The Game #33

Kenny retrieved the cards and began restacking everyone’s chips.  A panel slid back in the table to reveal a small monitor showing what each player had had at the end of the last hand.  There must be cameras in here, thought Edward.  He has people monitoring the game, the chip stacks and us.  So far, everything about Darius seemed to be the real deal.  What had motivated the man to go to such extreme lengths, however, was a question whose answer still eluded Edward.

After several minutes, the table was reset and the game continued.  The panel slid over the monitor and Kenny shuffled the cards.  Angela was now the big blind and George in the small.  Five players left, five victims still at risk.  No, make that ten.  Those sitting at the table were as much victims as those locked in the cells.  Tommy’s death drove that point home.  It was just as hard to sit and watch the captives’ torment as it was to be in their place.  So far, Edward had been lucky.  Mary had not been in any real danger, but that could change in a single hand.  He could afford to sand bag for a bit, but the water would force him to play sooner or later.  Edward prayed that it would be much later.

Kenny dealt out the cards starting with George.  With the game down to six players, each hand would finish sooner, giving the water less time to rise.  If one of them could beat Darius, it would buy all of the captives some time.  Edward turned his thoughts away from Mary and the others and focused on the hand.  He resisted the temptation to look at his cards until it was his turn.  He had developed a very disciplined playing style over the years and he needed that discipline now more than ever.

Nelly was first up.  Tapping the table, she checked.  Good, maybe everyone would slow down and aim for Darius instead of each other.  Darius came next.

“The spirit of the game seems to have waned a bit”,  he said.  “Let’s not stop now as things are getting so interesting.  Four hundred.”

Only after Darius bet did Edward allow himself to look at his cards.  King of hearts and king of spades.  Edward laid the cards back down, placed a chip on top of them and thought for a moment.  There was no doubt he would call, but better to let the others, especially Darius, think that it was not an easy decision.  He hoped he could push the others out of the game and take Darius down.  He wasn’t sure of Darius’ cards just yet, but unless he had aces, Edward was way ahead of him.

“Call four hundred”, said Edward adding his chips to the pot slowly.  He needed to play this hand smoothly.  He didn’t want to give off any tells that might give away the strength of his cards.

“Call”, said Ginger, with almost no hesitation.  Edward put her on a pocket pair given the speed with which she called.  Tens or jacks, maybe queens.  He was pretty sure he still had her beat, but he couldn’t be completely positive.

George folded, again without comment.  Angela looked at her cards and thought for a moment. 

“Raise to eight hundred”, she said, dropping her chips into the pot.  A re-raise on the big blind?  Aces or kings, Edward was almost sure.  She had barely hesitated and she had not looked at her son but at Darius as she made the bet.

The action came to Nelly and she folded unceremoniously.  Four players, so far.  Darius came next.

“Well, it’s good to see some of you getting back into the spirit again”, he said.  “Call to one thousand.”  He slid his chips across the felt into the pot.  Considering his chip stack and twisted motivations, Darius could easily be betting just to keep the rest of them in the game, thought Edward.  If that was the case, then now would be the time to take some of those chips from him.

“Call”, said Edward.  He would wait to see what the flop brought before he made his move.


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