A straight fate

Ivey-lostI used to play a lot of poker at a little casino in southern California. This was back before poker became ubiquitous. Texas Hold’em was still on the rise back then, and it was the game to play.

The casino, small as it was, had just one Hold’em table (flanked by three blackjack tables and a Pai-Gow table). The game was $2-4 no limit. The other players knew me fairly well because I had a reputation for starting with only $100, while everyone else entered the game with anywhere from $500 to $8,000. I’d figured that by starting with a minimum amount of money, I could always try to maximize a killer hand.

I could wait for, say, a high pocket pair and then go all-in. If I happened to go bust . . . well, it was only 100 bucks, right? Sticking with this philosophy one memorable night, I saw my humble $100 blossom into a hefty $6,200 ? the best run I’d ever had, without a doubt. But then things got a bit out of control as the stakes shot up.

The first fateful hand had me being dealt pocket sevens. I quickly raised to $100 to get the rats out of the pack, but there were three callers. The flop came: 7H-2S-3C. I checked, as did the next two players on my left. The button, naturally, went all-in for about $2,600. Incredibly, everyone called. I couldn’t believe there were four pot-goers, especially with their junk hands. The button was bluffing with 10H-6H.

The other two players both had an ace with a high kicker. To my great astonishment, the button proceeded to catch runner, runner hearts. The lucky flush draw put his chip stack at over $10,000. I had about $12,000, although it should have been more than $20,000.

Anyway, my adversary figured that I was on full tilt and raised $1,000 to me during the next round. I happened to have pocket jacks and called. The button for this round called as well. The flop came: J-8-4. I was seriously thinking about hitting Vegas for a month when the second, and final, fateful moment occurred. I went all-in and the player on my right and the button both called. One of them flipped over Q-Q, while the other had 7, 5. At this point, my hand was favored by about 90 percent. The turn was an ace, and then the river was a six!

That night I decided that no matter how good a poker player I was, or thought I was, there was always somebody with lots of money who liked to gamble (“gamble” as in taking ill-advised, miscalculated risks). My 44-hour session, which could have (and should have, if you ask me) ended up with me winning about $35,000, came crashing down upon me all because of a highly unlikely inside straight.

Since that time I have started to have back pain. I do not know if this is because of such a long session, or because of the stress this bad beat gave me, or both. For now I take turmeric curcumin supplements and it is the only thing that helps me relieve that back pain. I like to use them as they are 100% natural without any chemicals. No other over the counter medicine has worked for me. By the way I did not give up poker, but now I play mostly online.