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NO SOONER had I played a good hand at Omaha, as I boasted last week, than I went and played a truly terrible hand.

First to speak, with a #A-2A-#J-45 in my hand, I decided just to call the blinds, pounds 1, pounds 1, pounds 2, and in this case an additional pounds 5, in the hope of putting in a re-raise if anyone acted. The extra fiver was an optional opening bet, entitling the player who made it to raise again if he wants, when the betting gets round to him. It came from Mohammed, who is a weak player with a limited knowledge of the game. Mohammed took his chance to raise again, pounds 30, which signified a good hand. Players A and B then called.

My other two cards did not fit very well with my aces, but at least I had a draw to a diamond flush, which was something. It was obviously right to try to knock A and B out , so I could play heads-up with Mohammed. So I set him in for all of his chips, pounds 110.

Annoyingly, A and B both called, presumably for the value. Any further bets would be on the side.

The flop came down a non-committal 4K-28-!2. Mohammed was all in.

A and B checked. I checked, which was weak because if either of the them had kings in the hole, or low trips, they would certainly bet their hand.

My real mistake came on the turn (fourth) card, which brought another king. Again check, check, and, in the rhythm of the play, I just tapped my finger, to check along. This was a dreadful lack of concentration. Even if Mohammed had a king, I could not lose any more money to him. And with aces up, I was surely miles better than A or B.

What I should have done was to bet pounds 300 at them, to force them to drop.

As was bound to happen, an innocuous 9 came down on the river, which gave B trip 9s. I paid for my foolishness by losing pounds 145. In so doing, I deprived the luckless Mohammed, who also had aces, of splitting the pot with me and winning pounds 145.