Linked Worlds Fleet Poker Tournament

The people who come aboard for the tournament (held in the week before the Battle for Tinara) include the players listed below, as well as a number of less interesting competitors. Additionally, there are a lot of friends, spectators, well-wishers, and molls. Dr. Kye is taking bets; several other people from other ships are taking bets as well. Ace and Max are playing; Katya is acting as Ace's moll.

Using the omnicorders scanning for weapons and explosives, nobody shows up as bringing any explosives or particularly unusual weapons; most everyone has a blaster, sometimes a couple (everyone coming is military), and several of the outworlders have swords or the like. These are all required to be checked.

Hippocrates also requires that weapons be checked for PCs who are playing or spectating; the only armed people in the room are Katya's Elite, and some PC security (Ciernan, Jim).

Lieutenant Kendra Blackman, currently with no ship, a native of Tinara who was on leave from the Tinara squadron when disaster struck. She requested and got an assignment on the most recent strike. Her ship was one of the few to remain on target after the mind-control beams struck, and is rumored to have actually flown into the superstructure of the mind control platform in a desperate kamikaze attempt. Nobody seems to know exactly what happened after that, and she isn't talking.

Pansy Diora, from the ops and control staff on the Throne of Klothos. Pansy is one of the quietest, most self-effacing people that most of you have ever met. She says she thinks that poker is principally a question of probabilities; the trick is to use all the data. Her personal White dispenser never leaves her hand.

Sergeant Niccolo Pirelli, a space marine from the LHS Lightning. (That's "Loyal Hegemonic Ship", i.e. Blue) Pirelli is tough as nails, and rumor is that he can get people to fold just by lookin' at 'em.

Winston Thoreau, the captain of the Nighthawk, a ship from The Well. It's said that Thoreau survived being spaced by a pit boss at an orbital casino over The Well. It's also said that when he got back inside, he (having broken the casino with a spectacularly successful blackjack-counting operation) completed his takeover bid and kept the pit boss on. When he tired of the casino business, he bought a command in The Well's star fleet.

Rendall Gault, the mage-gunner of the Backhanded Complement. The Complement is part of the Outworlds flotilla, from Lendt. Gault manages to be both cagey and easygoing at the same time. When asked what he does to enemy ships, he smiles and jovially says something like "I just give them a little nudge and then they forget whatever they were up to". Outworld military types nod sagely at this sort of thing.

Lt. Commander Enrico Duarte, intel officer on the HSS Zachary Staughton. (That's "Hegemonic Starguard Ship", i.e. Red.) Duarte is new to his ship, having volunteered for a combat assignment immediately after Tinara was cut off.

Benny Klepft, the "cabin boy" and general gofer on the LHS Dauntless. Blue ships don't normally have cabin boys, but rumor has it that it's considered a really good perk to have Benny as your ship's cabin boy, as he's good luck. Benny's a tall, gangly guy in his late teens or early twenties, with a disarming grin. He says he's just here for fun - the rest of the crew of the Dauntless put up his stake. (Several of the Dauntless crew are also here, as spectators)

Adele Constantine, the X.O. of the White Storm, a light cruiser from the Stannis' Law flotilla. Make eye contact with her during a hand at your peril. It doesn't matter so much if you gave anything away. From that sympathetic smile on her face, you figure you must have...

Not Playing:

Starbuck, one of the Vircan pilots on board, has also had 100 asters raised for her by the other Vircans, but she has declined to enter, as she says they have better things to do with their money than give it to Ace.

Dieter Genovese, from the Six-Fingered Sword, a Well ship. He isn't happy with the weapons check policy, and heads away again with his hundred asters.

Round One

Katya and Mirris act as greeters for people arriving; Ciernan, Jim, and the Elite are in uniform and circulate as security, but nobody seems to be trying anything nefarious. There is some good-natured grumbling when, as the tournament starts, Katya moves over to sit on Ace's knee. This also serves as an indication that molls are permitted, so several of the spectators also head over to hang out with their favorite players. Ace has a basic card-holder in place of his right hand.

