By Tommy Clarkson from the November 2010 Edition
The hands had been dealt. All but one of the eight players stayed in the hand after the down cards had been dealt and initial bets made. The flop hit the board. I peered at my “Pocket Queens” – one of clubs the other of spades. Maintaining my best poker face – I “checked” to see who might bet. At that moment, unexpected help arrived. It came as in the form of Manfred – a mantis of the praying nature. (But I was to learn his name later.)
He landed on my left hand, clearly so as to best view my hand. I looked at him in amazement. He eyed the cards calmly, causally and then swiveled his head to whisper – so only I could hear – “Good hole cards. Good check.
Let’s consider our options, wait.” until the flop and then, if
Clearly l look sheer good, was we’ll a knowledgeable set trap, cool player of Texas Hold ‘em! And – lo and behold – his counsel was prophetic as with the flop came a Queen of clubs, a nine of hearts and a ten of clubs. My new found partner, still perched on my left forefinger, casually, turned his head a full 180 degrees and murmured, “
(meaning three of a kind) Good. We got a set.” So we checked, the guy, two Let’s players the to my line left,out bet a bit the amount of the pot, two people folded while the four others and I called. Six players left now, and the pot was building.
The board paired with the “turn” as a nine of clubs hit. I’d hit a full house. My new found partner quietly counseled, “ First round, let’s.” let This ‘em round bet. Lie of bet sin the brought weeds.Then about we’ll a bet,hook a raise,‘em and a re-raise. All six stayed in. Then the river – that last card in the hand that has made and destroyed so many “potentials.” It was a Jack of hearts.
The ensuing betting indicated that, probably, there was, at least, a couple straights and/or flushes in play. This last round opened with a healthy bet, a raise, a re- raise and “all in” bet followed for three more, two players folded and I called the “all in” bet. My buddy flew up to my shoulder and in barely concealed glee quietly chortled, “We got ‘em.”
Show down and sure enough, there were two flushes – one King high and the other Queen high with “pocket cards” of a three and four of clubs. The other two both had straights – one ace high the other Queen high. The fifth player meekly showed her meager – compared to the other hands – set of nines. . . . normally a great hand!
My full house won! Manfred leapt high and flew around the table several times, buzzing the other players heads, then returned to land on my shoulder again and, burbling with excitement, exclaimed, “
!” It was at this point Good that job Man he introduced.Way to play himself those and cards– me folding a three/six off suit with the next hand, we entered into a conversation when I opened it up by inquiring
“So, tell me about yourself.”
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.