunted and call.  At this point, we will quote the regular blog reader who wanted to make a statement in our recorder -- that we were lucky:

"I had trip threes on the flop.  I flopped the trips, and he only had a raggedy-a** Ace...."


"He turned an Ace...."

"And what was my bet on the turn?" we ask.

"His bet on the turn was all in, and I was still winning." [He had a full house, you see.]  But he left out one fun detail -- what we said when we pushed.

"3,800 - 38 special."

"I know he's got an Ace," the pre-flop raiser to the left correctly guesses --then folds.

"Could he be more transparent than that?" a man out of the hand adds.  We say nothing, but recall one or two players calling.


Our regular reader comments: "And then he rivered another Queen."  Two pair on the table gives us a superior full house.  Perhaps we escaped, but we certainly jumped to more than 15,000 chips.

We took a couple more fairly nice pots after that -- then benefited at the semifinal table from a man with a huge stack who bet two players out of the game at once.  That gained us a seat at the final table for the third week in a row!

Once there, we won a pot with 10-10 which combined with a pair on the board.  But with blinds rising, we were forced to go all-in with K-Q and 15,000 left in the big blind.  The regular reader showed A-6, but he paired that 6 to knock us out.  A fifth-place finish felt good, considering all the action around us.

MINISTRY MOMENT: "You brought a battery today?" a man across from us asked as play began.  Yes -- our little nine-volt.

"I brought this to remind me that I receive power from the Holy Spirit," we noted.  "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?"

"I sure do," the man answered.

"What's the Holy Spirit been doing for you?"

"He gets me up every morning, starts me on my way...." Those indeed are good blessings, and we should thank God for every day of life we have.  But God provides that power to do much more than that:
But you shall receive power, after that Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. - Acts 1:8
Those words of the resurrected Jesus should be a challenge to anyone who believes in the Holy Spirit.  As the Spirit dwells in you, are you being a witness to others of what God and that Spirit can do?  Don't be afraid, as a saint of old once said, to "preach the gospel - and use words, if necessary."

UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 105 final tables in 285 nights (36.8%) - 17 cashes.

NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 184 point wins in 796 games (23.1%), 63 final tables, 7 cashes.  We fell two spots short of the money Wednesday night, finishing sixth in a tournament with 824 players.

POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $62,644, down $1,135.

Proud to be Here?

We're still thinking about the Bible discussion at a live tournament two weeks ago - the one where the tower of Babel came up.

At one point in the discussion, a young man said across the table: "You meet some arrogant people at church...."

Well, hold on.  First of all, you can meet some arrogant people at a poker table as well.  Think about the big-talking players who call opponents "donkeys" for making winning decisions (whether they seem logical or not) -- and then refuse to shake hands when they've been embarrassingly defeated.

Arrogance can happen in any walk of life, and in almost any situation.  Yet we're told....

To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. - Proverbs 8:13

God isn't really doing the talking here -- verse 12 shows "wisdom" is.  But James 1:5 indicates God is the best source to tap if you need wisdom.  So it's safe to say He doesn't think much of arrogance, whether in a poker room or a church sanctuary.  In fact, Romans 1:30 puts the arrogant in a group with "God-haters" and and people who "invent ways of doing evil."

One dictionary defines "arrogance" as a state of "unwarranted pride and self-importance."  A true believer in God should strive to avoid that.

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." - I Peter 5:5b

One way (and probably not the only way) believers can look arrogant is in the way they address people living in a sinful way.  It's one thing to point fingers.  But there's a better approach....

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. - Galatians 6:1

If believers lets you have it about a sin -- or even a perceived sin, such as even sitting inside a poker room -- keep in mind: they're not perfect, either.  But they're trying to become more perfect.  And so should you.  Admitting our imperfections before God is quite the opposite of arrogance -- and it's the best approach to take.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Senior Championship: Tighty Righty?

Perhaps it's more stereotype than truth, but some people say online poker players play more conservatively with age.  At Tuesday night's monthly National League of Poker senior championship (age 50 and older), we saw evidence of it.  Unlike some NLOP tournaments where pushing comes early and often, our table was tighter than an old winter sweater....
:01 IN: We have 9-9 in the Big Blind on the second hand of the night.  But for the second hand in a row, the table folds.  We get $15 in big blinds in a walk -- but we kinda wanted more.
:01 IN: "Hey, somebody called" we write as someone bets ahead of our J-Q in the small blind.  We call, too.  The flop is 5-J-Q.  We lead out for 90, and the remaining two players fold.  We gain 60.  But awwwww....
:08 IN: We have 6-A of hearts.  The flop is 2h-4d-Qh.  With a flush draw, we bet the minimum 40 and chase a couple of players away.  The turn is 7d, and someone bets 40 ahead of us.  We call.  The river is Js -- and we miss, losing to an opponent with a 7.
We only attempt to play two other hands in the first half-hour - folding in the big blind to a raise with 2-5 of hearts which would have brought us a straight.  So our chip stack at the break is a modest 645.  We're in 345th place, out of 398 still in the game.
:35 IN: We have 7-7.  The flop is a gorgeous 7-Q-4, and we want action.  We bet 300 of our remaining 545.  And of course, no one bites.  We win a $750 pot, and return almost to our starting stack at 995.
:40 IN: We have Jh-10x in the big blind, and call a doubling of the blind.

ON THE FLOP: 9h-Qh-3h.

A player ahead of us bets more than 2,000.  With an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw, we decide to go for it -- calling with our remaining 545.  Our opponent shows 9-9, so he has three of a kind.
ON THE TURN: Ks - giving us the straight!  Yes!


