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LUCK IS double-edged. It does not always consist in hitting good cards. In fact, it can be just as significant in avoiding bad cards.

Here is a case in point from a very feisty game of Omaha (the four-card version of Hold 'em) which took place at the Grosvenor Victoria casino. Nearly every hand was being raised and re-raised, and everyone had several hundred pounds on the table.

Abdul had posted a pounds 5 "live blind" over the regular blinds, which were pounds 1, pounds 1 and pounds 2. This gives the player the option of raising again - which Abdul would almost certainly do - when the opening bets came back round to him. So you need a good hand to play. One player called ahead of me. I looked down and found !A !K 2K 44 in my hand. Obviously I called the fiver. As did the players on the regular blinds. Abdul raised pounds 35.

I looked at my hand again. Abdul could have anything. It was very unlikely, as a gambling type of player, that he had aces, probably a highish pair and a drawing hand. If he had been my only opponent, a call would have been automatic. In this case, I hated my random 4. It meant, in effect, that if I called I would have to play the hand against three or four other players, with one barrel of my guns firing a blank.

I did not fancy my chances in that case and made (I thought) a brave fold.

The flop came down 4K-#J-410. Abdul led off with a pot-sized bet of pounds 150. Now I cursed my timidity - the king would have given me top trips and I would have raised him back instantly.

But the next player, Ken, an old pro, re-raised. He obviously had top straight, probably with a flush draw as back-up. Fold, fold, fold, and Abdul called, all in. Next card off was a 10, which would have given me top full house. But, with a whoop of delight, Abdul showed a pair of tens in his hand for quads.

I don't know whether I was correct in folding my hand for a measly pounds 35 at the start. But it certainly saved me pounds 500 at the end. Luck!