Luck happens randomly when playing poker

Nov 19, 2013 3:00 AM

None of us has control over luck. The poker gods may, but not us mere mortals!

Sure, we can influence it to some extent by making wise decisions and plays. But luck just happens with no rhyme or reason. Speaking of luck, here’s an interesting hand I observed in a low-limit game.

I had folded with “garbage” hole cards. Jim was sitting to my left. He’s a good player and often wins. He later told me that, in a middle position, he had folded this hand with 8-4 suited. No surprise.

That’s hardly a reasonable starting hand by anyone’s imagination – at any position. Even the loosest player in the poker world would muck those hole cards. Being suited adds just a little to their value.

I’m sure you will agree Jim did the right thing when he folded this hand preflop. But anything can happen on the flop – even the most unexpected thing. It’s just chance – or luck. The flop came down: 8-hearts, 8-diamonds, J-clubs.

Can you believe it? Jim would have flopped trip 8s! Smiling, but obviously frustrated, his eyes partially closed, he whispered into my ear, “I had an 8-4 suited; would have flopped trip eights! Shoulda stayed in.” I nodded back to him, commiserating with his plight. So close to a monster!

Together we watched the hand play out. The board didn’t seem to improve very much. No flushes or straights possible. Jim’s trip 8s sure looked like the winner. With four players betting all the way to the showdown, it was a pretty good-size pot.

Jim shook his head from side-to-side as he stared at me. Frustrated! Aggravated! I could imagine him asking himself, “Why didn’t I invest one small bet to see the flop?”

On the river, the Big Blind (BB) came out betting and was raised by the next player. The Button re-raised! Both other players called. A huge pot!

Showdown: The Button turned up 8-K for trip 8s! The BB showed his two-pair, Jacks and 10s. As the dealer pushed the chips to the Button holding trip 8s, Jim looked me in the eyes. “I guess I was lucky after all,” he proclaimed, with a huge smile on his face.

His trip 8s with the 4 kicker would have cost him a bundle – lots of chips. And he knew it! I could almost hear his sigh of relief. It pays to stick with good starting hands and fold the probable losers. As it turned out, Jim had been lucky after all.

Not uncommon: This sort of thing happens more often than you might realize. After folding weak hole cards, the flop connects big time with the hand you just mucked, or perhaps (for whatever reason) you decided to stay to see the flop.

Another example: How often have you been dealt two small cards suited? Let’s say it’s the 7-hearts, 5-hearts. You have a hunch (or is it just wishful thinking) and call to see the flop. Two more hearts fall on the board: 8-hearts, 10-hearts, 2-clubs.

That sure gets your attention! You have four-to-a-flush. You need just one more heart for the flush. The odds are less than 2-to-1 against catching your heart-flush on the turn or the river. Lo and Behold! The King of hearts falls on the turn.

You are so pleased to have caught the heart-flush. You can hardly contain your joy. The problem is another player also has two hearts. One is the Ace of hearts, and he (not you) takes the pot.

Bottom line: It’s best to muck those poor starting hands, even if they are suited, without regard for what might come on the flop. In the final analysis, you are quite “lucky” when you use good judgment and fold preflop with such a hand that would have improved to second-best – yet still be a big loser.

We invite your comments. Email to [email protected].

 GamingToday on Facebook      and         GamingToday on Twitter