IN THE POCKET: Ace-King of hearts
We prefer to call this "big red," because "slick" implies spades or something as black as an oil spill. But after winning a couple of modest early pots, we're ready to roll with this. We raise to 400, and about half the table calls.
ON THE FLOP: K-Q-7 (no hearts)
Top pair + top kicker = nice continuation bet. The play checks to us, and we toss out 700. Most of the players fold, but a man to our right seems unconvinced. He raises 700 more. We call -- and wonder.
ON THE TURN: 3
That card probably makes little difference, and that's perfectly fine with us. Our opponent checks. So do we -- which in retrospect probably is a mistake. We let him see a free card, and he gets....
ON THE RIVER: Q
Ooh boy. What if he's been sticking around with a Queen in his hand? Our opponent gives the impression of three of a kind, by betting 2,000. We ponder it a moment -- but eventually decided we're "pot-committed."
"You've probably got me beat," we say, "but I have to see it." We call the 2,000, two-thirds expecting a third Queen -- but NO, he has K-6! He matched our King, but the Ace kicker rewards us with a gain of more than 3,000 chips.
"I guessed he had a Queen, too," a player out of the hand admits. But in this case, standing up to the dare paid off.
A few failed chases followed, but we still had 10,500 chips after the one-hour break. Then in the second hour, we pushed all-in "under the gun" with 6,000 left and (ahem) two nice-looking cards. It scared the table away, and we gained blind money. Then we had an Ace, saw an Ace on the flop and pushed again. That brought a quick concession, too.
With the blinds rising, we finally saw Q-10 in the Big Blind. When a 10 hit the river, we pushed again for our last 3,000 chips. A man called -- only to show A-10. That Ace kicker turned around to kick us out of the tournament; we finished in 17th place.
MINISTRY MOMENT: A man was moved to our table in the second hour, and sat down between us and the dealer. This caused a moment of confusion, which we were able to explain.
"He can be in this hand," we said of the new player. "And if the Director asks the player behind the dealer to move -- well, he can be like a 'stranger and a pilgrim on the earth.' As I read in a book once."
The man in question smiled at our explanation, and we'd like to think he understood the "book" we were describing. Do you know the origin of that phrase?
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. - Hebrews 11:13 (KJV)Who are "these all"? The preceding verses in Hebrews present an all-star cast of Old Testament names - Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham. They spent their earthly lives looking for something more....
Instead, they were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. - Hebrews 11:16 (NIV)This is a city "whose architect and builder is God" (verse 10). Are those famous Biblical characters there now? Actually, we don't think so. Revelation 20 speaks of a resurrection of saints yet to come -- and then:
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. - Revelation 21:2If you're faithful to the end of life as Abel and Abraham were, this "long strange trip" of life will lead to an eternal home that's better than any "full house" on this planet.
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 112 final tables in 319 nights (35.1%) - 17 cashes.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 228 point wins in 966 games (23.6%), 73 final tables, 7 cashes plus 1 other win. No-River Hold 'em - 5 point wins in 31 games (16.1%), 4 final tables, 1 win.
POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $78,860, down $286.