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The Complete Story

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  • The Complete Story

    In retrospect, I think this story reads much better in one sitting, rather then in chapters over time. So I will post the complete story here. TheHazyOne has an ability to break his stories into chapters that leave one hanging on the edge of the seat for the next. I either don't have that in me, or this story does not have that in it. I understand it's a bit long, but I hope you will take the time to read it, and that you will enjoy it. Any comments on my writing are apprecated.


    Inspired by events that transpired in a Round 1 WPO Tourney.

    “Ho, Ho, Ho”.

    Its Dan Ackroyd in the drunken disheveled Santa Claus scene in ‘Trading Places‘. You know the scene I mean right? He’s drunk and has a bottle of booze in one hand and a hand full of roast beef in the other? It’s 8:30 at night, and the TV is on whatever channel was on when I turned it on. Probably Cinemax or HBO. Or whatever. Doesn’t really matter. All the cable channels play the same round robin of holiday movies this time of year. The same movies they played last year. And the year before.

    I’m sitting up on a hotel bed in the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, having busted out 53rd in this years WPO main event. I barely remember how I got here. No, I don’t mean how I got to Mississippi or in WPO. I mean how I got back to the hotel room from the poker room. I remember the feeling of some gals light handed guiding touch on my elbow as she led me off the poker floor after I busted out. I remember her saying, as she put me in the elevator, “Now, honey, you ok?“. I remember the elevator doors opening to the floor my room was on. I remember how easy the credit card key slipped into the slot on the door to open it. I don’t remember turning on the TV, or anything else. Other then the sensation of floating. The sensation people say they get from shock. Not an electrical shock like you crossed a couple of live wires, but emotional shock. Our self preservation mechanism. Where your brain has some sort of chemical reaction to protect you from, from, from......from experiencing some horrific event that has just happened to you.

    There would be no reason that that scene in Trading Places should revive me, knock me out of that stupor. Except for one strange connection: I busted out on a hand to a guy named Jim Santa.

    This was my first WPO, and I was playing in the 10k NLHE Main Event. I had won my way in through a super satellite through a satellite. Before the start of the event, everyone is milling about and the nervous energy in the big room is incredible. I played some football, and this kind of reminds me of that energy before opening kickoff. Me, I liked to have that energy rush and quickly go play. I hated having to wait too long in the energy. Would drive me nuts. I’m anxious to get this thing started. There are about 6 of us from PSO who are standing in a circle making small talk when the announcement comes to take our tables. My friend Freddie who is also in the event, and must have noticed my nervousness, looks at me, scrunches his face and says in that wonderful Louisiana drawl of his “Don’t be skeeeeeered, have funnnnn”. I crack-up and relax just a bit. It’s the kind of thing that makes you realize it ain’t life or death.

    As I take my seat at the opening table, I can’t help but notice how pretty the gal to my left is. I’m in Seat 3. A couple of the players obviously know each other. I know no one and no one knows me for the obvious reason that this is my first big event ever. The pretty gal next to me in Seat 4 says hello to me and I introduce myself. She says her name is ‘Serphina’. Maybe it’s ‘Serfina’, but I don’t ask her for the proper spelling. She looks to be of some sort of Middle Eastern descent. Not completely, but I definitely think there is that ethnicity. I listen in on a couple of the conversations at the table. You know how you do: like when you go to a party at some friends house, and you really don’t know anyone other then the friend, and they all have (apparently) something in common, and you listen in hoping for a piece of the conversation that will allow you to get in on the conversation and be part of the group? That moment doesn’t come, but I do learn that the gal in Seat 9 is Anne and she finished 2nd in the Ladies WSOP event last year, and her and the guy in Seat 6 are friends and he plays in the big events by winning his way in through satellites. But as far as I can tell, none of the “names” are at my table. Good. And Bad. At least if I got knocked out by a “Big Name” I could have one of those “Yeah, well, at least I got knocked out by “Big Name“” stories.

