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Rated: 13+ · Other · Crime/Gangster · #1146214
Public school scam
‘Deal me in Charlie, here’s a twenty that should cover me for tonight’

‘You owe more than that to me alone mate, twenty won’t cover it’

I fished three salmon fifty’s from my pocket and laid them crisp on the table. ‘This should pay my debts and give me £75 in credit’

The morning had proved more lucrative than I thought, fleecing money off my F-block was small fry compared to the pompous members of the backgammon club. I’d been careful of course, a little here, one big win there and then lose enough for them to believe it was just beginners luck. They were still hungry for more when I left them, one even offering me a chance to join the school team. ‘You’ll get stick ups next year’ he promised by way of incentive.

‘Texas rules, £1 & £2 blinds’ Charlie called as the chips went in and the hands were dealt. I fingered my cards and my heartbeat crept up as it always did when I was close to stinging someone. Remembering what Uncle Tom had taught me I focused on the four other boys around the table, as I did my breathing lowered and slowly my pulse relaxed.

‘I call’ Jeremy said, throwing two green chips into the mix. He glanced at the back of his cards and then blinked before sitting back in his chair.

‘I’m in too’ I called and added my two chips to the table. No blinking or glancing for me, although the group I was playing with wouldn’t have noticed if I’d tugged at my ear twice and bit my bottom lip. They were typical public school boys believing the world belonged to them and that winning was a foregone conclusion. By the way I had been playing over the last month I would have forgiven them for this presumption.

I’d stumbled upon HWB’s fourth floor poker nights by accident whilst stealing out on to the roof for a smoke in second year. I’d watched the games every Saturday night hidden in the shadows until I was sure I could take them, but it required a bit of theatre and when I first joined, ‘drunk’ from the Windsor pubs, I lost £40 straight up.

‘I’m folding’ Charlie flicked his cards into the stack of chips; he did this every time thinking it was how a pro would play.

The small blind added another pound to his bet and the last man to call, Christian, checked. £8 quid in the pot and Charlie dealt the flop, three cards face up on the table. 4 of clubs, queen of clubs, and the ace of diamonds as each card was turned I watched each boys eyes and listened for their breath, noting any irregularities.

I’d learnt to play poker and how to cheat, legally, when my widowed mother (Dad died when I was 4 no love lost there) sent me to live with my Uncle Tom in London. He wasn’t really an uncle but a friend of my fathers from his time in Hong Kong. Having made a fortune selling ‘Ice to Eskimos’ as he always told me Tom had come back to London where he indulged in the finer things; drink, women and gambling. No one knew this of course, on the outside he was a member of Whites and played bridge every Thursday with members of the Notting Hill set, he’d stood as MP for Kensington and Chelsea for two years before retiring to run a few charities. I’d grown up in the Lake District living with my mother in a small cottage near Windermere. We weren’t poor but my time was spent playing in the woods and catching small animals rather than waterskiing or sailing on the mere. When I was 11 I’d travelled to Eton College to take what my mother called a ‘very important test’ she was delighted when I received a note saying that I’d been granted a chance to try for a scholarship.

The small blind, Roger, checked as did Christian. Touching his cards briefly Jeremy pushed two blue chips to the collection.

‘Raise it £4’ he said and looked at me challenging me to fold.

‘I’ll see your £4’

‘Call’ Roger added

‘Too rich for me guys I’m out’ Christians cards went back to the pack.

I missed out on the scholarship but passed without having to take common entrance and so was delivered to Tom in February to live in London before starting the new term in the winter. I learnt more in those six months than I would in five years at the school of kings and politicians. Tom’s friends where an eclectic and colourful group, parliamentarians, writers, traders, and then the rogues or entrepreneurs, the shady Asians and con artists, I absorbed everything they were willing to tell me but Tom was who taught me the most.

There was a noise on the stairs, I looked at Charlie a furtive look designed to show fear all part of the charade.

‘Don’t worry mate just someone taking a piss, Wistle will be pissed as a fart downstairs and Mrs. Sims is out for the weekend.’

Charlie dealt another card, the turn, another Ace this time clubs. I was visibly deflated, slumping on my stool I looked at Jeremy who was trying not to smile. I knew he’d picked up the flush he’d been betting on, the nervous glances had told me he’d been overplaying his hand in hope of a good draw. Roger saw me slump and not noticing Jeremy’s dancing eyes upped the bet to £2 more. I placed Roger with two pair aces and 4s; this wasn’t the WPT they bet on anything.

Jumping on the raise Jeremy re-raised it to £4 and the bet was on me. I’d hoped my rounded shoulders had given enough clues that I’d missed the supposed royal straight I was looking for but I added my money keeping to the pattern I’d built up of looking for a miracle on the last card.

Surprisingly Roger carried on increasing his bet to the £4. I watched him again as the last card fell – 2 of spades nothing to add to anyone’s hand. Roger checked and eying his stack Jeremy slid two black chips to the centre

‘Raise you ten’ he said in triumph. I turned the edges of my cards up, the ace queen of hearts smiled back at me and I pushed all but two of my remaining chips into the pot.

‘See your ten and raise you, um, £53’ I waited to see if they’d made me.

‘Call’ said Roger

‘I’m putting you all in £55 and I’m going to side pot against Roger another £50” Jeremy was going for the kill.

I pulled another pink note from my wallet and pushing my last chips onto the table I asked if I could carry on.

‘No deal mate’ Charlie, who’d been having a fag out the window called ‘No buy-ins till the next hand.

‘I’m ok with it ‘ Jeremy said greedy for more.

‘It’s his money Charlie’ Roger said “if he wants to gamble..’

‘Christian you ok with this? Christian?’ The big guy was asleep on the bed snoring gently his chips cradled in is arms.

‘Play it then but don’t blame me’ Charlie had given the go ahead and it was done. £349 on the table and out came the cards.

‘Sorry guys flush with the King yours ain’t good enough.’ Jeremy revealed his King,8 of clubs.

‘Well I got you both anyhow full house 4s full of aces’ Roger jumped the gun and as he reached for the stack I threw in the nuts.

‘Full house Aces and Queens’ and pulled the chips and cash towards me.

They stood dumfounded as I counted the chips. Now I had them, I knew the tells and I had the big stack. Over the next 15 hands I took it all, leaving with just under £800 pounds and the curses and promises of beatings ringing in my ears.

Tom would have been proud.

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