The Game #17

Kenny shuffled and dealt the next hand.  Edward checked his cards; seven of spades, deuce of clubs.  Not much he could do with rags like these except help Tim increase his chip stack.  Edward did his best to catch each player’s  eye, then glance at Tim.  He hoped they were all getting the message.  Betting moved around the table with each player calling the blind, except Tommy, who folded.  Edward was relieved when Darius called without raising his bet.

Edward said, “Raise to four hundred”, and dropped the chips on the table.  The action folded around to Tim.  Edward gave him a slight nod and Tim called the bet.  George folded the small blind followed by Angela on the big.  She quickly glanced at Tim to show she understood.  There was only a foot or so of water in Scott’s cell, so he was relatively safe at the moment.  The rest of the players each folded their hands, leaving Tim, Darius and Edward.  Darius called the raise without comment.  Edward watched Darius from the corner of his eye.  There was something missing, some self-assurance that had been there and now was gone.  Darius most certainly had a hand, but Edward put him on either a small pair, a weak ace or a weak king.  Edward looked at Tim whose hands were in front of him on the table, index fingers touching.  Connectors.  Edward would have guessed that anyway, even if Tim had played straight up.  It was his talent for reading his opponents that made Edward Teraneau the best poker player in the world, a fact which everyone at the table would be unlikely to oppose.

The flop hit the table; seven of clubs, six of hearts, eight of diamonds.  Edward had paired the board, middle pair.  He looked at Tim; yes, no doubt he had hit the straight but Edward did not know on which end.  He glanced at Darius.  He had made some kind of hand as well.  Edward just hoped it wasn’t as good as Tim’s. 

“Three hundred”, said Darius, leading off the betting.

“Call and raise to a thousand”, said Edward.  If he raised and Tim just went along for the ride, it would throw Darius off the better hand, hopefully.  Tim was next.  He sat for almost a full minute staring at Edward as if trying to get a read on him.  Tim let out a heavy sigh and tossed the chips into the pot, his hand shaking in the process.  Darius might well have taken this as the tell of a weak hand, but Edward knew better.  Tim had the nuts, 9-10, Edward was sure of that.  The rest was a show for Darius’ sake.

“I call”, said Darius.  The call was a little too quick and Darius had let a tiny smile curl up the corner of his mouth.  He had definitely flopped a hand, but which one?  Edward was not sure.  If it was a set, then Tim had him.  If he had the nut straight also, then he and Tim would split the pot, not good for Erin’s situation.  Tim had a better view of Darius than Edward did and when Edward looked at Tim, he gave a quick nod to the negative.  Tim didn’t think Darius had the better hand, either and he was almost as good as Edward at reading his opponents.

The seven of hearts hit on the turn, giving Edward a set.  That was actually good.  Edward could stay in the game and not raise Darius’ suspicions.  Darius led the betting; “Eight hundred”, and placed the chips on the table.

Edward waited a few moments as if considering the options and folded.  He didn’t want to get into a side pot with Darius and give him more chips.  Tim paused, then pushed all his chips into the pot; “All in.”

Kenny counted up the chips.  Tim only had another two hundred and fifty dollars, so the excess was given back to Darius.  Both men turned over their cards.  Edward had guessed Tim’s had right on the money; nine of clubs and ten of diamonds.  He had flopped the nut straight.  Darius flipped over the four and five of diamonds.  He had the lower straight, but also had a straight flush draw.  When he saw that Tim had him beat, he flinched ever so slightly.  Edward was stunned.  He hadn’t put Darius on anything better than a lower straight.  He suddenly realized that he had been reading Darius as if he were a pro, but he was not.  His tells were exaggerated.  If another diamond hit on the river, Darius would win and Tim would lose everything, including his daughter’s life.  It all came down to the last card; the river.  Edward knew that there were eight diamonds left in the deck out of forty-six total cards.  A one in six chance that Darius would hit his flush.  Darius was tapping on the edge of the table with his left index finger ever so slightly.

Kenny burned another card and flipped over the final card of the hand.


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