On Poker and Politics
I got bored and wandered off in search of greener pastures. After wandering around for a while without finding anything to spark my interest, I finally went for a ride to a neighboring casino where to my surprise, I found a semi-private poker room playing Texas Hold 'em. Not being too sure of myself, I bought in to a $2-$4 table. After about an hour, I was up about $100, so I moved to a $4-$8 table. Another hour and I was up about $200. I was starting to feel pretty bulletproof by then, so I jumped tables again - this time to a $25-$50 table stakes game.
I bought in for $1,000. I was being pretty cautious, 'cause playin' like that could go through money fast! I folded most everything that didn't feel like a sure thing and watched the other players.
A couple people stood out from the crowd. One guy seemed to bet more, the worse his cards. He was going through money like a drunken sailor. It was obvious to all of us that he could have saved a lot of money by buying a book on how to play, but nobody said a word, 'cause we all were happy to take his money.
Another guy had an interesting method: He'd raise and re-raise 'til everybody folded; he bought several pots. The few times he had to flop his cards, he didn't seem to have much. I also noticed that he had a slight facial twitch in the corner of his eye that manifested itself when his hand was poor. When he had a winner, he was smooth as glass. His strategy definitely was not increasing his chip pile, and the only thing that kept him in the game was an occasional big win, when everybody else folded. I made up my mind to wait for my chance and clean his plow. Eventually, the chance came.
I was dealt a small pair and bet last. My adversary, whom I had dubbed “BigUn” - he was 'bout 300 pounds - checked to open. Somebody else opened, so I stayed in to see some cards. When it got back to BigUn, he raised behind his check. Everybody stayed in and there was another raise on that round. The pot was starting to grow. On the next card, he check-raised again, and I thought I could detect the start of a twitch around his left eye.
This was enough for everyone else and they all folded, leaving me and BigUn. There was only one more card coming, and I was considering folding. I desperately needed a three to stay alive. BigUn checked to see if he could scare me off. His chip pile looked to be about $160 as best I could tell, so I bet $300. He started counting his chips, and the twitch got a little more pronounced. He finally said, “All in” and pushed in his chip pile. I said, “You seem pretty confident in that hand.” “Yup,” he replied.
I turned to the dealer and asked, “This is a table stakes game, right?” He nodded. By this time, the rest of the table was pretty interested in how this was going to turn out, since one of us probably was going to leave the table in a minute. I'd been watching him and noticed that he had a nice-looking diamond ring. I said, “Chuck that knuckle knocker in, and we'll call it even.”
With this move, the dealer had to ask the pit boss if it was OK. The pit boss said that if we both agreed, it was OK with him. The ol' boy puffed up some, and so as not to lose face, laid the ring on the table. I asked the pit boss if he could send someone over to the gift shop across the hall to borrow a loupe. Away he went. The table didn't mind the delay - they wanted to see what was going to happen next!
In a couple minutes, the loupe appeared, and I made a big show of examining the ring. I had no idea what I was looking at; what I really was doing was observing BigUn. By this time, his eye was twitching at about 60 cycles. I said, “I'll take that bet.”
The dealer turned a queen - no help. It was showdown time, and since he'd opened, he had to flop his cards first. It surprised me that he actually had a pair - deuces and no help from the table. I didn't have much, but it was enough: I slowly turned over a pair of threes and picked up the ring and $1,400 in chips.
The ring is a little big for me, and I'll have it re-sized. But I did have it appraised - turns out I made a good bet … hey, that's why the call it gambling! We all ordered a round of drinks from a passing nurse, while BigUn shuffled off, mumbling to himself.
On the Political FrontSo much has happened in the primaries since I last wrote, I hardly know where to begin. The Democrat party, instead of shooting itself in the foot, has formed a circular firing squad. The good Dr. Dean has managed to shoot himself in the mouth - yeeeaaah, leaving John Kerry basically the last man standing. None of them have come up with any concrete proposals; they just hold him up as the only one who can beat Bush. What a positive message! What you have to remember is: Kerry is from Massachusetts. He is the junior senator and votes to the left of Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank.
Next the democrats hold up John Kerry's war record. Since when have the democrats been supporters of the military? Kerry voted against almost all of our modern weapons systems, the CIA and everything but French surrender terms.* It's one thing for a man to do what his government asks during wartime - hey, lots of us did. It's another thing to come home, throw someone else's medals over the fence, consort with known traitors like “Hanoi Jane” and backstab the military at every turn.
If you have studied your history, you will find that there are other men who served honorably in the military and went on to commit acts that sent them down in history.
One comes to mind: Even though he was a great general, widely admired and respected, with many great victories during wartime, Benedict Arnold is remembered in history as a traitor. Think about it. We are at war, whether we like it or not. What we need is a leader, not a man whose last 35 years of public service have been dedicated to weakening the things that made America great.
*Editor's note: Sen. John Kerry voted in support of authorizing war with Iraq.