Noooooo!  The suit doesn't matter, because our opponent makes a winning full house.  We wind up 322nd, out of 848 players - the victim of a seemingly-loose move, and one card too many.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

NLOP Weekly Championship 24: The Long Hard Climb

Maybe the way to play National League of Poker tournaments without annoying disconnects is to leave our computer on all day.  With a day off from work, we were able to do that today.  And thanks to a top-20 finish in a 454-player tournament last Sunday, we qualified for tonight's NLOP weekly championship again.  We wound up lasting longer than we expected:

:01 IN: We have 10-9.  The flop is 10-5-5, and we call a bet of 50.  The turn is 4, and we call a bet of 100.  The river is 2, and our opponent bets 325.  We sense he's bluffing, dare to call -- and in a way, he was.  He shows 2-2, and hit it big on the river.

"That 2 [on the river] looked so innocent," we write.  But it cost us half our starting chip stack of 1,000.

:05 IN: We have 8-7 and fold.  Too bad -- the flop is 5-Q-9, and 6 on the turn would have given us a straight.

:15 IN: We have Q-J of clubs.  The flop is 7c-3s-9c.  It's a big flush draw with 275 left, and we call a bet of 60.  The turn is 9d, and we (perhaps stubbornly) call another bet of 60.  The river is 2c -- and when our opponent bets 80, we go all-in for our remaining 75.  Our opponent has 4-9, and our flush tops three of a kind!  We recover to 670.

:26 IN: We have 6-A.  The flop is A-K-8, with the last two being hearts.  We don't have any, but we bet 200 with top pair and get called.  The turn is 3h.  Everyone checks.  The river is 10 (NOT a heart), and all check again.  Our opponent had K-Q, so our pair of Aces captures $800.

We reach the half-hour break about where we started: 1,010 chips.  That puts us in 426th place, with 675 still in the running.

:45 IN: After a chase with clubs fails, we have Q-Q "under the gun."  With 510 chips left, we dare to go all-in.  A player calls, with only 9-Q.  The board brings A-9-K 7-8, and our pair claims a $1,000 pot.

:48 IN: We have K-A of hearts as the dealer.  We double the blind, and put one player all-in while another calls.  The flop is 3-9-K -- and we're admittedly so busy scribbling notes for this blog that we forget to bet.  Everyone checks.  The turn is 10, and now we bet a minimum 200.  The river is 10, and everyone checks.  The best opposing hand shown is 7-7, so our two pair wins $1,310.

:53 IN: We have 6-5 of clubs, and call when a player goes all-in for 40 over the blind.  The flop is 5h-3c-9c.  Everyone checks.  The turn is Qc, and we bet 600 with a flush.  The river is 7s, and our opponent's A-10 doesn't have enough clubs.  We win another $1,510.

:55 IN: The very next hand brings us 2-10 of diamonds.  We know the odds, but play them anyway -- and happily see a flop of 9d-8d-7s.  The table checks.  The turn is 9.  Everyone checks.  The river is 3d, so we bet 1,200.  A caller has A-Q, but we have back-to-back flushes and win $2,245.

A couple of losses follow, to bring us to the second break at $1,941.  We're now in 210th place, with 296 still competing.

1:15 IN: After folding a couple of promising hands to pushy (as in all-in) betters, we have Q-Q for the second time tonight.  We go all-in with 716 left.  A big stack calls, but with 10-10.  The board doesn't match for either of us, and we more than triple up (thanks to blinds and antes) to $2,432.

1:21 IN: Now we have 10-10.  We failed to connect in the blinds, and now have $1,487.  With the blinds at 300/600, we apply the "ten-blind" rule and push again.  A player calls with 10-Q.  The board brings 3-4-J 8-6 -- and just like that, we're up to $4,614.  That's top-100 level in the tournament.

1:25 IN: We have J-J, but this time choose to limp.  Trouble is, another player raises to 5,300.  We smell a rat, so we go all-in again by calling with our remaining 3,789.  Our opponent has Q-A.  The flop is 3h-8h-7h.  The turn is 5.  The river   is 5h -- and the real trouble is that our opponent's Ace is a heart.  A flush on the river lets him escape with the pot, and sends us out the door.

We were due to lose with one of those pocket pairs sooner or later.  It wound up happening later -- yet we had a good run, finishing #168 out of 1,247 entries.

On the Flip-Flop

Now this strikes us as strange.

The U.S. Justice Department which gave online poker players "Black Friday" decided over the weekend  states may legalize Internet poker.

A few poker websites seemed to sense this ruling was coming -- but it certainly surprises us.  Do you think states will jump at the chance to set up their own online poker rooms?

What Day Is This Again?

Me:  Happy Hawaii Bowl Saturday to all.

We wrote that at the start of two online poker tournaments Saturday night.  We realized that might provoke a response from other players, given what weekend it is.  Sure enough....

payingbills:  merry christmas
Dealer:  dedmanshnd77 wins Main Pot ($365)
payingbills:  what a poker life we all lead lol

If you're "addicted" to poker, playing online at the expense of your family and friends could be a problem.  But then, you could have been like us....

Me:  I was at a church service during the afternoon.
Me:  Keeping the Sabbath, not Christmas.
Me:  The speakers preached against it.

Several Sabbath-keeping denominations believe Jesus was born -- only not on December 25.  They see the Sabbath as a Biblically-ordained day.  But the Bible nowhere mentions the word Christmas, or commands Christians to keep it.  But of course, that doesn't stop others people.  From a later table:

vegaspi:  merry CHRISTmas....
Me:  Was Jesus born on Dec. 25?
mamadog09:  nope never
vegaspi:  conceived on 25 bor sept
Me:  I agree with that - fall birth.

