The Game #34

Kenny fanned the three cards across the felt.  The six of hearts, seven of clubs and ten of hearts.  Good flop, thought Edward.  Maybe a flush draw, but that was still only nine out of forty-seven cards and all he would have to worry about was the ace.  Pocket kings were looking pretty solid at this point.  George’s folding now put Angela “under the gun”.

“One thousand” she said, picking the stack of chips up and setting them back down on table with more force than Edward thought was necessary.  It was either aces or the biggest bluff Edward had ever seen.  If it was a bluff and Darius called her, well, that would not be a good thing. 

“Well, Ms. Wayne, your gambler’s blood is running hot, I see.” said Darius.  “Call the bet of one thousand.”  Edward watched his every move.  Chips were slid, not picked up like Angela.  Darius tapped the top of the stack ever so slightly as he withdrew his hand.  A small gesture for luck?  Most gamblers were superstitious by nature.  Why should Darius be any different?  Edward felt the flush-straight draw vibes coming off Darius in waves.  One of the skills that had made Edward Teraneau such a successful poker player was his ability to tell what cards his opponents had.  Edward was not aware of it, but a student at the University of Michigan had done a study on all the times Edward had guessed at his opponents’ hands.  He was correct nearly ninety percent of the time.  The student’s conclusion had been that Edward possessed some form of ESP or empathic ability.  His teacher had not been a poker fan and the paper had garnered a lowly C minus.  nonetheless, there was no disputing the poker skills of Edward Teraneau.

 Edward called by simply sliding his chips into the center.  He didn’t have the nuts and there was no reason to raise the bet until he got a better bead on Darius’ hand.  He had to watch the ladies as well.  Not that he minded losing to them, but he did not want either one of them losing to Darius.

Ginger; she went all in with a fifteen-hundred and seventy-five dollar bet with no more effort or emotion than she would expend to pick an empty coffee cup from the litter in the park.  Angela looked at her, studying her profile, looking for any kind of sign about her hand.  At last she seemed to reach her conclusion as she, too, slid chips into the pot.

“All in”,  Angela said.  Under any other circumstances, Edward could see the point of Angela’s move, but it seemed that Scott’s being in danger was definitely having an effect on her game.  Then a chilling thought crossed his mind, What if Mary’s presence is messing with YOUR game?  That was a thought he quickly pushed from his mind.  Regardless of the circumstances, his game never changed unless he wanted it to.

Darius called without any of his usual banter, bringing the turn back to Edward.  He called after a few moments of mulling it over for the sake of his ‘audience’.

Kenny burned and turned; the turn card was the nine of hearts.  Four hearts including his king.  Edward’s luck was running true to form.  Pocket pair and a king high flush draw.  Edward would be riding this one to the end.

Darius had the first action as Angela was all in.  “Three thousand”, he said.  He placed the chips into the pot, but this time he did not tap the stack.  And there Edward had it.  Darius had made his straight or flush on the turn card.  Judging from the size of the bet; over a fourth of the pot, Edward would guess flush.  The bigger question was, did he have the ace?  That would remain to be seen.

Edward considered the position in which Ginger and Angela found themselves.  It made him sad to think that one of these women was surely about to lose someone they loved.  His empathy ran much stronger to Angela.  Losing a child would leave a hole in her that would probably never heal.  Edward pushed those thoughts out of the way and concentrated on the hand.  With Ginger and Angela now all in, the only remaining betting would be done by Edward and Darius.

Kenny flipped the top card into the muck and reached for the river card.  It hit the table and looked to Edward like it was outlined in neon.  Bigger than life and twice as ugly stood the ace of hearts.


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