Independent Pursuits: Poker
Thursday 18 March 1999
In Omaha the golden rule is that you must either hold the nuts or be drawing to the nuts. Anything less is dangerous - for example, trying to hit a king-high flush. But I have been much impressed by another precept of winning play, which underpins the golden rule. It is to try to play heads-up (two-handed), by knocking out as many other players as possible.
Here is an example of strong technique by Dave "Devil Fish" Ullyott, "playing down" in the pounds 100 game for a change. Boris bet before the flop, Dave raised, Spyro called and Boris raised again. Dave had a pretty mediocre hand - Q-10-6-2 but he knew where Boris was at - he was marked with two aces.
The flop came down 9-8-2 off-suit. Boris bet the pot, around pounds 150, as he should in this situation, and Dave raised! He hasn't really got anything but he wanted to drive out Spyro, so he could take on Boris heads-up. Spyro, however, had hit trip 9s and called. The turn (fourth) card was a Q. As it happened this gave Boris a straight, because he had J-10 with his pair of aces. He bet pounds 300 and Dave, on queens up, raised again! He did not know, of course, that Boris, who was nearly all in, had made a straight; he simply wanted to drive out Spyro, which he did.
The river (last) card brought another deuce, giving Dave a full house 2s on queens. You could say he was lucky, which he was, but he out-played his opponents in extravagant style. No wonder the Asian gamblers in Las Vegas dub him "Devil Fish".
I am not suggesting everyone should play like this. For one thing, you need a complete disregard for money. You also have to read your opponents well. But if a player continually takes the initiative, hammering in raises on every round, he can run over the game. Alternatively, he can go home broke.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 3 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 4 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly