I’m sitting in early position when I get dealt pocket 10’s. I had been calling this hand “long distance,” but after this hand, I think it deserves a new nickname. I call the big blind and about 6 of us are in the pot.
The flop is A-8-A. That’s not too bad. With a couple of Aces on the flop, the odds of someone holding an Ace are diminished. And my 10’s beat any 8 out there.
I check and the grizzled little man to my left bets. He’s wearing an old gray Members Only jacket, a black baseball cap and thick glasses. He doesn’t talk much, and often has to leave the table to catch a smoke break at the slots. It’s a good thing he didn’t leave for this hand.
There are two other callers before it gets to me, and I call. The turn is a deuce. I check again and Mr. Members Only bets again. Does he have the Ace? I don’t have a read on him. In fact, I’m really bad about reading people. It’s something I’m working on.
Everyone else gets out of the pot, and I call. He may slothoki not have the Ace, right? The pot was big enough and, frankly, this is one of the best looking hands I’ve had all day.
The river is the third Ace. Except for, perhaps another 10, I couldn’t have asked for a better river. I’m Aces full of 10’s, and even if my opponent pairs the board, I’m still a winner. At this point, only pocket J’s, Q’s or K’s, or the case Ace beat me.
I check, he bets, I raise him, he re-raises (uh oh), and I call, flipping my 10 of hearts and 10 of spades. He flips a 10 of diamonds, and that fourth Ace. I probably should have known I was beat all along, but I kept playing it. About half my remaining stack was in that pot, and I was close to going home.
The dealer picked up my pocket tens and turned them over in front of her, then began shoving the pot toward Mr. Members Only. That’s when a couple of players at the other end of the table said something about a jackpot.
My ears pricked up. I glanced up at the red flashing ticker above the tables as something about a “Bad Beat Jackpot” scrolled by:
“For 10% of the Jackpot, in 7-Card Stud or Texas Hold ‘Em, Aces full of 10’s beaten by 4 of a kind, and in Omaha…”
I didn’t need to read any more. I spoke up as well, “Hey, that might be the jackpot.” The dealer stopped and started to recover our hands. I could tell by the looks on everyone else’s face that this dealer might have just ruined our chance at the cash.
You see, money was at stake for everyone at the table. The Jackpot was at about $33,000. This hand would qualify for 10% of that, or about $3300. The “losing hand” (that’s me) gets 50% of that, or $1681, the “winning hand” gets 25% of that, or $841, and the rest of the table splits the remainder (8 players get $105 each). Not a bad deal, huh?
Once the cards were recovered, casino big wigs were called to the table. The dealer started counting out all the cards in the deck to make sure they were there. Big wig #1 called security to check the tape and get the hand certified. Big wig #2 gave us a hard time by telling us how many ways this hand didn’t qualify. Thankfully, he was just joking.
A half hour later, and after clearing up the fact that my name was not James Christoph and my address was no longer in Knoxville, TN, I signed a couple of documents including something about taxes. Guess it’s time to ask someone’s advice on writing off my losses!
In the meantime, I had called Otis, my brother, my sister and my parents (they weren’t home, so they’ve got a weird message on their answering machine).
Shortly after that, they arrived with the cash, and they counted it out on the table. I tipped the dealer $120. I have no idea if that was too much or too little, but no one seemed to complain.
I played for about 6 more hours and actually won back some of the money I had lost earlier, but it didn’t matter. I could have lost every hand and been satisfied.
Of course, with my new found riches, I was playing a lot more hands, including The HAMMER. I’m UTG when I look down at 7-2 off, and I call. What the hell, right? Six are in the pot when the flop comes A-4-A. I bet out and everyone folds. I flip my cards and mumble something about The HAMMER. I don’t think anyone was impressed.
For the rest of my session, 10’s were clearly my magic cards, winning me quite a few pots. And I’ve decided I’ll no longer refer to this pocket pair as “Long Distance.” From here on out, it’s “Jackpot!”