Saturday, March 11, 2006

An Extra Chip

Split pots. I hate’em.

Sitting there in the low-limit cash game, the drunken fellow has been donkey slinging his minimal $40 buy-in all over the place and built it up significantly in a run that you can only see as the umpteenth attempt of a rogue poker god trying to crush your spirit. After waiting patiently, you finally get that feeling that you know your ace middle-kicker is vastly superior to his A2 and that you’ll now be the one that deals the killing blow to the rest of his ill-gotten stack. In the grand poker tradition of things never going quite how they should, the board had a lot of problems helping you out, resulting in a split pot. As the dealer arranges the chips all you can do is reflect on your own lost moment of glory which, even in fruition would have been small but welcome. The chips are stacked and there is an extra dollar sitting on top of what would otherwise be two even stacks. Who will it go to?


After long last, and as you already know, I finally got the news that will enable me to leave this current bleak Midwestern existence. Over the last week, I won a large battle of wills over those that are constantly seeking to hobble the smooth transition to this happier situation. This quadrant of my life is certainly trending upwards. Of course, yin cannot live without yang, as this universal truth bore itself out in a more personal quadrant.

Good must be balanced with bad. Up must balance with down at some point. A big part of my existence looked as though it would be cut away in short order.

The news came from my father. My mother has had “asthma” for many, many years. She has always had trouble breathing, and yes, she’s out of shape and obese. Has been for years. She is (and has been for some time) caught in a vicious circle now where her “asthma” won’t let her get the exercise she needs to get the weight off. This is a woman who, quite literally, has never touched a single alcohol or tobacco product in her life. Why can’t she breathe? Can asthma be this bad and getting worse over time? The trip to the emergency room a few weeks back said, “No.”

Tests, tests, and more tests.

It seems my father overstated, but I can’t say that I blame him. While the diagnosis is only 99.9% right now, and the advancement is officially undetermined (this will be resolved on Monday, I hear), it turns out my mother has something called Wegener’s Granulomatosis. Yeah, I could barely say it, too, let alone remember it to tell others. It’s pretty rare. Early on, my Dad stated that it was pretty advanced which would only mean a short time to live. Now, it seems, it may not be as advanced as they previously thought, meaning that it should be treatable, meaning no abrupt deathbed scenes.

I’m sure that there is a method or rule by which the dealer determines who that lone extra dollar chip goes to. On many occasions I’ve considered trying to find out what that rule or method is. Someone that reads here would surely be able to tell me if I asked. I can’t imagine that such knowledge would be a closely guarded secret. For me, it has always been more entertaining to feel like it was luck rather than method or rule, perhaps simply an indication of which participant in the hand the dealer favored. It may be relatively worthless, but it’s some sort of consolation in the face of disappointment at the split.

The extra dollar just went my way. Sweet.