IN THE POCKET: A-8 offsuit
The game has been underway only a few minutes, so most of the players seem to be in a "warm-up" mode. No one raises pre-flop, and we're comfortable calling with this.
ON THE FLOP: 8-3-Q
To borrow from some poker regulars, we "got a piece of that." It's not the best piece -- or is it? When the play checks to us, we try to find out. We bet 200 with middle pair. That's apparently enough of a message to most of the table, which folds. But a man to our immediate right calls. We're heads-up.
ON THE TURN: 10
Our opponent is first in line to play -- and he thinks long and hard about what he should do. We're not sure what he's thinking. He finally checks. That was our plan all along, so we check as well.
ON THE RIVER: 2
Our opponent doesn't spend as much time on this card. He checks, and we respond by betting 300.
"He must have the 10," someone to our left says.
"Naw -- he's got the Queen, man," guesses a man across the table.
How nice of them to put more doubt in our opponent's mind -- not to mention throwing him off the track. He folds.
"I was chasing a flush," the man to our right admits. He also had a 3, but presumed we had that beat. After a moment of hemming and hawing, we finally admit we did have something better. But we don't say exactly what it was -- well, until now.
We won a few more pots in the first hour, but then tried for a big gain with J-J and lost to a straight. Yet we reached the one-hour break with 16,000 chips (after starting with 12,000). Another win in the second hour helped us reach our third live final table in a row.
But the cards didn't turn in our favor after that. Facing decisive blinds at the end of Hour 2, we went all-in with A-J under the gun. An Ace came for us on the river -- but a man to our right made a full house well before then. He eliminated us in eighth place.
MINISTRY MOMENT: We joined a semifinal table as a couple of men talked about borrowing cigarettes. We think someone was turned down, because he mentioned how the other man wouldn't "be his brother's keeper."
"Maybe by not giving him a cigarette," we said, "he is being his brother's keeper by not giving him cancer."
The other man understood our point of view. He actually brought up a concept that's rooted in the first book of the Bible:
Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" - Genesis 4:9The first part of Cain's answer almost certainly was a lie. Instead of "keeping" Abel, Cain killed him in a field -- and did it despite a personal warning from God about controlling his anger (verses 5-7).
If you're hot-tempered at a poker table, you risk going "on tilt" and making disastrous decisions. You also might say things which needlessly offend and upset other players. It's best to follow the apostle Paul's advice....
"In your anger do not sin." Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. - Ephesians 4:26-27Paul goes on to recommend getting all "rage and anger" out of your life -- replacing those emotions with Christ-like virtues of kindness and compassion (verses 31-32).
But let's ask you about our original point. Would you give a cigarette to someone who asked for one? And what does it mean to be "your brother's keeper", anyway? Leave a comment with your thoughts, and we'll explore this further in a future post.
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 134 final tables in 385 nights (34.8%), 20 cashes. We've made three final tables in a row for the first time since December 2011, when we only played one night a week.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 282 point wins in 1,346 games (21.0%), 92 final tables, 12 cashes, 10 wins. No-River Hold 'em - 24 point wins in 92 games (26.1%), 19 final tables, 1 cash win.
We didn't take notes on the action, but we had a long successful night in the "Wild Wednesday" tournament. After nearly five hours online, we finished fourth out of 778 players to win some nice prize money! We also finished fourth out of 39 players in a Monday qualifying game.
POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $85,970, down $1,048.