Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Liar's poker.

 A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Desk Jockey Saloon when I took a stool next to "Stapler" McGee. McGee was looking at a dollar bill with a quizzical eye, as if wondering if that little of a tip would get him a buyback anytime this century.

"What's up, Stapler?"

"Just lookin' at this here bill, Faxalong," said McGee. He rolled it up in his huge fist, a fist that had pounded many an IBM Selectric in its day, and said, "You ever play liar's poker?"

"You always lie in poker," I said.

"Naw, the game with dollar bills," he said. "It's real simple, kid. Take a buck outta your moth-eaten wallet and I'll explain."

I did.

"The object is to get the best poker hand with the serial number on the bill," he said. "Mebbe I see two 3's in my number. So I bid that. Then you have to beat that. You might see three 5's, which would be better than mine, so you could bid that. Or you could say you only have two 5's; you wanna hold something in reserve. Then I have to beat your pair. We go back and forth, or around and around if there's more of us, until someone's got to start lyin' to beat the last bid. If you think I lied, and call me on it, and I did, you win. But if I didn't lie and you call me, you lose. If you figure I told the truth and you can't beat me, you can either give up or try to lie yourself."

"Heck, might as well lie, then."

"That's why it's called liar's poker."

I gave him a squint and a grin and said, "You're on, Stapler."

He peered at his bill and said, "Two 6's."

I peered at mine. To my shock, I realized I didn't have a single pair! Eight digits and not two of them matched!

Looked like I'd have to start lying already.

"Two 8's," I said with artificial confidence.

"Two 6's and two 2's," he said.

"Three 8's."

He gave me a sidelong glance and said, "Full house, 6's and 2's."

Should I believe him? Should I bluff him with four 8's?

And then I saw it.

Smiling broadly, I said, "Straight flush to the 7."

His jaw dropped. "What? No way!"

I dropped my bill on the bar. "Read it and weep."

"I see the straight, but..."

"They're all green!"

Stapler smacked me in the back of the head, took my dollar, and said, "Go home, Faxalong. You're too dumb to drink today."

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