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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Back Room - Playing A-K in Texas Hold’em

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The only mouse you’ll find in the back room of the Farm Barn is one that scurries away from the light and the sound of a poker game that runs late night once a week – no computers, no internet poker, no electronic gadgets allowed.  

The piece I’m working on is walnut, cherry, and inlaid with birch. It started as a plain old board game table and the commissioner has expanded, through various changes, the idea to a four leaf inserts.

I’ve had to add legs to the ends and…beans. It’s a game table and has turned into an heirloom piece. Provided I give it an effort. The guy that commissioned it can afford it. He’d damn well better be able to afford it.

Anyway. I’m chasing concentration, tracing the lines of the inlay with a fine and very sharp tool when the door to the shop bangs.

I mean BANGS!

The noise is completely unexpected. I haven’t had a visitor to the shop in a week. WHAM! The door slams, the edge skitters out of the trace, and scratches the surrounding wood.

I’m defeated.

A voice bellows from the service counter - “How the hell do you play A-K?”

None other than Eddie The Droop. I love Eddie. Right now I’d prefer killing Eddie - as slowly, and as horribly painfully as possible.

Placing the knife carefully in the work tray, I wipe the sweat from my face and sigh, “Two ways, Eddie. There are only two ways.”

Into the workroom he comes. Not an entrance. Eddie doesn’t make entrances. But he is one of those guys you are completely aware has made an entrance. It’s hard to reconcile. He’s the local hunting guide. One would think a guide for hunters would be invisible, but no, not Eddie. You don’t even have to see him; you just know he’s there.

I steer him toward the office, him resisting. He wants to look at the table.




“You know, Lum, that table has a gouge in it.”

“Yes, Eddie. I know. I messed up. Beer?”

“Wha? Yeah. One of those micro things you like?”



So I drag a beer from the ‘fridge and hand it to him. “Help yourself to another when you’re ready.”

“You having one?”

“Naw. Not now, I have to work on that gouge later.”

“Oh. Well, cheers.”


“How’s it going, Eddie. You getting the scouting done?”

“Some. It’s damn hot out there in the summer, Lum. Not fun.”

“Since when has work ever been fun?” I asked.

“Well, remember that guy from… Where was it? The one none of his mates cared to have around? Man! I thought I’d have a murder on my hands.”

“What’re you talking about, Eddie?”

“Oh, I guess I haven’t told you. H-m-m. Well, last year I had this party come in; there were five of them. I think they were sharing most everything - wouldn’t have surprised me if they were sharing their wives, you know… Anyway, they’re out in a group and I’m well over on the right wing, we’re line-a-breast with that guy over on the left end less one.”

Eddie takes a pause to snatch another beer from the fridge.

“Don’t break the bottle, Eddie. I’ll get a credit for taking it back.”

He hands me the empty bottle.

“About playing A-K Lum.”

“No you don’t. Finish the story you’re telling.”

“Not much more to it. We came up on a small stand of tree’s and the line drifted some so the guy was the only one that was going to enter it, the others drifting wide. When the guy - you couldn’t see him, Lum, just estimate where he was…well, when the guy got to the middle or there about, those other guys turned to face those woods and proceeded to un-load. I mean they shot up the tops of those trees like no-body's business, reloaded and did it again. That poor guy was yelling and screaming. Jesus!”

“Reckon he’ll be back this year, Eddie?”

“I haven’t received a reservation from them yet this year. What about the A-K?”

I sighed.

“Eddie. You play A-K the same way that guy you told me about should hunt with his friends.”

“How’s that, Lum?”

“With caution and a great deal of fear.”

*Find the ongoing Back Room Tales in our Poker Wall Section - or type The Back Room in 'search.'  And for the sake of discussion, you'll find The Back Room tales in this thread in the forum.

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