Magic Man overcomes biggest gaffe of year to finish second

Yeah, yeah, I know. We should lead with the winner, but first a story:

Late in September 1908, in the midst of a pennant race, Fred Merkle stood at first base while a teammate held third as the New York Giants tried to break a 1-1 tie against the Chicago Cubs. Two were out when Al Bridwell strolled to the plate and promptly whacked what should have been the game-winning hit. The runner on third scored easily, but Merkle, at the time the National League’s youngest player at 19, started jubilating before he even got to second and peeled off (no relation to Peel-Out Vinson) for the clubhouse as the crowd poured on the field. Ever alert, Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers (of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance fame) retrieved the ball and an umpire, then stepped on second. Umpire Hank O’Day called Merkle out on a force play, nullifying the run. The score remained tied, but with the crowd on the field and darkness rolling in, there was no way to resume the game, so a tie was declared. It wouldn’t have mattered, but the Giants and Cubs ended the regular season tied and had to replay the tie game, which the Cubs won. Fred Merkle was devastated.

Fast forward to October 1986, Boston Red Sox held a two-run lead and a 3-2 games lead in the World Series in the bottom of the 10th inning against the New York Mets. But the Mets rallied to tie the game when Mookie Wilson stepped to the dish. He hit a routine grounder to first baseman Bill Buckner, whose aging knees should have been on the bench at that point of the game. Instead, the ball twisted under his glove as Ray Knight bounced him with the game-winner. The Mets went on to win Game 7 as well.

Fred Merkle. Bill Buckner. And now, the Magic Man.

As has been chronicled here, the Magic Man has been displeased with his play lately. He misreads players like he misreads putts. His cards have been brutal and he’s misplayed the good ones he’s had. If you get close to him during a game, you can hear “what’s wrong with you?” echoing through his usually vacant head.

Early in Tuesday’s game, he actually stumbled into a pair of kings after the flop and bet. The bet was called again by the Silent Assassin, who had also called the Magic Man’s pre-flop bet. An A came on the turn. The Magic one knew that the Ace would beat him and checked. The Assassin also checked and the disconsolate Magic Man, thinking the hand was over and he was beat, flipped over his king. The table erupted in laughter (usually the table is understanding and NEVER would make fun of a mistake — yeah, right) as Magic Man realized his mistake. The Assassin chose not to reveal his cards early and threw a bet of 12 at the pot after the river card. Magic Man knew that bet could have been anything from 7-2 unsuited to pocket Aces and folded. He then went outside to untilt himself.

It was an eventful night, outside of the idiocy. The Magic Man was bedeviled with 3s all night. At one point, he had a 3 in the hole on eight consecutive hands, sending the players to the record books to check on history. He also had a later run of four straight hands with a 3 underneath.

The botched hand gave the Assassin a cheap lead he would never relinquish. The table often looked like the Assassin and the four dwarves (Mr. ONEderful was flying). Here were the highlights:

** Magic Man, down to eight chips, goes all-in with 6-9 offsuit and hits a straight on the river to stay alive.

** Hoot Vinson hits quad queens and wins one chip for each lady.

** Peel-Out Vinson survives an all-in when his Q7 beats The Competitor’s Q6.

** The Competitor is first out when he pushes all his chips in with pocket 8′s. Unfortunately for him, the Magic Man had AA.

** Hoot was next out, dumped when his pocket 4′s fell victim to an Ace on the turn for Peel-Out.

** Peel-Out goes all in and hits runner runner wheel cards for a straight, but g-robs the chips back on the next hand is eliminated in short order.

** The Assassin, holding a 160-90 chip lead, needs 16 hands to bounce Magic Man, who got 2 face cards underneath in 16 hands. And fittingly, the last card of the night was a 3, which didn’t fit anything in Magic’s hand.

Sidenote: It was Peel-Out’s 29th birthday and we celebrated with cake and ice cream. Happy Birthday, Peel.

Gary Robinson posted at 2009-8-12 Category: Poker

Leave a Reply

(Ctrl + Enter)