Wednesday dawned in Phoenix bright, Sunday and warming. I warmed myself up for the tournament at Wild Horse Pass by re-reading a couple of chapters of Doyle Brunson's book 'Super System: A Course in Power Poker.'
To make the final table in a poker tournament, which was no goal, requires super powers of concentration and a resolve that you are not going to let the other players deprive you of that privilege. Since I had committed myself to playing that day for Jade, I wanted to give the effort my best.
It's a 30-mile drive from my apartment in west Phoenix to the Chandler area where Wild Horse Pass is located. You pass between the McDowell Mountains to the north and scenic South Mountain which follows Baseline Road.
The Indian reservation which houses Wild Horse Pass is located just south of Guadalupe, a Hispanic community of old adobe houses and a church where the Kennedy family once met with the congregation. I still remember Ethel Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy's widow, imploring the children to 'sing something.' The head of the church shrugged and led the congregation in the singing of 'Guadalajara,' which brought smiles and applause from the Kennnedys.
Only 50 people enrolled in the tournament. For a $30 buy-in, we were given $2,500 in chips. At exactly noon, the cards were in the air..
Buck Owens of 'Hee Haw' fame once recorded a song, 'I've Got a Tiger By the Tail' which is similar to what happens when you enter a tournament. All cell phones must be disconnected. If you are on a phone during a hand, it is scooped up by the dealer. There are no exceptions.
I waited for my rush. And waited. And waited.
Not that you expect a rush in a poker tournament. That would be too great an expectation. A rush is something you hope for. When it happens, you are grateful for the sudden accumulation of chips. You know that eventually the cards will get back to their usual ebb and flow, but you ride the rush as long as you can.
After the first break, I was dealt pocket aces and pocket kings back to back. That helped build up my stack. I survived the second break. We were down to two tables. One of the cocktail waitresses served me a cup of hot coffee with Expresso and said, 'Congratulations. It looks like you're gonna finish in the money.'
I did. Just barely.
The House paid down to 10 winners. I finished seventh.
It was not a big finish cash-wise, but it did help me break my losing streak. For that, I owe Jade and the other members who took interest in the challenge I posed for myself. Now if Jade will tell me her favorite charity, I will keep my word and give it 10 percent of my earnings. Thanks for your interest as expressed by your emails.