More square than Rounders, our columnist finds new friends who'll take his poker money

Despite being nearly broke after a rash of car problems, I decided to enter the $100 buy-in, no-limit tournament last weekend. First place was going to pay a cool grand. That's, like (hold please while I do the math: 1 + 3, carry the denominator...), a whole lot more than I make at the Dallas Observer. If I won, that is. If I lost, it was Chicken of the Sea for at least a week.

In preparation for the big event, I went into training. I studied many books and played many computer poker games. I dieted. I exercised. I was on a mission. I was like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky III, minus the cool calf-high colored socks. I was ready.

Yeah. I lost.

I won't bore you with the details, because to do so would mean explaining all the rules and intricacies of Texas hold 'em, and what hand beats what and the situation I was in that forced me to lose all my f-ing money, and there simply isn't enough space left here for all that. Plus, I don't want to relive the horror. All you need to know is this: I finished 12th out of 23. I went out of the tournament when I didn't hit my straight or flush draw and the other guy won with a pair of jacks. He'll be eating hearty this week; I'll be keeping Starkist in the black.

I suppose it could have been worse. I could have driven three hours to sit next to Melty Face Guy.

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