The story, written in 1926, is kind of darkly comic and includes a few hyperbolic elements that make it seem more like a fable than a realistic tale. Four swimmers are sailing back to New York after having competed successfully at a meet in Havana. They pass the time with a poker game in which one of them, Lucky Johnny, cleans the other three out.
Finally the others become so frustrated with the seemingly unbeatable Lucky Johnny they decide at the end to toss him overboard. The idea was to see if he “was as good at swimming as he was at winning poker games.”
I actually did a little radio theater-type reading of the story on Episode 6 of the Hard-Boiled Poker Radio Show a while back, if you’re curious. Had some nice feedback on that one, actually. (By the way, I’m still considering the HBPRS as on hiatus, even though it’s been a long time since the last show... one day!)
Anyhow, I kind of feel like Lucky Johnny today. No, I didn’t win the Mega Millions. In fact, I didn’t even get a single number correct on my ticket. But things went a little better for me as far as the NCAA pool went over the weekend.
I’ve been writing about the pool the last two Mondays, talking about how badly I did during the first two rounds, then how ridiculously well I did during the regional semis and finals (hitting six of the Elite Eight, then all four of the Final Four).
Well, I luckboxed my way into picking both of the Saturday games correctly, too, having put Kentucky and Kansas in the final of my bracket, and have thus already guaranteed myself a win in the pool.
Was super lucky, obviously, especially in that Kansas game which Ohio State had pretty much in hand before crumbling down the stretch. Not to mention the freaky-deaky ending in which the Buckeyes’ brain freeze (letting Kansas run the clock out without fouling) sorta recalled those two championships UNC won in New Orleans in which Fred Brown (in 1982) and Chris Webber (in 1993) had similar endgame gaffes.
I keep looking back at my bracket, checking over and again that I really did make those selections. For the title game we’re invited to enter a score, and I have Kentucky beating Kansas tonight 78-64. Kind of a big spread there, but I probably wouldn’t change it much at this point, if that were possible.
Anyhow, I’m going to be careful over the next few days. I don’t expect any boat rides. But if somehow I do get invited to take one, I’ll be turning that down, I think.