Tourney Time: High Stakes Poker With Low Income Guys

DELAWARE –  It was time to claim the prize.

I’m in a weekly poker game here in Baltimore, and each week the members of the core group all toss a dollar in the pot. It’s a running bounty for the highest hand of the year. And the winner uses it to enter a poker tournament of his choosing. Everyone else comes along and we make it a degenerate affair.

Last year, the Detroit Daddy took the pot and chose an Omaha hi/lo tournament in Atlantic City, the exploits of which I recounted here. This year? The lead dog was none other than… Yours truly.

Last autumn, during a round of Hold Em I flopped a straight flush to the king in hearts.  It held up, and this Spring it was my turn to pick a tournament.

In picking, I had two priorities.  I wanted something affordable for the other players, and I wanted an interesting game.  There’s  tons of Hold Em out there, but I wanted something different, and that usually costs money. I found a happy medium at Delaware Park.  Only 150 to enter a HORSE tournament. HORSE is rotating orbits of Hold Em, Omaha, Razz (seven stud lo only), Seven Card Stud, and Eight (seven stud hi/lo, 8 or better qualifier on the lo).

Public Professor & The Baltimore Colt

A very interesting mix of games at a good price.  The only catch is that it started at 4PM on a Monday, and Delaware is about an hour north of Baltimore, so not everyone was able to make it. Nevertheless, I was joined by four Gentlemen of Leisure from the Baltimore Degenerate Society: Dollar Bill, Stevie Creamcheese, Wolfie, and Doug.

The kitty had about 260 total, so I spread the extra money around.  I hosted the weekly game leading up to the tourney, and sprung for beer and pizza.  I also doled out money for gas and tolls to the people who were driving; because of scheduling conflicts, the five us required four cars.

After paying my tournament entry fee, I had twenty bucks left.  Entry came with two 2-for-1 ten dollar wager tickets.  In other words, lay a ten dollar bet on any table game, put the ticket next to it, and if you win you get paid twenty.

I went up with Wolfie and we were the first ones there, so I put the last twenty from the kitty on our two tickets, placed at a blackjack table. Against the dealer’s face card, I worked my way to a 17, Wolfie made it to 19. Down to an easy 20? Nope. The dealer flipped a 2. All of a sudden it looked good against that twelve. Until he drew a nine and punished the whole table.  Son of a . . .

Turned out to be a harbinger of things to come.  There were about 150 players in the tournament.  Wolfie, Bill, and Steve all went out shortly before I did.  I’d made it to the 90s.  Eh.

But Doug was still going.  So the four of us went to dinner at the casino restaurant and he never joined us.  Hey, he must be doing pretty good, we thought.  Finally paid the check, got up and left, and we found him outside, headed our way.  He’d just busted out.  He’d made to about 50th, but they only paid the top 18, so no one was claiming any coin.

But it was a fun ride.  Spent the night at some hotel in the wilds of Delaware and showed up to work the next day still wreaking of cards.

Life’s good.  So’s Cheesy Bruin.  Check him out tomorrow.

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About The Public Professor 79 Articles
Mattville's George Plimpton, The Public Professor, is indeed a real, honest-to-goodness, legitimate professor at a major Maryland university. But because he doesn't have a cell phone or cable, he's crazy enough to be with us. A member of Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse, the terrorized Bronx graffiti artist's by correcting their grammar. His loves? The Yankees, Knicks, NY Rangers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has a real website: (