Everybody bets with the hope that they might win a large sum of money that will change their lives for the better. The odds of winning are generally low; the chances of hitting the royal flush in Texas Hold’em is one in 639,739. Even professional poker players do not have control over how jackpots are won – diehard players will play till retirement without ever getting one. The most shocking thing is that even the most recent player to hit a Royal Flush did not realize what had happened at that exact moment.
The poker player, from Chile, had decided to unwind at a casino after a day of doing business. Walking into the casino alongside his wife, the unidentified player took an interest in a poker game at a table that already had 3 other players. The wife preferred the slots and headed to where the machines were. The man hails from a city in southern Chile and had taken the wife along on a business trip not knowing that this is where he would meet his fortune.
The poker game was nothing unusual and the cards flew around as expected. It appeared that the man was there for the entertainment and that is why he continued to play even after experiencing a bout of bad luck at the start. His impromptu decision to visit the casino was rewarded a few moments into the game and in a huge way.
The big surprise appeared while he was playing the third hand. He spotted an acquaintance from his hometown passing across where he was seated, greeted one another and went on talking as the dealer went on to deal the flop, turn, and river. Although those around him say that his eyes were fixated on the dealer, the man was in deep conversation with his hometown buddy. When he eventually turned his attention to the cards he was holding, it dawned on him that the board had awarded him a straight.
It is interesting how the winner seemed unmoved when he looked at the cards the first time, but it is probably because his mind was tuned to the conversation. His silence over the turn of events must have stunned those seated at his table because they too froze in dismay. After a while of holding it in, the entire table began to cheer both for the fact that he had won and because the pot had eventually found a home. Many regulars of the casino are aware that the casino runs a promo with a large prize for hitting a royal flush, and the player had just won CLP150 million (US$192,000).
Asked about his reserved demeanor after learning that he had won such a huge sum of money, he told the casino that he is not prone to outbursts of excitement. Well, people are different and this is someone who, although excited and happy, will not celebrate in obvious ways.
After the win had been confirmed by those on the same table, the winner went to where the wife was playing slots to share the good news with her. Thinking that the husband was playing a prank on her, the wife launched into a mini-tirade. He did not know how else to prove it to her other than take her over to the table, where the other players were still seated. They began congratulating him once more and that’s when she realized it was indeed true. The man was extraordinary in the way he reacted to the other players after pocketing his loot. While leaving the premises, he shared his good fortune with the others by giving each player at table CLP1 million (US$1,260) and the casino staff a tip of CLP2 million (US$2,520).
The Chilean poker winner demonstrated to the gambling world that winning or losing is both part of the industry. He obviously did not know that he would have that much cash and that is why he decided to share his blessing with everyone present – this is rare.
Other industry wins
The win by the Chilean poker player is just but one of the many wins that happened that same week. According to news sources, there is a group of players that had been wrongfully arrested by the police in Texas and were later released without charges. This happened when police raided the Watauga Social Lounge Poker Club last October following orders from a district attorney (DA) ignorant of state laws. Given that the club was holding a poker tournament, there were many people at the scene; several employees were arrested and many players fined.
According to the DA, the poker room was involved in illegal gambling but this allegation was dismissed by the fact that Texas law doesn’t prohibit organized poker as long as the house doesn’t take a rake. For this model to survive, it has necessitated the creation of social poker rooms that require membership subscriptions. The poker industry has faced many challenges over the years but none has been able to knock it down. There has even been an attempt to rewrite the Texas laws even though some DAs and prosecutors outright ignore it.
When the Watauga poker room case was presented in court, the judge signed off on the DA’s motion and threw out the case that had resulted in illegally seizing $200K. Following this action, 46 people will be cleared of all related criminal charges; unfortunately, 3 had signed plea bargains so their names are already in court records. There is one individual among the arrested who was anticipating a jury trial. Through a Facebook post, Steve Nichols stated that it was vindication that the DA’s office decided to “cower in the face” of those who stood up to it.
Those who had been fined of $360 will be refunded but there is still no decision on the $200K. It is expected that interested parties will fight to have that returned also.