Of note:

Hippocrates unwraps a set of new decks of cards, and distributes them around the tables. Randomly chosen people get a bye in the first set of games and deal for the other tables; after people lose enough that they fall out of the tournament, they substitute in as dealers (and Hippocrates says he'll deal for the last tables).

The first round basically serves to knock out all the un-named competitors, leaving the named NPCs, Ace, and Max.

Lt. Blackman seems to embody the rule of thumb that you should either be raising or folding. She seems to raise or go all-in more often than the probabilities really call for, but nobody ever catches her bluffing.

Nobody seems to notice Pansy Diora in a game until everyone wonders where their chips are, and finally notices that she has them all. She almost never goes all-in, but increases her share of chips a small pile at a time.

Rendall Gault, Enrico Duarte, and Adele Constantine all play well but without any obvious spiffies. Duarte keeps up some banter at the table, all light and friendly.

Benny Klepft admits he's not as practiced as the rest of the people here, but he gets lucky a lot.

Winston Thoreau's guy in sunglasses whispers to Thoreau between hands, but never during. About halfway through the first game, he calls cheating on six people (most not at his table). These include:

Hippocrates makes some rulings:

Pansy: "White is a legal ingestible, and ingestibles are generally allowed at the table, so the challenge is denied."

Ace: "Defensive shielding is permitted, but I will have to ask Katya to suspend her duties as hostess if she's standing for Ace. No official warning."

Rendall: "I'll need more to go on than that, so the challenge is denied".

(Winston asks for clarification; Hippocrates doesn't seem to think that Rendall is using mind control as described, and isn't allowing general fishing for "some sort of psi").

Benny: "There are cases where I'd sanction for probability manipulation, but this isn't one of them."

The two un-named NPCs are given warnings for cheating.

Round Two

The second round whittles down the players to the top five.

Winston Thoreau (4 of a kind: 7s)
Kendra Blackman (Full house: 3s over Qs)
Benny Klepft (Full house: 9s over Qs)
Ace (Flush, A high)
Adele Constantine (Flush, Q high)

Not Continuing:
Enrico Duarte (straight to the 6)
Niccolo Pirelli (2 pair: A K)
Max (2 pair: Q 7)
Rendall Gault (2 pair: 9 5)
Pansy Diora (pair of 9s)

During the round, Winston calls Pansy Diora on card-counting, Niccolo Pirelli on intimidation, and Rendall Gault on use of precognition. Hippocrates denies all of these:

Pansy Diora: Hippocrates raises an eyebrow, with a sly grin and a light voice. "My dear Mister Thoreau, if she wasn't counting, how would she know she had the right number of pocket cards?"

Niccolo Pirelli: "He's not making anyone fold, as far as I can see. Challenge denied." Pirelli looks very pleased by this ruling.

Rendall Gault: "Nope. Challenge denied."

Interestingly, all of the people accused do poorly enough that they aren't in the final round.

Round Three

Katya gives Ace a serious and dramatic kiss for luck. The third round proceeds fairly quickly. Once the other players notice that Ace is rolling thirty d12s, they basically settle in to playing for second place, and the spectators look a little more suspicious. For once, Winston doesn't call out anyone for cheating (and as far as any of the spectators can tell, nobody is).

The final rankings:

Ace (Royal Flush)
Winston Thoreau (Full House, Ks over 9s)
Benny Klepft (Flush, A high)
Kendra Blackman (Flush, Q high)
Adele Constantine (Flush, Q high)

Ace gets half the pot, 1250 asters.
Winston gets 30%, 750 asters
Benny gets 20%, 500 asters.

The party starts breaking up after the money is divided. Benny enthusiastically shakes Ace's hand and congratulates him - he says he's never seen such luck! Winston remarks, looking amused, that that's not surprising.

Benny starts trying to divide up his winnings between the people there who chipped in, and a good-natured argument starts as to whether *all* his winnings should be divided among them (he seems to think) or whether he should get to keep all or most of it (they seem to think). In the end, they seem to be settling on, after the battle they'll all go out and spend it together.