    Our dealer is a non-descript thirty something woman named Jo-Ann, and frankly I’m a bit disappointed. I was hoping for that cliché dealer: some scraggly mid-fifties woman, who had that air of a woman who had a tough life, and wasn’t broken by it but toughened by it. The olive leather skinned face created by years of smoke and sun. @#%%, this was my first, and maybe only, big event and I wanted the whole experience! Cliché dealer and all. “Jo-Ann” looked like the neighbor who would be two doors down in your suburban neighborhood whom you knew by first name only and you saw only when she was getting the morning newspaper, or taking her kids to soccer practice on Saturday mornings, or washing her minivan in her driveway. And you knew nothing about other then she lived two doors down, got a morning newspaper, had kids who played soccer, and owned a white mini-van and washed it in her driveway. I said “Hello Jo-Ann”. She said “Hello”, with a slightly forced smile. Jo-Ann breaks open a deck and we begin.

    I see two flops early, both for only the price of a limp: an 89s in hearts and an AQo. I fold the 89s when nothing hits on the flop and face a raise. The AQo flop gets a Q and two hearts. I bet that hand and Serphina folds, the guy with the sunglasses in seat 5 calls. All else fold. Nothing scary on the turn, so I bet again and seat 5 calls. Nothing on the river. I’m thinking maybe he has AQ too, or maybe trips but I can’t check here so I bet 2k. He calls. We turnover and he has Kc5c. Nothing. Not even a pair. I take down the pot and now have about 13k in chips. But I wonder what in the @#%% that was! Did he think my 2k was a bluff? And his K high would win? Did I play that hand so poorly that he would think I had nothing, even less then a K??? And what did the other people think of that? How will that affect me later on? Jesus….I’m stressed….relax…..

    After Seat 5’s wacky K high call, I’m a bit unnerved. I play nothing for a while, and really get no good hands ‘til I get pp9s in late middle position with one limper in UTG. I make a pot sized raise. Serphina calls, as does the UTG limper. The flop is 10,7,3 rainbow. UTG checks, I bet , Serphina calls. UTG folds. Turn is a 5. I put Serphina on pair, maybe even 1010, but really I’m pretty unsure. I bet and Serphina calls. I’m feeling like I’m in so far over my head in this. The River is a Q: no flush shot, real remote straight (64???) that I don’t think she would be in with this far. I can’t check so I 3x bet it and Serphina calls and shows Q4o. I’m startled. It’s like you didn‘t look, went to lean against something and it wasn‘t there and you fell over. It’s my first big dollar hand loss, and I’m totally unprepared for this kind of “bad beat” loss. I look over to Anne in Seat 9, looking for some connection on this, some acknowledgement of the idiocy of Serphina’s play, some help in moving me back to sanity: just give me something I can lean on to understand this. There is nothing coming from Anne. Anne is looking down at her chips and is thinking. I can tell she is analyzing what happened. Filing it for later…..

    My stack at a little over $7k, somehow I win a couple of easy hands and get back up to 10k. Serphina has pissed away what she won from me and a pair of Queens she had later, and she is now down to 5k. I knock her out when she has KJo in the sb and I have 88 and the flop is K8J. She goes all-in, I match, and the 8 that hit on the river is redundant. After Serphina leaves the table, I say to Anne “it still doesn’t make up for that silly Q4 call earlier”. Without taking her eyes off her cards she says “No, but now get over it. Get on with playing .” She looks at me directly, “Look forward”. Maybe not the most eloquent advice, but sage advice never-the-less. I tell her she is right and thank her. She looks down at her cards and says I am welcome.

    It is a single act of connection and kindness. The kind of thing that propels me in life. And it moves me and I am focused because of it. I win a couple more small pots then I am moved to a new table and put in Seat 8, where I am placed just before what appears to be the chip leader. Before I sit down, I say hello and shake hands. “John” I say. “Jim” he says. I have about 40k chips. I’m not experienced enough to tell how much a stack is without counting, but I guess that one other stack has about 60k, a couple at 25k, and the rest are small, maybe 12k or less. Jim has what I estimate at about somewhere near 200k. It’s huge. I assume he is either the chip leader or damn near. I do not recognize Jim as one of the “great ones”. He could be another of those unknown players who get a big stack early with some wild play and then burn out just as quickly. The ones who hit their 103o from UTG or call a 3x raise with Q9 preflop. Etc. The ones who think they are smarter than you and I, or Brunson, or Caro, or BJ, or any of the other poker intellegencia. For all I know “Jim” could be one of them or a mid level pro or an up and comer. Hell, he might be just like me!

