Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snippets of Conversation on and off the Poker Table part four


So, I was involved in a Texas Hold em poker hand with my friend from Duke University. Anyway, my attempt to play coy and frustrate him failed miserably. I was starting to say this little nugget, “Duke, that’s a good school… for basketball players. As good as you guys are, it must be really easy to get in.”

I was planning to follow up with deadpan seriousness that he was mistaken about it being a hard school to go to because of all the athletes there. In fact, I was about to relish messing with the guy, because in about a 30 minute span he told me and the table he went to Duke about 60 times or once every 30 seconds (for those of you not smart enough to get into Duke). Then I was going to explain the rules to him on how to play poker at every opportunity because I understood he went to Duke, and it's can't be that tough a school. I planned on being very nice about it.

Then something happened.

I got out, “Duke, that’s a good school…” and I paused waiting to deliver the zinger. Yet, I failed in execution. I should have anticipated how eager he was for any affirmation of his intellectual ability as a teenager and known he would have leapt on that opening like a ravenous Katie Couric interviewing George W. Bush, and he said with such immediate relief and genuine gratitude “Thanks man, I appreciate that,” that I didn’t even try to salvage the insult.

It was like my cursory acknowledgement of Duke had made the world right for him again, it was like an OCD guy twisting the doorknob for the requisite fifth time and everything was okay.

I felt charitable enough to let the compliment stand on it’s on. Then he told me all the schools he turned down as though that had some relevance to the value of the person he was now. Look, to me when you are on the poker table it’s the ultimate meritocracy. I don’t care what you look like, where you went to school, how you dress, the only value I give you as a person is how well you play the game, and what kind of douche bag you are or are not at the table.

The guy was a nice guy. Really he was. So, in the end I put up with his tales of rejecting Ivy League schools and thinking he as a person was somehow imbued with the contact greatness of matriculating at Duke and all that. No offense to Duke, or Duke grads, while it’s a really, really good school it’s not like he went to Oxford on a full scholarship. So, I found him to be a little too earnest but no reason to mess with him. Also, he didn’t really know what he was doing as a poker player, so it’s far better to not f with a guy that had the potential to spew money, then chase him away.

In one accident, his inexperience was rampant. I had AQ raised preflop and he and another guy came along. The flop came out King high, with him on the button. I checked and the other guy checked. He asked if I checked after some time with action on him. Yes. He went back to put in a bet having obviously hit his king.
I wasn’t trying to inhibit his bet, though I certainly would have preferred to peel off a freebie, and I told him there was another guy in the hand as I didn’t think he saw him.

Then he stopped and thought better of it, like I had advised him somehow not to bet. Wasn’t my intention at all, I was just letting him know the situation so he could adjust his bet size, if he wanted to, or whatever. Anyway, that froze him for some reason and he checked. Of course my Ace hit and he paid me off on two streets with I guess his second pair. He groused somewhat good naturedly about me hitting my ace as he paid me off.

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