Poker Night in Calabogie

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You know, winter wouldn’t be complete anymore without a hike down to Jim Doucette’s cabin for a good old-fashioned winter poker night in Calabogie! That’s exactly what we did the first weekend I was back from the Dominican Republic. The notice wasn’t totally last minute, but it was a bit rushed for me to make up my mind about going or not. As such, I decided this time around that I would only go out for supper and the games, and head back into town later the same night. After all, I had some pretty intense training to go to the next morning, and I knew that if I stayed over, it would mean only one thing… too much partying with the boys. So sets the stage for the second winter invitational poker tournament at the cabin. This post will give you a little colour around this fun event.

For me, the trip started Friday night, as I ended up playing poker at another friends house that night too. The boys all got together Friday night at Giffin’s apartment for a round of poker, I didn’t win the main game, but made back most of my money in a ring game that we started up a bit later. That’s when things went wrong. We all decided that we should go to Grace O’Malley’s to have a couple drinks and dancing. So off I went with Giffin, Andy, Matt, and Rob to the bar. It’s been a long time since I was out with the boys, so we over-indulged a tad. Rob, being the great guy and the big winner of the night, was goaded into not only paying our admission, but also a couple rounds of drinks. There was also a band playing, so a number of times we got up to cut the rug the way we used to. The night wrapped up pretty late for me (well after 2am), finishing off with me flagging down a cab to take me home.

The next morning I realized that I had to get my act together and actually go out and play more poker! Gee, was I glad I’d already decided to not stay out all night this time around! For company, Kev had also decided he’d play somewhat good daddy, and come home as well. But as he wasn’t driving, he had a little more flexibility in how his night could unfold ;-). By the time we got to Jim’s, it was probably around 6pm, and the barbecue was already lit up, with the food starting to cook. So what do a bunch of guys in the woods eat? Well, nothing but the best. For starters, we had venison sausages, which came from a deer that Jim’s brother had bagged earlier in the fall. So authentic forest fare. We also had some steaks to cook, and potatoe salad, coleslaw, chips and snacks of all sorts of varieties, and plenty of drinks to wash it all down. I’m pretty sure a large part of the draw to these poker nights is the good food we have.

After we had all gotten our fill of food (and there was plenty of meat left too!), we set about with the games of the night. Luck was definitely not with me, and I was the second to go out, in a pretty short time frame, eclipsed only by the enigma that is Marc Levesque! He wasn’t too keen on playing in the first place, so he played fast and loose, and lost quickly, which suited him just fine. We just sat back, talked, and watched the action half-heartedly. The first 4 of us went out pretty quick, leaving the last 4 (or was it 5) guys to battle it out in the long run. They seemed to play forever, with the eventual winner being Jim Doucette. Now, this was quite amazing, considering his state of mind. I’ve never been so entertained by Jim in all my life. He was totally lit up , and it was great fun to egg him on. Some of the pictures bear this out! Of course, this being a guys poker night in the middle of the woods on a snowy winter day, I’m not at liberty to discuss all the happenings of that evening, but needless to say it was a great time, even though I left early.

There was a second poker game played by some of the remaining players, but I chose to just supervise. Eventually, a few people disappeared, and I found them outside, building a nice fire. Apparently Marco and Marc were camping under the stars, so they had set up their tent in the snow, and built a fire to warm up before turning in. I hung out there a bit with them, enjoying the crisp winter air and general awesomeness of being outdoors in the dead of winter on a cloudless night. Part of me was definitely jealous that I wouldn’t be sleeping under the stars that night too. A couple other people also came out, to enjoy cigars outdoors. Meanwhile, in the cabin, the battle of wits carried on, with the last three players in game 2 being Ben, Jeff and Kevin. This game was also dragging on, and I think Kev sensed I wanted to get going, as he eventually just started making big moves and all in. One bad call, and the game was up for Kev. So close, but sadly, only first and second place got money in these games, so he had to walk away empty handed ;-(

After he was done, we packed it in and trudged back up to the vehicle to start the drive back home. All in all, another fabulous night of poker and friendship. Thanks a ton for having us out again Jim, hopefully I’ll make the next one again, and the Mad River Float as well this year! Jim’s real lucky to have such a great property, and I can only hope that some day I’ll have access to a nice plot of land like that too. Till the next post, remember to always have fun… life is too short!

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