    I fold the first series of hands, and watch intently. “Jim” has his AA cracked on a slow play and looses 25k, doubling up one of the mid stacks. Jim is trying to hide it but, you can tell this has upset him. He says nothing, but purses his lips. The very next hand I have QQ, two players limps to me and I raise pot. Both call. No A or K or flush/str8t chance hits, so I raise pot again. This will put limper #1 all-in. He thinks a bit and calls. Limper #2 folds immediately. Limper #1 turns over AJo and I turn over the QQ. No help to either of us and I take down the pot and am now about 60k. “My Aces don’t make it but his QQ does”, says Jim.

    The very next hand I have AK on the button. UTG calls and one more limper and the rest fold to me. I raise one bet. This is a play I have done a bit at PSO. I’ll not bet it big to trap the early limper. I’ll try to make it look like I have a small pair and if the flop is right I can trap or maybe take it down with the pair look. SB and BB fold and UTG and the other limper call. The flop is miraculously AK3, the king and 3 are hearts and my Ace is heart.…I cannot be happier. UTG checks, the and the limper checks. I take a minute. More so to throw them off then to figure out their hands. I’m very sure UTG has AQ, AJ and is trying to trap me. The other limper will play anything, I’m not really worried about him. UTG has shown too much nervousness about being a small stack and has been bullied out of a couple of pots. If he had anything other then a drawing hand or a tiny pair, he would have bet it. So I bet a bluff bet of 3x. He thinks about 15 seconds and calls all-in. Amazingly, the other limper does too. I don’t think at all and call all-in immediately. “****” UTG mutters as I turn over my cards. He has AJo and the other limper has A3. I’m now at about 95k. This has been a great table for me.

    “Jim”, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same opinion as I do. About four uneventful hands after my AK, Jim looses with AK to J10s when the J10s hits a straight. Jim is now down to about 150k and UTG. And he’s pissed off. He can’t believe the guy called his 3x bet with J10s, and tells the guy so. Jim is UTG now and as soon as he looks at his cards he angrily calls “all-in”. I can’t help myself and there is no thought to try and stop my “lots of laughs” that comes out of my mouth but starts from my belly. I get this way sometimes, when I’m comfortable and things are going my way. I think things that are funny to me and they just come out. Sometimes they are funny to someone else too, sometimes not. Seat 4 kind of follows my lead and also mouths off: “I guess Santa is pissed!”, as he flicks his cards into the muck. And again immediately words come out of my mouth: “Cause he’s tired of giving?”. The entire table roars with laughter. Except Jim. Jim is not laughing. He turns his head toward me without moving any other part of his body. His jaw is clenched and his face is emotionless, except for his eyes that tell that Jim is mad and doens't like being made fun of. “No. My name is Santa. Jim Santa”.

    Everybody folds all the way around to me in the BB, and I fold too, and Jim takes the blinds and antes. Jim is now in the BB and I’m in the SB. Everyone folds around to me. They fold because of fear of Jim and no QQ, KK or AA, I suppose. I have AdQd. And I know Jim is pissed and volatile right now, but what can I do? I can’t just give this away. I decide against a big bet, cause, well, I’m not really sure what the hell Jim is going to do. And I’m sure not willing to make a big bet and have to fold and give it away if Jim calls all-in again. I raise 1x. Hoping that Jim will just fold. He doesn’t. He calls. Now, I think I am ready for anything Jim would do there, and I almost expected him to go all-in again. And I would’ve folded in a heartbeat. But the call, well,,,, that throws me.

