IN THE POCKET: Q-10 offsuit
To be honest, we don't absolutely remember what we had in this hand. But we know we still had 9,000 chips in the fifth round of blinds, after winning several pots. And we folded pre-flop, so it must not have been very impressive. We know Q-10 came up at some point late in the tournament, and it seemed too marginal to play with our chip stack so precarious.
ON THE FLOP: 6h-5h-4h
We murmur noisily at the sight of this - three suited cards in a row. Seven players are still in the running, including the manager. As we recall, he made a bet which chased all but one player (the only woman at the table) away.
ON THE TURN: 7h
The plot thickens further - with four suited cards in a row. Now both players check.
ON THE RIVER: 8c
So there's a straight on the table, but that may be the least of our issues. The manager now goes all-in. The woman thinks about it for a moment or two. Is that a big bluff? She decides it is, and calls.
The manager turns over.... 8h! It's not a bluff; he has a straight flush!
The woman shows.... 3h-Ah! She had the Ace for an old-fashioned "nut flush," and the 3 gave her a straight flush of her own -- but not the winning one. She's eliminated in seventh place, with a true bad beat.
It was our turn to go all-in a few hands later, as we faced the Big Blind with our last 10,000 chips. We had K-J, but a man called with A-J. Two Aces on the board settled the matter, and we were ousted in sixth place -- better, but not in the money.
MINISTRY MOMENT: We showed our "Lord's Supper" card protector to a man on our right -- the one with an artist's depiction of Jesus on the flip side. "I don't really think he looks like that," we said of the depiction showing a long-haired Lord.
"I don't know," the man said. "Maybe they weren't able to cut hair back then."
We didn't tell the man this, but that theory doesn't match the Bible at all. Consider one of the most infamous haircuts in recorded history:
So he told her everything. "No razor has ever been used on my head," he said, "because I have been a Nazarite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man." - Judges 16:17
These are the words of Samson - a man who had his hair in seven braids. When Delilah put Samson to sleep and her friend shaved off those braids, indeed "his strength left him" (verse 19). In fact....
Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the Lord had left him. - Judges 16:20
Not only did Samson's strength go away -- the Lord went away. It's curious to us that Samson bluffed (as in lied to) Delilah three times earlier in this chapter about the source of his strength. When Samson finally told the truth, God responded by leaving him!
What sort of lessons should we learn from this? In terms of poker, we think there's one obvious lesson -- don't lie in pressure situations. Samson may not have realized he was in one, with his invincible strength at stake.
Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth. - Proverbs 16:13
We think this especially applies to the "King of Kings," Jesus Christ. Would Samson have kept his strength, had he told the truth to Delilah right away? We're left to guess -- but in poker, we think it's better to say nothing about your hand before showdown, instead of lying and breaking God's command against offering a "false witness" (Exodus 20:16, KJV).
NOTE: There's more to the conversation with that man at the table; we'll get to it in a future post.
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 154 final tables in 434 games (35.5%) - 25 cashes. Until more players show up, the final table count will keep piling up.