500 Word Short Story
An Unsuspected Shark
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

Jack Gilbert and his friends played poker on Tuesday nights. They had played regularly for several years. Whenever they got tired of trading their own money between themselves, they would invite some poor sucker to sit in with them. They would gang up on him all night long and when the poor guy went home broke, they would split what they took from him.

One evening as the men were playing, the conversation came around to a new couple who had recently moved to town. It was decided that Jack would find out if the guy played poker. If so, they would invite him to sit in on their game.

Jack found his opportunity one day when he ran into the guy at the local hardware store. The man's name was Bert. During their brief conversation, Jack asked if he was a poker player. Bert told Jack that he had played a time or two, but he wasn't all that good.

Jack invited him to sit in on their game some evening. He let Bert know that the buy in was one hundred dollars. Bert agreed to think about it.

Bert's wife, Doris, happened to be friends with the wife of one of the other men. She had heard that Jack had invited Bert to sit in on a game. She warned Doris about how the men would try to fleece Bert. Doris thanked the woman for her warning.

That evening Doris informed Bert about what she had been told. “Sounds like I need to sit in on this game,” replied Bert.

The following Tuesday Bert showed up at Jack's house and met the rest of the players. They assured him it was a friendly game. Bert assured them that he was prepared to lose what money he had brought with him, and not to hold back on his account. They all agreed they would play to win.

Within the first hour, Jack and the boys let Bert win a few hands in order to build his confidence. As the evening progressed, Bert showed a little spunk and won a couple of nice pots. Jack and the boys decided it was time to start cleaning up on ol' Bert. They took the next couple of hands taking Bert back to what he had when he started.

Bert decided he was done fooling around with this group of amateurs who thought they could clean him out and split the winnings. For the next two hours he played like the shark he really was. When all was said and done, Jack and the boys were tapped out. Bert had taken all their money.

“Why do I get the impression we've been had,” remarked Jack.

“Because you have,” replied Bert. “I've been a professional player for the past five years. I heard how you boys played. Looks like your plan backfired tonight. Next time think twice about who you invite to your table.”

Bert scooped up his winnings and went home.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.