Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yesterday was poker day

Well, not all of yesterday, although I’d be hard pressed to tell you what else I did except the dishes… Oh, I wrote. I’m trying to make something of myself in the form of a grant proposal.

“Aside from farming and making art, I also play poker.” Right. Write.

Now, where was I?

With the Poker Academy Reunion Tourney under my belt, I was out the door and on my way to Phil’s. In that he and his wife, Julie, live up the canyon near one of my fishing holes, I said to DW, “Maybe I should take a rod and some shrimp just in case I decide that I’d rather go fishing than play poker.” She thought it a good idea, yet I gave it a second thought and decided that I would rather come back home.

I had never been to Phil’s house, and his directions took me onto a side of the river I had not been on either. Turns out there’s a bridge across the Santiam in the small town of Gates. And his road ran along the river. Phil and Julie live right on the river. I was a bit jealous. Their house is gorgeous, and looks brand new, as well it should as much of it was destroyed when a huge fir fell on it last winter. The house is actually about 60 feet up on a ridge, yet one can see the river below, and my steelheader’s eye could see that they had one helluva great fishing hole out their back door. Julie confirmed, “That’s the I-Line hole, one of the best on the river.”

Phil had put a couple polish dogs on the grill for this late arrival, so I went over to chat him up. “Phil, you fish?”

“Some. Let me show you my fishing shack.” They have a small A-frame that doubles as a lounge and storage shed, and along the wall were several spinning and fly rods. To make a long story short, as I most assuredly angled for an invite, I can fish from their bank anytime I want.

Julie and Phil are very nice people. And the folks in attendance were all pleasant enough. I knew several of the people as they also play at R’s home game. Julie was a most gracious host, glad that I had come, and made sure that I met the people I didn’t know. R was there, along with his girlfriend. It seems that during my absence over the last few months, she has become a fairly good poker player, placing or taking down several pub tourneys in recent weeks.

Polish dogs devoured, I asked, “So, we gonna play some poker?”

“I mentioned it and you could see it in their eyes that they’re ready to play.”

And then someone said something about playing Pictionary. Men against women. And we played. I’ve not played this game before, and while I was not so good at guessing what the hell people were trying to convey in their drawings, I must say that when it was my turn to go to the board, the MFA came in handy. Now, I must back up a bit. One of the people I met, a guy whose name I have forgotten, was an interesting bloke. A lot of older tattoos and a sleevless shirt (sleeves removed), a smallish guy with a scraggly beard and a voice in a higher register. Elsewhere, like in Chicago, one might think transgendered. Not in this crowd, nice as they are. This guy was guessing correctly a number of times, and as everyone had their eyes affixed to the drawings, did not immediately know that the points for that round should be awarded to the men. Clarification was needed more than once. R’s girlfriend, is a Pictionary pro. The better communicators won.

Okay, now we can play some poker. A quick call to the DW to let her know there was cell service and to listen to her incredulity that I had engaged in a game other than poker. (It was fun.) Meanwhile, a discussion ensued inside the house as to whether we would be playing .20/.40 or .25/.50. I could have talked longer as the bank never was clear on the level and doled out 20% more chips than necessary. Once that was cleared up, we had a ten-handed game at the dining table.

I positioned myself so R and Phil were on my right, and Bev was to my left. R doesn’t get out of line postflop, so I would be able to see anything coming that said get out of the way. Phil, on the other hand will play any two suited cards. I definitely wanted to be on his left. Bev is a rock, so I didn’t figure her to be in many hands, which she wasn’t.

Phil also likes to raise it up whenever he is going to be playing that 7 9h, so when he bet 4 x BB from UTG and I looked down at pocket tens, I 3-bet him to make it heads up. A full six players called my re-raise. The flop came 995, two hearts, and when it was checked to me, I jammed with my short buy-in, my remaining $7.00. One caller, Mike with K9c. I suppose I could have checked and folded. I reloaded for $20.00.

I wish I could remember all of the hands, but suffice it to say that I never looked back, even though I know that I never won a hand with anything better than top pair. Pots were often $10 or more as folks were drinking (Pepsi, please) and within two hours I was up $10. R made a good lay down with second pair yet scoffed when the rabbit card gave him two pair against my better two pair. Coulda been fun. I also had a chance with my own K9c to put me over the top against Julie’s pocket Jacks.

I had forgotten to bring along certain time-sensitive supplements, so I had to cut my game short and bid a fond farewell. At the risk of coming off a bit mushy, I told the people I knew well that I missed playing poker with them. There are a lot of laughs and ribbing at these games, which I am sure all appreciate. Still, the menfolk responded in a manner that loses at Pictionary.

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