But he didn’t owe me any money. Which begged the question who exactly he owed money to.
If he didn’t owe Ashton, there was only one other person in town that it could be. I’d have to text Ashton on the next break in the action.
I put my phone down and waited for an answer. The hand continued. I knew this hand was mine no matter what anyone else had in theirs. Four of a kind Kings. There were only two hands that could beat mine: four of a kind Aces, or a straight flush. With only the river card remaining and no Aces or consecutive cards in the same suit in sight, those hands were impossible. Carson flipped the river card.
Ten of hearts.
My eyes were immediately drawn to Wasden. He would be the easiest read. Like always, when he thought he had a winning hand he bounced his leg, making his whole body shake. This time he was wrong. He didn’t have much in front of him on the table, but I had a feeling if I bet correctly, I could take him for what he had left.
“Check.” I kept my posture the same. Any movement would give away what I held.
Carson tossed a stack of chips into the center. “Two grand.”
“I’m out,” said Sampson, sliding his cards, face down, into the center.
The play turned to Sullivan. The expression on his face almost blank, except for the slight twitch at the corner his left eye. Most likely whatever he held in his hand was decent. He scanned the other players, trying to decide if he could bluff the rest of us out.
Eventually, he picked up the necessary chips and tossed them into the center. “Call.”
We all looked to Wasden. He lifted his cards one last time and pushed forward his chips. “Twenty-five hundred.”
Carson nodded and grabbed the needed chips from his pile. “Three.”
“Call.” I needed one more of them to fold before I could force Wasden’s hand.
I looked at Wasden, only just managing to keep the shock from my face. Normally, the man was very conservative when he increased the pot. But this time, he’d more than doubled it in one round. He lifted a hand and rubbed the back of his neck as he pushed all of his chips forward. He knew the house rules. He must have honestly thought he had a chance to beat me. Then again, the probability of being dealt a pair of Kings was so low, most people didn’t expect it.
Carson’s eyes were wide as he slid his cards to the center of the table. Most likely he’d been bluffing from the beginning and hoped his high bid would scare people out. “Fuck, that’s it for me. I’m not going home to my wife empty handed.”
Two down. Two to go. I dropped my chips onto the pile. “Ten.”
Wasden’s eyes practically bulged out of his skull. “What?” he whispered.
“Ten grand?” Sullivan repeated. “That shit’s way too much for me.” He slid his cards to the center.
I turned my attention back to Wasden. He sat there, frozen, staring at the pot in front of him. When he finally looked up, his eyes were haunted.
“I’m already all-in.”
I could have felt bad for the guy and given him a break. Ashton probably would have. Unfortunately for him, that wasn’t my style.
“You know the house rules, Ray. You either match the bet or forfeit the pot.”
I’d instituted the rule a few years ago when I installed the new poker tables into the place. Getting rich quick on sports betting was one thing, but poker, that was just an insult to the game. A few young idiots came in hoping to hit it big by bluffing and pushing their chips all-in during the first round, forcing everyone else to call them. It pissed the other players off. When one guy almost took out one of the punks in my establishment, I talked to Dad. Neither of us wanted to call for cleanup every night because of that bullshit. So I made it a house rule.