BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2010
LuckyDog Comes Within a Card or Two of $50,000 in Vegas
My poker trip to Las Vegas just before the Super Bowl featured two near misses that would have yielded about $50,000 profit. Ouch!
The first close-but-no-cigar moment came at the Orleans card room, where the Texas hold’em bad beat jackpot was an enticing $118,000-plus. I had a good feeling it was about to hit.
Given my jackpot poker history – I’ve been in on 29 bad beat payouts – I couldn’t wait to sit down at the cheapest game in the room.
My $2-$4 limit hold’em table didn’t come close to the jackpot the first night. To win, a player must lose with four of a kind and both competitors’ hole cards must play. It’s not as easy as it sounds, trust me.
Undaunted, I returned the next evening, convinced that something magical was going to happen.
About two hours into the session, I picked up pocket tens in the big blind. Five players, including the small blind, limped in (didn’t raise) and I chose to check rather than raise.
In a no-limit game, I likely would have raised a substantial amount hoping to win the pot immediately or reduce the field to a single opponent. But in a limit game, nobody would have folded for an extra $2, and any ace or face card on the flop would have been trouble for me with that many callers.
The flop was amazing: 10-10-8 with two spades! I had quads already and prayed someone had pocket eights or straight flush cards such as the J-9 or 9-7 of spades.
The small blind and I both checked, but the next player bet, forcing everyone to fold back to me. I smooth-called, thinking that the jackpot could, indeed, be in play if the turn or river card cooperated.
Bam! The eight of diamonds came on the turn. I checked with the intention of raising if my opponent bet, but he also checked.
At that point, I didn’t think he had quad eights, but you never know. He could have been playing it cool, knowing there already was enough money in the middle ($10 or more) to qualify for the jackpot.
A meaningless four of diamonds hit on the river, so I bet out $4 with my cinch hand, hoping he would raise.
At first, he acted like he wanted to call. “Make it $3 and I’ll call,” he said. I grinned and said, “Nope, gotta be $4.”
“Man, I was so close,” he said, folding the 9-7 of spades face-up. “You have no idea,” I said with a groan, turning up my pocket tens. Everyone at the table, even the dealer, was startled to see how close we came.
We had two shots to hit either the six or jack of spades to complete his straight flush and divide up $118,380 around the table!
My 40 percent share as loser of the hand would have been $47,352. My opponent would have received 20 percent, or $23,676, and everyone else at the table would have won $6,764 just for being dealt into the hand.
Another close call came the next night during a $120 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament at the Venetian which drew 98 players and paid about $3,000 to the winner. The top nine would make the money.
I quickly pushed my 7,500-chip starting stack to above 10,000, then doubled up to become the table’s chip leader with pocket aces over an opponent’s pocket kings.
Two hours later after a long run of bad cards, only 14 players remained. I still had about 20,000 chips, which by then was well below the average stack. With blinds at 1,500-3,000, I made my all-in move from the button with pocket jacks but was called by a tall-stacked player in the big blind holding A-Q offsuit.
He hit and I didn’t. That pot easily could have propelled me to the final table where good things might have happened.
So close. Double dangit.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2010 RUSS SCOTT
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