In a lot of years of playing no limit Texas Hold’em, I’ve had the good fortune of making several royal flushes.

On December 12, 2010, I was hosting my 2nd annual “50th Birthday Poker Party,” a tradition that would continue for a full decade. Mrs. prepared a wonderful dinner and birthday cake, and my friends and I battled in a two table poker tournament with a buy-in of $51. (Get it? 2nd annual 50th birthday…)

With five players remaining and a short stack, I got all my chips in pre-flop with J♥T♥. My friend Jim called and had a king or queen in his hand. After a flop that included the K♥ and Q♥, my friend Brian exclaimed “Oh my gosh, he has a royal flush draw!” And BANG! The A♥ fell right away on the turn, not only winning that hand but also propelling me to a tournament victory. Which paid for the dinner and drinks so I basically broke even for the night, in the most unexpected way.

Another time it was late on a Saturday night (technically early on a Sunday morning) in a private game in a friend’s garage. I had K♣Q♣. While I don’t recall the exact runout other than the royal flush wasn’t completed until the river, I do recall the villain. He folded to my river bet and unfortunately I cannot refer to him as my “friend.” So he’s going to remain nameless here.

And I cannot forget February 20, 2015. We moved a monthly tournament to a friend’s house, due to icy road and parking lot conditions near our regular spot. In the cash game afterwards, I raised with A♣K♣ and my friend Kermit called with TT. The flop was either QQJ with both the Q♣ and J♣. I bet again and he called again. The turn was the T♣, not only giving me the royal flush but also giving Kermit a full house. He checked, planning a big check-raise. Foiling his plan, however, I had a massive brain fart thinking I wasn’t likely to get paid without feigning a little bit of weakness first, and checked back. The river was another J, putting two pair on the board (both QQ and JJ). After Kermit checked again and I bet, he folded his hand face up, saying he was sure I must have either a Q or a J and his full house was counterfeited.

The most memorable, at least at the time of this writing, it the royal flush I made on November 24, 2019. (Readers, check your calendars if you must.) I called a pre-flop raise with K♣J♣ from of the blinds. The flop came out A♣ K♥ Q♣. I checked and called a modest bet from my friend Chad after there was one other caller. And BOOM! Here comes the T♣ right away on the turn. I checked again and Chad bet again. I had momentarily forgotten that a 3rd player was in the hand – my friend Rob – and was pondering a raise sizing when I saw him call again. So I raised, of course. And Chad shoves all of his chips in! Uh… sorry dude, but I’ve got this one.

The weirdest thing, actually, was that I didn’t feel the WHAT-THE-FUCK-OMG-I-MADE-A-STRAIGHT-FLUSH euphoria complete with heavenly music, chest thumping, fist pumping, happy dancing, primal screaming machismo that we associate with a special moment like this. It felt like a poker hand, in which I made the nuts and another player made a costly mistake. I didn’t even stop to take a photo. Don’t get me wrong… it still felt good, just not quite Cloud Nine good.



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