Whatever the reason, "something" told us to head for River City Poker Room for midday poker today. They have cash-prize tournaments seven days a week (except for New Year's Day, when they'll be closed). So we offered $20, had a seat -- and found plenty of "regulars" to beat at our full table.
IN THE POCKET: A-Q of diamonds
Pre-flop raises are happening often at this table, so it's been difficult to limp in. But after some early erosion, we won the last pot with A-9 when we bet 1,000 on a flop with an Ace. So we start this hand with 18,300 chips (out of a starting 21,000). These good starting cards allow us to sneakily limp in again -- but this time, no one raises. About half the table is in action.
ON THE FLOP: Qc-6c-2c
We have top pair and top kicker, but a potential problem. What can we do about all those clubs? We're in early betting position, so we try to throw a block by betting 1,000. A couple of players fold -- but a man across the table calls.
ON THE TURN: 5c
Uh-oh. A fourth club is the last thing we want to see. Now we have to check -- and our opponent seizes on that by betting 2,200. We ponder this a moment, conclude he's making a "go away" bet and somewhat reluctantly call.
ON THE RIVER: 3s
Now there's a straight threat in addition to the flush draw. We check again, but our opponent refuses to slow down. He bets 6,000. After a moment of meditation.... well, OK, we felt stunned and may have been sulking.... we presume the worst and fold.
Our opponent never shows his cards, so he may have been testing our will with nothing. But any club had us beat -- and on reflection, we should have bailed out at the turn. Why spend 2,200 to see a river, when there's no chance to beat the hand you fear your opponent has?
On the other hand we thought our opponent might think we were serious -- checking the river, then proving he only had a low pair. But alas, we thought wrong.
We did the same thing a few hands later, when we were dealt J-J. A man to our left raised from 1,000 to 3,500 pre-flop, and we called it. When three mid-range cards (7-6-6, we think) came on the flop, we went all-in for 9,000. But the raiser called -- then showed A-A. An Ace on the turn settled the issue, and we wound up crashing out early: 19th place our of 20 players.
MINISTRY MOMENT: Maybe the "something" which led us to the table was the short chat we had with the first eliminated player, who had sat directly to our left. We showed him a salt packet we used for a pocket protector, and said, "Jesus wants us to be the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).
The man said nothing in response to that. But salt can be useful in all sorts of things -- at least for awhile:
Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. - Luke 14:34
We've heard some preachers say old tired salt was used in constructing Roman roads. We couldn't find any online sources to verify that -- so let's take "the Word" at His word here.
If you're a believer in Jesus, how "salty" are you these days? To borrow a few first-century uses we found in a study Bible, are you adding a nice flavor to an otherwise bland and boring world? Are you helping to preserve lives, by bringing the things of God before others? And are you "killing weeds" by challenging ideas and actions which harm people?
Keep looking for ways to share some salt -- before God decides it's time to cast you aside.
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 145 final tables in 417 games (34.8%) - 24 cashes.
We close 2013 with a losing record in Kansas, but not by much: 7 final tables in 15 games, with three cash wins (and it could have been four, but the one Sunday we played in an WPT Amateur tournament had no payouts at all). Overall: 15 final tables in 41 games with four cash wins -- a healthy 36.6%.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER TOTAL: Full tournaments - 284 point wins in 1,421 games (20.0%), 93 final tables, 10 wins, 13 cashes. No-River Hold 'em - 37 point wins in 127 games (29.1%), 30 final tables, 3 wins, 4 cashes.
We end 2013 by making the points in our last 6 out of 7 No-River games!
POKER STARS.NET TOTAL: Pretend cash games - $86,131, up $1,631 since we moved to Kansas in April.