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Johnny K

West
1095
J53
1086
KJ96
North
KQ87
AQ4
K
AQ742
East
J6432
876
J5432
South
A
K1092
AQ97
10853
W
N
E
S
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
6NT
P
P
P
D
6NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0

My close friends know about my relationship with luck because they have heard my JK story and they never earnestly wish me luck or sympathise with any poor fortune that comes my way.

My favourite amongst many JK stories was playing an Australian variant of poker called Manilla at a random casino one evening with JK at the table. After several hours of grind we were both predictably in front given the poor play of our fellow participants. Its a game played with just the 7's up and as a result one of the more important cards in the deck is the 10's. I got a pair of tens and as I contemplated my choices I noticed a diagonal mark on the corner of one of my cards. I checked the other card and noticed a horizontal mark on one of its corners. It was obvious to me what had happened. Some crook had managed to get his finger nail into the back of the crappy standard cards being used.

I made a fuss with the pit boss probably because it was a badly run game and winning alone was not enough to make me happy. There was an acknowledgment that I was right, a brief enquiry, a lecture, a new set of cards and a very attentive pit boss thereafter. JK and I continued to win and after 5-6 hours it was close enough to breakfast time and we left. I had a whinge to him on the way out about the standard of casino dealers and management as well as the dodgy nature of our opposition which continued as we ordered breakfast. JK listened patiently before responding "I don't know why you are upset. It took me an hour to mark those cards". In a strange world JK is still in the top 5 people I trust. It isn't honour amongst thieves. It is honour amongst good card players for JK.

I digress. Mr Chehade apparently made his fortune from dry cleaning. He was the best dressed participant at the JK home game. JK always sat next to him and as Mr Chehade made the final call which happened on most of the hands played he would turn his hole cards face up and JK would declare what poker hand he had together with a brief commentary. It was an indictment on the standard of the other players that only a few realised the reason for this was to avoid the embarrassment of Mr Chehade mis-stating what his final poker hand was.

That was bad but worse was when Mr Chehade decided to leave and JK would see him to the door. It lives with me like a movie today, maybe 25 years after the last time I saw it happen. "That guy was blessed hitting a flush in that big pot" JK might of said. It always finished with the same wisdom though. "You are just a good player out of luck".

The 3 of diamonds was led and it is surely uncontroversial that next was the ace of clubs as the 4 of diamonds was discarded. A spade to the ace and cash a big diamond as LHO played the 5. I thought diamonds were 5/3 but not enough that I cashed another. A club was ducked because RHO guessed that might be the right thing to do as a small spade was pitched. Everyone followed to a couple of spades and I finished 2 off.

I have played against RHO many times at my local club. He is a decent guy, but not so decent that he could hide his excitement as the Jack of hearts won a trick. A smile followed by "bad luck". I would rather he had said something deliberately mean.

Poker is the better game for manners. Tell me how I am helping put your kids through private school and offer me some lessons and I would genuinely feel better.

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