Friday, May 16, 2008

The Hammer

The worst starting hand at a full Texas Hold 'Em table is 2,7 off suit.

How bad is the 2,7?

It's so bad that when playing against multiple opponents you're better off holding something like 2,3 or 2,4. Connected hands with greater potential for hitting a straight and taking down a big pot.

When you play the 2,7 and go to showdown you're relying on hitting trips or two pair to win a big pot. And even when you connect you may not be ahead. Thus winning with the 2,7 is clearly a difficult proposition.

What all this means is when you do eventually take down a pot with 2,7, it's definitely time to celebrate. Your reward for winning with this hand is not just monetary. No, the real joy is getting to see the reaction afterwards on the faces of your opponents.

You played what hand?

So when I picked up 2,7 tonight I completed the small blind to see the flop. The universe must have an incredible sense of humor, because the dealer turned over king, 2, 2 to give me trips. With my 7 kicker and an entire family seeing this unraised flop there's a small chance I may not have the best trips. But that's just fear and common sense talking. The reality is I ain't going anywhere. I've got trips and I'm gonna trap someone. I check. Everyone checks behind me.

An 8 comes on the turn. I said I was going to trap someone so I check again. This time I found a customer. A mildly aggressive player to my left bets 25. Button calls. I call too. I think I'm way ahead. I want them to bet the river. I'll also admit that deep down I'm rooting for a 7 to come. Just so I can stop taunting myself with the idea that maybe the guy on the button has ace 2.

The dealer turns over the river.

The bad news is it's not a 7.

The good news is it's a 2.

I got me some quads with the hammer. It's almost unfair.

I check to let the aggressive guy bet again. He obliges and bets out $25 more. Button calls again and the action is back to me.

Obviously I'm raising - but how much? How do I raise without it seeming clear-cut that I have quads? It feels impossible.

What if I had a king? I suppose I could make the fancy move and raise to try to get another player with a king to lay his hand down. Try to convince him with my bet that I have quads. So I don't have to split the pot with either of them.

How much would I have bet to do that?

An all in might do it.

However, if I really held a king, how could I know for sure that neither of them had quads? If I raise with a king here and get reraised (significantly), I'd probably have to throw my boat away.

So without a good read, or enough alcohol, I can't raise without quads in this spot.

(Although I suppose against some players I could raise if I had completely missed...but that's another discussion for another day.)

My opponents both have around 300 in front of them on the table and I have them covered. I decide against the all in move. I think that scares them away. And I want to get paid.

After a few seconds I push out $100 total. A raise of $75.

The dealer knows I have quads. Penn and Teller know I have quads. However much to my delight neither of the players at my table know I have quads. They both call with their king full house.

I turn over my 2,7 which inspires the guy to my left throws his cards at the dealer.

Damn. Who knew they'd both call? Well besides Teller.

More importantly- does this mean that either of them may have called me if I pushed all in?

I think it's a strong maybe.

I know I shouldn't complain. I hit quads with 2,7 and got both players to pay me off. Life is good.

But boy am I curious to go back in time and push all in.

Not even for the money.

Just to see what would have happened.

Because it sure looked afterwards like both these guys thought they held the nuts.

And I think I gave them way too much credit by thinking they could get away from it.


FreeFormCoder said...

If you had pushed all in your post would have been shorter and less enjoyable. I liked this post. It was like watching Rocky Balboa after sitting through Rockies 2-5.

WillyR said...

I thought it was more like watching Rambo after sitting through Rambo: First Blood Part2, Rambo 3 and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot!