:06 IN: After pocket 10's were overshadowed by an Ace on the flop and a Jack on the turn, we have 7-10 of spades. A player doubles the blind, and we accept. The flop is 6-A-A, the first two cards spades. Everyone checks. The turn is Qs, and we bet 150 with a flush. One player calls. The river is 8c. We check to "defer," but our opponent checks as well. He has A-Q! Our flush wins $525.
:15 IN: We have K-K, limp in, then see two players go all-in for more than 800. We hold our breath and call -- to find we face A-3 and 9-6! The flop is 10-9-J. The turn is 7. The river is 3! We dodge the stray rocket, eliminate one player and grab a $3,990 jackpot.
:19 IN: We have A-10 in the big blind -- and since no one raises, we go up 200 and attract a couple of callers. The flop is 2-A-Q. We make a power bet of 700, the table folds, and we win $880.
We miss a few flops after that, doing a little chasing -- but reach the half-hour break at a comfortable $2,705. We sit in 58th place, with 342 players still competing.
:45 IN: We have Q-10. The flop is 2-4-J, and offer a bluffer's bet of 200. A couple of players call. The turn is 3, and another player makes a big bet. We fold -- and when the river is J, a man to our left shows J-J for quads.
:48 IN: We have 5-8 of diamonds in the big blind. The flop is 7x-6d-Ax, giving us a two-way straight draw. Everyone checks. The turn is K. An opponent bets 200, and we dare to call. But the river is 3, and we bail out with a loss. (The winner has A-9.)
:49 IN: We have 7s-7c in the small blind The flop is 6-8-5 -- all hearts! An opponent bets about 200, and we dare to call. The turn is 7h, and our three of a kind never looked more grim. A player bets 200, and we fold. Good thing - because amazingly, the man who hit quads four minutes before shows 4h, to make a straight flush! Do any math experts know the odds against that?
:58 IN: We have J-8 of diamonds in the big blind. The flop is 5d-Qx-Jx. An opponent goes all-in for 755. What would you do with middle pair? We take a chance and call -- and we're rewarded when the big bettor shows a mere 4-7! The turn is 3, the river is 4, and we capture $2,470.
1:00 IN: The next hand brings us 6-6 in the small blind, and accept a doubling of the blind to 600. The flop is 8-3-3. An opponent bets 900, and we fold -- only to see 6 on the turn. Our "triple six" would have beaten is winning "triple three."
We have $1,735 at the second break -- and that's when the trouble starts. Our computer is noisy enough for us to hear a McAfee update approaching. We'd moved our weekly McAfee scan time to Tuesday morning, to avoid any interruptions in the evening. We paused the scan at the start of the game -- but we can't interrupt McAfee at update time.
The McAfee entry suffocates our browser, even before announcing its presence. Google Chrome freezes, and NLOP tells us our log-in has been lost after eight minutes of lost playing time. But the computer doesn't let us log in again for five more minutes -- and under NLOP rules, ten minutes of inactivity gets us eliminated!
McAfee didn't even announce on the screen its update was ready until 25 minutes after entry. (The update itself took 64 minutes to complete, in part because we restarted the weekly scan along side it.) So with all that waiting time, we had plenty to think about -- and we admittedly spent plenty of time stewing. We had prayed before the tournament for God's blessing upon our actions and comments. So why here? Why now??
But the more we thought about it, the more we concluded we were to blame. That pre-game prayer was in the car, before going inside a restaurant for dinner. It was relatively short -- and we determined that was the problem. Why?
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. - Revelation 8:3
"Beat your prayers fine," we've heard ministers preach over the years. They've claimed incense burns better when it's ground into tinier particles -- so therefore, God wants detailed prayers instead of broad generalizations. Based on that reasoning: we did not specifically ask God to block McAfee interruptions; thus, God used that loophole to eliminate us from the tournament and teach us a lesson.
But here's the strange twist -- only as we wrote this post did we discover the claim about incense-burning may not be entirely accurate. And we can think of a few short prayers in the Bible which wound up having a big impact. Here's one; perhaps you can think of more....
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. - I Kings 18:36-37Even at a slow pace, we read that prayer of Elijah aloud in 25 seconds. Yet God heard it, answered it and gave the prophet victory in a dramatic showdown with Baal worshipers at Mount Carmel (people who pleaded conceivably for hours for Baal to show himself -- pleading in vain).
So did we beat ourselves up too much, for not "beating our prayers" enough? We'll leave that open for your comments. In the meantime, our finish at the poker tournament still wasn't that bad: 103rd out of 950 players. But who knows what might have been?!?!