IN THE POCKET: J-J
The game is young, we're under the gun (first to act) -- and a high pocket pair shows up. Would you attack right away with them? Before you answer, we'd note this is a "bounty tournament." The man across the table from us is the bounty. Eliminate him, reach the final table and you'll get a 20,000-chip bonus.
Only a couple of players at our table of six have raised pre-flop so far. So we limp in to see if any will jump with a big bet. But no one does.
ON THE FLOP: J-6-4
A third "hook" comes for tripping opponents -- and even better, it's the top card showing. When the play checks to us, we offer 400. That runs off several players, but a young man to our immediate right calls.
ON THE TURN: 8
That man now tests our mettle by betting 500. Somehow we doubt he has 5-7 for a straight. But we choose to play along, and simply call.
ON THE RIVER: 2
Now our opponent checks. But we simply cannot, and bet 1,000. That's too much for him; he folds, and we win the pot.
"I was chasing a straight," we recall him saying. We don't say what we had -- well, until here and now.
We won a couple more pots in the first hour -- but then took a big loss when a man made bets in the 5,000 range with every card. We had A-Q and a Queen came on the flop, but we decided at the river he had us topped. Sure enough -- another player called him, and he showed pocket Kings.
We never recovered from that loss, and finally went all-in with K-J of clubs. But not enough clubs showed up for us, nor did a pair. A man who made a pair of 9's eliminated us in 14th place.
"Do you believe in Jesus? Is He your Savior?" we asked. We might as well have put the man all-in pre-flop.
"Is Jesus my Savior? Is He not my Savior?" he pondered aloud in a quiet ramble which was tough to hear. "I believe He was a person. He was a good person. But I don't accept about half of the things He said."
The game moved along, and we never asked the man which half of Jesus's sayings he didn't accept. So we'll turn the question in your direction. Do you accept everything Jesus said? Everything? Here are a couple of quotes which might test your answer....
I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.... Do not commit adultery.... - Matthew 19:9, 18
Jesus upheld the Ten Commandments given to Moses. (In fact, some ministers teach Jesus actually was the "God" who gave them to Moses, as "Lord of the Old Testament.") That includes the command against adultery, which upholds the marriage vows. If you're thinking about divorcing your spouse, ask yourself: is it right in Jesus's eyes? And related to that....
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?" - Matthew 19:4-5
In spite of what modern society may support and politicians may contend, this is how Jesus defined a marriage. A man is united with a woman. Call Christ judgmental if you wish -- but keep in mind, He'll be exactly that way when He comes again:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. - II Corinthians 5:10
If you're resisting any of Jesus's commands and instructions, what do you expect His ruling on you will be?
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 136 final tables in 393 games (34.6%) - 20 cashes.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 283 point wins in 1,381 games (20.5%), 92 final tables, 10 wins, 12 cashes. No-River Hold 'em - 27 point wins in 105 games (25.7%), 23 final tables, 1 win, 2 cashes.
Since we tend to play only cash freerolls where no points are awarded, it's probably time to change our standard in regular tournaments; watch for details about that.
But NLOP still awards points in most No-River Hold 'em games, and we had a strong week there: seventh place on Saturday night, second out of 93 players on Monday afternoon (sadly, only the winner earned money), then ninth in Wednesday's Bi-Weekly Championship (only six winning money, with no points).
POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $86,396, up $577.