tales from an unrepentant…inveterate…degenerate (pt 1)…

in which i tell the tale of some of the best poker i’ve ever played…so far…

i arrived at a home in the furthest reaches of southwest denver suburbs…not far from… <a href="
http://www.bop.gov/locations/institutions/eng/&#8221; target=”_blank”>this correctional facility…why the hell is it that i often find myself out in the hinterlands chasing down a card game…why is it that i know no one inside the boundaries of the city that takes poker seriously…ah well…you go where the game is…

i walked in prepared for a small stakes cash game…i found…a suburban home set up for a home style tournament…if you’ve played a home game in the last 5 years you’ve been to one of these…the living room and dining room are both taken over by large tables…somewhere in the house there is a table of candy, salty snacks, maybe pizza…and if it’s a real class set up…sandwiches…

if you’ve done this before…and you know this next part by heart…just skip over the next paragraph…

there are a usually dozen or more men littering the house…waiting for the collection of buy-ins, the assignment of seats, and distribution of chips…these rituals are usually handled in the same manner…the same cards from two suits are pulled from a deck…one card from one suit is distributed at each chair…the corresponding cards from the other suit are mixed up in a face down pile in the middle of the table…after chips are counted…each man…and i do mean men, because every one of these kinds of gatherings I’ve been to have been exclusively male…picks a card from the face down pile and finds the seat with the matching card…we take our seats…while the house rules are covered…blinds…when they go up…chip denominations…what’s the cut off for being in the money…minimum bets…minimum raises…cards are shuffled…and introductions are made…then the players draw cards to see who deals first…high card deals…when all that’s done…then we actually get to play cards…

on this night that means i sat at a table with the host and five of his friends…decent enough guys…

did i need to mention that i was the only black man in the room…somehow i think you already knew that…and i don’t know if it was that…or the fact that i was the new guy in the room…that led to the tension…but i soon found out…

anyway…our table was tight…a few heavy hands were played… but it was mostly small pots while we figured each other out…or maybe they were trying to figure me out…meanwhile at the other table…one guy was already out after 15 minutes…

i stayed loose…i played when i had good cards…and sometimes i pushed to find peoples tendencies…i was doing well…then i looked a guy up when i thought he was bluffing…i was semi bluffing…and drew two pair…chasing after a boat…and the other guy caught his flush…

when it came time to combine tables…the last 10 players…i was the short stack…a few hands later…the blinds went up…my back against the wall, i went all in…with marginal cards…and i was done…it was time to wait with three other guys so we could put together what some people call the losers table… i think of it as the money table…normally, it’s winner take all…with more cash up for grabs than the third place player in the tournament gets …

so i watched them play…and waited…

the guy who had been the gorilla at the table…the big stack…the one everyone was playing like they were afriad of him…the host just whittled him down…and busted him out…in less than an hour…now we had a fifth player for our table…

(don’t miss part 2…it has…anger…confusion…shattering loss…bone weary battle…and gunz yo!…the whole shebang…)

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