Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some Hands Are Too Big

Some Hands Are Too BigOnly playing intermittently these days, still mostly hanging out at the short-handed, low-stakes pot-limit Omaha tables.

I’ll sometimes play PLO25, though more often than not I’m sitting at the tables where the maximum buy-in is $12.50. That is where I was yesterday. And where I had kind of an interesting start to the session, hitting a royal flush on just the second hand.

The hand began with everyone folding around to the short-stacked player on the button who limped. I was sitting in the small blind with KdThTsJs. Nice starter, that. A hand I would likely raise with if opening late. But here I was out of position and had no feel as yet for how my opponents played, so I just completed for the quarter. Often I’ll start sessions conservatively -- for better or worse -- although in truth I very rarely play hands from the small blind, even if I’m in a more aggressive mode.

The big blind checked and the flop came KsQs5c. Top pair, open-ender, second-nut flush draw. I liked it. I made note of what the button had left -- only about $4 -- and figuring he’d hit something decided I’d try to play for his stack when he made his continuation bet. The BB checked as well, and the button cooperated by betting 50 cents. I reraised the pot, the BB folded, and my remaining opponent just called, leaving himself a paltry $1.31.

The turn brought the As. Easy game. Now holding the ultimate hand, I checked, hopeful my opponent wouldn’t decide to preserve his remaining pennies. After a few seconds he put his chips in, I called, and that was that. (He had K-Q-J-2 for two pair.) A small pot -- just $8.40 total -- though usually it’s hard to get paid anything at all with such a big hand, so I’ll take it.

Often after a player makes an especially big hand -- like four of a kind or a straight flush or a royal -- an obligatory “nh” appears in the chat box afterwards. Frequently this comment will be delivered by a player not involved in the hand.

It’s an interesting phenomenon, really, insofar as the “nice hand” compliment is almost never about the way the hand was played, but simply an acknowledgment of a fellow player having managed to draw a rarely-seen, high-ranking hand -- like hitting one’s number on the roulette wheel, or something.

You could almost call it a tribute of sorts to the “poker gods” some like to evoke. Or chance itself. A recognition that indeed, sometimes, hands like royal flushes do happen. And perhaps we better give thanks or at least bring some sort of notice to the event.

Nice hand, random number generator! All those high-ranking spades in a row like that sure are pretty!

This time, however, no one offered such post-hand gratitude. And to be honest I didn’t really think much of it, either. The game was small. The pot was small. Hardly reason to rejoice.

In fact, the more I think about it, such a huge hand seemed almost inappropriate there at the dime-and-quarter tables. Was like I’d arrived at a football-watching party wearing a tuxedo.

Downright embarrassing, really, showing up like that. Next time it happens, I think I’ll fold.

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Blogger Unknown said...


11/17/2010 2:40 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...



11/17/2010 3:41 PM  

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