Courage is knowing what not to fear.
So I'm lying sort of halfway on and halfway off the futon at the Emory Game, like I was told to and it kind of hits me -- I'm like the last one that they've tied up and definitely the last guy who they've put in the bathroom.
It's a robbery and I've been pretty calm but I don't know if this means anything yet. The robbers are unorganized, but I am hoping this wasn't part of their plan, to lead me away from the apartment.
It was a crazy night out -- Mark
, Doug and I went out to eat, then happened at the game at about 8:30 p.m. I lost about $100 of my $300 stack and then this crazy hand happened. This guy with wild hair to my left goes all-in after I reraise Lloyd's raise from $15 to $45.
Lloyd pushes all-in. I think about it but push with my KK.
The guy with the crazy hair has AA. Lloyd has 88.
Doug reveals that he folded an A. Steve says he folded a K.
Great. A one-outer. I pull out $300 more and put it on the table.
Flop is a Kxx. I scream and hit the table hard with my fist.
The set holds up. I scream loudly, in a crazy way -- like Tom Cruise loves Katie.
The guy with the crazy hair, over the next few hands made more than $400. Then he busts Doug, with Q8o in the button and flops trips. Doug flops trips with A8.
They check the turn, which is a Q, and then the guy goes all-in on the river. He had been bluffing for a while, so Doug calls. And loses to the boat.
It's about 10 p.m. I hang out with Doug outside for a while, we all chat with the smokers. He's out $250 and calls it a night.
I go back inside. It's 6-handed. I'm just being blinded down. I think of leaving constantly but I say I'll stay until 11 p.m.
I get up and in between hands, eat some of this really great catered food they brought. BBQ chicken and some really great tofu and broccoli, which i was standing up and munching on.
I noticed one of the hosts looking for a long time through the door after someone knocked and I thought, this is not good.
Somehow, the door opens and this arm waves a gun through it. And that was that. The door was breached.
I jumped down next to a futon in the living room and remained calm, not looking up.
Having a game robbed is one of those things I've read about. Doyle and Sailor and Amarillo going through the Texas games. I always thought it could happen, but an extreme kind of thing, like getting 1-outered on the river.
I always took out excess credit cards from my wallet and carried some cash in my wallet for the game.
I felt calm. There was shouting and some spraying of chips. When the robbers entered the second room, away from me, I was just hoping that the game host and others would play it right. Don't do anything stupid.
They marched me up and had me lie on the floor in between the two rooms. Then they brought me back near the front door and emptied my pockets. My cell phone, my keys and my wallet. I wish I had thrown my keys somewhere. Maybe had my ID separate from my wallet, which had cash in it to keep someone from freaking out if they didn't see anything there. I wish I had at least disabled the battery on my cell phone.
I wish. All I could think of at that moment was to remain calm. And breathe right.
They had me lie curled up on the futon. I couldn't hear too much, but inside I was calm.
Just be careful and calm. You don't know how this is going to play out but hopefully it will be okay.
Where is the rest of the money? They asked. They made one guy go through their bag of keys and wallets to find the key to the storage room where the game host had his lockbox.
Throughout it, I felt fine. I kind of was relieved that it wasn't a police bust. In a sick way, it was exciting, you got that same gambler's rush of not knowing what to expect next. Like I've said long before, this is the real no-limit contest. It's your life. Do you enjoy playing so much that it's worth this to you?
I was a little concerned later on when they started tying people's hands and bringing them into the other room. My hands still weren't tied. And I was the last one to go from the front room to the back.
In the back room, where the second table was, some guy tried to tie up my hands but the cord was too short. Another guy tied my hands behind my back later. They pushed me into the bathroom where all the rest of the people were.
I could see some people crushed into the bathtub, I must have been on at least four other people. Some people were breathing heavily and I hoped that nobody was hurt or suffocating. I see Mark two people in front of me. His glasses are still intact and he looks okay. I don't see anybody physically injured.
Eventually we heard silence. Me and the very last guy, a black guy, turned around and saw they had thrown the second poker table on us. Chips were everywhere. Some broken glass.
But they had left. The black guy helped untie me and we cautiously peered around into the second room. They were gone.
My cell phone, etc. were gone. Luckily Mark still had his keys. We had to drive to my landlord to get a second set, to cancel credit cards and make sure he could change my locks the next day.
Having lost my driver's license, I didn't feel very secure. I grabbed my passport, other ID, my two laptops and some other things.
Mark drove me back to get my car. The game host and some other players were still looking around for whoever did this, angry expressions on their faces. The host wanted to know how much we lost. The money is not, and will never be, important to me in a situation like this. I don't need to be recompensated.
"Just be careful," I told the host. "You're a good guy and don't do anything risky."
So after a one-outer and some guns, a plus-EV game is now history. I genuinely liked all of the players there. I am relieved that my friends were not hurt. Getting robbed is a time-honored part of a poker player's life. But something I only want to experience once in my lifetime.
It's a good reminder. What are your priorities? What are you willing to risk to pursue your passion? When is it not worth it?
I originally was planning to title my next post with "Only the dead know the end of money," a play on Plato's "Only the dead know the end of war." I was mainly going to write about the nonstop conflict for chips online I've experienced this weekend. You blow up my Humvees. I RPG you.
But now I see another meaning to it. We play for chips and money is how we keep score but there are people out there who only see money and the power that comes with just taking it. We need to heed these things and let eye openers on the table and in life that allow us to squeak by unharmed teach us in the process.