A well-experienced poker player named Will responded to my column, “Top this baddie!” in the June 5 issue of GamingToday. He described a hand he lost back in July 2010. He was in a $5-$10 no-limit hold’em game at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas. The table was full, including two “complete maniacs” and two drunks. The effective stacks were about $9,000.
Will was on the Button when he was dealt As-Ks, a premium drawing hand. The Under-the-Gun (UTG) raised to $50. Then, UTG+1 re-raised (a 3-bet) to $200. After the next players folded to him, Will decided to 4-bet to $950 from the Button. The Big Blind (BB) cold called; and the UTG and UTG+1 also called his raise. At that point, the pot contained $3,805.
The flop smiled on Will: Qs-Js-10h. He had flopped an Ace-high straight, the nuts at that point and he also had a draw to the nut flush, making his hand about an 80% favorite to win the pot.
On the flop, Will’s three opponents checked to him. (They had respect for his big pre-flop raise). The effective stacks were now about $8,000. Will opened the betting for $2,500. The BB and UTG both called; and the UTG+1 folded. The pot was up to $11,305.
The Turn was the 2s, giving Will the nut flush (Ace-high, spades). Then, the BB went all-in for $5,500. The UTG folded, leaving only Will and the BB. Of course, Will called the all-in bet, fully expecting he was well ahead and would win this huge pot containing $22,305. His hand had to be a big favorite.
The River – ah, the River – was the 10d, putting a pair of 10’s on the board. With the BB all-in, there was no more betting.
Showdown: Will turned up his Ace-high flush. And, the BB showed his 2h-2c in the hole. The BB had caught a set of deuces on the Turn, and then a full-house, deuces-full-of-10s, on the River!
Will commented, all things considered, this was “one of the most brutal beats I have seen playing poker.” (He has been playing the game for about 50 years.) In actuality, with a set of deuces, any pair on the board would make a full-house – like it or not.
Personally, I do empathize with him. But, let’s compare this hand with the one my co-columnist George “The Engineer” experienced a few months ago. Holding J-J in the hole, George caught a set of Jacks on the flop, and then Quad Jacks on the Turn. At that point, his opponent had four to a straight flush in spades; he needed either the As or the 9s on the River. With just two outs, he was almost a 22-to-1 longshot. The As fell on the flop! And George suffered a really bad Bad Beat.
Worse yet was the Bad Beat I experienced, as described in the June 5 issue of GT. On the flop, I had caught top two-pair, As and Qs, while two women at the table held 10-9 in the hole and caught trip 9’s when the board paired another 9 on the River. Trips beat two-pair every time. They each had just one lonely out – the fourth 9 – about a 45-to-1 longshot.
In Will’s case, on the Turn, his BB opponent actually had a total of seven outs – one deuce (for Quads), three Jacks, two tens, plus one Queen. (Two Queens and two tens held by other players, were out of play.) With seven outs, the probability of catching a full-house on the River was about 15%.
As Will says, “Obviously, to most players, the nature of him hitting a 2-outer on the Turn to make a set, and then a 7-outer on the River to beat a hand that both flopped the nuts and Turned the nuts is what makes this especially maddening.”
I certainly agree with Will. “This was a tough loss.” It happens all too often to each of us! Grin and bear it; and don’t let it put you on tilt. It happens to all of us.