Saturday, February 7, 2009

Folding Pocket Twos

It hesistated as if stuck for a moment and then wandered in chaotic fashion downward. I could not help but idly stare at the first rain drop that thunked on my window. The noise had drawn me to it. I waited for others to follow it but they did not come at first. I had only the trail of the drop to divert my attention from the computer, and the darkening of the skyline behind it.

I waited, and waited for the next raindrop to hit. A gust rattled the drainpipe on the side of my house and shifted even the sturdy oak in my front yard but no more drops. Still, I waited for the second rain drop. I looked for darkening mositure on the street but it did not come.

My computer beeped, it was my turn to act. The screen for bwin's online poker site blinked before me. As I looked down, it was just then the rain pittered and pattered on the sill and the window. A wave of wind pregnant with water swept across the street.

"Pocket 2s under the gun," I said as I fired out a bet hoping not to get reraised. Sure enough the agressive player in seat 5 put in a raise. Against him I might be good. The clever player on the button raised over us both. Re-steal.

I thought about making a move myself. Lots of money in the pot. The rain attacked the window with each fit of wind. Should I just shove. The blinds folded. The drainpipe rattled against the gutter it was anchored to. Hmmm. I have but pocket deuces.

I dejectedly hit the fold button. I made it more of decision then I needed to. Even if I was right I didn't need to get involved in the hand. We were on the cusp of the bubble.

I went back to window watching, the rain blurring the dull surroundings out my front door. Bubbles of water coalesced then ran haphazardly down.

This morning my boyfriend walked out angry. I tried his cell, but he hadn't answered. He didn't like me grinding all night on the computer. He hadn't liked his girl, spending more time with a poker site than with him. "Well you should have never transferred money to my account," I snorted to myself, "You should have never got me started. You should have never asked if I wanted to play online poker."

The truth of the matter, James was jealous, I had turned his modest gesture of keep you busy money into a bankroll. I had conquered one level after another and was turning into a deadly force in multi-table tournaments, and poor James tilted away reload after reload. Unlike James I knew how to walk away from pocket deuces, I knew how to get away from something I should have given up long ago.

The screen blinked at me, and I looked at 72 of clubs in the big blind. I noticed the wild player had half the stack he had the last hand. The clever button now had more chips. Maybe he didn't resteal.

The loose player shoved on my blind. Oh well. He can have it. Then I smiled when the clever player called. In a second the rashness of tilt shove was confirmed. The autofold of me and the small blind zipped us into a showdown. Clever player held QQ and Mr. Wild held Q9. J107 came the flop. I snickered again as an 8 came on the turn. I wished for a K or a 9. It didn't come.

I autofolded my 36 from the small blind.

Across the street Mrs. Fischman stood on her doorstep using the paltry cover of her screen door to brave the rain. She called for her cat. I could see it squatting under her house glaring at the rain and ignoring her owner's beckoning.

James and I had steadily drifted apart. Yes, I had become a wife to a computer, poker had become my preoccupation, indeed, my very occupation. I was making far more online than I did waitressing. I had a knack for the game, I had to play poker online.

James was very jealous.

I raised with J8 on the button and collected the blinds and antes.

I raised again with 56 and got a caller from the clever player. Flop came 6104. I bet half the pot. He raised me. I fired back. He folded. One more player until the money.

The wind snarled and whistled and I worried about a power failure. My chip stack would guarantee me an in the money finish but I liked my chances today. Several bad players were sitting on big stacks.

Was James out in this? James packed up his iPod with a little bag of clothes. I assumed he was heading to the beach to gather his tilted thoughts. I didn't like this weather, but he was the type to obsolently sit in a lightning storm... if he was set on a day at the Beach. Far be it for weather to get in the way of what he wanted to do. Part of me thought I should let the worry go, I caught myself think the words... let him go.

"Really? Let him go?" I asked myself. There was a lot to be said for James. He was going places. He had a good head on his shoulders and his father's construction business was booming. Every girl did a double take at his rugged looks and for the most part he treated me great.

I folded a mediocre holding and watched the now thick rain pelt my window.

His failures in poker weighed on me. His frustrations at not being able to let a losing session go. His unwillingness to pitch a hand. I told myself not to judge a person based on poker and I knew I only had to look at some of the awful people that were successes at this game to know it indicated nothing, but still James' failures at the game weighed on me.

Maybe I shouldn't tell him to fold when watching him overplay a hand from behind. It only encouraged him to do opposite. Perhaps, I smothered him by outperforming him, and then sharing my triumphs with him... of course he resented me. Maybe I was the cause of his struggles... of our struggles.

The cat had had enough and with lightning speed slinked through the rain up onto the door step. It got onto it's hind legs and scratched at the door. It demanded to be let in.

Bwin blinked at me again. I folded. I had made the money.

The storm whipped around a lawn-chair from my neighbor's yard and pitched it down the street, the white plastic bouncing onto the road with vigor. The cat was gone. Must have made it in.

Where was Jim? I expected him to knock on the door. To whisper his apology and to work on things. He would come in out of the rain. I would let him back in. I realized, for the first time that day, I had thought it. I would let him back in. I said it, so I knew it was true. I didn't need to give up on us.

The rain slowed. I smiled thinking of Jim in a wet shirt. He wasn't all bad.

There was a beep. I looked at my bwin table and saw a hand still in action. It was my blackberrry. It's red light blinked, I had a message.

I looked at it... James... "I thought it over. We are a bad fit. We can't stay holding on to something we should have given up a long time ago. I'm sorry for the way I've treated you but we need to let it go. I'll get my things tomorrow."

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