Why do we say that?  We base it on these verses:

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. - Luke 2:6-8

Global warming may have changed things in the 21st century, but many historians admit late December would have been the wrong season for Middle Eastern shepherds to be outside with flocks.  After around early November, it's too chilly and rainy for that.

(A birth during spring in the northern hemisphere doesn't seem out of the question as well.  The song Battle Hymn of the Republic includes the words: "In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea."  Lilies are more often associated with spring, as opposed to poinsettias in December.)

We've mentioned before here that there's more evidence Jesus kept Hanukkah than Christmas.  If you'd like to dig deeper into this holiday controversy, you're invited to explore an in-depth Bible study we posted several years -- actually in response to a book by a Christmas-keeper.  And in the meantime.... well, have a nice NBA Sunday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pick a Card, Any Card

But would you choose to play with a poker deck which looks like this?

Our first thought: a deck of cards which costs more than three beers isn't going to show up in many bars and clubs.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Poker Night 284: The Guest Who Wouldn't Leave

In one of his books, Gus Hansen writes the poker mentality should be different at a smaller table.  We had a taste of that tonight at Lil Kim's Cove -- as most of the evening was spent at a table of five or six players.  One of the challenges comes in attempting to convert big hands into big gains.  Take this example....

BLINDS: 50/100


We're "under the gun" with "pocket rockets" for the second time tonight.  We limped in the first time it happened, then "three-bet" an opponent who raised.  Even though our raise was only from 200 to 700, it ran everyone else off.  This time we limp with plans to "play innocent" - but no one at the table raises.


The play checks to us, and now we decide to move.  Our bet of 300 is designed to keep people in, and maximize our gains.  Two players call.


We still don't see any reason to be concerned.  So we turn up the heat, with a bet of 700.  But our opponents call, anyway -- with a man across from us looking a little frustrated.


As we recall (not remembering the suits exactly), this puts three clubs on the board.  We decide to slow down and check now, in case someone is on a flush draw.  Our opponents check along.

"I've got Aces," we announce and show.  A woman to our left is a bit stunned, and throws away her cards.  But wait.

"Nines and fours," the frustrated-looking man says.  He's not frustrated now -- because he made two pair on the turn, and winds up cracking our Aces for a nice pot.

"You let him stay in," a player out of the hand tells us.  That's the "art" of the game, you might say.  We wanted to catch some fish, but our bait wound up tipping us overboard.

That loss hurt, but we won another nice pot later when an open-ended straight draw came through on the river.  Then came a double-up in the second hour when we went all-in with J-10 and a paired Jack on the flop.  But then we reached the brink with a big pot loss, dropping to one measly chip worth 500.  But we escaped when we bet that chip on A-2, and saw running 2's on the turn and river.

With only 2,000 chips left and the big blind at 4,000, other players were eliminated ahead of us -- and we survived to the final table.  But then with nothing to lose, another push with A-5 failed to pair the board.  We fell to a pair of 9's, but wound up in eighth place.

MINISTRY MOMENT: "I'm not even a Broncos fan," confessed a man who joined us for the semifinal table.  His orange football jersey with a 15 on it told the rest of the story.  "I'm a Tim Tebow fan."  He's bought into the phenomenon surrounding the Denver quarterback with unrestrained faith in Christ -- so much so that he was thanking God, Jesus and Tebow out loud (not always in that order).

"God can do amazing things, can't he?" we told the man.  He agreed -- then proceeded to go all-in with A-5, and win the pot with a pair of Aces.

"I told you God can do amazing things," we said.  We've seen it personally, at the poker table and other places.  And the Bible is filled with amazing examples....

Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion.  But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.  And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. - Luke 9:42-43

God's greatness is shown in miraculous healing, moments of deliverance for believers facing life-or-death trials, and.... well, let's ask this.  Which Biblical miracle amazes you the most?  Leave a comment with your answer, and we might discuss it in a future post.

UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 104 final tables in 284 nights (36.6%) - 17 cashes.  We've made two final tables in a row locally, for the first time since July.

NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 182 point wins in 790 games (23.0%), 62 final tables, 7 cashes.  One table sit-n-goes: 8-13-9-3-2.

POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $63,779,  down $430.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One or All?

Whether we play poker in person or online, "English-only" rules seem to dominate.  It's the only permissible language at the table.  The wrong words in French, Japanese or Swahili could lead to your removal.
As it happens, last week's poker-table discussion of the things man can do led to a place where one language dominated.  A man predicted humans someday will be able to fill the hole in the ozone layer -- and based it in part on the tower of Babel.
"Why did God confuse their languages," a man asked, "saying nothing will be impossible for them?"
We didn't remember the Bible putting it exactly like that, and another man at the table agreed.  So when we walked home, we opened a Bible and checked:

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech  As men moved eastward they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.... Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens...."  The Lord said, "If as one people speaking he same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." - Genesis 11:1-7

Our man at the poker table actually had it right, based on the New International Version.  Our mind was more on the King James Version of verse 6: " nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."

So was God really afraid of what humans might do?  Does this passage show God is against team efforts and working together -- and really for "self-reliance" and individualism, the sort of thinking that can dominate the minds of poker players?

We know believers on both sides of this issue.  One side laughs at any mention of the "It Takes a Village" philosophy.  The other supports and encourages a sense of community and togetherness.  But we think there's a middle ground here -- with God bridging the two sides.

Why was that tower built at Shinar, anyway?  We left out one key section which answers the question....

Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." - Genesis 11:4

The crowd wanted self-promotion -- and to get it, it was resisting God's instructions to "fill the earth" (Genesis 9:1).  So God really responded to selfishness and disobedience.  By comparison, one person obeying God can do amazing things.  For instance....

For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. - Deuteronomy 34:12

And Jesus wants believers today to join together in a project which proclaims "good news."

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned," - Mark 16:15-16 (NASB)

(NOTE: We have more to say about this discussion of Babel.  Watch for it in a future post.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Smarter Than the Average Bear

Our last post mentioned there's a difference between the "life" of an animal and that of a human.  While the "poker-playing dogs" are classic humorous works of art, you never see real animals playing poker.  No, they simply do not....
Oops.  We might have to correct that, after finding this photo online today.  We'd love to know how the cat built that big chip stack!
But let's get more serious here.  Since dogs and cats don't appear on WPT telecasts, there must be something which gives humans the skill even to create a game such as poker.  An Old Testament book hints at the answer.

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. - Job 32:8
Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm.  He said:.... "Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?" - Job 38:1, 36
It's fascinating to watch the resourcefulness and instincts of a common cockroach.  It can find its way into a kitchen, develop a hideaway there and scramble to safety when threatened.  Job 38:39-40 speaks to this to some extent -- and as another player mentioned Thursday night, scientists are able to clone animals with similar traits and characteristics.
But humans can reason in a much more complex way.  As far as we know, evolutionists haven't really explained how such a "leap of knowledge" from animal life occurred.  That leads us to conclude Someone greater is involved.
For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. - Proverbs 2:6
Along with these things, God gives humans the ability to think.  And the list of things humans can do with that thinking ability expands every day -- from writing poker blogs to cloning animals to discovering a "god particle.". In fact, we're led to a humbling conclusion....
The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. - I Corinthians 8:2
So think on these things.  But as you do, consider how God is at work in the thought process.  And while you're at it....
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Poker Night 283: Back to the Bucks - UPDATED

The Tournament Director arrived late at Lil Kim's Cove Thursday night, so play began about 15 minutes behind  schedule.  But it was worth the wait for us -- as we finished in second place at our "home room" for poker!  It's our best showing there since July 2010, and earned us $25 in a settlement with the remaining player who had more chips.  (Normally first is $50 and second is a "bucket of beers;" the other man can enjoy the beers.)

We missed a flop with a promising early hand, and slipped to about 3,200 chips from a starting 5,000.  But a rally started when we were dealt "big slick" A-K and gained two pair on the flop.  An all-in bet against a loose-playing huge stack holding pocket 8's brought a nice profit.  Then pocket 5's in the big blind led to a third 5 on the flop, which brought another nice gain.  Those wins led to this....
BLINDS: 1,000/2,000
We've been moved to a table where a couple of players either are half-drunk, or acting that way.  We've advanced to about 30,000 chips -- and as best we recall (this hand wasn't recorded), no one raises pre-flop.
ON THE FLOP: 3s-7c-8c
"That didn't help anybody," a man to our left with a pitcher of beer and a bigger stack of chips declares.  We beg to differ with his opinion -- but instead of saying that, we lead off the betting at 4,000.  That man calls, and we're heads-up.
We offer 4,000 again.  The man calls again -- and we're puzzled about what he has.
This puts three clubs on the board.  We choose not to play scared, and turn up the heat a little by betting 5,000.  Our opponent raises to 10,000.  We've never played against this man before, but we're not convinced he's hit a straight or flush.  So we call.
"Two pair," the man announces -- hitting Q-10 on the river.
"Three sevens," we respond; "21."  Blackjack the hard way wins us a big pot, a bit of surprise from the player we beat -- and some constructive criticism from a man sitting to our right.

"You should have re-raised him."  The man noted that huge stack our opponent had.  A bidding war indeed might have cost him a lot of chips -- but we were wary that he actually might be disguising a huge hand, so we erred on the side of caution.
We held on from there, reaching the final table with about 45,000 chips.  After an explosive hand which sent three men out at once, pocket Jacks turned into a winning straight for us and a big gain.
Then with four players remaining, we dared to call an opponent's all-in bet with A-5.  He had K-Q; 5's came on the flop and turn -- and that man (dealing the cards) missed a club flush draw on the river.  The man threw down the deck in disgust and slowly left.  No, he did not offer to shake hands.
We walked home after three hours of poker a little fatter in the wallet -- and thankful to God for a night of poker success which seemed long overdue.  (No, we did not "Tebow.")

MINISTRY MOMENT: "I learned this in Bible class," a man told us during a discussion at the table.  "The way you can prove there is a God is that science has been able to reproduce everything about a human except the eye."

That sounded reasonable to us -- but another factor came to mind.  "Man can't make a brain come to life.  That takes God."

The other player didn't think so, suggesting scientists can make nerve endings come together so life can function.  "They've cloned a goat," he noted.  In fact, that feat occurred way back in the last millennium.

Now this is one deep topic for a poker table.  Cloning an animal is one thing -- but in our view, reproducing a human with the cognitive ability to think and reason (or even play poker) is something else.  The Bible indicates something more is needed for that....

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. - I Corinthians 2:11

Some ministers note the King James Version wording "the spirit of man," and say there's a "human spirit" which give us physical life.  When we die, that spirit returns to God for reinstalling when humans are resurrected.  But the "spirit of God" is different, opening our minds to understand how God wants us to live and operate.

As we say, this is a deep topic -- so we'll stop here and ask what you think of this.  Offer comments; we'll offer more in a future post.

UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 103 final tables in 283 nights (36.4%) - 17 cashes.  This was our first final table since the end of October.

NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 181 point wins in 788 games (23.0%), 62 final tables, seven cashes.  We near the end of 2011 with five cash wins online, compared with two in live tournaments.

POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $64,209, down $2,115.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Weekly (At Least) Reader

We heard a sermon recently in which the pastor brought up something that's a key factor in many poker games -- reading.
"Jesus read them like a book," the pastor said.  He used this quote from the human life of Christ as an illustration:

"Has not Moses given you the law?  Yet not one of you keeps the law.  Why are you trying to kill me?" - John 7:19

Verse 1 of this chapter indicates Jesus knew about a plot against His life by people in Judea.  It could be easy to dismiss this as a matter of the Lord's disciples passing along information and warnings they'd heard.  But let's go deeper....
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?" - Matthew 9:4
How did Jesus know what some of the scribes were thinking?  We've heard several explanations of this, even from ministers.  Some say the Lord simply had good intuition -- and that may well be true.  But we prefer to think something more was at work in this special Someone from heaven....

But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.  He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. - John 2:24-25

(If you really want to know what's "in a man," check Jeremiah 17:9-10.  You may not like what you read.)

You see, other ministers consider this "knowledge" a proof that Jesus was and is God -- because the knowledge was provided by the Holy Spirit at work in Him.
He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts...." - Luke 16:15

Reading an opponent at the poker table admittedly isn't quite on this level.  But for starters, we recommend praying for wisdom to "judge righteous judgment," as John 7:24 puts it.  What other tips would you offer for reading someone else's hand -- keeping in mind God and Jesus Christ reads all of us much more accurately?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Enough is Enough

We don't like to say it, but tonight may very well have been the last straw for us with National League of Poker.

We qualified for the Sunday night weekly championship for the second week in a row, and the fourth week in the last six.  When game time came, we were shown in the small blind to start the first hand -- and then the system froze.  Again.  We couldn't even connect to the table after that.

We pulled out of NLOP, and went back in.  The game was seven minutes old when the screen for our table came back up -- but then the server spent 23 minutes "attempting to reconnect" without success.  After 30 minutes, we gave up -- certain we'd already been forfeited, since "ten minutes in post and fold" is all it takes to get tossed.

The NLOP game server can't seem to handle any outside friction.  A McAfee update admittedly began at the 27-minute mark, and we know from experience it beings to take control of our computer about 30 minutes earlier without officially showing it.  An e-mail to us from NLOP several days ago admitted all browsers should be closed for optimum play.

But the poker site's advertising servers don't seem to have any problems.  Ads kept changing and updating during our long wait, like nothing ever happened.  NLOP admits its game and ad servers are separate.

The website clearly needs advertising dollars to offer prizes in a "free play" format.  But poker players are "customers," too.  If the connection quality of the two is obviously different, players are bound to reach the conclusion that they're only a secondary consideration.

I Thessalonians 5:14 advises believers to "be patient with everyone."  But when we're patient to a fault -- to the point where we can't do what we'd like to do -- a limit on patience eventually is reached.

It pains us to write this, because we've won a nice sum of money playing online poker with NLOP.  But at this point, we're looking for alternatives -- preferably outside the Zen gaming group, which includes NLOP and other free poker sites.  Do you have any suggestions, which are legal and financially rewarding?

Start a New Game

We mentioned an online meeting with a player named "IICor5_17".  It didn't last long and we didn't confirm it, but we suspect the name came from this Bible verse....
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! - II Corinthians 5:17
 What does it mean to be a "new creation"?  It has nothing to do with reincarnation, where souls are thought to have multiple human identities over thousands of years.  Let's let the apostle Paul explain what he means....

 For Christ's love compels us.... And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. - II Corinthians 5:14-15
It's easy for a poker player to live for himself or herself.  Unless you're part of a team in a local league format, it's a very individualized game.  But in a spiritual sense, believers should live for Jesus Christ.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. - II Corinthians 5:21
How do we become "the righteousness of God"?  The book of Proverbs offers some hints....
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. - Proverbs 14:34

The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him that follows after righteousness. - Proverbs 15:9 (KJV)

So righteousness means avoiding sinful, wicked actions.  And it also means....
And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ -- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. - Philippians 3:9

Merely avoiding tobacco, booze and dirty talk at the poker table isn't enough.  We need faith in Jesus Christ.  Is your faith in yourself -- or Someone greater?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Poker Night 282: Little Becomes Much

One of the most-talked about Christian movies of the year is Courageous.  While we admittedly haven't seen it, the game of poker can offer plenty of opportunities to test your courage (as well as other things).  We faced a few of those moments tonight at Lil Kim's Cove -- and the results were mixed.

BLINDS: 100/200

IN THE POCKET: 4-10 of clubs

We're in the big blind, at a table with a couple of empty chairs being played "as if."  We had a three-way split of an early pot, then won another one.  So we're comfortable checking here with about 11,000 chips, when no one raises ahead of us.  Most of the table is in.

ON THE FLOP: Q-8-4 (as best we recall, the Q was a club)

We have bottom pair in lead position (the small blind is one of the empty seats), and make a safe check.  But a long-haired man across from us bets 500.

"He bluffed on the last hand," another player recalls.  In fact, he won with that bluff after chasing other players away with a huge bet.  But this bet is modest and we do have something, so we call.  Four players stay in the hand.

ON THE TURN: 7 (not a club)

The flush dream fades, but a pair remains.  So we check again and hear, "500 again" from the long-haired man.  We decide to hang tough and call once more.  The other players do, too.


That's a good card for us -- so good that we decide to take control right away in lead position: "One-thousand."

The man to our immediate left responds much as we thought, and even wanted.  He's stunned.  He never saw this bet coming.

