Poker

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A gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. So it was with Lucy Rokach, the Stoke-on-Trent poker player and recent Las Vegas winner, when she came up against Mickey Finn, last year's European champion. The event was the no-limit Hold 'em tournament at the Grosvenor Victoria earlier this week. On the small blind, Lucy found an interesting sort of hand, &A-!3, and bet it. Mickey on the button called. Down came a potentially exciting flop:

26-&7-&8, threatening a straight. Lucy checked; Mickey checked. Now came a &6, making a flush draw and a pair on board.

L: (&A !3) 26-&7-&8 &6

M: (? ?)

It was midway through the tournament and no one had more than a few thousand chips. Lucy checked again, and Mickey made a very small, feeler sort of bet, 1,000 units. This was a like the scent of fresh blood to a tigress. Lucy immediately raised him 3,000. Without a moment's pause, Mickey moved the rest of his chips to the centre, another 4,000.

It was obvious that a player of his calibre had a strong hand - but Lucy had no hesitation in calling. As Mickey was all-in, the cards were turned face up. He showed a 10-9 in the hole, for the top straight. But on the river, down came another diamond, to give Lucy the nut flush and the pot.

To me, watching the action, it looked like an outrageous outdraw, but Lucy explained it differently. "There was no way I was going to give up that hand, after putting so many chips into the pot. At first I thought he was bluffing, then I realised he had a hand. But I knew that if I hit my flush, I was going to win a lot of chips. The point was, even if I missed it, I still had another two or three thousand left to fight my way back."

Mickey took his defeat gracefully. Perhaps he realised that at that stage of a tournament it is better to amass a stack of chips than to try fancy plays. He was unlucky to lose on a straight, but in tournament play luck goes around. Lucy eventually took third prize, a consolation pounds 5,370, after being outdrawn in the final.

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