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Cactus and vultures and hares, oh my!

Once upon a time….. some guy flew to a distant City-in-a-swamp to liberate his mother from its grip and escort her and all her worldly possessions 757 leagues to the Land of Lattes. That guy was me.
leaving houston(The mode of transport was chosen for me and driving duties In this under-loaded 26,000 GVW beast would be shared.)

We slipped the sodden fen that is Houston on a Thursday and found our way to what should have been searing climes in Laughlin, NV. Instead we were greeted by the jubilant citizenry, dancing naked in the streets and absorbing as much as possible of a two hour long deluge.

My mother, being a Texas Hold’em semi-pro, finds easy marks in the quaint casinos in this part of the country and was able to cash out in all three tournaments she entered. I, on the other hand, was a “live” poker virgin. So, gripping my mommy’s hand tightly and expecting my Serengeti’s (sunglasses) to mask my fear, I entered Don Laughlin’s Riverside Casino and House of Sin (redundant I know).
After my introduction to the poker room’s pit boss, receiving some good advice and trading semi-valuable cash (Birthday $$$) for the even less clear potential of poker chips I sat down at the only open chair.
Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort
It was a “live” game of 2-6 limit Hold’em. To my left was player Honda Gene, 89 years wise, who had been asked to keep an eye on me. Gene assured me the game was simple then said, “You might want to look at your cards”, which had mysteriously appeared while I chatted with him. I made several process and etiquette mistakes in the ensuing minutes then Gene slowly rose from his seat and chose the recently vacant seat opposite me. “Why did he do that ?” I wondered.

Following the most recent and easy to remember, “Advice for Beginners” I had received I was folding any hole cards that didn’t add up to at least 20 unless I was the big blind. Soon beginners luck reared its auspicious head. I with a K-9 of clubs in front of me I watched the dealer spread the A-Q-7 of clubs. I had the nuts!!!
Eight of the nine other players got in cheap including Honda Gene. I casually (grinning like an idiot) declined my option to raise. I then proceeded to call as others raised with apparent flushes, big pairs or sets. At my turn to bet on the river, four of us still in, I made the maximum raise. Everyone folded. Well,….everyone but Gene. He paused only briefly after a glance in my direction and doubled my raise which sent an electric shock through me. I nearly fainted. Now, with blood pressure high enough to ring my ears and surely strike dead any of curious 60+ year olds that surrounded me, I took a fumbling seventh look at my cards and called using the rest of my chips. We turned over our cards at the same time revealing his Jack high flush and my King high flush. Gene said “Well played” and I, sweating, hands shaking (reminiscent of my first good autocross run) attempted to stack my chips while the dealer stalled by shuffling a new deck very, very slowly.

Scott “Leadfoot” Miller

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