The Game #29

Ginger called the bet without comment.  Tim hesitated for a few moments, then called as well.  The pot was growing steadily.  George slid his chips into the pot in his usual quiet manner.

“Call”, said Angela, glancing at her son Scott as she did so.

That was it, then.  Free for all.  The chip stacks had gotten pretty even and now each player was out for themselves.  Edward was really not surprised.  The water level continued to rise in each cell and the only way to make it stop was to win the hand.

Nelly called the bet as well and that brought the action around to Darius.  Edward was certain he was going to raise, but he simply called the two hundred-dollar bet.  The pot was now just shy of ten thousand dollars.

Final card in the hand; Kenny flipped the river over onto the table.  Ace of diamonds, making that three diamonds altogether.  Very solid flush draw.  With almost everyone calling, it was hard to get a read on who might be playing the diamonds.  Certainly no one had bet like they had the aces, but that would be the crushing hand to be sure.  A pair on the board could mean a full house also.  The situation was about as bad as it could be, in Edward’s opinion.

Edward checked again.  Had this been any normal hand, he would have played it exactly the same way.  There was no reason for him to risk chips to see if anyone had a solid hand.  Their actions would speak for themselves.

Ginger next.  “One thousand”, she said.  Edward stared at her, trying to get a read.  She didn’t look at her husband, just kept her eyes down on the felt.  Very good chance she had trip aces or a straight, Edward thought to himself.  Maybe even the boat.  She was hard to read at times anyway, their present situation was not making it any easier.

Tim’s turn; “Raise to two thousand”, he said.  Full house or quads.  Edward could not see Tim making such a raise on trips or even a straight and he was not known for big bluffs.

George looked at the cards and gave Tim one of his long, piercing stares.  Like Ginger, Tim kept his eyes focused on the table, hands folded in front of him on the rail.  After what felt like twenty minutes, George tossed his cards into the muck.  Edward hoped he was not the last to do so.

Angela looked at the board, at her son and then folded her hand as well without comment.  Nelly was next and she folded as well.  That brought it back to Darius.  Edward’s pulse jumped up another twenty beats per minute.

“I find myself on the short stack it would seem”, said Darius.  “With the table’s permission, I would like to offer an incentive to make up my shortage.”  He reached into his jacket and pulled out a key card.  “This card will open any of the rooms containing your loved ones, as well as grant you safe passage to the outside world.  If we are all in agreement, I will call the bet.”

Edward looked around the table.  Everyone still in the hand nodded yes.  The three who had folded started to protest that is wasn’t fair to bring that up now that they were out, but they were outvoted.  Darius laid the card on the stack of chips in the center of the table along with the rest of his chips.  Two thousand more to Edward to call.  He was most certainly beat, at least he felt like he was.  But what if he wasn’t?  What if the straight held up and the next best hand was trips?  He could walk out of here with Mary.  And leave everyone else and their family members to their fate?  No, Edward could not do that.  As much as it pained him to do so, Edward flipped his cards to the dealer and said “I fold.”

Ginger was the last to go.  “Call”, she said and put her chips into the pot.   She flipped her cards, showing a pair of jacks.  Full house, jacks full of aces.  She almost smiled.  Tim looked like he had seen a ghost as he turned over a pair of tens.  Another full house, but not as good as Ginger’s.  Edward was glad he had followed his instincts and folded.  All that was left was Darius.  He flipped his cards over and Edward’s blood went cold.


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June 2010
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