    The flop is 875 rainbow. Now I bet one bet to see if Jim has anything. And Jim raises one bet. And for the life of me, I just can’t fold this AQs. It’s just one more bet, and I have 2 over-cards, and he’s probably got one of the cards on the board, and I should fold, but I just can’t. So I call. And the dealer flips the next card. An Ace of clubs, And I look at Jim. And he is looking directly back at me with a squinty steely stare that would take the varnish off old furniture. And in this small nano-second of time we exchange every piece of information. He absolutely knows that I have an Ace. And I know he knows it. And in that single instant I know he only has a small pair. And he knows that I know it. And he knows I know I should have folded. And he is absolutely lost in an internal rage that began when his slow played AA was cracked and has festered through two bad beats and a couple of jokes at his expense, and it is now that all of his frustration and anger has come to a head, right here, right now with an amateur who wouldn’t fold when he should have and got lucky. I do what I have to do with all this information I have. I look at the dealer and say “raise pot“ in a voice that is somewhat broken and quaky. I turn back to look at Jim. I’m absolutely positive he hasn’t taken his eyes off me. And his stare becomes even more intense and I can almost feel the hatred and without taking his eyes off me and with his jaw clenched so tight the muscles on his cheeks bulge and his face turning red he says two words. “All-in”.

    And there is nothing I can do as I am sucked along this vortex of frustration and rage and hatred from Jim. It‘s as if he‘s given up and to hell with all of us ****ing idiots who don't know how the hell to play; in one of those rages that emotionally immature people have when things don’t go their way and they don’t know how to deal with it. The kind a child has when he doesn’t get his way and throws a temper tantrum and he takes his ball and goes home in a huff. And my role in all of this psycho-drama is to just go along. “All-in” I say.

    The table has said or done nothing during all of this. Or maybe they did. I don’t know. I’m oblivious to everything. Except Jim. And that stare. Jim turns over his cards with a thump on the table so strong it would have startled me except that I am in a fog. I mindlessly turn over my cards. AdQd I have. 7c6s Jim has . As I turn my head toward the board I hear the guy in Seat 5 say “oh my god!”. My vision has now gone myopic and there is a tunnel toward the board with darkness all around it and the only thing with light is that hole where the four cards on the table are. I hear the dealer quietly say “river card”, as he turns the card over from the deck to the table. It is slow motion to me and as the card is turning over I can see it is black, it is a club, and it looks like an A, and I’ll have trip Aces, but it can’t be an A because the A of clubs is already on the table, and then it’s not an A it’s a four, and the dealer says “8 high straight”, and there is a collective gasp from the table that took all the air out of the room, and as the lighted hole goes dark I hear Seat 5 say "Merry ****ing Christmas".

    Looking back now, the whole situation seems somewhat unreal. Like one of those dreams you wake up from, and are just not quite sure if it happened. Freddie tells me I finished 53rd, and that It was a great finish, and I should be really proud as I lasted longer then a few of the big name “pros”. But I can’t help but think about what might have been.....

  • #2
    Great story Bruno.



    • #3
      Enjoyed it Bruno. Nice end.


      • #4
        My son has football practice in 5 mins

        I started and couldnt stop, I loved the detail great story


        • #5
          Outstanding Bruno. I really enjoyed reading this.


          • #6
            That was absolutely fantastic :!: You told that story, and it kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It was mysterious, it was humorus :P , and it was dramatic. 8) You are an excellent writer, and you should do lots of it. I read a lot of books, and even though this was just a short story, it was as well written as any well known authors that I have read. If writing is a dream of yours, 8) then IMHO you should follow that dream. :wink:


            • #7
              Tough beat Bruno...great story......


              • #8

                :lol: :lol: Great Story!! You really told it well.

                MyTurn :lol:


                • #9
                  Just wondering

                  Just wondering if anyone sees a bit of themselves in any of the characters in this story?


                  • #10
                    Re: Just wondering

                    Originally posted by Bruno
                    Just wondering if anyone sees a bit of themselves in any of the characters in this story?
                    I was that guy at the bar, you saw me out of the corner of your eye, doing tequila shots and laughing at all the losers as they walked by.

                    You don't remember me ? You have an awesome left hook. My eye was black and blue for a week.


                    • #11
                      Awesome Bruno


                      • #12
                        I just got around to reading this...WOW!!!
                        You had me from the first sentence...and being a writer myself, I know how hard THAT is to do.

                        As for seeing myself in any character, I hate to say it, but I might resemble that time worn dealer!!! LOL

                        Hopefully not...!!


                        • #13
                          Bruno, TY for a great write.

                          It's nice to know for sure at least one other person knows exactly how it feels. And can put it in words so eloquently.



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