Sunday, 14 October 2007

The Perfect Hand?

The Perfect Hand?
By Mick McCloskey

Every now and then a hand of cards comes along which virtually plays itself to a successful conclusion. Unfortunately, these hands don’t seem to occur very often and the rest of the time poker players have a lot of difficult decisions to make in the course of a session. I remember one such hand. I have been travelling to Las Vegas for a long time to the WSOP, since first being introduced to the tournament in 1987 by Terry Rogers and Liam Flood. I have never considered myself a “high roller” but that was the sort of treatment we got in those far off days. In the early to mid 90’s I used to play a lot of cash games in The Horseshoe to try to build up a bankroll for satellites and tournaments. In those days the dominant cash game was limit hold’em, a game I didn’t particularly like nor was particularly good at. There were certainly no 1-2 or 2-5 no limit games to be had in those days like there are now in virtually every card room in Vegas. Any no limit games at Binions were of the mega big variety. My alternative was to play in the regular 4-8 or 10-20 limit Omaha, high only, game. The game allowed a bet and four raises on each round and, if all four raises went in, the pot was described as being “capped” Anyway, I eventually found a hand that looked pretty good. I held AAKJ with the KJ being suited, let’s say Diamonds. The pre flop betting was capped and the flop came out 9, 10, Q rainbow, giving me the nut straight. The betting was capped again, with about five or six players still involved. The turn card was the Ace of Diamonds, which still gave me the nut straight but with a couple of redraws. Nut flush draw with the KJ and top set just in case the board paired. Oh joy, the betting was capped again, with no folders. Whatever they were drawing to, or had, they were all getting a price to remain in the pot. A friend of mine was sitting behind me, sweating this hand. I turned to him and whispered “If I lose this pot I am never going to play poker again.” Tempting Fate you may say. I don’t remember what the river card was but I do remember having to stack chips for the next 10-15 minutes! There were chips everywhere. As I said before, it’s not often that a hand like this comes along. I still seem to be waiting for a repeat performance, hopefully this time in a juicy pot limit game. Mmmm.

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