Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bill Cosgriff's poker glory

Dad liked to play poker. Not high stakes poker as you see on TV. Just penny ante stuff, nickels and dimes, maybe quarters. He often hosted poker games with family and friends. Even I had the chance several times to play cards with the guys.

One of his favorite, sort of, that is, games, was the time he held four kings. You don't have to know a lot about poker to know that four of a kind is a powerful hand, and especially strong with face cards. It was draw poker too. That's not like the hold 'em variety so popular lately. There were no community cards: each player held five cards none of which were revealed to the table during play.

So Dad held his kings, and was starting to feel the rush of victory when another player, someone named George, began calling Dad's raises and then raising him more. Needless to say, Dad raised and re-raised himself, properly confident of a big win as the coins piled up in the center of the table. He couldn't wait for the reveal, when he would set down those cowboys and rake in those coins. You need to know that this was in the 1960s, when a pot of 12 or 15 dollars was much more significant than today. $100 dollars a week was good money then.

Dad raised, George raised, and that pot kept growing. Showing those kings was becoming a more satisfying thought every time and Pops was anticipating it with relish. And then my Uncle Bob chimed in.

He said to George, "You better have something, because Bill doesn't bluff."

"I fold," said George immediately. Dad not only lost a shot at kitchen table poker glory, he wasn't even able to keep building the pot on a sure win.

He never did show the guys his hand. He didn't have to. It wasn't called. But he also never quite forgave my uncle.

No comments: