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Beer Nuts & Other Heroes

Inside Straight Flush!


The fraternity poker game had been going for hours. Cigarettes, beer, and manly scents filled the air. Normally I would be part of this collegiate ritual but tonight I was getting back late from a date and found myself in the unfamiliar role of observer. I grabbed a beer and chose Larry as the player to watch. Larry was well liked in the frat, particularly for his poker participation. Larry’s Modus Operadi was to sit down and within 30 minutes donate $20 to the support of his brothers. Tonight, I would learn precisely why Larry seldom won. After a few uninteresting hands, Larry was dealt the 3, 10, Jack, King, and Ace of diamonds. It was a powerful flush in a no wild card game of five card draw. Larry had the hand of the night and he played the hand coyly with only one raise to the initial bettor. So far, so good! But there was more to come. Larry decided to take a card! He threw away the 3 of diamonds to go for the inside straight flush. Was he nuts? He just pitched the winning hand. I just stood there incredulous at what I was witnessing.

Well, for those fans of Kevin Costner’s “Tin Cup” movie philosophy (“you define the moment or the moment defines you”), my frat brother Larry beat you by 30 years.

Larry’s new card was in fact the Queen of diamonds. He drew into & got the inside straight flush. He won again the hand he had already won. His rationale, similar to Costner’s golfing character, who lost the US Open, was “how many times do you get to draw to a straight flush?” Not many, so why not do it? Larry won the hand and I became acutely aware of why he donated game after game. But it’s 35+ years later and Larry’s inside straight draw is the most memorable poker hand I’ve ever seen.

It was one for the ages. A story to be told!

Moral: Thrill has its merits! (Big memories require big risks.)