Poker: Holding on to a dream hand

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The Independent Culture
'WHAT goes around, comes around,' they say in Las Vegas. In poker terms, this means if you are patient enough luck will even out, the cards have a way of coming back, wrongs will be righted. Good advice, and never better illustrated than in a losing run that hit a friend of mine recently, the journalist Don Larrimore.

Playing a game of dollars 4-dollars 8 limit Hold 'em down at Binion's Horseshoe, Don got beaten in a period of four hours fifteen minutes on the following succession of premium hands: A-A once, A-K suited twice, K-K six times, Q-Q twice and J-J once. An incredible run, as you will agree. Yet at the end of this period, he managed to come out dollars 35 ahead.

The reason Don emerged unscathed lay in a remarkable hand, a Hold 'em player's dream, dealt as follows. Don sitting last found 6-7 of spades in the hole. There was a pre-flop raise from seat six, which five players called, which at 6 x dollars 8 boosted the pot to dollars 48. Out came the flop (see diagram).

To his surprise, Don found he had a straight flush made. Normally, such a hand attracts little action, but this time it was different. Player A took the lead with his Ks-Qs, player B with 9-9 raised, player E with 5-5 came along for the ride, Player F with A- 4s re-raised, Don meekly called, and the pot got jammed. This round was worth 5 x dollars 32 = dollars 160.

The turn card produce an 8, giving players B and E full houses, which they bet and raised like there was no tomorrow. G with a straight flush draw had to call. This round yielded 4 x 32 = dollars 128. On the river, which produced an irrelevant deuce, Don finally permitted himself to take a raise. By now, everyone understood something weird was happening. But for dollars 8 it would require almost superhuman restraint not to call, so the others came along, adding another dollars 64 to the pot.

The total pot Don scooped was dollars 400, which is enormous for the dollars 4-dollars 8 game. He was still not quite out of trouble on the session, but after that he was dealt A-K suited and J-J, which both stood up. At that point, he pushed his chair back and withdrew to the bar.