There wasn’t a cab in sight and several men waiting in the area. A short conversation revealed they were all entrants in the event and running late. When the next cab arrived, they shared the ride to the ultimate in poker tournaments. Bob bought a hard-boiled egg and a cup of coffee when he arrived to help him make it through the first hour of the tournament.

Bob’s early hands were marginal at best. He was playing a tight game at first so he folded every hand that wasn’t premium. Even though it was tempting, he dumped an ace rag. Finally, he had a pair of jacks, but was in early position. They were dangerous, he knew that, so he proceeded with caution and simply called.

Perhaps it was the excitement of the game that dislodged the trapped gas from the meal the night before or simply was its time. Immediately after calling, Bob felt that gurgle in the depth of his colon as a bubble of gas started to make its way to the exit. Sweat began to form on his brow as he squeezed his cheeks tightly together.

“Oh dear Lord, what’s taking you guys so long? Either fold, call or raise.” He thought to himself as each player behind him slowly mulled over the options. They all folded and the big blind raised. The bubble gurgled as it descended the colon even farther. In an almost crazed move and effort to end the hand, Bob went all in. The big blind folded.

The bubble remained but now Bob was the blind with an ace/king suited in spades as his hand. He couldn’t fold and yet the urgency of the bubble remained. If he raised, it would take even longer for the hand to end, so when it was his turn, he checked. Two spades flopped and small blind raised. The bubble inched even closer to the exit in his body. Bob went all in, something he would never otherwise do, but he simply wasn’t thinking straight. He had to end the hand. Everyone folded but the small blind. He called.

Again, Bob was sure he’d ended the tournament for himself but it didn’t matter. He knew that within minutes, either in silence or in a rumble, the gas would meet the outside world. Sweat formed heavily on his brow as he pinched his butt tightly, and adjusted his sitting position. He was ready to explode.

The small blind revealed a pocket pair of queens, but Bob was oblivious. His mind focused more on the gas problem than the turn that wasn’t a spade. He didn’t care, the hand would be over in a minute and he’d be free to leave the table. The river was a queen of spades and Bob, in an impetuous move, won the hand. Luckily, his small blind was a 9/2 off suit. He quickly folded and headed towards the men’s room.

He wanted to empty everything but found only a few gaseous bursts came forth. His eyes watered as the foods from yesterday proved fatal today. How could he continue? Even if the noise of the room disguised the exit of the gas, there was no hiding the odor. It emanated throughout the bathroom causing those in the area to leave rapidly and those entering to mutter a comment or cough.

As the play continued, Bob played his normal non-aggressive safe game until another bubble of gas formed in his colon. At that point, he became the terror of the table. No one knew what he had. His style varied so much with a quiet fold or an aggressive all in when gas formed. A few times during the game, a minor amount of gas slipped out when his attempt to hold it failed. Several times it occurred during a break on his way to the bathroom. The smell was so overwhelming it prompted the game officials to have maintenance check the plumbing to see if there was a problem.

By the end of the day, Bob became the subject of discussion among the other players and the television crew. His style of play was like none they’d seen before. He was a genius at the table, confusing even the pros.

Hellmuth shook his head and folded even though he had a strong hand when he played at Bob’s table. Negreanu, Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi and even Doyle Brunson had a problem reading him and succumbed to his style of play. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for his big raises or any pattern that people could decipher. However, Bob knew the secret. He was the epitome of a tight-aggressive player with no apparent pattern. He ended as one of the chip leaders at the end of the first day.