In Big Hand

The cast of characters gathered around the table on a weekend afternoon.

The lady in the No. 1 seat wore mirrorlike sunglasses. An older guy sat next to her. A pony-tailed woman with a sparkly rhinestone cap that read BOSS was in the No. 3 seat. An agitated gray-haired guy wearing black glasses was in the No. 4 seat. No. 5 seat kept getting up and leaving. I was in the No. 6 seat minding my own business. No. 7 seat kept changing, and a placid Asian guy sat in the No. 8 seat.

I folded from early position and the lady with the sunglasses made a standard raise to about $15. It folded back to the agitated guy who looked down at his hand and raised to $40. Everyone else folded back to the lady, and she quickly called.

What kind of thoughts and emotions can you hide behind mirrorlike sunglasses?

This was the second time I had seen her, and she wore the mirrorlike shades both times. She also fished out a small vial of what looked like aloe vera from her purse and kept it near her chip stack. I filed her away in my memory bank as the Lotion Lady.

With maybe $80 in the pot, the flop comes out Q-x-x with two small cards. Lotion Lady checked, and the agitated guy fired out $35. The guy had sat down with the maximum buy-in and had clearly been looking for action all day. He glowered and played with his chips and riffled them constantly.

Lotion Lady didn’t flinch. She quickly check-raised him and made it about $90 to go. Agitated Guy appeared surprised but called the raise. She appeared to be telling the story that she had raised with pocket queens and caught one on the flop and wasn’t afraid of pocket kings or aces. So we have around $260 in the pot — an alluring, cascading mountain of red chips.

The dealer burned and turned. Another small card fell on the turn. Lotion Lady didn’t hesitate and slid another stack of about $90 out. I’ve watched her carefully both times I’ve seen her, and she has the ultimate poker face even behind the mirrorlike sunglasses. When she’s in a hand, she barely moves a muscle. Although I did see her forehead twitch once.

Agitated Guy went into the tank and began to think. It’s pretty obvious he has pocket aces or kings and is very concerned that she’s flopped three queens.

He hemmed and hawed. He fiddled with his chips. He muttered something to himself. He hemmed and hawed some more. Seconds ticked away. Minutes vanished.

Everyone at the table including me watched this low-limit poker melodrama with a few hundred dollars at stake play out. Agitated Guy took a good two or three minutes to think it through. Finally, he picked up his cards, turned them face up and tossed them into the muck.

Yep, he had the two black aces. The best of all starting hands in Texas hold’em went straight to the trash can.

The dealer began to push the pot to Lotion Lady. And even though she’d won the hand, she decided to show her cards. What do you think she had? If you’ll scroll down, the answer is below.

Lotion Lady showed pocket jacks!

She had followed through with representing three queens beautifully. I was virtually convinced myself. It was a beautiful sales job, and she executed it to perfection.

But you had to wonder: If Agitated Guy had called the turn bet, would she have declared all-in the river to complete the story? We’ll never know.

There is an ironic footnote. After taking a good bite of Agitated Guy’s stack, Lotion Lady’s chips dwindled away the rest of the afternoon. She finally went all-in on a board where three spades had hit the flop and the board had paired kings.

She lost to a guy who had flopped a flush.

If you tell a beautiful story, it’s too bad the ending couldn’t have been sweeter. Poker, like life, is like that sometimes.

I expect to see her around again. I’ll just look for those mirrorlike sunglasses and the tiny vial of lotion. And sometimes a little twitch in her forehead.

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