Pokah Is Nice…I Love Play Pokah

Monday, July 31st, 2006, 10:24 pm

A quick trip to the lake is always welcome, doubly so when I don’t have anything to do anyway besides pack and throwing away junk accumulated over five years of home ownership. I defy anyone who gets divorced and sells their house not to become a Buddhist, or at least pick up some Buddhist tendencies. I feel this overwhelming need to divest myself of material possessions. And it turns out that desire IS the cause of suffering. Well, one of the causes, anyway. I may need to do some more research.

Arrived around 2:30PM, but the rest of the gang wasn’t due to arrive till ten or so and with the weather fairly blah we didn’t go out for a quick run. We watched some of the World Series of Darts, which I enjoyed watching more than I should. I remembered that FSN occasionally televised darts a few years ago (along with cricket, which I also started to dig) and it helped pass the time a bit watching well-upholstered gentlemen do their thing. After a bit we went down to the game room and threw a few darts ourselves, with me winning each and every game, thank you very much. But then Rick turned around and beat me three straight in cricket (the dart game, not the flatbat game played at Eton).

We ate a meal, I took a snooze. I had to husband my strength for what was coming. The first night at the lake is always a long one, playing cards nearly till dawn and the consumption (cue Jeff Spicoli voice) of many cases. This would prove to be one of those nights. The Baltimore crew arrived about ten, bags and food were put in their places, scores of aluminum cans were introduced to an ice-water bath, and it was time to sit down and get some cards in the air. Time for a little poker!

The first game started only so-so, my chip stack stayed stagnant while Rick and Rick (I will identify my friend Rick, our host, as Rick1, and Rick from Baltimore as Rick2. Hoepefully this’ll make things easier, for me in particular) built up massive towers of green and black. I have to admit, I don’t remember much about how I got heads up with Rick2. He was playing an aggressive game, big bets and raises, but still able to make a laydown if challenged. I would need a hand here and there to prevail.

What happened was almost comical. Literally four or five times, we held nearly identical hands–and I had a better kicker by a single pip. I got all my money in on a jack-high board with J-9–he had J-8. I had top pair with Q-5–he had Q-4. The very next hand I held the tournament in the palm of my hand when we hit an eight, but my five kicker crushed his four. But we ended up chopping that one when the turn and river came paint. I got lucky, and I won the game. It was a nice way to start off the weekend, especially since I’d now be freerolling the rest of the way.

But I won the first game the last trip to the lake, and got my junk pummelled the rest of the way. I needed to repeat to show it wasn’t a fluke. But I lost a big hand early on, and with the blinds moving up found myself shortstacked. I moved in with J-9, only to have both Debbie AND Tara call me. Now, when I’m focused and playing my A-game, I can somewhat neutralize Debbie’s infernal intuition. And with Tara in the home stretch of her first pregnancy her statistics-busting flush karma isn’t operating at full power. But how could I hope to beat BOTH of them holding a measly J-9?

The flop didn’t help me. But Tara bet out, which naturally led Debbie to think that she’d made her flush (or would get there at the end), so Debbie folded. Tara only had ace-high, giving me outs…and a beautiful nine spiked on the turn. I tripled up, the most enjoyable threesome I’ve had in…well, ever. God, that’s depressing. Read more about Buddhism, more, more, more.

Fueled by this big pot (and fifteen Yuenglings) I ended up winning this second tournament as well. Although, as God is my witness, I don’t remember what happened. I didn’t beat Rick2 again, I didn’t beat Rick1…could I have been heads-up with Debbie? And I don’t remember how I won? How very disappointing. I really need to bring a notebook with me to the card room, I can’t keep track of all these hands when I’m building a pyramid of cans.

