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playing poker and teaching science: May 2013

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A trip within a trip

When is a trip report not a trip report? Maybe when poker wasn’t the reason for the trip but you end up with a good poker story anyway.

The purpose of the trip was to attend my son’s wedding, and by attend I mean I was officiating the service as a newly ordained member of the Universal Life Church. I wrote the service myself and I can say without a doubt, I nailed it.

As it’s my son of 26 years and the most important thing in my life, I was able to add a personal touch that can’t be reached by the average officiate. But I digress; that’s not a poker story. If the blog was called “Teaching Science and Officiating Marriages,” it would go on…

After the rehearsal dinner I walked into the poker room at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City Indiana with about ninety minutes to play before I needed to attend to other duties. We were staying in the attached hotel at the Blue Chip and I’d grabbed a few hundreds from my poker stash, but didn’t really think I’d have time to play.

I bought in for a stack of red and a stack of white; only $120 because I was going to play tight and just relax and have a little fun, maybe even win a few dollars.

Starting chips: $120

Then things got interesting. After fifteen minutes I had a sense at how poorly the players were playing. Seats one and two were taken by muscle-bound construction types who had come together. They had unlit cigars in their mouths and they had come to gamble. They played almost every hand. If the pot was raised, they were in. Seat three was that nondescript middle aged guy that knew the rules but wasn’t going to mix things up too much. Seat four was the loser; a calling station who was bleeding chips at an astronomical rate. My brother, an average poker player but good gambler, had joined me and was in seat five. I was in seat seven bracketed by the local rocks, seat nine was a good, young player and seat ten was the mirror image of seat three, easy to forget. He would have made a good assassin.

I won exactly three hands in the hour I played before I cashed out.

Hand number one: I joined a pot with AQ, pushed all but the rock to my right off the hand when the fourth club hit after a queen high flop. I checked the river and took down a nice pot with my queens. The rock was chasing a straight and correctly read that I didn’t have the flush. It was a nice read, but he definitely didn’t have pot odds to chase.

Chips: $195

Hand number two: The next hand I look down at AK under the gun and toss out two white chips just to call. I was playing tight, right? Oops…. I had been holding red chips and had just raised the pot to $10. Nobody believed me and suddenly we have five to the flop! The flop was A84 with two clubs. I said again I was sorry and bet half the pot, $25. Seat two calls. The turn was a second 8. I check and Cigar Man #2 bets $40.

I already have $35 in the pot. I was going to play tight but now I might be playing for most of my stack. He either had an 8 or an ace. If he had an 8 I was drawing dead...

I thought for a bit and then decided it didn’t matter how I WAS going to play, I was in a hand and had to play it like any hand I play. If he got lucky he got lucky but I should be ahead here. I call.

The river is a blank and I check to him. I’m relieved to hear him say, “I hope you’re not showboating ace king,” as he turns over ace queen. Sorry…

Chips: $305

Hand number three: I’m having a good night. I’m almost out of time to play and I’m up almost $200. Not a bad evening.

“All-in in the dark.”

“I call in the dark.”


Seat four is down to his last $27 and has pushed in before the cards are dealt. Cigar Man #1 calls dark. The cards come out and I look down to see two sweet aces.

It folds to me and I think “I’m having a good night. I’m almost out of time to play and I’m up almost $200. Not a bad evening.” I’ll just pick up the dead money and go home a winner. Even If I lose to Mr. All-in In The Dark, I’ll still win a couple bucks, so I push all-in.

Cigar Man #1 calls!

I flip over my aces, the cards come out, he mucks.

Chips: $598

Not a bad “trip.”

Monday, May 06, 2013

A new member of the family

Barklie was the best dog ever. We were actually on our way to the Humane Society to look at puppies and stopped briefly at Petsmart to check out the puppy stuff, only to find Animal Control set up there with a little black fluff ball who had been abandoned along side the road.

We never made it to the Humane Society. We'd found our new puppy and the chow mix was a part of the family for the next 14 years.

Barklie passed about two years ago and it finally seemed like the right time to add another member to the family.

Juneau is our new Siberian husky. I wanted to name her Togo, after the hero husky who delivered diptheria medicine to the children of Nome, Alaska in 1925, but didn't want to tell the story every time someone ask her name.

It's only been two days but I think she's a keeper :-)