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“The Worst Beat (pt. 1)” by Alan25main

January 15, 2019

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Enjoy a little poker fiction? Ronald G. Pittenger, or Alan25main on Replay Poker, has composed a two-part story for our blog. Read part one of Willy’s first live poker game now, and then check back next week for the conclusion!

“‘Wow, look at all the tables,’ thought Wilfred, ‘there must be a hundred of them, just in this room.’ He knew there was another entire floor upstairs, too. It was a little intimidating to a player who had never played poker anywhere outside his home. Online games didn’t count as “outside” games in Willy’s mind. He was standing, stopped cold about ten feet inside the main entrance.

“You look like you’ve never been here before. Did you come to play cards?” The speaker was a youngish skinny guy with short hair and a big smile. “I’m Smitty,” he continued, extending his right hand.

Willy shook it automatically. “Yeah. I’m Willy. This place is huge.”

“Nick Quiddies’ Den is one of the largest card clubs anywhere,” said Smitty. “What game were you hoping to play?” He looked Willy over. A tall, heavy guy about 45, going bald was what he saw.

“What do you mean, what game? What do they have?”

“Oh, they offer all sorts of games. There’s a Bridge Room, a Hearts Room, and a Pinochle Room upstairs along with the Tournament area, but there’s no planned events this week. Down here on the first floor, there’s Draw Poker to the left, Stud Poker off to the Right, and the Hold’em-Omaha area is straight ahead. For that matter, there are some chess tables in the lounge, though they’re more likely to be used for gin rummy or cribbage. And, all the pool and billiard tables are on the lower level.”

“Is there anything they don’t have?”

“Sure, lots of things. No slot machines, for example. No table games. No bowling alley or bingo parlor.  No sports book, either, but you can usually find another guy to make a casual wager on a game with. All these games have one thing in common: every player is playing against the other players, not against the house. So, the house can be an honest broker in every game.”

“How do they make money, then? Who pays for all this? It’s gotta be the players.”

“Of course, the players pay. There’s a seat or table charge or a pot rake, of course, and most players will toke the dealers if they win a hand. And, of course, the house makes money on all the food and drink from the lounge or the restaurants.”

“And the players get…?”

“An honest game in pleasant surroundings with good food and drink. Oh, and free parking, too, mustn’t forget that. Oh, yes, and the gift shops that have exclusive merchandise.”

“Like what?”

“Like decks of cards actually used in the Den. Like hats and sweaters and jackets with the Den’s logo on them, stuff like that.” Smitty looked at his watch. “Say, Willy, I’ve got a game that starts in about ten minutes. If you tell me what you want to do, I’ll walk you to that area and point you at the Floor Manager to get you set up. Otherwise, I need to be upstairs.”

“What will you play up there?”

“Double deck Pinochle.  My partner and I are going to whip some Navy guys. Can’t let the Corps down, you know. Where should I take you, Willy?”

“Uhhh, low limit poker, I guess. Hold’em, low limit Hold’em.”

“Good choice. They’ve got a Bad Beat jackpot promotion going. If you win, the table shares $5,000.”

“Wow. What do you have to do to win that, Smitty?”

“Easy. Lose with a hand higher than quad 7s. They’ve got the rules posted at the entrance to the area. A whole lot of people will be playing all their pairs. Come this way.” Smitty led Willy to the central Hold’em desk. “Here, ya go. The lady on the desk is Gloria. She’ll set you right up. Good luck.” Smitty was already hurrying toward the elevators to the second floor.

Gloria was talking into the telephone, but smiled at Willy and held up one finger. “Okay, I’ve added your name to the list, Bob, but if it takes you more than fifteen minutes, I’ll move you back to the bottom of the queue.” She turned to face Willy completely. “How can I help you, sir?”

“I’d like to play some low limit Hold’em. What have you got?”

“Usually, we have $1 – $2, $2 – $4, and $5 – $10, but we’re so busy with this promotion, they closed all the $1 – $2, games and made them $2 – $4. Will that work for you?” She smiled brightly.

“I think so,” Willy said.

“Then, you’re in luck because I have an open seat on table 16. JOHNNY!” she shouted, “Player for 16.” She turned back to Willy. “How much would you like in chips, sir?”

“$200, please. Can you tell me about this big jackpot that’s running?”

Gloria took the money, straightened and aligned the bills, re-counted them again, and put 40 $1 white chips in a rack, then added another $160 in red $5s.

“The exact rules are on that sign,” she said, pointing. “You should read the whole thing. Basically, it says you have to lose with a hand higher than four sevens, that you have to have the second highest hand, and that there must be more than $20 in the pot not counting the rakes. But read the whole thing, please. Here’s Johnny to lead you to your seat. Good luck, sir.”

Johnny, a smiling lad of about twenty with long hair and numerous visible tattoos, was carrying a box of coffee filters. “Right this way, sir. Oh, did you want to read the promotion’s rules, sir?” Johnny pointed at the sign.

“No, it sounds pretty straight forward. Lead on,” Willy said.”

What’s to come of Willy during his night at Nick Quiddies’ Den? Check back in Alan25main’s next and final installment of this short fiction series, next week!