August 29, 2017 by writehandman.com.au
My brother and I played ninety-eight Port Macquarie lads in a wonderful charity poker event a few months ago. The $100 entry fees all went to the trust, so we were playing for nothing more than pride. Good-hearted, piss-taking banter abounded. I’d been lipping-off incessantly about what a sensational player I am and how I’m called Cool Hand (my self-ascribed poker call-sign) for a reason.
Here’s what happened.
In Texas Hold ‘Em (the Cadillac of poker), you end up with five communal cards on the table and your two cards (called “hole” cards). You then make the best hand, with any combination of the seven.
The communal cards were K 9 K Q Q. When those last two cards came out the Port Macquarie lads immediately yelled “TWO SYDNEY BOYS.”
My two hole cards were Jacks, which were great at the start of the hand, but by the end, being lower than the KKQQ communal cards, were not going to win.
Matty the doctor, had committed a big chunk of his chips. Johnny the plumber, Phillip the lawyer and myself, had already gone “all-in”, meaning we had bet every chip we had. The pot was MASSIVE.
The doctor turned over his hole cards. Ace, 4.
Damn. His Ace, plus the KKQQ, was the winner, assuming nobody had another K or Q in their hands. I readied myself to chuck in my losing cards and head to the bar.
The plumber flipped his pair of 7’s with a loud cheer, incorrectly thinking he had beaten the doctor’s Ace.
Lawyer (yelling loudly) – “READ ‘EM AND WEEP JOHNNY.” He proudly flips a pair of 8’s, thinking he had just pipped the plumber’s 7’s, out of this enormous pot.
I was ready to say “sorry lads, but Matty has knocked us all out.”
It didn’t come out that way.
Me – “YOU CAN BE THE BEST PLAYER IN ALL OF PORT MACQUARIE, AND THAT WON’T EVEN MAKE YOU THE BEST PLAYER AT THIS TABLE BOYS! DOCTOR’S ACE, PLUMBER’S SEVENS OR LAWYER’S EIGHTS, NOT ENOUGH AROUND HERE. THERE’S A NORTH SHORE MAN AT THE TABLE!” I flipped my (losing) Jacks.
I held my breath.
They all groaned.
Me – “Bar’s over there boys! You put up a much better show than I was expecting. You play just like we do in Sydney… but less hard… with not as much skill… or insight… with a slightly feminine twist”.
They hurled all sorts of light-hearted abuse at me and left the table.
About an hour later, I had been knocked out and we were standing around having beers.
Lawyer – “F#ck Cool Hand, you knocked me and Johnny out in one hand.”
Me – (with a smile) “Don’t feel bad Phil… I cheated.”
Doctor – “Wait… What?”
Plumber – “Cheated???”
Even my brother had a look of astonishment.
Me – “Had no choice. I was looking at an early exit.”
Oracle (my brother’s self-ascribed poker call-sign) – “And the next hand you used those ill-gotten chips to knock me out mother-f#cker.”
Me – “It’s the age old question fellas. If somebody cheated in a charity poker event, and nobody caught him, did he actually cheat?” I gave a nonchalant, what can you do shrug.
Oracle – “YES YOU CHEATED!”
Me – “Hang about, let’s not use the word cheat, let’s go with… bamboozle. Oracle, some of these boys are fairly new to the game, but by you not catching me on the bamboozle, you’re an enabler! On some level, I’m the real victim here, my reputation could have been sullied.”
They stared at me, dumbfounded.
Me – “I just saw an opportunity you guys were offering, to bamboozle, and took it. You were all so excited about 7’s being beaten by 8’s, that I knew you’d be totally thrown by my Jacks. I expected Oracle to loudly out me as a cheat, but he was chatting and missed it.”
I sipped my beer.
Me – “The bamboozlement was not premeditated, but once done, I had to cover my tracks. You must be brazen when collecting chips you haven’t won, or people may intercede. You put your illicit booty just to the side of your proper chip stack, so if you get caught bamboozling you just act embarrassed and slide them back into the centre. Once you’ve bamboozled, you quickly rake in all the cards, so even if somebody is unsure, the moment’s passed.”
Plumber – “Are all North-Shore blokes dodgy?”
Me – “Aaaah, you know… it feels good to come clean. It was getting me down, being a charity event and all. Like a pasta-engorged Mafia boss confessing to a donation-loving priest, it’s like it never happened. Let’s not forget lads, we’re all here for a common cause! We’re all here for the right reason! We’re all here to make a difference! We’re all here raising money for bowel cancer! AM I RIGHT BOYS?”
Plumber – “Prostate cancer.”
Me – “Oh, whatever. Whose shout?”
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