We segued from poker to a spirited game of asshole, where I quickly seized the Presidency thanks to two hands in a row where I was dealt three deuces. Card games are easy. At this point someone mentioned that it was closing in on 4AM–maybe it was time for bed? It was, but even though I’d consumed mass quantities of suds and it was late and I haven’t been getting more than 5 hours of sleep at night, I still wasn’t sleepy. Or that drunk. I was even sharp enough to chug a big glass of water and swallow a couple of Advil. Just in case. A pre-emptive strike, if you will.

Five hours later I was up, breakfasting well on eggs, sausage, and english muffins. The gang headed out on the boat to wakeboard, while I fired up the JetSki to follow behind and smash through the wake. It was overcast but warm, and I had my usual blast. But then the fuel light started flashing, and it was time to head down to the marina to give my thirsty steed a good, long drink.

I had some trouble getting down there, because the engine kept missing and coughing because the tank was approaching empty. I finally made it, but as I approached the dock I noticed there was no one standing by the pumps. No big deal, as I had the credit card and could do a swipe-and-gas. But after I tied up and ran the card through I kept getting a message that said “PUMP DISABLED”. I went to the marina offices themselves, and no one was home. Stomping around and what-the-fucking, I went back to the JetSki and only then saw the laminated sheet taped to the pump. It said, in effect, that the owners of the marina had had a request to expand rejected by the township board of directorrs, and that the marina had also lost their license to store trailers for boat owners. And so the owner, because his employees had to start getting ready to remove all those trailers, decided to give his staff the weekend off. Boaters who were inconvienienced were advised to call and/or email the township directors. Phone numbers and email addresses were provided.

Now, I’m all for sticking it to the Man. But in this case, I was getting stuck as well. I wasn’t sure if I had enough gas to get back to the house. On top of that, if we couldn’t get gas, this might be a bummer of a trip indeed. I fired up the engine, switched to the reserve tank, and put-put-putted my way home. I made it and waited for the boat to cruise by, and after Rick missed a 180 I went out there to break the bad news. Of course no one believed me, at first, but when I said I was parking the JetSki they believed. In the old days we used to bring gas up to the lake with us, because it was considerably cheaper than using the marina, but the last 5 years or so we’ve ditched the cans. Fortunately they were still in the shed, and the girls later went out on a gas run. The JetSki, sadly, stayed in the stable.

Lunch was burgers and dogs. Very good. Dinner was grilled pork chops, rice, corn, broccoli. We eat pretty good up there. Too good, actually. Too much. I brought a bottle of meritage I got from the Finger Lakes a few weeks ago and Beth and Debbie and I polished it off. Good stuff.

Back to the tables. I picked up a few chips, and had a great chance to pick up a bunch of chips to make another deep run. Holding A-3 I flopped two pair on an A-3-4 board. I checked, knowing that someone would bet, and indeed Rick1 did exactly that. I went all-in, he called and turned over 4-5 for a pair and gutshot. Rick1 was angling for an early night and I was more than happy to give it to him. But a damnable four hit on the river, and I was out.

If I victimized Rick2 in the first game, he turned the tables and did the same to Scott in this game. Scott had a ton of chips, but had kings cracked to a straight on the river, and then a few hands later all the money went in the middle with Scott holding AQ and Rick2 A-6. An ace on the flop meant little, the turn was a blank…but a six popped up on the river and Scott was down to three green chips.

Our payout structure is that the runner-up gets his buy-in back and the winner takes the rest. So it looked like the we’d soon be seeing a battle of the Ricks. Scott was already all-in, Rick2 raised…and Rick1 went all-in. Rick2 called, and when the hands were flipped Rick1 had ace-high, Rick2 king-high, and Scott the Doyle Brunson. A ten on the flop, a deuce on the turn, and a ten on the river gave Scott a boat and a few more chips. He was also guaranteed his cash back, as Rick2 bubbled going for the win.

