IN THE POCKET: A-J of clubs
Early chances have not worked for us, but these are the best starter cards we've had so far today. No one's raising at this full table of ten, so we bump it up to 700. About half the table gets in.
ON THE FLOP: 3-7-5 (don't recall suits)
This flop seems fairly innocent, but the Small Blind jumps out with a bet of 600. Other players are folding.
"That seems small enough," we say as we call. We're now heads-up.
ON THE TURN: J
"I guess I'd better raise the stakes a little," our opponent says. He now bets 1,100 - right into the top pair and top kicker we've made. We probably could raise, but we decide to trap a bit and call again.
ON THE RIVER: 10
"Looks like it's now safe to bet 5,000," our opponent says - and that's exactly what he does. We're not convinced he has anything. So, still with top pair and top kicker, we call.
"I've got Jacks and 5's," he says. Ouch! We both benefited from the turn card - but he did more. He takes the pot, and we take a noticeable loss.
Yet this was a day when the old advice to "never quit" proved true for us more than once. With our chip stack around 40,000 out of a starting 62,000, we were dealt pocket Aces. They held up in an all-in moment against Q.Q. Pocket Aces came again later, to bring us a double-up against a player with K-K.
But with our stack up to 165,000, a man went all-in for 130,000. We had A-K, and had little choice but to call. He had A-4 - but caught a 4 on the flop and an Ace on the turn! He survived, and we drooped to a lowly 35,000 with rising blinds and six players to go.
But again, we resolved to not quit - and were rewarded for it. A couple of good hands allowed us to push pre-flop and scare other people away. Our stack rebuilt to the 100,000 mark. Then we won an unlikely race against a man by making a straight on the river, to eliminate him and make the money in the top three.
We wound up heads-up against that man who escaped with an A-4. "You want to play it out?" he asked.
"If you want to chop the money, that's fine with me," we said.
"I'm not chopping nothing." It was all or nothing - and he had a big chip advantage.
With little to lose, we chose to play on - and pushed with K-5 in the very next hand. He had something like Q-7. But he made the Queen to win the contest. He won $100 for first place; we settled for $65 in second - still better than our $35 buy-in. We praise God for allowing the "second option" of the day to make us money! We're now at five cash wins this year in 20 live tournaments.
MINISTRY MOMENT: "I could use a miracle," one man across the table said as he called a big pre-flop bet.
"Miracles can happen," we told him. (We were out of the hand, so it was easy for us to say that.)
But after the flop, that man folded. "Those cards aren't my color," he admitted when his turn came.
"Sometimes they happen," we told him. He smiled at that.
Have you ever wondered why that is? Why do miracles sometimes happen for people - whether it's a physical healing or running cards for a flush - while they sometimes don't? Is it simply a matter of luck?
We don't claim to know the full answer to this question, but we went to the Bible for some guidance.
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. - Psalm 77:14
The writer of this psalm wrote words of faith. Asaph knew God can perform miracles. Yet we heard a preacher on Christian radio this weekend point out even many church-going believers don't expect miracles these days. If you're not looking for any, should God even bother providing one?
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those with gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. - I Corinthians 12:28
Did you realize God has put people in His church with the ability to do miraculous works? Not everyone has that gift, as verse 29 points out - but some apparently do. While some people say the "age of miracles" ended when the original apostles died, why should we assume that - especially if the other "spiritual gifts" are still evident today?
God also testified to it [salvation] by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. - Hebrews 2:4
So God performs the miracles, as people allow themselves to be used by Him to provide them.
What do you think, when it comes to miracles? We're interested in your comments; please leave one, and we'll return to this topic in a future post.
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 172 final tables in 458 games (37.6%) - 30 cashes.