I sat down at a $2-$4 no limit table and bought in for 400 bucks. It was a weekday so the poker room was a bit slower than usual. I sat to the left of a guy I had played with before named Jack. A few of the guys called him Jack Rabbit because he was very fidgety and played in quick, almost uncontrollable bursts. The player to my left was a college-aged kid wearing an Elmer Fudd hat. Wonder if he’s hunting wabbits, I thought.
A few hands in, Jack Rabbit came in for a raise to 20 under the gun and I looked down at Ace-Jack. I called. Elmer also called and everyone else folded. The flop came down 8, 10, Queen, rainbow. I had a double belly buster straight draw; there were two cards that could make my straight—a 9 or a King. And a double belly buster is different than an open-ended straight draw, which is also four cards to a straight but in order. The double belly buster is harder for opponents to notice because there aren’t a bunch of consecutive cards sitting out there all in a row.
Whoever named straight draws belly busters and gut shots sure had it right. You call away your chips slowly chasing that perfect card and usually die a slow death. Like being shot in the gut. A double belly buster just means there are two cards that will make the straight instead of just one.
Jack Rabbit checked the flop, which made me sure he had a big hand, pocket Aces or Kings. He would almost always make a continuation bet if he’d raised preflop. But his check told me he was planning on putting in a raise if either me or Elmer bet. I also checked.
Elmer mumbled under his breath and put out a bet of 20 into a pot of 66 bucks. It was a bet that looked like a flush draw but there wasn’t one on the board, so I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Jack Rabbit hesitated. That was different—he almost always acted quickly and moved his chips manically. I figured he had been planning to raise, but decided against it and simply called, probably fearing a made straight or a set. Now there were 106 bucks in the pot and I only had to put in 20 to chase eight outs, an easy call.
Wonder if he’s hunting wabbits, I thought
The turn came down a King, making me the nuts and I tried to keep my hands from shaking. Jack Rabbit bet out 40 bucks and I was sure he had pocket Aces. His smallish bet was just to see where he was in the hand and I was pretty sure he’d fold to a raise. I was also pretty sure that Elmer was thinking the same thing, so I smooth called the 40.
Elmer pushed out his entire stack without hesitation and Jack Rabbit tossed his cards away with a moan. I called and turned over my Ace-high straight. Elmer’s face scrunched and he turned over Jack-9 for a smaller straight that he’d hit on the flop.
“How you chase that crap?” Elmer whined.
“He had a double belly buster bud,” Jack Rabbit offered. “How the hell’s he gonna fold getting more than five to one on his money.”
“A double belly whaaaa?” Elmer asked and the table erupted in laughter.
Elmer’s only chance was to catch an Ace on the river to split the pot but when a rag fell, he got up and headed for the door. He mumbled something about where the rest of us could go, to which Jack Rabbit responded, “Wabbit season is over.”
* Excerpt from the novel Smooth Calling by Matt Kapelas