IN THE POCKET: A-8 offsuit
Only 11 players have shown up for Sunday action on a holiday weekend, giving us hope for "small table" success. We're at the table of five, but have yet to win a hand. With nearly our full chip stack, we take this cautiously and limp in. Most of the players are in.
ON THE FLOP: A-Q-6
Top pair is nice -- and when the table checks, we get the feeling we're leading. We bet 500 to see how serious the opposition is. One man calls; the others fold.
ON THE TURN: 4
That seems harmless - and something tells us our opponent is chasing something, perhaps with a Queen. We bet 1,000. He doesn't hesitate, and calls.
ON THE RIVER: 5
That complicates things a bit. Now there are three cards for a straight. We check with caution - but our opponent offers 1,900. This strikes us as a "get lost" bet. But with top pair, we really can't. So we call -- and he shows A-9! His kicker card topped ours to take the pot. And our read on that man turned out to be very wrong.
It was that sort of day for us -- betting on promising hands, only to lose to better ones. Our stack of chips drained rather quickly. An all-in moment with 9-9 brought a third 9 on the flop to allow a triple-up to 8,200 chips. But it didn't last -- and a final push with J-9 when a Jack came on the flop led to an opponent making two pair, while we did not.
We finished 11th out of 11, which is technically in last place. But if the tournament had not allowed re-buys, we would have been a couple of spots off the bottom.
MINISTRY MOMENT: We showed our "Lord's Supper" card protector to a man at our left -- the one with a depiction of a long-haired Jesus on the other side, when he turned it over.
"That's awesome," he said.
"I think Jesus is awesome. Do you think Jesus is awesome?"
"Yes, he sure is," the man said quietly as he refocused on the game and his smartphone.
We think the word awesome gets overused today. We've even heard church pastors say it to describe young people playing music a bit less than perfect. The ministers may be trying to encourage young talent. But consider how that word is used in the Bible....
Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? - Exodus 15:11
This verse comes from a song celebrating God's miracle for the Israelites at the Red Sea (verse 4). We think God showed a bit of that glory in providing a "pillar of fire" for Israel to keep moving away from the Egyptians (Exodus 13:21).
The Lord will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the land. The nations on every shore will worship him, every one in its own land. - Zephaniah 2:11
This moment of "awesome-sauce" (to borrow from that credit card commercial) is written for the future. The "Lord God" plans to destroy all other gods. How will that happen?
Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." - Revelation 19:15-16
To borrow from a carol at this time of year, the return of the "Lord of Lords" Jesus Christ will not be "tender and mild." Jesus will strike down all opposition - and we suspect that will include the gods of those opponents as well. Now that's one awesome Lord. Agree?
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 155 final tables in 436 games (35.6%) - 25 cashes. We missed a final table for the first time since mid-August (five tournaments ago).