The Game #23

“Two thousand” said Edward.  He had everyone but Ginger dominated in chips and hoped that would produce the result he was looking for. 

With Tommy already all in, Bill was up next.  He looked around the dealer at Edward, trying to get a read on him. 

“I really think you’re bluffing, Teraneau, but I’ve been wrong before”, said Bill.  All of the fight seemed to have evaporated out of him.  He let out a heavy sigh of resignation and tossed his cards into the muck.

Darius turned toward Edward.  “Well, Mr. Teraneau, it would seem your reputation is well deserved.  I am impressed that you would risk so much on so little.”

The comment sent a chill up Edward’s spine.  Had Darius been able to read him, or was it a stab in the dark?  Edward sat silently, forcing himself not to react to Darius’ words.  The man most likely had him beat, but Edward doubted that Darius knew that for sure.

“One should not play poker if one is not prepared to gamble”, said Darius.  “I call.”

Edward felt his chest tighten again.  Darius had most likely hit the straight with the seven.  Edward would need the board to pair or the last eight to beat him.  Ten outs.  Scratch that.  If Darius had diamonds, that eliminated two of them.  Eight outs.  Slightly better than one chance in six.  Edward fought back the feeling of panic and forced himself to concentrate on the hand.  It was down to him and Darius now.  Tommy was technically still in the hand, but Edward knew Darius had him beat as well.

One more card; fifth street, the river.  The card that had won and lost more poker hands than any other.  Time slowed down and Edward watched Kenny slowly peel the top card off the deck and place it into the muck.  His thumb pressed down on the next card, sliding it forward until he could get his index finger under it.  It moved up and away from the deck, heading for the final position on the felt.  Edward felt like it had been thirty minutes since Kenny had started to lay down the river card.  What the hell was taking him so long?  Kenny turned the card over and placed it at the end of the other community cards.  There it was.  Edward’s instincts saved him from reacting other than blinking several times to be sure it was really there.  The eight of clubs.  Edward had hit quads, four merry snowmen dancing in a winter celebration.  The tightness was still in his chest, but for a totally different reason now.  He had Darius crushed.  The best hand other than Edward’s would be a full house if Darius had made trips on the flop.  Edward didn’t notice a small groan escape Bill Weldon as he realized he would have had that very hand had he not folded.  That feeling would go away as soon as Edward flipped over his cards.

Darius was first up.  “Check” he said, tapping the table in front of him.

If Edward went all in, he would most likely push Darius into folding.  The trick here would be to get Darius to bet the maximum number of chips he felt his hand was worth.  If Edward bet too little, Darius might suspect a slow play and fold as well.  It looked like Darius had about seventeen hundred dollars left in his stack.  Edward had more than three times that much, but it did him little good at this point.  Finally, Edward placed his bet.

“One thousand” he said, stacking his chips on the felt.  All he could do now was wait and see if Darius called.


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