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Windfall (standard:Suspense, 3288 words)
Author: Anthony R MackieAdded: Dec 08 2008Views/Reads: 2579/1302Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A poker player receives a huge slice of luck just when he needs it most, and from an unexpected source.


A Short Story by Anthony R Mackie (©2008) 

Poker is not everybody's game, but it was certainly Derek Walsh's game,
especially the Texas Hold ´Em variety.  Derek (or Del Boy as he was 
more affectionately known) had been bitten by the bug around 1992 when 
he was an 18 year old student and it had quickly become an obsession to 
him.  It had afforded him a good living at times, but more commonly had 
been responsible for his bouts of manic depression when up to his neck 
in debt to various clubs and casinos.  No matter though; he had always 
been able to dig himself out of any particular hole he happened to be 
in at the time, and the poker was as important to Del Boy as breathing. 

If there was one thing that Del Boy was, it was a worker, because after
leaving university at the age of 20, with what is commonly known as 
“jack shit” qualification- wise, he had needed to graft to survive.  
After moving around from job to job for the first few years after that, 
he could now boast (at the age of 34) 10 years service for his current 
employers, the small but highly successful Pembery Haulage Ltd.  Del 
loved his job and the firm were based in Enfield Town which was perfect 
being a 2 minute walk from his small, but cosy, bachelor pad.  Overtime 
work was plentiful at Pembery´s, so much so that if you chose to, you 
could work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and at times when Del Boy 
needed a tournament stake, that's exactly what he did. 

For the past 3 months he had worked his nuts off in order to get
together a £5,000 stake for an up and coming tournament at the Empire 
Casino in the city.  He had already booked his time off from work and 
reserved himself a room at the reasonably priced Shaftsbury Hotel on 
the Avenue of the same name which was just 5 minutes away from the 
Casino, which in turn was situated just off Leicester Square.  This 
would be the biggest game Del Boy had ever been involved in and even 
now, a few days away from the tournament, he had constant butterflies 
in his stomach; this was his chance to win some serious dough. 

Fifty four players would begin the game, split into 6 tables of 9 people
and gradually they would be whittled down to a final 9 table; of which 
the last three standing would split the £250,000 prize fund (150k, 70k 
and 30k respectively).  Del Boy knew his game could get him into the 
final shootout and these were life changing sums of money to a guy like 

Just after lunchtime on the Thursday, Del made his way into London and
booked into his hotel.  Once unpacked, he lay down on the bed and 
started to plan his strategy for the first round of the tournament that 
evening, when the first eighteen players to lose their chips would be 
eliminated.  Del Boy was determined not to be among that first group or 
the next eighteen who would join them the following evening; if he 
could just make it to the Saturday when two tables would become the 
final table, he would back himself against anybody. 

Around 6pm after enjoying a short yet unplanned snooze, Del Boy showered
and changed before wandering down to the hotel bar and ordering a pot 
of coffee and a sandwich; nothing heavy to drink just yet, as there was 
serious work to be done. 

Judging by the snippets of conversation he overheard, there seemed to be
quite a lot of the other “tourney” (tournament) players also staying at 
the Shaftsbury, and a few of them he noticed appeared to be already 
hitting the hard stuff.  This could work two ways in a poker game; it 
could either impair a player's judgement making them easy pickings, or 
it could make them dangerous opponents through playing mediocre hands 
with a tad too much of the old “Dutch courage”.  It is very much a 
personal thing, but Del Boy preferred to keep his wits about him, thank 
you very much. 

The tournament started on the dot at 9pm and things went much as Del Boy
had hoped they would.  He stayed pretty much out of the action, folding 
anything other than a high pair, and conserving his chips whilst 
allowing the self styled “big shots” to take each other out of the 
game.  Barely two hours later, the first round was finished and they 
were down to the 36 players who would do it all again the following 
evening, with Del Boy being one of them.  He knew he would have to play 

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