"You can't have a straight," he says to us.  (Except it's possible.)  "Have you got two pair?"  We stare back and forth at him and the board, saying nothing.  "You can't have a flush."  (That's true; there's no more than two of any suit showing.)

"He might have a Queen," the player next to our guesser speculates.  "Slow playing that [censored]...."  Both of them fold, leaving the long-haired man with a decision to make.

"Fifteen hundred more," he announces.  Something tells us he's trying another acting job, so we don't hesitate  and call.

"All I've got is a pair of 10's, man, " he admits.  He hit the river -- but we hit it better!  "Nice hit," he admits as our two pair brings a gain of about 6,000 chips.

We reached a high of 19,000 chips at the one-hour break.  But then our aggressive pre-flop nature began to miss flops.  And when a pre-flop bidding war began at another table, we dared to go all-in with A-J.  Trouble was, this raising opponent was not bluffing.  He showed J-J, and caught the missing Jack on the flop to win with three of a kind.  We joined another player on the rail, finishing tied for 15th place.

MINISTRY MOMENT: An online tournament during the afternoon had an even better finish.  We were sixth out of 119 players, to qualify for the monthly Senior Championship -- and along the way, we met a player named "IICor5_17".  He went all-in almost immediately, so we knew we had to act fast:

Me:  Hi II Cor
Dealer:  oreo1 wins Side Pot 1 ($380) with Full house, aces full of tens
Me:  I;m new in Christ. :-)
Dealer:  oreo1 wins Main Pot ($2355) with Full house, aces full of tens
Me:  Bye.
Me:  That's what that Bible verse talks about.

If you don't understand, that screen name is an abbreviation of this Bible verse....

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! - II Corinthians 5:17
No one online responded to our explanation -- but we invite you to do so.  What does that verse mean to you?  Offer a comment; we'll offer ours in an upcoming post.

UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 102 final tables in 282 nights (36.2%) - 16 cashes.

NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 179 point wins in 784 games (22.8%), 62 final tables, 7 cashes.

Despite continuing connection problems, we had a very good week at NLOP: two final tables in five tournaments (including that fourth place out of 397), and one spot away from a third.

POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $66,424, down $783.

Winning at Love

Some players in online poker have outrageous screen names -- and that can lead to some downright bizarre heads-up matches.  We couldn't resist commenting on this recent clash....

pornking: nothin ever laid in stone
Me: Porn vs. love
Dealer: love1more wins Main Pot ($2450) with Full house, jacks full of fives
Me: Love prevails.
Me: (as it should)

Yes, you read it correctly -- "love1more" defeated "pornking."

We're not sure why anyone would want to attach "porn" to their name.  But casinos sometimes come close to the pornographic line in their advertising, with pictures of attractive and seductively-dressed women.  We've never been in a poker room where the dealers looked that sexy.  But the appeal with women has something in common with the appeal for men to gamble....

You lust, and have not; you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain.... You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. - James 4:2-3 (KJV)

Lust is a bad-sounding Bible word -- and the Bible shows nothing really good about it.  In the original Greek New Testament, this word refers to a "longing" for something.

Not all longings are bad, but some of them can be dangerous.  Long too much for (or lust after) a payday at a poker cash game, and you could wind up broke.  Lust after displays of pornography, and you can ruin a marriage or healthy romantic relationship.

We think it's better to have a longing for love -- as in the love of God.  In fact....

Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment." - Matthew 22:37-38

How do we do that?  The Bible offers several ways:

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. - I John 5:3
Each man should give what he had decided in his heart to give.... for God loves a cheerful giver. - II Corinthians 9:7
We invite you to search through the Bible and add to this list.  (Leave a comment with what you find.)  Then do what the apostle Paul recommends.  Instead of lusting or longing for destructive things, or even people....

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. - Ephesians 5:1-2

Monday, December 5, 2011

NLOP Weekly Championship 23: Six-Play to Sunday

National League of Poker now offers daily "six-max" tournaments, where every table has no more than six players.  We did exceptionally well in that format Saturday night, finishing fourth in a 397-player tournament.  Alas, only first place won prize money -- but that strong showing qualified us for the Sunday night NLOP weekly championship.  Yet alas again....

:00 IN: Connection problems plague us right off the bat -- again! We're not fully functioning until :10, and use a round of blinds in the process.
:10 IN: We have 9-K.  The flop is 9-A-4.  We make a probe bet of 40 with middle pair, and get raised 120.  We dare to call.  The turn is 3.  This time we check, and again dare to call our opponent's bet of 140.  The river is 10.  We check once more, prepared to fold -- but are delighted when our opponent checks.  He only has J-5!  Hanging tough wins us $840.
:11 IN: We have 8-5 of hearts in the next hand.  The flop is 9c-Ah-3h, and we call a minimum bet of 40.  The turn is 3s.  A player bets 240, and we try to call with a flush draw -- but the computer doesn't accept our click, and we're timed out!  Yet it turns out that's GOOD, because another player raises and the river is 2s.  This time server problems save us money.
:21 IN: We have J-10.  The flop is K-J-2.  We make a minimum bet of 60, and get callers.  The turn is Q.  Everyone checks.  The river is A, and we push all-in with a "Broadway straight."  Our opponents fold, but we win an $800 pot.
:23 IN: We have A-8 of clubs under the gun.... and of course, a McAfee update starts on our computer.  We're frozen from play until the half-hour break, although we can briefly see another A-8 in our possession after the blinds that we also can't play.
We reach the first break with 1,465 chips - tied for 351st place, with 816 players remaining out of 1,436 who started.
:38 IN: We have 10-Q, and call a doubling of the blinds.  The flop is 10-Q-A.... and of course, then we get disconnected again.  We never find out how the hand ended.
1:01 IN: After a few potentially good hands fall short at the flop, we have A-5 in the Big Blind.  We go all in, and one player calls with A-J.  Uh-oh.  A lurching connection enhances the drama.... and then come 4-8-8-9-5 right in a row.  We hit the river and somehow stay alive!
We stagger to the second break at 1,205 chips.  We're a lowly #289, with 332 players left.  Disconnections return twice after this point, until....
1:17 IN: We have K-K, and push with 855 left.  A player calls with 8-7 -- but gets 9-10-6 on the flop to make a dream straight.  The turn and river are 7-J, and we're eliminated in 241st place.
NLOP has been offering a Beta test of its new look for several weeks.  Maybe that's what we need to break the cycle of burps and breakoffs, which are making play quite annoying.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cocky and Loaded

