Player’s luck benefits Fisher House

Thomas Warner
LRMC Public Affairs

Poker playing has become a popular activity with people in the KMC, especially when players have chances to win big prizes like high definition televisions or even a new car.

***image2***But one recent winner of a tournament at the Landstuhl Combined Club, Capt. Michael Ingram, decided to donate his newly-won television to Landstuhl’s Fisher Houses. He delivered the entertainment system one recent Saturday and stayed the entire morning making sure it was hooked up properly. He’s hoping his playing for Fisher House has put the idea into other people’s heads.

Equipped with a 26-inch screen and other extras, the home theater package was worth around $2,000. It’s the second such donation the Fisher House received recently.

“What he did was appreciated,” said Stacy Thomas, assistant manager of Landstuhl Fisher Houses. “Over Christmas, we had two flat-screen televisions donated by Northrop Grumman Corporation and all of the new sets have been placed in our common areas at the two houses. They are very nice to look at when you walk through the doors.”

Captain Ingram was dealt an ace and a six to start the final hand of the championship, while his opponent received a king and a queen. The next five cards – the ‘flop’ – were turned up one at the time as both men tried to form a winning hand. Neither player knew what the other had initially drawn.

“I needed two sixes on the flop to build a three-of-a-kind and beat his king-queen,” Ingram said. “I feel like since I was playing for charity, I had good luck. I don’t count cards, but you have to keep track of how much money you have and the likelihood of being able to pick up the cards you need.”

He said common math is the most helpful element in a game that he only became familiar with a year ago while deployed downrange.

“Even the ability to bluff is based on statistics and I feel I excel in games of numbers,” said Captain Ingram, a 33-year-old manpower and personnel officer at Ramstein. “We played a lot when I was deployed. It made me feel good to be playing here at Landstuhl for charity.”

There are more than 100 families taken in by Fisher Houses each month, totaling about 250 people. Every room in those structures has a television and the common areas now have the biggest, best equipment on the electronics market. But not everyone who wins can be expected to donate prizes to charity. The choice is up to the individual player.

“The guy who finished in second place – he maybe would have loved to have won that television,” said Jeff Holmes, Landstuhl Combined Club manager. “We are a small Army club and we are working to have bigger and better prizes each time. We want to eventually give away a car. What they do with the prizes is for them to decide.”

Tournament popularity has taken off at Landstuhl because of a unique atmosphere that can’t always be found at other venues. At some sites, chips are given for free to club members, which Mr. Holmes says diminishes the perceived value of the stakes.

“We’ve had up to eight tables full of players and everyone pays the $10 entry fee,” Mr. Holmes said. “We provide sandwich snacks for the players plus tea and lemonade. They can also purchase something to drink.

“It’s like a regular home event for a lot of these players and they enjoy that atmosphere. There have been volunteers to deal the cards, but it usually rotates around the table. Poker allows people to interact and they enjoy that.”