IN THE POCKET: A-K offsuit
A couple of early nibbles have missed flops, so we start this hand with about 3,400 chips. Sitting in leadoff position, we limp in. No one raises, and about five players go to battle.
ON THE FLOP: 5h-Ks-2s
Top pair + top kicker = action from us. After the blinds check, we bet 100. As best we recall, a couple of players call.
ON THE TURN: 8h
Looks to us like all is still well. So we bet 150 - only to find a player to our left raising to 300. Did he stumble upon two pair? We still feel confident, so we call to go heads-up to the river.
ON THE RIVER: 5s
The board pairs, giving us two pair and top kicker. But three spades are showing (we don't have any). Yet our opponent raised on the turn with no possible flush, so we think he's simply testing us.
We try to show we mean business by beating 225, but he responds with a raise to 600. We remain skeptical, especially of the flush threat, and conclude he also has a King.
"As they say in Colorado," we tell the dealer next to us, "I'm pot-committed." Our new poker joke of the day gets a slight smile. But we mean what we say, and call. Then our opponent flips over.... 8-J of spades! We were right about our read on the turn, but he did hit the flush to give us a big loss.
Perhaps a bigger bet on the turn would have run everyone away. But early in a tournament with cheap blinds, some players will go on long chases. In this case, it worked and he won.
It was far from a winning day for us, as we never won a pot. We finally pushed with A-K again, and received a call from a man with A-J. But the flop brought a Jack and the turn an Ace, to eliminate us in 44th place on a 65-player day.
MINISTRY MOMENT: "I'm patiently waiting to play a hand," a man sitting to our right said at one point. He was a replacement player, who perhaps took a re-buy after losing his chips.
"Patience is a virtue," we told the man quietly.
"Impatience is a...." we didn't quite pick up how he ended that reply. Did he say a "vice"? That's what some would call the opposite of a virtue.
Our old saying has a Biblical basis for it:
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience... And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:12, 14
This list of virtues appears to be a rerun of something the apostle Paul wrote to another group - only with a different heading:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23
"Patience is a fruit," we added in our short discussion with the man. In Galatians, the source of that fruit is noted as the Holy Spirit of God.
Ironically, seconds later we saw Q-Q and went all-in for our last 1,125 chips - a push that failed. Perhaps that was our moment of impatience. But a man had raised ahead of us, and we were down to about five big blinds.
Poker experts on TV say it's good to push when you're at ten big blinds or less. We went by "the book," and it didn't work for us. But as we said elsewhere in the casino, a different book is more reliable - the "good book" known as the Bible, where the Holy Spirit and other things are revealed.
UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 182 final tables in 495 games (36.8%) - 36 cashes. We will need to make three final tables in the next five outings to get the percentage up to 37 percent at 500 games.