Poker

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Des got lucky in a hand of seven-card stud, but he also played it well. In that sense he "made" his luck. He was dealt (9-9) 8 in his hand, and called the man to his right, a predictable old club player, who opened pounds 1 on his ace showing. On his left a weak player, who was having a lucky run, called on a queen. But Paddy, a gambling sort of punter in last seat, who had just breezed in from Dublin, raised a fiver, showing a jack. The other three called.

It is hard to hit trips - the odds of catching another 9 at that point are more than 20 to 1 - but Des's pair was concealed. And he was lucky enough to catch his third 9, while looking like a straight draw.

A: (?-?) A2-Q!

Des: (9-9) 82-94

C: (? ?) Q&-10!

Paddy: (? ?) J4-A4

When player A, first to act, bet pounds 20, he was as good as declaring a pair of aces. If he had trips he would check. Des knew that if he raised, he would very likely win a small pot without more ado. Many players prefer to do this, rather than risk being outdrawn. But he just called the pounds 20. Player C, who might be straightening or have a pair of queens, called. And now Paddy socked it right back by calling the pounds 20 and raising another pounds 80, all-in, on his two spades. It was pretty obvious, knowing him, that he was gambling on drawing to a flush.

Player A did not like this at all. He havered and wavered, because he knew what Paddy was up to, but he finally called the pounds 80. Joy for Des! He called the pounds 80 and re-raised pounds 200. Player C thought about it and folded. Paddy was all-in. Player A - this was the point - could not call on his pair of aces, especially as another ace was out. He had stuck in pounds 100 without even being able to see the hand through.

Des was now a big favourite against Paddy's four flush. Paddy indeed hit a spade, but Des paired up for a house, and won a pounds 250 pot, at minimal risk. Though aggression is the key to poker, restraint sometimes pays better.

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