So.... do you think Jesus played poker with His disciples? You know, Thursday nights were exclusively reserved for playing Bethlehem Hold 'Em. No? Well, my church planned alternating "night outs" for the women and the men congregants. I think the women had their Ladies Night Out last week - I'm sure it involved lipstick shopping and listening to Beth Moore. The guys wanted to do something, but we were unsure as to what we should do. An email was sent asking if men were planning on coming, but I had my reservations. I spoke to one of the pastors and explained that if we were going to consume vast quantities of meat or if we were going to a demolition derby, I would totally be there. However, if we were going 'coon huntin' or frog giggin' I'd be less likely to attend. Neal, upset that he hadn't thought of frog giggin' before I did, agreed to the eating of beef and suggested a poker game. To ensure no murmuring or mumbling, we decided that all the money used to "buy in" would be donated to Fellowship Nicaragua a mission organization supported by our church. Somehow I volunteered my house as the site for this night of masculinity.
Men started showing up around five-thirty - well, I think a couple of them were there before that, but seeing as how I didn't get home until 5:30, they didn't come inside until I unlocked the door (all crazy parents within a 15 mile radius decided their children must be seen at 4:45 the one day of the week that I'm trying to leave at 5pm). A grill was delivered to my back patio (I don't have one), and in accordance with the stipulation B.Y.O.B. (bring your own beef), men arrived with all manner of cuts of meat. Steak and potatoes were feasted upon as the heady aroma of charcoal and seared beef wafted through my paint-splattered carport.
After gorging ourselves on our protein of choice, we split into two tables to play some high stakes (the winner won a can of Slim Jims) Texas Hold 'Em. No, like totally serious playing, with titanium travel cases of regulation chips, dealer buttons, buy in rules, little blinds, big blinds, duck blinds, er, maybe not; oh, and time limits. Yes, time limits - that brings us to the kitchen timer. So, Kirk says, "Hey, Aaron, you got a kitchen timer." "Uhhh, yeah, let me get it," I reply as a smirk becomes apparent on my face. I go grab the wonderful little chicken egg timer that Becky Latch got me for Christmas last year. I made sure to explain that, "it was a gift." By the end of the night, all the fellows had grown to love the chicken timer, and it was decided by all that my fowl little timer would be included in the tradition of future poker nights.
Serious play ensued (as soon as I printed out some poker cheat sheets that explained which hand beat what), including the use of my new very loud, automatic card shuffler which I claimed was given to me by my Grandmother on her deathbed (I really bought it at Wal-Mart the day before). It did remind me of Granny (paternal grandmom), but her card shuffler had to be cranked by hand. I'm sure she's looking up at us with love, may she rest in peace. We were betting, checking, losing, winning, buying back in (with the proceeds going to missions), and every twenty minutes the chicken egg timer would ring, which denoted that the blinds and bets had to be doubled. We all seemed to have forgotten to take our Ritalin because every seventeen seconds someone would comment, "whose turn is it," "can I just check," "is it pronounced suit or sweet," "how much is the little blind," "no, you have to bet the big blind," at which point I entertained a few other players by muttering, "I love you little. I love you big. I love you like a stinky pig." Thanks for laughing, Eric.
When only ten players remained we all moved to one table to finish this Strip Mall Baptist Poker Death Match. I quickly lost my chips (I think I only won one hand all night), and one by one other players fell by the wayside. After I was out of play, I still enjoyed being part of the action by shuffling the deck (with my extremely loud automatic shuffler). The final three players (interestingly enough, all on staff at the church) headed into the final showdown after taking Kirk's last chips, at which point, he became the "dummy blind," and I remained the "dummy shuffler." Neal forced the last hand of the night by going all in after the flop, the turn was dealt, and he won only as the dealer placed the last card. This proved the validity of my statement, which I repeated probably too many times tonight, "Everyone knows you can lose your shirt in the river."