I've got some ‘splaning to do, again. Another week, another lack of a post. Nearly two weeks, because this one will be late too. I've got some ‘splaning to do, and some ‘pologizing too.
I have to apologize to my editor, Thomas first and foremost. His support of my writing, and myself personally in the last few weeks has been a great comfort. I'm sorry to let him down again, and especially without a great explanation. In fact, I'd say it's a downright generic one.
It's work. And it's holidays.
Over here in EnglandLand, Easter is one of our national holidays. It's quite a big deal. It's such a big deal that my Casino has organised a fancy tournament for it. ‘Easter' pun an all.
The tournament is on Sunday, meaning that all our regular tournaments in the week are quieter. But just because they're quieter, that doesn't mean we get to slack off. For quiet tournaments, less dealers are rota'ed in, meaning that the ones who are in work for longer hours and with less breaks to make up for it.
Over the last three days I've had three ten hour shifts, and three twenty minute breaks in all. That's 7pm-5am three days in a row. That's three days where you get the first bus home in the slow beginnings of a sunrise, and three days of waking up at 4pm in the afternoon. A mere two hours before I have to get ready for work again.
Right now I'm writing this at 6:46AM, fresh from the bus home with the morning radio on in the background. They're talking about what they're doing for Easter Sunday. I'm working again.
But, I wanted this blog to be more than just a ‘poor me' moaning session. I've been writing about luck the last few weeks, and am working on a little something for next week on the subject again, but this week has got me thinking about timing as well. When you've only got two hours spare time a day, you've really got to make them count, but sometimes you need a little luck to make it go smoothly. Like today: if I hadn't worked today, I wouldn't have seen this play, and I'd have nothing to write about.
I also wouldn't have met the nicest bouncer in the world on my way home either, but that's another blog post for another time.
Tonight's story of luck and timing is an intriguing one. One that got most of the player around the table moaning about what a lucky fish this guy was, but got myself wondering if there was something a little deeper behind the play.
A player raised in early position, but is re-raised big on the button. This player is pretty straight-laced and plays some standard-ass poker. He raises his good hands and folds his bad. Everyone knows this and respects the raise and folds, all bar the Big Blind.
The Big Blind doesn't play standard poker. He's a gambler, and has been known to state that if he ever gets two picture cards, he just can't lay them down. The stage is set, and the tension is brewing.
The flop comes down with seven, five, jack with two hearts. Check-Check. Turn comes another heart, another low heart. Bet from caller and the initial raiser shakes his head and mucks. The caller turns over Seven-Four of hearts, and the table explodes with the passive aggressive laughter that I've learnt to hate so much.
But let me ask you a question: Who's the fish here?
If you'd asked those players around that table there would be no question as to who the fish is. If you ask me though, and no-one ever does ask the dealer, I believed that he simply nailed the timing of his bet.
Think about it. Here is a player who only raises good hands, and only bets when he has better. When's the best time to bet to get him off the hand? When he's missed the flop, when you know he's missed, and when he knows that you know that he's missed the flop.
If he had bet on the flop, the initial raiser would have called, and would have been able to rep a big pre-made hand (Usually a high pocket pair) on later streets to bluff the Big Blind off.
Waiting until the river brings other options into play. Whilst the Big Blind can hit cards to make his flush, it's also conceivable that the initial raiser could hit a higher flush when the fourth heart comes down, or even a funky runner-runner Full House.
But the Turn though, that's right in the corridor of uncertainty. Where you're not sure where exactly this story is going. Whether or not it's got a happy ending or not. Straight laced players like the initial raiser always fold when they can't see the happy ending.
But for the Big Blind, he's in the right place and the right time to make a great play. And he knew it. Next time you're at the table, stop and think a little and you'll know it too. You'll feel it.
Because as tired as I was, and as long as my bus ride home today was, if I had been anywhere in the world apart from that seat on that bus, I'd have missed that sunrise coming up between the apple trees, full of that soft pink blossom.
And I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad, for once, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.