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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Back Room – The Question

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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.

“Hello, Lum.” Comes floating toward me as I enter the Coffee Shop.

“Hi, Mary,” I sparkle. “How they hanging?”

Now, I know, and you know, that’s probably not the question to ask a lady. But, like I say, it’s the way she affects me.

“Lum, I hope to God they’re not hanging and the last time I checked they weren’t. Are they?”

“Ah, hell. Sorry, Mary.” I get out.

She’s laughing at me, and hands me a coffee. “No charge, Idiot.”

“Thanks. Looks like The Back Room in here today.”

“Yeah. It does. They’ve been arguing poker for the past hour. I hope they leave soon, it’s almost lunch time at the school and having all these adults sipping cheap coffee is detrimental to the coke and candy bar bunch tending their habits.”

“Run the freeloaders out.”

“You do it.” She says. “Considering all the free beer you hand out, you’d make a good bouncer.”

“Mary.” I warn her.

“Lum.” She says. “How they hanging?” laughing.

Sighing, I wander over to the bunch asking, generally: “You boys tired of taking up Mary’s space, yet? The kids are about due.”

I wasn’t in time to catch the full conversation, but it seems they were talking on line poker tournaments. There was a fellow sitting between Clovis and DD I didn’t recognize. I’d have to make a mental note to ask Clovis to bring the guy to a game. It was about that time – me walking up to the table – that the fellow dipped into his jacket pocket and hauls out a book.

Now, hauling out a book to make a point around this bunch was . . Well! Words fail me. It just didn’t happen.

“Right here,” he says, pointing to an open page; “Optimal strategy. With so many  players playing in a crowded pot—pre-flop—early so aggressively, a conservative strategy ought to pay big dividends, since strong hands rate to get paid very well.”

DD reaches over and moves the book around to see the cover. “Harrington?” he asks.

“Yeah,” the guy says, “Volume One. Harrington On Hold’em.”

“What’s that about,” the Mouse asks, “and who’s Harrington?”

Groan’s all around. But I don’t see anyone wanting to answer that question. “Gents,” I say, “Get! Mary needs the table space and her store back.”

As they’re sorting themselves out I asked Clovis about the guy. “Travelling salesman,” He explains.

“Ah. Not a good candidate for the game.” I say.

“No, having him around might not be a good thing. But, that was a good discussion today. What’da you think about the Harrington bit?”

“Can’t say, Clovis,” I reply, “I came late and missed most of the discussion. Were you guys talking home game, casino, on-line poker or formal multi-table, only tournaments?”

“Um. Hadn’t though about it. I was thinking straight hold’em, and hadn’t tried to break down what was being talked about.”

About that time Mary pipes up with “My shifts about over, Lum.” Which statement brings a general laugh from the crowd.

“Mary,” I reply, “who’s that new blonde you have working the evening shifts?”

“Lum. You keep asking stupid questions like that and I’ll show you blonde.”

As a matter of record, she doesn’t have a blonde working in the whole joint, no matter the shift. Still, a fellow needs some sort of protection.

“I think,” Clovis says, “that the book might be correct.”

“Why’s that, Clovis.” I’m fishing here. Information is always useful.

“Well, just off the top of my head,” he says, “most of the hip-shooters will get picked off early by the more really aggressive players, and a conservative guy can sit back and let ’em roar in one another’s faces.”

“So, play tight early?” I ask.

“Blinds are small. You can afford to wait.”

“And later? And how much later?” I’m thinking out loud.

“Ah—ha! The question!” he says. “The Question.”

*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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