The woman had a fairly good evening playing poker.  But she fell short of the final table -- and she explained part of the reason was a friend playing next to her.
"He won that big pot," she told us, "and then he started playing cocky."  The betting of all those extra chips threw the woman off her game plan.
Of course, what's "cocky" to one person can be a simple change of strategy for another.  One way poker is like sports is that players have to adjust to changing circumstances during a game -- whether it be rising blinds or the capture of a big chip windfall.
Whatever changes you face and endure, it's important to keep some words of Jesus in mind....
I promise you that you cannot get into God's kingdom, unless you accept it the way a child does. - Mark 10:15 (CEV)

Accept it the way a child does?!  Your understanding of that phrase may depend on your own family and upbringing.  Some children can be grumpy, throwing temper tantrums if they don't get their way.  But that's not the kind of attitude Jesus means.
And he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV; emphasis added)
In other words, it's all about humility.  If you win a big pot, you can brag to anyone within earshot about how much you deserve it or how well you embarrassed an opponent.  But the more humble approach takes it all in stride -- and Christian humility really is about giving glory to Someone besides yourself.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. - Galatians 6:14
After all, poker is NOT 100 percent about skill and intelligence.  "One-out" river cards sometimes come.  But a mind of humility realizes that, accepting the fact that losses sometimes happen in this life.  That approach can lead to an ultimate victory later, with entry into God's eternal kingdom.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Poker Night 281: High (Card) Anxiety

The pace of a live poker tournament is nowhere close to the speed of online games.  Yet sometimes it can be faster than some players can handle.  Consider what happened tonight at Lil Kim's Cove....

BLINDS: 25/50

IN THE POCKET: K-Q offsuit

We're in the big blind after gaining a big blessing -- as the bartender gave us 6,000 bonus chips simply for our buying diet cola.  But we lost a lot of that early, and now have about 8,200.  And the dealer puts more of that at risk, by raising to 250.  With pretty high cards, we call.  So do a couple of other players.


We reach for 300, as we have top pair and are first in line to....

"You didn't let me bet, man!" says a player to the immediate right of the dealer.  He'd put in 50, but was passed over for the raise.

We put the 300 back in our tray.  The dealer tries to cover the flop cards with one hand, and a short discussion ensues across tables about the rules.  "If you call, the flop goes back.  If you fold, the flop stays out," one player (not the tournament director) advises.

"I wanted to call," says the ignored player.  We quietly hope he doesn't now -- and after some thinking/grumbling, he folds.  Now the flop is official, and we put 300 back out.

"I didn't want you to have a King, man."  Now the dealer is grumbling.  "I've got Jacks."

"Oh.  That's too bad," we say -- then quickly realize what those words might reveal.  "But it might really be good," we add, "because I might have nothing."

"He wouldn't have bet unless he had something," says another man across from us.  (We took advantage of that mindset to win another hand later with a bluff.)  So does the dealer.  A woman to our left calls, and we're heads-up.


The dealer grumbles a bit louder at the potential three-of-a-kind he lost.  But we press on: "300 more."  The woman folds, and the pot is ours.  But someone wants to see what the last card would have been.

ON THE RIVER (not counting): 9

"I would've had a straight!"  A player shows the Queen he threw away.  We then show our cards -- and we would have split the pot with matching straights.  Instead, we gain around 900 chips.

We won a couple of pots, then tried to hold on from there in the second hour.  But with five players left at the semifinal table and A-9 in our hand with rising blinds, we were compelled to go all-in for our last 1,500.  The board didn't pair for us, and a man on the other side took out another player along with us.  We missed the final table by one hand again, finishing in a tie for ninth (ninth place in Big Dog Poker points).

MINISTRY MOMENT: We showed our "Jesus as your Savior" coin to the woman who took us on early in the evening.  "A man in a motorcycle club gave that to me," we said.

"We had our bike blessed," the woman responded.  It belonged to her and her ex-husband, and it was blessed at a motorcycle rally.

Does that sound strange -- having someone "bless" your motorcycle?  It's a growing trend in some religious groups to hold "blessing" services for all sorts of items, from vehicles to pets.  We have yet to find anything in the Bible specifically about blessing those things -- but Jesus set an example along that line:

He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these".... And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. - Mark 10:14, 16
We've attended many congregations which have "blessing of children" ceremonies at least once a year.  May we dare suggest young people need God's blessing much more than motorcycles?

(Some of you may be saying at this point we skipped over a verse.  Don't worry -- we'll get to that in an upcoming post.)

UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 102 final tables in 281 nights (36.3%) - 16 cashes.  This makes four times since mid-September that we've missed the final table by one hand.  Had we made them all, our percentage would be close to 38.

NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 176 point wins in 779 games (22.6%), 60 final tables, seven cashes.

NLOP seems to be eliminating the three-card "knockout" poker tournaments, as UFC sponsorship appears to be gone.  But we'll never forget the first time we played it on a Saturday night -- and won the tournament!

POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $67,207, down $1,045.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Senior Championship: Too Many Hiccups

Poker can be a game of spurts -- with several idle hands, followed by a couple with big gains.  But in the November National League of Poker Senior Championship Tuesday night, the spurts came in other ways....

:01 IN: We have J-J, and a player ahead of us raises 160.  We call, of course.  The flop is 10-5-6.  We call a bet of 30.  The turn is 4.  We call a bet of 130, fearing someone has three of a kind.  The river is 6, and we call yet another bet of 30.  After all that, our main opponent has K-5!  The overpair gives us a big gain of $1,255.
:12 IN: After folding cards which would have given us a winning flush and a winning straight, we have Ax-Ks.  We raise the blind 100, to 140.  The flop is 3s-6x-2s.  A player bets 200 -- enough to baffle us, and also enough to fold.
:16 IN: We have 3-4 in the big blind -- and then the trouble starts.  Our connection to the game freezes.  After waiting five minutes for things to resolve themselves, we "panic" -- getting out of NLOP completely and logging back in.  The process keeps us away for 12 minutes, so we escape being disqualified.  But we miss a round of blinds -- and who knows what else.

We're functioning at the 30-minute break, with $1,490 thanks to our big win.  We're #207 out of 506 players still alive.

:34 IN: Right after the break, we have 9-4.  We fold -- and then freeze #2 begins.  We get out and in faster this time, but still lose eight more minutes of playing time and another round of blinds.  We're down to $1,265.

:43 IN: We have 3-J, and feel compelled to play to avoid disqualification.  The flop is 6-K-5, and we fold to a bet.

:48 IN: We have A-3 of diamonds.  The flop is 6d-Kd-2h, providing us a great flush draw.  The table checks.  The turn is Qh, and we call a bet of 200.  But the turn is Ks, and we must fold to another bet.  (The winning player had a Q for two pair.)  It's a serious loss.

:59 IN: We have J-5 of spades in the small blind with a small stack.  We click on "fold" -- and then freeze #3 starts, with our chip stack down to a lowly 265.

"And we slow play the fold," we see a player named Wirestringer write while our connection is hopelessly sluggish.  We can't explain, because we have to get out and into NLOP again.  Another nine minutes is lost, and we return at the end of the second break.

"Apologies to Wire and all -- disconnects beyond my control," we write on our return.  Wirestringer understands and accepts that explanation.

"You could update to IE9," another player suggests.

"But we don't use that here, do we?" we ask.  We don't even have any browsers open.  (Open question: does that really make a difference?)

1:11 IN: We antes whittling away, we push all-in with A-5 and 115 chips left.  The flop is K-7-7.  The turn is K, and we feel doomed.  The river is J -- and a player shows 7-Q.  His full house knocks us out.

Believe it or not, we finished 176th out of 1,063 players -- in spite of everything, including 29 lost minutes out of 71.  It's a pretty good finish.  But it obviously left us frustrated.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Waiting Room

The smallest gesture or briefest word can cause attention at the poker table, especially when you're in the middle of a hand.  Players are looking for "tells" of any kind, or doing "reads" to determine what you really have and how they should respond.

We wonder if that made a difference in the hand we mentioned in our last post.  A pause of about two seconds  before checking with quad Kings resulted in an opponent going all-in --then we "insta-called" to make a big gain.

The Bible offers many examples where moments of waiting led to amazing results.  We'll offer one; perhaps you can think of others....

So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick".... Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. - John 11:3, 6

Jesus was healing people all over the "Holy Land" region.  So why didn't He rush to the aid of Lazarus?  The Lord gave a hint to His disciples....

So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.  But let us go to him." - John 11:14-15

Jesus suggests He wanted to drive home a point to the disciples.  And a few days later, He made that point before a large crowd of witnesses.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"  The dead man came out.... Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. - John 11:43-45

By waiting until Lazarus was dead and entombed, Jesus displayed His miraculous powers.  In the arts, that sort of wait is called a "dramatic pause."  God seems to have more in store, before Jesus comes again....

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They cried in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" - Revelation 6:9-10

It occurred to us this week that today's living believers should put themselves under that altar.  Many of them want Jesus to return with judgment and vengeance, too.  But read on....

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. - Revelation 8:1

God's timeline seems unaffected by human pleading.  But Revelation goes on to show Jesus will come again. Soon.  We don't know how soon, but soon.  In the meantime, follow the advice of a psalmist:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. - Psalm 130:5

(P.S.  We faced our own 15-minute wait as we wrote this entry, due to Internet connection problems.  Waiting isn't easy there, either -- but wait we did.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

He Who Hesitates....

Sometimes you can be a poker "alter ego" in an online cash game, especially when no one knows who you are.  Look what we did the other night at

BLINDS: 5/10


About five players are at this pretend table.  We make a modest raise in early position to 25.  Come on in -- and most players do.


We have an overpair and early position, so we fire a continuation bet of 50.  A couple of players call.


That's even better -- three of a kind.  Now we raise the temperature to 75.  Only one player calls.


Whoa!!  We hit runners for quads!  So we pause a moment to plan our strategy -- then we check.

Our opponent ponders -- and takes the bait.  He goes all-in, for about 380.  Of course, we call.

:-) is what we type as we show the case Kings.  Our opponent dared to bet with a mere 3-8 for two pair.  Did that momentary wait on our part make a difference?  We'll reflect on that in our next post.