Proud of Myself, Opening the Year with Character

On New Year’s Day, I was playing my regular game, the Borgata's Atlantic City $10 / 20 limit table.  In an unraised hand, as big blind, I 'played' Jack, 6 offsuit (I can't fold to no-raise).  The flop fell Ace, Ace, Jack and everyone checked.  When a third Ace fell on the turn, I bet my Aces-full-of Jacks.  [With three Aces on the board in a limped pot, my hand seemed likely the best.]

Everyone folded, except for the small blind, an elderly gentlemen named Dimitri, who I’d never seen before in the cardroom.  Same hand?

He and I checked the river after a King opened. In position, I saw no reason to bet. He'd only call with the same hand (he holds a Jack too), or maybe he caught the King and rivered the winner.

I tabled my hand Aces-full-of Jacks. He held up his Ace, Jack hand for-my-eyes-only. I looked, smiled, laughed and congratulated him: ‘Nice hand!’

He then tossed his cards face down into the muck.  He killed his Quad Aces!

The dealer pushed the pot my way.  I practically jumped out of my seat and insisted that the pot be awarded to Dimitri.  As this happened, Dimitri showed his confusion.  I again congratulated him and told him: 'ALWAYS table your winning hand and any that you think might be a winner. ' You can’t win, absent an opponent with integrity, if you fold your hand.

Postscript:  Mary, on my left, whispered to me later: ‘There wasn’t enough for you to insist on winning the pot.’  She missed the point:  There is no 'enough' to take a pot from an elderly player who makes a technical error.  Imagine his story if he’d lost: I went to a poker room and was robbed of my pot, when I made four Aces.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross