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Archive for January, 2010

My First Kill

"Sheeney!" "Kike!" Shouts came a few times a week, especially when we left Hebrew school at Inwood Jewish Center in the Inwood section near the upper tip of Manhattan. Since we Sheenies attended Hebrew school five days a week, we were easy targets and were constantly being attacked by one group or another.  Yet, we had no street gang of our own; so, every so often, we would join the Micks from Arden Street and Thayer Street when they were being attacked by the Guineas from north of Dyckman Street--pocket knives, shivs, garbage-can covers, taped hockey sticks, baseball bats, and fists all being flailed. Luckily, no one got killed.

Then there were two times I was held up at gun point in a deli I owned in New York City on Madison Avenue. This store was open 365 days a year.  We were open until midnight or one A.M. every night--a perfect target for those needing a fix so bad, they would steal from the first available place that seemed to have cash available. That first time, I had a pistol aimed at my head.  After the robber scooped whatever was in the register, probably under five hundred dollars, I attempted to call the police.  However, I had lost my voice. I actually could not talk to the police when they arrived, after a clerk who worked for me called the authorities.  The second time I was held up in the store, the robber made me feel more at ease.  I remember joking with him, asking him if he wanted a sandwich to-go.  Crazy, right?

Some years later, I was managing a Kings Supermarket in Livingston, New Jersey.  We had a safe in this store.  It was before closing, a little before nine at night. In the store along with me, were three customers, one cashier, and two clerks.  Three men with ski masks came into the store and jammed the door so it could not be opened.  Two of the men wielded some type of shot guns or rifles (police thought carbines). The leader of this fierce threesome kept making circular motions with his weapon, some kind of revolver with a very long barrel.  His motioning was signaling all of us, the employees and the customers, to go into the backroom.  We were told to lie down, which we all obligingly did. We lay on the floor, panicked. The three gunmen then took whatever they wanted, including my wallet.  It was the taking of my wallet that set me off.  I rose from the floor and approached the shotgun/rifle man who had my wallet.  I demanded that he give me my wallet back, stressing that they had plenty without my wallet and its meager contents, mostly ID's  and pictures.  He returned my wallet, in tact. Crazy, right?  The hold-up got even stranger.  The leader with this huge-looking pistol directed me back to the front of the store, where the safe was. I was ordered to open the safe. The gunman kept pointing this scary pistol at me. I became disoriented.  I informed the gunman that if he did not stop pointing his gun at me two things would probably happen. Firstly, he was not going to get any money from the safe; secondly, I would probably be killed. Luckily, he pointed the gun in another direction.  Finally, I was able to recall the combination to the safe.  I opened it. I gave him all the bills and checks. The three gunmen left.

It was not any of the many street fights or hold-ups or even my stint in the Military Police that brought about my first kill.  Actually, my first kill was in Foxwoods at the $5/$10 Omaha Hi-Lo table. I never knew what the reference to kill was in Poker until I sat down to play Omaha, $5/$10, Hi-Lo, "with a kill."

To kill a pot means to post an overblind that increases the betting limit. A full kill is double the amount of the big blind, and doubles the betting limits. A half kill is one-and-a-half times the big blind, and increases the betting limits by that amount.  There are other forms of "kills" as well.  For edification, I have referenced all "kills" at bottom of this portion.

This $5/$10 game became doubly exciting at $10/$20 after any pot, over $100,that was won by one person.  These days most kill pots are in $4/$8 games and are half-kills, $6/$12.  Some of the more enjoyable Omaha-with-a-kill(half-kill, actually)games are at Foxwoods in CT, The Taj in Atlantic City, and The Venetian in Vegas. At a $5/$10 dealer's choice home game I host every so often, we have a "kill" in effect: After any pot over $100 is won by one player, the stakes of the following hand go to $10/$15. If a $10/$15 hand is won by one player, the next hand is played at $10/$20.  My first kill had a lasting effect.
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For complete "kill" information, consult "Robert Rules of Poker" which is authored by Robert Ciaffone, better known in the poker world as Bob Ciaffone, a leading authority on cardroom rules or http://www.cardplayer.com/rules-of-poker/kill-pots.
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