Teddy Capers deposited a thousand on PokerStars and rebought for hundred, which he lost with pocket tens to a set on a rag board--Quincy twice refilling his stepdad's glass with SoCo--then Teddy rebought for another hundred, which slid to the button when Teddy's rivered straight didn't hold up on a four-flush board, at which point Teddy waved away the glass and started drinking from the bottle. His king queen lost to ace king; his jacks succumbed to aces.
Quincy thought, He's playing like the French in Risk.
"I can't believe my luck," Teddy wheezed, watching in horror as another of his Benjamins moved to another luckbox opponent. "Wait--that was a mistake! I've got two pair! He's got--"
"A straight," Quincy said.
"No! He . . . oh," Teddy's exclamation had reduced to a mumble. He let his head hang, regarded the bottle in his hand with watery eyes. Quincy feared he might weep.
"Try this," Quincy whispered.
Teddy stared at the carpet. He lifted the bottle to his mouth and tilted his head back; his adam's apple bobbed thrice. Wiping his lips with the back of his free hand, he muttered, "Try what."
"Put your hand over your cards."
Teddy turned and fixed one red eye upon him like a hammerhead shark. "On the screen?" Quincy nodded. One of Teddy's eyebrows rose half an inch. Then his stepdad just shook his head and laughed. It sounded like the laugh of a man who knew he was about to fall down some stairs. But he did as instructed. "Okay, junior genius. What next?"
"What do you want to be dealt?"
"What do I want? What do I want?" Then, to himself: "Now he's the Make A Wish Foundation." He laughed again, darkly.
The software dealt him two cards. They were hidden under his fingers. He started to move his hand when Quincy insisted, "Don't look."
Teddy eyed the boy, then gave the screen his most serious look. He said, "Okay. I want aces. Two black aces."
"Okay. Play it that way."
The action folded to Teddy. "I raise." He moved the slider to four dollars and clicked the button.
Everyone folded, except the button, who reraised to 12 bucks.
Through gritted teeth, Teddy said, "I raise," making it $34.
The big blind shoved all in. Teddy called instantly.
The flop, turn, and river were all aces and face cards.
He lifted his hand to see the eight of clubs and the six of hearts. A hundred dollars of Teddy's money joined the button's stack.
Bad luck, the button typed.
Very slowly, Teddy swiveled in his chair to face Quincy.
Quincy wanted to say, Well, it works for me!
Instead, he said, "Oops." And ran.