Poker

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More swings of fortune occur in Texas Hold 'em than any other game. It looks so simple (two cards in the hole and five face up in common) but it takes a lifetime to master. Here is a big hand from a recent game at the Grosvenor Victoria.

Rico, renowned as a good punter, opened on king-eight suited. Dermot, a very experienced player, raised on kings wired. Corkie, on a winning streak, called with a pair of queens. Rico, who had been losing all night and was thrilled to find any sort of hand to play, called. pounds 400 in the pot. Down came a nothing sort of flop.

R: (2K-28)

D: (4K-!K) Flop: &3-25-48

C: (&Q-2Q)

This was a hand where the swings and balances of money decided the outcome. Dermot had about pounds 2,400 in chips, but Corkie and Rico both had stacks of several thousand. Rico, first to speak, checked. Dermot bet the pot and Corkie called.

Rico now raised pounds 1,000. Dermot thought long and hard. He was inclined to put Rico on trips. He knew that Rico knew he was marked for aces or kings wired, and was suspicious of Rico's (relatively) small raise of pounds 1,000. He thought Rico was angling for a re-raise, which would enable him to crush both Dermot and Corkie in one swoop.

It is a mark of a class player to put down aces or kings at Hold 'em if he thinks the other guy has him beaten. Dermot folded. But Corkie flat- called the pounds 1,000, flouting the basic principle of Hold 'em, which says: "Pump it or dump it!"

All Rico had at that stage was top pair on the flop (eights) and a king kicker - a terrible hand. But on fourth street, down came another eight, a 22-to-1 shot. He bet pounds 3,600.

This should have been the end of the story, but Corkie now suffered a rush of blood to the head. He called and raised back pounds 2,600 all-in - pushing his run of luck one move too late. The river card was a blank. Rico's volatile play was rewarded by a pot of pounds 16,000. If Dermot had stuck all his money in on the flop, as in retrospect he should have done, Rico would have folded. So he said.

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