Rick1 had about a 15-1 chip lead, but it wouldn’t be enough. He let me see his cards, and for about 6 hands in a row his best hand was 9-high. Scott was of course pushing nearly every hand, and on the few occasions Rick called he was a dog. And the boards never fell his way. The only time he had the better hand all-in was the last one, and Scott hit his ten to win the game. Not much to be done about it.

In the next game I showed where the Mean in Mean Gene comes from. Early on I was dealt jacks, re-raised Rick2, who called. I didn’t like the king on the flop, but when he pushed I had to call. He only had nines, and didn’t improve. Then I eliminated Debbie when my AK was bigger and better than her A-9. When Ted made an odd all-in re-raise on me I noticed that he could barely keep his eyes open, and I sensed weakness. I called with A-7, forcing him to roll over K-8. “You called with A-7?” he muttered, but he was so sleepy he couldn’t muster much outrage. A few moments later he was safe in bed while I played on.

I eliminated Scott–don’t remember how, doggone it–and once again Rick1 was involved in an heads-up battle for the cash. After seeing how he played the last game I figured I’d use my massive chip stack to wear him down. Instead he started going all-in nearly every hand and I doubled him up a few times looking him up. Then I looked down at AK and casually called from the big blind, setting my trap. He went all-in, I called in a microsecond…and he rolls over aces. Gotta be frigging kidding me.

The blinds were big, and after surrendering the chip lead I managed to steal a pot and take it back. And then I was dealt pocket deuces. I was prepared to take a stand with any pair, and after the usual limp and all-in I called and turned over my ducks. It didn’t really matter what cards he held, so long as they weren’t paired. If I had to flip a coin to decide this thing, I’d rather be on the slightly-longer end of the stick. He turned over A-10 and the race was on.

Rick2 burned one and snapped out three cards. He turned them over…and there was a ten in the door. Oogh. He spread them out…and there was a beautiful deuce nestled in the middle. “Quack quack quack!” I quacked, and victory was again mine.

Rick1 went to bed, and me, Scott, Neil and Rick2 decided to play a little Omaha. It beat playing four-handed asshole, and it was a quick little game. I had some cards here and there, but Neil won the big pots early and won the big pots late. We ended heads-up and I was dealt K-Q-J-10. They looked so nice together that I risked all my chips with them. Unfortunately Neil had an ace, flopped the nut flush draw, and made it on the turn. There wasn’t even any drama.

What to do when you’ve been drinking all night? Drink some more! We went down to the dock, hoping to look up at the sky’s celestial majesty. But it was overcast, so we just drank some more. It ended as an early night–only stayed up till 3AM.

Sunday was a nice, easy day–except for the 30 minutes I spent on the tubes getting beaten to a pulp. Every time I come home from the lake I have these greenish bruises under my armpits from getting bounced up and down the waves like a goddam basketball.

Nice weekend, and we’ll be going up again in a few weeks. Actually, I have the closing on my house that Friday afternoon, so I’ll be a late arrival. As more stuff comes off the walls, gets packed into boxes, and goes out in the trash, this place feels less like my home and more like a place where I happen to sleep and eat. Tomorrow I’m planning to sign the lease on my apartment and start taking stuff over. The people buying my house say they’d like to buy some of our furniture, including the incredibly heavy sleeper-sofa in the den. My friends will be thrilled to learn they won’t have to move that. Busy days ahead. Busy, surreal days.

Wonder how Bill Simmons is doing in the WSOP today. Seems like lots of other people are curious too, as I had a big spike of traffic from people looking for Simmons’ results and finding the post I wrote about him. Maybe Pauly can find out for us.

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2 Responses to “Pokah Is Nice…I Love Play Pokah”

  1. maf212 Says:

    Hey Gene,
    Where is this lake that you go to every now and then? Is it near Pittsburgh or farther north and east? I’m curious as to where one can ride a JetSki in the area.


  2. Garthmeister J. Says:

    Gene – I just posted about the Sports Guy’s run (I was also getting a lot of hits about him). Apparently he busted early on his first day. Go figure.

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