BY RUSS SCOTT
JULY 7, 2009
READER SHARES WSOP THRILLS, ANOTHER ASKS ABOUT ‘GUTS’
This week a reader in Wyoming tells of his experience at the World Series of Poker, and a reader in Florida wants to know about the card game “guts.” Let’s check them out.
Q: I got to play four hours in Event 39 at the World Series and had a great time! I misplayed my pocket aces but won a big pot with pocket queens. I learned a few things that I will use to get closer to the money on my the next trip to the WSOP. — Jamie in Rock Springs, Wyo.
A: Event 39 on June 20-22 was a $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament that drew 2,715 entries, creating a massive $3.7 million prize pool with $657,969 for first place.
Now, about those pocket aces, Jamie. You said you didn’t raise big pre-flop and wound up folding later in the hand when it appeared your opponent had you beat. “I think I just got nervous; I will play pocket aces better next time,” you wrote.
Raising big with pocket rockets — about four or five times the big blind amount — is always an acceptable play early in a tournament, especially from early or middle betting position. You don’t want multiple opponents to come in behind you; one caller is plenty.
By slow-playing the hand, your opponent was able to see a cheap flop and outdraw you. You showed fine discipline, however, by folding when you believed you were beat. Many amateurs aren’t able to fold those aces.
The pocket queens worked out much better! You wrote, “The other player was going for a flush and he didn’t place me on the full house I caught. After I won, he told me I played the hand well.”
Meanwhile, I enjoyed the description of your first WSOP experience.
“I got to see a few people I watch play on TV and got to see Phil Hellmuth blow up,” you said. “Phil was ticked that a kid beat him and the players at the table were chuckling. Then Phil went to the tournament officials to complain they were ‘distracting’ him. That’s a new one! He went back to the table and shook everyone’s hand except the player who put him out.”
Importantly, you went home with a great attitude: “I am going to practice and get more bold with my play.”
By the way, the WSOP’s $10,000 main event is under way, with 6,000 to 7,000 players vying for the title of world champion. We’ll know late on July 15 which nine players advance to the final table and return to Las Vegas in November to compete for the game’s biggest prize.
Q: I have to agree that the film “Lucky You” wasn’t very insightful when it came to poker, but I think it was an all-right movie. My question is about the scene where Huck Cheever and his dad L.C. play heads-up in the diner. Do you know the rules of the game they were playing? — William, on duty aboard the Navy’s USS Gettysburg guided-missile cruiser in Mayport, Fla.
A: They were playing a poker-variant called guts, William. There are different forms of the game, but the two movie characters — Eric Bana as Huck and Robert Duvall as L.C. — were playing two-card guts with $1,000 bets. I didn’t mention the scene in my less-than-enthusiastic review of the movie in 2007.
In two-card guts, each player first puts an ante, or burn, into the pot and is dealt two down cards. Pairs are ranked over high cards, but there are no “straights” or “flushes” in the game.
Players check their cards and then must declare simultaneously if they are “in” or “out,” usually by holding a chip or nothing in their hands. Those who stay “in” have a showdown, with the winner taking the existing pot and the losers matching or increasing the pot so there is a carry-over to the next deal.
A round ends when just one player has the “guts” to stay in and the full pot is awarded without replenishment. Aside from the sheer gambling nature of the game, a key characteristic is that pots can grow quickly to 50 or more times the original ante.
Good luck, William, if you play this game with your shipmates. And thank you for your service to our country.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com 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 2009 RUSS SCOTT
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