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Weekend Cover Story

A game that turns on each card drawn

McChord Club hosts card tournament with $500 top prize

Published: 12:56PM September 19th, 2013
A game that turns on each card drawn

By Somer Breeze-Hanson/Northwest Guardian

The bi-annual Texas Hold ‘em tournament at McChord Club and Community Center attracted a record number 85 participants at the Jan. 26 tournament.

“You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,” advises Kenny Rogers in “The Gambler.”

It’s the truth about Texas Hold ‘em — a card game that can be more about skill rather than a cliched game of luck.

Hundreds of service members and veterans from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community will have a chance to test their card skills at the Texas Hold ‘em Tournament at the McChord Club and Community Center on Saturday.

Bill Strock, JBLM recreation specialist supervisor, organizes the annual one-day tournament and league play at the Warrior Zone on Lewis North.

He said it’s a good chance to play cards for fun without resorting to gambling off base.

“You learn the game, you watch other people play and you get to know the game before you go down to the casino and become bait for a shark,” Strock said.

Texas Hold‘em is a game in which each player gets two cards, with five laid out on the table for anyone to play off of.

“Basically you think of this as a seven-card stud, only you are all sharing five of those seven cards,” Stroke said.

“If the best cards are the five on the table; you can all use that, or use one or two out of your hand.”

Three cards are laid out as the “flop,” followed by a fourth card called the “turn” and a fifth, the “river.” The dealer asks for bets each time he turns a card, and the pot grows. Strock offered a friendly bluffing tip for when the river card makes a jack-high straight. While players know when they have nothing but the straight showing on the table, opponents don’t. They might believe one of the other players has a queen.

“So I’ll bet 500 or 1,000 chips, and in case I have a queen, they throw their cards,” Strock said. “That could backfire because (an opponent) may have the queen. As the betting goes, you can tell what they have.”

Strock said an important lesson Texas Hold‘em teaches is to know when your cards aren’t any good.

“Why would you continue to play a hand where you can’t beat anybody?” Strock asked.

Doors open for the tournament at 1 p.m. with play starting at 1:30 p.m.

Each player pays $18 for a spot at one of the tables with chips and a light buffet.

In the end, the play-for-fun tournament offers gift cards of $500, $400 and $300.

For additional information, call 253-982-0718.

For those unable to attend the tournament but wanting to play against other service members on base, weekly tournaments are held at the Warrior Zone at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday.