SI Vault
Jay Cronley
December 11, 1978
(Writer's note: The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent—namely, me. Besides, there is a certain amount of honor among poker players, even those who call home to say they are working late. And, for three excellent reasons, a writer can't take a notebook, camera or tape recorder into a big-money poker game. One: he might bet them. Two: the items would restrict concentration. Three: the man who let me play would have snapped me in half like a cardboard $50 chip.)
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December 11, 1978

A Sad Tale Of Three Sixes, Four Vodka Tonics And One Empty Sock

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I had two sixes, five, queen showing.

There were no longer odds on my three sixes, because I had them, but the odds were about 50 to one, the same as odds against three aces, which seemed unfair. The odds against Banks' straight remained 250 to one. The odds against Pard's full house were nearly 700 to one.

I was in the driver's saddle.

So I got tickled. I offered Junior some skin, which he took, then gave back, and we shook hands the way cool dudes and drunks do.

My foot went to sleep. The wealthy one. I thought somebody had cut it off and left, but glancing down I saw it was still there. I took the $50 out of my sock, and slammed both the money and the sock on the table in front of me in a show of power.

Pard said $50 on two pair. Oils raised $25 on general principles. Junior's possible straight raised $50. I called, raised $10 and put my sock back on.

The pot was $2,450. I had only $10 left.

Pard turned over his hole card, and sure enough it was the last room of a full house—seven, seven, trey, trey, trey. Oils got robbed with jack high. Nobody else had anything worth mentioning, unless you like to talk about three dead sixes.

So I tore my sixes in half. Junior, his toupee now barely on, did a little dance because he had never seen anything so hilarious as a person playing poker with his savings-account money who tears sixes in half.

I gave him some skin. He gave it back. I put it in my pocket.

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