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Half the floor space in the monster poker palaces of Los Angeles is given over to Chinese games such as Pai Gow. Hundreds of oriental players can be seen betting their hearts out in tableaux of frenetic excitement. When these players switch to poker, the action spills over.

The following hand in a $3-pounds 6 limit Hold 'em game was reported to me by a cautious friend, Don. (A is on the button, B small blind, C big blind.)






D called the $3 big blind, E (my friend) raised on A&-K&.

F called, G raised to $9, A on the button called, B called and C capped it at $12. Everyone called, $84 in the pot.

Flop: A2 K4 2&.

B (small blind) checked, C and D checked, E bet $3 on his top two pairs, F called, G raised to 6, A raised to 9, B and C folded, D, E and F called, G capped it at $12, A, D, E and F called, pounds 144 in the pot.

32 came on the turn. D and E checked, F now came out of his shell and bet 6, G raised to 12, A called 12 all-in, D folded, E called, F raised to 18! Presumably drawing to a club flush?

G capped it at 24, E & F called, $228 in the pot. Everyone strained for the river card: K!!

E bet 6, F raised to 12 (no flush), G raised to 18, E called (fearing G, who had raised at every opportunity, must have A-A), F capped at 24, G and E called, pot $324 (less house rake of $24).

So what did everyone have?

G had A-K the same hand as my friend sitting in the E seat.

A had 2-2 and was best on the flop.

C had 104-J4.

F with 3-3 had hit trips on the turn and gone mad.

So G and E split the pot. No one at the table thought there was anything unusual about this hand, Don adds. This was only the third hand he had played in the game. The first two were won by 5-8 off-suit and 5-10 off-suit, with seven players in!