Hold ’em and fold ’em at Barons

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On Monday nights, Baron’s Pub clientele can learn how to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em. Fortunately, they probably won’t have to know when to walk away – or when to run!

That’s because the weekly Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments at the Main Street restaurant don’t use real money, so no one’s going to get cleaned out. Dealers, holders and folders like Cindy Clark have another reason for heading to the pub.

&uot;I lost, and I still had a blast,&uot; Clark said, watching her friends pore over making the best five-card hand out of seven. &uot;This is a fun thing to do on Monday nights. You start with $4,000 in chips and see how long you can go.&uot;

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Over the next few months, someone from the area might go any awfully long way – the winner from the Suffolk Baron’s will eventually go to regional competition (date and place undetermined), which leads to a chance to battle the state’s best in Richmond and nation’s finest in Las Vegas.

Patty Dwyer’s been there.

&uot;I’ve been to Vegas and Atlantic City, and it’s a lot more fun when you’re not using your own money,&uot; she said. &uot;Everybody here is really friendly. You have to learn to bluff and be patient. You just get the right cards and know when to hold them.&uot;

Hostess Ali Hecker holds something a bit more precious; she gets the &uot;honor&uot; of delivering chips between tables.

&uot;This brings out a good crowd,&uot; Hecker said. &uot;It gives people more to do than just drink beer.&uot;

Every 15 minutes, she continued, the blinds go up and there’s a forced bet, in which someone always wins.

It didn’t take Peggy MacCann long to win; her first night, she took home first prize (that particular night, it was a $50 gift certificate).

&uot;I came in here for dinner and saw the tables out,&uot; said MacCann, who has also played at Vegas. &uot;There’s not as much pressure here (as in LV), because it’s not real money and a lot of people are learning.&uot;

A native of San Antonio, Sean Chandler didn’t have that problem.

&uot;I just moved to the area, and a friend told me about this,&uot; he said between hands. &uot;It’s a good atmosphere, good food, and good fun.&uot;